A Memory of Light: Robert Jordan 1948-2007

September 17, 2007 at 1:50 pm (agony, Robert Jordan, writers)

The last nail is in the coffin, so to speak. My own memories of the man and his work are few, so I’ll keep it short.

My friend Jon introduced me to Jordan and his epic series The Wheel of Time after mentioning him as a favorite author on a plane ride to England four years ago. We had conversations of what we thought would happen next (I still like to think that Verin is somehow linked to Mat) as well as the crazy women depicted in the books which led to arguments on the merits of each of them (Faile isn’t that bad!). These debates or discussions lasted far into the night long after Jon’s wife Amanda had wisely gone to bed.

I also remember my anger at reading a local book review in Here magazine of Jordan’s Knife of Dreams and the reviewers complaint of whether the series would ever end. Little did she know that the author was sick, and that Jordan’s next book would be the last in tWoT as well. I still wonder whether the reviewer had even read the book or was just aware of the series as a whole…

I’m currently rereading this gentleman’s incomplete series for what I believe is the third time and discover that I’ll be approaching the work now with a bit more reverence then before.

But not too much. I doubt the creator of Nynaeve would care for such a sentiment.

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32 Comments

  1. Wes said,

    !

  2. truth9 said,

    I just can’t help but wonder who will be chosen to finish the final book.

  3. truth9 said,

    Wow, that post comes across as callous, doesn’t it?

    I feel sorry for his family, and I feel sorry for his friends, but I can’t help but be curious about the emotional reaction that many people will have to this news.

    How many people’s first reaction is/was not one of sadness, but one of disappointment.

    These two comments both come after the post on my own page, hence the minimal sentimentality. Sorry.

    (And yes, she is.)

  4. truth9 said,

    You know, it occurred to me (as I was hitting the post button for the previous comment), that we were actually discussing the Wheel of Time at 5:00 am when the call came from Eve that your apartment was flooding on New Years 2005.

  5. asfarasthoughtcanreach said,

    I stopped myself from writing the exact same thing and so I completely understand the thought. Actually, it’s exactly what I expected the first comment to be about since I mentioned nothing of “the succession” in the post. The man died too soon though, and not because he wasn’t finished a grand fantasy series, but because he’s five years younger than my father.

    My guess would be Harriet in all honesty. Mr. Jordan seemed to hold her in high regard if this particular situation occurred given his posts at Dragonmount. At the very least, she’ll be the resident expert on all thing WOT.

    Ah yes, The Flood of 2005. Everything else before it was just….antediluvian. Good times…could have done without the flooding though. I imagine you have the same opinion about your car breaking down.

    …at least we can agree on Min being the best or most sane.

  6. riphoudouso said,

    I liked Min.

    Sadly, I may never finish the series – the lack of resolution would eat at me. May someone carrying the torch.

  7. Wes said,

    They’ll get someone to finish it. If Tolkein and Herbert have taught us anything (however posthumously), it’s that publishers always find a way to pick up the pieces and keep on going.

  8. Wes said,

    Though I would also like to think that Tolkein and Herbert, humously, taught us a great deal of more important things. Like that shooting a forcefield with a lase gun will cause a nuclear explosion (even though there is no matter involved) . . . and that the oldest man in the world wears bright yellow boots.

  9. truth9 said,

    Those are things worth knowing.

    I just hope that the publishers have this final book finished and then leave the series alone. His prequels would have been nice, but I don’t want anyone else’s take on them.

  10. Dean Yancey jr. said,

    May his name sing in all of our hearts forever…

  11. Monte J. said,

    I’m on book five of reading the series for the second time…In preparation for the final book MOL. The re-read brought me surprisingly close to the author’s mind and a closeness to the author. I have followed his blog and was aware of the illness…but like many prayed and thought it was under control. Thus the shock.
    When a loved one is taken…it is natural to want to be around the close friends of the departed. I have to believe Jim’s (Robert Jordan) close friends were Rand, Matt, Perrin and Loial. They knew each other intimately.

