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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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First off, Dreadlords was the name given to men and women who could channel and sided with the Shadow in the Trolloc Wars. Yes, the women were called Dreadlords, too. They might have liked to call themselves "the Chosen," like the Forsaken, but feared to. The real Forsaken might not have appreciated it when they returned, as prophecies of the Shadow foretold would happen. Some of the Dreadlords had authority and responsibility equivalent to that of the Forsaken in the War of the Shadow, however. They ran the Shadow's side of the Trolloc Wars, though without the inherent ability to command the Myrddraal that the Forsaken possess, meaning they had to negotiate with them. Overall command at the beginning was in another's hands.
Forsaken was the name given to Aes Sedai who went over to the Shadow in the War of the Shadow at the end of the Age of Legends, though of course, they called themselves the Chosen, and despite the tales of the "current" Age, there were many more than a few of them. Since they occupied all sorts of levels, you might say that many were equivalent to some of the lesser Dreadlords, but it would be incorrect to call them so. At the time, they were all Forsaken—or Chosen—from the greatest to the least.
Some of those Forsaken the Dark One killed were every bit as high-ranking as the thirteen who were remembered, and who you might say constituted a large part of the Dark One's General Staff at the time of the sealing. With the Forsaken, where treachery and backstabbing were an acceptable way of getting ahead, the turnover in the upper ranks was fairly high, though Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Graendal, Semirhage, and later Sammael, were always at the top end of the pyramid. They were very skilled at personal survival, politically and physically.
In large part the thirteen were remembered because they were trapped at Shayol Ghul, and so their names became part of that story, though it turned out that details of them, stories of them, survived wide-spread knowledge of the tale of the actual sealing itself. Just that they had been sealed away. Other Forsaken were left behind, so to speak, free but in a world that was rapidly sliding down the tube. The men eventually went mad and died from the same taint that killed off the other male Aes Sedai. They had no access to the Dark One's protective filters. The women died, too, though from age or in battle or from natural disasters created by insane male Aes Sedai or from diseases that could no longer be controlled because civilization itself had been destroyed and access to those who were skilled in Healing was all but gone. And soon after their deaths, their names were forgotten, except for what might possibly be discovered in some ancient manuscript fragment that survived the Breaking. A bleak story of people who deserved no better, and not worth telling in any detail.
Obviously, I must be tight-lipped. Can it be figured out: Yes. Will it make you smack your heads & say "I should have seen it!" Probably not.
(from the Facebook comments on Brandon's first tweet)
Brandon, you are such a tease........ but I will "RAFO". but still it's a tease.
Sorry. Inherited that from RJ. Still, it wasn't totally a RAFO. It was a tad more than that. I do see from Tamyrlin's post that RJ confirmed that you could figure it out.
Sort of. There was room in RJ's comment for the interpretation that we should be able to figure out that Demandred is simply Demandred. You have made it more clear. Not that we are complaining.
Ah, I see. Well, let me add the official clarification onto what I've said: Basically, I'm not merely talking about "Alter Ego" here when I reply to the "Figure out Demandred's Identity" question. I look at that question as a larger "What he's been up to, what he's been influencing, where he's hiding" that sort of thing.
Why make this distinction? Well, it's because of things that (likely) others have figured out already. Demandred hasn't been in-guise in the books at least up to Knife of Dreams. So energies focused on "exactly who is he" would be pointless, to an extent. If he is indeed imitating someone, you haven't seen that someone through most of the series. At least not in person. You may have seen them now, but if so, they haven't been on-screen for long.
So, what I'm saying is basically this: There are clues as to what Demandred is up to. You could figure that out. I think it would be hard, but not so hard that someone won't guess it. (And, knowing WoT fandom, someone probably has.)
Here's a quote for you:
The Feast of Fools
Celebrated in Tammaz (in Arad Doman and the Borderlands) or Saven (everywhere else), the exact day varying according to locality. A day in which all order is deliberately inverted; the high perform lowly tasks (running errands, serving at table, etc.) while the low do no work and give orders to their usual superiors. In many villages and towns the most foolish person is given a title such as the Lord/Lady of Unreason/Misrule/Chaos or the King/Queen of Fools. Not an honor sought, but for that one day everyone has to obey whatever orders, however foolish, are given by the chosen one. (Called the Festival of Unreason in Saldaea; the Festival of Fools in Kandor; Foolday in Baerlon and the Two Rivers.)
