Robert Jordan

Narrated by Colin Morrison

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long” — a quote from Blade Runner (1982) that seems to be very applicable to Robert Jordan. 

Most commonly known as Robert Jordan, author James Oliver Rigney (1948–2007) was a prolific author who wrote under a variety of pseudonyms. While his lifespan was brief, he cemented his place as a legend of fantasy. He published his first book of the Fallon series, The Fallon Blood, in 1980 under the name Reagon O’Neal. Using the name Jackson O’Reilly, he wrote the Wheel of Time series, several Conan novels, three Fallon series books, and two standalone novels. Under the name Chang Lung, he even took a brief foray into dance criticism.

However, Jordan was more than just an author. He earned a medal for gallantry during his service in the Vietnam War. Armed with a bachelor’s in Physics from the Citadel, he worked for the Navy in Nuclear Engineering. However, while working on a submarine, he was injured in a serious industrial accident and had to use a cane for the rest of his life. 

In 1977, during his recovery, he began writing. He married Harriet McDougal in 1981, an editor for what would be Jordan’s future publisher, Tor Books. They lived near Charleston, South Carolina in Harriet’s family home. Jordan was an avid outdoorsman and history buff, who also enjoyed club games like poker, chess, and pool. While his first published work was The Fallon Blood, his first novel was actually Warrior of the Altaii (1977), written while recovering from his naval work-related injuries. Warrior of the Altaii wasn’t published until after his death. 

Jordan was diagnosed in 2006 with amyloidosis, a rare blood disease. He died just one year later, but before his death, he created the James O. Rigney Award for Creative Writing at the Citadel. The swords and knives he had collected most of his life were auctioned to fans after his death, with the proceeds going to medical research. Jordan was posthumously inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and his papers were preserved in the special collection of Charleston College. He received the Phoenix Award for lifetime achievement in 2013. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson was nominated for the 2014 Hugo for Best Novel and the 2016 World Fantasy Award.

By far, Jordan’s most famous series is The Wheel of Time. He wrote eleven books in the series, plus a prequel. Based on his draft information, Brandon Sanderson — a widely renowned fantasy author — completed three additional novels in this series after his death.

While Jordan died before he could see his book series on screen, two film adaptations of the Wheel of Time have been created: Winter Dragon and The Wheel of Time series. In 2004, Red Eagle Entertainment purchased the rights to the Wheel of Time series; however, it wasn’t until 2015 that they premiered Winter Dragon, a 22-minute video based on the Eye of the World prologue, in order to keep their rights to the series. 

Jordan’s widow, Harriet, sued because she was not consulted about the series. McDougal and Jordan’s estate worked with networks interested in the series after the settlement of the film rights dispute. Prime Video bought the rights and filmed The Wheel of Time (TV Series) with assistance from Brandon Sanderson, which is currently ongoing.

For more information about Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time, explore the links referenced below, or visit your friendly local bookstore:


2240 Robertson Drive, Richland99354


Steven Woolfolk is the owner of Xenophile Bibliopole & Armorer, Chronopolis, a rare books specialty bookstore in Richland, online at