9.18.2007

Fantasy - R.I.P. Robert Jordan and Madeleine L'Engle

Galleycat reported on the death of fantasy novelist Robert Jordan yesterday. While I haven't read Jordan's work (my fantasy exposure as been relatively limited), I know his Wheel of Time series has been hugely popular commercially and that he has a rabid fan base.

This comes on the heels of the death of one fantasy writer whose stuff I adored as a youth in Madeleine L'Engle. Her A Wrinkle in Time resonated with me at a time when I was first discovering the realms of fantastic literature. A beautiful, lyrical writer, I thought L'Engle's characterizations and her depictions of good and evil were just about the gold standard in literature at that time in my life.

C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl were a couple of my early favorites, and I read all of Tolkien's works. Last year I concluded what I consider my greatest adventure in reading when I finished up Stephen King's The Dark Tower. It took me twenty years to read the series because of the interruptions along the way. When it came time to close in on those final pages, I put it aside. I saved the last thirty pages to read on the beach. Over the course of a week I read other things. I anticipated learning what happened to Roland when he finally turned the doorknob and ducked into the room at the top of the tower as much as I have ever anticipated any payoff in the appreciation of art.

So I took it to the shores of the Atlantic. I waited until the sun dipped low in the sky and I opened it up and spent my last few moments with Roland and his all-consuming quest.

And I liked it.

I put that sucker down when I was finished and I took a deep breath and felt like the series had come to its logical and just end.

I feel for Jordan's readers that might not get closure with the series, but I shudder to think about what their lives would be like had they not been able to linger, even if just for a little while, in the world he had created for them.

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