So, if Taim started at twenty or so, like Rand (actually, that's later than Rand), and channeled a reasonable amount, he would probably slow at twenty-seven or thereabouts. After all, Nynaeve started probably at sixteen or seventeen, and only channeled on the uncommon occasion that someone was dying in her presence of some disease, and slowed at twenty-three (that's the age Setalle Anan thought she was, but she's twenty-six). That's seven years or so.
Well, Taim looks thirty-five, according to Rand. He shouldn't. Even if he didn't slow until he was thirty-two, Rand still wouldn't have estimated him as being as much as fifteen years older than he was. So, my conclusion—Taim is Demandred. Only a Forsaken could look that old, given the slowing. Yes, I know it's not solid, irrefutable evidence, but it's still good evidence. That's my two cents.
Ryan R. "He Who Just Missed Coming With the Dawn"
The general idea I now have is that it was something like 10, maybe 20 meters between them. Not the 100+ meters I'd kinda expected.
All in all it was a pretty short session, but well worth it, even with all the added travel time.
Hrm, but that wasn't all. I distinctly remember someone asking, "Did Demandred recognize Flinn?", getting answered RAFO, followed by a question "Would Taim recognize Flinn in a similar circumstance?", being answered that "yes, he should" if the distance wasn't too large or something.
But then I mentioned that the distance wasn't all that great, just a couple of meters, he'd said so just a few days before, and he looked at me in a way that said, "you know all you need to know about this, I'm not going to make it any more obvious."
I know it isn't proof, and I hate my guts for not taping this so I'm capable of showing something tangible, but the way it was all said, the way it played out...I don't believe Taimandred anymore. Not just because of this actually. I already had the feeling last Friday, after another mention of the "seen something pretty out of the corner of their eye / for the last third they must have read someone else's books" about the FAQ. Although there was something more, something about that he doesn't work "that way." Again it wasn't anything concrete, but at that point I began to doubt all our "person x = person y" theories. Added to his look at my remark about the distance (which he told me himself just two days before; he really shouldn't have tried to evade the Taim question using that), I've stopped believing in Taimandred. I hope KuraFire has a good recollection of exactly what Jordan said here.
Oh, by the way, it is pronounced Taa-eem, not tame.
Mazrim Taim is not Demandred.
So, he's being set up as a new Demandred then?
—Taimandred is bogus.
—Rand has only one soul, but has two personalities.
—Museam Replicas will be producing the Sword and Dragon pins as well as an approved version of the Great Serpent ring (which apparently goes around the finger twice before biting its own tail).
—Someone has correctly deduced who killed Asmodean, so no one should ever ask him that question again.
Is Lanfear the only surviving person that is aware of how the Bore was created?
I'd been wondering why Demandred didn't just use the True Power to dispatch the various swordsmen that challenged him, and I got to ask it last night at the Huntington Beach signing. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.
Brandon's response was that Demandred was the most wary and cautious of the Forsaken and he wasn't going to "mess with that medallion", not knowing fully what it was or what it could do, especially since he suspected that the swordsman was Lews Therin in disguise.
Um...I have to have the list in front of me for that one.
I really want to just post that for people, because so many people ask about it...
Right, they're like really obsessed with it at rafo.com....
Yeah, they're very obsessed with it, and the thing is, a lot of them are really close, and so it's a matter of a few points on Jim's scale...
Yeah, I figured, like what you were saying earlier about how they were Chosen because their talents...
...obviously they're all within...
...yeah. They're all awesome. And so, you know, you couldn't be a Forsaken simply for being awesome in the Power. It's like you had to be awesome at the Power, and be awesome at other stuff.
Well, I mean...that's what they said about Balthamel, that that was the only reason he was one of them, was that he was so strong...
But, you know, obviously there was something else going on there...
Yeah. [I think he was already looking at the next (last) question at this point because we were nearing the airport terminal.]
He said "aren't there a lot of people who think its Paitar"?
I said not that I knew as, RJ said we hadn't seen Demandred's alias on-screen prior to Knife of Dreams and we had seen Paitar before. Roderan is basically the only important king of Randland or one of them that we haven't seen on screen.
He didn't deny or confirm any of the above.
Brandon then said (quite excitingly IMO) that it actually went further than that, and if perhaps Rand had died whether someone else would have taken over that role.
If that had happened, would that person be called Dragon?
I'll give you this: there was no chance of Demandred ever being Dragon.
Ah, that's a bit similar to the answer you gave before. But if not Demandred, somebody else?
