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The Wheel of Time
I think it bears repeating but I hate, hate HATE the cover art on these books. So...bland and silly; exactly the kind of cover you absolutely get judged for. FoH is just a few of the characters - Rand? maybe? in Rhuidean...I think? - existing in a city road with a bunch of brigands hiding in the shadows. Just what the effin eff? Either go the artistic way and just make a symbol (plenty to toss around) or make it halfway interesting, like Rand holding the sword that is not a sword aloft while literally every woman in the book throws themselves upon him or something.

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(11-25-2019, 05:34 PM)doc happenin Wrote: I think it bears repeating but I hate, hate HATE the cover art on these books. So...bland and silly; exactly the kind of cover you absolutely get judged for. FoH is just a few of the characters - Rand? maybe? in Rhuidean...I think? - existing in a city road with a bunch of brigands hiding in the shadows. Just what the effin eff? Either go the artistic way and just make a symbol (plenty to toss around) or make it halfway interesting, like Rand holding the sword that is not a sword aloft while literally every woman in the book throws themselves upon him or something.

Sounds like you're reading copies with the original Darrell Sweet covers. Yeah, they're bad. And not just bad: they're egregiously inaccurate.

TOR reskinned the books at some point; the quality sized paperbacks all have newer, MUCH better covers that range from "stills" from scenes to more conceptual. Regardless, they're all much, much better.

For the Fires of Heaven, the old art, as you noted, is bland, inaccurate, and unexciting.

[Image: untitled-52.jpg]

The newer cover, for the quality sized paperback, is more evocative though not really an exciting scene. I like it, though:

[Image: FiresOfHeaven_DanDosSantos.png]
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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(09-04-2019, 03:58 PM)Overlord Wrote:
(09-04-2019, 03:37 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Sweet's covers were/are notoriously [godawful].

Fixed that for you.

And it isn't just WOT.  His covers for Runelords, the Recluce books, Terry Brooks, the Stasheff novels ... he was like the Thomas Kinkade of fantasy art. 

He's so bad.

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I dunno, that cover is an excellent depiction of that point in the trip where you realize that you're lost and nobody brought a map and this is the twelfth damn time.
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Everything Sweet draws seems like it's being lit by a raging inferno of illumination that is lurking just "offscreen."

[Image: 01-The-Eye-of-the-World-inside.jpg]


YOU FOOLS!  IT'S NIGHTTIME AND THERE IS GLOWING GOLDEN LIGHT EVERYWHERE!  OUR DOOM IS FAST APPROACHING!

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Mongol Helmet Guy is wondering if he left the oven on.
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Why is Moiraine also riding such a tiny, oddly shaped horse? That's not Aldieb. I know she's a smaller person, but that picture just looks...gah.

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I can't be arsed to find it but I remember reading somewhere that Sweet actually hated painting fantasy covers and deliberately half-assed it.

Jordan was open in that Sweet wasn't his first choice; he and his wife wanted Michael Whelan (who ended up doing the cover for Memory of Light, which is an excellent and accurate cover) but Whelan was THE top cover artist for SF/F at the time and needed almost a year lead time (partly because he actually reads the damn book he's doing art for). 

Sweet's bad and lazy - to the point of using THE SAME HORSE twice on a cover or in a book.

Look at the cover for Eye of the World next to the inner art. And look at the cover for Crossroads of Twilight (and just look at how terrible the people are on the cover, too):


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"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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Okay, but what's with the itinerant Quaker missionary?
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Sweet truly did not give a fuck.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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Guys like Darrell Sweet are why I habitually removed the dust covers of fantasy novels in the 80s and 90s. Particularly if I was going to be reading in public.

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Aah...just reached Nynaeve and the 26 Dresses...

:: eye rolls ::

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I’m about tostart skipping all the Nynaeve chapters.

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Still in Book 5?
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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Still. Lost in the menagerie. Though I can’t wait to see whoever plays Elayne do the highwire act in five seasons.

I enjoy Jordan’s worldbuilding and his descriptions, while long winded, are exquisite but I can only read about how Nynaeve is going to “box someone’s ears” or “switch them” or set them right in any other way so many times before I just roll my eyes at such a shallow description of stubborness.

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Oh shit. The menagerie.

At this point, I don't recommend skipping the Nynaeve parts....but do skip her parts until she's done with the menagerie. That's fucking interminable.

The rest of FoH is pretty good.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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The Bergitta stuff - esp her setting Nynaeve post-rez - is great, and I am very compelled by Siuan & Co’s story, even if the Lianna stuff is just a little...weird (let’s use our feminine wiles all the time!’ and obviously the Rand stuff is good. The rest...

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Nynaeve's story has a great payoff in FoH, I will say.

Diminishing returns become a real thing in Book 6, though, and mostly don't recover.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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Book 6 is bought and downloaded already.

I do enjoy the throughline of ‘matches, amirite?!’ One of many modern conveniences I take for granted.

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I trust you have an inkling where that plotline is going? (Aludra and Mat's obsession with how fireworks actually work, I mean.)
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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Well, even if I’m wrong, we’ll find out soon!

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Hahaha no, you won't. Unless you call eight or nine books later "soon."
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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Goddammit.

I don’t know if this series was planned to “run over” but at this point in most epics, the world starts getting a little smaller so as to wrap shit up. Jordan clearly is saying ‘fie!’ to that and is going the other way. Every time a new pov character is introduced, I groan because Jesus, just get to TormanGai’donalready!

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My theory is that it was originally meant to be seven books ("the Wheel of time has seven spokes") but he simply got lost up his own ass and fell in love with the wrong parts of the story.

His wife being his editor did not help.

Unlike GRRM, Jordan always knew where he was headed. And unlike GRRM, Jordan was a much more disciplined writer. For books 1-5, he managed to publish one a year. From 6-11, it was one every two years but the lag was never more than two years. WoT was also one of the first book series to really garner an online following and fanbase, and Jordan very clearly changed some storylines due to fans guessing coming plot twists. (We'll talk about one after you've read Book 6.) Jordan could be kind of a petulant dick when it came to his plot twists, and unfortunately the longer the series went, the more he became enamored with political details and fooling the audience.

I love the way he handled the Baalzamon/Ishamael reveal. When you first read the books, you're preconditioned to think he's the Dark One - but on subsequent rereads, the clues are all right there in front of you and became plain. The books play fair, if t a bit coy.

Sadly, that's not consistent the deeper you get into the series, and you get a lot of mechanics and reveals that feel really fucking arbitrary (including the introduction of a MAJOR character in Book 7 which feels like a huge cheat).
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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If memory serves, it was supposed to be 3 books to start, then 5. Is till think you could take a good editor and par this down to 5-7 books and wind up with the best fantasy series ever written.
Someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee.

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Book Four should've been the midpoint, the full expansion point of the story. We should've seen it narrowing back down towards the big climax by book 7 or 8.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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Ooh, I’d love a shortened version. In my age, I grow weary and impatient of bloat; ain’t nobody got time for that. Give me the four hour Hobbit cut any day!

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