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Interviews: East of the Sun Con - Karl-Johan Norén

Summary:

Entries

34

Date

Jun 16th, 1995

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Stockholm, SE

TourCon

East of the Sun

Reporter

Karl-Johan Noren

Links

rasfwrj

  • 1

    Karl-Johan Norén

    Robert Jordan tidbits

    Summary of various talks and chats with Robert Jordan at the East of the Sun fantasy convention, Stockholm, Sweden the 16-18 of June 1995.

    Summary written by Karl-Johan Norén

    All errors are made by me, and no one else, especially not Robert Jordan.

    The answers are pretty mixed up from two group chats I had with him, two seminars (one on the use on myth in fantasy and the other on why to use fantasy as a medium) and a moderated public interview with pre-written questions. I can't guarantee any quotes, since I didn't have a recorder but just made notes.

    For more recent information, see e.g., Bill Garrett's notes from Balticon XXX.

  • 2

    Robert Jordan

    There is nothing he would have done basically different with hindsight in the writing of TWoT. Originally The Eye of the World was half as large as it was printed, but the later books have been written so "tight" from the start that it has been impossible to shorten them.

    His writing technique with the WoT books he described as "simply stretch out and run".

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  • 3

    Robert Jordan

    He didn't give any conclusive answer to the Two Rivers channeling paradox, but he noted that many strange occurrences come from there, like inherent ability to speak the Old Tongue under stress.

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  • 4

    Robert Jordan

    On linking he stated that six men is the maximum number of men present in a link, and 66 is the limit for women. He also said that the "one more women than men rule" in the Lord of Chaos glossary was invalid. Complete rules for linking would be found in the WoT Guide.

    Footnote

    Six men is the minimum number necessary for a circle of 72, which is the maximum size circle (and that would leave 66 spots for women), but there can be as many as 35 men in a full circle.

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  • 5

    Robert Jordan

    His impression of Sweden was: "Very nice, but a little cold for the season" (the temperature in Stockholm sunk 10°C during the weekend compared with the previous week).

    The biggest fish he has ever caught was a 12", 980 lbs tigershark, even though he had some help. He claimed he had on one occasion caught a tigershark bigger than the boat, but let it go. The audience saw with suspicion at this statement.

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  • 6

    Karl-Johan Norén

    The major theme he tried to put forward in the WoT books he saw as the nature of information:

    Robert Jordan

    "Information changes, over time, distance and perception. Only way to see the truth is to oneself experience the event, but even then every person perceives it differently". Knowledge and information has an inherent mutability. The example he brought up was Birgitte's living of the history, apart from reading it, and the very different views it brought.

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  • 7

    Robert Jordan

    Authors he recommended were Guy Gavriel Kay, CS Friedman and Ray Feist in the fantasy genre. Non-fantasy he recommended his major inspirator: Mark Twain. He wouldn't give any non-recommended authors.

    He said he reads about 300-400 books per year, which is a drop-off from what he normally read due to the high workload from the WoT books.

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  • 8

    Robert Jordan

    Some of the "Read-and-find-out-answers" are partly due to that there are things that might happen, not decided yet, in future books. He also saw it as a way to diminish the reader's reading experience due to narrowing his view of the future works. And he was vastly amused by our looney theories, especially the Bela Darkfriend one. Unfortunately, I missed telling him of the Demandred being Olver theory.

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  • 9

    Robert Jordan

    The Nine Rings Inn in The Great Hunt he readily confessed was a homage to our favorite professor—J.R.R. Tolkien.

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  • 10

    Robert Jordan

    The lack of organized religion he explained with the fact that "Religion has been proven". Shai'tan, the Forsaken, the One Power are known and proven to exist, so there is no need for the big persuasion machines of "real" religion.

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  • 11

    Robert Jordan

    The concept of the unified language he basically explained as there had been a single language in use (the Old Tongue), and the writing and printing of books continued throughout the Breaking, albeit in a very limited extent. The written word introduced a very large conserving factor in the language-change mechanism.

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  • 12

    Robert Jordan

    His influence from Mark Twain, mainly Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he said was in the dialogue. Every person was given a rather natural, personal way of speaking, separate from the "chanting" found in other fantasy or pre-20th-century novels.

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  • 13

    Robert Jordan

    The amount of notes he held on persons, countries, cultures, cities, events etc he approximated to be as large as the amount of text in the currently published books. Some of this information, albeit a very small part, will be included in the WoT Guide.

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  • 14

    Robert Jordan

    When told about the Bela in Lord of Chaos plot contest he said that he knew what Bela had been doing in Lord of Chaos. WARNING! Non-family newsfroup material! Quote made without consent from the Great Lord of the Dark! "I wouldn't quite call it lesbian bestiality. Rather a very close mutual friendship with a certain female in Salidar." [I wonder who? :-)]

    Footnote

    [The 'froup' thing is apparently an inside joke at rasfwrj.]

