The Eye of the World Read Along Part VIII

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eyeoftheworldbannerWell folks, we have reached the end of the Book 1 of the The Wheel of Time. Are there a few sniffles? Or simply cheers that we will be jumping into the second book? See Posted Schedule for The Great Hunt HERE. This week, Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so please stop by her place and leave your link. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone’s final thoughts on the book are.

1. Oo la la, Nynaeve and Lan are finally confirming there is something going on between them, and of course Rand has to creepily eavesdrop…. What do you think of this brewing star-crossed love?
Hopefully kisses and PG-13 rated or higher love scenes 😉 But, realistically, I think this will be a long-drawn out, dramatic affair before we even get to the first kiss. sigh….I have needs…and those needs will have to be filled by a different book…or The Tudors Showtime series.
Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

2. Wow, the Blight is a scary place, but what did you think was the creepiest critter/thing that the team encountered or fortunately didn’t encounter?

I LOVED the Blight – because I am a biologist and this place was totally creeptastic. My degree is actually in Environmental Biology, which means I spent lots of time studying industrial waste dumps, toxicology, and ecology. So, of course I have all sorts of theories about how the Blight came to be, none of them based on fact. I wanted to ride along with the time in a full-face respirator, with heavy duty vinyl gloves and several collection jars. Didn’t you?
I appreciated how everything was deadly or detrimental to humans in some way, especially the plant life. And I spent several long minutes thinking on what it would take to bring the Blight back to healthy. Time, of course. But also there are several mosses and fungi that are capable of absorbing and/or breaking down toxic metals, so we definitely need to get those going first. Probably some hardcore bacteria, like the kind we find at Chernobyl and in large ocean oil spills. Yep, I have already made a to-go list.
Of course, The Green Man man just simply fix it with a twiggy wave.
3. We got to meet the Green Man! We discussed last week what everyone thought he would look like, how did he measure up to your expectations? What did you think of his head scar?
I thought he was a little more nebulous than I wanted – I mean we only got to see him for a short time and there are still many questions about him. He kicked some ass there at the end, good for him. I would like to know why he is set up in the Blight… and I know Moiraine talked about how he responds to great need, and Moiraine & crew had that great need in the Blight, but is that all? And how did the Green Man detox his little sphere of the Blight anyway? Biologist minds want to know.
As to the scar, nature is incredibly resilient, so the initial injury would have to be mighty to have left such a scar, especially with time. I am thinking lightning was involved.
4. The epic battle ended up being mostly in the dream realm apparently, what did you think of Rand’s various battles?
I am split on this. I wanted more definition in the final battle scenes of the book, so taking it to the dream realm didn’t really work for me. On the other hand, Rand’s interactions with the Dark One has been in the dream realm all book long, so it makes sense to tie that in here at the end. It probably also points to the Dark One still being trapped in some sense.
5. Congratulations everyone, we finished! What did you think overall? If this was a re-read for you, how was the second time around? Are you planning to read book two (with or without us, no pressure, hehe)?
Thank you everyone who played along, either blogging or just stopping in and commenting. This whole read along has made this book fun for me. I read it when I was 18/19 and was taken aback at all the Tolkien….well, more than references. Is scene stealing too strong? Anyway, I was a know-it-all back then. Now, at 34, having read so much in between those years, I can see how parts of this book are more of an homage to Tolkien. I truly enjoyed the characters and the additional world building Robert Jordan accomplished. I definitely plan to read Book 2, and I hope folks will be joining us for the read along.

14 thoughts on “The Eye of the World Read Along Part VIII”

  1. Thanks for your blogging. It’s so refreshing to read from the point of view of a first-time reader. It hardly ever happens any more in this series.

    Anyway, as far as four goes. I think Robert Jordan didn’t have the full scope of the series in mind when he wrote the first two-three books, which is why the endings are somewhat vague and left open to interpretation. I think he did this so that the work could stand on its own if he couldn’t publish more books. You should be prepared for a few more endings like this before the series really becomes the Wheel of Time proper.

    Though I should say, some of them are stupendous, even if vague. 🙂

    I have another question I’d like to add. Any theories on the identity of the caps-lock voice? (I WILL TAKE NO PART. ONLY THE CHOSEN ONE CAN DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, IF HE WILL.)

    1. We’ve enjoyed having you by. Hope to see your continued comments on The Great Hunt.
      I see what you mean about leaving the endings vague in case he didn’t get the lengthy book deal.
      As for the CAPS, I would say that if there is a Dark One, there must be a Light One, and perhaps the CAPS denotes a higher power of this order.

      1. I assumed that the caps voice is Lews Therin Telamon / the Dragon, as Rand is supposed to be the Dragon Reborn. However, I am a little concerned about Rand talking to himself.

