Robert Jordan excels in characterization. His characters truly seem like living, breathing people you might meet on the street tomorrow, and over the course of the series they develop on many levels. The land is well-characterized, too, drawn with fascinating detail against a historical context that makes sense on social, political, and economic scales. The story weaves a rich tapesty, smoothly incorporating elements of European, Native American, Norse, Russian, and Japanese mythology.
Many people criticize Jordan as being wordy. Certainly, Jordan has written many words... but are they worthless, or are they valuable? The first time I read the series, I thought that the first half of the first book (The Eye of the World) was weak. Shaky. Maybe even too wordy. I reread that book after reading the three that followed it and changed my opinion. Every sentence in the first 150 pages was there for a reason! Material in those early chapters that at first seemed gratuitous established important background about the characters, the places they lived, and the things they experienced. Those chapters set up conflicts or provided background information for things that would only be developed in later books. This wasn't obvious in my first reading, of course, but it was truly a serendipity on the second reading.
It's always a good idea to seek a second opinion in subjective matters. Book preference is definitely subjective. Fortunately for you, you don't have to search elsewhere to find a second opinion about The Wheel of Time, because I'll give you one myself.
The truth is that I'm a lapsed fan of the series. Although I was thrilled by it for many years, I lost interest after the seventh book. I had been disappointed with Lord of Chaos. It moved slowly, and it seemed like nothing important or interesting happened. My disappointment grew with A Crown of Swords, which was more of the same. Then, with a nearly 2 year wait until the next book, which had no promise of being any better, I gave up. I stopped caring about the story and the characters. Friends assure me that the series has picked up since its low point, but for me it's too late. The horse is already out of the barn.
This set of documents is my public personal archive of material that has appeared in the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan (rasfwrj) and its parent group, rec.arts.sf.written (rasfw), since the mid 1990's. Rasfwrj is a great place to go to discuss Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time books; hundreds of people discuss the books each day. Rasfw is for discussion of any speculative fiction book. (If you don't know what newsgroups are or want more information about them, check the excellent guide to Usenet put together by Indiana University.)
This archive is not the first of its kind (although it was one of the first), and it certainly isn't the last. It is far from complete or exclusive. I avoid duplicating information other people have archived on their sites and provide, instead, records and insights into interesting things not found elsewhere.
I'll be the first to admit that this site is growing stale. As I've lost interest in the series over the past several years, I've had little interest in keeping this site too up to date over the same period. I try to keep it current, but my flagging efforts are showing. As such, it looks more like a tribute to the "golden age" of WoT fandom. :-)
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