Maybe that was part of it. I had spent a lot of my life reading the Wheel of Time series. I'd loved it, been frustrated by it and influenced by it, sure. You get influenced by everything as a writer, the good and the bad, positively and negatively. So was it with the Wheel of Time series.
It did so many things well and did so many things wrong. I think it may be the last of the great multi-book doorstopper series. Though Brandon Sanderson and Tor may yet prove me wrong. So too did this last book do many things well and many things wrong. I want to talk about my reactions, both to what was there and what was not. This may ramble a bit but being more Sanderson than Jordan/Rigney, I hope to keep things on track.
The last book of the series at least does feel like an ending. And a new beginning clearly starting. In that, A Memory of Light is like the Return of the King, quite deliberately so. One age is ending and another begins. Obviously I would have preferred that Jordan had lived to finish the series he'd started but Sanderson might have been the BEST of all possible people to complete it.
So let's start talking about it. First, a summary of what happens and then what worked, what didn't and some final thoughts.
Now I'm going to talk about the series as a whole lightly but my main focus is on the truly last book, A Memory of Light which is actually the last 1/3rd of the last book Jordan/Rigney had planned. However, there were way too many plot threads to fit in even a Sanderson-sized doorstopper so the book was broken into thirds. I'm mostly going to focus on this last book, on the ending of the story.
The book concerns the Last Battle, long promises and prophesied, both the physical battle between the Fades, Trollocs and the humans as well as the metaphysical battle between the Dark One and the Dragon. The Dragon, Rand Al'Thor, acting very serene and not at all insane (not even a little bit), has time for a brief interlude with his three beloved before the battle begins. We spend a little bit of time with several characters and then the battle itself is joined. The whole novel, the whole series is pointed towards this battle and though we have some very effective scenes, particularly the prologue, everything is pointed to the battle itself. And the battle is itself about as long as many books. I'm not even exaggerating. After a final touch on several characters, the battle begins. Rand confronts the Dark One, intending nothing less than KILLING him for good. The humans fight against impossible odds and very questionable strategy and in the end, the good guys win. Did it meet it's goal? Yes, it did end the story and it mostly satisfies. That's the rough summary and it's vague, I know but the devil is in the details.Let's move on to them.
Plot threads resolved:
We get resolution of several long-hanging threads, with mixed results. I'll deal with the dangling ones and the missed opportunities and expectations in a bit. So what got resolved?
Who killed Asmodean? Yes, this was answered but in SUCH an offhanded way that I'm going to move this down into the 'dangling and poorly done' section below.
Rand: The most satisfying resolution is Rand, his fate as the Dragon and his relationship with his friends. We do see him fulfill his destiny and we see just how semi-divine he almost seems. For some, that might be a little over the top but it satisfied me, seeing his very presence making the wasted land bloom. No longer Taveren at the end and no longer in his body..which is odd beyond words. His three women and Cadsune seem to know he's 'alive' but we never see him interact with any of them after his transmigration. Very odd. But he is free and oddly empowered, without the one power but able to seemingly alter reality. No resolution to the whole Dragon/Lews Therin/Third voice in his head at the very end.
Moriane: Rescued by Mat and Thom in a previous book, she reappears and stands with Rand at the end. She's a little 'Moraine ex Machina' at times but it was very good to see her in the few scenes she directly has with Rand.
Mat: Remains a jerk, also remains with Tuon, a woman who still doesn't really seem to love him but tolerates him. Also doesn't seem to have his wandering eye fixed, since he has only one left, could be a problem. Commands the Last Battle, thanks to some bafflingly bad strategy, this is a very close fight won, appropriately enough, more by luck than skill. Which is a little disappointing. Not present with Rand at the end, which was also disappointing. Ends up accepting being a Noble (The Prince of Ravens) and joining the Seanchan. Doesn't blow the Horn of Valere in the Last Battle. WTF?
Perrin: Spends most of the book chasing Slayer/Luc. Sleeps through the Last Battle (?!) appears near Rand near the very end but can't really be said to have helped him. Ends up fairly assertive and content and a master of the Wolf Dream, which is satisfying. Also ends up with Faile at the end, which is less-so.