  2. I think you’re right about the long, drawn-out romance of Nynaeve and Lan. Their first kiss is fantastic (I was laughing hysterically) but I don’t think it comes until book…4? 3? Can’t remember exactly, but it’s awhile. I enjoyed all your biology geek-outs! Never thought of the Blight that way before. Elvind’s question about the DO’s voice made me think of a joke I once heard. There’s TONS of fan stuff about WoT, including–wait for it–Top Ten lists. There’s a whole series TT reasons it sucks to be certain characters (i.e. Top Ten Reasons it Sucks to be Rand, etc.) And yes, one is Top Ten Reasons it Sucks to be the Dark One. One of the reasons (I don’t remember which number) is BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MODERATE THE VOLUME OF YOUR VOICE. It always made me laugh.

    1. Haha! That is funny about the Top Ten.
      I will be looking forward to the Lan-Nynaeve romance blossoming further, and providing entertainment for me.
      It’s been great to have you on the Read along. I hope you plan to join us for The Great Hunt.

  3. hey, look – I caught up by the end! So, to answer the questions first:

    1- the romance: kind of came out of nowhere for me; makes a little sense, I guess, but I didn’t get much of a sense of it building. Not exactly like the end of “Better of Dead” with they whole “Hey, Cookie, let’s stop playing all these games” out of nowhere, but if the signals were there early on, I missed ’em.

    2- the Blight: the process of the party entering the Blight was nicely foreboding – I could easily imagine and experience the slow encroachment of decay and disease as they wandered further and further in. It served as an effective indicator of their approach toward the darkness (I guess that’s what you’d call it). I kind of wanted a specific encounter with the poisonous stick insect thing; the scariest bits aren’t the big monstrous creatures, but the tiny, seemingly insignificant ones whose deadliness isn’t readily apparent.

    3 – The Green Man – I liked him. Rather a Tolkienesque inclusion (more on that later), but definitely an interesting character, and certainly more interesting than the accursed Bombadil.

    4. – The Boss Fight – cinematic, and flashy, but otherwise kind of anti-climactic. It didn’t feel earned to me – Rand just sort of turned on the “chosen one” switch and went to business. Hoping this aspect gets better in volumes 2-14.

    5. – Reaction – first time reader here. I liked it, though as mentioned in the original post, it felt awfully Tolkien-ey to me; which is not a problem, per se, but the parallels were a little on the nose. In my head, Lan was played by Viggo Mortensen, and I kept waiting for a fourth Two Rivers boy to come along to call Sam. At least, so far, there wasn’t a “One Ring” analogue, though there are several objects (the sword, the dagger, the horn, the harp, the seal, etc) that could fit the bill down the road.

    That said, I understand that Tolkien invented modern fantasy, and everything that’s come since takes its cues from him – this series appears to be greater than the dreaded “Extruded Fantasy Product” – at the very least, it’s an excellent example thereof. I think it’s going to amount to a bit more, though – I definitely plan on continuing; in fact, I’m already a couple of chapters into “The Great Hunt”. I want to see where many of these characters go, and I feel a big Thom-shaped hole in the closing of this first installment – I want to hear more from the Gleeman, or at least find out what happened to him (since no one else figures he’s dead). Also, Perrin and the wolves intrigue me – I want to see what grows from those planted seeds.

    So, in closing – happy to be caught up, finally. Looking forward to trekking along with the rest of you as this adventure continues!

    1. Chuck! I am so glad to have you stop by! Hurray!
      Yes, i too felt the smallest creatures in the Blight were most likely the deadliest. In truth, the Evil Biologist in me kind of hoped that the crew would have drug a minor character (think Red Shirt) into the Blight just so I could observe some horrible death brought on by a Blight Creature.
      Ah! I am soooo glad I am not the only one who has found Bombadil boring all these years. I know, there are some Tolkien fans out there hissing at me right now, and that is OK. I still love Tolkien, in a totally platonic, if not Bonbadilic, way.
      I too kind felt that Rand had not earned the glory of the Win. I can only say the Dark One was underprepared and over confident and Rand one by luck.
      I’m so glad you will be joining us on The Great Hunt.

    2. 2. You are right about the tiny insects . . . I live in Maine and the black flies here are enough to drive anyone insane, and they aren’t even the work of the Dark One! 😀

      I think one of the reasons why Fantasy often feels like it has stolen from Tolkien is that he made use of many of the tropes from traditional stories and mythology. When these archetypes are then used by later authors we always assume that he created them.

      1. True about Tolkien and him using mythology, etc. I listened to this whole lecture series (wish I could find it) from iTunes on fantasy literature. It was fascinating. Gandalf actually means ‘Elf with stick’. Tolkien filled his world with fun language twists like this.

  4. Thank you so much for organizing this RAL: it has been great fun! 🙂

    1. Yuck! No kissy faces if we can help it, thank you! 😀

    2. Yep: I was wondering about their poor horses and how they would be left with only stumps for legs after stepping on / in all that corrosive nastiness!

    3. I also want to know more about the Green Man – and I hope that we discover what caused the scar.

    4. Good point about the use of the dream state because the Dark One and the Forsaken are trapped somehow. it makes sense that this is the only way that they can interact with the real world.

    1. Somebody has to do research in this world. Perhaps once we get to Tar Valon we will run into a biologist who has been cooped up in a tower too long and wants details of the Blight, as it is her biggest fantasy to go collect such nasties.

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