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PostSubject: What is the Wheel of Time?   Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:27 am

The Wheel of Time™ Series

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of time.
But it was a beginning."


With this phrase, millions of readers have entered a world strikingly real, rich in detail and complexity—the world of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. A world of kings, queens, and Aes Sedai—women who can tap the True Source and wield the One Power, which turns the Wheel and drives the universe: a world where the war between Light and Shadow is fought every day.

At the moment of Creation, the Creator bound the Dark One away from the world of humankind, but more than three thousand years ago, Aes Sedai, then both men and women, unknowingly bored into that prison outside of time. The Dark One was able to touch the world only lightly before the hole was soon sealed over. But the Dark One's taint settled on saidin, the male half of the Power, and every male Aes Sedai went mad. In the Breaking of the World they destroyed civilization and changed the very face of the earth, sinking mountains beneath the sea and bringing new seas where land had been.

Now only women bear the title Aes Sedai. Commanded by their Amyrlin Seat and divided into seven Ajahs named by color, they rule the great island city of Tar Valon, where their White Tower stands, and are bound by the Three Oaths, fixed into their bones with saidar, the female half of the Power: To speak no word that is not true, to make no weapon for one man to kill another, and never to use the One Power against another except as a weapon against Shadowspawn or, in the last extreme, of defending her own life or that of her Warder or another sister.

Men still are born who can learn to channel the Power, or worse, who will channel one day whether they try to or not. Doomed to madness, destruction, and death by the taint of the saidin, they are hunted down by the Aes Sedai and gentled, cut off forever from the Power for the safety of the world. No man goes to this willingly. Even if they survive the hunt, they seldom survive long after gentling.

For more than three thousand years, while empires rose and fell, nothing has been so feared as a man who can channel. But for all those three thousand years there have been the Prophecies of the Dragon, that the seal of the Dark One's prison will weaken and he will touch the world once more, and the Dragon, who sealed up that hole, will be Reborn to face the Dark One again. A child, born in sight of Tar Valon on the slopes of Dragonmount, will grow up to be the Dragon Reborn, the only hope of humanity in the Last Battle.

A world of kings and queens, nations and wars, where the White Tower rules only Tar Valon but even kings and queens are wary of Aes Sedai machinations. A world where the Shadow and the Prophecies loom together.

This is the world Robert Jordan invites all to enter. This is the world of The Wheel of Time.
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PostSubject: THE PREMISE   Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:58 pm

In the beginning, the Creator made the Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the True Source from which the One Power, a source of energy, is drawn. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel; those who can use this power are known as channelers. One organization of such channelers is The White Tower, made up of agents called Aes Sedai, a name meaning "Servants of All" in the Old Tongue.

The Creator imprisoned Shai'tan, known as the Dark One, a powerful, evil being, at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the age of legends the Dark One was given purchase in the world through the machinations of people who opened his prison, and began his efforts to conquer the world, creation, and even the Wheel itself. In response to this, the Wheel spun out the Dragon, a channeler of immense power, to be a champion for the Light. Due to the cyclical nature of the Wheel, there has been no definitive victory for the forces of the Light; the war has been fought innumerable times since the dawn of Creation. The Dragon would defeat Shai'tan and seal him from the Wheel, only to have him break out (or be released) several millennia later, forcing the Dragon to be reborn and repeat the entire process.

Jordan's novels concern themselves with one particular incarnation of the Dragon. About 3000 years have passed since the last war between Shadow and Light. This war ended when the Dragon, then born as Lews Therin Telamon, led a daring raid to Shayol Ghul and sealed the breach in the Dark One's prison with the help of a group of other male channelers known as the Hundred Companions (female channelers, due to recent gender politics and the extreme risk of the strike, refused to assist). Though Lews Therin succeeded, the Dark One managed to spread a taint on saidin itself, bringing madness and a wasting sickness to any who channeled it. The taint quickly overcame nearly every male channeler in the world, including Lews Therin and his companions, with catastrophic results that radically changed the face of the earth. From then onwards, Lews Therin was also called the "Kinslayer", as one of the last results of his madness was to destroy everyone who carried his blood as well as everyone he loved.

For these reasons, the return of the Dragon is a cause for both hope and fear amongst the populace. On the one hand, the Dragon Reborn is the only person capable of defeating Shai'tan, who will inevitably begin to escape his prison. On the other, the Dragon Reborn will still be prey to the madness caused by the taint of evil in saidin, and is a harbinger of the horrifying fact that Shai'tan is once more breaking free. The only man who can save the world is also the man most likely to destroy it. He must not only work to unite the civilized world against the Dark One, but struggle to stay alive—for, while prophecy indicates he will be reborn, it says nothing as to whether he will succeed...

Eternity or infinity motif

Jordan's Wheel of Time concept and art, while fictional, recalls common circular motifs from world religions and folklore. Buddhism has the Wheel of Rebirth, Hinduism the Wheel of Law. Taoism and other major and minor religions make use of the wheel symbol, in the round or twisted, to symbolize eternity. The snake or dragon swallowing its tail is found in folklore as a hoop snake and in fiction and elsewhere as an oroborus. The symbol for the One Power is similar to the taijitu, a Taoist icon representing the harmony of opposites.
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