Spoiler Free - WOT as an Intro to Fantasy

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time Discussion - First Time Read' started by Jocasta Braithe, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. Jocasta Braithe

    Jocasta Braithe Accepted Game Master

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    So I was watching some stuff about the upcoming show and stumbled on this discussion about Wheel of Time as a "gateway drug" to fantasy in general. I guess probably when the books were originally released, a lot of new fantasy fans had WOT as their first introduction to the genre, but the idea kind of made my eyes go :eek a little because I was first given a copy of Eye of the World my freshman year of high school back in... mumbles the 1990s /old *cough* and I wasn't able to get into it at all. I don't think I even got past the prologue. And I was that weird Tolkien kid who had books about Sindarin Grammar that were all dog eared and worn out because I used them so much. I didn't pick WOT back up and get into it until I was 30+ and I still haven't gotten all the way to the end and it's probably been five years since I started!

    What do you all think. WOT as a "starter series" or no?

    In some ways I do think especially the early books are good for a younger crowd, but the sheer length of it. It intimidates me and... yeah. I read the entire Silmarillion when I was like 13. :lol
     
  2. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe

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    Harry Potter is a gateway to fantasy...
    Wheel of Time IS fantasy. Is it Tolkien level? Maybe not, but they focus on very different things. Tolkien was all about language, but Jordan has the whole trouble with communication and destiny stuff. I'd say that it was probably a lot of people's first introduction to the genre, and I know many that have tried Tolkien's LoTR, but never even made it out of the Shire :look
    Is it perfect? No. but sadly, there probably isn't such a thing as a perfect fantasy book ;)

    I have heard some people talk of fantasy as a genre in progress. Tolkien started it, Jordan continued it, now Sanderson continues it. Many other too by now of course, but Jordan was sort of seen as the one that continued the genre past Tolkien.
     
  3. Lenore Carvoe

    Lenore Carvoe Aes Sedai

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    It's too complicated and far too long to be a starter series if you've never read any Fantasy before. I started WoT also back in the 90ies, but before that I've already been a reader of Fantasy for ten years or so. In fact, ancient myths and sagas got me into reading Fantasy. Myths and sagas somehow were the logical follow-up after reading fairytales.
     
  4. Satara al'Caelahn

    Satara al'Caelahn Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah Moderator

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    If someone hasn't read fantasy before, I wouldn't recommend WoT. If you're not used to how immersive the entire world can get, it's probably not going to hold someone's attention. Not because it isn't interesting, but because they're not used to that style.

    For me, my "gateway" into fantasy was reading modern fantasy, like YA novels and the occasional one of my mom's romance novels that had "weird stuff" in it like psychics.

    Reading something like WoT or LotR is something that you should probably go into knowing that there's going to be a lot of world-building going on.
     
  5. Jocasta Braithe

    Jocasta Braithe Accepted Game Master

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    My first fantasy was the Hobbit and the Winkle in Time books.
     
  6. Arella Mathara

    Arella Mathara Accepted

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    Mythology, fairytales and myths is what got me into fantasy, I guess. I read Tolkien then WoT though, so I got to them pretty early on. Wouldn't say it's a starter series though, but could be for some.
     
  7. Juliya Karisu

    Juliya Karisu Aes Sedai

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    Same. I loved fairytale retellings especially.

    I read The Hobbit and LOTR after WoT. Also Brandon Sanderson was after I completed the entire WoT. Even now I tend to read shorter series or standalones.

    I wouldn't say it's a gateway because I feel you have to like fantasy to start it. I have friends I've recommended it to who don't read fantasy and they never got past the first book.
     
  8. Tobias Carawin

    Tobias Carawin Citizen

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    I see books like the Eragon and Harry Potter series as entry level fantasy. For me, they are quick reads and seem to be more action oriented than most fantasy books. Where people usually run into issues with the WOT series is in the vast amount of detail, world building, and long introspective character arcs. The people I have introduced to the series find it difficult to digest it all when they are normally accustomed to fantasy that has more action or moves at a fast pace. WOT is a marathon. It takes patience... but when you cross the finish line you realize you want to do it again. I have lost count of re-reads.
     
