September 2007, Tar Valon Times

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TarValon.Net Obituary

by Sela Narian, Editor-In-Chief

“Life is a dream. All dreams must end.”

These are words sung by the Aiel, one of many dozens of intricate cultures found within the vivid world of the Wheel of Time, created by James Rigney, Jr. under the pen name of Robert Jordan.

After fighting the disorder amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy for over a year and a half, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. died of complications from this disorder on Sunday, September 16 at 2:45 P.M. He was one month away from his fifty-ninth birthday. He is survived by his wife, Harriet, who served as editor for his books, and his son, William.

James Rigney, Jr. was born on October 17, 1948. He decided at an early age that he wanted to write, but decided to wait until he had experienced more in life which he could bring to his fiction. Before he became a professional writer, he served two tours in Vietnam through the U.S. Army, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with Valor and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry with Palm. He attended the Citadel in South Carolina, where he earned a degree in physics. He went on to become a nuclear engineer, employed by the U.S. Navy.

The best-selling writer of twenty-five books had the distinction of spending over eighty weeks on the New York Times' Bestsellers lists for his various releases in hardback and paperback both. His books were published in 22 countries. He was also an accomplished dance and theatre critic, contributing to Library Journal , Fantasy Review and Science Fiction Review under the name of Chang Lung. Besides Robert Jordan, he also wrote books under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.

He was in constant communication with his fans throughout the world, and touched millions of lives through his writing. In his series, he described the term ta'veren as one who is chosen by the Wheel of Time to bend the pattern of the web of destiny; one thread which pulls others to it and changes lives without even realizing it. Such was the life of James Rigney, Jr. Whether he met them or did not, there are thousands of stories to be found of readers who connected through his books, forged lasting relationships, improved their lives and worked to serve others through charitable acts as a result of reading the Wheel of Time series.

He will be remembered as a man of constant strength, passion and dignity, who left a lasting impact on the world of fiction and beyond. His influence will continue to touch the world long after his passing; within his books, readers old and new will discover the legends he created for many years to come. The grave is no bar to his call.

TarValon.Net Toast to Robert Jordan in IRC

by Sela Narian, Editor-in-Chief 
Thank you to everyone for coming to the memorial toast for James Rigney, Jr, whom we knew as the writer Robert Jordan. I am going to make this moderated chat brief, because he deserves many people talking and remembering him, not just one or two. 
This Sunday, we experienced the loss of someone whose writing touched many of us. Our hearts and prayers go to his family and friends who knew him well. 
I got a call today from the Amyrlin of TarValon.Net. She is known as "Mother" or "Eleyan Sedai" at the site. Her real-life name is Melissa Craib. She attended his funeral today, and she wants everyone to know that she had talked to Harriet, and told her about the toast we are doing right now. Harriet would like everyone here to know that they are appreciative of what we are doing, and will be toasting with us at the same time. 
With that said, I would like everyone to raise a glass and toast to James Oliver Rigney, Jr. - a good man who made a significant impact on us, the world of fiction and much more; more than we personally could know. With respect and gratefulness, I say Cheers to him. 

