This article contains spoilers for the entire series.
Previously I made a case for why five WotT books should be ranked the lowest. Now we’re at the middle five, and these spots are the weirdest for me. The books in this group aren’t favorites but neither are they the bottom of the barrel. There are enough interesting scenes to keep the reader hooked but at the same time those scenes mostly aren’t memorable. This makes the books forgettable and we sometimes stop to wonder, what exactly did happen in that book? You know that feeling? Yes, me too.
Many people rank The Towers of Midnight somewhere in the middle or toward the bottom of their list. This book is sort of a sequel to The Gathering Storm (which we waited a LONG time for) but some of the scenes overlap with scenes from the previous book.
A lot of things happen, and to me the most precious moment is the saving of Moiraine. I waited so long for this! Another important event is Aviendha’s travel to Rhuidean and using the glass columns to see the future of the Aiel. I was shocked when I read those scenes. But the uncertainly of the futures portrayed here is a bit of a disappointment to me.
The first Power-wrought weapon of this Age is created! That gives new and exciting possibilities for the future! Too bad they didn’t really use this later, but I guess there wasn’t really much time to create more Power-wrought weapons.
I believe the best thing we got to finally experience in this book is Rand’s changed character. He finally accepts who he is and what he has to do to save the world and he becomes a character worth reading about.
You may argue that New Spring shouldn’t be included in the ranking as it is a prequel novel. But I think it’s a really well written backstory for Moiraine, Lan,and Siuan, and it gives us some more insight into life in the White Tower, so I think it deserves a place in the list.
This book is solidly in the middle because although the events don’t drive the overall plot forward, readers love getting to know Moiraine and Lan in a new way.
I can understand why some people think this book is slow and boring. It has mostly to do with Aes Sedai business, the Game of Houses, and the Kin in Altara. But all of these things drive the story forward and were necessary to the plot development.
The mere existence of the Kin is a huge revelation for readers. Then they aid in finding the Bowl of the Winds, so they’re actually useful in addition to being interesting. Plus this book shows us Nynaeve overcoming her block, which I believe we have all been waiting for!
Also important: Rand kills Sammael, reducing the number of Forsaken, and takes the Crown of Swords, becoming king of Illian and continuing on his journey to unite the world.
I am so excited for this one. I really like The Gathering Storm and it seems to fall in the middle of the ranking for most readers. We waited for this one for several years and I believe we were not disappointed.
There are a lot of things happening in this book. I will jump straight to the point and say that the most interesting thing happened with Egwene. Her character grew to unbelievable heights in everyone’s eyes. She did not attack Elaida like an unruly child but instead united the Tower behind herself in a very interesting way – by showing everyone that she is the rightful Amyrlin, that she cares more about the Tower being whole. It cannot go unmentioned how she took it upon herself to resist the attack on the Tower by the Seanchan. Now that was what we’ve been waiting for, am I right?
On the opposite side, this book was the lowest point for Rand. He continues to think that he must become stronger to save the world. Finally, at the end of the book it dawns on him that he mustn’t. That gives hope to the reader that we may finally experience how Rand should have been from the beginning.
Some people will agree and others will not, but I have seen a Memory of Light in the middle 5 in the rankings more often than not. While we wanted an ending, I think many people were disappointed by the ending we got. It didn’t give us the satisfaction of having everything wrapped up nicely. Which is understandable. For one thing, the author is different. For another, we can really expect to know all the answers, right? Maybe Robert Jordan wanted to leave some endings open so that we can theorize on them. I think that’s a nice touch.
This book was a total mix of emotions. Happy, sad, angry, glad … I don’t know which emotion was missing! I believe it was a good ending to an amazing story overall.
And here we stop with the middle 5 of the ranking. I believe you know which 5 are on the top, but how are they placed? Come back for Part 3 to find out!