Faile: One of my least-favorite women in this series, which is stiff competition. Her personality like most of the characters in Sanderson's take, is sanded down to blandess. Which is an improvement. Manages to almost get the Horn to Mat. Does manage to ride off to distract the Trollocs chasing the Horn and Olver, seemingly sacrificing her life. But not really, sadly.
Nynaeve: Another contender for worst character, she also is sanded down to nothing. Is present with Rand in his duel and does help him save the world. Doesn't throw a snit fit until the very end of the book, which was welcome. Almost not in the book.
Lan: Somehow, Lan becomes the main hero of the book. A real "Aragorn clone", he somehow becomes a battlefield commander of great skill and ability (which is a common skill in this last book, every main character seems to be one) and is the man who finally kills Demandred. Somehow survives being run through with a sword. Personality and background drifts but ends up being King of Malkier and possibly other Borderland kingdoms as well. Still Nynaeve's Warder, though. Very cool character but suffers from character drift in this book.
Morgase: BARELY mentioned or used. The former Queen of Andor was mostly disposed of in previous books. She has a cameo organizing civilians briefly. Does not interact with Elayne or her sons, even at their death.
Tuon: Empress in truth, she is very untrustworthy and has to basically be brownbeaten into helping in the Last Battle. Still, could be worse, I suppose. Several people are allowed to stand up to her but there's barely an indication that she's going to change as a character. She's still blind-stubborn in her beliefs. Supposedly, she talks to the Spirit of Artur Hawkwing but it happens off camera, which is baffling. Still a supporter of Slavery, storing up trouble for the future, I suspect. Ends up supporting Mat and pregnant by him, which may actually make it easier for her to kill him off, which seems half joke and half serious. Or maybe more than half serious.
Egwene: Worst character derailment in the series. Leads the White Tower but doesn't feel like the person we've read about for 10+ books. Stupid-stubborn like Tuon but admirably focused on the Last Battle. Dies in combat, one of the few main characters to fall.
Gawyn: Huge dumbass. Sorry, but that's the only word for him. Stupid and suspicious, pays for his arrogance and disobedience by getting killed by Demandred. Very satisfying ending. His death pushes Egwene pretty close to the edge, which was actually unsatisfying since if anyone deserved a final goodbye death scene, those two stupid kids did.
Galad: Gains a little tolerance but just a little. Actually is rather admirable in the Last Battle, attempts to fight Demandred but loses an arm. Ends up in Berelains's fortress in Mayene where I suspect he'll remain in her bed, arm missing or not. Not well wrapped up, we're not sure what his final fate is or that of the Children of Light.
Berelain: Relegated to a support role, which she performs well. No sex kitten games, for better or for worse. Houses the wounded in Mayene and arranges for triage. Not present at Last Battle, though her Winged Guard are. Also not resolved but we can safely assume she'll be a power in the future.
Lanfear: Shows up for the final act. ALMOST turns to the light but decides to stab Rand in the back. Her and Rand/Lews Therin's drama is well-resolved. Killed by Perrin in the wolf dream after she tries to Compel Perrin into helping her kill Rand.
Aviendha: Her arc is complete and has joined the world of the grown ups. She is a Wise One now, not a Maiden of the Spear, fully. Which is more of a character arc than a derailment, though she also doesn't feel quite right, she's not too far off. Gets her swerve on with Rand in the end and manages to neutralize Grendal almost on purpose, half by accident. Gets her swerve on with Rand in a pretty big way. Implied she's pregnant and due to damage to her feet, unable to fight ever again. Not sure I buy that in a world with healing but anyway... Her relationship with Rand seems very strong now, but there's no final resolution of whether she'd go after him or not. Seems unlikely with her strong Wise One focus now but she also had strong feelings for him. Very frustrating lack of resolution there.
Elayne: Everyone's least favorite spoiled rich girl remains spoiled and stubborn. And hugely pregnant. And a tactical and strategic prodigy. Sigh. Needless to say, despite extreme risk and even injury, there's no risk to her precious babies. Seriously, if every anyone should have miscarried, it should be her but she pays no price for her risks, as always. Leads armies at various times in the Last Battle, survives, though Camelyn is mostly destroyed, she saves a chunk of Andor. No strong resolution but also can be assumed to be a power in the next age. It seems very unlikely she'd go following Rand but that's not resolved, either.
