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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. 19th, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
The wheel weaves as the wheel wills
Peace favor you Jim.
Sep. 19th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
R.I.P Robert Jordan
I received a paperback copy of "The Eye of the World" in a care package sent by my high school english teacher. I was in the middle of the first gulf war and reading was a great escape. I started reading it and put it away thinking "Black Riders? LOTR rip-off!" I brought the book back to the states with me and picked it up about a year later. Since then I've read every book as soon as it was published, enjoyed them even when after 700 or so pages it seemed the time line had only inched forward a couple of days. I'm saddened by the loss of Mr. Jordan, I always feared something would happen to him before he finished the series and when I found out he was ill I prayed for his recovery and didn't much care if he finished it. Now that he's left this cycle of the wheel I take comfort that he will always be with me in the wonderful world he created. One day another will pick up the torch and finish his masterpiece.
Sep. 19th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
I am saddened and in shock
Well George this news is a huge blow to me. Like you I thought if anybody could beat it he could. Very sad. He will be missed by many who knew him only through his brilliant work. Including me.
Sep. 19th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
I was shocked to hear the news yesterday. The part that really tears at my heart is the fact that he didn't get to finish his own story. I know he told someone how it was to end, but ... he didn't get to type the last word upon the page, sit back in satisfaction at the completion of his life's work, and reflect on the amazing journey he had taken (and allowed his readers to join him in). May he rest in peace, and may his family and friends find comfort during this difficult time.
Sep. 19th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is a shock. I know we all have to go sometime, but It is kind of a shame he didn't get to see the finish of his legacy...
Sep. 19th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
A pity this has come to pass
I'm one sorry guy. But honestly? What was he thinking drawing out his series that long? He could have been done three books ago.

I actually had to stop reading his books because I was so frustrated at the monotony of the whole thing. But Alas, i digress. I know this is not about how long it took him to finish, but what he got done along the way.

I can not help think about the parable of the man with a chunk of gold.

He was walking down the road in his youth one day and found a gold rock, the size of his fist! He hid it beneath his pillow night after night dreaming of the riches it would gain him. He kept it all his years and never spent it, always living in poverty. Until one day he died, never gaining the riches he hid under his pillow.

Yeah, it went something like that, and I cant help but feel it applies in some way to Jordan. Now i will never finish those books. But of course, i quit those books a long time ago, never thinking they would be finished. I guess I was right.

RIP Jordan. Those first three books of yours were some of the best fantasy I have EVER read.
Sep. 20th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
There is always only a beginning.
Legacies are never completed. That is the legacy of us all.

I am thrilled that he shared his imagination with us. For those who take issue with him not 'completing' his work, how could he stop creating and writing when it is evident that he needed to put pen to paper as the Wheel of Time kept turning.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the late twentieth, early twenty first century, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose on planet Earth. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
Sep. 20th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: There is always only a beginning.
Dont get me wrong. I LOVED his books. But seriously man. You do have to admit you could only take so much of smoothing of skirts and pulling of braids...
Sep. 20th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
R.I.P. Robert Jordan
I was introduced to Mr. Jordan's WoT earlier this year. A few months prior I had discovered and devoured "A Song of Ice and Fire" (you may of heard of it) and I was needing a fix (no pressure, if you were putting out a book every two weeks we'd want it in one ;-). Fortunately on trips to the book store (nirvana) a fellow reader recommended WoT. I'm now in the middle of book 11 and it's been pure joy every step of the way.

We will read many books that we enjoy through out our lives but how many have authors that you really love to read. How they wrote really spoke to you or you could really relate to the characters of their books more so than others. I will always be thankful for the adventures that Mr. Jordan took me on and wonder where we might have gone tomorrow.

I found this on another post and thought it was nice:

tsteele55428 Says:

September 19th, 2007 at 23:13
The wind was not a beginning. There are neither beginning nor endings to the turning of the wheel of time. But it was A beginning.

>>Let the Dragon ride on the wind of time forever.

>>We owe him that much

Sep. 20th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Hi George...
Wow, came across your LJ through following a thread on the subject matter....figured, what the heck, I'd drop you a line and see if you remember an old friend from forever ago :-)....hope all is well with you and your'n. I'm doing fine and happy here, still in New England after lo, these fourteen years, although I have been well out of the Fandom Circles since moving. Take care, and drop a line if the mood moves you. Peace, Susan (Brocato) Wilson....(can be reached at oh_susana@charter.net).
Sep. 21st, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
He will be sorely missed
I picked up his book 15 years ago and have read everyone more then 3 times each, book 11 I read in two straight sittings and loved it. I would have never known of your books if I didn't see his name on the cover saying what a great writer you are, I've been reading his blogs at least twice a week since I found out he was sick and I knew when his cousin said that he had told the whole family how it ended that he would be laid to rest soon, he will definitely be missed.
Sep. 21st, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)
May he step into the afterlife like through a blissful ter'angreal.
Hopefully J.R. passed peacefully, but you’d think that the Gods or the Fates or even chance could have let him at least finish his work. But all men must die I suppose, and who knows, perhaps it’s better to pass away with work unfinished than with nothing left to do.

With the world as it is however it would be nice if Harriet eventually finishes the last book (aptly named: A Memory of Light) in commemoration of her husband and finds some solace in it.

Lastly, I know that some people have persistently been bashing J.R’s writings for this and that, but I’ll tell you this; he wrote exactly what I needed at times when I needed to read, and as far as writing goes I don’t think that there is anything which matters more.
Sep. 21st, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
I just found out today, I'm in deep shock. I've been reading the WoT for years, and it is actually the reason I picked up Song of Fire and Ice.....I knew he was ill, I checked up on the blog regularly to see any updates. I feel like a part of me will never be complete...ugh. R.I.P.

"May you shelter in the palm of the Creator's hand, and may the last embrace of the mother welcome you home."
Sep. 22nd, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
I first picked up The Eye of the World over a decade ago after a friend recommended it to me. I was hooked from the start and quickly read all the books in the series that were available. After finishing Lord of Chaos, I had to impatiently wait for each new volume to be released. I discovered GRRM's books as a result of trying to find other high quality fantasy to read while waiting for the next book in the WoT series. More than being just entertainment, Robert Jordan's books have had a profound influence on my life. I've taken lessons about morality, loyalty, and friendship from his writing. I look forward to one day introducing my children to his books.
Oct. 13th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
So Sad
Though I was ruined on epic fantasy by the brilliance of your novels, I was a fan of Jordan's Conan novels. I was always a huge Howard fan and I felt that only Jordan came close to matching the ferocity of those tales with his Conan books. I may have to concede that since I loved the Conan novels, perhaps I will enjoy other works he has penned. Maybe it is time to try another fantasy epic, especially now that I have finished the Farseer/Liveship series while I am waiting for Dance. You gave Hobb a well deserved endorsement and as you were right in doing so, perhaps your advice should be heeded and I will tackle the Wheel of Time series as well. But, I ramble. Back to the point of this comment: I am saddened to hear of his passing and wish to extend my condolences to his friends and family, he was obviously well loved.
Oct. 13th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
I was there
I came to Archon 25, in 2001, to see you--and I remember the bit with you and your friend Jim. It's the only fantasy con I ever went to, I feel lucky now to have seen Robert Jordan alive and in the flesh.
That was also when that great photo of you with the tiger cub was taken. I won the Director's Choice Award for a painting of mine in the art show--the first ever Director's Choice Award for Archon.
I would never have gone, if you hadn't been there--
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George R.R. Martin
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