By Chet Yarbrough
The Eye of the World (Book 1)
By: Robert Jordan
Narrated by Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
James Oliver Rigney Jr. aka Robert Jordan (1948-2007–American Author, Born in Charleston, South Carolina)
Robert Jordan explains “The Eye of the World” is about myth. He recreates a cast of characters that brings tales of the past into a “wheel of time”. Jordan draws on myths told and retold to glean a perception of world history before history became an academic discipline. He suggests there is an element of truth in all myths, though retelling changes their truth.
Jordan creates an integrated mythology made up of 14 books and a prequel novel. The renown science fiction writer, Brandon Sanderson, finishes the series upon Jordan’s death.
Jordan’s underlying theme is wrapped in the “wheel of time”. The idea comes from India in a philosophy alluded to in Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. He argues history continually repeats itself in changing ages. This “wheel of time” gets its energy from conflict between good and evil. As a circle, it has no beginning and no end.
“The Eye of the World” is the first book in Jordan’s 14 book series. It begins in a rural setting and introduces the theme of conflict between good and evil. Though Jordan might be offended by the comparison, it is reminiscent of “Lord of the Rings” with the added dimension of a “wheel of time” that never stops turning.
The main characters are Rand, Mat, Egwene, and Nynaeve with an introduction of Moraine, Mandrogoran, and Thom. They represent forces of good. Evil is in a caste of characters led by the “Dark One”. Though there is a clear line between heroic and nefarious characters, the good are tainted by evil and mystery.
From an attack on Rand’s hometown, a long voyage of self-discovery begins for Rand, Mat, Egwene, and Nynaeve. In their journey, Jordan shows there is good and evil in the best of us.
Humans are layered with beliefs and circumstances that proffer choice. At different times and different circumstances, we choose the good and sometimes the bad. Jordan infers no one is exempt from evil.
Jordan implies the energy of life comes from conflict between good and evil.
The wheel turns as the wheel wills. It turns in a pattern that repeats itself in good’ and evil’ conflict within and between us, our cultures, nations, and galaxies. It is the wheel of time. In never stops turning. Presuming time is a fundamental quantity, the wheel will always exist.
Jordan’s story begins somewhat ponderously but gains momentum and interest that will lead some to read more of “The Wheel of Time” series. For others, “The Eye of the World” satisfies one’s curiosity about Jordan’s popularity.