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"Perrin" by Raymond Swanland. Cover art for "The Towers of Midnight" - in the ebook version of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Words cannot express how much I love the Wheel of Time. In my opinion, it is better even than any of Tolkein’s books, epic as they are, for several reasons. The first is the scale of the quest. This is no simple quest to destroy a Ring of Power. That quest was accompished twice over in the first two books. Nor does it follow a simple "hero’s journey" trope, where at the end Rand will defeat the Dark One once and for all, and everyone will live happily ever after. "There are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time". Evil and the Light will remain locked in constant conflict for as long as Time endures, for that is the nature of life itself. Furthermore, the story does not simply deal with Rand’s journey and development, or even confine itself to the "Fellowship" of Rand, Mat, Perrin, Moiraine, Egwene, Lan, Nynaeve and Loial established in the "Eye of the World". Rather, as the series progresses, further depths and facets of the story are revealed through other characters; some secondary, others merely random threads warping around the ta’veren at the centre of the tale, Jordan’s clever way of showing how all human life is affected by the epic lives of earth-shakers. How many times does Tolkein explore the mind of the innkeeper at the Prancing Pony? Furthermore,  I love Jordan’s comprehensive world, which deals even-handed portions of story-time to men and women, as well as different races and sexualities, without bias. And his characters!  Compare his characters with Tolkein’s! Where would you find, in the Lord of the Rings, a female character such as Nynaeve (my personal favourite), Egwene, Aviendha or Siuan, who can be so wonderfully powerful, so delightfully flawed, yet completely sympathetic? Certainly, Eowyn is a wonderful character, yet we as readers never get a glimpse into her mind - the motivations and the contradictions that render a character more than a figure from legend - but human…
Yet for all its marvellous complexity, the Wheel of Time has never attracted the same attention from artists and illustrators as The Lord of the Rings. Where is the John Howe, the Alan Lee, the Donato Giancola for this series? This artwork is marvellous, but it is just a start. Who will visually define the world of the Wheel of Time? Personally, I am determined to set my mark upon it - once I have gained some more maturity, practice and experience… After all, I only turned eighteen today.

"Perrin" by Raymond Swanland. Cover art for "The Towers of Midnight" - in the ebook version of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Words cannot express how much I love the Wheel of Time. In my opinion, it is better even than any of Tolkein’s books, epic as they are, for several reasons. The first is the scale of the quest. This is no simple quest to destroy a Ring of Power. That quest was accompished twice over in the first two books. Nor does it follow a simple "hero’s journey" trope, where at the end Rand will defeat the Dark One once and for all, and everyone will live happily ever after. "There are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time". Evil and the Light will remain locked in constant conflict for as long as Time endures, for that is the nature of life itself. Furthermore, the story does not simply deal with Rand’s journey and development, or even confine itself to the "Fellowship" of Rand, Mat, Perrin, Moiraine, Egwene, Lan, Nynaeve and Loial established in the "Eye of the World". Rather, as the series progresses, further depths and facets of the story are revealed through other characters; some secondary, others merely random threads warping around the ta’veren at the centre of the tale, Jordan’s clever way of showing how all human life is affected by the epic lives of earth-shakers. How many times does Tolkein explore the mind of the innkeeper at the Prancing Pony? Furthermore,  I love Jordan’s comprehensive world, which deals even-handed portions of story-time to men and women, as well as different races and sexualities, without bias. And his characters!  Compare his characters with Tolkein’s! Where would you find, in the Lord of the Rings, a female character such as Nynaeve (my personal favourite), Egwene, Aviendha or Siuan, who can be so wonderfully powerful, so delightfully flawed, yet completely sympathetic? Certainly, Eowyn is a wonderful character, yet we as readers never get a glimpse into her mind - the motivations and the contradictions that render a character more than a figure from legend - but human…

Yet for all its marvellous complexity, the Wheel of Time has never attracted the same attention from artists and illustrators as The Lord of the Rings. Where is the John Howe, the Alan Lee, the Donato Giancola for this series? This artwork is marvellous, but it is just a start. Who will visually define the world of the Wheel of Time? Personally, I am determined to set my mark upon it - once I have gained some more maturity, practice and experience… After all, I only turned eighteen today.