Min: Mostly ignored in the book. Ends up as a clerk in the army ??? But then gets sent to Tuon who seizes her and basically drafts her into being her own, personal slave/Doomsayer. Min surprisingly goes along with this and with her talent to see symbols, manages to influcence Tuon very effectively. I enjoyed that. Still very loyal to Rand, though we never seem them together in this book and rarely see her thinking about him. So some character derailment but she manage to smoke out Moghedien and a Compelled Seanchan general. Not with Rand at the end of the book but aware that he's alive. Very strange ending, since I'd assume she'd be riding off into the sunset/sunrise with him if anyone would.
Tam Al'Thor: Actually gets some nice screen time, finally. Leads the Two Rivers folk in battle. We get to see him as the blademaster he is. Very pleasing. Does not know Rand survives, grieves for his loss and lights Rand's funeral pyre.
Demadred: Yeah....guy who comes out of nowhere with the entire nation of Shara behind him. Incredible General, Incredible channeler..he's Gary Stu for the dark side. VERY, very dissatisfying appearance as he really should have been Mazrim Taim. Ends up beating Galad, killing Gawyn and getting killed by Lan. Some nice touches to the character, though, with his relationship with his paramour. Feels like there's a lot more story there than we get to see, disappointing that we never do, though.
The Forsaken: Mostly killed in the run up to the Last Battle. Moghedien gets captured/enslaved in a Seanchan coffle. Lanfear is dead. Grenedal, the most effect of them all really, is Compulsioned and fixated on Aveindha. And ugly. Such heavy-handed irony, it makes me wince.
Logain: More character derailment. Comes off as a power-hungry, almost power-man man. Tortured and nearly turned to shadow but doesn't break before his rescue. Balls of steel. But then damn near sits out the Last Battle, thinking only of the Black Tower he'll rule afterwards and his own lust (damn near literally) for power and control. Went from being almost heroic, or literally heroic, in previous books to being an ass in this book. Ends up saving some civilians from trollocs and they seem to like him. No real resolution but it seems to imply that he liked being loved by the civilians he saved. But there's no ending to his character arc.
Mazrim Taim/ M'Hael: Man, I hardly know what to say...mustache-twirling villain. Ends up being promoted into the ranks of the Forsaken, working for Demadred rather than BEING Demandred. Gets killed by Egwene's red rage of revenge, turned into crystal or something...the opposite of banefire or whatever.
Lord Luc/Slayer: Seems to be allied to the Shadow with the intent on killing Rand or something. It's a bit unclear just what his deal is and why he's important. He always felt like a plot thread that should have been resolved books ago. Killed by Perrin in the Wolf Dream.
Padan Fain: Surprise! He shows up for a chapter. Then gets killed by Mat as he's transforming into the evil mist of Shador Logoth. I actually found his burgening transformation interesting but he shows up and gets killed SO out of nowhere I was left scratching my head.
Julin Sandar (Thief Taker): Oddly, has a few cameos where we're in his POV and we get to hear how scared and confused and disgusted he is and how much he trusts Rand. Left no impresion, had to grab google to recall who he is. Such a big change from one of the main supporting characters of the second, third and fourth books.
Olver: It's never resolved if he's Gauidal Cain or not. Very disappointing. Ends up discovering real fights and real battles are scary. Stabs a darkfriend in the back and ends up blowing the Horn of Valere. Thanks to some odd plot logic, this works and he summons the heroes of the horns to the Last Battle. I didnt' hate him, he wasn't out of character but he is just...unresolved.
Brigette: Turns into a winging, weak woman. Big time character derailment. Spends her time bemoaning her lost memories. Gets killed but comes back when the horn is blown. Says goodbye to Elane after making sure the little blonde shrew can't access the Horn of Valere. Ends up being the hero again after her death and summoning, which was nice but up until that...man, so not the same person as Jordan/Rigney wrote.
Cadsune: Still a witch. Has a few small scenes, recognizes Rand is alive at the end, somehow. Also ends up being drafted as the new Amyrilian. God help everyone.
The Aiel: End up being the world's policemen, enforcing a treaty between the Seanchan and the rest of the world. Not a bad ending, avoiding the worst of the possible futures Aveindeha saw.
Seanchan: End up holding the west coast countries in an iron grip and half the south. Storing up trouble to come, that's for sure. But they can fight and their help tips the balance for the humans. Still, hard to stomach them.
