Jump to content

Robert Jordan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Jordan
Jordan in 2005
Jordan in 2005
BornJames Oliver Rigney Jr.
(1948-10-17)October 17, 1948
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedSeptember 16, 2007(2007-09-16) (aged 58)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
EducationThe Citadel (BS)
Notable worksThe Wheel of Time
(m. 1981)

James Oliver Rigney Jr. (October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007), better known by his pen name Robert Jordan,[1] was an American author of epic fantasy. He is known best for his series The Wheel of Time (finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death) which comprises 14 books and a prequel novel. He is one of several writers to have written original Conan the Barbarian novels; his are considered by fans to be some of the best of the non-Robert E. Howard efforts.[2] Jordan also published historical fiction using the pseudonym Reagan O'Neal, a western as Jackson O'Reilly, and dance criticism as Chang Lung. Jordan claimed to have ghostwritten an "international thriller" that is still believed to have been written by someone else.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He went to Clemson University after high school, but dropped out after one year and enlisted in the U.S. Army.[4] He served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner.[5] He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm.[6]

After returning from Vietnam in 1970, Jordan studied physics at The Citadel. He graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree and began working for the U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineer.[7] He began writing in 1977.

Personal life[edit]

Robert Jordan was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe-collecting. He described himself as a "High church" Episcopalian[7] and received communion more than once a week.[8] Politically, he described himself as a "libertarian monarchist".[9] He lived with his wife, Harriet McDougal, who works as a book editor (currently with Tor Books; she was also Jordan's editor) in a house built in 1797.[10] He listed John D. MacDonald, Jane Austen, Louis L'Amour, Charles Dickens, Robert A. Heinlein, Mark Twain and Montaigne as his favorite authors.[11]

Illness and death[edit]

On March 23, 2006, Jordan revealed that he had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis and that, with treatment, his median life expectancy was four years.[12] In a separate weblog post, he encouraged his fans not to worry about him and stated that he intended to have a long and creative life.[13]

He began chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic during early April 2006.[14] He participated in a study of the drug Revlimid, which had been approved recently for multiple myeloma but not yet tested for primary amyloidosis.[15]

Jordan died on September 16, 2007,[16] from complications stemming from multiple myeloma. His funeral service was on September 19, 2007.[17] He was cremated and his ashes buried in the churchyard of St. James Church in Goose Creek, outside Charleston, South Carolina.[18]

Jordan's papers can be found in the special collections of the College of Charleston.[19]

Selected works[edit]

The Wheel of Time[edit]

Jordan published 11 books of 14 in the main sequence of the Wheel of Time series. Reviewers and fans of the earlier books noted a slowing of the pace of events in the last few installments written solely by Jordan owing to the expansion of the scale of the series as a whole.[20] Because of his health problems, Jordan did not work at full force on the final installment A Memory of Light (later split into three volumes beginning with The Gathering Storm), but blog entries confirmed that he continued work on it until his death, and he shared all of the significant plot details with his family not long before he died.[21] He maintained that in doing so the book would get published even if "the worst actually happens".[22] On December 7, 2007, Tor Books announced that Brandon Sanderson had been chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series. Harriet McDougal, Jordan's widow, chose him after reading Mistborn: The Final Empire.[23]

0New SpringJanuary 6, 2004334pp (PB) / 334pp (HB)
122,150 words
12h 31mPrequel set 20 years before the events of the first novel.
1The Eye of the WorldJanuary 15, 1990782pp (PB) / 702pp (HB)
305,902 words
29h 32m 
2The Great HuntNovember 15, 1990681pp (PB) / 599pp (HB)
267,078 words
26h 08m 
3The Dragon RebornOctober 15, 1991675pp (PB) / 545pp (HB)
251,392 words
24h 31m 
4The Shadow RisingSeptember 15, 1992981pp (PB) / 891pp (HB)
393,823 words
40h 31m 
5The Fires of HeavenOctober 15, 1993963pp (PB) / 684pp (HB)
354,109 words
36h 34m 
6Lord of ChaosOctober 15, 1994987pp (PB) / 699pp (HB)
389,823 words
41h 37mLocus Award nominee, 1995.[24]
7A Crown of SwordsMay 15, 1996856pp (PB) / 635pp (HB)
295,028 words
30h 31m 
8The Path of DaggersOctober 20, 1998672pp (PB) / 591pp (HB)
226,687 words
23h 31m 
9Winter's HeartNovember 7, 2000766pp (PB) / 533pp (HB)
238,789 words
24h 18mPrologue released as a promotional eBook in September 2000.
10Crossroads of TwilightJanuary 7, 2003822pp (PB) / 681pp (HB)
271,632 words
26h 03mPrologue released as a promotional eBook on July 17, 2002.
11Knife of DreamsOctober 11, 2005837pp (PB) / 761pp (HB)
315,163 words
32h 24mPrologue released as a promotional eBook on July 22, 2005.
12The Gathering StormOctober 27, 2009766pp (PB) / 766pp (HB)
297,502 words
33h 02mCompleted by Brandon Sanderson.
13Towers of MidnightNovember 2, 2010864pp (PB) / 843pp (HB)
327,052 words
38h 17mCompleted by Brandon Sanderson.[25]
14A Memory of LightJanuary 8, 2013912pp (PB) / 909pp (HB)
353,906 words
41h 55mCompleted by Brandon Sanderson,[26] epilogue by Robert Jordan.[27]
Totals22 years, 11 months, 24 days11,898pp (PB) / 10,173pp (HB)
4,410,036 words
19d 5h 25m 

All paperback (PB) page totals given are for the most widely available mass-market paperback editions. The page count for the hardback (HB) editions does not include glossary or appendix page counts.

