Reading the Final Scene of the Wheel of Time

Written by Brandon Sanderson

At signings, I’ve often told the story of reading the last scene of The Wheel of Time. This might not be news to some of you. However, it’s one of the questions I get the most. What did it feel like, some five years ago now, to read that last scene of the book as Robert Jordan wrote it?

Soon after I was tapped to help complete the series, I asked Harriet about the last scene of the book. (The one that Robert Jordan had, over the years working on the series, promised fans he knew in detail.) She told me that he had indeed written that scene—and though there were large swaths of unfinished portions of the ending that he hadn’t had time to work on, he’d been determined to get that last scene on the page.

You can imagine my excitement. I flew out to Charleston for the first time in late 2007—before this, I hadn’t read any of the materials, as Harriet preferred that I come get them in person. After a long flight from Salt Lake City to Charleston, Harriet picked me up at the airport and drove me to her house in the city. We got in at nine or ten, I recall, and she had soup warming on the stove. She asked if I’d like some. My reply was, “If it isn’t too much trouble, I’d like to read the ending please…” Holding my enthusiasm was somewhat difficult.

So, I spent the next hours late into the night sitting in a chair beside Robert Jordan’s computer (it had been moved, by coincidence, out of his office and into the sitting room) reading his ending to The Wheel of Time, then poring over the rest of the notes. I remember Harriet passing by once and asking—with a satisfied smile—“It’s good, isn’t it?”

And it is. As a Wheel of Time fan for nearly 20 years at that point, I found myself supremely satisfied. The ending is the right one. Somewhat unexpected, somewhat daring, but also very well done. I knew that whatever else happened—whatever mistakes I made—at least this ending would be there, as Robert Jordan intended. We’ve put it in almost untouched, with just a few edits here and there at Harriet’s direction.

You’re going to love it.

Brandon

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From the Tor/Forge January Wheel of Time newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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0 thoughts on “Reading the Final Scene of the Wheel of Time

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  6. I don’t know if I want to read it because then it truly has ended. I’ve been reading these books for literally more than half my life. I really, really enjoy them. Each time a new one comes out, I re-read the series to get ready for it. I’ve come to like characters I used to hate.

    Mostly, though, I love this work of fiction. I can’t even say what I want to happen at the end – because I myself don’t know. I just want to not be disappointed.

    I want Rand to live. I won’t be supremely disappointed if he doesn’t though; I will accept what comes, if the story is told well. I’d love a happy ending, complete with Krogan Birthday Cake (someone, someday will get that reference) but I know it’s not coming.

    However, as much as I don’t want the books to be whored out – I don’t want them to end. I’ve been reading these since I was a teenager – I’ve got my own family now and I still read them. I am sure I will be giving them to my kids to read, when they’re old enough.

    So Tor – if you’re responsible about it, please make more. I know this was Robert Jordan’s work but it means a lot to a lot of people and it’s not just about money. I’d love to know there was another WoT book coming, one day. It’d be something to look forward to.

    Oh – and make a TV series – WoT would be way better than Game of Thrones. :-)

  7. It has been an honor to read this series. I am saddened that it will end but there are new books that might come along and help you cope, give you another sense of hope that a new series will take you to places once again you long for. Time heals all wounds so look for the comings on new things to try and cope with the loss of one great story.

  8. I’m totally looking forward to this, but it’s too bad I won’t get to read it right away. It doesn’t come out as an ebook for some time… I’m not sure that the publisher knows that it’s actually the *21st* century!

  9. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how much this series has meant to me. Can’t wait to get the book…but it is with bittersweet anticipation that I realize the end has finally come to one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. Thank you to Team Jordan for enriching my life with your words.

  10. Thank you Brandon, for not only doing an amazing job on an exceptionally challenging work, but also for the six years of your life you gave to make it possible for all of us to read that final scene. I have enjoyed the last two books immensely, and look forward to joining you at the Last Battle tomorrow eagerly.

  11. I agree with many on here…you have done an amazing job finishing the series. Thank you for helping continue Mr. Jordan’s legacy and providing us readers with what some of us have looked forward to for almost 20 years. Now get us a follow-up to Way of Kings while you are at it!!!! ;)

  12. After following the series forever and a day it was awesome to learn that the series would be finished after author Robert Jordan’s untimely death. Now that the end book is close to release though that reality is just a little scary as it took searching long and hard to get my hands on the books as they sold out so quickly once released, then our home burned last year and the entire collection went up with it so am going to have to start all over again except for the last three which were not bought yet so not on my shelves.

    Thanks for this short look into how the final scenes survived and will be used as the author intended, that means a great deal to his fans as his long term vision for the series will be honored.

  13. This is a bittersweet moment. Having the ending at hand. I have spent most of my life waiting on multiple fantasy series’ new releases. No one series has touched me as much as Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. I have such an attachment having grown with the characters of this amazing tale, seeing it through new eyes every time I have reread the series. Every time I have experienced their triumphs, and their defeats. I start the beginning of the end now and I feel I must say yet again, even if it is not read… Thank you. Thank you to Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, Tor Books, and most of all Robert Jordan. I do not think any book series will so tremendously effect my life as this has at any time in my life.

  14. How can people prefer an e-book for the finale of WoT? Just think about it! You go into a store or order it on line, you pick up the book, “Memory of Light” and it feels wonderful: the first edition of a Tor WoT book. You stroke it, open up the first pages, give it a sniff and it smells great. And that’s before you even read a word. What more can you want?

  15. I started reading this series after the second book was published. It seems that I have been waiting forever for each additional book as the years pass. I agree, it is bittersweet to see the end of the road in sight. It has been a wonderful literary journey.

  16. Checked my email after baking to find the link to this blog. Music was still playing from earlier. The track? Melodies of Life from Final Fantasy 9 (Distant Worlds 2 version). The chorus seems exceedingly appropriate:

    A voice from the past, joining yours and mine
    Adding up the layers of harmony
    And so it goes, on and on
    Melodies of life

    I’ve been a WoT fan for *cough* *splutter* years now. IIRC, the Great Hunt had just come out when I got the Eye of the World from the library. Now, over 15 years on, I’ll finally get to read the ending.

    Enjoy your reading tomorrow, one and all.

  17. The key to ending is in the basic prophecy of the Dragon

    The dragon will go insane. He will kill everyone he loves. He will brake the world. He will die

    Questions: How does a madman go insane? How do you kill those you love if they are already dead? How do you break something that is already broken? How do you kill a dead man?

    If you answer those questions you have the ending to the story.

  18. Honestly I will buy both. The physical book for my shelf and the ebook to read. I read on my phone. It has its own light source, it’s the perfect size for my hand, it does not keep my wife awake, it’s always with me and it always knows my page. I can make the font very dim, perfect in a dark room. I can even read while I rock our baby.

    Paper books, especially new ones, are clunky, overly large and never comfortable to read in bed. A book as special as this one, well I need to have the physical book for the collection and shelf but I will read it electronically.

  19. I can’t wait for this. Like one of the above posters said, I’ve been reading this series for literally half my existence. I feel as if…once I read this last one…I can finally move on with my life :)

  20. I started reading this series about 8 years ago and I’m sad to see it go. But I’m definitely going to be losing some sleep over the next several days as I read the book, and likely re-read it. It will signal an end to probably the greatest and grandest story ever put on paper.

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  22. The conflict between the ‘modernization ideals’ and the culture that was determined during the upwards of Two Hundred Thousand years that members of the human species were languished in a ‘state of nature’ continues without victory for either side but the prognosis is dire, I read every book of this great series assured that in this work of fiction cooperation and love would triumph I will purchase my copy as soon as possible in the hope that this projection will be vindicated.

  23. I’m bummed that I’ll have to wait another 3 months for the e-book. For the most part, the series has been great, but it is time for it to end. I’m already looking forward to Brandon’s next novel…whatever that may be =)

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