With a groan, I forced myself to look at the electric clock on my night table. I groaned again. It read 22:46. I should have turned off the light more than an hour ago, I thought guiltily. I nestled back into my blankets, glancing back at the book in my hands. More than anything, I wanted to keep on reading. I wanted to re-immerse myself in Rand al’Thor’s world and stay there all night. But something stopped me. Rand’s struggle was with his control of power—was I going to urge him on, and then fail to control myself?
The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan, is the first book in the Wheel of Time saga. Rand al’Thor is a young man living with his father in Two Rivers, near the village of Emond’s Field. It has been a harsh winter, and Emond’s Field is troubled: the peddler brings news of trouble; mysterious men cloaked in black have been seen on the roads; and an Aes Sedai, or a woman who can wield the One Power, is staying in the villages’ small inn. When Rand’s farm is attacked, Rand flees Emond’s Field. Rand discovers that he, too, can wield the One Power—and that it will drive him mad if he loses control.
At first, Rand denies his power. He is no hero; he is only a shepherd boy, struggling to find his place in the world. However, after he saves his good friend Mat, Rand realizes that embracing his power will save many lives. But with acceptance comes great responsibility. Rand must learn to use his power wisely. If he cannot control himself, he will kill himself and everyone he loves. In this battle, no one can help him; Rand is alone, fighting against himself.
Self-control is something I have struggled with time and time again. Often, I find myself saying things without thinking, or doing things without considering the consequences. Indeed, control is an age-old struggle that humans have known since the beginning of time; and it is this that Rand is fighting for. But here, the stakes are much higher; Rand knows that the world will change no matter which way he moves. If the fate of the world depended on our actions, would we be more cautious? If the lives of millions depended on us, would we do things differently?
The Eye of the World is a breathtaking book. It was its message on the importance of control which made me lean over and switch off the light that night; but even that couldn’t stop me from picking it up the moment I awoke the next morning.
Middle-school fantasy, ages 13 and up.
You can buy this book here.