The biggest problems with Jordan's books...and why he's a weak writer.

krm27

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
2
#1
wheel-of-time.jpg


1. 90% of the social dynamic is based on a very simplistic "battle of the sexes" mentality that is just very repetitive and 2 dimensional. I'm not sure any female characters have ever had a conversation in any of the books where they did not include a line like, "Men! Just children with hair on their chest, really, how do we put up with them!" Or some other completely over the top male-bashing. I'd say this infects 90% of male-female interactions, 90% of all female characters thoughts & words, and 50% of the male characters thoughts and words. I mean, yes, this exists to some extent, but is it not the ONLY source of interpersonal conflict, as Jordan seems to think. I'm on Book 4 and the absurd, repetitive gender-bashing comments are just laughable, and not in a good way.

2. The constant Moiraine bashing is way too stupid and realistically would have stopped long ago. Fact, she came to Two Rivers, fought off trollocs, spirited away 3 boys she said were being hunted by the Dark One, and two girls came along for the ride. At first, they are not sure she's right, and so, sure, there's distrust. Fine. But, um, after enough time goes by that she is proven RIGHT about FRIGGIN' EVERYTHING, then you just cannot have characters saying stuff like, "Oh, and that Moiraine, why if she had not ensnared us her Aes Sedai plots, we'd all be better off...those damn Aes Sedai!" Umm... is being SAVED the same as being ensnared? This is a funny kind of gratitude these people have. Is "shoot the messenger" the official sport of Two Rivers? Because they are embracing it to a Herculean degree. I mean, these comments should have ended within Book One, replaced by gratitude, apologies for prior rude comments and thoughts, and sincere intentions to trust her above all others since she had truly proven herself trustworthy... But, no, that would make too much sense...

3. The Moiraine bashing is kind of related to Jordan’s other “favorite source of conflict between characters” which is rampant distrust even among allies. I mean the extent to which no one EVER EVER EVER confides in or supports their allies in the fight against the Dark One is ludicrous. From the boys keeping their Dark One dreams secret from Moraine even as she’s trying to save them, to Rand and Matt keeping his cursed dagger secret, to Perrin keeping his wolfiness secret, to Matt later keeping his past memories secret, to Rand keeping pretty much everything secret that he can. It is frankly a weak and tired and cliche form of conflict, at least when over-used to this degree.

4. It’s a small thing, but they REALLY need more cuss words. I’m pretty sure all they’ve got for expletives are “Light,” “Burn” and “Bloody.” “Light but that that’s a bloody long fall! Burn me, I almost died! Bloody blood and burning ashes! For Lights sake!” It may not be as apparent if you read the books, but when you listen to them on audiobook it becomes pretty silly how the characters repeat the same few expletives over and over and over and over. Because realistically, societies develop more expletives, so it sounds silly after awhile.

5. I don’t think we’ve ever had more 2 dimensional villains than the servants of the Dark One. The sort of fake, 2 dimensional villainy we find in most fantasy novels with some Black Wizard or Evil Lord or whatever, people who just want to cause misery for the sake of causing misery, the kind of 2 dimensional villainy that is not at all realistic. So why is Jordan’s 2 dimensional villainy worse than all the other examples? Because he cannot offer any rational motive for ANY of the dark friends to actually be dark friends. We have seen dozens and dozens of dark friends who, we are told, swore oaths of loyalty to the Dark One in return for power, money, etc., but so far they universally instead get abused, tortured, and killed, often by the Dark One or his other servants. It is so ridiculous how often the Dark Friends suffer hellish torments, you’ve got to wonder how the hell is anyone stupid enough to say, “Gee, that’s for me! Where do I sign up?!” “What, I can be a Dark Friend and swear to obey eternally the worst being in the universe in return for some vague promise of unspecified power in the future, and I only need to offer my soul and my slavish devotion, and to associate with the most frightening and evil creatures who might on a whim decide to torture me, and if anyone ever finds out I’ll be disowned and tortured and executed...yeah, that sounds like a great deal!” Seriously, by book four there has been not one single example of a Dark One actually getting anything good out of it. You wonder just what makes the people lining up to be Dark Friends think this is a really great deal for them? What are they basing that on? Is there some song bards sing, some saga, about the guy who sold his soul to the Dark One and got everything he ever wanted? It just gets really retarded to have so many people jumping onto the “Dark Friends” bandwagon when they seem to be giving up a whole heck of a lot, and near as I can tell they just get abused and tortured and killed for their trouble. It’s absurd. I need some realism in terms of a plausible motive why people would be converting to Dark Friends, and so far I’ve got Zilch.

6. Does anyone know what the word Prophecy means? Because they really act like they don’t. And it is really basic. If it was foretold that the Dragon Reborn would do certain things they he’ll do them. Period. I mean, the way Moiraine’s whole motivation in these books as about steering Rand to make sure he fulfills the prophecies... Duh... I mean, you can’t stop him if you wanted to, that’s why they are prophecies, not false prophesies. Relax, whatever you do, he’ll do what the prophecies say. She keeps commenting how it is possible for the threads to be broken somehow to defeat the prophesies, but frankly I have no idea where she gets that notion, because nothing in any of the books suggests that is actually possible, for a prophecy to NOT come true, apart from her own comments worrying about it.

