Wheel of Time Conclusion: By Brandon Sanderson in Memory of Light
I initially came across Wheel of Time because I was looking for shounen, or youth, fiction/fantasy to busy my time with. The first 1-5 books seemed like a very good action packed adventure that told the epic heroic story of a protagonist battling greater and greater foes in pursuit of some long term goal. Then book 6-9 felt like the most interesting parts were about the protagonist and yet the protagonist was only suffering, not going anywhere. I felt increasingly the need to skip all other sections of the book that had no relationship to the protagonist, and that was more than 50% of the book in itself. It got a little bit too melodramatic and turned into a soap opera, which was an entirely different genre from shounen action. The American market doesn’t have genre names for such conventions which is probably why labeling Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series was so hard for fans who started becoming disillusioned. It was fantasy, but that label had no meaning when it came to the shift that happened in the series. Because what readers were promised at the start isn’t what they got from the last half of the series… until Brandon Sanderson was selected by Jordan’s widow (and editor) to be Jordan’s estate inheritor: Sanderson inherited the authority to conclude the story that Jordan died before finishing.
Sanderson brought his own unique talents and vitality to the series, making it much more enjoyable. Of course I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s books by themselves because I believe he is a very original thinker and creator of magical universes. But even still, I was so soured by the negative outcome of the WoT series so that, that I hesitated for several years before flipping through audiobook (public source) chapters and realized that Brandon Sanderson made things more interesting. All the annoying things were still annoying but because they didn’t take up 50% of the book, it was easy to skip them or not think about them. And all the interesting things that I wanted to happen, started happening. People often say that Robert Jordan had it all planned out in his mind, that every little detail would lead up to a final conclusion, and that was true. For a trilogy or 6 book series. But this wasn’t a six book series. People got greedy and extended the contract for more books. Ridiculous, really. That’s not how it should be in done. In Japan, they don’t “extend” the series by making the authors write “filler” in between books or chapters of an original story. They hire “other people” to write in “filler fan fictions” and let the author stay true to his created vision. If there is something the fans want more, they can buy it as an additional “fan disc” or “side story”. This American book publishing concept of extending a popular fantasy series from 3 books to 12 books or 6 books to 15 books, is pretty stupid. There’s a reason why editors told authors in the past to “cut down on the number of words in each book”. Because too many words interrupted the flow and got things tangled up. That applies to a single book. What happens when you tell a writer to “embelish” and write 6 more books than he planned, all the time the ending kept getting delayed until the 12, then 15th book came out? It would be a hell of “are we there yet” comments as fans had to wait years for the ending they were promised, but were never delivered. It’s like you’re loaning the book publishers money without them having to pay you a cent in interest for TEN YEARS.