->''"The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the third age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long past, a wind rose in [a location]. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was ''a'' beginning."''
-->-- The opening paragraph to every novel in the series[[note]]Except for ''New Spring''[[/note]]

An epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan, currently consisting of fourteen books, a prequel (''New Spring''), and a series guide entitled "The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time," as well as a [[FirstPersonShooter first-person shooter]] and a [[TheRolePlayingGame tabletop RPG]]. The main sequence of the series is now complete. Harriet [=McDougal=], Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons made an updated series guide/encyclopedia with Jordan's notes that was released in November 2015.

* Prequel: ''New Spring'' (expanded from a novella)
# ''The Eye Of The World''
# ''The Great Hunt''
# ''The Dragon Reborn''
# ''The Shadow Rising''
# ''The Fires of Heaven''
# ''Lord of Chaos''
# ''A Crown of Swords''
# ''The Path of Daggers''
# ''Winter's Heart''
# ''Crossroads of Twilight''
# ''Knife of Dreams''
# ''The Gathering Storm''
# ''Towers of Midnight''
# ''A Memory of Light''
* "[[VillainEpisode River of Souls]]": short story published in the ''Unfettered'' anthology. [[note]]Takes place concurrently with the beginning of ''A Memory of Light'' and is Demandred-centric.[[/note]]
In the beginning, the Creator made the universe, which consisted of: the Wheel of Time, which spins the tapestry of the ages with the lives of men and women as its threads; the One Power, a BackgroundMagicField which drives the Wheel and is [[FunctionalMagic divided into male and female halves]], ''saidin'' and ''saidar'' respectively; and a prison for [[BigBad the Dark One]], so that he could not influence creation. Then the Creator walked away and just let the whole thing spin. And since then ages have come and gone...

''Saidin'' and ''saidar'' are DifferentAsNightAndDay, but male and female [[MagicByAnyOtherName channelers]] working together have always achieved the best results. So, thousands of years ago, in the {{utopia}}n Age of Legends, [[WitchSpecies Aes Sedai]] scientists attempted to find and access a source of magic that could be channeled by both genders. Good news: they found it. Bad news: "it" was the the Dark One, [[{{Satan}} the embodiment of pure evil]], and the attempt to [[DugTooDeep dig a hole to its prison]] just [[SealedEvilInACan broke it open]].

Long story short, HilarityEnsues, [[DisSimile if by "hilarity" one means "death, war, and blood"]]. Lews Therin Telamon, "[[BigGood the one called Dragon]]", managed to successfully re-seal [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the Lord of the Grave]]'s prison (and trap its [[QuirkyMinibossSquad powerful generals]] known as the Forsaken) with a makeshift cork, but not before [[IHaveManyNames the Father of Lies]] poisoned ''saidin''. All male Aes Sedai [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity quickly went insane]], as would all male channelers thereafter, and brought civilization crashing down by each becoming a PersonOfMassDestruction and committing a WorldSundering or three. Eventually, mankind rebuilt itself, but [[MedievalStasis never regained its former glory]].

Some three thousand years later, in the story's modern day, a PowerTrio of young men -- FarmBoy Rand, GuileHero Mat, and TheBlacksmith Perrin -- were living out their lives in a small village... until a mysterious woman called Moiraine showed up, followed shortly thereafter by an attack by ([[AllMythsAreTrue to them]]) mythical monsters. According to Moiraine, the three were "''ta'veren''" (an [[{{Fictionary}} Old Tongue]] word meaning "MainCharacters"), and the Dark One itself was after them. Possibly, one of them might be [[TheChosenOne the Dragon Reborn]], the {{reincarnation}} of Lews Therin Telamon who would lead the forces of good against the rise of evil -- and, like any male channeler, [[DestructiveSavior go mad]]. Moiraine was sent in to find him, [[SaveThisPersonSaveTheWorld protect him]], teach him to channel ([[GenderRestrictedAbility if possible]]), keep him sane (if possible), and prepare him -- whichever one "he" is (FirstEpisodeSpoiler: it's Rand) -- for the fight. For the [[CosmicKeystone seven seals]] on the Dark One's prison are starting to weaken, and TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt is approaching, and if there is to be any hope for all creation, there's a lot of work to be done. For prophecy says that The Dragon Reborn ''can'' defeat The Dark One... but not that he ''will''.

Known for its sprawling plot, LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, intricate magic system and... [[AuthorAppeal interesting]] character development, due primarily to Robert Jordan's intense adherence to the MarsAndVenusGenderContrast.
Jordan churned out the first six or seven books at a prodigious pace, but began slowing down around the eighth, as [[KudzuPlot the plot got bigger]], [[FourLinesAllWaiting the action got slower]] and, according to some fans at least, [[SeasonalRot the quality got lower]]. Progress slowed further when Jordan was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_amyloidosis amyloidosis]], which he succumbed to in 2007. Even worse, AuthorExistenceFailure hit at the exact worst time: midway through the twelfth and final book of the series, ''A Memory of Light''.

But all was not lost. Jordan's wife and editor, Harriet [=McDougal=], chose up-and-coming fantasy author Creator/BrandonSanderson to complete the series, based on Jordan's copious notes and some completed fragments. After working on the KudzuPlot, Sanderson announced that the last book had [[TrilogyCreep grown to an additional three volumes]] -- despite Jordan's (pre-death) declaration that the twelfth book would absolutely wrap the series, even "if it's 20,000 pages long, Tor has to invent a new binding system, or it comes with its own library cart". Whatever the case, Sanderson delivered his first novel in 2009, and the Wheel continued to spin, with the final book released in January 2013.

Very much one of the LongRunners: the first book of the series was published on January 15, 1990, the last exactly 22 years and 51 weeks later, in January of the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

An extremely shoddy PilotEpisode for a TV adaptation of the series was aired on FXX (at about 2 AM) in February 2015. Though the producing company, Red Eagle Entertainment, then held the television rights to the series, the pilot was shot without involvement or approval from Harriet [=McDougal=]; the rights were due to revert to her a mere three days later, explaining the pilot's ObviousBeta nature and total lack of advertising or publicity. Since then, [=McDougal=] has re-negotiated a contract with Sony Pictures, who will produce an approved and official TV series.
!!'''These books provide examples of:'''

* TheWheelOfTime/TropesAToF
* TheWheelOfTime/TropesGToL
* TheWheelOfTime/TropesMToR
* TheWheelOfTime/TropesSToZ
->''"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass.\\
What was, what will be, and what is,\\
may yet fall under the Shadow.\\
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time."''