The Creator: Has a one sentence cameo, just to prove he'd been there in the beginning, I guess. Odd but, there you go. God exists.
Everyone else :) The world is saved, there is destruction but not a new Breaking of the World, which was what was promised. Lots of dead kings and commoners but the basic structures of society and history are not wiped out. On the whole, the Trolloc wars of the past were worse than this. There are some minor characters who get a line or two of mention here but that leads me on to my first problem with the series and the last book in particular. Just look at that list above. And that's a very bare bones summary, leaving people out. There aer too many damn characters and plot threads for a final book! But we'll get to that later. Let's look at what worked.
First, mad props to Brandon Sanderson. He stepped into this role as a very much new writer. Yeah, he had a few novels under his belt and more unpublished novels on top of that but he stepped up to the plate and did what Jordan/Rigney couldn't do: He made things happen.
The pace of the book is great. Mostly. Sanderson uses an effect technique of short chapters and scene changes, he jumps us around from POV to POV, keeping the page turns coming. This is a marked difference from Jordan's style. He favored long chapters that were superbly immersive. That is a style change and for THIS book, it works. It's what was needed. But there's a cost to it and I'll get to that below.
It ends. True, not all threads are wrapped up but Sanderson did take Jordan/Rigney's ending and tied it all together. No small accomplishment. But the series is over, for the better.
The sandpaper. Sanderson influence here mostly is seen in changes to characters. Though they lose much of their vivid personalities in his hands, they also loose the rough, needlessly-stupid, edges. The annoying characters, of which there are Legion in the Wheel of Time, are softened. People act more like REAL people and not as sniffing, hair tugging, catchphrase-spewing characters. They actually act appropriately, whether it's Perrin refusing to 'sit' when Nyneve tells him to or Min's refusal to allow Tuon to act murderously indescriminate based on Min's readings, everyone acts like grown ups. That is refreshing.
The gender politics. There is a lot, LOT less of the 'men are so stupid and they broke the world and ruin everything' vibe in this book. Probably because every women in the book is no longer saying that on every page. Honestly, the whole matriarchal society stuff is put aside in the interest of working together. As someone who's grown up during the battle of the sexes, it was nice to see Sanderson put an end to it in fiction at least. Men and women treat each other as equals. As they should.
The Last Battle. I have lots and lots of nits to pick here. I suspect Jordan/Rigney would have done a better job with the battle, it's just not Sanderson's forte. However, it is epic and it is big and the many moving pieces....sorta work. I'll talk more about it below but the Last Battle does feel like the LAST Battle. Likewise the Dark One's touch on the world really does make it feel like the world is ending. That was well done.
Character resolutions. Yeah, I have a lot of nits to pick here but Sanderson did manage to make peace between a lot of characters, ending long-standing, stupid grudges that have persisted for book after book. Though some characters got dropped, most everyone at least got a moment in the spotlight. It didn't always work but when it did, it satisfied.
The Magic. This, not personal or large-unit tactics, is Sanderson's wheelhouse. The use of the One Power is kicked way up than just a notch. It's devestating and awe-inspiring. Jordan/Rigney himself couldn't have done better. In fact, some of the power uses are really inventive and I liked seeing how tactics and even (potentiall) society will change based on how Portals were used.
Androl. Who was this guy? If Rand is the star of a Memory of Light, Androl s co-star. Head and shoulders above every other character besides Rand, Androl ust owns his role. He's fascinating, heroic, flawed, limited, wise. I'd read a whole novel about just him. He doesn't save the world but he is the hero of the book.
The Cover. Just glorious art. Michael Whelan is SO much better than ol' Sweet. He did hide Rand's missing hand, though. A bit of a cheat.
Woo-boy. I'll try to stay focused and not just rand and roar.
Too much Sandpaper. Yes, it's a bad thing. We spent ten books getting to know these characters in Jordan/Rigney's voice. The phrases and attitudes grated but there were other intangibles that just got lost in Sanderson's adaptation. Egwene was simply not the same person she'd been once Sanderson took over and honestly, she's not even the same person she was in previous volumes of the climax. The same is true for many of the characters. They gain skills and ability based on the plot's needs, not based on who they are. Take Lan for example. He's been protrayed very consistently: a stoic Warder, a blademaster, an observer. He's never been a leader nor have we seen him leading armies. He's basically a Sergeant Major, a top-ranked NCO. I'll be he could command a lance of cavalry or platoon of infantry but not an army. Elane, same story, she suddenly has all this command and logistic knowledge. It just doesn't fit with her backstory any more than a teenaged military academy graduate could run an entire battle. I could go on at length but I'll leave it be: the characters are not who they were.
