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R.I.P. Robert Jordan

The world of high fantasy is poorer today.

James Rigney, better known to fantasy readers as Robert Jordan, has passed away. Although he had been fighting amyloidosis for several years, the news of his death still came as a shock to many, including me. He was so optimistic and determined that you had to think that if anyone could beat the disease, it would be him.

Jim was a good and gracious man, a pleasure to share a platform or a pint with, and his contributions to modern fantasy were many. His huge, ambitious WHEEL OF TIME series helped to redefine the genre, and opened many doors for the writers who followed.

He was also unfailingly generous towards other fantasists, always ready to offer them support and encouragement. My own ICE & FIRE series might never have found its audience without the cover quote that Jim was so kind as to provide, back when A GAME OF THRONES was first published. I will always be grateful to him for that.

The last time I saw Jim was at an Archon in Collinsville, Illinois. It was before his final illness. He was the convention Guest of Honor and I was the Toastmaster, and I introduced him by telling the audience that actually we were the same person. It was a gag that Jim himself had suggested in the Green Room beforehand. While I was doing the intro, and claiming credit for all his books, he slowly entered, walked up silently behind me, and stood looming over me, glowering like Zeus. We got a great laugh.

I had some great dinners with Jim and his wife Harriet there in Collinsville as well. We talked about other writers, editors, publishers, all the stuff that writers always talk about... oh, and a little about our own series as well... and Jim and Harriet invited me to visit them if I ever made it down to Charleston. Sad to say, I never did.

RIP, Jim. You will be much missed.


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Sep. 17th, 2007 09:01 am (UTC)
This is a terrible shock, and a terrible loss.

His writing has affected me and many of my friends in countless ways... and of course, without him, I likely never would have read A Song of Ice and Fire, for it was a random guy at a bus stop who saw me reading WoT who told me to check out ASoIaF.

May Mr. Rigney find joy and peace in the afterlife, and may the family he left behind find comfort and love in this tragic time.
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:39 am (UTC)
Oh no.

I had known how ill he was but his determination was just as you described, and somehow I didn't believe he'd succumb. The last time I saw him was at Archon that same weekend (which is when I first time met you as well). I spent a lot of time with him that weekend, and we talked a lot about his plans for a series that would come after The Wheel of Time.

A great voice for fantasy has been silenced, and I'll miss him.
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC)
Wow... that's terrible. I'm sorry to hear that. I really loved books 1-6 of the WoT Epic but after 7 it just started to lose it's lure for me. I'll be trying to get back into them. It's tragic to hear when anyone dies, especially someone with a great mind and kind heart.

I'm truly sorry, Mr Martin, to hear that your friend has died and my condolences to you and of course to his family.
Sep. 17th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC)
Oh... :(
Sep. 17th, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
This seems to be a really bad year for cultural icons...
RIP Mr. Jordan.
Sep. 17th, 2007 10:14 am (UTC)
Rest in peace, Mr. Jordan.
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:03 am (UTC)
Some friends and I were just talking about his health saturday. he will be sorely missed. My thoughts go to his family and friends.
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
a great, great loss.. he was one of my favorite writers of all time.
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
It is positively tragic, and a harsh reminder to us how fleeting life is and how we need to focus on what matters most.

Which I am loathe to say to you since you might turn around and not write anymore. :D

But he will be sorely missed, and it's heartening to see you remembering your friend and colleague in such a warm manner.
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
Wonderful Story.

'Goodnight, Sweet Prince..."
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:48 am (UTC)
I am totally floored. I know he had been very ill for a long time and was praying for his recovery. He was fighting his illness valiantly and for a while it seemed like he was winning. Even last week when he was telling Wilson the ending of WoT I was hoping that it was not because he was seeing the end of life here.

It was his writing (specifically THE WHEEL OF TIME) that truly hooked me into claiming to be a genre fan. I have my younger brother to thank for that. I always read sci fi and fantasy growing up but not as avidly as I did until I borrowed Joey's copy of Eye of the World and adopted it as my own.

I was blessed to have been able to serve him when he was Author GoH in 2000 at MARCON 36. It was an honor to have him at our convention and I was thrilled to have met him. He was a gracious and humorous person. I only wish I had been able to spend MORE time with him.

It was because of his writing that I finally read Game of Thrones. I had received it as a gift from a friend who knew I like Jim's writing and thought that the Ice and Fire series would satisfy my high fantasy addiction while I waited for RJ to complete his works. While I am terribly sad by his death, I am grateful for the time he was here and that because of him I was exposed to your writing.

