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

nixie

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#41
I was emotionally invested with a number of Feist's characters, specially in the earlier books. Wish he'd handled death better, felt cheated with Locklear's demise among others.
I haven't yet emotionally bonded with anyone from WOT but I likely will the further I get into the series.
An author doesn't have to perfect, they can make mistakes as long as they spin a yarn that draws me in and makes me feel, doesn't matter if it's love or hate.
 

Lafayette

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#43
I can't add much hear except to say, about fifteen years ago I tried to read his first book. I understood that he was a great writer and the premise (which I have now forgotten) sounded good. However, after reading two hundred pages I put the book down and never went back to it. Normally I finish books even when they're slow, but not this time. It amazes me after all that I didn't care about the characters or the plot. And what amazes me even more is he has written a bunch more based on the first book.

The up-side to all of this is it's kinda encouraging knowing that if my book is boring I still can obtain readership.
 

Judderman

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#44
I can't call him a weak writer because he does a lot things very well. In particular I loved books 1 and 2. Book 6 has some great demonstrations of Rand's power. But I didn't read after book 6 due to the poor reviews of 7-10 and you need the highs in his better books to cope with the irritating parts. I keep thinking of reading the last few books.
But I wonder is The Wheel of time unpopular with female readers? Compared to other fantasy epics. I have met quite a lot of guys who loved the series.
 

krm27

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#45
I got to book 4 and gave up on the series.
That's pretty much where I'm at. It is such terrible writing, in terms of the characters and plot points. I mean, you have to hand it to the level of prose and description, clearly a lot of work and talent there, but no matter how you dress up a turd, it's still a turd.

For those who defend the great "characters" in this, can you think of one female character who is not constantly pissed off at everyone around her, even her supposed allies? Let's play a game...which female character does this sound like? "That fool girl!" thought ____, "I have half a mind to switch her till she's won't sit for a week! She's almost as bad as the men!" Answer: All of them! Their "go-to" emotion when thinking about anyone else, usually friends and allies, is to imagine how they'd love to visit some violence upon them for their stupidity. Some one barges into the Amrylin Seat's office, and her first thought is, "How dare you, I'll have you scrubbing pots till your fingers bleed!" rather than, "Gee, I wonder what is so important! This must be urgent for them to barge in like this!"

Look, I remember as a boy when the TV show A-Team premiered. And I watched it and was excited about it. It seemed different, original and fun and not formulaic...for about six episodes. Then you notice every episode is following the exact same formula, all the damsels in distress are essentially identical, all the villains are identical, and the whole thing is really a very formulaic and weak and superficial story. That is basically WoT. You can get through the first book and maybe part of the second before the repetitive behavior and reactions and same behaviors and manner of speaking and attitudes by every character (particularly the women) just becomes too glaring and detracts from being invested in the story.

Who possibly buys into the problem of the Amrylin Seat having to keep secret her involvement with and support for the Dragon from the other Aes Sedai or face mutiny??? Okay, for this to be legitimate, we have to believe that every Aes Sedai other than the Amrylin Seat and Moiraine are total idiots. Because if a prophecy says the Dark One will win and turn the world to Hell EXCEPT that this man who can channel defeats him, though in the process he causes a lot of death and destruction, WHO POSSIBLY thinks the right approach is to still that Dragon before he defeats the Dark One? Who is so incredibly stupid they would prefer the Dark One winning to letting a man channel??? Okay, I would be willing to buy the notion that there is a small segment of Aes Sedai so set in their thinking that they would refuse to see the logic of the Amrylin Seat and Moiraine's position, but just a very small segment. Beyond that, the writer is creating a very unrealistic and false dilemma.

I've seen works where the cheat in not making the back-story match the present. Here we are repeatedly assured this particular Amrylin Seat is really awesome, insightful, regal, smart, confident...just about every good thing you can think of, in spades... Yet somehow she cannot sue all that to make the other Aes Sedai see the very obvious logic and correctness of her approach?? Yet somehow despite all that, a majority of the Aes Sedai support a MUTINY to overthrow her, to torture her, to still her, and to have warder fighting warder, and to falsely spread lies that the Amrylin Seat was a dark friend??!! What the hell kind of people are these faceless Aes Sedai that are going along with such an absurdly over-the-top and evil / immoral strategy!

Guess what, if some one proposes spreading lies that some one who is not a dark friend actually is a dark friend, the painfully obvious conclusion is that the person proposing that is, in fact, a dark friend. So, no, unless the Amrylin Seat is so inept that she has been raising a generate of Retarded Psychopathic Hitlers, then, no, it is not plausible to think that a majority -- or even a substantial minority -- of Aes Sedai voted to pull off that horrific mutiny.

Go back to the scene in Book 4 when the Amrylin Seat is confronting the mutiny and see how painfully repetitive her dialogue and thoughts are...how many times in five minutes can she threaten to stretch Elaida's hide before it is stupid? 3? 4?

Weak authors often write that vague, unspecified, faceless characters acting en masse do the stupidest things, like all those Aes Sedai deciding to mutiny, and they can get away with such absurdity because they don't have to give the back-story for these non-characters who we never meet, to justify how they could be so stupid, gullible, etc.

People claim his popularity means his books are not weak. Well, A-Team was a hit show for years, but it sure was weak and superficial. Some people just don't have good taste, or they care more about superficial explosions and car chases rather than REAL characters and believable plot movement. I mean, some people actually claim Avengers; Infinity Wars was a good movie, when it was also crap dressed up with some glitz that could not hide the horribly contrived plot that did not come close to having any internal consistency. So, I guess there's no accounting for taste. But you should not fool yourself into thinking Jordan's writing is on par with, say, Raymon Feist or Julian May or Anne McCaffrey or Tolkein or Stephen Brust or David Eddings..well, there's a lot of people who actually avoid being so painfully "one note" in how they draw characters, and who force them to do absurd things to create a plot point. It reminds me somewhat of the Warlock of Graymaere (sp?) series by Christopher Stasheff (sp?) which I started reading in the 80s...some elements I like in stories, but by the second book it just got so contrived and two dimensional and repetitive, I gave up on it, but he published a number of books in that series and was successful...they were still weak.

