Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Wheel of Time Turns and weaves Tar Valon in SL

One of the greatest works of fantasy in the known world is, beyond any doubt, "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien. The special Centenary edition (1892-1992) I have of this trilogy, published at the 100th birthday of Tolkien (post-mortem of course) quotes the Sunday Times:
"The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them."

Thousands of works of fantasy have been published ever since, yet few come close to the absolute mastery of Tolkien. There is one though, that may have surpassed him, which is James Oliver Rigney a.k.a. Robert Jordan (actually -and sadly- was, as he passed away last year) who wrote the epic Wheel of Time series.

The Wheel of Time series is currently an 11 book epic story about good vs. evil (no surprise there). A particular place in the series is the city of Tar Valon.

Tar Valon is a city located on an island on the River Erinin, within sight of Dragonmount. It is the center of Aes Sedai power and is also the largest, most populous city in the Westlands. Tar Valon also controls a small amount of territory directly adjacent to it, although it does not have as much land as it did before the War of the Hundred Years. Tar Valon is ruled by the Amyrlin Seat, although the day-to-day bureaucracy is handled by a council of Aes Sedai sisters and civil administrators. The city is notable as the only place where Aes Sedai have wielded officialized administrative power since the War of the Hundred Years. The population of the city in 1000 NE is roughly 500,000. It has remained independent of outside control for its entire existence, although it has suffered several major sieges and even direct assaults. [WoT Wiki]

A shade of this magnificent city was created in Second Life and just opened today, so time to take a few snapshots. Let me start off with an official map of the city as it appears in the books of The Wheel of Time.


The Second Life version has to do with limited space on a one-sim build, but the outlines are quite similar.

Dominating the island is the White Tower, seat of the Aes Sedai. A few snapshots from the inside. The 'knight' you see standing there in the library (of the Brown Ajah) is actually me, VeeJay as a 'Warden', which are masters of war, bodyguards to the Aes Sedai.

A close up of me dressed as a Warden. Well actually, it's not just 'a Warden' This is me as al'Lan Mandragoran,

al'Lan Mangragoran - Uncrowned King of Malkier, a land which was swallowed by the Blight shortly after his birth in 953 NE. He is Dai Shan (DYE SHAN) a Diademed Battle Lord of the Malkieri and the last surviving Malkieri lord. At the age of sixteen he began a one-man war against the Blight and the Shadow which continued until he was bonded as Warder by Moiraine in 979 NE. Warder. His full name is al'Lan Mandragoran and his title is Lord of the Seven Towers.

The Aiel call him Aan'allein which means "a man who is an entire nation" in the Old Tongue. [Encyclopedia WoT]

The armor was tailormade for me by Jet Control, master armssmith and possibly the largest armsdealer in Second Life and was inspired by the cover of the first book in the Wheel of Time series, "The Eye of the World"


In June 2007 is sought out the Wheel of Time fans in Second Life and called them to start building the World of Robert Jordan in order to enter a calendar competition, which at the time didn't succeed. Now finally we've got our first place to RolePlay. Enjoy the fun at Tar Valon.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Tar%20Valon/46/25/70

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Monday, December 03, 2007

The Name of the Wind


It's been dead quiet on the MindBlizzard blog for a couple of days. This was first and foremost due to a short holiday we had with family and secondly because of the Name of the Wind.



Next wednesday, December 5 we celebrate Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, the original non-coca-cola invention that commercialized christmas. On December 5 we celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. That means we get our presents a little earlier. Since we were with family, we celebrated it last saturday resulting in a sort of catatonic state for me.



One of the presents I got was Patrick Rothfuss' debut novel "The Name of the Wind". Here's the introduction:



"My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.

"The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.

"The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.

I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.

My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.



But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know."



I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.



I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.



You may have heard of me. "



In this genre it is hard to be original, and there were several things that triggered memories, like the Waystone Inn (Wayward Inn, Dragonlance Chronicles), the main character (orphaned like Elof Valantor in Winter of the World), the bad guy reminding me of the Nine Riders (Tolkien) or the Myrrdaal (from the Wheel of Time series). As I said, it's hard to be original in this genre. A lot of fantasy writers spin tales that are just shades of Tolkien's Middle Earth or another classic. Others spin superficial tales without real depth or mystery.

Only on rare occasions you encounter gems, great tales that are heroic and intriguing; tales that have an original approach to magic and evil, tales written in an excellent style; tales which need to be read non stop. The Name of the Wind is such a tale. I read all 600+ pages within 24 hours barely taking time to eat or talk to my wife. It is a very promising debut and I can't wait for the other parts to appear.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Robert Jordan Memorial

The first thing to hit my screen this morning was the message that Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series has passed away after fighting cancer for years.

It's too late, and too many things happened today in RL to take time to give proper honours. All I can say is the Wheel weaves as the wheel wills. Here's the Dragonmount memorial in Second Life:

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Robert Jordan contest

Robert Jordan, author of the legendary the Wheel of Time series has set up a competition for the 2009 calendar, announced on the Dragonmount blog. The money raised by the calendar sales will go to benefit Amyloidosis Research at the Mayo Clinic where Robert Jordan is receiving his treatment from.

In Second Life a group named 'Wheel of Time Fans' has been around for a while now, and me being a total tWoT fan am a member of this group. It seemed like a good thing to get the group together to build an entry for this contest in collaboration.

Several group members have already signed up to participate .

IM VeeJay Burns for more information.

Looking for sponsors:

The group is looking for a piece of land where we can set up a build.

Here's a few more pics of what The Wheel of Time could look like in Second Life.
A'Lan Mandragoran and the Malkieri banner

a Whitecloack

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