When I was a child, I used to have recurring nightmares about the end of the world. I’m not sure I was particularly prescient; rather, I think it was a product of my being very young and impressionable during the height of millennial Y2K hysteria coupled with the more pressing anxiety of living in a home filled with alcoholism and domestic abuse. Whatever the cause, I dreamt about the apocalypse off and on for years—the dreams themselves ranging from a basic world-on-fire cliché to a much more original and disturbing vision of golden buzzsaws ceaselessly multiplying and slicing the world into oblivion.
I know what you’re thinking.
Rand al’Thor. Rand al’Thor who was promised to Egwene al’Vere? Rand al’Thor, of whom it was foretold that he would be shared (somewhat problematically) by three different women? Rand al’Thor who very much followed through on that prophecy? That Rand al’Thor? Yes, that’s the one.
While I’m not here to tell you that Rand is queer in either sexual orientation or identity, I still believe that there is an inherent queerness to him worthy of examination, and—at least for queer readers of the series—doing so can enrich the reading experience and highlight how, in most ways, Robert Jordan’s seminal fantasy series was ahead of its time in terms of visibility and accessibility. At least it was and is for me, and I’ll tell you why.
Note: There are some spoilers for The Wheel of Time beyond this point.
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