Okay. Well…I guess we'll just go into the pronunciations.
Well, our next little bit needs a little bit of a lead-in for our listeners who don't have access to our huge list of questions like we do. As part of our interview questions, we have a list of words, and we asked, "How do you pronounce each of these words?" And there are about 43 of them. There are probably some on here that don't need to be on here, and I know that there aren't some on here that should be, but these are the 43 that we came up with.
Yeah, Spencer got mad at me because I went and annotated the list, like…I gotta be exact, and he's like "No…"
I didn't get mad at you! I just took 'em off; I'm like, "Oh yeah, you're right; take that one off." Anyway. And so Maria, Alan…would you please go through the list and tell us how to pronounce these names and places?
Okay, here we go. And I may, you know, be wrong on some. But others, I'm pretty sure of.
And feel free to add some in if something occurs to you as you're going.
O-kay. We have add-uh-LAY-us. (Adeleas) el-FINN. (Aelfinn) eyes-DEYE-shar. (Aesdaishar) (RJ used EYE to rhyme with the word 'eye') ahm-uh-DEE-see-uh. (Amadicia) [glossary: ah-mah-DEE-see-ah] (ah=ahhh sound, uh=schwa) ERR-id doe-MAHN. (Arad Doman) [glossary: AH-rad do-MAHN] arr-uh-FELL. (Arafel) [glossary: AH-rah-fehl] brr-GEE-tuh. (Birgitte) (hard G) [glossary: ber-GEET-teh] Brenn. (Bryne) [glossary: BRIHN, GAH-rehth] KEYE-ree-enn. (Cairhien) [glossary: KEYE-ree-EHN] CHA fah-EEL. (Cha Faile) (mid ch) drag-car. (Draghkar) [glossary: DRAGH-kahr] EEL-finn. (Eelfinn) guh-LAHD. (Galad) [glossary: gah-LAHD] GAH-win. (Gawyn) [glossary: GAH-wihn] GALE-donn. (Ghealdan) [glossary: GHEL-dahn] I'm not sure if it's huh-REEN or huh-REEN-uh. (Harine) din toe-GAHR-uh Two Winds. ILL-ee-in. (Illian) [glossary: IHL-lee-ahn] ill-ee-AY-nuh. (? - AY is long A) CAN-door. (Kandor) (door like the word) lee-AH-nuh. (Leane) [glossary: lee-AHN-eh shah-REEF] mall-KEER. (Malkier) [glossary: mahl-KEER] my-EEN. (Mayene) [glossary: may-EHN] myur-an-DEE. (Murandy) [glossary: MEW-ran-dee] MEER-drahl. (Myrddraal) [glossary: MUHRD-draal] NEIGH-bliss. Sorry. NAY-bliss. [laughter] (Nae'blis) NEFF. (Naeff?) nee-AHM Passes (Niamh Passes) nigh-NEEV. (Nynaeve) [glossary: NIGH-neev al-MEER-ah] Plains of mah-REE-doh. (Plains of Maredo) ree-AH-nuh. (Reanne) seye-DAR. (saidar). [glossary: sah-ih-DAHR] seye-DEEN. (saidin) [glossary: sah-ih-DEEN] sall-DAY-uh. (Saldaea) [glossary: sahl-DAY-ee-ya] see-AEN. (Seaine?) Alan…
SHE-nar. (Shienar) [glossary: shy-NAHR] Swan. (Siuan) [glossary: SWAHN SAHN-chay] sor-uh-LEE-uh. (Sorilea) [glossary: soh-rih-LEE-ah] terra-BONN. (Tarabon) [glossary: TAH-rah-BON] TAR-win's Gap. (Tarwin's Gap) tell-uh-RON-ree-odd. (Tel'aran'rhiod) [glossary: tel-AYE-rahn-rhee-ODD] Tower of genn-JEYE. (Ghenjei) (hard G) truh-MALL-king. (Tremalking) [glossary: treh-MAL-king] too-AH-thuh-AHN. (Tuatha'an) [glossary: too-AH-thah-AHN]
Do you want to go over the saidar/saidin thing we talked about?
In the glossaries of the books, Jim has it sah-ih-DEEN and sah-ih-DAHR, but I swear, I don't think he pronounced it that way; I mean you kind of give a little hint of the i but not much: sah-ee-DEEN, sah-ee-DAHR.
Yeah, he always seemed to be saying seye-DEEN and seye-DAHR.