    There are several folks who were shared the events of the last book. There are notes put together by Jim and some of the book written…I would like to have Jim’s close friends bid him a fond farwell as their stories end. I could use the closure of the indirect friendship I grew to have with the author as well.

    Harriet needs a little time to ‘settle’…then I quite sure an announcement will be made concerning the final book MOL.

    Farewell Robert Jordan. You touched our hearts.

  12. Mike P. said,

    I started the series for te first time when i was in the 6th grade. I have re-read it 2 times since then. This series is not only m favorite fantasy series it also helped me get through a lot of hard times in my life. Whenever there was too much for me to handle in life i Could pick up one of the books and immerse myself in a different world where my problems were not the focus anymore. I was deeply saddened to hear of Robert Jordan’s passing and hold his family and friends in my thoughts.
    I hope that the series is concluded by Harriet, if she feels she ip up to the task, then i feel that the series should be left alone and passed down, I know when I have kids they will definitely be reading the series.

  13. DK said,

    I began reading the WOT series while a Marine stationed in California back in 1990. I remember taking the “Great Hunt” with me to Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Reading has always been my way of temporarily removing myself of unpleasant circumstances and this series helped me to keep my cool on the 20+ hour flight to the middle east. (Admittedly the scariest part of the whole experience). Many of you may not understand that, but having that much time to think about how you are currently on your way to possibly sacrifice the only life you’ll have is an excruciating experience. The works of Robert Jordan helped me through that and other difficult periods in my life. I have been a devoted fan from the first chapter. I had just begun reading the Series for the third time in anticipation of the next release when I heard the news. All I could think about was how guilty I felt for having thought that it would be just my luck that he’d pass away before the series was finished. Now that he’s gone I can only thank him for the sanctuary he helped to provide and bestow upon his family my heartfelt condolences.

  14. Tjasse said,

    It’s funny, because I knew what the majority of WOT’s fans first reaction would probably be, not dissapointment, but sadness at losing the man who was most likely the greatest author of our time. I’ve become so attached to this series that I feel RJ was one of my greatest friends, losing him hurt very much, and I feel the greatest sympathy for his family members. With saying this however, I cannot deny that I won’t rest until reading MOL, which I anticipate more than anything right now. My guess is that many people will be responsible for finishing it, Harriet of course will play a vital role, but RJ’s assistants and yes, even Wilson more than likely will help in finishing the last installment. I have reread WOT 3 times, and am on my 4th time over, I learn so much every time I read through. To write all my predictions would take forever, but I just wanted to say that I miss Robert Jordan he truly was a great man.

  15. Whill said,

    The greatest compliment we all could have ever given this man is to be doing exactly what we are doing. We discuss him as though we knew him. We mourn his passing while anxiously awaiting the conclusion to a work that has obviously touched many, many lives in ways that only truly immortal authors may. This man had a great gift coupled with a passion for storytelling, and it resounded throughout these stories. I would have loved nothing more than to talk with the man and learn of the inspirations for the characters and hear their voices and thoughts from their Creator. It is amazing how this epic can be identified with and adored by so vast and varied an audience. I hope he truly appreciated the immensity of what he had accomplished.

    Thank you and God Bless.

  16. Nae'blis said,

    The Wheel of Time series is a work of art. There are so many twists in the story, many of which you see hints for right at the start of the series. The best thing about the set is that not one of the main books is a spin off-each one is working towards the same ending and each one builds up to the end more and more.

    RJ was a genius, I think the Wheel of Time set easily puts him above Tolkien. My heart bleeds for those who knew him, and i send them my condolences.

