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The Eye of the World

The story that made me want to be a writer

By Kenny PennPublished 8 months ago 4 min read
Runner-Up in Book Club Challenge

When I turned twelve, my mother lent me a paperback novel. She normally preferred to buy hardbacks, but this one wasn’t formatted in your typical six by nine-inch trim. It was an eight-hundred-page manuscript roughly the size and shape of a hardback. The cover art featured a warrior atop a huge black horse set against a full moon. Beside him in stark contrast rode a petite woman in blue carrying a staff and sitting astride a small but elegant white horse. I can still recall the tiny bat-like creature flying just under the title, ‘The Eye of the World’.

As a child, my mom and grandma instilled in me a strong love of stories. My grandma did it by reading books to the family after dinner. Books like, ‘Little House on the Prairie’, or, ‘Hardy Boys’ mysteries. I love my Audible account, but to this day I can’t think of a better narrator than my grandma. My mom, on the other hand, did it by introducing me to her great library of novels, mostly epic fantasies with a sprinkling of horror. Through my mom, I learned to love some of the great classics like, ‘The Hobbit’, and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until my mom lent me Robert Jordan's novel that I began wanting to write. To this day, I have never read a story so captivating, so thrilling, and so compelling. I began to wonder, what if I wrote a story like that? What would it be about and what would the characters be like? I started dabbling in my own writing, admittedly at first nothing more than plagiarizing the story I had come to love.

Robert Jordan’s first few lines is enough to capture the attention of any epic fantasy reader. If you find yourself speaking to a fan of his, try quoting this line: “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass,”. I bet you’d get a smile, and the fan would finish the rest of that opening line. Jordan used it in all his, ‘Wheel of Time,’ novels. For me, reading that line in a new novel from the series was almost a religious experience.

Yet plenty of authors have fantastic opening lines. Stephen King’s, ‘The Gunslinger’, comes to my mind as one of the all-time greats. So, what about Jordan’s work made me want to write? Well, there are many reasons. His brilliant character developments, plot twists, red herrings, attention to detail, and long-term plot seeding are just some of them. The most compelling for me, though, is Jordan’s original concept of the fantasy hero.

Most epic fantasies feature some form of someone who is told they are the one destined to save humanity from some apocalyptic event. In those stories, the hero (or heroine) may be skeptical but will ultimately come to accept their role and embrace it. Jordan’s hero is completely different. In his story, the hero is someone the world is terrified of, a savior and destroyer. The hero himself is repulsed by the idea of taking on that role.

Another unique aspect of this story is the concept of a somewhat matriarchal society. Because of a cataclysmic event that happened in the distant past (another Age), only women are allowed to use Jordan’s version of magic. As such, these women hold sway over kings and queens all over the continent. It’s not only there we see strong women, though. In many places, women hold equal if not more power to shape the lives of the people around them. I found this idea refreshing, as all the stories I had read so far in my young life had featured women as playing mostly subservient roles.

After reading this novel, I knew I wanted to write. Since then, I have aspired to write many stories, most of which collect dust on an old thumb drive or in a binder somewhere packed in a cardboard box. Life throws all kinds of surprises your way, but I’ve never lost that need to write something spectacular. One day, I hope to have my own name next to Jordan’s as one of the world’s great authors.

“There are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time” – Robert Jordan.

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About the Creator

Kenny Penn

Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing in various genres, my favorites being horror/thriller and dark/epic fantasies. I'll also occasionally drop a poem or two.

For a list of all my work, and to connect with me, go to

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (8)

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  • Naomi Gold7 months ago

    Wow, I hate fantasy, but you’ve written such a compelling nonfiction piece about how this epic fantasy influenced you. I love what you said about the hero’s journey in fantasy literature. That’s exactly what my memoir is about. My own Fool’s Journey based on the major arcana of tarot. I’m very intrigued by the idea of a book where women have access to magic. You’re right, that’s not the norm. I might even check this book out. I totally resonate with how it made you want to be a writer—The Wizard of Oz did that for me. I’m realizing now that Dorothy was the reluctant female hero on an epic fantasy quest. I never thought of it like that before. This was such an inspiring read. I already write, but you make me want to write more! As evidenced by the long comment lol. Congrats on your placement in the challenge. 🩷

  • Lydia Stewart7 months ago

    I've never read these books; you made me want to! I'll have to go look them up!

  • Heather Hubler7 months ago

    Oh, I could feel your joy throughout at writing about this novel and what it's meant to you. Just wonderful :) Congrats on runner up!!

  • Celia in Underland7 months ago

    Amazing -I really love how intertwined the book, your own matriarchy and youe passion for writing ase so interconnected. I absolutely loved reading this! Also I have never read the novel, but so, so want to after this! 🤍

  • Donna Renee7 months ago

    Yes!!!! This is great, Kenny!! Going to reread this series ☺️ congratulations!!

  • Jazzy 7 months ago

    I had never heard of this book before now but I’m so interested because it effected you so profoundly! Congrats on runner up! 🥰

  • Barbara Gilley8 months ago

    Nothing in this world compares to a really good book, and Robert Jordan wrote an extraordinary series! I’m so very excited and proud Kenny, that you have picked up the mantle! Now I have the real pleasure of reading what You write❤️

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