After the obligatory reading of all the Middle Earth literature, there came a hankering for another Big Fantasy, and perusing the pages of the Waterstones Quarterly magazine back in 2001, I came across a review for the paperback version of Winter’s Heart, book nine of the (then) ongoing wheel of time series.
The bite sized paragraph review spoke of convoluted quests, many characters, and wanderings on a vast map. Naturally, I was sold on this. Not only for the amount of words to read (the overall total for the series being 4,410,036 according to Wikipedia) but the word convoluted appealed, greatly too.
Almost two decades since I picked up that first entry, and I again plucked it from a bookshop’s shelf home, due to a hankering for the series. The covers in the UK are now a fancy black but this cover (as was my original) is of a quite unimpressively realised depiction of some of the main characters. Thankfully only my original books one and two were these hand drawn creations. Although I imagine many fans were annoyed by the mid series change of cover that came about before book ten (and if I remember rightly the lone prequel New Spring).
Having read a few things in the glossary whilst in the shop, I was eager to delve straight into its 782 pages, there were so many characters and events popping back into my head. It’s good to return in this world, I enjoy being there even if nothing happens (not an exaggeration) in book ten. I am just happy to relive the adventure in Jordan’s world.
My most visual memory is reading one of the latter books (I forget which) in summer and really visualising the forest the certain character was clambering through, in particular a huge log that took some getting over, as I recall. In the real world, the sun outside shone, causing me to squint as my eyes passed between dazzling sections of the page, and the shaded leafy silhouettes caught helplessly there, and forever in my memories. Coincidentally the sun is shining through the trees again just so, as I write this.
When I read TEotW, I was only into fantasy and history, it’s nice to reflect not only on how far I have come as a reader, choosing to push myself towards challenging books as often as I can, but also on what has stayed with me. The pull of certain books, of the circumstances they were read in, is always a fascinating subject and one that constantly evolves with the reader’s own unique journey.