7. Okay, the characters have these bouts of INCREDIBLE stupidity, like so bad it is impossible and fake and just bad writing. Like, when Rand meets Selene through the portal in a world where no one lives, and yet she somehow got there right when they happened to be there, and he does not think that is at ALL suspicious???? And even after he finally tells Moiraine how he met this woman through the portal, she does not immediately think it is suspicious? I mean, if Rand, Perrin and Matt just ever compared notes on the stuff going on with them, Rand would have known much sooner that Selene was not just some random girl. It was just so contrived! Even worse, was anything stupider than having Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne agree to the totally suspicious proposal of Liandrin, who they already viewed as the MOST suspicious of all the Ajah in the White Tower? I mean, she might as well have walked into their room and said, “I’m Black Ajah and I want to enslave all of you, and I don’t want anyone to know about it, so meet me at midnight and we’ll depart.” And the girls say to each other, “Gee, do you think we can trust her? Okay, I guess...” I mean, I don’t know if I’ve ever read of a single character doing anything that unbelievably stupid, let alone a group of three. I get it, Jordan wanted them to go and get caught and create that conflict, but he needed to think of an INTELLIGENT plot by Liandrin to trap them. Liandrin’s plot was about as clever as Road Runner painting a tunnel on a rock face so that Wiley Coyote would run into it, which is to say not at all. You can only take so much of the author writing such contrived garbage before you just can no longer be emotionally invested in the characters or story.

And people say the books get WORSE as you go along??? I find that hard to believe. And people say Jordan is a great fantasy writer? Wow, that must be a low bar. I mean, he does some stuff very well. The attention to detail is amazing. He must have studied a lot about medieval stuff. But the core elements of believable characters and plot movement that is plausible and arises organically from who the characters are, he is really weak at those. He gives us cartoonish villains and heroes and plot devices, all fleshed out with incredibly detailed and descriptive prose that fools you into thinking the writing is really great.
 

HareBrain

Bunny of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
9,949
Location
West Sussex, UK
#3
Good illustration of some common traps for writers, such as: thinking that since conflict is the essence of drama, it's good to have allies arguing or mistrusting each other all the time; and getting carried away with a plot episode's wow-factor and only afterwards thinking about its credibility.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,944
#4
Good illustration of some common traps for writers, such as: thinking that since conflict is the essence of drama, it's good to have allies arguing or mistrusting each other all the time; and getting carried away with a plot episode's wow-factor and only afterwards thinking about its credibility.
Or how to create one of the most popular and acclaimed fantasy series since Lord of the Rings. The OP doesn't speak for everyone. And there's not a fictional story out there where people can't rip to pieces the logic, and the more popular it is, the more often it happens.

Personally, I've always thought that the actions of the characters in Wheel of Time were believable enough considering their lack of information, traumas, prejudices and so on - and that they were interesting when you considered the themes of the mutation and decay of stories/information, of duality and division, of accepting how reality is and making the best of it vs denying it and making things worse. God only knows it's not all that hard to find examples of people doing more peculiar things today.
 

Scookey

Author of the AD2045 sci-fi series
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
121
Location
UK
#5
Don't understand why anyone would join a forum just to give a 1500 word rant against an author. To me this is not a normal action and sort of implies another motive. Normally when you don't like an author you stop reading their book and have few words to say about them - usually short and colourful ones.
 

HareBrain

Bunny of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
9,949
Location
West Sussex, UK
#6
Or how to create one of the most popular and acclaimed fantasy series since Lord of the Rings. The OP doesn't speak for everyone. And there's not a fictional story out there where people can't rip to pieces the logic, and the more popular it is, the more often it happens.
This is true. But (as I think you might have said yourself) it's easier to avoid the things that irk readers than do the things that make a book a massive success -- once they've been pointed out. I find it quite helpful to read negative reviews, sometimes of books I have no intention of reading (and sometimes of books I've loved), just to make myself aware of mistakes I haven't previously thought of.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,944
#7
This is true. But (as I think you might have said yourself) it's easier to avoid the things that irk readers than do the things that make a book a massive success -- once they've been pointed out. I find it quite helpful to read negative reviews, sometimes of books I have no intention of reading (and sometimes of books I've loved), just to make myself aware of mistakes I haven't previously thought of.
Possibly me, I do say a lot of things... but the caveat has to be that once you've read everything that irks readers, you're not left with a lot you can possibly write about.
 

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Supporter
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,744
Location
Edinburgh
#8
Don't understand why anyone would join a forum just to give a 1500 word rant against an author. To me this is not a normal action and sort of implies another motive. Normally when you don't like an author you stop reading their book and have few words to say about them - usually short and colourful ones.
Well, he's only just joined, give him a chance to post some other things :)

I don't mind a good rant here or there, on occasion, as I think it's good to get some strong robust views to make you think. (As long as it doesn't descent into a flame war :cautious:!)

