Of course, as any fan of the series knows, this blog post’s title is an oxymoron: there are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But the Wheel of Time series of books has reached an end. And LDS author Brandon Sanderson is the one who was chosen to bring the series to a close after the death of its creator, Robert Jordan.
I was first introduced to the series by my brother Michael, back when there were only around four books in the series. For a while, I re-read all the previous books whenever a new one came out, but as the series grew to ten volumes, I found that too time-consuming. (Michael still does it, and I salute his dedication.) My interest in the series flagged a bit, and I decided I would wait until it was finished before bothering to pick it up again. But then Jordan died, and since I had become a fan of Brandon’s work in the meantime, I read the new books as they came out.
I think that overall, Brandon did a fantastic job with Jordan’s characters and world. I can’t think of anyone who could have done better. (I have a few plotting quibbles, but I had those with Jordan, too, and I don’t know to what extent the quibbles I have are because he followed Jordan’s vision.) And I found the final volume to be a satisfying ending to the series.
WARNING: Some minor spoilers for the final book can be found below.
One aspect of the fight between Rand and the Dark One particularly struck me as having resonance with LDS doctrine. (Just to be clear, I am in no way accusing Brandon of “Mormonizing” the Wheel of Time. Since the idea is not unique to Mormonism, it’s quite possible Jordan had it in his original outline. And I felt the idea fit very well within the novel. I merely couldn’t help reading it through a Mormon lens.)
Rand goes to his battle against the Dark One with the goal of destroying it completely, rather than just re-sealing its prison. He wants to rid the world of the Dark One’s influence forever. In the course of the battle, the Dark One and Rand compete in weaving simulations of what the future might hold. Rand weaves one in which he succeeded in destroying the Dark One — and finds that the people he knows and loves turn out to be vapid, shallow imitations of their real selves.
Of course, that brought to mind 2 Nephi 2:11:
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Rand eventually realizes that his goal of destroying the Dark One completely would bring about a world in which no one is “good” because there is no possibility of someone choosing anything else, and therefore he must change his goal.