The Eye of the World v Galactic Pale Ale

  • Book: Eye of the World
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Published: 1990

It is clear that Jordan was very much of the generation of epic fantasy writers still struggling to break away from the structures and tropes Tolkien had stamped upon the genre. There already appear to be enough threads set up within this book to suggest that Jordan was aware of the issues he faced and had designs to break with those traditions as the series progresses. In essence, it feels as though this first book is very much intended to feel familiar in order to bring along a readership who were maybe unable or unwilling to invest in much beyond the Tolkien clones which littered the genre in the 70s and 80s. (I’m looking at you Shannara, which I love btw).

While I found much of the book’s middle to be quite slow going, the last quarter really drew me back in. So by the end I couldn’t put it down. It was in this last twenty five percent (roughly) where the mutations of the Tolkienesque traditions started to show through. New characters who had little effect on the plot of this book were introduced; there was a seemingly un-signposted change of destination; and it became clear that several plot threads were not going to be closed within this book in a way I don’t think a first book in a series would get away with nowadays.

Ultimately I enjoyed it. I was 30 on my first read-through & I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had come to it earlier in my reading life. It was hard to contextualise much of what I would now consider outdated tropes as having been still viable & in some cases fresh when the book was released. Similarly to what newcomers to the sitcom Seinfeld often say when presented with a lot of the ‘standard episodes’ which crop up again & again in later sitcoms.

  • Beer: Galactic Pale Ale
  • Brewery: Vocation Brewery on behalf of Shepperton Studios
  • Style: Pale Ale
  • Strength: 4.8%

For something marketed as a novelty, this is a very solid beer. Satisfyingly bitter with a hint of sour citrus. Unlike the Stormtroopers the beer is named for this one does not miss.

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