The Eye of the World
|Cover artist||Darrell K. Sweet|
|Series||The Wheel of Time|
|Publisher||Tor Books (U.S.) and |
|January 15, 1990|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||782 (U.S. hardback edition) & |
685 (UK hardback edition)
|ISBN||0-312-85009-3 (US hardback edition) |
& ISBN 1-85723-353-0 (UK hardback edition)
|LC Class||PS3560.O7617 E94 1990|
|Preceded by||New Spring|
|Followed by||The Great Hunt|
The Eye of the World is a fantasy novel by American writer Robert Jordan, the first book of The Wheel of Time series. It was published by Tor Books and released on January 15, 1990. The unabridged audiobook is read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. Upon first publication, The Eye of the World consisted of one prologue and 53 chapters, with an additional prologue authored upon re-release. The book was a critical, and commercial success. Critics praised the tone, the themes, and the similarity to Lord of the Rings (although some criticized it for that).
On January 2, 2002, The Eye of the World was re-released as two separate books aimed at a young adult market, with larger text and a handful of illustrations. These were From the Two Rivers and To the Blight. The former included an additional prologue entitled "Ravens", focusing on Egwene al'Vere. The American Library Association put The Eye of the World on its 2003 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.
The Eye of the World revolves around protagonists Rand al'Thor, Matrim (Mat) Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al'Vere, and Nynaeve al'Meara, after their residence of Emond's Field is unexpectedly attacked by Trollocs (the antagonist's soldiers) and a Myrddraal (the undead-like officer commanding the Trollocs) intent on capturing Rand, Mat, and Perrin. To save their village from further attacks, Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene flee it, accompanied by the Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred, her Warder Al'Lan Mandragoran, and gleeman Thom Merrilin, and later joined by Wisdom Nynaeve al'Meara. Pursued by increasing numbers of Trollocs and Myrddraal, the travellers take refuge in the abandoned city of Shadar Logoth, where Mat steals a cursed dagger, thus becoming infected by the malevolent Mashadar. While escaping the city the travelers are separated; Rand, Mat, and Thom travel by boat to Whitebridge, where Thom is lost allowing Rand and Mat to escape a Myrddraal. In Caemlyn, Rand befriends an Ogier named Loial. Trying to catch a glimpse of the recently captured False Dragon, Rand befriends Elayne Trakand, heir apparent to the throne of Andor, and her brothers Gawyn Trakand and Galad Damodred. Rand is then taken before Queen Morgase, her Aes Sedai advisor, Elaida; and Captain-General of the Queen's Guard Gareth Bryne, and released without charge, in spite of Elaida's grave pronouncements regarding Rand.
Egwene and Perrin are guided separately to Caemlyn by Elyas Machera, a man who can communicate telepathically with wolves and who claims that Perrin can do the same. The three run afoul of the Children of the Light, where Perrin kills two for the death of a wolf at their hands, and is sentenced to death. Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve rescue Egwene and Perrin, and all are reunited with Rand and Mat. Thereafter Moiraine determines that Mat must travel to Tar Valon, the Aes Sedai's center of power, to overcome the influence of Shadar Logoth.
Loial warns Moiraine of a threat to the Eye of the World, a pool of Saidin untouched by the Dark One's influence, which is confirmed by vivid and disturbing dreams Mat, Rand, and Perrin have had. The Eye of the World is protected by Someshta (the Green Man) and contains one of the seven seals on the Dark One's prison, the Dragon banner of Lews Therin Telamon, and the Horn of Valere. At the civilized world's border, the group enters the Blight (the polluted region under the Dark One's control) to protect the Eye. After a pursuit they meet the Green Man and he reveals the Eye. The group is then confronted by the Forsaken Aginor and Balthamel. As battle ensues, Balthamel and the Green Man slay each other. Soon after, Rand defeats Aginor and uses the Eye to decimate the Trolloc army and defeat Ba'alzamon. As a result, Moiraine concludes that Rand is Dragon Reborn, but her opinion and all other details of the final battle are kept from all the male members of the group except Lan.