Take care of yourself. Blessings and peace be with you as you mourn your colleague and friend. I will be in a fog for the next several days while I process his death. WOW...
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful tribute. I love to hear good memories of those who've passed.
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
Tough news. I wish his friends and family the best in the comings days and weeks.
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
terrible tragedy :(
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
The first six books of the Wheel of Time were major influences on my writing during my middle-teen years, and I'm sorry to hear today of his death. When he announced that he had contracted the illness that would eventually kill him, it struck me how prophetic the copy of the dustcovers of his book was. "He has been writing since 1977 and intends to continue until they nail shut his coffin." And so he did.

If you have to go, that's the way to do it. Doing the things you love til the very end.

I still fondly remember the early days of Rand and Mat and Perrin and Egwene and Elayne and Aviendha (my personal fav). My brother and I used to get the books as soon as they were out in hardcover and pass them back and forth and theorise. Rest in peace, Mr. Jordan.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Mr. Martin,

Thank you for posting this news. I know that I, for one, picked up a Game of Thrones the first time due to Mr. Rigney's quote. I have never regretted that decision! James Rigney will be sorely missed; I know how much joy he has brought into my life, which I know can only be a fraction of that which he brought into the lives of his family and friends.

May the embrace of the mother welcome him home.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)

I'm so glad Stego talked me into going to the signing (and driving!) for *Knife of Dreams* down at the Chrystal Mall two years ago. I'm glad that I got to meet RJ in person. Thought he had kind eyes and found him to be very gracious.

This truly is a sad time for fantasy.

My thoughts with Harriet, his friends and family. May he find peace beyond the veil.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
I was given a copy of "A Game of Thrones" by my local bookstore owner to prevent me from coming in and asking for the new Robert Jordan book... at least for a few days.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Mr. Rigney was the man who got me looking beyold the Eddings, Brooks, and Feists of the genre. He showed me there could be so much more. I saw Mr. Rigney at Mike Ford's memorial service last year. He didn't look well, but I'd thought he was on the rebound. My sympathies go out to Harriet, and the rest of his friends and family.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
It is a sad day, too many great writers pass before their time.

I think I may be one of the extreme few who only picked up WoT because of reading ASoIaF. I think you had mentioned him a few weeks back as well though I'm not sure. But it was your writing that got me into epic fantasy, and waiting for DANCE that made me pick up WoT.
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
I have a feeling we might be hearing more about Archmaester Rigney
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I think all the archmaesters have been named and I don't remember an Archmaester Rigney among them (though I don't rule out faulty memory), but it would be fitting to learn more about Trebor Jordayne, Lord of the Tor. Mr. Martin -- Let It Be Written, please.

R.I.P. Mr. Rigney.
(no subject) - illuminatedwax - Sep. 18th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
I myself found your books because of the Jordan endorsement on the cover. I've been an avid WoT fan for well over a decade now, and this is a horribly sad time for me, as the loss of this giant in the fantasy literary community hits hard. It is good to see other authors paying respect to so great a man.
Sep. 17th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
I read (well, actually listened to) WoT through book 5 and decided I needed a break. Last month I quite randomly returned to it and started book 6 and rediscovered a world I was surprised I missed - in fact I was just listening to it not 30 minutes ago for the morning commute... RJ produced an amazing amount of material and while at times it gets tedious and repetitive you can't help but step back sometimes and think of the incredible talent the man had. Very sad news on a dreary Monday...
Sep. 17th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
I just heard
I didn't know Jordon personally, but I read all of his books, and I've adventured with all the wonderful characters that he so vividly brought to life In the Wheel of time series. It was Jordan's stories that helped me find a love for reading, an influence that had a strong impact on my life. What a sad day.
Sep. 17th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, it was the Jordan quote on A Game of Thrones that attracted my interest that day in Border's, and it factored heavily in my ultimately purchasing it. That's just one more debt that I owe to Mr. Rigney's memory. I have been reading the WoT series since 1993 or so; nearly fifteen years, now. I have been reading your own amazing series (Eerily enough, I finished my fourth full re-read of ASoIaF yesterday afternoon) since the first book was new. I have had countless hours of fantastic escape and deep immersion in worlds of wonder, as a result of Robert Jordan. Rest in Peace, James Rigney. You touched millions of lives, including my own, and gave them the gift of magic, and the gift of the Light.
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George R.R. Martin
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