Prologue to THE EYE OF THE WORLDMost Robert Jordan fans likely began their odyssey with his work by reading The Eye of the World, the first volume of his long-running Wheel of Time series. Despite being a Fantasy accessible to readers of all ages, The Eye of the World was released and marketed towards an adult market; of course, this didn’t hurt its success, but publisher Tor Books knew they were missing an opportunity to grow the audience among younger readers. In an effort to reach these readers, Tor released a split version of The Eye of the World in two volumes, titled From the Two River and To the Blight. Included in the first volume was a new prologue for the series, Earlier—Ravens that was designed to be more appealing to young readers than the misleading and ominous prologue that we’re all used to.

This prologue features a young Egwene and introduces readers to Emond’s Field years before the main plot of the series begins.

This far below Emond’s Field, halfway to the Waterwood, trees lined the banks of the Winespring Water. Mostly willows, their leafy branches made a shady canopy over the water near the bank. Summer was not far off, and the sun was climbing toward midday, yet here in the shadows a soft breeze made Egwene’s sweat feel cool on her skin. Tying the skirts of her brown wool dress up above her knees, she waded a little way into the river to fill her wooden bucket. The boys just waded in, not caring whether their snug breeches got wet. Some of the girls and boys filling buckets laughed and used their wooden dippers to fling water at one another, but Egwene settled for enjoying the stir of the current on her bare legs, and her toes wriggling on the sandy bottom as she climbed back out. She was not here to play. At nine, she was carrying water for the first time, but she was going to be the best water-carrier ever.

Pausing on the bank, she set down her bucket to unfasten her skirts and let them fall to her ankles. And to retie the dark green kerchief that gathered her hair at the nape of her neck. She wished she could cut it at her shoulders, or even shorter, like the boys. She would not need to have long hair for years yet, after all. Why did you have to keep doing something just because it had always been done that way? But she knew her mother, and she knew her hair was going to stay long.

Close to a hundred paces further down the river, men stood knee-deep in the water, washing the black-faced sheep that would later be sheared. They took great care getting the bleating animals into the river and back out safely. The Winespring Water did not flow as swiftly here as it did in Emond’s Field, yet it was not slow. A sheep that got swept away might drown before it could struggle ashore.

A large raven flew across the river to perch high in the branches of a whitewood near where the men were washing sheep. Almost immediately a redcrest began diving at the raven, a flash of scarlet that chattered noisily.

The redcrest must have a nest nearby. Instead of taking flight and maybe attacking the smaller bird, though, the raven just shuffled sideways on the limb to where a few smaller branches sheltered it a little. It peered down toward the working men.

Ravens sometimes bothered the sheep, but ignoring the redcrest’s attempts to frighten it away was more than unusual. More than that, she had the strange feeling that the black bird was watching the men, not the sheep. Which was silly, except . . . She had heard people say that ravens and crows were the Dark One’s eyes. That thought made goosebumps break out all down her arms and even on her back. It was a silly idea. What would the Dark One want to see in the Two Rivers? Nothing ever happened in the Two Rivers.

You can read the entirety of Earlier—Ravens via Wattpad; be warned, though, that it is certainly geared to young readers and begins the Wheel of Time with a decidedly different tone than the original prologue.

  • neth December 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I’m not a fan of this, but then I’m not the audience it was aimed at. The original prologue is one of the better parts of the entire series.

  • Marten December 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Actually, I have already read it, like 4 times.

  • aidan December 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Thoughts on it, Marten?

  • Marten December 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I like it. It’s the only time we ever get to see Egwene’s sisters or Perrin’s family, which adds a lot to later events, especially Perrin returning to the Two Rivers in TSR. It’s cool to get this feeling of what Bel Tine might have been like, what the Two Rivers was like prior to the events in TEotW which have really changed the area in general. Plus we get to see Rand, Mat, and Perrin interacting with each other at a younger more reckless age, which is nice since after about TGH they’re hardly ever on screen at the same time anymore. It’s funny to see what Egwene started out as, since we know where she ends up, and you can trace all of that strength back to this chapter. It’s nice to have her PoV here since otherwise we don’t get it until TGH. When Tam tells the story of Lews Therin it’s really quite cinematic and exciting, I assume it would be even more so if you were being introduced to TEotW through this book, but even so it harkens to RJ’s strengths in telling the history of his world. And then to follow Tam’s version of the events with the REAL version, Dragonmount, adds a whole different level to Dragonmount where we’re coming from having seen what history made of the event, and now see what really happened. It also really helps to set up Dragonmount so you know something of what’s going on instead of going “What?” the whole time. You know then that you’re thousands of years in the past, and that Lews Therin is the Dragon and he’s a historic figure, yadda yadda yadda. Plus the chapter ends with a sense of foreboding which already puts you on your toes a chapter before the black rider shows up. I wouldn’t classify it as NEEDING to be read, but it adds an extra spice into the mix.

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  • pabkins December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I am definitely reading this and never knew about it since I didn’t bother to pick up the split versions since I owned the original version of it.