Obituary: Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan, one of the finest authors I've had the pleasure of reading, passed away yesterday afternoon. He was suffering from cardiac amyloidosis.

I've been following his series, The Wheel of Time (WoT) for exactly ten years this year. WoT was the second fantasy series I'd read, ever, right after Tolkien's LOTR which I'd read in the summer of '94. At that time, I didn't even know that a genre called fantasy existed - LOTR was my world and I used to read it once every year during my summer holidays (I was in class 6 in '94). Sometime in September or October of '97 I happened to mention that I liked Tolkien to Rishidev, a senior of mine, during a Rotary Club quiz contest of all things. He suggested I take a look at WoT and offered to lend the books to me. At that time only books one to seven were out and I worked my way through them over the next three months. I used to read in the morning before class, during the snack break, during the lunch break and into the night. I still have fond memories of those days... it was all so new and exiting and I never wanted it to end. I haven't read a single fantasy series since then - and I've read many - which raised the same level of anticipation. I used to try to read slowly to make it last, while at the same time desperately wanting to know what happens next - on the next page, the next chapter and then the next book.

Jordan's work had all the hallmarks of the finest fantasy. He crafted a complete, consistent world, with a detailed geography and history as well as equally detailed political, economic and social landscape. It was this consistency that was his hallmark, so much so you could use the information he provided as part of the story to try to theorise and extrapolate. His characters are the finest I've ever come across and his ability to give them depth is unparalleled, except (as my colleague Vishnu pointed out) perhaps for G. R. R. Martin. WoT is also famous for being a repository for a huge number of quotes.

Jordan was half-way trough writing 'A Memory of Light,' the twelfth and final book in the WoT series, when he passed on.

You can never know everything, and part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyways.
-Lan Mandragoran

I'm not Aiel, Lord Barthanes, and I'm not of the royal line, either.
-Rand al'Thor (This one's a bit of an inside joke)

Dovie'andi se tovya sagain. (It's time to toss the dice.)
-Mat Cauthon, before fighting the Shaido

Kneel and swear to the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt.
-Mazrim Taim, from the end of Book 6, one of my personal favourites.

And the most famous one:

Read and find out.
-Robert Jordan, in response to any question.
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