I'm surprised at how many of those I thought I knew, but I didn't.
Yeah. That's like, "Waait a second, that's not…but oh, I guess it is."
How do you pronounce the Traveling people again?
There's something else with the double A there…
ah-tha-AHN mee-AIR. (Atha'an Miere)
Okay, great. Any others you can think of that are commonly mangled, that would have driven Jim crazy?
I think I've mentioned tah-EEM before, and egg-ee-AH-nin…
dee-MAN-dred? dee-MAHN-dred? DEE-man-dred?
Ehh...dee-MAHN-dred, I think…but I wouldn't swear dee-MAHN-dred. [glossary: DEE-man-drehd]
How about all of the Forsaken? A lot of them often get mangled, or a few. GRIN-doll?
Grindle, is how I say it. [glossary: GREHN-dahl] And it's interesting, just looking at a thing, and I pronounce CADD-in-soar (cadin'sor) wrong. [glossary: KAH-dihn-sohr]
Yeah, because it's supposed to be cah-DIN-soar. [It's not, according to the glossary.]
Okay, because I say it the way you say it.
Yeah, I think… [inaudible] so that makes sense.
Oh! ish-AH-may-el, and SAM-may-el. [glossary: ih-SHAH-may-EHL, SAHM-may-EHL] [When RJ said it, the 'may' part was more like the German 'Mai'.]
Yes. Those are really common mistakes; I hear that a lot.
Ben [?] was right; we had that famous tagline from the original podcast, and we had this thing…I think, "Sammael was pretty buff!" [laughter] We used that a lot, and it sort of went away when he did, I guess.
Another one that I have lots of problems with—and I can't believe I didn't get it on the list—but is the GOLL-um (gholam), or the…I can't even pronounce it right now.
Yeah, the GO-lem, that's chasing Mat.
Oh, it's Gollum! [crosstalk]
I am not absolutely sure, but that's how I say it, so…
What about some of the other Seanchan beasts that made me think of, the grolm, then there were two of the others that…
ROCK-in (raken), and TOE-rock-in. (to'raken)
Yeah, and then there was another one, the um…
Torm…the book is right in front of me…
Oh, maybe it was the name of that…oh, Suroth's pet!
Oh yes, that thing. I can't remember… [crosstalk]
The LOW-par (lopar)?
Yeah, the lopar. Almandaragal was his name, or something like that?
Something like that. I would have to look it up.
It was a LOW-par (lopar), wasn't it?
Yeah, lopar. I think there was another one that I couldn't…maybe I'm just hallucinating. [laughs]
I'm sure there's a zillion others I'll think of after you're off the air here with us…
Oh, s'RED-dit (s'redit) is another one. Remember the elephant-like creature?
Corlm, C-O-R-L-M (I like that word). Torm…that's all I can find.
What about Tuon's new name as Empress?
Fortuona, okay. I'm not sure how else you could pronounce that, but I've been wrong before, so...
That, I'm assuming is right; I'm pretty sure I heard Jim pronounce it that way, because that was his choice of name.
There must be something else; there seems like a million things, and that I didn't add enough to the list.
Oh! What about—speaking of historical figures—LAH-tra…poe-SAI? Or poe-SAY? deh-KYU-meh? (Latra Posae Decume)
Oh yeah, LA-tra (LA rhymes with laugh)…
I got the Latra, but I'm not sure about the second and third names.
It's P-O-S-A-E, and then D-E-C-U-M-E.
deh-COO-may, okay. [crosstalk]
That's totally off the top of my head. I see it (?) and think it, anyway. po-SAY-uh deh-COO-may, yeah.
First I want to applaud the OP for a well thought out theory supported by evidence. I have enjoyed the debate on this topic.
Now the bad news: I attended the Robert Jordan book signing here in Charlotte, NC tonight (11/4/05). While he was signing my books, I asked him if he could credit or discredit the theory that the Dark One charged Demandred with the task of wielding Balefire in an attempt to weaken the Pattern, so that the Dark One may be have a better chance of victory at Tarmon Gai'don.
He didn't quite understand my point and asked me to explain it again. When I did, alluding to the consequences of Balefire, and quoting the Dark One's asking Demandred about his willingness to use balefire for the Dark One, he quickly shook his head and gave an unequivocal no.
I'm afraid this theory is disproved by the word of Robert Jordan himself.
He said the Forsaken are using balefire to help unravel the Pattern. That was all he'd say on it, told me the books provide enough evidence for it.