    Personally i would love for the series to be finished although i dont think anyone could carry on those immense characters as he could. If book 12 is published, IT HAD BETTER BE WRITTEN IN MEMORY OF HIM (ie “For Robert”)

    RIP RJ, we will sing your name in our hearts

  17. Kev said,

    Wow this has been a bit of a shock. I only just found out that Robert Jordan passed away and that he hadn’t completed the wheels of time series. I am ashamed to admit that the first thought that went through my head was a bout the unfinished series. It wasn’t until after it hit me he had died that I thought about the loss to his friends and family, may they always remember the man he was and the good memories they had together.
    I have only recently started this series after finishing one by an author Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (well worth the read). I am currently just finishing the sixth book in the series and am as hooked as I have been ever been on any other book. It’s rare to see an author that is justly compared to the likes Tonkin and deserved of it to, Robert Jordan is exactly that. I know he will be missed by both those close to him and his fans.
    May his memory always live on in his work.

    May his memery always live on in his work.

  18. AllMighty said,

    Who cares, just want to read the last book

  19. AllMighty said,

    hypocrits

  20. Stephen said,

    It’s strange to come across so many like minded people. Reading through this page i have seen my own thoughts read back to me. I myself only started reading the books about one week after RJ’s passing and was instantly drawn into the marvellous would he had created. Like so many others however on hearing of his passing i am ashamed to admit my first thoughts were of what a shame it was he hadn’t finished the series. Many claim a personal relationship with Jordan through his books but here i must go my own way, quite frankly the only thing i know of the man is that he is….was the best author i know of and he will be missed.

    Rest in Peace Robert Jordan.

  21. Andy said,

    I am sad for his family, but, even though it may sound harsh, I really hope they finish the series, and finish it the way it was meant to be done. I am currently on my third time through the series as well and have loved every minute of it…

  22. J said,

    I began this series in 1990 as a fourteen year old adolescent and I have been hooked ever since. I have reread the series several times (particularly the portions dealing with Mat Cauthon). I was shocked to hear of Jordan’s death as I do not follow the message boards regularly. I am anxious to hear from his wife as to when, or if, Tor Books will agree to a contract for the book (or if it is already under contract, the projected publication date of Memory of Light). I was aware that this was to be his last book, but it was far from clear to myself, and other readers, how he was going to tie up all the loose ends in one volume. Given the open ended nature of the series, I think that a focus back on the three main characters (mat, perrin and rand) could be done in such a way that the transition would not be too rough on the reader. I hope no one takes offense, but I always felt that far too much attention was paid to the female characters of the series, prominent or otherwise to the storyline. I understand that the inverted power relationships are a part of what makes the series so interesting, but it seemed to me that in the middle volumes of the series there was an imbalance in the narrative and the three male leads were lost for a time. I was glad to see that they found their way back into the narrative 🙂 in the last few volumes and recovered some of their humanity in the process.

  23. Furor said,

    It’s really sad when someone dies, especially for that person’s family. I honestly didn’t feel that close to Robert Jordan. I’ve read the whole series through twice, and enjoyed it profusely. However, I’ve watched interviews of the man, and he didn’t seem very likable to me. He was very pompous and seemed to think himself superior, especially in the way he talked and carried himself. I’m sure he was a great guy, but when I heard the news, I felt like I had just gotten the rug pulled out from beneath my feet. The situation was almost ironic. My favorite book series spanning a total of 12 books so far, and the author dies. Surely someone could have been helping him when he was sick. To let the man work alone on the story while he had a degenerating disease was dumb on the publishers part. At least RJ knew to start getting the info together. He was very intelligent, I’ll give him that. God bless you, Robert Jordan.

  24. Jennifer said,

    Robert Jordan had a way with words and detail that made you feel as if you were riding along side the characters as they escaped Trolloc attacks or battled the Forsaken. I have enjoyed the adventure with Rand, Matt, Perrin and all the others three times now and each time I start the first book it’s like visiting old friends. Even though Mr. Jordan is gone from this earth (but not from our hearts) he will live on in his characters. We will never forget.

    “Till shade is gone, till water is gone,
    into the Shadow with teeth bared,
    screaming defiance with the last breath,
    to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the last Day.”

    Thank You Mr. Jordan.

