World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time

World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time

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Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time® by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

In this series companion book, over fourscore full color paintings include stunning new maps of the world, portraits of the central characters, landscapes, objects of Power, and national flags. The reader will learn about the exotic beasts used by the Seanchan and read of the rise and fall of Artur Hawking, peruse the deeper story of the War of the Shadow. Here is the tale of the founding of the White Tower, and the creation of the Ajahs.

The inner workings of the closed country, Shara, are revealed, as is the existence of a hitherto unknown continent called The Land of the Madmen. This stunning volume also includes double-page spreads of the seven book jackets by Darrell Sweet so that the art can be enjoyed without type, and all the known maps of the world, including maps of the Seanchan Empire, the nations of the Covenant of the Ten Nations, and the nations as they were when Artur Paendrag Tanreall began his rise to legend.

Every Robert Jordan fan needs this book.

The Wheel of Time®

New Spring: The Novel

#1 The Eye of the World

#2 The Great Hunt

#3 The Dragon Reborn

#4 The Shadow Rising

#5 The Fires of Heaven

#6 Lord of Chaos

#7 A Crown of Swords

#8 The Path of Daggers

#9 Winter's Heart

#10 Crossroads of Twilight

#11 Knife of Dreams

By Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

#12 The Gathering Storm

#13 Towers of Midnight

#14 A Memory of Light

By Robert Jordan and Teresa Patterson

The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons

The Wheel of Time Companion

By Robert Jordan and Amy Romanczuk

Patterns of the Wheel: Coloring Art Based on Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312862190
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 11/01/1997
Series: Wheel of Time Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 8.27(w) x 11.69(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He taught himself to read when he was four with the incidental aid of a twelve-years-older brother, and was tackling Mark Twain and Jules Verne by five. He is a graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics. He served two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army; among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. A history buff, he has also written dance and theater criticism and enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting.

Robert Jordan began writing in 1977 and went on to write The Wheel of Time®, one of the most important and best selling series in the history of fantasy publishing with over 14 million copies sold in North America, and countless more sold abroad.

Robert Jordan died on September 16, 2007, after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

Date of Birth:

October 17, 1948

Date of Death:

September 16, 2007

Place of Birth:

Charleston, South Carolina

Place of Death:

Charleston, South Carolina


B.S. in physics, The Citadel, 1974

Read an Excerpt

The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Teresa Patterson

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 1997 Bill Fawcett & Associates
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-17128-3


The Wheel and the Pattern

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again." So begins each saga within the World of the Wheel, a universe in which the major controlling factor is the Wheel of Time and the Great Pattern it spins. A pattern in which light and dark, good and evil, male and female, and life and death struggle for balance within the weave of destiny.

What is the Wheel of Time? Imagine a great cosmic loom in the shape of a seven-spoked wheel, slowly spinning through eternity, weaving the fabric of the universe. The Wheel, put in place by the Creator, is time itself, ever turning and returning. The fabric it weaves is constructed from the threads of lives and events, interlaced into a design, the Great Pattern, which is the whole of existence and reality, past, present, and future.

Within the influence of this Lace of Ages are not only the earth and stone of the physical world, but other worlds and universes, other dimensions, other possibilities. The Wheel touches what might be, what might have been, and what is. It touches the world of dreams as well as the world of waking.

In this world there is no one beginning or one end, for each spoke of the great Wheel represents one of the seven Ages, receding into the past and returning in the future as the Wheel spins, the fabric of each age changing only its weave and pattern with each passing. With every pass the changes vary to an increasingly greater degree. For each Age there is a separate and unique pattern, the Pattern of the Age, which forms the substance of reality for that age. This design is predetermined by the Wheel and can only partially be changed by those lives which make up the threads within the weave.

No one knows the length of time it takes for a full turning of the Wheel, nor is there a set time for each Age. There is only the certainty that all will come around again, though surely long past the span encompassed by human memory, or even legend. Yet that knowledge provides the basis for the philosophy and history of the known world. No ending, even death, is necessarily final within the turning of the Wheel. Reincarnation is a part of the way of the world. Prophecies are believed and heeded, since they tell as much of what was as of what will be. The only questions are when and in what manner the prophecies will unfold.

