Robert Jordan, RIP

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 comes again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Robert Jordan was, for about four years during my adolescence, easily my favorite writer in the world. The first five books of his Wheel of Time saga are among the best popular fantasy novels of the last few decades, with only George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn providing serious competition. Now he is dead, still young at 58, with his saga still unfinished. It went on too long - eleven books, with at least two more projected - and when it is completed (as I assume it will be, with his family or other writers filling in the blanks), it will be less than it could have been. But at its best, it was remarkable indeed: Few writers have given me such pleasure, and few, I suspect, ever will. It's hard to imagine loving any books more than the books that you love when you're fifteen years old.

Jordan was a pen name; his real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr. He was a South Carolinian, a Citadel graduate, a Vietnam veteran, a devout Episcopalian. He is survived by his wife, Harriet. Requiescat in pacem.