Oh, and you DO definitely need to somehow justify all these people rushing to be Dark Friends despite the fact that, apparently, there has never been one single success story among people who did that in the past...they all wind up tortured, fed to Trollocs or executed, etc. If you try to claim some people think the Dark One will win and fear being on the losing team...well, first the friggin' PROPHECY says the Dark One loses, so I think most people would see that as the safer bet. Second, this implies that these people are motivated by fear. But if cowardice is their primary motivation, the LAST thing they'd do is willingly seek out involvement with the Dark One as a Dark Friend. That's some very dangerous ground to tread on. It just makes no sense. I mean, if Jordan wanted this to be plausible, he needed to think up what would motivate real people to enlist with the Dark One and face all that risk, with literally NO example of anyone ever having a good result from such dealings. It can be done. It's not impossible. But it means being smart in your plot creation, and that is where Jordan is very weak. He wants to impress us with numerous threads of stories, but he apparently is biting off more than he can chew to have to short-shrift giving us DIFFERENT characters, making them more realistic, and making the plot points arrive without heavy-handed contrivance.

The biggest block budget movies that make the most money are NOT the great movies, they just have some commercial success. Black Panther was so bland and unoriginal and yet it broke all the ticket sales records, so success is not a mark of good writing.
 

SilentRoamer

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#46
For those who defend the great "characters" in this, can you think of one female character who is not constantly pissed off at everyone around her, even her supposed allies?
Min is a very calm and caring character throughout, she is very rarely angry. There are a number of Aes Sedai from specific Ajah with very calm demeanours. Anger does tend to be a go to point for Jordan character interactions but I see that as a consistent character flaw rather than something gendered.

People claim his popularity means his books are not weak. Well, A-Team was a hit show for years, but it sure was weak and superficial. Some people just don't have good taste, or they care more about superficial explosions and car chases rather than REAL characters and believable plot movement. I mean, some people actually claim Avengers; Infinity Wars was a good movie, when it was also crap dressed up with some glitz that could not hide the horribly contrived plot that did not come close to having any internal consistency.
This seems like a very closeted viewpoint. Some people prefer explosions and car chases in their films, they may prefer superficial high action literature - variety is the spice of life and one mans trash is another mans treasure.

I mean as a fan of WoT should I just accept that I have bad taste or should I change my opinion to more suitably match ones with "good taste". Taste and preference are not objectively measurable contrivances - they differ from individual to individual.

I am happy to discuss the books, so long as we can avoid labeling those who do like them in a negative way. You are entitled to your opinions, but they would be better focused on the books than the people who enjoy them! :)


...you should not fool yourself into thinking Jordan's writing is on par with, say, Raymon Feist or Julian May or Anne McCaffrey or Tolkein or Stephen Brust or David Eddings..well, there's a lot of people who actually avoid being so painfully "one note" in how they draw characters, and who force them to do absurd things to create a plot point. It reminds me somewhat of the Warlock of Graymaere (sp?) series by Christopher Stasheff (sp?) which I started reading in the 80s...some elements I like in stories, but by the second book it just got so contrived and two dimensional and repetitive, I gave up on it, but he published a number of books in that series and was successful...they were still weak.
Looking at Eddings and Feist as comparisons for better writing might be some of the problem - neither are well known for their gripping prose! There are many other fantasy writers well known for writing beautiful prose - this has never been one of Jordans strengths IMO. As a counterpoint I can't imagine Jordan getting rulers in his novels mixed up like Feist did - and don't get me wrong, I really like Feist.

Jordans strength for me lies in the scope and size of his epic.

I think to answer the questuion of the Dark One - in RandLand the Dark One is a real entity, we already saw Baalzamon to use dream form to harrass Rand - there are further plot developments around this which I wont go into for fear of spoilers - same with the Aes Sedai.

I hope you continue to read! :)
 

SilentRoamer

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#48
Thanks :)

I think the OP makes some valid criticisms of WoT - some of them are things I might criticize myself - or might be aware of but in an uncritical manner and some given no consideration previously.

WoT has some fantastic discussions, theories and threads on it and I would be more than happy to have some in depth chat/criticism/debate about WoT here.

Although it needs to be a critical discussion, about the work rather than about the reader. Just to give a little anecdote - I could never finish Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, I found it extremely tedious and slow paced, it also happens to be someone who I share much in reading tastes with favorite book - so trash and treasure even with those we have similar likes to is always possible.

Anyway @krm27 keep us informed how you get on and any particular criticisms you have if you care to discuss further - which I would be happy to. :)
 

Cathbad

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#49
I would not have finished the series, had it not been for the characters. That, I believe, is where Jordan's strength lay. He was able to create believable and unique characters who I, at least, came to care about. I had to see it to the finish, because I needed to know how they fared!

I never truly enjoyed the story line, but rather the scenes are what grabbed me (if you understand the distinction i'm making).
 

Anthoney

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#50
I think the OP makes some valid criticisms of WoT - some of them are things I might criticize myself - or might be aware of but in an uncritical manner and some given no consideration previously.
Of course there are some issues. I have never read a book or watched a show or movie that didn't have some problem. Given the size of WoT they're easy to find. As you said a lot of the things people point to as problems are things I like but there are still issues. I don't think any of them make him a poor writer. I do think he spent a little to much time thinking about women spanking or whipping other women but it's his fantasy.
 

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