In such a world change is simply a predetermined part of the mechanism. Only a few individuals, special souls known as ta'veren, can cause the fabric of the pattern to bend around them, changing the weave. These ta'veren are spun out as key threads around which all surrounding life-threads, perhaps in some cases all life-threads, weave to create change. These key threads often produce major variations in the Pattern of an Age. Such major changes are called, in the old tongue, ta'maral'ailen, or the "Web of Destiny."

Even the ta'veren and the Web of Destiny woven around them are bound by the Wheel and the Great Pattern; it is believed that the Wheel spins out ta'veren whenever the weave begins to drift away from the Pattern. The changes around them, while often drastic and unsettling for those who must live in the Age, are thought to be part of the Wheel's own correcting mechanism. The more change needed to bring the Great Pattern into balance, the more ta'veren spun out into the world.

The Great Wheel is the very heart of all time. But even the Wheel requires energy to maintain itself and its pattern. This energy comes from the True Source, from which the One Power may be drawn. Both the True Source and the One Power are made up of two conflicting yet complementary parts: saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female half. Working both together and against one another within the True Source, it is saidin and saidar which provide the driving force that turns the Wheel of Time.

The only known forces outside the Wheel and the Pattern are the Creator, who shaped the Wheel, the One Power that drives it — as well as the plan for the Great Pattern — and the Dark One, who was imprisoned outside the pattern by the Creator at the moment of creation. No one inside and of the Pattern can destroy the Wheel or change the destiny of the Great Pattern. Even those who are ta'veren can only alter, but not completely change, the weave. It is believed that if he escapes his prison, the Dark One, being a creature or force beyond creation, has the ability to remake the Wheel and all of creation in his own dark image. Thus each person, especially each of those born ta'veren, must struggle to achieve his or her own best destiny to assure the balance and continuation of the Great Pattern.


The One Power and the True Source

The True Source is made up of two complementary parts: saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female half. Each has separate properties and affinities, working at the same time with and against the other. Only women can touch saidar, and only men saidin. Each is completely unable to sense the other half of the Source, except as an absence or negativity. Even the methodologies by which men and women utilize the One Power that emanates from the True Source are so completely different that no woman can teach a man to use the power, and no man a woman.

In some Ages, such as that called the Age of Legends, men and women used the complementary and conflicting halves of the Power together to perform feats that neither could accomplish separately. In the present Age, part of the Power, the male half, has been tainted, causing any man who channels saidin to go mad eventually and cause Power-wrought havoc unless he is killed or gentled.

Most people cannot sense or touch the True Source, even though its energy may be manifested all around them. Only a tiny portion of the population, about two or three percent, actually have the ability, once taught, to touch and draw on the One Power, and today many of those cannot utilize its power in any effective manner. The act of drawing and controlling the flow of the One Power from the True Source is known as channeling.

Channeling draws on threads of the One Power and uses them singly or in combination in a weave designed to accomplish the particular task at hand. There are five different threads to the One Power, known as the Five Powers. They are named according to the elements their energies manipulate: Earth, Air (sometimes called Wind), Fire, Water, and Spirit. In many cases only one of the Powers is required to accomplish a task. A weave of Fire alone will light a candle or control a fire. But certain tasks necessitate the weaving of flows in more than one of the Five Powers. For instance, one who wishes to affect the weather must weave a flow combining Air, Water, and Spirit.

Anyone who can channel usually has a greater degree of strength with at least one or two of the Powers, yet they may lack any particular ability at all with some of the others. For example, someone strong in Wind may be all but unable to weave Fire, or may be weak in Earth but equally strong in Spirit and Air. Some few rare individuals have been found to be very strong in as many as three, or in very rare cases four, of the Powers. But since the Age of Legends no one has had great strength in all five. Even then, such individuals were very rare.

Levels of comparative strength also vary greatly from one individual wielder of the Power to another, and from men to women. Using records gathered from the Age of Legends (current data have little usable information concerning the use of saidin), it is possible to state certain facts about the strength and distribution of the ability in those men and women who could channel. In general, men were stronger in the use of the Power than women — that is, in the sheer volume of the Power they could handle — though there were certainly individual women who had great strength and individual men who were comparatively weak. By the same token, though some men had great dexterity in the weaving, in general women outstripped men in this regard. Men usually exhibited greater ability with Earth and Fire while women more often excelled in the use of Water and/or Air. Equal numbers of men and women were strong in the use of Spirit. There were, of course, exceptions, but they were rare enough that Earth and Fire came to be regarded as male powers, while Air and Water were considered female powers. Even today women usually exhibit their greatest strength in Air or Water, or both. This probably prompted the popular saying among female channelers: "There is no rock so strong that water and wind cannot wear it away, no fire so fierce that water cannot quench it or wind snuff it out." Any equivalent witticism among male channelers has been lost.

