2.23.2011

Currently Reading: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, Book Two)

The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time, #2)Rand worked his mouth, trying to get a little moisture. He stared at the column approaching Fal Dara as if it really were a snake, a deadly viper. The drums and trumpets sang, loud in his ears. The Amyrlin Seat, who ordered the Aes Sedai. She's come because of me. He could think of no other reason.

They knew things, had knowledge that could help him, he was sure. And he did not dare ask any of them. He was afraid they had come to gentle him. And afraid they haven't, too, he admitted reluctantly. Light, I don't know which scares me more.

"I didn't mean to channel the Power," he whispered. "It was an accident! Light, I don't want anything to do with it. I swear I'll never touch it again! I swear it!"

Author: Robert Jordan

Synopsis: Expecting either to lose his power at the hands of the Aes Sedai or to go insane and die of it, Rand al'Thor parts with his girlfriend, Egwene, an Aes-Sedai-in-training. He leaves Fal Dara with friends Mat and Perrin on a hunt for the mythical Horn of Valere and healing for Mat. But Rand cannot escape his destiny. No matter where he goes, no matter what he chooses to do or not to do, he either finds or causes trouble—or both.

Moiraine Sedai insists that he is the Dragon reborn; Ba'alzemon says the same in Rand's dreams. Rand refuses to become the one chosen to break the world, but the Wheel of Time drives him along the Dragon's path, and the Dragon's banner sits folded in his saddlebags.

Notes: I've been checking these books out from the library, but part of me wonders at what point I'm going to have to start buying them. And whether I'm going to wind up at a midnight release party for Memory of Light in 2012, dressed as Nynaeve al'Meara.

Did I mention that I love Nynaeve? You were right, Donna. I cannot wait to see who that girl becomes.

Robert Jordan has me thrilled over everything about epic fantasy right now—the carefully constructed universes, the battles and magic, the quests and heroism. I did not see this coming. I never would have pictured myself as a genre reader—no disrespect to any genre, but the things that make me love a book have never been genre-specific. I like a little bit of everything. Be that as it may, I think I've lost my heart to speculative fiction.*

The most fascinating bit of symbolism in this book for me, at least on first read, was the use of a simple form of the yin yang symbol as the White Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon Fang, together as seals on the Dark One's prison. I'm no Taoist, but it's not as if Christianity has no contact with the idea of resolution of contraries. It certainly did in past centuries, when guys like Aquinas and Luther thought alchemy was great. Robert Jordan was apparently a High Church Anglican and a Freemason; I'm not sure where his philosophies will take this, but I'm interested to see how the wielders of saidar and saidin reunite.

I also think Rand al'Thor is wonderful—along with nearly all the girls in the tale, apparently. Rand is undeniably the hero, but I may lose my respect for him in the next few books. The way he held out against Selene's purring temptations was beautiful and heroic, as has been his tenderness over Egwene. But after Min's final statement to Egwene left me in a fury (Pattern or no Pattern, that is not something you say to a friend, Min Farshaw!), I went and read a bunch of online spoilers. Clearly, numerous things are not going to go the way I want them to.

On the other hand, spoilers are not the best way to find out how things go. Also, most of my anger at Min subsided after a couple of re-reads of the last few chapters, and—well, there's no way I'm not going on with the books. Even with the cliffhanger ending (I hate it when authors do that), I loved this book far too much to stop now.

My new goal is to get all of them read before the release of the final one. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.... I brought home The Dragon Reborn from the library today.

For amusement purposes: I found a fantasy cast for a Wheel of Time movie, in which the actors chosen look strikingly like my own mental pictures of the characters. That is, of the characters I've known thus far—there are numerous names that I don't even recognize. (Warning: Not all of these celebrities are modestly dressed...)

Recommendation: Make yourself comfortable. Seven hundred pages, and you're not going to be able to put this book down.

* Speculative fiction, from Wikipedia: "Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more highly imaginative fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts."

7 comments:

  1. I would hope my private comments on Min also helped calm you down. :)

    Oh my goodness, going through the list of the fantasy cast reminded me of how many freaking people are in this world & story! Maybe I won't start a reread of the series...

    Jenna said, "And whether I'm going to wind up at a midnight release party for Memory of Light in 2012, dressed as Nynaeve al'Meara."

    Hilarious!! And priceless, as the old commercial goes! ;)

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  2. Jenna, great review! I started reading the series 10 years ago, but then I put them down for a while when I got to about book 7 (Jordan was only on ~book 9 then).

    Robert Jordan was actually doing a book signing tour around this time and he came to UW where I was studying. So I had the pleasure of meeting him.

    I just picked them back up a while ago, and got Carrie to read the series too. She's read them all the way through of course. :) I'm such a slow reader though, and I tend to read it in spurts, so I'm only on book 10 now.

    That's funny you really like Nynaeve. If you like her in book 2 I think you'll love her by book 9. :)

    How did you decide to start reading the series?

    -Tom Herring

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  3. Why, yes, George, you made me give Min another chance. Thanks. :)

    I mean it--if I can find a release party, I just might dress up and go. Nynaeve might be more fun even than Minerva McGonagall, in whose character I dressed for the release of Deathly Hallows. :D Elayne and Egwene would be options, too, though I'm absurdly tall for Egwene, I think.

    Tom Herring, wow--it's been a long time! I hope you & yours are doing well. And I'm so excited that you and Carrie like these books. How amazing that you actually got to meet Robert Jordan before he died!

    My best friend got me to read The Eye of the World with her. She'd had it recommended by another friend, and wanted to know what I thought of it. I got hooked. :D

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  4. YAY I'm so happy you're still enjoying the story as a whole, and that Nyanaeve is revealing herself to you just as she did to me, and that you are having a similar reaction. :) I think one reason I love her so much is because many of her struggles (aspects of her personality that are less-than-flattering) are also mine. Keep reading!! You won't regret it.

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  5. Thanks, Donna! Yeah, every now and then I can relate to her temper... just look at how I reacted to poor Min. Haha. :) But it's clear she has a good heart and the makings of someone great. I loved her trips through the ter'angreal--it hurt at the time, but I've got lots of hope for her. :)

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  6. Milla Jovovitch is the perfect Aviendha, but you haven't met her yet. The guy they picked for Thom looked just like him. And I think it's funny that for Nynaeve, they found a pic of Evangeline Lilly pulling her braid.

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  7. Chris, I had the same thoughts about Thom and the pic of Evangeline Lilly! (I'm halfway through The Dragon Reborn right now, and Nynaeve is pulling on her braid a LOT.) And no, I haven't met Aviendha, but I read enough spoilers to have a general idea who she is. Milla Jovovitch looks just about right. :)

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