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  • 15

    Robert Jordan

    First, the question of Hake's inn in The Eye of the World is answered: it is not a whorehouse, at least not more than any other inn. :-) Due to the increase in women's power, the very concept of prostitution is unknown; but women have much greater freedom in choosing their partners, both casual and permanent. He specifically mentioned Mat's little escapades with various maids and serving-girls.

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  • 16

    Robert Jordan

    There are no plans to visit Seanchan in any greater extent than it already has been visited, and there are not going to be any visits to Shara either.

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  • 17

    Robert Jordan

    The check made by Verin on the Ogier that had his soul consumed by Machin Shin in The Great Hunt he commented with "Read and Find Out".

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  • 18

    Robert Jordan

    The question about if any Amyrlin has been non-dramatically deposed he answered with "Read and Find Out". He though said that there was information deep inside the White Tower archives only accessible to the Amyrlin, the Keeper and the Sitters, apart from the librarians tending them. The mere notion of knowing...that such information existed would be considered a crime for other Aes Sedai.

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  • 19

    Robert Jordan

    On Moiraine's death-or-not-death he answered "Read and find out".

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  • 20

    Robert Jordan

    On the choosing a deposing of the Keeper he said that the Amyrlin chooses the Keeper herself, as shown in Lord of Chaos, but that the deposition of the Keeper requires an unanimous decision from the Hall. The glossary entry on the Keeper in The Shadow Rising he said was incorrect in this regard.

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  • 21

    Robert Jordan

    On channeler strength he said that he knew the rough strength of every channeler in the books, imposed on a 21-graded scale. Nynaeve he said had Forsaken strength, i.e. as strong as most female Forsaken. Egwene, Elayne and Aviendha was a step lower, and an additional step lower Elaida, Siuan and Moiraine was found. They were the strongest Aes Sedai known before "the new ones". Several Aes Sedai, including Leane and Kiruna [I'm uncertain on Kiruna, I might have misheard], was next in strength. By the old standards they were deemed very strong and capable.

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  • 22

    Robert Jordan

    The Flame and the Void he said was mainly a concentration technique, but one very close to the techniques used for teaching men to contact the One Power.

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  • 23

    Robert Jordan

    When Moghedien ripped out Birgitte from Tel'aran'rhiod she "short-circuited" the Pattern, by bringing in an adult "in the flesh" instead of letting Birgitte join Gaidal Cain the "normal" way. He said also that Gaidal Cain may not have any role to play in Tarman Gai'don. ["may"—consider that—my note]

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  • 24

    Robert Jordan

    On Skimming and Traveling he said: "In Skimming, one need to know the target better than the starting place. In Traveling, one need to know the starting place better than the destination." [Not exact quote, but nearly so, and the effect is exact. Very interesting implications if taken literally.]

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  • 25

    Robert Jordan

    On the Asha'man finding Rand in Lord of Chaos, he said that they knew where Rand was. How they did know he began with the following words: "Mazrim Taim is a paranoid S.O.B." [exact quote!]. When finding out of the disappearance of Rand, and a large bunch of Aiel from Cairhien, he followed the route from Cairhien towards Tar Valon by Traveling, until he encountered Elaida's Aes Sedai. From there, he brought in the Asha'man.

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  • 26

    Robert Jordan

    On why Aviendha's toh required her to kill Rand, he said basically "Read and Find Out", but he noted that Aviendha is under the strain of several tohs. He also pointed out that her interpretation from Elayne's reaction from her confession to Elayne gives her a way out, but that Elayne does not share that interpretation. [The show will certainly go on :-)]

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  • 27

    Robert Jordan

    On Dreamers, Dreamwalkers and prophetic dreams he said that the ability to interpret one's dreams, enter Tel'aran'rhiod and meddle with other people's dreams were different Talents.

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  • 28

    Robert Jordan

    On the amount of ter'angreal enabling entry into Tel'aran'rhiod in the White Tower and if entry into Tel'aran'rhiod could be learned he answered "Read and Find Out".

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  • 29

    Robert Jordan

    On the question if it is possible to find out who is "the one who is no longer" RJ answered: "Possibly".

    Footnote

    This was Setalle Anan, who is no longer Aes Sedai. (She was probably Martine Janata, who burned out while experimenting with ter'angreal.)

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  • 30

    Robert Jordan

    Regarding if the Warder bonding had similarities with the linking between a man and a woman he answered that there were bits and pieces that were similar, but that they in whole were very dissimilar.

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  • 31

    Robert Jordan

    On the Ogier origin he answered "Read and Find Out".

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  • 32

    Robert Jordan

    The invasion of iron-clad men into the Aiel Waste as reflected on in the ancestor-memory ter'angreal he said did not refer to Artur Hawkwing, but to a much earlier event.

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  • 33

    Robert Jordan

    On if Aes Sedai damane can use the One Power in battle he said that [OBS! secondary source, I didn't hear him say this myself] it is theoretically possible, basically by forcing the Aes Sedai to think that she does not use the One Power as damane. It is though very hard to achieve. In the book next after A Crown of Swords, this might become a factor.

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  • 34

    Robert Jordan

    On the subject if the Oath Rod shortens lifespan or causes infertility he answered, not surprisingly, "Read and Find Out".

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