At any rate I'm not sure whether or not this helps anyone's arguments as I haven't read all of them; y'all write too much.
So—one Jordan booksigning against the theory, and one for. Sounds like we can't put this theory in the "Debunked" pile yet...
I suppose it's possible that Mr. Jordan may not have fully understood my question and therefore his answer isn't exactly for or against this theory. LOL The question I asked was this: Have the Forsaken, Demandred specifically, used balefire to destabilize the Pattern at all?
He said that they've used balefire and the consequences were destabilizing the Pattern and that in the books you could see evidence of that.
I should've been more specific in my question to him and my post here; that was first time I've ever commented on a message board, etc. I'm usually just a reader/browser to forums and such. I personally think the other fella's question was more specific therefore the answer probably more accurate as pertaining to the topic at hand. The answer he gave me upon further reflection could mean any number of things. It's hard to say. Guess we'll all find out when A Memory of Light is published.
Ask him if there is a Waygate anywhere near Lugard. We suspect that Ogier-built Shaemal was somewhere in Murandy.
Why does it matter where Shaemal is?
It only matters because of the possibility of a Waygate in Murandy, which is why I phrased the question the way I did.
It has to do with the theory that Roedran is Demandred. ;)
Okay, I'll ask that one next time!
Answer re Lugard Waygate: "*chuckles* That's clever! Anything I say will give away too much, so I'll have to RAFO that one."
As far as I recall, yes. But I'm not a hundred per cent sure.
No notable expression changes. Can someone check that map on Deviant Art?
When I met Brandon on the book signing tour, they gave us a sticky to write what we wanted him to write what we wanted. I am the proud owner of the only copy that says:
"To Kristi, I promise Demandred will be in A Memory of Light!"
I asked if I was right in thinking that RJ had saved the best for last, and Brandon simply said as far as the Shadow is concerned, the main player will be Demandred.
[long spiel about how Demandred is awesome and sexy and the only Forsaken that has not been killed, captured, or punished]
I said as much to Brandon, saying I expected a RAFO to that. He said that all he could say would be that point would be addressed at a further point in the books.
Yes, he does.
Okay, cause we've been trying to figure out who the heck is it, and we can't figure it out. We're thinking Roedran, but it's like, too obvious.
Is he in Randland?
I won't say whether or not he's in Randland.
He's not in Shara! He can't be in Shara!
As far as I know, no. Now, that's the sort of thing that could be buried in the notes, but you know, I've read a lot of them, and as far as I know, no, that's not the purpose.
Did the makers originally have a specific intention? Because I don't think Rand used it in the way they intended.
I believe that they did have a specific intention.
Did Rand use it alright, to their intentions?
That felt like a big waste to me.
Yeah. I was...I will RAFO that. But I will say that they did have a specific intention. How about, here's something I can give you...it's actually backing up a few questions. I've mentioned online that we're probably going to—for a certain anthology, the Unfettered anthology—we are going to be putting deleted scenes from A Memory of Light and some of these deleted scenes will answer some of your questions.
That's exciting. Thank you.
I don't think there's an official announcement; I don't think Harriet has decided 100% to make the announcement, but I've mentioned online before in things that we were considering it, and so, some deleted scenes having to do with some of your questions are actually going to be in this Unfettered anthology, and they may be from the viewpoint of a certain Forsaken that everyone's very curious about.
On every visit abroad, Sanderson said, he takes notes and tries to write down a story that inspired him, to be used as a "seed" for later stories.
For example, an exhibit of necklaces and armors made out of coins that he saw nine years ago in the Middle East inspired him to create "coin armors" for the characters in his new book A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be launched in fall this year.
My name is Adam Simmons, and I'm from Atlanta, Georgia. [hoots] I really hope that I'm not misremembering something. I was trying to look it up on my Kindle, and I couldn't find it, so please God, let me not be wrong. [laughter]
In one of the Forsaken viewpoints in—I think it was Knife of Dreams or something?—one of the Forsaken was thinking about how, had circumstances been different, Demandred could have been named the Dragon. And what I'm wondering is, is "the Dragon" an actual title, or was Lews Therin born to be the Dragon, or was that a mantle he picked up along the way?