Online Action From Wheel of Time Sites

by Mirandha t'Bayana, First Reporter 
With this Special Edition of the Tar Valon Times, TarValon.Net commemorates the memory, and mourns the passing of Robert Jordan. It is hard to know just what is appropriate for honoring the man who brought so many of us together. Across the Internet, many other Wheel of Time communities join TarValon.Net. 
Replacing the former flash video introduction is a memorial video designed by Valorian Gaidin. This moving tribute showcases several photos commemorating Jordan's dedication to his many fans. Set to music by Edgen, this video also serves as a thank you to Jordan for all he has given to us. Another visual tribute mourning RJ's death are the black curtains that adorn the banners at the top of TarValon's forums. 
Other happenings around the site include the Robert Jordan Memorial forum found at the very top of the forums list. Here members, both new and old, can express their grief, share stories, and generally remember the father of the series we all love. In the news section of the main site you will also see the eloquent obituary written by Sela Sedai. 
Sela also helped to run a memorial toast held in IRC. Over 100 people showed up in #wheel to toast Jordan's memory. Accompanying the toast was a special radio show hosted by both Valorian and Sela. Over the air, our hosts read toasts sent in by members of TarValon.Net. A transcript of the event is forthcoming. 
Other tributes that are not as visible include the flowers sent to the funeral, as well as the renaming of the scholarship fund. Now known as "The Robert Jordan Memorial Servant of All Scholarship," members are encouraged to donate to this fund or to Jordan's favorite charity, The Mayo Clinic. 
Over at Dragonmount, a podcast is planned for the near future. They are also planning on taking caller voicemails and passing them onto Jordan's family. As usual, the site will also keep WOT fans up to date on what will be happening next with the series. If you are having difficulties accessing their site they ask that you sit tight for the time being. There is a lot of traffic coming to the site, and the administrators are doing their best to keep DM up and online. 
Matt at Theoryland says, “Theoryland and its members will do what we do best to celebrate Jordan's life, we will discuss his series and argue theories such as Who Killed Asmodean into the 22nd century.” Look for a change to their homepage in the coming days that will reflect their respect for the life and creations of Robert Jordan. They too encourage everyone to donate what they can to The Mayo Clinic. 
For the next month, EncyclopediaWOT plans on staying in mourning, and a personal remembrance will be posted. EWOT anticipates that news regarding the rest of the series will be heard within the coming months. 
Making a donation in honor of Robert Jordan is also something wotmania will be participating in. Mike, webmaster and creator, will be making a personal donation to the Amyloidosis Research Group, and has posted a link for others to do so as well. Although nothing formal is planned for wotmania, Mike aptly states, “the greatest thing about WoT and all the websites dedicated to it is the sense of community surrounding the books and the sites. People are coming together and doing the things they can to help each other feel better. In some ways I think there are few things we can do that would honor his passing more than a simple celebration of his work and all the joy it has brought to so many people.” 
Each site, in their own way, remembers all that Robert Jordan has given to his fandom. Smaller communities such as the Realm of Tar Valon are considering doing such things as writing a letter of condolence to Harriet, while Towers of Light will add a memorial section to their website. 
Just as individuals mourn in their own way, so will WOT communities across the Internet. Mike from wotmania said it best, “I'm hopeful that people can come together around WoT, celebrate how great it is, and enjoy the community that has developed around these books. In celebrating his work, we can hopefully celebrate him and focus on what he has given us.” 

How the Wheel of Time/Robert Jordan Made an Impact On Your Life

by D'Ran al'Fir, Lead Reporter 
There is nothing if not a consensus that is attained when one person speaks about the people at Tar Valon: we are a family. We were brought together because of Robert Jordan; his books soothed us, enveloped us; because of him we were changed. 
With reading his words our values were touched upon, our morals, our very beliefs. Some speak of strength renewed, vigor gained through the telling of his story; others of the love that blossomed out of his works. 
He drew us together in a way that I am sure most authors wish they could; because of him families were created and those that already existed were brought even closer together. Just take, for an example, our very own Amyrlin and her real life sister Miridyth. Miridyth joined this site as a way to come closer to her sister, and the Wheel of Time provided a way to bridge that gap. The same can be said of Murasaki and her mother Rafka. The site, an offspring of those books, brought a mother and daughter even closer together. 
Robert Jordan also helped each and every one of us gain family through the myriad of friends we have here; not many people can say (even in this day and age) that they have friends from the wilds of Canada to the undergrowth of Australia. People never met are helped when in need, because we all wish to emulate the Aes Sedai and Gaidin and be true Servants of All. 
And a whole novella might be written of the relationships and marriages resulting from a common love for Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time. From TarValon.Net there has been a total of nine marriages and, so far, three more engagements, and I doubt that there will not be a growth in those numbers. 
With that, I leave you with something said by a very eloquent man, Jalen. His words embody many of the ideals we take and have incorporated into our lives because of Robert Jordan, a man that has changed us all and be remembered forever: 

“What did The Wheel of Time series teach me?

The importance of righteousness. Act for the right, of the right. Be sure of your intentions and goals. 
The importance of bravery. With the right goals in mind, let nothing stand in between you and them. Take on each challenge regardless of odds. 
The importance of loyalty. Your Aes Sedai is your all; she is your guiding light, your protector, and your charge. You must follow, accept, defend, and guide, at the appropriate times. 
The importance of unimportance. No person can be 'all' in any equation. Not even the most powerful person in the equation can come close to being more than the sum of its parts. 
Finally, the importance of perseverance. Regardless of what's going on, what trials are in front of you, what horrors you've already clawed past, the point is to keep moving, keep fighting, keep clawing. At a time when I had just emerged from my nest, fresh out into a world not always nurturing but also cold, and dangerous, Warders helped teach me how to live, to strive, and to keep fighting.” 
All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well, if it pleases the Light. 

