I suppose I should be working, but I just can’t not write this.
I’m excited to the point of nausea at the prospect of going to see my favorite fiction characters come to life on the big screen tonight. I’m bursting with an excitement that has been building for twenty years, and ever more actively since Rafe Judkins announced he would be rolling out the Wheel of Time a few years ago.
The Wheel of Time means more to me than any other work of fiction. I love Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Pokemon and Game of Thrones had their time in the sun. Even the Witcher is great. Nothing means the same to me as Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.
I picked up the Wheel of Time for the first time in 7th grade, at a book swap. A friend had donated From the Two Rivers, the first half of the first book, and once I started it I never looked back. Since that faithful day in 2002 (maybe 2003?) those characters have been some of my closest friends. Now, that sounds sad, but it explains why these books are so special to me.
In middle school and high school, I kind of sucked. I was socially anxious, self-righteous and had absolutely zero self-esteem. It makes for someone who is really fun to be around. I had shitty friends that treated me poorly, I played on sports teams and didn’t fit in with my teammates, and wore it as some sort of badge of self-hating honor.
Friday nights in Middle School and High School weren’t filled with sneaking out for me. They were full of reading and re-reading the stories about Rand al’Thor, Perrin Aybara, Mat Cauthon, Egwene al’Vere and Nynaeve al’Meara. The Emond’s Field Five provided the friends that I needed and a seemingly endless world of characters and cultures to dig into. They were always there when I didn’t get invited to things.
I dreamed of being able to channel the One Power, insanity be damned. I wanted to fight Trollocs and Seanchan, to travel Tel’Aran’Rhiod and the Ways.
I have vivid memories of playing text based flash games at the Bainbridge Island Kitsap County Library after school, waiting to be picked up from lacrosse practice. At some point, I interacted more with people on the Dragonmount forums than I did at school. I remember dreamed together with them about what it would be like to see our favorite work of fiction brought to life on the screen.
Wheel of Time inspired me to dream up my own works. I’ve been writing since I was little, probably thanks to my dad pulling me close and reading me The Hobbit when I was five years old. Ever since, I’ve wanted to make my own dragons and magic and stories, and I have. Whenever I am published, I hope the reviewers says ‘feels like Wheel of Time’ because that’s what I am going for. I want to create for others what Wheel of Time was for me. A deep, endless world to discover and grow close with. A way to escape daily troubles with characters that feel like your friends.
For a long time I was scared about seeing Wheel of Time on the big screen. Some show runner is going to change the story – how can 14 books be shown in movies or TV?- and it would ruin my mental image of my childhood friends. I’m not worried about that any more. I know that it will be different. Caemlyn won’t show up this season, medium-importance characters will be gone, even some important characters will be very different. That’s OK though. The show will be what it is, and that can’t change the experiences I have with the books and how special they are to me.
Hoo boy. I am excited, but I am also not ready for other people to want to talk about this with me. This show, good or bad, will bring a massive amount of attention to Robert Jordan’s life’s work, and to me it stands alone. It isn’t good or bad, it just is. I just need to mentally prepare to explain what saidin and saidar are, and what the hell an Aes Sedai is.