The Westlands contains multiple kingdoms and city-states and is bounded on the east by a mountain range. To the east is a desert, the Aiel Waste, inhabited by the Aiel warrior people, who live in small settlements and whose society is organized into clans and warrior societies.
Further east is the large and predominantly insular nation of Shara, separated from the Waste by large mountain ranges and other impassable terrain. North of all three regions is the Great Blight, a hostile wilderness inhabited by evil beings. The Westlands are mostly temperate; it and the Aiel Waste are in the world's northern mid-latitudes. Shara extends slightly south of the equator. Across an ocean west of the Westlands is Seanchan, the name of a landmass and the empire that spans it.
Seanchan is narrower from east to west than the other landmass, but extends most of the way between the ice caps from south to north.
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A large island in the northwest is separated from the Seanchan mainland by a channel. At the beginning of the series, Westlanders are unaware of Seanchan's existence. The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time depicts "The Land of Madmen", a small continent in the southern hemisphere, far to the south of the Westlands and the Aiel Waste; it is never mentioned in the main series. The series takes place at the end of the "Third Age" time period; the Age of Legends was preceded by the "First Age", which is implied to be modern Earth.
The Third Age in the Westlands was marked by two great upheavals. A thousand years after the Breaking, humanity was nearly overrun by creatures from the Blight in the "Trolloc Wars". A thousand years after that, High King Artur Hawkwing unified the region, but his death resulted in the "War of the Hundred Years" instead of an orderly dynastic succession. The division of the Westlands into nations changed completely after each of the two events. The Old Tongue, a fictional language from the series, is depicted as a now-dead language, spoken only by scholars and certain nobles, though it still plays a role in the plot of the books.
These concepts apply to a series of parallel worlds , as well. Some characters observe or visit such other worlds; some of these worlds reflect different courses of history, and some are so divergent from the main reality that they are uninhabited. Physics sometimes operates differently in these worlds. The Seanchan imported "exotic" creatures from other worlds, later breeding and training them. Tel'aran'rhiod is the "world of dreams", which connects to all of the other worlds. It can be visited in one's sleep, but events there are real; it is also possible to enter physically. The series proper commences almost twenty years later in the Two Rivers , a near-forgotten district of the country of Andor.
An Aes Sedai, Moiraine , and her Warder Lan , arrive in the village of Emond's Field, secretly aware that servants of the Dark One are searching for a young man living in the area. Nynaeve al'Meara , the village wise-woman, later joins them. Gleeman Thom Merrilin also travels with the group. The first novel depicts their flight from various agents of the Shadow and their attempts to reach the Aes Sedai city of Tar Valon.
Thereafter the protagonists are frequently split into different groups and pursue different missions toward the cause of the Dragon Reborn, sometimes thousands of miles apart.
The Wheel In The Middle Of The Wheel
As they struggle to unite the various kingdoms against the Dark One's forces, their task is complicated by rulers of the nations who refuse to lose their autonomy; by the zealots styling themselves 'the Children of the Light', who do not believe in the prophecies; and by the Seanchan , the descendants of a long-lost colony of Artur Hawkwing 's empire.
The Aes Sedai also become divided on how to deal with the Dragon Reborn. Deriving its name from that of Armageddon in Christian eschatology, Tarmon Gai'don is the apocalyptic battle wherein the Dragon Reborn opposes Shai'tan, while their followers fight elsewhere. In the series, many characters possess special powers. Within the fictional world, some of these abilities are widely known and understood, while others are undocumented; some are depicted as unique.
Some characters take the reappearance of ancient abilities as a sign that the Last Battle is coming. Channelers can access a natural power source called the "One Power", while Shai'tan can grant access to a separate power, the "True Power". Very little is written in the series about the True Power, while the One Power is described extensively. The One Power consists of five elemental "Powers": earth, water, air, fire, and spirit.
