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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 07:44 am (UTC)
Indeed a great loss to the genre .

Sad to think he could not complete the WoT , for himself and his fans .

May he rest in peace , free now from illness and pain .
Sep. 17th, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
Very sad. I had drifted away from the series in recent years, but I do remember the marvellous feeling I had when I first read The Eye Of The World. Amazing to think that was fifteen years ago.
Sep. 17th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
I'm devestated. Wheel of Time got me in to Fantasy and I wouldn't have read ASOIAF if it weren't for the people at Dragonmount telling me to.

I'm so saddened by this..
Sep. 17th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
A Very Sad Day
I was just on RJs website yesterday and read a post by his brother from last week regarding his health. I am currently reading WoT and cannot imagine such a fantasy mind extinguished. Such an illness is hard to predict. My own brother passed only a few weeks ago at a too young age. I hope Harriet all the best. I hear he did tell the rest of his tale to his brother and wife only a short while ago.

I can picture RJ sitting on a boat next to Tolkien, Hemmingway and my brother, fishing in a big lake talking of how Frodo was way too tall in the movie!

A very sad day, indeed!

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...
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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