Continuing with the Wheel of Time re-read! I devoured Eye of the World much more quickly than I expected, finishing the book in less than 3 days. It helps that I had already read it before of course, but I think there’s also a part of me that enjoys escaping into this fantasy world when the real world outlook seems dire.
Anyway, the book shows a lot of Tolkien-esque plot influence, especially near the start: Some kids from a backwater village are visited by a magic user and after some troubles are forced on the run from black riders? Sounds familiar. Not only that, but you can even map the characters somewhat:
- Emond Field kids -> Hobbits
- Moiraine -> Gandalf
- Lan -> Aragorn
- Thom -> Okay, LoTR didn’t have a bard, but he does take the role of sacrificing himself while the kids run
There’s even a location called the Mountains of Dhoom, which is a riduclous name!
But that’s fine. I remember back when I read this series the first time I didn’t have much patience for Jordan’s prose where he describes everything in so many words including the food being eaten, the clothes worn, the crowds, the buildings and so on; I was always hungry for the plot so I tended to skim a lot of the background noise. This time I made more of an effort to appreciate the prose and the settings, since I already knew most of the plot. It is not as boring as I feared it would be, and perhaps my imagination is more enriched because of it. The characters certainly look a bit different in my head now than they did before.
Still, the book does take its time. After Shadar Logoth, the party gets split up and it takes them forever to be reunited. It isn’t until 85% through the book that everyone gets back together and Moiraine concludes that they have to go visit the titular Eye of the World.
The Nynaeve and Lan relationship wasn’t built up very well either I think. It seems they just were suddenly affectionate near the end, after barely anything more than longing looks and barely any conversations for most of the book. Also, I’m looking forward to the WoT TV series if only to learn how to properly pronounce “Nynaeve”.
The book ends with a victory for the good guys. Not THE victory, as some of them think, but it is a victory. But it is also a strange place, as Rand discovers what he can do and decides to leave the group for a while. The next book takes them to Ilian for the Great Hunt I believe, and I seem to recall that it may be a long time before the Emond Fielders are together in the same place again. Onwards!