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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.


Sep. 18th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
Grateful to him and his work.
I was fortunate to meet Robert Jordan at a The Shadow Rising signing many years ago. At that time I commented in a Robert Jordan forum/newsgroup that he appeared ill and tired and that we shouldn't worry about whether or not the series came to a conclusion but enjoy it for what it was/is. This unfortunately started a small storm in the forums which was not my intent. That encounter along with the later news of his truly grave illness prepared me for the inevitable and yet always untimely end.

I've not continued to read the series since the ninth installment, because for me it had lost it's appeal and seemed extremely redundant (tugs braid). However, I still remember the thrill and wonderful enjoyment I felt reading the first book through the seventh. I also enjoyed his Conan work. I think I will revisit the Wheel of Time with fresh eyes and appreciation.

To his family and true friends,

Thank you for sharing him as much as you have.



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

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