Not enough detail. The one thing Jordan better than just about anyone, was craft a world that had detail. Too much detail, sometimes, but you knew he could SEE this world, odd as it was. You trusted him, maybe too much. But Sanderson's adaptation is missing all those details of dress and terrain that made the Wheel of Time stand out. Now time and pagecount was precious, I understand that. But it's a flaw in the series. And speaking of...
Too many characters. This one lays mostly at Jordan/Rigney's feet. There are too, too many people to keep track of. And too many of them don't matter. There should have been, at most, 6 POV characters in this story. By not letting us get into and stay inside any one character's perspective, we lose depth. But what can you do with a cast of literally hundreds of characters? Too many POVs dilutes immersion and to this story's detriment.
Asmodean. This is another example of Jordan/Rigney just fucking with the fans and it gives weight to my assumption of why Demadred just appears out of nowhere instead of being Taim. Grendedal is the killer of Rand's first channeling teacher, Asmodean but the reveal is made in an aside, as a summary. There's no drama, no revelation, not weight given to it. He didn't care and he mocked us who did care.
The protagonists not fighting together. If there's one thing I've been waiting from since the Eye of the World, it was to see Rand, Perrin and Mat facing the Dark One and the Last Battle together. The story had been pushing them towards this, even flat-out telling them that if they weren't with Rand at the Last Battle, he'd lose. And...it didn't happen. They didn't fight together. In fact, it would have been hard not to push them further apart from each other. Let me go a little more in-depth with this problem.
--Rand: Rand was supposed to be the leader. He is the most powerful channeler in the world. He has Lews Therin (and someone else) inside his head telling him secrets no one else could know, even the Forsaken. He should be the unquestioned leader and commander. Under his banner, the Heroes of the Horn are supposed to ride. But when the Last Battle comes, the Dragon is not there. What a sucker punch.
--Perrin: Leader of the wolves, strong and powerful, a king to be is how Jordan/Rigney has been positioning him. But he spends most of the Last Battle either chasing one single jerk or asleep. I...I hardly have the words. What a waste! What a waste of the character, of opportunity, of storytelling. He should have truly been warding Rand's back the whole time, instead of suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Proving himself on the field of battle would have made him a possible king of not just The Two Rivers but of Saldea as well, which is missing its kings, which would have made his marriage to Faile actually useful in the end.
--Mat: Mat, Mat, Mat...whiner, complainer, joker. Had he of his own will come to the battlefield and chosen to fight alongside Rand....wow, what a powerful character statement that would have been. To stop fighting the ta'veren pull and embrace who he was and what he must do. But he doesn't. Not to mention that having someone with his battle skills running the battle would have been even more amazing if it had come from a unified front, supported by Rand. Imagine what could have been! We have to, it didn't happen.
The Black Tower. The Battle of Dumani Wells was one of the greatest moments in my reading life. And it was just a preview of what was to come in the Last Battle. But Jordan/Sanderson keeps Rand away from the Black Tower after setting it up. Why? Honestly, I don't see the point. Fear of a trap? What kind of protagonist walks in fear of a possible trap? He should have sprung it, netting another Forsaken in the process and he could have done it well before now and not clogged up the last book. Wading into battle with a united Black Tower to stand beside the White...again, a powerful, heroic possibility wasted.
Demandred. Oh God, how this pisses me off. Every sign in the books pointed towards Mazrim Taim being Demandred. I am utterly convinced that the only reason Jordan/Rigney didn't let that fall was that he didn't want to do what his fans had figured out. If Taim and been Demandred, then we would have had one of the Forsaken alongside Rand all this time. All the ravings and feelings of danger from Lews Therin would have been validated. And we wouldn't have needed to produce this 'diablos ex machina' from out of nowhere. It cheapened the story and cheapened both characters. Petty or foolish, take your pick but Demandred lost all his cool points by appearing out of thin air to be: a more powerful channeler than anyone at the Last Battle, a better swordsman than anyone there, a better general than Mat and they even gave him a hot chick to stand around him and coo at him. Disgraceful. What a waste!
