Thursday, April 19, 2018
The Dragon Reborn, by Robert Jordan
Okay, so, I'm going to briefly address the plot problems, which is definitely an undermining element to this series. As I've mentioned in my reviews of the last two books there has been this really unfortunate habit where everything gets resolved really quickly in the last few chapters of the book and it feels a lot like an anticlimax more than anything else. And once again that happens in this book. Our characters wander around, pursuing different goals but converging upon the city of Tear where a legendary artifact for the Dragon Reborn which will fulfill a prophecy and verify that Rand al'Thor is in fact the Dragon Reborn. And all the problems within the book are just...resolved...at the end. It feels like a huge anticlimax, especially when the last book ended with a brief exposition that armies have risen to support the Dragon. But when we start this book we find Rand's been hiding somewhere in the mountains all winter while the armies that rose to support the Dragon are slowly being picked off. It just doesn't make any sense to me why Rand wouldn't be gathering support to achieve political goals.
But plot issues aside, there's something which really annoys me about these books and it's how men and women are stereotyped throughout the entire book. The weird thing is this book was published in 1991 so you'd think that it would have moved beyond gender stereotypes of the 1950's, but apparently that's too much to expect. Basically in this book and in the books before it all the women are depicted as shrewish harridans hell-bent on controlling men and making things go their way. The men meanwhile are all depicted as ignorant lummoxes whose only solution to any problem is to hit it with a big stick enough times until it stops being a problem. This is in every darn book so far and considering the books don't seem to vary at all I expect it to be in the next twelve books as well.
And honestly, I'm completely sick of it. These are gender stereotypes which are material for a fifties sitcom, not for a fantasy series written forty years later. It was dated when this book came out, and it's even more dated now. And if the series is going to keep relying on these awful stereotypes I see no reason to keep bothering with the rest of the books. It's like Jordan is constantly saying, ''Women, amirite? Men, amirite?''
So this is it. I gave this series a try with three of the fifteen books and I'm calling it here. The plot hasn't been terribly great so far, but it's this reliance on old gender stereotypes that really kills the series for me.