I mentioned in my Dragon*Con montage that I went to see Brandon Sanderson read from the final book of the Wheel of Time. This was the only thing I did at Dragon*Con where I waited in line1. In fact, I got in line with Jenn over an hour and a half early, and still only secured second row seats.
If you’re not familiar with the Wheel of Time fantasy series, it’s one of the defining epic fantasies of my generation.2 The first book was published in 1990, and I still remember the reading of it. The last book will be published on January 8, 2013, twenty-three years after the first. Those 23 years define almost the entirety of my reading life; this is the culmination of reading I’ve been doing since high school.
The series was conceived, detailed, written, and defined by Robert Jordan (pen name for James Rigny) who wrote the first 11 books plus a prequel novel. Unfortunately he passed away from cardiac amyloidosis in 2007. I distinctly remember when Robert Jordan was at Dragon*Con in 2005. I was sitting with Jenn and I leaned over and remarked that he better finish the series before he died. I recalled those words with horror when the following year he was diagnosed.
Brandon Sanderson was asked to take up the mantle that Robert Jordan had been forced to lay down, and in this fan’s opinion he has knocked it stiff. Sanderson has stayed true to the spirit of the series, finishing and polishing the notes and outlines that Jordan left behind.
The reading that we attended at Dragon*Con was moving in many ways. Sanderson read a passage from A Memory of Light which no one had heard before that moment. That was moving, but more so was the question and answer session afterward. Sanderson is one of the most personable and genuine authors I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to and the situation he’s in is freighted with emotions on both sides of the table. There were at least four spontaneous ovations during the Q&A. The people who packed that room to the rafters were there because they love the series, and this is the end. This is the last installment of something that has shaped a generation of fantasy readers.
Honestly, it’s impossible to convey the emotions I felt in that room.
January 8th. It both can’t come soon enough, and it’s going to be here too quickly. I will probably take the day off from work to read the book.3 I’ve already read the prologue, and the first chapter. Three months until the day.4
- Almost. I did wait for the Mech Pods at times. [↩]
- Some would argue it is the defining series, with George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire a close second. [↩]
- That’s just being honest with myself and my employer; I’m going to be reading that book whether or not I take the day off. [↩]
- It’s not too late to read the series before time is up. It’ll take you about three months. [↩]