Personally, I haven't read any WoT, but really, opinions one way or another on books and films never really influence what I'll consume anyway. One person's hot potato is another persons cold mash.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,152
Location
Highlands
#10
Welcome to the chrons forum @krm27 - interesting piece and I'm sure has the potential to generate interesting discussion, so I've promoted it as an article on the homepage. :)
 

SilentRoamer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
1,225
#11
One thing we can say with certainty is that Jordan was a successful writer.

I'm a fan of the WoT series overall, despite some of its flaws which I do recognise. It's a sprawling epic, with lots of different people's and culture systems and the whole things is underpinned with a very original magic system. I quite liked that men and women accessed different forms of the Power, it was original.

I liked that the characters actions were driven by conflict and mistrust and took that as part of the Dark Ones influence as during the Age of Legends when the Rods of Dominion were in rule co-operation and the betterment of mankind were primary drives of society which changed with the Breaking at the Bore.

Some interesting criticisms.
 

dwndrgn

Fierce Vowelless One
Joined
Apr 25, 2003
Messages
3,903
Location
Help! I'm stuck in the forums!
#12
Well, I certainly don't believe Jordan was the best writer ever but I loved these books enough to reread them each time a new installment was published.

I also can't say that I agree with too much that the OP discussed. Male and female interpersonal relationships is a big part of humanity and forms a big part of quite a big chunk of fiction (and nonfiction).

Curse words: we have a few that we tend to repeat over and over. In fact, I have a friend who created sentences out of just one word repeated with different inflections about 7 times with a few minor words interspaced. That feels real to me even though the actual words they used were different. (F you, you F*ing F. and so on)

Moiraine - Well, people tend to complain and say bad things about people who create change in their lives. Completely normal.

Stupidity, prophecy, dark friends...well again I have to say this mirrors life, perhaps exaggerated a touch but people are stupid, do stupid things for stupid reasons and will happily 'pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.'

So, yes, not the greatest writer and not the greatest works (they tended to be a touch bloated in this fan's opinion) but he definitely wrote books that many people were eager to read and that are still popular today, for whatever reasons so I would disagree with you and say he was not a weak writer.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,944
#13
Moiraine - Well, people tend to complain and say bad things about people who create change in their lives. Completely normal.
Yup. Lets not forget Jordan went through this sort of traumatic change. He was 20 when he went to Vietnam. I don't know whether he was drafted or volunteered, but either way, when he's writing about how a young man reacts from being taken from a slow backwards farming district and thrust into kill or be killed situations, he's writing what he knows.

Again, personally, I really enjoyed the arc between Moiraine and Rand. The way they work past their preconceived notions of each other and learn to accept who the other is and build a strong and powerful relationship. Are there times when maybe it was logical for them to make other choices? Maybe. But that's always true. I found nothing grossly illogical about their choices. Rand has a cultural distrust of Aes Sedai, a teenager's natural bullheadedness, and a good dollop of stubborness and feeling used on top.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
13,296
Location
California
#14
Obviously he caught in his writing something(s) that a lot of readers responded to, and that's no small thing.

Would he have been an even better writer if he had kept whatever that was and worked on improving in the areas where he was weakest? Almost certainly. Striving to become even better is what keeps many writers writing and more power to them.

I only met him once (we were on a panel together) but he didn't strike me as one of those writers. He seemed to be a very pragmatic man, and not one inclined to change in the slightest what was already so successful.
 

Scookey

Author of the AD2045 sci-fi series
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
121
Location
UK
#17
Ironically, after this post was started as a rant against Jordan's books, we seem to have been talking about him quite a lot - including in positive ways. Maybe that's karma, krm27 :)
 

boutya

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
1
#18
Being older than I once was and regarding the time it takes to complete series-ish books, I don’t read them now unless they’re finished.

I liked wot fine until I guess book 8 which is when it really started to drag. Book 10 is possibly the worst fantasy book I’ve ever read. 11-13 were ok, 14 and the last battle didn’t work for me. Talking with my dad about it, we were in agreement if we had it to do again knowing what we know now, we wouldn’t have read it.

I personally think it became a cash cow which caused the story to suffer afterward becoming too long and drawn out and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

I am reading song of ice and fire which I stated ages ago and seems like the author has a real possibility of passing before it’s done. That’s the last unfinished series on my list.

Time is fleeting. I find most of my enjoyment in the publish short stories/novellas now.
 

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
4,297
#19
I'm not sure if it's still available on the internet, but the author Adam Roberts read the entirety of WOT, and made some interesting comments on the nature of fantasy series and the experience of reading them. They're definitely worth a look, if you can find them.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,944
#20
I'm not sure if it's still available on the internet, but the author Adam Roberts read the entirety of WOT, and made some interesting comments on the nature of fantasy series and the experience of reading them. They're definitely worth a look, if you can find them.
PUNKADIDDLE: Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time (1990-2005)

Here.

Can't lie, my first thought upon reading the first review is "Some people don't like trad fantasy and that's fine but its boring to hear them go on about it and act all superior as a result". And gods knows that FAQ shows zero attempt to get to grips with what people like about the series.
 

Similar threads

Top