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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.

Comments

( 158 comments )
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(Deleted comment)
celticmom1967
Sep. 17th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
This comment resembles my sentiments as well. I attribute RJ with my love for fantasy and also to opening the door to Ice and Fire as a result of the lag time between his books.

mamaupnorth
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
I don't even know what to say. :-(
zmarlowe
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:41 am (UTC)
Dammit.

My dad gave me [i]The Eye of the World[/i] for my birthday when it first came out in paperback. I loved that book to death; I still have the same copy, even though the cover's fallen off from age. And I remember Dad getting me [i]The Great Hunt[/i], only it was a lousy copy because the glue holding the spine together was already coming loose before I read the first page. I spent the whole time reading it trying to hold it as gently as possible, which is a tough thing to do when you're reading something that exciting and cool. And man, I remember getting chills at the climax of [i]Lord of Chaos[/i], the deep bone chills you get when the story is into you and you can't see anything else, can barely see the words on the page.

I only heard he was sick a year or two ago. I've lost touch with the Wheel of Time series--kept telling myself I'd get back to it when it was finished--and I'll admit to making a couple of jokes at how long the whole thing was getting. But he was a writer of great courage, and he created a world as rich as any other I've read. This is terrible news. My sincerest condolences to those he left behind.
twistedsheets10
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
I've never read his books, but I know many who loved his works, and if it weren't for his blurb in AGoT, I wouldn't have been enticed to pick it up.

Rest in Peace, Robert Jordan.
apocalyptically
Sep. 17th, 2007 04:56 am (UTC)
I just wrote about Robert Jordan in my LJ too. The Eye of the World was one of the books that got me into fantasy. I'm really bummed out about the news. :(
muyfloja
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)
Although I gave up on the WoT series after book eight, Robert Jordan was still the primary author responsible for getting me hooked on to the fantasy genre back when I was in high school. I will always appreciate him for that. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
japanfreak
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
While WoT was never really my cup of tea, it is certainly one of the most important pieces of epic fantasy ever written. This is a very sad day for fantasy readers everywhere. My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

I'll be making an effort to read The Eye of the World once again because of this.

R.I.P. Robert Jordan
protowilson
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
So sorry to hear this. I loved the Wheel of Time series. I honestly thought he was going to make it, he seemed so positive.
Thank you, Robert, for such a wonderful story. Rest in peace.
_dahne_
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Wow. I'm really sorry to hear that. I spent a good chunk of my life in WoT. Those books got me through junior high.
madbard
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Most people know him for the WoT series, but his early Conan novellas were fantastic as well.

He, Patrick O'Brien, and John MacDonald are all due some sort of posthumous reprimand, however.
bigmont
Sep. 17th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
Conan
Agreed he told a great Conan tale! One of the best.
kylara
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
I never had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Jordan in person, but hearing this is a weight in my chest. I have enjoyed his Wheel of Time series, and it is strange to look at the collection on my shelf and realize it will not be growing any larger. More books may be published, his series completed, but it will be with another's hand.

My best to all of his family and friends, and to everyone he's touched. Peace, Mr. Jordan. May you shelter in the palm of the Creator's hand.
mercury_glitch
Sep. 17th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
perhaps with anothers hand, but with his word. I'm given to understand he left rather extensive notes about the final book, told his family a good set of details on how it comes to end, etc. And he had written at least some of the book thus far. So hopefully it turns out well, rather than some of the other family releases of authors unpublished works after they passed on.
g_g_om
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Please, please take care of your health!
It is sad to hear about Robert Jordan, and this is probably not the right time to say it, but I am just afraid to think that I could have read a similar entry in his journal about you...
anowyn
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:07 pm (UTC)
Hear hear. I want to see my favorite author live to be a creaky old man in his 90s, or more, relaxing from all the work he's done to write and write and write to please his rabid fans like us!
cheshire_monkey
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
This is incredibly sad news. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Thank you for sharing your fond memories.
galin
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
I found my way to Ice & Fire through Wheel of Time, but more... indirectly than just reading a quote on the back of the book. Was playing on a Wheel of Time MUD when a few friends I made there insisted I read Game of Thrones.

I stopped reading Wheel of Time, but this news saddens me, as Wheel of Time has influenced many things in my life.

I also echo the requests to stay healthy :).
nathanfairbairn
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC)
ditto
Yeah, I just dropped by to ask you as respectfully as I can to start taking better care of yourself, George. I know it's entirely selfish of me, but your work is very important to me. RIP, Robert Jordan.
amyrlin1271
Sep. 17th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)
RIP RJ
It's because of him that I read ASoIaF.. well, not him directly. Many of the people at wotmania.com said READ IT.. so I did.

It was amazing.

Thank you for you kind words :(

RIP RJ
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