Of the tiny percentage of the population who have the potential to channel at all, only a small number have the ability inborn. It usually manifests itself in adolescence or early adulthood, though in general women show the ability at a younger age than men, often much younger. These few talented individuals will eventually channel the Power with or without guidance, whether or not they wish to do so. In many cases they are not even aware of what they are doing. For such people, touching and drawing on the True Source is completely natural, and potentially deadly.

As far as is known, the One Power is not alive, but is a force of natural energy limited only by the strength of the channeler and the extent of his/her control. One warning must be emphasized: its use is extremely addictive. One unwary of the danger inherent in channeling can easily be seduced into drawing more than he or she can handle, or drawing on it too often. Such mishandling of this power usually exacts a terrible price on the body and mind.

Drawing saidar and channeling it without benefit of guidance or training results in death for four out of five women born with the ability. This death often takes the form of a lingering sickness that saps the individual of her life energy. Those who first touch the power unintentionally generally feel nothing unusual at the time, but suffer a violent reaction as much as ten days later. This reaction seldom lasts for more than a few hours. Headaches, chills, fever, exhilaration, numbness, dizziness, and lack of coordination are only a few of the most usual symptoms, often occurring simultaneously or in quick succession. These effects return after each incident of touching the Source. Each time, reaction comes closer to the actual act of touching, until the two happen almost simultaneously. At this stage the visible reactions stop, but unless some sort of control has been learned, death becomes a certainty. Some women die within the year, some survive as long as five years, yet without the control that is almost impossible to learn without guidance, all die. Their final days are usually marked by violent convulsions and screams of agony. Once the last stages are entered, there is no known cure, even with the use of the One Power.

Those women, often called wilders, who do manage to survive and train themselves in the use of the Power usually develop a mental barrier, probably as a survival mechanism, that makes it difficult for them to reach their full potential. Some think that these blocks are partially caused by the social stigma often associated with the use of the Power, and by the unwillingness of the individual to consider or acknowledge the fact that she can channel. Such blocks can sometimes be broken, though not easily, with assistance from those who have proper training. If the barriers are broken, wilders are often among the most powerful of channelers. Many of those who have undergone the training in what is considered the proper sequence look down on the self-taught, using "wilder" as a derogatory term indicating the unpredictability of a wild talent and the savagery of a wild animal.

Even those with training risk much every time they channel. If a woman draws too much saidar, or draws saidar too often, she can be burned out or overloaded, losing her ability to channel, or, at worst, killing herself. If she weaves powers she cannot adequately control, she may cause her own death and damage those around her.

Before the time of the Breaking of the World, men faced much the same risks as women when born with the ability to channel. After the Bore was sealed, that changed. The Dark One, in the last moments of the battle, managed a final counterstroke that tainted the male half of the One Power. Since the Time of Madness that followed, no man has been able to channel saidin without eventually going completely and horribly insane. Even those who do manage to learn some control die from a slow wasting sickness that causes the sufferer to rot alive. In either case, the danger to those around the male channeler is great. Those men who manage to live long enough to go mad usually end up wielding the power of tainted saidin in horrible ways, often destroying everyone and everything around them. During the Breaking of the World it was such men who completely destroyed the world and known civilization. It is because of this danger that men are not only not encouraged to learn how to channel; those who do learn, or even try to, are hunted down and rendered harmless or killed.

In the Age of Legends, the process by which a man or woman was rendered incapable of channeling was called "severing," as in "being severed from the True Source." In the present day, the process is given a different name depending on whether it is done to a man or a woman.

The severing of a man from the True Source is now known as "gentling." He can still sense the Power, but is unable to touch saidin in any way. He is therefore harmless to those around him, or "gentled." If he is gentled soon enough, the madness and the wasting sickness are also arrested, though not cured, and death by insanity or rot is averted. Unfortunately most who are gentled lose the will to live when their connection to the True Source is severed. They fall into a deep depression and often commit suicide soon after if not forcibly prevented. Those who do not kill themselves usually die within a year or two anyway, for without the will to live the body eventually fails.

