The great journey ends.
I have just finished A Memory of Light, the 14th and final Volume of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In one Age, an Age of Prophecy, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, the World and Time themselves hung in the balance. A balance decided by the Last Battle. Tarmon Gai'don. A battle not at the end of Time but to keep it turning. So it is that the Karaethon Cycle comes to pass, the Dragon Reborn entering Shayol Ghul to wrestle for the fate of the world with the Dark One as, beyond, Tarmon Gai'don rages in the longest battle I have I ever read, detailing true apocalypse where the very laws and fabric of reality rip amid the desperate efforts of humans to live free and with hope. Willing to die so that other may live, and charging death unflinchingly to do so.
Never in my life have I read a book series such as this. Vast in every sense of the word, spanning the world and all quite distinct cultures within it, populated by the largest cast of characters I have ever seen. Unique in way seldom seen in Fantasy: Tolkienesque in spirit and, in the very beginning, plot, but soon something else entirely. A mythos that is truly Robert Jordan's own, epic by every definition in that it, per its scope, the story is not just about the Dragon Reborn and his friends but, in addition and as is so fitting said by the website Dragonmount, it is the story of an entire world's struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope. Yet these are only a bare fraction of the themes, or a gross simplification rather, for each is viewed through the eyes of very different people.
"A woman, torn and beaten down, cast from her throne and made a puppet. A woman who had crawled when she had to
It was about a man that love repeatedly forsook. A man who found relevance in a world that others would have let pass them by. A man who remembered stories and who took fool boys under his wing when the smarter move would have been to keep on walking.
It was about a woman with a secret, a hope for the future. A woman who had hunted the truth before others could.
It was about a man whose family was taken from him, but who stood tall in his sorrow and protected those he could.
It was about a woman who refused to believe that she could not help, could not heal those who had been harmed.
It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero.
It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched."
It is about them all.