I started the books twenty years ago because I was bored. I’m still bored, but I’ve finally finished the damn story. The millennium passed, the author died, and I started getting laid and still the books continued. Given the four million words the series has had to make it’s case I hesitate to add more to the pile, yet surely patience pays some wage?
I will be upfront: it was a fourteen book series that should have been five. A grocery list passed into a diary entry that ended in suicide note which was memorialized in a three picture biopic that had an extended directors cut on the DVDs. There are six books in the middle where instead of progressing the plot spreads laterally like a squished turd, smearing subplots and minor characters in every direction but forward. The female characters are as capable as they are shrewish, warrior harpies lashing out at evil and joy in equal measure. The men are stoic, noble, and the finest in a thousand years at any task of note. The prose is solid enough to move things along, when the plot allows it. So why did I spend twenty years reading it?
I blame the three I’s of bad long term relationships
- I need some fucking closure
1. It easier to define ourselves in relation to a constant than it is to continually recreate in a vacuum. I started the series when I sixteen and the characters were close to my age. Their sluggish advancement seemed to parallel my own, providing a certain linear definition over time. Now I don’t blame my delayed personal development on the books meandering pace, but it did serve as a strangely apt counterpoint.
2. The more effort and sacrifice you place into something bad the greater the return necessary to walk away. As the initial promise of the first four faded and the hours of slogging through non events piled up I felt increasingly owed meaningful story. Surely at some point the weight of imposition on the reader would somehow compress the narrative and force a return to form. I believed this for a long time.
3. Eventually you realize that it’s not getting better. Whatever magic first drew you in has vanished, the obligation you once felt has lost force, but you’re willing to hang around for the angry goodbye just to put a bow on it. The last book “A memory of light” was the joyless handjob you nagged out of a soon to be ex: dry, painful, and a climax weak enough it was hardly worth the bother. But at least you finished.