For women, the intentional removal of the ability to channel is called "stilling." If the ability is lost by accident the process is called being "burned out," though the term "stilling" is sometimes used for this also, a deplorable loss of precision in speech since the Old Tongue fell out of use. In any case, the results of being stilled or burned out are much the same. The stilled woman, like the man who has been gentled, is cut off from the True Source, always tantalized by the sense of saidar, yet unable to touch or channel it. The woman who is burned out can neither channel nor sense the Power. Stilling is usually done as punishment for a crime, while burnout occurs through overload or misuse of the power, or is the result of losing to an attack by a greater power while channeling. It is assumed that men are susceptible to burnout as well.

Like the men who have been gentled, women who have been stilled lose the will to survive. In fact, less is known about them than about gentled men, who are held prisoner until they die. Women who have been stilled or burned out usually flee as far as they can from women who retain the ability they have lost. Women who can channel rarely make any effort to find stilled or burned-out women; the claim is that they should not be taunted in their misery by the presence of women who remain whole, but it should be noted that women who can channel often become queasy, or even physically ill, at the mere thought of the fate suffered by those others, a fate they themselves could also face. It is believed that stilled women live only if they succeed in finding something to fill the void left by the absence of the One Power. Few manage to find a focus that powerful.


Excerpted from The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, Teresa Patterson. Copyright © 1997 Bill Fawcett & Associates. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface 9(11)
Section 1: The Wheel and the Power 11(16)
The Wheel and the Pattern
The One Power and the True Source
Section 2: The Age of Legends 27(60)
The Age of Legends
The Fall into Shadow
The Dark One and the Male Forsaken
The Forsaken
The Female Forsaken and the Darkfriends
Osan'gar and Aran'gar
Friends of the Dark
Gray Men
The Breaking of the World
Section 3: The World Since the Breaking 87(40)
Formation of the White Tower
Rise and Fall of the Ten Nations
The Second Dragon and the Rise of Artur Hawkwing
The Reign of the High King
The War of the Hundred Years
The New Era
The Aiel War
Section 4: Some Narrative Paintings of Questionable Authenticity 127(16)
Section 5: The World of the Wheel 143(62)
The World After the Breaking
The World
The Main Continent
Continent of the Seanchan
Land of the Madmen
Land of Barriers
Hazardous Trade
Rulers and Government
The Ayyad
Manifest Destiny
One Nation
Leashing the Power
Class Structure
Imperial Control
Seanchan Honor
Imperial Security
The Return
The Exotic Animals of Seanchan
The Sea Folk Islands
The Atha'an Miere
Chain of Command
The Ships
The Amayar
The Aiel
The Waste
History of the Aiel
The First Division
The Second Division
The Maidens of the Spear
The Water Gift
Legacy of Rhuidean
Growth of the Aiel Clans
The Code of Honor and Obligation
The Wise Ones
Aiel Culture
Aiel Kinship
The Lost Ones
The Ogier
The Ways
The Gift
The Waygate
Within the Ways
Deterioration of the Ways
The World of Dreams
Entering Tel'aran'rhiod
A Different Reality
Section 6: Within the Land 205(92)
The White Tower
Aes Sedai
Political Strength of the Tower
A Breed Apart
Becoming Aes Sedai
The Hierarchy of the Tower
The Seven Ajahs
Spies and Informants
The White Tower
The Library
Tar Valon
The Children of the Light
The Hand of the Light
The Spymasters
Organizational Structure
The Military of the Land
National Armies
Order of Command
The Band of the Red Hand
National Stability
The Queen's Guard
The Mountains of Mist and Baerlon
The Two Rivers
The Borderlands: Shienar, Arafel, Kandor, and Saldaea
Holding Back the Shadow
Fal Dara
The Game of Houses
The City of Cairhien
The Sun Palace
The Other Nations
The Unsteady Throne
Ebou Dar
The Tarasin Palace
The Rahad
Salidar: The Tower in Exile
Arad Doman
King, Panarch and Assembly
Rule of Three
The City of Illian
The Companions
High Lords of Tear
The Stone of Tear
Treasures of the Stone
The One Power and Tear
The City of Tear
A Rich Nation
Holidays and the Calendar
The Prophecies of the Dragon
Index 297

