Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 1: The Eye of the World

Started: February 13th, 2015
Finished: March 8th, 2015

Originally, I was planning on waiting until I wasn’t busy doing something else and spending several hours a day reading. However, I decided that since I’m in the habit of reading before I go to sleep and I just finished the book I was working on, I might as well use that time to knock this item off my list.

I started book 1 of the Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World, last night. It wasn’t the beginning, but it was a beginning.

I’ve often wondered over the years, just what it was about The Eye of the World that compelled me to eagerly read the rest of the series. Much as many of today’s young adults grew up reading the Harry Potter saga, I grew up reading the Wheel of Time novels.

When I first started reading the series, I had not yet read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I didn’t recognize a lot of the common elements, though many of the fantasy tropes were familiar to me from my time playing role-playing games and reading books such as the Shannara series.

Much of Eye of the World, draws on the familiar. An orphan who isn’t who he thinks he is who discovers he has powers previously unknown to him. A magic sword. The orc-like Trollocs. The mysterious and evil “Dark One.” The hero’s journey. In many ways, the story is somewhat of an homage to the classic fantasy stories of old, complete with rather simplistically named locations like “the Mountains of Dhoom.” However, while much of the novel covers familiar ground, there is something compelling about the characters. Sure the boys are stereotypically handsome and brave and the girls are beautiful and fierce, but there is just something about this group of characters that makes you want to keep reading book after book to see what becomes of them.

In the Eye of the World, the Emond’s Fielders start out innocent and naive and over the course of their journey, they begin to change in ways both expected and unexpected. In the end, the story is as much a classic coming of age tale wrapped in a fantasy story as anything and one that more than twenty years later, I still enjoy reading. Much like Harry Potter explored the themes of friendship and death, while also telling a grand fantasy tale, The Wheel of Time series explores the relationships between men and women, among other things, while also weaving a grand tale of Light vs. Dark.