The Eye of the World (Book 1 of The Wheel of Time): Introduction & Prologue

Robert Jordan’s “The Eye of the World” was first published by Tor Books (U.S.) on January 15, 1990. The book was the first of fourteen in the Wheel of Time series. The series also includes a prequel novel titled, “A New Spring.” To say that the series is expansive is an understatement. From start to finish, the Wheel of Time contains a total of 4,410,036 words and 2,782 named characters.

Thirty years, fifteen NYT best-sellers, and tens of millions of book purchases later, the series is back in the headlines because Amazon Studios is producing a mega-budget TV series based on them.

This is my favorite fiction series of all time. I first picked up The Eye of the World from the library in 1995. In the last quarter century, I have read tEotW book at least ten different times. (This is definitely a wild understatement.) One quirk of reading the series, while it was being written, was that the size and scope of the series almost required a re-read of the entire series, prior to each new book’s publication. If one did not do that, then getting back up to speed was tricky. [In the 1990s, the internet recap resources were not what they are now.]

I have read the series many times. What I have never done before, though, is write about the books. Since I now have a website wherein I purportedly read books and review them, then I should and will cover this one, too.

If you are familiar with my read-through of Genesis, then you know how this goes. I will be reading and reviewing this series on a word-by-word basis until approximately the year 2052 (God willing) and what a ride it will be! No. I won’t go into quite that much detail. Probably. I anticipate that I will re-read this a couple chapters at a time. When I finish the re-read I will post a review of the entire book for those who do not want to follow along chapter by chapter.

I guess should clarify one more detail in the event that it comes up during the chapter reviews. I will not be *reading* the series per se. I will be listening to the audiobooks. The Wheel of Time narrators are Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. They do a fantastic job.

Well, with no further adieu, the Prologue:
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We meet an absolute madman named Lews Therin Telamon, wandering through a ruin of a mansion, calling out for his wife, Ilyena. She is clearly the dead blonde haired woman we are told that he keeps stepping over and around but not noticing.

Abruptly, a man in black named Elan Morin Tedronai *appears* and is disgusted at the mental state of what appears to be an old rival.

Elan gives some info dump. Lews, known as “the Dragon,” and “the 100 companions” defeated him, and his master Shai’tan. Elan seems to be a bad guy. However, the counter-stroke that happened as the good guys achieved the win drove all of the victors completely insane. So currently, around the world, the insane good guys are tearing the world completely apart.

Elan heals Lews of his madness. The healing gives Lews an opportunity to look around his mansion with clear eyes. He can now see that he has – in his insanity – murdered everyone in his family. Lews Therin “Kinslayer” flees via magic to a remote area and calls down enough fire from the sky to kill himself, burn a hole into the earth’s crush, and thereby form a volcano as his tomb.

REACTION:

When I read this prologue for the first time, it was years and a few books later until I really understood what had happened in the Prologue. Reading it now as an adult, there are a few things I notice:

  • The madman is named both “Lews” and “the Dragon.” This is reminiscent of Lucifer, the fallen angel, who is also referred to in the Book of Revelation as a Dragon. Telamon has an association with Atlas of Greek Mythology. Telamon means “support” or “bearer” and Atlas is sometimes known as Atlas Telamon – the bearer of the entire world.
  • Elan Morin Tedronai is referred to as the Betrayer of Hope. Tedronai – when we think about opposition to the name Lews – is intentionally similar to Adonai. Adonai is a name for the Hebrew God in the Bible.
  • In his post-healing diatribe to Lews Therin, Elan implies that the world of the WoT is one where reincarnation occurs. He argues that he and Lews have fought over and over, since the beginning of time, and that they will continue to do so for the rest of time, or until Shai’tan wins and ends time itself.
  • The “tainted” magic used by Lews Therin comes from “the True Source.”
  • Elan uses another form of magic which he says comes from his master, Shai’tain.

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