Book Review, Miscellaneous

Wheel Of Time

One of the downsides of being an engineering student is having entirely too much time on your hands.

When one has four assignments and three pre labs due within the next two days and an entire unit of electromagnetism which is more or less a complete mystery, there is nothing half as soothing as an hour or six of pleasant escapism, to fuss over somebody else’s apocalypse or ponder the complex geopolitical issues of an entirely made up world.

Unfortunately, man is a social animal, especially in our vices. It is a miserable thing to map out the physics of an imaginary magic system alone, and too few engineers heed the voice within their souls that urges them to attain enlightenment through cultured procrastination. There is no sense in scrolling through reddit for four and a half hours when one might easily waste six or seven exercising one’s faculties and contorting one’s bowels in rage over the goings-on of a fictional character.

For too long, mine was a voice in the wilderness, crying into the void, “Read Wheel of Time!”

Occasionally, the void would cry back, “Shut up, Janny!” or “Have you looked at the quantum assignment at all?”

The majority of the excuses are thoroughly unconvincing. To be sure, Wheel of Time is fourteen books long, of which about a fifth reads as a pseudo- Georgian women’s clothing catalogue, and I cannot deny that it possesses at least three subplots which exist only to tax the reader’s mental health. However, it is also an absolutely masterful work in terms of worldbuilding and character development, a modern day epic that marked the shift away from endless Tolkien knock offs and paved the way for A Song of Ice and Fire.

It must be conceded that three million and three hundred thousand words of interminable prose may be too bulky a commitment to squeeze into one’s schedule, supposing one were not really committed to the art of escapism; but, happily, a new way to procrastinate is on the horizon, as Amazon Studios announced a Wheel of Time television adaptation in early October.

This is the perfect alternative for those who still entertain a vague hope of studying some time before the night is done, as the less well-received subplots will be left on the cutting room floor, and the visual medium will serve to make palatable the intricacies of silken dresses with split skirts and delicate golden embroidery depicting the roses and lilies of Andor.

The story is set some three thousand years after the apocalypse. The Dragon sealed away their equivalent of the devil and in doing so accidentally tainted the male source of magic, called saidin. Accordingly, all male channelers are doomed to go insane, while the female channelers, the Aes Sedai, have gathered in a literal ivory tower, guarding the world against the return of the Dark One and being insufferably annoying in the process.

Moiraine, one of the few Aes Sedai without several forests’ worth of wooden wands embedded in her rectum, searches the world for the reincarnation of the Dragon, foretold either to bring the world to its salvation or its destruction. Eventually, she settles upon one of three boys from an obscure farming village called Two Rivers; unable to narrow it down further, she quasi-abducts all three and takes them on a magical journey to Tar Valon, the seat of Aes Sedai power. What begins as an archetypal farmboy-goes-on-an-adventure story swiftly spirals out of control as the boys’ rebel against Moiraine’s guidance, and becomes a tale of madness, ambition and salvation.

There is also has a lot of spanking and female nudity, for the less artistically inclined.

The new Wheel of Time adaptation may well become the next Game of Thrones; it possesses in fair proportion everything the latter does, with the added benefit of being an adaptation of a series that is actually completed.


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