  9. Satara al'Caelahn

    Satara al'Caelahn Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah Moderator

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  10. Ilissa al'Nari

    Ilissa al'Nari Scribe of the Glitterati Aes Sedai

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    For me, WoT was a gateway into fantasy - or at least one of the gateways, haha :p. When I read my first (and second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth) WoT book it was 1996, and I had accidentially stumbled over the first book when I was rummaging through the train station kiosk for a book in English that was thick enough that it would last the 6-hour train ride home. Before that I had -tried- reading LoTR and the Hobbit. LotR was too difficult for me to read in English (probably didn't help that I was 12 when I tried reading it), and I found "The Hobbit" childish. I had read Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series and liked that well enough. WoT resonated with me in a way that no book had done until then. I think part of it was that I identified extremely strongly with Egwene - I was 16 then, and desperately wanted out of my small town.
     
  11. Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak

    Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak Aes Sedai Head of the Gray Ajah

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    On a tangential note:
    I agree with whoever it was earlier who said the prologue was hard to get through or something like that. I remember reading it for the first time and being totally confused by the prologue, then moving on to the first chapter and really getting into the story. Every once in a while I'd recall the prologue and wonder what the heck the connection was - it seemed like an entirely different and unrelated story to me at the time. :cheese
     
  12. Satara al'Caelahn

    Satara al'Caelahn Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah Moderator

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    +1

    The prologue really confused me, and then I remember reading about Rand and Tam on their way to Emond's Field and it felt like that trip took forever. It was a slow start and the way it pulled me in was kinda sneaky.

    One of the things that I always have trouble doing is to explain WoT to people who ask because it's so ingrained in me at this point not to use words like "magic" and "witches" because that's not what it is.

    WoT creeps up on you and holds you hostage for the rest of your life, making you cringe every time someone says there's magic in the books.
     
  13. Leala ni al'Dareis t'al'Caleum

    Leala ni al'Dareis t'al'Caleum First Seasoner Aes Sedai Assistant TVT Editor

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    WoT kind of set the standard for "Confusing/chaotic prologue, straight into subtle world-building" dynamic for me. :lol
     
  14. Ilverin Matriam

    Ilverin Matriam Aes Sedai Director of Research and Records Historian Tower Gatekeeper

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    I believe this is better visible in a movie/tv series than in a book. Now I wonder if they will do the prologue in the tv show :scratch
     
  15. Merena Orithana

    Merena Orithana Citizen

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    I feel like WoT was a great intro to Epic Fantasy. I had a hard time getting into Malazan Book of the Fallen (too military-focused) and Lord of the Rings (too much detail and too slow moving). I think the Belgariad is also a great intro as well, but isn't as good of a re-read as you get older.
    I usually compare it to NSync and Backstreet Boys music - I preferred BSB as a teenager and 20 something, but NSync songs speak to me a bit more as a 30 something. :lol
     
  16. Atane Valthon

    Atane Valthon Soldier

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    For me, Star Wars was actually what I consider to be my introduction to fantasy (insert discussion about Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy). Bookwise, the Chronicles of Narnia was my introduction to Fantasy.

    WoT as an intro to Epic Fantasy, I can accept.
     
  17. Merena Orithana

    Merena Orithana Citizen

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    Wow! Completely forgot about that one, :look but I tend to think of that, Brian Jacques, Robin McKinley, Mercedes Lackey, etc as 'old school' YA Fantasy, vice adult 'epic' fantasy.
     
  18. Nadezhda al'Lanahrin

    Nadezhda al'Lanahrin Citizen

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    I have to agree with everyone here that The Wheel of Time isn’t the best place to start for Fantasy. When I worked at Barnes and Noble, for middle-grade I recommended Harry Potter or Keepers of the Lost Cities. For Young Adult, I recommended Throne of Glass, An Ember in the Ashes, Red Queen, and so on. For myself, my bridge to Adult and Epic Fantasy was Mistborn.
     
  19. Sorcha Al'Verdan

    Sorcha Al'Verdan Aes Sedai

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    Its way too long. Dragonlance Chronicles was my intro and I can't think of a better one.
     
  20. Wil Cambrae

    Wil Cambrae Sparkle Chief Gaidin

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    My intro into Fantasy as a child was The Hobbit in 5th grade. Also an early read was The Prydain Chronicles due mostly to Disney's The Black Cauldron animated classic :lol
    I think WoT might be a bit mature for children, but teens would get into it after having read some other Fantasy. I can see the first few books were released as split books and it worked because they followed a lot of tropes of Fantasy, but as the books went beyond that things get darker and I'm not sure people would enjoy that..... but I was also a weird kid