The battles. Simply put, not Sanderson's strong suit. Geography is confused. Details of individual fights were ok sometimes and VERY vague at other times. Tactics more or less make sense but only on a specific scene level. We never see how things fit together. Look, we can't all be David Drake, I get that, but whatever research Sanderson put into studying late medieval warfare wasn't quite enough. The battle is too confusing, timelines are garbled, strategy is...odd. I realize some of this is due to the Great Captains being Compelled by Grenedal but...four widely-dispersed battlefields? Really? And outnumbered and out-powered at each? Who thought that was a good idea? Here is where Mat and Rand should have been ordering things.
The Body Switch: This is cheesy at best. IF Rand had planned this, set it up or even seized the opportunity somehow, it would have been a LITTLE better. But only a little. But even that doesn't happen. We have no explanation of what happened, how Rand ended up in someone else's body. It literally makes no sense, it's not telegraphed by any power or weave Rand or Lews Therin knows. The Dark One can apparently put minds into new bodies but we don't see him doing this (and why would he?).
The Ending: Nothing in resolved. We have an ending to the Last Battle, yes and the Dark One is sealed again, as telegraphed. But we have no resolution of what is going to happen to everyone. The book just stops. We don't get any indication who Rand will end up with, what's going to happen to Min and her position at the Seanchan court, to Elande and her babies, to Aviendha and her Wise Woman duties. We know they are aware of his being, due to the bond (which shouldn't work since he can't channel), but they don't react. And we don't get to see them react or speak to him as they think he's dying or reunite with him in his new body. Nothing. We hear Mat ask Hawkwing to talk to Tuon. Does he? What did they say? We don't know, we never find out, it's never shown. After pulling off a needlessly complicated climax, the denoument is left to drift. Disapointing. Look, I know JUST how sick you can get of a book by the end of writing it. Where you never want to look it it again. Often endings suffer like this because the author doesn't have the mental energy to fix it. Is that what happened here? Or did Jordan, with his notes from the grave, dictate this non-ending?
Hm. Ok, I'll stop there. The number of plot threads that are left hanging and missed opportunities could probably take a good dozen pages more but if anyone is still reading this, I'll take pity on you. So final thoughts.
Would I recommend this series to a new reader? Yes, with cavets.
The short answer is, read the first six books and the last three Sanderson collaborations. I'd love to tell people to skip the third book too, but that's a tough one.
Jordan/Rigney just didn't know how to pace things. The pace of the first two books is a hurtling towards the Last Battle. Things happen. But then...we don't see Rand at all in the third book, and he is the narrative heart of this story. The rest of it, the girls quest to be Aes Sedi is...interesting, I guess. But it doesn't advance the plot, it really doesn't The bowl of wings plot line in the 7th book, the whole White Tower split plotline, the Prophet of the Dragon plotline..so much of it is not needed. It is worldbuilding on a grand scale but it's not plot. It's almost not story. It's distraction. Look, the glorious thing about the Wheel of Time is being immersed in the world, living in it. But that can't be the only reason to read. We need things to happen, things that matter.
Sitting back, thinking about the book, even with it fresh in my mind...only a few things stand out: Rand in the Bore, trying to create a world without the Dark One and seeing that choice matters. Fleeting images of channelers lashing the last survivors at the Last Battle. Rand and Aviendha, sharing a final, tender night. Perrin telling Nyneve that dogs sit, wolves don't. Mat getting his fingers lacquered as slaves dress him. Gawyn getting killed. Lan killing Demandred. That's about it. Too much of the book just...slips by. Part of that is the veloicity of how things move, changing scenes, changing POV every couple of pages. It works for James Patterson, to create a pageturner but the other side of it is we hurtle too quickly past moments that should linger. The overall feeling from the book is that its done, not that 'I'm glad its done' or even, as I feared, 'I'm sad it's done'.
I honestly want to go back, now and read the first few books. Jordan/Rigney did SO much right in his first book, The Eye of the World, when it was supposed to be the first book of a TRILOGY. Even most of the Great Hunt for the Horn has energy and motion. But at the same time, we had a world that invited us to witness it. It didn't hustle us towards the exits. Those early books make me feel a lot of emotions, happiness being the main one, I think. This one just makes me feel....done.