The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Epic Fantasy at Its Finest – Why You Should Get Lost in “The Wheel of Time”

The fantasy genre allows us to escape into magical worlds filled with adventure, intrigue and the age-old battle between good and evil. As a long-time fantasy fan, I’ve journeyed through many captivating lands, but none compare to the exceptionally crafted realm of Robert Jordan’s epic masterwork, The Wheel of Time.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

You can find The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About author Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan

The Master Storyteller Behind the Wheel of Time Epic Fantasy Series

Robert Jordan was an acclaimed American fantasy and science fiction author best known for the globally popular The Wheel of Time book series. With over 90 million books sold worldwide, Jordan’s epic masterpiece remains one of the most influential and widely-read fantasy series of all time.

Born James Oliver Rigney, Jr. in 1948, Jordan draw upon his varied life experiences to create the expansive world of The Wheel of Time. After growing up in South Carolina, he attended The Citadel military college in Charleston where he studied physics and served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Army as a helicopter gunner. He was highly decorated for his service.

After the war, Jordan returned to civilian life and began writing from a small shed in his backyard. He initially wrote historical fiction novels under his pen name Reagan O’Neal, including warrior stories set in the Middle Ages and the American Revolutionary War period. However, fantasy storytelling had captured his imagination so he later switched his focus, adopting the pen name Robert Jordan for his first fantasy novel published in 1984.

Over the next 15 years Jordan released 11 novels in his epic Wheel of Time high fantasy series, immersing legions of passionate readers in the story of three young heroes who stand against an ultimate evil known as the Dark One. With magic systems and plotting influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism and Islamic culture, the Wheel of Time built mythical depth through Jordan’s sheer imaginative breadth.

The rich universe Jordan crafted in the series was praised for its nuanced characterization and gripping adventures. Readers could intimately connect with the inner lives of heroes like the destined ruler Rand al’Thor, cunning manipulator Moiraine Damodred and powerful magic-wielder Egwene Al’Vere. Though every character had to grapple with supernatural forces of good and evil, their believable personal motivations and moral conflicts made them fascinatingly flawed and human.

Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga left an undeniable stamp on fantasy literature through the 90s and 2000s. Echoes of its vision can be seen across mediums in later epic tales from authors like George R.R. Martin as well as in fantasy games and shows. The popularity of Jordan’s books also directly influenced many Hollywood production and distribution decisions as executives saw the built-in global fanbase for fantasy properties.

After Robert Jordan’s untimely passing in 2007, established fantasy author Brandon Sanderson was chosen to complete the final three books in The Wheel of Time series according to Jordan’s notes and manuscripts. This successfully closed out plot lines for devoted longtime fans. Recently, interest in Jordan’s game-changing fantasy series has sparked once again with an acclaimed television adaptation from Amazon Prime Video proving hisoriginal story still captivates new generations.

Over a writing career that spawned countless books including Conan the Barbarian novels and the Fallon Blood historical fantasy trilogy, Robert Jordan transports readers to distinct realms fueled solely by his boundless creativity. Though the history-making author may be gone, his expansive fictional universes live on to be discovered and rediscovered. Like the turning of the ages central to his Wheel of Time saga, modern fans continue to feel Jordan’s monumental influence on fantasy storytelling.


Spanning 14 meaty volumes totaling over 4 million words, The Wheel of Time immerses you in its reality like few other fantasy series can match. Jordan doesn’t just tell an epic tale; he builds an entire world overflowing with intricate cultures, political schemes, heroes, villains, selfless sacrifice, budding romance and earth-shattering betrayals.

Magic systems, prophetic dreamings, ancient artifacts, otherworldly creatures – Jordan incorporated everything great fantasy is made of, weaving together a complex tapestry that becomes more dazzling the deeper you delve. This vast scope can seem daunting for new readers, but when seen as a journey to savor rather than a mountain to conquer, The Wheel of Time rewards mightily.

The Relatable Characters

While the world-building commands much attention, the characters shining at the heart of this saga are what you’ll remember most.

Jordan gifted us an eclectic cast – the stubborn yet sympathetic Rand; the wise yet coy Moiraine; the fierce yet loyal Lan; the brave yet conflicted Perrin – yet each personality is carefully crafted to resonate deeply. Their intricate backgrounds, motivations, relationships and character arcs progress meaningfully across novels, causing this mammoth series to feel intimate and personal.

