Amazon’s ‘The Wheel of Time’ Adapts Robert Jordan’s Famous Work

What happened to Robert Jordan? Learn about the author of "The Wheel of Time," the book series behind the Amazon show.

Dan Clarendon - Author

Nov. 19 2021, Published 1:50 p.m. ET

Four and a half years after it was announced and 14 years after the death of Robert Jordan, Amazon's The Wheel of Time—the TV adaptation of Jordan’s beloved fantasy book series—has finally arrived. The first three episodes of the TV series started streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Nov. 18.

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Jordan didn’t live to see his epic story hit the small screen—he died in 2007—but Harriet McDougal, his widow, is a consulting producer on the series, as is Brandon Sanderson, the writer McDougal tapped to continue her late husband’s work, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Jordan announced his amyloidosis diagnosis in March 2006.

In a letter to the sci-fi and fantasy magazine Locus published on March 23, 2006, Jordan told fans he had been diagnosed with amyloidosis—a rare blood disease that affects eight people out of 1 million every year—and that he would be starting treatment at the Mayo Clinic in two weeks.

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As Jordan explained in the letter, amyloids are abnormal proteins that can deposit in one’s organs. In his case, Jordan had primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, in which amyloids produced in his bone marrow were depositing in his heart, which caused the walls of his heart to thicken. Without treatment, he would have a median expectancy of one year, he wrote. With treatment, that number would rise to four years.

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“In any case, I intend to live considerably longer than that,” Jordan added. “I sat down and figured out how long it would take me to write all of the books I currently have in mind, without adding anything new and without trying rush anything. The figure I came up with was 30 years. Now, I'm 57, so anyone my age hoping for another 30 years is asking for a fair bit, but I don't care. That is my minimum goal. I am going to finish those books, all of them, and that is that.”

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Robert Jordan passed away a year and a half later.

Jordan died of complications from his amyloidosis on September 16, 2007, in Charleston, S.C., according to the Associated Press.

In a eulogy for Jordan, Sanderson wrote that he was “deeply influenced” by the late author’s work—even if he was intimidated by the length of Jordan’s books before he himself started writing books in the range of 250,000 words.

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“You showed me what it was to have vision and scope in a fantasy series—you showed me what could be done,” Sanderson wrote to Jordan in the eulogy. “I still believe that without your success, many younger authors like myself would never have had a chance at publishing their dreams.”

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Brian Sanderson continued Robert Jordan’s work.

In a 2009 interview with publisher Tor/Forge, McDougal said it was Sanderson’s eulogy for her late husband that convinced her that he should continue the Wheel of Time series. “Brandon’s eulogy was really beautiful and very loving,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Gosh, this guy, he knows what the series is all about.’ And I got on the phone, called [Tor Books publisher] Tom Doherty, and said, ‘Send me one of Sanderson’s books.’”

Sanderson was selected to complete the final three books of the Wheel of Time series: 2009’s The Gathering Storm, 2010’s Towers of Midnight, and 2013’s A Memory of Light.


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