(looks at Maria and Harriet) [laughter]
I can say some things on this, but it's going to be more...it may not be the exact answers you want. I can say things that have been said. For instance, you can look at things like Logain, and how false Dragons were being brought up out of the Pattern, until Rand, and at that moment, everything collapsed. Until...and it was really when Rand channeled for the first time—am I correct?—that everything sort of collapsed. (to Maria) There's some parallels in there. When he what? No, it was when he took Callandor. Yeah, you're right.
It was the visions in the sky!
In the sky? Okay. Until Rand took up the mantle—yeah, that's it—and so it's when Rand...and so, you could look at that and make the argument, "Wait a minute; until that moment, until Rand stepped up and was willing to be the Dragon, the Pattern was searching for one." And you can interpret that a lot of different ways, and you could probably make an argument—Theoryland could make an argument for both sides on that. [laughter] And if Rand had not stepped up, was that just the end of the world? Would the world have then been doomed, if Rand as a baby had been killed? That's something that you can theorize on, and you can look at the clues in the books, and Jim did not leave us an answer, so far as I know.
Okay, thank you.
Finishing everything that RJ left to be finished in the amount of space required results in some dynamic pacing.
I don't feel rushed is the right term. But I can see how people might feel that way. I could have gone three more books.
It was not right to do so. This was what he wanted, and I did my best to fit everything in. I'm pleased with the result.
In regards to your specific questions, the Demandred kills were supposed to be abrupt to convey emotion of sudden loss.
That's how things are in war. As for Fain, a piece of me does wish there had been time for more with him.
Do you plan on expanding on the Wheel of Time series more or is it done? Why did you have so many abrupt deaths?
No, no more. RJ wouldn't want it. Abrupt deaths happen in war; it is the way this sort of thing plays out, I'm afraid.
Was there anything in A Memory of Light you wished you could have changed?
I might have done more with Fain if I'd had the time and the pages.
The biggest challenge for the book was fitting everyone in, and making sure they had relevant things to do.
Multiple factions, but not all by a long shot.
Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't RJ say in a interview that Shara wouldn't be involved in any of the WoT books?
The quotes I've seen say that nothing significant would happen there on screen.
Yeah, I can totally talk about this. So, "River of Souls" is about a specific character, and in the drafting process this is not something I actually pitched to Harriet early on, but in the later meetings I got together with them and pitched something which was a deviation from things Robert Jordan had said. Harriet told me from the get-go, Look you've got the notes, you've got the outline, you've got to be a writer, not a transcriber. Robert Jordan would not have kept this the way it is, that's not how we work, and in a lot of places he said I'm thinking of doing this, OR this, and you'll have to decide which of those to do, or to do a third.
And so I pitched one of these kind of audacious sequences to her; sometimes these work, sometimes they don't. It's the sort of thing you need to do to create fiction, that I feel is daring, and you need to take these chances. But a lot of times you don't know if it's going to work until the book is done, and you can look at it together. And this was taking place in a region of the Wheel of Time world that Robert Jordan said I really don't think we're ever going to visit. Which is the part that was deviated, by doing this sequence. And it's not that long, only about 7,000 words, so it's like a novelette. I sent it to Harriet, and she said "I really like this, but we're going to cut it". The reason being, that it broke up the flow of the novel, and it was introducing too many new elements at the beginning of the volume that was supposed to be wrapping up elements. And those who do storytelling know that can be a really dangerous thing to do.
That was the reason. It was a big additional segment, and this is not what you call a slim volume anyway. So as a reader, it was not fun. Not that there was anything wrong with the sequence, but it was not what my antennae said we needed. We needed to get on with it.
Yes, instead of going sideways, when we needed to go forward.
Was Bao the Wyld part of Sharan prophecy? If so, was Demandred co-opting their Dragon prophecies?
"The Wyld" was part of Sharan prophecy; Demandred thinks he co-opted the Sharan version of the "dragon prophecies" but it was actually about him all along.
(I was surprised to get an answer to this; I expect some of it will show up in "River of Souls" anyway. An interesting follow-on question might be whether this means the Sharans were destined by the Pattern to fight for Team Dark.)
Along with that, Harriet spoke briefly about how impressed she was with Bao the Wyld, aka Demandred, that he was this stunning juggernaut of hatred and destruction, but also that he spent the time creating a life and position for himself among the Sharans. It seems that he went there almost immediately after "waking" from the Bore, and that much of the activities he went through are in parallel with Rand's actions on the main segment of the continent, and that journey of Demandred's is what will be published in the Unfettered volume.