We ride along in the characters’ heads, cheering their triumphs, cringing at their mistakes, weeping for their losses. Seeing figures I’ve come to know so well encounter harsh fate or final sacrifice moved me profoundly, implanting memories I still conjure years later.

The Page-Turning Adventure

Don’t let the sheer size intimidate you – Jordan was a master at pacing, ensuring gratifying payoff for patient readers while amping up page-turning momentum at key intervals.

Though sprawling, the saga centers on Rand al’Thor’s tense journey toward a prophetic confrontation with the Dark One to determine humanity’s fate. This driving through-line couples with episodic adventures and mini-arcs, some political, some magical, some gruesome, many romantic.

There’s always another quest awaiting, more ingenious world-building to unveil, relationships to complicate, revelations to shock – and you can’t walk away until these tantalizing story threads play out. Late nights fading into dawn as “just one more chapter” were a regular occurrence during my time with The Wheel of Time.

The Magic System

While various magical elements enrich this fantasy realm, the central system of channeling saidin and saidar holds special allure. The cold/hot duality maps broad concepts like yin/yang, masculine/feminine, strength/beauty onto this fundamental force underlying reality.

The nuanced exploration of how magic influences culture and identity supplies depth to breathe life into a creative system. And the dangers of wielding the One Power raise the stakes, giving channelers compelling narratives.

From Lanfear to Moiraine, Nynaeve to Rand, the magic-users often shine brightest, locked in philosophical battles where flashing lights and rattling earth are mere backdrops to tense confrontations between clashing convictions.

The Last Battle

After millions of words constructing this expansive world, paying off years of prophecy and preparation, Jordan delivers an ending that satisfies, while allowing room for fans to imagine adventures yet to come.

As old friends and foes converge amid apocalyptic stakes, farewells are made, beliefs are tested and the ultimate struggle between Light and Shadow unfolds across one explosive final volume, where struggles small and large align into an all-encompassing ending for the ages.

Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time represents fantasy at its finest – rich world-building, emotive characters, high magical concepts and pulse-pounding adventures that pay off in an immensely gratifying conclusion. I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a read. Or two!

5 More Epic Fantasy Series To Fill The Void

Craving more sweeping fantasy after turning the final page? Here are 5 similar series to consider:

  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – An intricate fantasy world centered on the power struggles of several noble families on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. Martin’s complex characters, gritty realism and intricate, unpredictable plotting come together to create a compelling drama with thought-provoking themes concerning war, politics and human nature.
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – It transports readers to the fully-realized realm of Middle Earth, where the clash between good and evil comes to life through the epic quest to destroy a powerful ring. By blending mythology, memorable characters and inventive world building, Tolkien captivates readers with an imaginative tale of camaraderie, courage and hope triumphing over darkness – one that established the template for the modern fantasy genre.
  • The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – This epic fantasy series features incredibly detailed worldbuilding, complex magic systems, and dramatic battles between good and evil. As Sanderson was chosen to finish The Wheel of Time after Jordan’s passing, fans will recognize his talent for expansive storytelling.
  • The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind – This epic fantasy saga follows the journey of Richard Cypher as he discovers he is instrumental in an ancient prophecy to save the world. Fans of The Wheel of Time will enjoy the creative magic, rich cultures and lands, and themes of fate and duty.
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings – This five book series tells the story of Garion and his quest along with sorcerers and sorceresses to recover the magical Orb of Aldur. Like The Wheel of Time, the coming of age tale features detailed world building and clearly defined opposing powers of good and evil.
  • The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Leguin – As a classic series spanning over 50 years, Earthsea features a fully realized fantasy world centered around wizardry and magical realms. Fans will appreciate the philosophical depth Le Guin brings to concepts of power, identity, and purpose.
  • The Black Company by Glen Cook – This dark fantasy series follows an elite mercenary group with growing magical powers. Wheel of Time fans will connect to the ensemble cast of complex characters and appreciation for detail in setting a grittier tone.
  • The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams – This foundational epic fantasy series pits a young kitchen boy against ancient, powerful evil forces. Like The Wheel of Time, there is intricate world building blended evenly with fascinating character growth over the course of an enchanting adventure.
  • The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks – Set in a post-apocalyptic world blending science fiction and fantasy, this expansive series spans generations of heroes in the fight against totalitarian and demonic foes. Fans will delight in the detailed histories, characters, and realms.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson – This ten book series set in the extravagantly detailed world of Malaz launched Erikson to fame with its complexity and originality. Jordan fans will appreciate the philosophical undertones and sheer scope of the interwoven tales.
  • The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks – Magic meets conflict between classes and factions in this action-packed five book fantasy series. Readers will connect to the intricate magical system based on harnessing colors of light and complex character motivations around status and identity.
  • The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin – While sci-fi blended with fantasy, this innovative series tackles oppression and power through the lens of people with ability over geological forces. Wheel of Time fans will love getting lost in a fresh, but fully conceived landscape shaped by strong female protagonists.