Amyloidosis Information

by al'Cary Mandoragon, Lead Reporter 

Robert Jordan has been fighting a rare disease known as amyloidosis since he was diagnosed around 18 months ago. This disease occurs due to the overproduction of certain protein, called an amyloid. This excess protein can be deposited in a localised fashion and pose relatively minor health risks; however, in this case the protein was deposited in tissue throughout the body resulting in a far more serious case of systemic amyloidosis. This disease, while more commonly a secondary effect of another illness, was in Robert Jordan's case unrelated to other conditions. Robert Jordan underwent chemotherapy treatment at the Mayo Clinic, the world's leading treatment centre for diseases of this type. It was his express wish that anyone who wished to help him in his fight against this disease do so by donating to this clinic, and doubtless it would be his wish for us all to continue supporting the people who supported him in his final struggle.

What Were You Doing When You Heard?

by Cuchulain Bragh, Reporter 
The moment in time when we receive the news of a significant incident is branded into our memories forever. All of us here at the Tower have suffered such an incident on September 16, 2007 with the passing of James Oliver Rigney Jr. 
From Novice to Aes Sedai to Recruit to Gaidin, many share the common feeling of dread. Xaviara Sedai said, “I'm on vacation in San Diego staying with my friend who went to Comic-Con and the Knife of Dreams book signing with me. We were both shocked.... It's as though RJ was in our thoughts at the time of his death and we only made the connection later. We just felt the rift in the universe.” 
Looking on the boards or getting a phone call from a friend seemed to be the two most used methods of learning the news. No matter how we learned what happened, we all had mixed reactions. Many of us cried while others took the news stoically. For some, the news took a while to sink in. Valena Sedai told us, “I saw the memorial page on Dragonmount, but it didn't hit home immediately till I read the announcement. Then I sat back stunned and stared at my computer and then started crying. My best friend came over and made me tea and we talked. I am still at a loss for words; it still seems a bit surreal.” 
Soujirô Tenken, a Citizen, had a similar experience: “I had just gotten home from work and was making myself a cup of coffee, when I got a text from Sa'areah, stating: ‘Did you hear about Robert Jordan?' I was in two minds. At first, I thought she'd heard about that little hoax about the 'last rites' that was going around, but I began to suspect all was not well, as I knew Sa'areah would be certain to check her facts before telling me. Then a moment later, I got a call from her on my mobile and was able to make out that he'd passed on.” 

Citizen Kezia al'Vael stated, “I just joined this site today - I guess I was inspired because of his passing. I just happened to think of checking his blog this morning, which I do every few months and that is where I saw it. Very sad.”

Many Tower members also shared a similar reaction to that which the Amyrlin Seat, Eleyan Sedai, had. “I was told over the phone. I knew it when the phone rang. I went to work. Right now there are not words for how I feel. So I will express it simply. There is work. I will do it.” 
From New York to New Zealand and all over the world, Tower members were moved by the passing of Robert Jordan. We will remember where and when the news of Jordan's death became known to us. Yet above all, we will remember the man. We will all be forever grateful for the light he brought to our lives. 

Re-Reading and Remembering

by Aria Beraht, Reporter 
As soon as people started finding out about Robert Jordan's death the Memorial Forum became packed. Threads were popping up in minutes with people's ideas on how to memorialize the beloved author. One of the first of those to be posted was Sela Sedai's "Memorial Rereading of Wheel of Time." On an impulse, she decided to memorialize Robert Jordan in the simplest form. She simply stated, "Is anyone with me?" and the response was outstanding. 
New members and old members alike joined in commemorating his life. Though everyone around the site is constantly reading and rereading, this time it was different. Asalyn Sedai put it nicely when she said, "One of the best ways to honor RJ is by going back to the beginning, and riding the wave again." She is doing the memorial reread because it is what brought the site together. "By reading the WoT series again, it is honoring him, his work and where it all took me." Cinnamin Draconna had already started to do a reread but decided to contine it, and said, "Only this time, I would be thinking about RJ while doing it, and remembering how much he meant to me and everyone." 
One of the many reasons people love to read The Wheel of Time is because of what it teaches you. Cuchulain said, "I believe Jordan is still alive and with us through his written word. I believe that his work in its self is alive and has such a positive force to it that it brings people together. The best way to honor him is to learn something from his work. Be it honor, loyalty, brotherhood, or many of the other attributes, we can all take something positive and better ourselves for it." Madelaine Sedai felt similiarly. She told me, "As I read each book, I will try to look beyond the obvious entertainment value and appreciate the life lessons he has intertwined throughout the narrative. Through his characters 
and their stories, I learn valuable things about both myself and those around me." 
For most of us, each time we read the books we gain something. Whether it be something new that didn't click before or just a deeper sense of the meaning behind the books. Twibli Abaru wants to "envision what RJ was thinking as he wrote these words, and to look beyond the words to find...something." 
In this time of grief, we all need to remember that we all share a common link. That link is the legacy that Robert Jordan has left behind in his Wheel of Time novels. With the decision all of these people have made to reread the novels, it is obvious that we are entering a "New Age" so to speak, one where the grief starts to subside, and the celebration of his life begins. 