The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time is an encyclopedia for the series about the unnamed world where the plot takes place, which is often referred to by fans of the series as the World of the Wheel. It is published in the United States by Tor Books and in the United Kingdom by Orbit Books. The bulk of the text was written by Teresa Patterson based on notes and information provided by Jordan, who also served as the overall editor on the project. While the information in the guide is broadly canonical, the book is deliberately written with vague, biased, or even downright false (or guessed) information in places, as Patterson felt this would reflect a key theme of the series (the mutability of knowledge across time and distance).[28]

Conan the Barbarian[edit]

Jordan was one of several writers who has written Conan the Barbarian stories. When Tom Doherty obtained the rights, he needed a novel very quickly, so Jordan's wife Harriet McDougal recommended him because she knew he had written his first novel, Warriors of the Altaii, in thirteen days.

So he thought I could write something fast, and he was right, and I liked it. It was fun writing something completely over the top, full of purple prose, and in a weak moment I agreed to do five more and the novelization of the second Conan movie. I've decided that those things were very good discipline for me. I had to work with a character and a world that had already been created and yet find a way to say something new about the character and the world. That was a very good exercise.[29]

  1. Conan the Invincible (1982)
  2. Conan the Defender (1982)
  3. Conan the Unconquered (1983)
  4. Conan the Triumphant (1983)
  5. Conan the Magnificent (1984)
  6. Conan the Destroyer (1984) (adaptation of the movie of the same title)
  7. Conan the Victorious (1984)

They were packed into two separate volumes par Conan the Destroyer:

Jordan also compiled a well-known Conan Chronology.


  1. ^ "Robert Jordan" was the name of the protagonist in the 1940 Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, though this is not how the name was chosen according to a 1997 interview he did on the DragonCon SciFi Channel Chat.
  2. ^ "Good Reads – 8/26/10". December 26, 2006.
  3. ^ Ross (September 2005). "Radio Dead Air Interview with Robert Jordan". Radio Dead Air. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  4. ^ Reinertsen, John Peter (January 22, 2003). "For Jordan, fantasy remains fertile field". USA Today. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  5. ^ McQueeney, W. Thomas (2017). The Rise of Charleston: Conversations with Visionaries, Luminaries & Emissaries of the Holy City. The History Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-1625858597. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  6. ^ "Robert Jordan". Obituaries. The Daily Telegraph. September 21, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Jordan, Robert (June 1, 2007). "(untitled)". Dragonmount, the Robert Jordan blog. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007.
  8. ^ Denzel, Jason (September 27, 2007). "My Journey to Robert Jordan's Funeral". Dragonmount, the Robert Jordan blog. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007.
  9. ^ Livingston, Michael (2022). Origins of the Wheel of Time. Tor. p. 28. ISBN 9781250860545.
  10. ^ "Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  11. ^ "Theoryland of the Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan) : Wheel of Time Interview Search Results". www.theoryland.com. Retrieved March 20, 2023.
  12. ^ "Letter from Robert Jordan". Locus Online. March 23, 2006.
  13. ^ Jordan, Robert (March 24, 2006). "Sorry about the premature announcement". Dragonmount.
  14. ^ Jordan, Robert (March 25, 2006). "Important note". Tor Books.
  15. ^ "Important note from Robert Jordan". March 25, 2005. Archived from the original on April 5, 2006.
  16. ^ "Jordan's death". Dragonmount. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "James Oliver Rigney Jr". The Post and Courier. September 20, 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.
  18. ^ ""The Stone" – Entry in Robert Jordan's Blog at Dragonmount, dated October 6, 2008". Dragonmount.com. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  19. ^ "Inventory of the James Oliver Rigney, Jr., Papers, 1905–2012". archives.library.cofc.edu. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  20. ^ Cannon, Peter (December 23, 2002). "Crossroads of Twilight (Book)". Publishers Weekly. Vol. 249, no. 51. p. 50.
  21. ^ "Robert Jordan's Official Blog". Dragonmount.com. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  22. ^ "Forbes article on Jordan's illness". Forbes. November 30, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  23. ^ "TOR Press Release". Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
  24. ^ "1995 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  25. ^ "Brandon Sanderson's Facebook page" – via Facebook. (registration required)
  26. ^ Sanderson, Brandon (August 1, 2012). "Brandon Sanderson – Google+ – Today I got up, and I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on". Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  27. ^ "Brandon Sanderson Blog: It's finally out". BrandonSanderson.com. January 8, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  28. ^ "Teresa Patterson at DragonCon 2005".[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ Lilley, Ernest (January 21, 2003). "Interview with Robert Jordan". Theoryland. Retrieved April 13, 2012.

External links[edit]