Wheel of Time Re-Read-Along
Book 1 – The Eye of the World

January 15, 2017 Books, Read-Alongs 9

Welcome to the Two Rivers… and the rest of the world of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

Book 1 – The Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, and Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

My Thoughts:

I remember thinking the first time I read this book that it was very Lord of the Rings-y. And it is, right up until the end — purposefully, obviously. There are the clear parallels between characters (Lan = Aragorn, for example), outright rip-offs (Mountains of Mist = Misty Mountains), and then the winking references that seem meant to tell Tolkien fans that it’s all in good fun (The Nine Rings, an inn named after an adventure story that our MC Rand really likes). Now, upon re-reading it and taking the series as a whole into account, I kinda think the LotR references/homages are bordering on red herring status.

Something else I remembered about my initial read of these books was how much my opinions of the characters changed over the course of the series. Not gonna go into a whole lot of detail about this because I do want to avoid spoilers for newbie readers, but I do think it speaks to Jordan’s skill with character development over the long term. Of course, there is PLENTY of room for character development over the course of 15 books….

I’m glad I chose to re-read this series, in large part because it’s so enjoyable to see all the little clues that Jordan seriously planned ahead plot-wise. There are the hints from Min, of course, but there are also little clues scattered in the dialogue and behavior of the characters. I’d say the writing kind of got away from him and the series is at least one book too long, but it doesn’t change the fact that this story is a feat of calculation/foresight.

Questions:
  • What did you think of the parallels to LotR? Fun, annoying, not worth mentioning?
  • If you’ve read this series before, did your opinions about some characters change as the series went on? Or have you had a favorite character or OTP ship from the very start?
  • If you haven’t read this series before, do you really like or dislike any particular characters right now?

Are you reading this series along with me? If you have reviewed or discussed this book online, please feel free to post a link to that in the comments. (But you don’t have to be an “official” participant to discuss this book in the comments if you feel so inclined.)

Please note: Even though I try to avoid major spoilers in my blog post, I can’t promise that the comments will remain spoiler-free too — so read at your own risk!

Want to participate in this read-along? Sign up here.

9 Responses to “Wheel of Time Re-Read-Along
Book 1 – The Eye of the World

  1. The Captain

    First time reading. I expected to be a bit overwhelmed with characters, locations, history, etc. But I’m a bit confused. In Chapter 33, it mentions the guys wearing scarves (pg 488) then catching a ride with Kinch in his cart. THEN it mentions them leaving the Dancing Cartmen in the rain (pg 491). BUT they left at the end of the last chapter already. All of a sudden (pg 495) Mull (another cart driving farmer) gives them the scarves from his sons. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON???? Did the wheel do a quick reverse and flip gears? Was I suppose to notice that? Arrg! My head is spinnin’! Like a wheel in a wheel. (Oops! That’s Ezekiel.) Gotta go. The coyotes are talking to me….

    • Louise

      Hey there Captain, hope you don’t mind that I moved your comment from the sign-up post to the discussion post!

      Yeah, that part is a little confusing — on purpose, I think. It’s a multi-part “flashback” — we start with the boys in the cart, and then Rand is thinking about everything that happened to them over the last few days. I suspect it was done like that on purpose to give the reader a sense of how confused and overwhelmed the boys were at that point in their journey… maybe?

      • The Captain

        Well it DID make me mentally fatigued…so I guess I could relate to the poor exhausted guys.
        Remember y’all this is my first reading of the Wheel. I knew there were a lot of things setting up future books, but I just couldn’t get distracted by them. Wish I noticed the glossary at the back before I finished the book. (My bad for not skimming first. Still read it and it was nice to reinforce stuff. But she’ll always be Egg-win to me…Okay. I can hear the groans.)
        Louise’s Questions:
        1) Been awhile since I read LotR. I really didn’t pick up on a lot of overlap. In fact, I remember simply having the passing curiosity of wondering which series was written first. I was more caught up in my memories of my D&D days. 🙂
        3) Of course I’m a bit in love with Rand. I find Matt pretty irritating and don’t have a lot of use for him. Perrin is sure interesting. I find the changes in his personality & physicality fascinating and am looking forward to following him in the future books. I found the Wisdom as irritating as Matt at first, but the whole romantic interaction with Lan caught be off guard. Perhaps there’s hope for her. Looking forward to her character development too. And Lan…he’s a favorite of mind too. Must be the big horse, cool cloak, and that dark, quiet, strong mysterious Heathcliff thing going on.
        Thanks again, Louise, for leading us into this World.
        Now I can start Book 2 when the interlibrary loan magically transports it to me….

  2. Toady

    I feel pulled in every direction with what I want to read this year, and thought that I might better go for the Oz read-along as the books are so much shorter, but this series is still screaming for me to read it.

    • Louise

      Haha, well, the cool thing about books is they’ll always be there waiting for you when you get around to them. And of course this is a super not-formal read along thing, so if you decide to pick up the series later and need to blather about it to some folks who’ve been there, well, these posts will still be here too!

  3. Rob

    I’m not participating in the re-read, but I’m looking forward to lurking a bit! I loved these first few books when I originally read them. I stopped on book 9 or 10, but I remember being particularly in love with the first five novels.

    • Louise

      Lurk away! I feel like it’s actually pretty common for readers to step away from this series about the time you did, because TBH a lot of the content in those middle-to-late books was unnecessary or just downright boring.

  4. Warren

    Home from the tennis and yes, i did finish Eye of the World without reading between sets (my wife would disown me if the tv cameras caught me reading at a Grand Slam!). As you say, very Tolkienesque to start with (do all fantasies start with a nondescript farmboy living at the backend of the world??) and despite its length, I felt this sped by pretty quick, and enjoyed it quite well enough to be looking forward to Book 2.
    I did read Book 1 many years ago but couldn’t remember much detail. I particularly liked some of the side characters – Min, and the Prince and Princess – I hope we meet them again.

    • Louise

      “do all fantasies start with a nondescript farmboy living at the backend of the world?”

      Haha it does seem that way, doesn’t it? My guess is that Jordan decided to just take that trope and run with it.

      And yep, Min etc. will certainly show up again. (Along with about a billion other characters, some more interesting than others I have to say.)

Leave a Reply