List of Online Obituaries/Mentionings for James Rigney, Jr.

Compiled by Adriana al'Tere
Further organized by Nyarin al'Batera 
Newspapers and Websites 

The New York Times The Times (UK) Yahoo (Associated Press) Amazon Making Light Charleston Post and Courier SlashDot CNN Cinema Blend Ain't It Cool News BBC GalleyCat The Age (Australia) L.A. Times Trans World News{/url] The Telegraph (UK) TheForce.Net (Star Wars fan site) British Fantasy Society AppleGeeks

Web Comics 

GU Comics by Woddy Hearn Something Positive webcomic by R K Milholland WOTNow


Neil Gaiman's Blog (Author) George R.R.Martin's LiveJournal (Author) Jo Walton's LiveJournal (Author) Scott Lynch's LiveJournal (Editor)

Elizabeth Bear's LiveJournal (Author) 

Andrew Wheeler's Blog (Editor)

Terry McGarry's LiveJournal (Copy Editor for WoT from TSR onwards) 

Charles Coleman Finlay's LiveJournal (Author) Wyrdsmith's Blog (Writer's Group) Leigh Barry's LiveJournal (Author) Sarah Monette's Blog (Author) Madeleine Robin's Livejournal (Editor at Tor when WoT began) Pamela Dean's LiveJournal (Author) Deep Genre (Writers' Group) Douglas Cohen's LiveJournal (Assistant Editor of Realms of Fantasy Magazine)

Mourning References in the Wheel of Time

compiled by Toral Delvar
At Tamra's funeral (NS):
- Moiraine considers white is worn for grieving 
- Siuan ties long white ribbons in her hair and longer around her arms 
- The other sisters wear variations of that 
- Aes Sedai never put on full mourning except for whites, who do not consider it so.
- Whites wear glossy black ribbons, which Moiraine thinks strange, though it attracts no attention from the other Aes Sedai.
- Tamra's body is sewn into a simple blue shroud.
- Tamra wanted her body consumed by fire and her ashes scattered across the Tower by the Blues, so this is what they do.

Aiel men sing only battle chants and dirges for those slain (EotW Ch. 25).

Shienarans (and other Borderlanders) are buried naked (perhaps with a shroud?) with the words, "May the last embrace of the mother welcome you home" recited (tGH ch. 10).


by Kasia Baredeen, Statistician
Robert Jordan 
Name: James Oliver Rigney, Jr. 
Wife: Harriet 
Home: Charleston, South Carolina, USA 
Education: degree in physics from The Citadel 
Random: Enjoyed pipe collecting 

Wheel of Time 
Main arc page count: 7,456 pages (US Hardcovers) 
Word count: 3,115,519 (through Book 10) 
Translations: 21 
Available in: 22 countries 
Copies in print: over 30 million 

Founded: March 25, 2001 
Registered accounts: 1986 (as of September 15) 
Members in active usergroups: 830 
Tower Population 
Aes Sedai: 210 
Accepted: 69 
Novices: 61 
Gaidin: 97 
Soldiers: 40 
Recruits: 57 
City Population 
Resident Citizens:50 
Citizens: 246 
Number of accounts created since September 16: more than 160 (though less than a fifth of those have made the necessary 5 posts to be listed in the memberlist) 
Bondings: over 60 
Annual Tower-sanctioned real life functions: 6 
Marriages of site members: 9 
Engagements: 3 
Attendees at the Memorial Chat: 101 
Tower members who have met each other in real life: hundreds