Brandon specified that although it is Wheel of Time material, it cannot be considered 100% canon, because it was cut early enough that it did not get subjected to Maria's detailed continuity validation.
(Concerning the crystals collapsing into the hill after the battle) Have you heard of a myth about Merlin in a crystal cave and the Holy Grail? We all know what its other name is.
Yes but there are many layers there. The sa'angreal was shaped like a cup (-which I did notice earlier-). And Bao the Wyld, think about the name, it sounds like Beowulf (-looks like I should read that for more theorizing-).
You said that the balescreams in Knife of Dreams were because Demandred was balefiring whole cities...
I did not say that.
You did not say that.
That was reported! (on a private Facebook group)
That was reported; that's not what I said.
What did you say then?
I told them...they said, "What caused these?" And I said, "Ah, that's very interesting. By the way, Demandred was balefiring whole cities.
But you didn't say that's what caused them. Okay.
Good answer, because that gets rid of my next question. Okay.
Mmhmm. They asked about balefire and things like that, and it was...
...and they connected it...
...and I thought they might, but I specifically said, "BY THE WAY..." This is not....
(laughs) ...Well, we're recording now.
So there you go.
Now, are Graendal's actions in Shara mentioned at all in "River of Souls"?
I don't think we talk about them.
I was just curious as to how that interacted... (crosstalk)
I mean, I considered...Yeah, it certainly helped with what he was doing.
But I mean...yeah. It's...
Because she totally didn't know he was there, so....
Yeah. It certainly helped, and if I had been able to go back, and do—which I wouldn't have done—but if, you can imagine, there's a very cool interaction there, where he's there, and she's doing stuff, and he's taking advantage of it, but she's not seeing him and things like that. Like, the whole Demandred In Shara thing is awesome, because there's like twelve books worth of coolness of him being the hero...
Because all this stuff is in the notes, right?
What's that? Oh, some of it is, not all of it.
Oh, well yeah, because I know you said you had to kind of....you know, extrapolate a little bit...
I had to extrapolate a lot of the Sharan culture and things, which is where "River of Souls" came from. At the end of the day, because I was extrapolating these things, that's what made them distracting from the main plotline, if that makes sense.
And so, a lot of what I was doing was like, it you know...all of Demandred's flunkies. Jim didn't name those; they're not in the notes...but I put them in because, you know, we have to evoke this entire two years of awesomeness....
Yeah, it can't just come out of nowhere, and be nothing.
Yeah, so there's that. But yeah, it was too much me, also.
When Gawyn and Galad were defeated so handily by Demandred, I was thinking it was a throwaway of two characters. Then Lan rolls in and it put everything in perspective to show how good he was. Was that the purpose?
That was part of the purpose. It was a war, and someone needed to take out Demandred. Gawyn's arc is tragic, and the end of the arc is what we all know he shouldn't do, by going out by himself.
Sam Mickel seems to think that Demandred becomes so obsessed with Rand during the book, and that this appears to have increased from previous books. Would you say that, and if so, why?
I would say no, though the immediacy of what is happening makes it manifest, makes it look that way. He has always been ... I mean, the single defining attribute of Demandred is his obsession with Rand, and it is his tragic flaw also.
If you haven't heard about Unfettered before, here's a bit of an introduction. When I was on tour probably for The Alloy of Law, Shawn Speakman (webmaster for Terry Brooks and Naomi Novik, and who also runs the booksigning service The Signed Page), approached me about an anthology he was putting together (at the suggestion of Terry Brooks) to help defray Shawn's medical bills stemming from his 2011 diagnosis with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Shawn has been a friend and supporter to the careers of a lot of writers, so I was interested in helping out. The question was what to contribute to the anthology. The title Shawn gave it was Unfettered, because he didn't want to put any restrictions on whatever the authors wanted to contribute.
When I was writing A Memory of Light, there was a sequence of viewpoints I was working on that were somewhat more daring than some other viewpoints I had done. The character I'm talking about is known as Bao in the book, and if you've read it you'll know who that is. I wanted to try to give some deeper backstory to Bao, but after I showed the scenes to Harriet, though we all liked them, we decided they they didn't fit in the book. Harriet felt that these scenes were distracting and derailing the narrative too close to what was to be the climax of the entire series, because of the new elements I was adding and fleshing out. So after some discussion, we decided that they should be cut.
