Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
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The Eye of the World is the first entry of fourteen books, and a prequel, that The Wheel of Time has in the series. The book narrates in third person the story of a young man called Rand al’Thor and his friends.
The book presents itself with a lot of descriptions, a world building that I personally find fascinating. It is one of those books that, even though takes a lot of time before any action, it is enjoyable. Robert Jordan indeed took a lot of inspiration from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps A LOT.
This first entry has a lot of fantasy tropes, more specifically from Tolkien, which could be considered as an unoriginal story; from the start we meet Rand al’Thor as the normal young man that does not show anything out of the ordinary. Then there is this woman named Moiraine, known as something called the Aes Sedai, or the female Gandalf as some of the comments out there said. Also, we have her guardian, and the two Rand’s friends that join him on his adventure.
No one can deny that there are so many similarities between Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Jordan’s The Eye of the World. The inspiration and the tropes are there. However, does this make it a bad book or a carbon copy of Tolkien’s work. I say no. The situations and tropes are there, both the characters in both series are so different among themselves that make Rand’s gang unique. Yes, at the beginning we have the “hero’s journey” with the protagonist that seems like any other person and ends up being something else. But our protagonist, his friends, the Aes Sedai (basically powerful sorceress in the story), the guardian, and other characters, are very interesting. I feel that every step they take; every town they visit, every character they met, have something substantial to add to the story and they’re not only there to be a burden or a “filler” to force us to believe the world is alive. No, the world feels very alive.
“As the Wheel of Time turns,” Moiraine said, half to herself and with a distant look in her eyes, “places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces, but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves, or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.”
One of the things that interests me the most about the series is the symbol, a snake eating its own tail, and as the story goes there are many hints that the world has been through many cycles, with different names, and different forms. This, among other words within the book, make of The Eye of the World… no, The Wheel of Time as a series, one of the most impressive world buildings I’ve read in fantasy literature. The rhythm could be a little slow at the start, but as you go through the pages the gears will move faster.
This is the first book of fourteen, as I’ve mentioned above, so I guess I don’t need to say that the conclusion of The Eye of the World is the start of a long journey for our protagonists. The Aes Sedai, just as Gandalf, leaves a lot of mystery for the main characters to solve.
Do not let the similarities get you, though. The Eye of the World, with its obvious inspirations, is different enough to help you enjoy the book. The character and world building is so good you just want to know more about the world itself, and I am sure we’ll know a lot more on the following entries.