I re-read Eye of the World, the first book in the Wheel of Time series, while I was away and had a couple of revelations…
First of all, I first read this book when I was about 13. The Eye of the World was published the year after I was born and I have been reading this series for an entire decade.
Also, it was really interesting to read it again now that I know (most of) what happens in the end. For example, certain characters which become major later but begin as relatively minor, are introduced very early on. Earlier than I realised. You can see the sparks flying between characters who will later get together as well – one couple declare their love for each other quite shortly after first meeting, and having hardly spent anytime talking together.
It’s still difficult to keep all the characters straight in your head. We are introduced to a lot, and you have to try and guess who will become important and who is secondary, or wear yourself out concentrating on every new person.
The main characters do seem significantly younger in this first book – although several of the heroes do not change much in the way of personality, they are very naive about the world and their place in it. I think Jordan does a very good job of writing from the viewpoint of people struggling to expand their viewpoints to match a much larger reality.
It’s strange which parts have stuck in my head, which have moved around in the order I thought they were set out, and those I have completely forgotten. Some are the cliches which Jordan can be mocked for – the constant habit of all the three boys at the center of the story to believe their friends are more confident and adept with girls, for example. Certain characteristics are also hammered home time and again; Perrin’s slow manner, and Nynaeve’s tugging of her braid (at some points in the series this quirk is present every time she is present).
Reading Eye of the World again was like revisiting old friends, the way you used to know them. Despite everything I know that has happened since, it was lovely to see the people they were, before being swept up in a grand adventure.