Why Epics Are Epic
I love reading and always have.
What I love reading has shifted over time, though maybe not even as much as I think. I can remember vividly how often I used to devour my "choose-your-own-ending" stories, and my favorite one of all was about a knight in a castle and a dragon. So there you go.
But whether venturing out into other unexplored territories (I had a bit of a non-fiction streak going for a little while, actually), or delving into my tried-and-trues, I never lost the desire to want more. If a story was good I wanted more of it. I wanted to hear more words roll off of my favorite character's tongues, I wanted to learn more about new worlds and old magics. More, more, more!
So when a friend turned me on to Robert Jordan (forever ago!) I was hooked. Here was something that did not have to end with the last page! There was more of the story. And more and more and more! Oh happy day! Even now, I have the first books of so many different series sitting on my to-read shelf that finishing those alone is going to be an accomplishment. But I cannot help myself - every time I see a new one I pick it up. And, assuming it is good, it can be a long journey down each road.
Whenever I read something about how much someone does not like a tale that cannot be told between the two covers of one book, it just solidifies for me why I do. The two most common gripes include:
- Impatience. If an author is currently in the middle of writing a series, with some volumes still to be released or even penned, some readers will not read the series to begin with because the story is unfinished. But what is so wrong with anticipating a thing? Personally, I love looking forward to something like that, even if it is months or even years off. And I find that gap in production between the last one and the forthcoming one easy to fill. As I said, my shelf is very, very full. And if it is a long, looong time in between, rereading the series to refresh the memory often proves as enjoyable as the initial read. AS a side note, it is also common to dive into an epic series only to pull out prematurely. Disappointing installments, growing disinterest in the storyline or the characters - these are common. Shit happens and so does shitty writing. No need to persevere if you are not getting enjoyment out of what you are reading - that is the whole meaning for reading in the first place. I myself will raise my hand for committing premature evacuation.
- Impatience. That was not a typo. This time I mean for the conciseness of a story. What cannot be told in one volume cannot be read by someone who wants it to be. That is a formula that will never work. Just as in real life, in books characters and worlds do not have to disappear into oblivion once one tale has been told. There is more, we want to read more, and a second story deserves its own title.
If epics are not your thing, no problem. You can loathe them as much as I love them. What world would this one be, or any other, for that matter, if everyone felt the same way always? Likely a place not worth knowing more than one story about.