Immerse yourself for months, even years in these rich fantasy realms. Just beware – you might forget to come back! But as Moiraine would say, no story ever truly ends. We all turn the Wheel in our time.


1. What is The Wheel of Time book series about?

The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series written by Robert Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death. The story follows Moiraine, an Aes Sedai or magic wielding woman, as she arrives in the village of Emond’s Field. She takes Rand al’Thor, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al’Vere, and Nynaeve al’Meara on a journey across the world because one of them might be the reincarnation of a person prophesied to save or destroy the world.

2. How many books are in the Wheel of Time series?

The Wheel of Time spans 14 novels in total, plus a prequel novel and two companion books. The 14 main books follow the characters on their journeys across the world as they battle the Dark One. The prequel novel, New Spring, tells the story of Moiraine and Lan’s adventures 20 years before the start of the main series.

3. What is the reading order of the Wheel of Time books?

The Wheel of Time books should be read in the following order:

  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
  12. The Gathering Storm
  13. Towers of Midnight
  14. A Memory of Light
    The prequel New Spring takes place before book 1, but is usually read after finishing the main series.

4. Who finishes writing The Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan dies?

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson finishes writing the last three books in The Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan passes away from cardiac amyloidosis in 2007. Using Jordan’s extensive notes, Sanderson completes the series with the books The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light.

5. What is the magic system like in The Wheel of Time?

Channelers in The Wheel of Time series utilize a magic system called the One Power. The One Power encompasses two halves that work against each other, saidin – which can only be channeled by men – and saidar, which women channel. The main character, Rand al’Thor, channels saidin while the Aes Sedai channel saidar. Channelers draw the One Power from the True Source to perform extraordinary feats.

6. Who are the main characters in The Wheel of Time?

The central characters who leave Emond’s Field in the first book are: Rand al’Thor, who discovers he can channel saidin; his friends Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara who have their own destiny; Egwene al’Vere who trains to become Aes Sedai; and Nynaeve al’Meara the village wisdom. Other key characters are Moiraine, an Aes Sedai; her Warder Lan Mandragoran; Thom Merrilin the gleeman or bard; Padan Fain, the peddler; and later introduced characters such as Aviendha, Min, Elayne, and Tuon.

7. What are the factions in The Wheel of Time?

The main factions competing for control in The Wheel of Time series are:

  • The White Tower where Aes Sedai train and reside
  • The Forsaken or Chosen Ones, 13 powerful channelers who serve the Dark One
  • The Black Ajah made up of Darkfriends posing within the White Tower ranks
  • The Aiel warrior people who follow Rand al’Thor as the Car’a’carn or chief of chiefs
  • The Seanchan forces who want to dominate Randland and collar magic wielders as weapons

8. What are the themes in The Wheel of Time books?

Major themes across The Wheel of Time series include: the struggle between good and evil, prophecy and destiny, corruption of power, gender dynamics and divisions, duty and sacrifice, love and loyalty. The cyclical nature of time is an overarching motif, with the slogan “the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills” reflecting patterns of fate and reincarnation.

9. What inspired Robert Jordan to write The Wheel of Time?

In interviews, Robert Jordan shared that his desire to write an epic fantasy series on the scale of The Lord of the Rings was a key inspiration behind The Wheel of Time. He was also inspired by Hindu mythology, Arthurian legend, and stories about warrior societies like the Apache and Sioux. The complex magic system was significantly based on ideas about yin/yang dualities.

10. Why should new readers start The Wheel of Time books?

Epic worldbuilding, memorable characters, gripping adventures, rich cultural details, and an intricate hard magic system are just some of the series highlights. With over 90 million books sold, The Wheel of Time offers an unforgettable, immersive experience for fantasy fans. As an influential staple of the genre, it is a must-read series for its unique and ambitious vision of good vs. evil across multiple character viewpoints and lands.

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