Channelers often have particular strength in at least one Power, more commonly earth and fire in men and water and air in women; strength in spirit is equally rare between the sexes. A channeler creates a "weave" to achieve a specific effect by placing individual "flows" of the five Powers in a specific geometric configuration. The One Power has two aspects: "saidin", used by men; and "saidar", used by women. They differ sufficiently that no woman can teach a man to channel and vice versa , and they can be used in drastically incompatible ways, though they sometimes achieve functionally identical effects.
The True Power similarly differs from both. Male channelers are usually stronger than women, but women have advantages at "linking" with other channelers to harness more power; an individual's strength is quantified by the amount of the One Power he or she can channel at once. Some men and women are born with the "spark" to channel; these individuals will spontaneously begin to channel around puberty, but without formal training 3 in 4 suffer a fatal illness caused by channeling. Those who survive are called "wilders", and often are unaware of the existence or nature of their powers.
Channelers are constrained by any restriction they believe applies; wilders often possess a "block" that allows them to channel only under specific circumstances such as experiencing a particular emotion. The majority of channelers lack the spark and will channel only if taught.
Channelers can determine if a person of the same sex has the spark or is capable of learning to channel. A channeler with the spark who receives instruction is not at risk of death and is not normally considered a wilder. Channelers have a longer lifespan than non-channelers, in proportion to their strength; from early adulthood, channelers age more slowly than non-channelers, and the strongest channelers can live over years.
Shai'tan tainted saidin at the end of the Age of Legends, causing any male channeler to go insane usually very destructively and die; the Breaking was caused by the world's male channelers simultaneously going insane, while in the Third Age male channelers are neutralized in various ways as they come of age.
Channelers are treated in different ways by different cultures within the series. In the Westlands, channeling is viewed as synonymous with the Aes Sedai, an organization that survived from the Age of Legends and which views channeling as its proprietary domain; some Aes Sedai refer to channelers from other traditions as "wilders", even if they are not self-taught. Aes Sedai are respected in most Westland nations, and they rule the city-state of Tar Valon. Aes Sedai are divided into seven "ajahs" named after colors and dedicated to different purposes; Red Ajah members seek out men who can channel and "gentle" them remove their ability to channel.
Also in the Westlands are the Kin, consisting of women who studied in Tar Valon but left without becoming Aes Sedai due to lack of desire or ability to complete their training. The Aes Sedai are aware of the Kin, who are very discreet, but are unaware that the Kin actually outnumber them. Among the Sea Folk, a seafaring Westlands culture, female channelers are expected to become "Windfinders", ship's navigators; the profession is also open to non-channelers. Every generation, the Sea Folk send a few weak channelers to Tar Valon, successfully concealing the prevalence and strength of their channelers.
Aiel channelers are expected to become Wise Ones, the culture's spiritual leaders, as are all Dreamwalkers; other worthy women may become Wise Ones without these special powers. Male Aiel channelers go into the Blight, expecting to die after killing some of Shai'tan's creatures; unbeknownst to the Aiel, Shai'tan actually captures and corrupts these men. Shara is secretly ruled by its female channelers, the Ayyad, through figurehead monarchs; the Ayyad keep their male offspring as breeding stock before killing them.
The Seanchan believe channelers are subhuman and dangerous; they enslave female channelers with the spark, while those capable of acting as their handlers are, unbeknownst to themselves and other Seanchan, those who can learn to channel. Male channelers are executed. Certain "objects of the One Power" exist. Robert Jordan uses the capitalized word "Talent" to refer to two distinct types of abilities sometimes possessed by channelers; the text also sometimes uses "Talent" to refer to abilities unrelated to the One Power and possessed by non-channelers.
One type of Talent is the aptitude for a particular weave or type of weave. Talents seen in the series include healing Nynaeve al'Meara , manipulating weather many Windfinders , creating "gateways" for instantaneous travel Androl Genhald , and fabricating the indestructible substance "cuendillar" Egwene al'Vere. Such a Talent may manifest as finer control over weaves, the ability to use a weave that would otherwise be beyond the channeler's strength, superior results when using a weave with all other factors equal, or some combination of these benefits. Some weaves, such as creating cuendillar, function only for a channeler with a corresponding Talent.
