They say deaths come in threes. As most of probably know, in the last ten days or so, we've lost Luciano Pavarotti and Madeleine l'Engle. After hearing that I thought about the saying that death comes in threes and wondered if there would be another to make up the proverbial trilogy. Sure enough, Robert Jordan died yesterday.
Genuine, bonafide legends.
Luciano Pavarotti was not a writer. For any of you who do not know who he was, he was considered one of the greatest male tenors in the world. Absolutely amazing. He wasn't a writer, but I see no reason why tributes on this blog should be reserved only for writers. The ability to create something deep and beautiful that touches people's hearts is certainly not a market we have a corner on. If you have never heard Luciano Pavarotti sing the famous opera number Nessum Dorma, pleased do.
Madeleine l'Engle was a writer of both adult and young adult fiction, but she is best known for her Time Quartet, and most notably, the first book in that series, "A Wrinkle in Time," which earned her the Newbery Award in 1962 and is arguably the beginning of the YA Speculative Fiction era. I didn't actually read AWiT until I was an adult, but trust me, it is worth the read even if you are not a young adult. If you haven't read it, I definitely recommend that you do.
Robert Jordan is knows as the premiere fantasy author of our generation. Although he has written many books, including several Conan the Barbarian novels, he is, by far, most famous for his super-epic series, The Wheel of Time, which opens with "The Eye of the World." Robert Jordan completely re-defined the epic series with his twelve-book series, the last of which has not yet been published. Anyone who considers themselves a fantasy reader has probably read Robert Jordan, even if not the whole series (which is somewhere around 3-4 million words long. I am not obsessed with his series as many people are *cough, cough* My brother Richard *cough, cough* but I I'll always remember "The Eye of the World" as the first real fantasy I ever read back when I was fourteen.
It's sobering to lose three legends like this all in a less-than-two-week period. There are not that many true legends in the word and their numbers have now been diminished. But besides simply being famous, these are three legends who are legends for having true talent. They are not freak shows, children of wealthy or talented people, or people who have just been around so long that everyone knows them. An incredible singer, a gifted wordsmith, a storyteller with some of the greatest stamina the world has ever seen! Incredible people. I'm sorry the world has lost them.
But they will last in memory, as only the truly amazing do.