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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

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»The Bell Tolls: JordanCon 4 and the Year of the Dragon

2012-04-24

JordanCon continues to be the kind of fan freak event geared directly at Theorylanders, or so I like to think. From trivia contests and theory panels to interviews with Team Jordan, or just passing conversations with them and fellow fans over the course of three days, make the HCFF's heart beat stronger. It's intimate, focused, and manages to bring out the introvert. In the past years, I have left JordanCon feeling upbeat and a renewed desire to write more theories, but this year was different.

It first came as a bell tolling. It happened at the end of Harriet's reading of a portion of the upcoming prologue to "A Memory of Light." It tolled in my mind like a gong reverberating down my spine. With each question answered about the impending conclusion of "The Wheel of Time," and with every morsel released, it dawned on me with growing dread that this ending will be something new. It will hurt in a most bitter and most sweet kind of way, like the warming sensation in the fingers and toes after a wonderfully cold and snowy winter day. "The Wheel of Time" will end without the promise of a better future, but with the enduring joy of its memory; that light is what will remain. The characters and the world will be left in suspended animation, a world more than two decades in the crafting, but lives will continue to change because of them and because of Robert Jordan.

It draws closer. The tick of a clock. The toll of a bell. The bark of a dog. It will end. It is something Robert Jordan promised us from the very beginning: it starts and ends with a wind. An end. A beginning. A wheel of life. Is that what I love and hate about this genre? Stephen King gave his readers some thoughts on this very topic at the end of "The Dark Tower" in a most detestable (and darkly humorous) way. In fact, authors of epic science fiction and fantasy have cornered the market on a readers love and hate relationship with beginnings and endings. The longer the series, the more difficult and divisive the ending. And now I wonder, will this ending divide us?

It's interesting for me to consider endings now, as I think back to the final thoughts in my review of "Towers of Midnight" in light of how I'm feeling as the end draws so close:

Before reading Towers of Midnight, I was expecting A Memory of Light to be the predictable final illusion the magician saves to end his show, in this case the one thatís been foreshadowed for two decades. I knew with the surety born of true fanaticism that whatever the final act turned out to be Iíd already considered it, because what could be any more surprising than what we, my fellow Freaks, have imagined during the many intermissions? Right?

Now, Iím not so sure. Iím second-guessing myself. Iím looking around, staring intently to my sides and back to the stage. Anxious. I know whatís behind that curtain...donít I? Iím excited and nervous and hoping with all of my freakish fervor that my renewed wonder will be rewarded.

My second-guessing of the end may simply be my trepidation of any end anticipated in this fashion. I'm nervous. I'm anxious. I'm unsure and that has everything to do with me, and little to do with "A Memory of Light."