Aftermath of Robert Jordan's Passing

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Author: Kitan Tataru, April 2008

The period following Robert Jordan’s death has become what we refer to as “The Breaking.” After its announcement (and Dragonmount’s crash because their server couldn’t handle the traffic) Tar Valon’s new membership requests jumped at least seven times of its normal rate.

What interested this reporter was the new members’ experiences. How did they experience Tar Valon in the days following the Breaking?

Hypollita Astraea, a citizen, reflected on why she joined. She said that she did not join at first and only read the site. “But I never joined because... well, I don't know. For me there is the language barrier, and I was kinda shy maybe. Then I received the news on RJ's death (an SMS message on my cell phone ) and I came to the boards once more, hoping to share my grief and see what other people had written.”

Another TV citizen who prefers to remain anonymous had similar words. “I noticed that people [on another site I visited] had mentioned that they have another account on and decided to check out if they had any more mention of RJ's death. I was overwhelmed. I had stumbled upon a buzzing and active community and just from reading the heartfelt posts in the RJ memorial thread I decided to instantly sign up and at least tell the posters how much I appreciated their words as a new RJ fan.”

Cordelia Narie speaks about her early Tar Valon experience. “I joined initially out of curiosity and to meet other people with similar interests; I submitted my application about a week before the Creator's death. I was then inactive and got distracted by events in RL and may have fallen off the boards had nothing happened. However, when Robert Jordan passed on I was looking for support and people to commiserate with and I found my way back to”

Hypollita laughed as she recalled what she discovered Tar Valon is all about after joining and making citizen. “Having access to more boards, what became clear to me was that it wasn't all about RJ's books. It was about real people sharing interests, and life experiences, and thoughts, etc.”

Cordelia had similar words. “Before joining it was rather unimpressive because there is so little to see. Since I've joined I've been impressed by the communication among all the people from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds. It is sort of intimidating at first but I decided to get my feet wet and have gotten to know some people despite my initial shyness.”

Hypollita had an interesting reflection. “Another thing I observed, and that made me want to stay and apply for the Tower was that it seems there is a place for everyone. There are more talktive people, others dont talk so much but do other kinds of work... There are those who like to teach, those who like to chat, and so on.”

The anonymous citizen reflected on how Tar Valon is different from other fansites on the internet. “Since then I'm on TV almost everyday, even if I'm not always posting. I love it. It's been one of the highlights of my year and a very real and supportive place to escape to, however paradoxical that might sound. I was impressed most of all by the eloquence of all the posters. I thought ‘this is the internet, people shouldn't be making sense!’ and I realized that it's more of a literature fansite dominated by women and that's how WoT differs from nearly every other internet community in existence.”

The anonymous citizen also reflected on his Tar Valon experience since the Breaking. “The weeks after RJ's passing, TV's "emotions" settled down and I experienced the more or less natural behaviour of everyone there. At times I felt that because I'm one of the members who joined for the Memorial forum that it makes me less of an individual and thought that I was seen by the older members as just another anonymous poster. I've always been afraid of attracting attention on internet forums in case I find some weird people talking to me, so at times I felt a little alienated from the more experienced TV users. … I didn't want the heart of the community, the older members, to leave or feel dissatisfied or outnumbered by the newbies. Since that, though, things have changed and it didn't turn out like that at all - which is a big relief!”

The three citizens this reporter spoke with want to stay and become Servants of All – achieve Aes Sedai or Gaidin in the future. They are the new generation, the new class of Tar Valon users – and growth and new blood is what this site is all about.