Posts Tagged ‘king arthur’


Tuesday Round-up for Friends

2008 December 9

Off topic these days for this blog…

I’m a fan of Robert Jordan. He’s the author of the fantasy series “The Wheel of Time“. It’s a series of 11 books that tell the story of Rand Al’Thor,  and his fight against evil. If you’re not familiar with the fantasy genre (and who can possibly be unfamiliar these days?) – think of The Lord of the Rings.


As a would-be author, but for the ‘slight’ handicap of not being able to visualise, I find I’m looking behind his stories to their inner workings. Besides the obvious amazement that someone could tell an 11 (actually 12?) book novel, I’ve spotted something. It may be a clue to at least the early development of Jordan’s storyline. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has to do with Merlin and the tales of King Arthur. Here’s why…

Look at the name of the hero:

  • Rand Al’Thor — Aurthur
  • The Dragon Reborn — Pendragon
  • And also Artur Hawkwing.

Then there are the mentors/meddlers in Rand’s life:

  • Moiraine (Aes Sedai = female sorcerer) — Merlin,
  • Thom Merrilin (physical appearance like older Merlin) — Merlin,
  • The Amyrlin Seat — Merlin.

Perhaps he dies, or originally was set to die…

  • in Caemlyn — Camlann ?

To be laid to rest…

  • in Tar Valon — Avalon ?

Other characters’ names bear relation to those in the various literature around Arthur:

  • Gawyn — Gawain,
  • Galad — Galahad,
  • Egwene al’Vere — Guinevere,
  • Elayne — various Elaines in Arthurian mythology, especially Elaine of Astolat – representing unrequited love.

And then there is the Sword in the Stone.

  • In Arthurian legend, Excalibur was a sword held by magic in rock only the hilt showing. Only the rightful king of the Britons could pull the sword from the stone, thus proclaiming himself King.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Callandor is a sword “that is not a sword”, held magically in a fortress called the Stone of Tear. Only the Dragon Reborn could pass the magical barrier, claim the sword and so declare himself the Dragon Reborn.

In both examples, the sword is in a “stone”, accessible only to the hero, who by obtaining it declares his legitimacy.

There’s also some similarity to the three names (all derived from the third, the Welsh name) of Arthur’s sword:

  • Excalibur — Callandor,
  • Caliburn — Callandor,
  • Caledfwlch — Callandor.

All of this may be coincidental. But I can’t help wondering if it shows some of the early inspiration in Jordan’s development of the saga of the Wheel of Time.

Anyone who has read and enjoyed Tolkien will love Jordan’s work. Though his writing style is more modern, the intricate workings, plot twists and imagination are unrivalled by many authors in any genre.