You don’t know a whole lot about the history of fantasy, do you? At the time Jordan had started writing the Eye of the World, there was only one fantasy genre read by adults: Tolkien-eque. The only other genre of fantasy was fairy tales, and it was reserved for children. He purposely opened the novel to feel like tLotR to get readers hooked. The problem is that now, twenty plus years later (he started writing it in 1984), every novel does. At the time he wrote tEotW it was fresh and innovative for the fantasy genre, easily the most original fantasy novel since tLotR. Now it doesn’t feel as unique, and half of that is because so many other writers have copied Jordan’s ideas (Goodkind). What most people who don’t read past the first three books don’t realize, is that tWoT goes in a completely different direction than tLotR, Dune, or Starwars.Fizban wrote:Wheel of Time has so many characters it can get bogged down, and for about 3-4 books in the middle it's all politics, then after that it's all setting up for the end game, which takes forever because of the number of characters (ex: the first few books were about a year each character time, but I think the last was maybe 2-3 months, cause there were 5 times as many perspectives to cover). In spite of this, it is awesome. A lot of people complain about him ripping off other books (Lord of the Rings, Dune, and tons of others I couldn't even name), but the thing is, he does it well. Sure the Fades are basically suped-up ringwraiths, and the Aiel are totally Fremen, but it all works, and has it's own stuff that makes it all come together (or if it's not original, it's masterfully put together). I'm a bit apprehensive about the next book, but I'll be reading it for sure: my main concern is just how it could end to my satisfaction in only one book (it can't, but we'll see how close it gets).
Also, anyone who had read any more than the first few chapters knows that there are a number of huge differences between Fades and ringwraiths. Your Ael/Freemen theory is also completely unfounded. Ael is a society that who's rule is in favor of females rather than males. The Freemen were male dominated societies who were basically carbon copied Middle Easterns from a Western's point of view in the seventies. The other differences are too numerous to write out, I won't waste my time.