  25. huey said,

    robert jordan sometimes annoyed me with his descriptions of the landscape, or of some guys shirt and pants, but that was how he wrote. he was definitely thorough. as for as being pompous, superior, and unlikeable, wow. takes a lot testicular fortitude to say that about a dead man when your post name is Furor.

  26. Call Us Legion, For we are many said,

    To say I am out of the loop would be an understatement.

    I have not been looking for book twelve for fear of reading what I have just read.
    My greatest fear regarding WOT was that the man who brought us to such a wonderous world would be taken from us.

    I have read the series more times than I care to recount, and always I find myself noticing some new detail. I will wait patiently for his notes to be compiled and released into the world.

    Here is to a great world, and the hopes that the curtains will be drawn just as RJ would have wished.

  27. Ra Thore said,

    I dont know – or care – what sort of human being RJ was. What I do know is he carved his mark on this world with the world he created in the WoT series. For that, I am thankful. Personally, I enjoyed his work – the world he created and the people he populated it with – far more than any other work or world…this includes everyone, Tolkein to Pratchett, et al.
    It would be great if someone were to complete MoL – and I am sure the pubishers will ensure that – and even if they dont give me the final chapter, I will still re-read what RJ did manage to create before his light went out.

    Fav Quote: Others are others; I am I

  28. Ra Thore said,

    Just did some googling and learnt that MOL is definitely going to be completed – Tor Books has contracted Brandon Sanderson to wrap up the series…he will work from audio tapes and notes that RJ left behind.

    For more info check the following links:

    http://www.brandonsanderson.com/blog/590/Merry-Christmas!–New-FAQ!
    http://www.dragonmount.com/Books/Memory_of_Light/brandon_interview_01.php

    Others are others; I am I

  29. Fishindude said,

    I have read The Wheel of Time series over and over. I had to replace a number of books from wear. Everytime a new book came out I started the series over again with book one. I have been waiting for the final 12th book and was wondering why it has not come out yet.

    I am so sorry to hear that Mr. Robert Jordan has passed. I am shocked to the core. I will miss him and the joy he brought to me through his books. I am passing the Wheel of Time series onto my children and hope they enjoy them as much as I still do.

    Thank you so much for everything.

  30. Davelemas said,

    I was never the reader of my family, but always loved fantasy shows on TV. A good friend gave me Book One and it took me a year to get into it. I know this sounds mad to most of you folk who have read since nippers, but as I mentioned, reading just wasn’t something I did as a pass time. Suddenly after much picking up and putting down, I was hooked. All be it over ten years ago now, I still vaguely remember the expression on my mums face when she caught me reading. More of a shock to her than pretty much any other teenage vice, think she was prepared for me to be a drunk more than develop a late passion for fiction! I am now a proud reader with a hunger and passion for a vast variety of literature.

    With no embellishment this is down to Mr Robert jordan and the series Wheel of Time. Many times in my 26 years of life I have regretted investing time, thought and energy in varying activities, reading, disecting, analysing and loving this collection has of books however has brought more joy to me than I can do justice in this rambling post.

    I know you feel the same. I am in awe.

    One last thing, I still chuckle with a mental image I had to develop of RJ sat in a beuatiful writing room, with every spare piece of wall covered in post it notes. HOW ELSE CAN ONE MAN WEAVE SO MANY DETAILS ABOUT CHARACTERS and PLOT TOGETHER.

    I love it, good luck Brandon. Not much pressure honest.

  31. Peter.C said,

    It’s hard to come up with something profound when reading the notes above, as you all say it was a shock to hear the tragic news of an author pass away who had the capacity to let us mortals feel the anticipation -every- time a book was to be released.

    For me he was a beacon of light whenever I was down, sad or just needed a break from reality.

    Words can’t really describe the meaning of one man that gave us so much.

    Rest in peace Robert, I salut thee from the cold north.

  32. Infinite_Shad0w said,

    reading the series 3rd time through, will read a 4th time by the time the 12th book comes out.

    the best author of all time = robert jordan

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