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The Dragon Reborn
A series as enormous as the Wheel Of Time is bound to have Fandom and Hatedom alike bickering about where exactly the series jumped the shark and which books are better left forgotten.

And while I love this series, Book 3 is where our relationship became flawed. While the book in itself is not the worst in the series, it's here where several things started to manifest that would plague The Wheel Of Time later:

The Dragon Reborn continues right after the previous book. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne (from now on called the Supergirls) go back to Tar Valon so the link between Mat and the Shadar Logoth dagger can be severed, while the rest camps out in the Mountains of Mist, waiting for a revelation on what to do next. Rand however disappears overnight and is on his way to Tear, forcing the others to chase after him. The Supergirls on the other hand are tasked by the Amyrlin Seat to follow a group of Mooks to Tear, while Mat is tasked to bring a message to Elayne's mother in Caemlyn, where he overhears a conversation about a plot killing the Supergirls. Of course, now he has to travel to Tear as well.

This book is one big Road Movie plot and while the former books had a limited number of subplots, we now have to follow three separate groups traveling to Tear. Three? Yes, because we don't see Rand's viewpoint until the very end of the book. In a novel with his damn title on the cover.

While Mat is Rescued From The Scrappy Heap after removing his bond to the dagger and meets up with fan favorite Thom Merrylin again, resulting in the most enjoyable parts of this book, the other groups have less luck. Moraine's group meets Faile, a character almost universally considered as The Scrappy of the canon - though granted, in this novel she is just annoying.

And the Supergirls... well. Nynaeve is getting flanderized heavily by taking a slighly Jerkass character and reducing her to being angry and ripping her hair out constantly. Yes, the dreaded braid-tugging begins. The other two characters remain flat, petty and are constantly bickering. Unfortunatly, the Supergirls' viewpoint encompass the majority of the book. So if you cannot stand those characters or if you expect compelling villains, you are in for a hard ride. Both female characters and villains are Jordan's definite weak points.
Supergirls, isn't that what Leigh Butler called them in her series of reviews on Tor.com?
comment #589 60.242.246.76 13th Jul 09
Yes, I've read those a while ago but not before writing this review. Dunno how that happened.
comment #3059 Ana 26th Jun 10
I think Supergirls have been a fan nickname for a while now.
comment #3904 GrieverVIII 11th Aug 10
What an awful review.
comment #5382 GoldenAlex 9th Dec 10
I agree with this.Book 3 was really where the female characters started to put me off the books. It's a shame Mr. Jordan mistook obnoxiousness, lack of reason, and ingratitude for feminine strength. Most of the characters, except for certain fan favorites, became supreme Jerkasses through character development. The only thing that's keeping me reading is the fact that I'm so close to the end of the series and I want to see how everything plays out.

And Mat, of course. Gotta love one of the only sane characters in this series.
comment #5481 soah 17th Dec 10
I think a lot of people are mistaking Mr. Jordan's idea of immaturity for Mr. Jordan's idea of feminine strength. The fact of the matter is that the Supergirls are called out on their bad behavior by other female characters, and start to improve over time. Compare Elayne's interaction with Mat in Dragon Reborn to Elayne's interaction with him in The Towers of Midnight.

No, what really frustrates fans is that is takes so many many long doorstopper books for any of the characters to finally freaking grow up. But when they do, whoa.... Crowning Moments of Awesome start building up like crazy.
comment #5537 Auxdarastrix 25th Dec 10
Yeah, the series is just as much about people growing up as it is about Armageddon. Look at how Rand has grown over the series- a terrified shepherd boy who just wanted to go home to a warrior willing to risk everything to save his friends to a king bought to the edge of madness by the weight of his duty, and now to someone who just might be worthy of the title Messiah.

As for the Supergirls, and people's reaction to the feminist aspect of the series, I think that far too many people assume that giving female characters flaws is instantly misogynist, or at least that a flawed female character cannot simultaneously be a strong character. Strength or power does not equal perfection, as was clearly demonstrated by our hero for a good six books running.
comment #5548 JekWindu2 27th Dec 10
I have to agree with the comments that character development takes ages in this series. I have not yet read Towers of Midnight, but as of the Gathering Storm, I could see development, at long last.

I agree that this series is about growing up. But it has long since reached the point where I got frustrated waiting for the growing up part to happen. For so long, most of the main characters were stuck from being jerkasses to just plain annoying. That's why tGS has been a breath of fresh air in a very stuffy attic. I began to admire some (but not all) of the characters I'd previously disliked. I have to wonder, though, if the change of writer has anything to do with that.
comment #6306 mionenoelle 8th Feb 11
Yeah, Jorden quite clearly made the supergirls immature. They get called out on it HARD from book 7 onwards, to the point of Never Live It Down.
comment #16329 GoldenAlex 1st Oct 12
On the one hand, I acknowledge that this series has many, many flaws, but on the whole I think it has more strengths than flaws. Probably the largest flaw, and the one that has caused many a reader to simply give up, is that Jordan started getting lazy just when things were starting to really pick up. It's like at some point after book five, or possibly book six, he gets cold feet about actually moving the plot forward. With the exception of one HUGE plot point, not much of note happens in books seven, eight, nine and especially ten. That's four very long books wherein the plot just slows to a crawl. For many, that's unforgivable and I can totally understand that. However, I can say with assurance that if you can make it past those, even if you have to resort to reading plot outlines on fan sites or something instead of reading the actual books, book eleven is worth it, and from my understanding the rest (which I've yet to get to) are as well.
comment #18865 jmparker78 12th Apr 13
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