While researching his forthcoming book, Origins of the Wheel of Time (Tor, Nov 2022), Michael Livingston discovered that a map published in a 1997 guide to the Wheel of Time universe—which unlike the maps in the Robert Jordan novels showed the entire world—was, in the opinion of Jordan himself, wrong: according to notes Livingston discovered in the author’s archives, one continent was misnamed and another was too small (see above left). With the permission of the estate, Livingston worked with map artist Ellisa Mitchell—who drew the original map for The Eye of the World—to create a new map of the Wheel of Time world that reflected the author’s intent (see above right). Details, and closeup looks at the maps, at Livingston’s Tor.com article.
Tag: Wheel of Time
Mapping The Wheel of Time
The fantasy maps that get the most popular and critical attention are those of Middle-earth and Westeros. That’s almost entirely due to their respective series’ popularity (and in the case of Middle-earth, the foundational nature of that map and its influence on later works). Maps of Robert Jordan’s hugely popular Wheel of Time series don’t get quite the same attention—a situation that Adam Whitehead, writing on his Atlas of Ice and Fire blog, tries to rectify. Reading his post, I suspect that the afterthought-ish nature of said maps might have something to do with it.
Apparently Robert Jordan did not originally plan to include maps in the books, and did so only at the urging of his publisher Tom Doherty because people expected maps in a fantasy novel. This may be why the earliest maps for the books were pretty bare-bones, only featuring the names of the major countries, the two big mountain ranges and not much else. It may also explain the curiously straight mountain range edges to the map border which later came in for much ribbing from reviewers.
Here again is a link to a 2009 Tor.com post by Jason Denzel on the maps of Jordan’s so-called Randland.
(Sidebar: In the talk on fantasy maps I gave at Readercon in July 2014 I noted the difference in map quality between the paperback editions of The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt; the second map is of considerably lower quality, but has the virtue of being more legible at mass-market paperback size.)
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