A Talent can also be some other ability possessed only by some channelers, but distinct from creating weaves of the One Power. Talents of this type include creating ter'angreal Elayne Trakand , divining the purpose of a ter'angreal Aviendha , analyzing an expended weave, "unweaving" a weave Aviendha , predicting the weather Nynaeve al'Meara , recognizing ta'veren on sight Siuan Sanche and Logain Ablar , and "Foretelling" prophecy Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan. The latter three Talents have no obvious connection to the One Power, but are described as occurring only in channelers.
Some abilities depicted in the Wheel of Time are not related to the One Power or the ability to channel.
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Egwene al'Vere is both a Dreamer and Dreamwalker, and the text never establishes whether or not these are two separate things. Dreamwalking is well known to the Aiel Wise ones, who use it for society-wide communication; Aiel Dreamwalkers include channelers Amys and Melaine and the non-channeler Bair, who become Egwene's teachers as the last Aes Sedai Dreamer died about five hundred years earlier. No man is explicitly identified as a Dreamwalker in the series, but many of the male and female Forsaken, Shai'tan's top lieutenants, appear in Tel'aran'rhiod, and the male Forsaken Ishamael projects himself into other characters' dreams.
The Pattern causes events and the actions of others surrounding a ta'veren to conform to the ta'veren's destiny , usually resulting in occurrences that are possible but unlikely. Mat has exceptionally good luck at gambling and in battle, while Perrin easily earns the support of others. Rand's presence often affects a large area around himself, causing such anomalies as one entire village pairing off in marriage in one day, another village erupting into violence over every disagreement its residents ever had, and a city's newborns being free of birth defects during Rand's residency.
Rand al'Thor is also the "Dragon Reborn," a prophesied savior. Towards the end of the series, Rand is revealed to have reality warping abilities related to the Dragon Reborn's connection to the Pattern; without channeling, he causes plants to flourish and kindles a pipe.
The Biblical Concept of “Time”
Perrin Aybara and Elyas Machera are "Wolfbrothers," individuals who can communicate telepathically with wolves, which are depicted as sapient. Wolfbrothers also have abilities similar to Dreaming and Dreamwalking, although they are not shown as capable of entering the dreams of others. The souls of wolves inhabit Tel'aran'rhiod, which they call the "wolf dream," and a Wolfbrother who loses his identity as a man may become a wolf there.
Only male Wolfbrothers are depicted in the series. Min Farshaw sees auras and images around people; she does not always understand these visions, but sometimes she instinctively understands them and is always correct in such cases. Min is the only person in the series depicted as having this ability. However, the superstitious Seanchan are apparently familiar with it and consider the images to be omens ; when Empress Fortuona learns that Min possesses this ability, she identifies Min as a "Doomseer" and immediately makes her a top advisor.
Hurin is a "sniffer," one who can detect violence as an unpleasant odor. This ability is apparently accepted by his countrymen; it is considered an asset for his career in law enforcement, and Perrin pretends to be a sniffer to conceal that the true source of his insight is communication with wolves. The Seanchan produce ter'angreal rings that, when touched with the wearer's blood, grant him or her the abilities of a "Bloodknife": increased strength and speed and the ability to blend into shadows, at the cost of dying within a matter of days or weeks.
The books describe several scenarios where Shai'tan gives powers to individuals. People whose souls are removed by Shai'tan become supernaturally inconspicuous "Gray Men," ideal assassins. Padan Fain serves Shai'tan and is given the ability to track Rand al'Thor. Padan Fain later merges with the ghost of the evil Mordeth, gaining the abilities to inculcate others with paranoia and to summon and control a deadly miasma. Shai'tan merges the bodies and souls of Isam Mandragoran and Luc Mantear into the individual known as Slayer, to whom Shai'tan grants powers involving Tel'aran'rhiod, including the ability to travel instantaneously between there and the physical world while awake and without the use of a gateway.