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Robert Jordan has elaborated a fantasy world whose complexity and drama rivals Tolkien's... Rife with full-color paintings and maps. the large-format book covers the history, characters, flora, fauna, landscapes and objects of Jordan's fantasy world, and gives hints of upcoming events." —Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for all WoT fans. It fills in so many holes that the books leave with history and how the world was made and runs. This book gives you a much better understanding of the world that Robert Jordan has created and just shows the depth and enormity of his creation. It proves that Robert Jordan spent a lot of time on this series. For those of you who critize it because of illustrations i must say...that is not what the book is for. If you want a childs book. Robert Jordan and many other auther's write so that you use your own imagination to create your own mental picture of characters and places. If you are unable to use your own imaginations then you probably should stick to your childhood picture books. Sorry for my speel...anyways...its a great book, it was easy and enjoyable to read and very informative...a must have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must have!! It gives you details on some of the Chosen that you don¿t get in the book. It is also nice to be able to compare your ideas of what someone looks like or a what creature looks like to that of the illustrator.
rarelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book a lot, because I LOVE Wheel of Time, and have since I was in Junior High in the early 90s when the series was still young as well. However, it doesn't add much to what you already know if you read the books and pay attention to them as you go. And I'm with everyone else - the art work is hideous! I was also really bothered by the fact that I found a number of typographical and gramatical errors throughout the book. I was tempted to red pen it and send it back to the publisher for a refund! Didn't this book have a copy editor?? Overall, very weak. But, I do like the way it looks on the shelf next to all my WoT books...
qarae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This companion "guide" book is a must have for all Wheel of Time lovers. Robert Jordan has laid out the unwritten descriptions for all of his characters, places, and creatures. The pictures a bit rough, but it kind of gives you a window into Robert Jordan's mind while he was creating this fantastic journey.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book that collects and expands Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Most of the information is available in the other books (there is some new stuff) but it is nicely gathered in one place and easily looked up. Most of the art work in the book was rather pathetic. I can only guess that since the book was written from the point of view of a historian born in that world, the the drawings were to reflect the level of artistic ability achieved at that time, kind of like the dark ages in Europe.Over a decent book but only those that really like the Wheel of Time will likely find it useful.
Bluesrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is interesting. It does provide a bit of new information, especially about the lands beyond the borders of our heroes' usual stomping grounds, and it does serve as a useful reference in lieu of searching through 10,000 pages or so of novels to find stray facts. On the other hand, the artwork is frankly hideous--I stared at the picture of Lanfear for several minutes, wondering in whose head that could conceivably be considered attractive, let alone the most beautiful woman who ever lived-- and the book doesn't provide many real insights. It's a collector's item, really.
StarFire22 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for the Robert Jordan fan or a perfect guide for the aspiring world-builder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Avid fans like myself will want this book for the information in it--it was really enlightening about the history of the world. However, as other reviewers have said, don't buy this book for the art. I agree with the earlier reviewer who said te Myrddral isn't scary at all, but the portrait of Loial may well haunt my nightmares for a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Bucknut92 More than 1 year ago
If you are like me, stories such as Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time are more of an adventure then just something you read. With that in mind, The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time is a perfect companion to help the reader become more immersed in this adventure. I've found myself constantly referring to this book for details on something read in the series. I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
donjuan28 More than 1 year ago
Jordon creates his world and keeps the reader's interest as he weaves plots on plots and stories in stories as he moves forward to the unknown . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rickindenver More than 1 year ago
This book is full of great explanatory information but be forewarned: 1) if you haven't read deep into the series, there are going to be plot spoilers, and 2) most of the illustrations are horribly amateurish! Whatever other reviewers have said, there is NO excuse for that!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book in B&N, I wanted to read it to hopefully find out more about the history of the WoT series. Instead, I found that there weren't enough details about some components of the story (the Seanchan), while there was too much information about others (the Whitecloaks, etc.). The artwork was nothing to what I had imagined. Overall, this book is alright at best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It`s a must have for WOT readers but fell short on the art side. I kind of expected more like it in the great book covers. For those of you who fell like me, check the art of Sarah Ellerton at {} she`s a talented artist.