The Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the series now spans fourteen volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and a companion book. Jordan began writing the first volume, ‘The Eye of the World,’ in 1984 and it was published in January 1990.

The author died in 2007 while working on what was planned to be the final volume in the series, although he had prepared extensive notes so another author could complete the book according to his wishes.

Fellow fantasy author and longtime ‘Wheel of Time’ fan Brandon Sanderson was brought in to complete the final book, but during the writing process it was decided that the book would be far too large to be published in one volume, and would instead be published as three volumes: ‘The Gathering Storm’ (2009), ‘Towers of Midnight’ (2010) and ‘A Memory of Light’ (2013).

The series draws on numerous elements of both European and Asian mythology, most notably the cyclical nature of time found in Hinduism and Buddhism, the concepts of balance, duality, a matter-of-fact respect for nature found in Daoism, as well as a creation story similar to that of Christianity in ‘The Creator’ (Light) and ‘The Dark One,’ it draws from a number of terms and concepts in Islam, such as the reference to the ‘Dark One’ as Shai’tan (the Arabic term for the ‘Devil’). It was also partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ (about four families of noblemen in Russia during the wars with Napoleon, and how they deal with the war and with one another). The Wheel of Time is notable for its length, its detailed imaginary world, its well-developed magic system and a large cast of characters.

In the series’s fictional mythology, a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which, as it turns, spins all lives. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it rotates under the influence of the One Power, which flows from the True Source. Essentially composed of male and female halves (saidin and saidar) in opposition and in unison, this power turns the Wheel. Those humans who can use this power are referred to as channelers; the principal organization of such wielders in the books is called the Aes Sedai or ‘Servants of All’ in the Old Tongue.

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