Robert Jordan dies at age 58. Why do I care?

It’s truly astonishing the amount of sexism one is prepared to stomach sometimes when you want to be entertained. There’s Ally McBeal of course, which isn’t all that clear cut a case but I suspect she will come up again on this blog. And there’s the pain in the ass of High Fantasy. The lesser the writer the ranker his sexism. The Peakes, Miévilles, Delanys or LeGuins are few and far between. Most of the High Fantasy novelists write fiction like boys who don’t talk to girls or rarely. This includes (and why shouldn’t it) women writers. The best of this group of writers rise above the mediocre rest by mastering the art of crafting powerfully escapist novels. For example, in Robin Hobb’s oeuvre you won’t find complex structures, great ideas or multi-layered characters. But inevitably, by the second volume of her small cycles, you will be hooked. This Sunday, Robert Jordan died. Why do I care? Robert Jordan is the best bad writer of his genre. Stylistically, he’s clearly worse than many of his collegues, he only narrowly escapes being worse than Raymond Feist, stylistically. His storytelling has become increasingly tedious and increasingly sexist. However, the world he created was large, populated by an innumerable host of characters. It was, I’ll grant him that, addictive. Addictive enough for me to have read every single novel of the twelve (including that damn prequel) that he’s written. He was only one novel away from finishing. And then he died, that cheeky bastard. Looking at the long and colorful row of Jordan novels behind my shelves (no place for him ON them) I marvel at my boyish anger. And even more, I marvel at the fact that I have been reading his novels for over ten years now, and they have become more and more sexist at a steady rate and I have not destroyed them or given them away, I haven’t even stopped buying them, reading them, for Christ’s sake. Maybe this was an accomplishment of his, to make his novels -if not entertaining- addictive enough to keep me, hell, US, reading, for so many years, through so many bad books, up to the end, which -poof- suddenly disappeared. It feels as if he’d done it on purpose, inspired by the Sopranos maybe. Twelve books of teaser and then – blackout.
Maybe that’s genius.

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