Though I saw the need for this, the fact that this was necessary left me feeling kind of sad. I felt the scenes were strong and added a lot to the character, giving a lot of extra motivation and poignancy to some of the things going on in A Memory of Light. So when the opportunity for Shawn's anthology came along, I began to think this would be the place for them. I approached Harriet, and she said that was a good idea.
The result is "River of Souls", labeled as a Wheel of Time tale by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Since it's actually a sequence of deleted scenes, it's meant to be read as a companion to your read of A Memory of Light. It's not going to make a whole lot of sense if you haven't read at least the rest of the Wheel of Time, but it's a complete arc and I find it very exciting. I think you'll really like it, and I think this anthology is a good place for these scenes because they won't be distracting from the rest of the story.
We had some discussion about whether or not the scene in AMOL in which Rand thinks Roedran is Demandred was intended as a bit of a dig at all the fan theories assuming that to be true. Or was Rand really just supposed to be convinced of that same theory? (And how did Shara never occur to anyone in the books?)
Balefire question: If balefire isn't tearing someone's soul out of the pattern, why is it so destructive? Why, in AMOL is it literally tearing the world apart when Darkfriends are using it?
Thanks! I will try and remember to ask more questions on 15 April!
1. The item you discuss was not intended as a dig against fans. You could read it, potentially, as an acknowledgement of fans—though really, all it comes from is the fact that you have a fan writing these books. I'm aware of many of the theories, and even spent years thinking about them and talking of them. In constructing this scene, it was my impression that if we'd spent all of this time working on these theories, how much more effort would those in world have expended?
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought. I thought it would be very strange if he HADN'T considered it. Therefore, I put a note of it in the text—to indicate that the characters had been working through these same issues, and come to some of the same conclusions. It wasn't meant to break the fourth wall, though I can see how it stands out to some readers.
2. I was under the impression that to be killed by balefire meant dying forever. However, Maria and the notes showed me I was wrong about this fact. Balefire does weaken the Pattern, but it can't destroy souls, which are (you might say) the substance of the Pattern. Just like you can take a hammer to a cup and shatter it, but the pieces of glass will still be there. The Pattern can (theoretically) be unraveled, the world end, but the souls still exist.
It should be note that Moridin believed strongly that the soul CAN be ended by other means, and the implication of wolves (at least) being killed with no rebirth means it can happen.
So, in final answer to your question, it is so destructive because it leaves the Pattern in a mess, strained, and more easily subjected to the Dark One's will. His goal is to shatter the cup, so to speak, and then rebuilt it into a cup more to his liking.
Oh man, I am so happy (a) that you answered my questions and (b) that you answered them well. Thank you for all you've done with the series, Brandon!
(I pointed out the Demandred scene because it is fun on all of those levels. I've thought about the "fourth wall" comment and it doesn't make sense; there's no moment where Rand looks at us. Just at Roedran, in a way that actually is entirely sensical.)
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought.
This was a bit jarring for me, because most of the reasons for the Demandred=Roedran theory came from hints given by Robert Jordan, that Rand wouldn't have access to.
Ah, but Rand would have a whole LOT of information in-world that we don't have. Spy reports, rumors, his knowledge of how the Forsaken like to work. If you remove the places where one of the Forsaken had already set up shop, remove the monarchs that Rand has already met and interacted with, and look for a place that has been suspiciously quiet, you end up with very few options.
One of which just happens to be as we now know Shara.
It's funny, it was an RJ quote that pushed people away from that particular theory. It turned out to be an extremely Aes Sedai answer.
I would love to read that quote.
And of course RJ would give Aes Sedai answers. That makes a lot of sense.
I'll try to find it, but he basically said that we'd never see Shara "on-screen".
Oh right! Yeah. That's a very Aes Sedai answer. Heh. 'You'll never see their country, but they'll see ours!'
Yeah, the Padan Fain thing is that I have a little bit of regret on that one. That's the one thing-- You see he didn't leave anything about Fain at all. Just completely blank. That was worrisome to me. The only thing he said was "Padan Fain cannot be Gollum" actually, he wrote that in the notes. So I was left with trying to figure out what to do and in the end I feel it just ended up feeling tacked on because there were so many other things I was interested in doing and Padan Fain I had never really enjoyed as a character that much. You are seeing my biases come through on that. Looking back at it I'm like "I really should have done something more with him". That's the big one that I feel I would change, if I could change something.
Cause it's kind of a threat that goes away...
The other one is I would've liked for the viewpoint chapters from Demandred to be in the book instead of separated out and put in that charity anthology, but I didn't have any say in that one.