Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

I read the Wheel of Time series when it first came out, with that agonizing 1-2 year wait between books. Actually ended up not finishing the series at the time because the author (Robert Jordan) died and I never got around to the collaborative ending. 

Decided to go back and read the series again to finish it. I'm about halfway through Book 1 right now. 

Now, as a teenager, I had no real problem with the characters. Loved the story. And even now as a writer I can appreciate that the MC trio of Rand, Perrin and Mat are very representative of where they come from: the most remote and unpopulated backwater in the continent. This is classic fantasy with the simple farm kids going off to save the world, and all are chosen ones. Again, as a kid, this was all fine. And I fully acknowledge that the books are very well written.

As an adult (40+), reading the male leads feels like nails on chalkboard. They are highly ignorant, highly conservative, and dumb as posts. Afraid to talk to girls, afraid of magic, afraid of witches, afraid of their own shadow, afraid of their female friend dancing with some random guy, afraid of sexy girls dancing in front of them. Whining about wanting to go home. Excellent archers but never using a bow and utterly useless at everything because the plot doesn't call for sheepherding to save the day. 

I can see how they'd be highly relateable for a lot of people, especially teens. But they're also utterly uninspiring. I wish they at least had some qualities in the beginning that made them more interesting. And less like I want to punch them in the face. lol. The female leads are much more interesting and far stronger of character. 

I'm actually finding it a struggle to continue, even knowing that things will improve later, and I can't get into the story as I once did, which is highly disappointing. Especially when there are so few series of that length out there. 

Getting older sucks. Some stories are best enjoyed earlier in life and you can't always return to your old favourites. So enjoy them best while you can.

About to watch the live action. Hope it was done well. 

Also, interesting facts:

The 7 book Harry Potter series is about 1,000,000 words.

The 15 book Wheel of Time series is 4,400,000 words. 

That's only HALF of The Wandering Inn series of over 8,000,000 words. And she's not even finished yet. lol

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

I'm the same way with a lot of the series I enjoyed as a child. I never read the Wheel of Time series, but I was super into Harry Potter when I was maybe 11 or 12, and rereading it is just... a lot. So many plotlines and characters have aged so poorly, and a lot of the moments I remember as tragic or emotional come across as ridiculous and sappy to my adult self. Like, there's this scene in the last book where Hermione is being tortured and Ron is just losing his mind with panic, and eleven-year-old me thought it was so scary, but I read it again a few weeks ago and it seemed like an overdone mess with way too much caps-lock yelling. I guess I should have known that I'd perceive it differently as an adult, but I was still shocked at how little it held up, especially considering all of the grown men and women who are still obsessed with it to the point of naming their kids after the characters. Part of me wonders if it's mostly nostalgia goggles.

Strangely, though, a lot of the books that I liked as a really young child have held up surprisingly well. I was super into the Tinker Bell book series when I was around 7, then I re-read them a few years back after rediscovering them at a tag sale, and they're actually kind of great? I'm sure I read plenty of trash as a little kid, but every so often I rediscover a rare gem. 

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

So many times I've had series ruined for me because I picked them back up as an adult. A lot of what was written for YA even 10 years ago doesn't hold up. I still read YA fiction, and the newer stuff out there generally seems to be geared to be able to be read by adults. 

There's still some good stuff that I'll periodically re-read with less issues. Tamora Pierce books are still good reads to me. But like the Marked series? Cringe. Cringe everywhere. 

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

I had a similar experience with the Wheel of Time, but for different reasons. Basically, when I was younger I thought the first few books were better while I got bored by the middle ones. As an adult, I think the later books in the series are more interesting while the first 3 seem a lot weaker. In particular it seems really obvious to me that Jordan didn't know if he'd get picked up beyond a trilogy, and so he left himself an out that didn't change until well into the third book. 

But as for the other stuff, eh...if I remember correctly it wasn't just the men in the WoT who got jealous for silly reasons. And I mean, the entire setting of the world gave people good reason to fear magic and witches. I think you really have to stretch to read "conservative" into the characters, honestly. There's some culture shock but they seem to get over it fairly quickly. I also don't think it's particularly unusual for teenagers to feel awkward around women, especially in the case of Rand, one that it's sort of assumed he's going to be marrying. I also didn't think they were necessarily dumb; I think they actually reacted fairly as you might expect for teenagers who suddenly found themselves ripped out of their homes by strangers. That's not to say that there wasn't some weird stuff in the early books. Like Nynaeve all of a sudden being in love with Lan out of nowhere at the end of the first book. I guess most of their romantic development happened off-screen? 

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

Some books I reread now, that I last read when I was a lot younger...  Surprise me.  I get more out of them than I did in my childhood, teens, even than in my early twenties.  Heinlein, definitely.  I didn't get some things, like Rico's occasional political rants (didn't know the history of the time it was written, just blew it off).  A Canticle for Liebowitz, that one I could never finish in my early twenties.  Heck, even pulp like the Conan series- I wish I could write something as tight and engaging, but don't have the talent for it.

Others, well, they're not so good anymore.  The Wheel of Time?  Yeah, it reads like an early effort novel.  Cringe.  But the classics are classic for a reason.  LOTR is still good.  Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, Drake, Weber, Freer, Ringo, I still re-read them.  Some of those old guys , they really knew their stuff.  

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)


DrunkMinstrel Wrote: When I read the wheel of time when I was young, it was really good. Then I pulled back.

Then I realized, wait...this is...

is this not a harem story?
Rand Al thor, with her childhood sweetheart who beats you up, a kind and gentle, oneesan type saintess. and then the tomboy thief who for some reason falls for him

That man hits all the right tropes.
Rand doesn't actually end up with Egwene. 

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

I remember I started reading the Wheel of Time when I was about 15-16 years old. But I never even got through the first book. I didn't like a single character, and that made it really hard to continue. lol. My brother, who did read all of it, said the first book was the best and then it went downhill after that, and the pace slowed to crawl because the author wanted to write as much about every character as about the main ones, and that made it slow and boring. So I never tried again. 
I will try the TV series though, since I think a lot of slow and boring parts will by needs be cut from the tv-show. So I thought, maybe it's better than the books? :P 

Re: Rereading books when you're older (Wheel of Time)

I used to be much more tolerant of books, and I never even finished WoT the first time.

The problem that stopped me from enjoying the books was a complete lack of empathy between the sexes. It starts off as a pervasive and ridiculous, "zomg, girls pee sitting down? Witchcraft!" level of absurdity. Which drove me nuts, but I kept reading assuming it'd get better. Thinking that obviously, the characters would eventually learn and understand one another in spite of the differences inherent with being a different sex.

That shit was still going on FIVE BOOKS IN. Happened one last time and I just gave up, couldn't keep reading it. After five books, your characters should be able to understand that the other sex are just people. Not some sort of alien just because their junk is different than yours.