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I was first introduced to Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series in 1994, just before the release of the 6th book, “Lord of Chaos”.  At the time, the books had been getting released every fall, and we (meaning fans of the series) knew that then end was close – there could only be two, or possibly as many as four more books remaining.  The series would be complete before the end of the decade.

And then a funny thing happened.  The next book wasn’t released in the fall of 1995, but in the following spring.  And by then end of that book, we didn’t seem substantially closer to Tarmon Gai’don (the Last Battle).   This must be a breather before the rush to the end, right?  And RJ had been writing at breakneck speed for years at that point.  The delayed publication must, too,  just be a long needed rest, so that he could write his best for the final few books.

But the book releases  came farther and farther apart.  Years passed we saw the eighth book released, then the tenth, without the end being in sight.  And then the worst blow came following the release of book 11 “Knife of Dreams”  RJ was extremely ill.  He told us that the next book would be the last, and that he intended to complete it before he passed.  But alas, in the fall of 2007, his time came without having completed the final installment. (As a side note, that year was a tough one on my literary inspiration: Madeleine L’Engle had passed away just 10 days before RJ).

Brandon Sanderson was eventually asked to complete the series, but it quickly became clear that he, at least, would be unable to pull everything together in one book.  He proposed 3, one to be released in the fall of each year starting in 2009.  As the new final installment neared, Sanderson announced that its release would be delayed into 2012, though only (he had hoped) to March.  It seems unlikely that we’ll hit that, as his website doesn’t yet list the draft as complete.  It is perhaps pessimistic, but I suspect that he has realized that he will still need more than this 14th installment to adequately complete the series.

Though I doubt he’ll ever see this blog, let me say – Brandon, it finally looks like the end is near, so if you need another couple of books (although I may grumble a bit), I understand.  I long ago decided not to expect the final book until it is in my hands.  After all, I’ve already been reading the series for better than half my life.

And as we all know “there are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time”.

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