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R.I.P. Robert Jordan . . . Now What?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It was with an air of melancholy that I heard the news about the passing of author Robert Jordan (née James Oliver Rigney Jr.) I had been a fan of the Wheel of Time series up until about book eight, The Path of Daggers, which is when I got the impression he was trying to pull a Dickens on us and stretch the series out as long as he possibly could in order to maximize profit (either that or he just went crazy with power — hard to say). But then book nine, Winter’s Heart, was amazing (even though I didn’t necessarily agree with the direction that he took the plot), and so I decided to stick it out with the series, albeit with one caveat — I would wait until he actually finished it, which means I’ve yet to read book eleven Knife of Dreams. Well, his death now throws a wrench into those plans.

There’s obviously some sort of contingency — Jordan was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called cardiac amyloidosis on Mar. 23, 2006, so everyone involved knew there was a good chance he wouldn’t live long enough to finish the final book A Memory of Light; it’ll just be interesting to see if Tor Books hires a ghost writer to finish it off or if that job will go to Jordan’s widow Harriet Rigney (who luckily happens to be an editor at Tor). I’m guessing the latter.

Another problem I had with the series was that after book ten, I developed a very definite idea of how I would write the final two books, and I started to feel that if it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it I would feel disappointed (I’m sure many fans of long, drawn-out book/tv/movie series feel the same way at some point or another). Bearing in mind I’ve yet to read book eleven (meaning I don’t know if any of this is feasible based on what’s already happened, or if this is what has happened already), here’s what I would do (spoilers, obviously):

Rand ends up breaking the seals because he realizes it’s the only way to proceed — the only way to finally confront the Dark One. However, once he gets to Shayol Ghul he gets turned, or Lews Therin takes over, and Rand actually ends up leading the Dark One’s armies out of the Blight (and he kills Min). It’s then up to Perrin, Mat et al. to confront Rand and keep him from destroying everything, at the same time realizing that they can’t kill him because he’s the only one who can kill the Dark One. So they somehow turn him back to the good (hadn’t figured that out yet) and then Rand ends up dying when he brings the Dark One down. The End.

Not wholly original, I know, but I think it would have been a good and dramatic end to the story, and it would ensure there was enough sacrifice among the main characters to make it meaningful — by that I mean I don’t want to see Jordan wuss out and have everyone miraculously survive and they live happily blah blah. After twelve books that would feel like a slap in the face.

But, it’s still early, so we shall simply have to wait and see. 03971semaj

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