All paperback page totals given are for the most widely available mass-market paperback editions. The page count for the hardback editions do not include glossary or appendix page counts. Jordan expanded this into the stand-alone novel New Spring that was published in January In the first book, The Eye of the World , was repackaged as two volumes with new illustrations for younger readers: From the Two Rivers ,  including an extra chapter Ravens before the existing prologue, and To the Blight  with an expanded glossary.
On several occasions, chapters from various books in the series were released several months in advance of publication. These were released in eBook format as promotional tools for the then-upcoming release. Tor Books published a companion book to the series, entitled The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time , in November , which contains much hitherto unrevealed background information about the series including the first maps of the entire world and the Seanchan home continent.
Jordan co-authored the book with Teresa Patterson. Jordan ruled the book broadly canonical but stated that it was written from the perspective of an historian within The Wheel of Time universe and was prone to errors of bias and guesswork. Jordan also wrote a short story, "The Strike at Shayol Ghul", which predates the main series by several thousand years.
Deleted portions for a specific character from Memory of Light were published as a short story, under the title "River of Souls", in Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy Spring The book is an encapsulating glossary of the entire series. These proved successful and in he proposed an idea for an epic fantasy series of three books to Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books. Jordan began writing the novel that became The Eye of the World. The novel proved extremely difficult to write and characters and storylines changed considerably during the writing process.
The series was originally centered on an older man who discovered relatively late in life that he was the 'chosen one' who had to save the world. However, Jordan deliberately decided to move closer to the tone and style of J. Tolkien 's The Fellowship of the Ring and made the characters younger and less experienced.
Tom Doherty enjoyed The Eye of the World so much that he declared it would be the biggest fantasy series since Tolkien, [ citation needed ] and took the unprecedented steps of sending free review copies to every bookstore in the United States to generate interest. Sales then doubled with the publication of the second novel just eight months later generating more interest in the first book. Jordan wrote full-time at breakneck speed for the next several years until he completed the seventh volume, A Crown of Swords , at which point he slowed down, delivering a book every two years.
Fans objected when he took some time off to expand a short story into a prequel novel called New Spring , so he decided to shelve his plans for additional prequels in favor of finishing off the last two volumes in the series. He rejected criticisms of the later volumes of the series slowing down in pace in order to concentrate on minor secondary characters at the expense of the main characters from the opening volumes, but acknowledged that his structure for the tenth volume, Crossroads of Twilight where he showed a major scene from the prior book, Winter's Heart , from the perspective of the main characters that were not involved in the scene , had not worked out as he had planned.
Jordan had stated that the main sequence would conclude with the twelfth book, A Memory of Light. According to Forbes , Jordan had intended for it to be the final book "even if it reaches 2, pages. Jordan was diagnosed with the terminal heart disease primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy in December ,  and while he intended to finish at least A Memory of Light even if the "worse comes to worst,"  he made preparations in case he was not able to complete the book: "I'm getting out notes, so if the worst actually happens, someone could finish A Memory of Light and have it end the way I want it to end.
With Jordan's death on September 16, , the conclusion of the series was in question. On March 30, , Tor Books announced that A Memory of Light would be split into three volumes, with Brandon Sanderson citing timing and continuity reasons. Its arrows are sharp and all its bows are bent; The hoofs of its horses seem like flint and its chariot wheels like a whirlwind. With a noise as of chariots They leap on the tops of the mountains, Like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble, Like a mighty people arranged for battle.
They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club. Grain for bread is crushed, Indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever.
Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it, He does not thresh it longer.
The four wheels were underneath the borders, and the axles of the wheels were on the stand. And the height of a wheel was a cubit and a half. The workmanship of the wheels was like the workmanship of a chariot wheel. Their axles, their rims, their spokes, and their hubs were all cast. Now each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and its four feet had supports; beneath the basin were cast supports with wreaths at each side.
Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city. As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.
Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, for each of the four of them. Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.
Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still.
What Does the Vision in Ezekiel 1 Mean?
And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them. And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, "Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.
Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.
Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks. It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, "Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim," he entered and stood beside a wheel. Then the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire which was between the cherubim, took some and put it into the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings.
Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went.
Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces.