I love the Wheel of Time, but my first encounter with it was a piece of mildly ironic real-life foreshadowing. My mother apparently picked up Eye of the World on the recommendation of a teenager she ran into while looking for books for me, but I left it sitting on my desk for a full month before venturing to open it. Why? Because the cover picture was a little goofy. They did not altogether improve over the course of the series, and this was a source of friendly amusement among the fans.
Until today, my favorite one of the covers was Lord of Chaos — possibly not coincidentally, also my favorite one of the books. Also the last one I didn’t have to wait for. However, my favorite cover is now this one, the cover of A Memory of Light, which I am having a hard time waiting seven more months for. What’s good about it? Here are some things:
- Rand looks good. No, he looks perfect: he is tall and handsome, but his face is grim; he seems to be in his thirties until you look closer and realize he could be much younger. Just as he is supposed to be. Also, his pose is terrific: you can see him in the act of striding over the rough cave floor, drawing his hand up to protect himself from something.
- Nice symbolism: he is holding Callandor, the crystal sword, over his eyes like I would hold my hand up to shade my face from the sun. However, he is looking into Shayol Ghul — that is, into Hell. It’s dark in there. He is using the sword of Light to protect his eyes from the Shadow.
- There’s a full solar eclipse in the background, something that was hypothesized for a good many years hence. A nice shout-out to the prophecy (“Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed; twice to live, and twice to die.” Yes, I did that from memory), which also, I think, tells us what is going to happen in this scene. Edit: Turns out I remembered both lines of the prophecy correctly, but pulled them from different places! The correct partner for “twice dawns the day” is “once for mourning, once for birth”. But then it goes on to talk about his blood staining the rocks of Shayol Ghul, so I’m still right.
- More decent-looking people in the background! Blue and Yellow Aes Sedai; I’m guessing Moiraine and Nynaeve? Or Egwene, but she shouldn’t be there and wouldn’t identify as Blue anyway. And I thought Nynaeve had a long braid. I only read Towers of Midnight once, so I forget if she cut it off. Or perhaps she will cut it off in the next book. Mourning for Lan? Edit: She lost it in her Aes Sedai test. I really liked ToM; perhaps I should go read it again.
My complaints? Trivia:
- I believe the rocks of Shayol Ghul should be black, more evil-looking. As drawn they look just like normal rocks.
- The clouds above Shayol Ghul do not look nearly ominous enough. Unless Rand’s purifying influence is clearing them, they should be black shot with silver and maybe red. I’m imagining nuclear fallout here.
But you know, if it weren’t so good I wouldn’t bother to complain about such small things. Instant classic.