Wheel of Time Reread #1: The Eye of the World

In anticipation of the Jan 8, 2013 release of A Memory of Light, the fourteenth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, I’m rereading the entire series. Each book gets its own spoiler-filled post.

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorldI’ve been putting off my Wheel of Time reread because I didn’t really want to read The Eye of the World again. The first time I read it, I had no interest in continuing with the series. I’m glad I did, though – this is one of my favourite series’, and led me to my favourite fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson.

Anyway, I finally pushed myself to read it, and it took me three days (which is really long for me) – part of that was because I was going slowly and trying to catch all the references to future books, part of that is that large swatches of it are kind of boring, especially compared to the later events of the books. The characters are still growing into themselves and are all somewhat immature and helpless – it’s amazing how far they’ve come. Another reason this book is annoying is that most of it is from Rand’s perspective, and Rand isn’t that interesting.

It was really nice to see some hints of later events that I totally missed seeing the first time around – for example, Lan and Nynaeve’s romance, which threw me for a loop the first time it was explicitly talked about. I didn’t understand how their characters managed to fall in love, since they were both so proud and stoic, but I took notice of all the small hints as they travel together in this book, and now it makes sense. I also didn’t realise how much of a crush Rand and Egwene had on each other. It was also nice to pay more attention to “minor” characters like Bayle Domon – I never really paid that much attention to what he was doing in my first read.

The Forsaken aren’t as complex and interesting in this book – they’re very one-dimensionally evil. I’m really looking forward to meeting Lanfear, I think that’s when things start looking better on that front. I was kind of surprised how much stuff seemed Tolkien-derived – the unlikely hero from farmland growing tobacco, the Trolloc/Orc and Myrddraal/Nazgul similarities, the flight across woodland, then a bridge, then to an inn in a “bigger” town, the flight down a river flanked by cliffs with giant carvings of past rulers. It felt a bit too much like deja vu sometimes, particularly because I haven’t noticed this in later books.

I’m looking forward to The Great Hunt immensely – that’s when things start to get exciting. I can’t wait for Mat and Egwene to come into their own; they’re two of my favourite characters and they’re both pretty terrible in this book.

Other notes:
– I totally didn’t realise the Tower of Ghenjei and Choeden Kal were referenced in this book, so I was really excited to encounter them. Same for the Coramoor.
– What is the Eye of the World? As far as I know, it’s never talked about again. It seems like it’s this huge central thing, but it isn’t?
– It’s interesting that possessed-Mat taunts Egwene about her dreams – very foreshadow-y.

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