- Rand al'Thor: A farmer from the Two Rivers, and, unbeknownst to him, Dragon Reborn. He was one of the three boys Moiraine deduced was the Dragon Reborn. He, Mat, and Perrin are considered ta'veren. He can channel saidin, and demonstrated that by unconsciously healing Bela (his horse), when they were fleeing from Myrddraal and Trollocs. He also saved the forces of Fal Dara through his dreams. He is the (adopted) son of Tam and Kara al'Thor. He and Mat were separated from the rest of the group during the novel.
He is described as having grey eyes and "reddish" hair.
- Egwene al'Vere: A girl from the Two Rivers, the apprentice to Nynaeve al'Meara, the Wisdom, and close friends with Rand al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara. She is picked by Moiraine to train in Tar Valon because she has the "spark" that allows her to channel saidar. She and Perrin were separated from the rest of the group during the novel. She is described as having "huge brown eyes", and dark hair.
- Matrim Cauthon: A boy from Two Rivers, a prankster, considered by all to be untrustworthy, except for his friends. He was one of the three boys Moiriaine deduced was the Dragon Reborn. He, Rand, and Perrin are considered ta'veren.
Themes and allusions
Robert Jordan has stated that he consciously intended the early chapters of The Eye of the World to evoke the Shire of Middle-Earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Despite their similarities, these two works also differ in themes. For instance, both Jordan and Tolkien created narratives that explored power. However, The Eye of the World discussed how it can be deployed whereas The Lord of the Rings was more focused on its renunciation. Rand needed to wield his power so he could successfully fight an emerging war with the Dark One. This theme is antithetical to Frodo's quest to destroy the ring of Sauron, a source of immense power that also corrupted its wearer.
The SF Reviews Net, in a negative review, stated that " From what little I have read to date of The Wheel of Time, I am, so far, a dissenter. Though I acknowledge that Jordan's prodigious flow of words has produced much that is admirable, this saga cannot avoid specific criticisms: mainly, that each volume is criminally overlong, and that this debut volume, despite several clever and interesting touches, is nothing more or less than the purest formula fantasy, predictable at almost every turn and woefully lacking in the dramatic tension and conflict necessary to hold a reader through hundreds of thousands of words of plot."
- 1990 (January 15), hardcover. Saint Martin's Press, United States. ISBN 0-312-85009-3
- 1990 (February), paperback. Tor Books, United States. ISBN 0-8125-0048-2
- 1990 (July 12), hardcover. Little, Brown, United Kingdom. ISBN 0-356-19068-4
- 1990 (July 12), hardcover. Orbit, United Kingdom. ISBN 1-85723-353-0
- 1992 (July 15), paperback. Orbit, United Kingdom. ISBN 1-85723-076-0
- 1993 (October), paperback. Tom Doherty Associates, United States. ISBN 0-812-51181-6
- 1995 (December), audio book. Gallant / Publishing Mills, United States. ISBN 1-879371-52-9
- 1999 (October), hardcover with library binding. Sagebrush, United States. ISBN 0-613-17634-0
- 2000 (September), paperback. Tor Books, United States. ISBN 0-8125-7995-X
In January 2002, Starscape Books released The Eye of the World into two halves, part one being titled From the Two Rivers (ISBN 0-7653-4184-0) and part two titled To the Blight (ISBN 0-7653-4221-9). ATOM, a British publishing house, printed these halves (ISBN 1-904233-20-1 and ISBN 1-904233-19-8) the following March.
- "2003 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults". American Library Association. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
- An Interview with Robert Jordan (from Crossroads of Twilight Prologue). Tor Books. 2002. p. 134. ISBN 0-7432-4493-1.
- Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Volume 3. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 1026. ISBN 0-313-32952-4.
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