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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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Absolutely not. I never intended anyone to think he could.
Jordan also strongly implied that Thom was not Elayne's father. Oh, well, so much for all our beautiful net.theories based on those two facts.
I asked at the signing on Saturday. The exchange went something like this:
What happened with Elayne and that warm ter'angreal?
And the circus happened to have a lot of acts that... (were) from Asia. I don't know why they seemed to have such a disproportionate number of acts from Asia. They were much different than most European circus acts and American circus acts, which are very similar to European circus acts. And when I went to my desk the next morning, I realized I knew exactly how Elayne and Nynaeve were going to travel. With Valan Luca's show.
I have read for close on to fifty years, everything I could get my hands on. Various bits and pieces have been stuck in my head. And I use them. And sometimes...and if I see anything that's interesting, and a lot of things interest me, cultural anthropology, development of cities, how a windmill works, how does a waterwheel work? these things interest me, as much as how a modern day skyscraper is built, or how do you go about building a base on the moon?, or how do you go about building an industrial facility in an L5-point? Sometimes I do research and then... Well, I know nothing about blacksmithing really...[followed by that story you've heard before] No matter what you know, if you're an expert blacksmith, I want you to read right past that blacksmith scene, and believe it. And of course very few people will be expert blacksmiths, but that's fine. Because no matter what the scene is, I want you to believe it. No matter what your own knowledge is.
Um, when I was much younger, before I met Harriet, I had two girlfriends simultaneously, who arranged my dating schedule between them, who was going to date me on which night. They chipped in together to buy me birthday presents and Christmas presents. You know, they just sort of shared me between them, you know. And they had been friends before, and I am not quite sure whether or not they made the decision they were both going to date me or not, on their own, before they first met me, it just came about. But I figured if I could manage two, surely Rand could manage three. Besides there are mythological reasons to have these three women involved with him.
As far as my view on this, with Harriet, I have many more than three women, there are so many facets to her personality she quite often makes me dizzy, I am quite satisfied there. About how she feels about this, I suspect you want her answer, I seem to remember her saying to me, you do remember this is fantasy right? And I think it was an accident she was holding a carving knife to my throat, just coincidence, but I am not sure.
Uh...well...I'll have to check that. MAFO. Good question.
From Winter’s Heart, chapter 12, Rand speaking to Elayne, Aviendha, and Min: “Anyway, Alanna Mosvani got there ahead of you, and she didn’t bother asking . . . I’ve been bonded to her for months now.”
I asked around about this because I believed that Mato had misheard the name, and that the question was actually about whether Egwene knew about the bonding. (Many people pronounce it egg-WEEN instead of the proper egg-WAIN, so it's easy for those people to hear 'Elayne' when 'Egwene' is pronounced correctly.) The question was asked by Roga, a Stormleader, and he clarified:
If this question came from the Dallas signing, then it was from me. I asked about Egwene.
The reason behind the question was, I wanted to know: if Alanna's name had been on Verin's list in The Gathering Storm, would Egwene have passed over it? However, Brandon pointed out that Verin knew about the bond, so unless she had some reason to keep quiet, I'd think she should've made some kind of special warning note if Alanna had been in her list.
Egwene did not know.
The last question…Mitchell asks, can we expect an epic Rand/Elayne/Aviendha/Min reunion?
I’m so glad you said reunion.
(Small group of people erupt in laughter)
He said there are lots of little things that come to fruition in interesting ways.
I said yeah, I can't wait to see how "his blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" turns out. Do you know there are some people that think Elayne will have her babies on Shayol Ghul and that will fulfill the prophecy?
He said well, Elayne is like four months pregnant at this point... Lots of things are possible with the One Power though.
In my mind, this debunks that theory somewhat.
Will we see Rand in the next book? YES. The book will not be a 100% flash-back like Book 10. There will be a little bit of catch-up for Perrin, but Egwene and Rand both have large parts too.
Is Mat in Towers of Midnight?
Yes. Lots of Mat. Promise.
What happened to Elayne? It seemed she fell off the earth in the last book.
It was tough to decide that Elayne would not appear in The Gathering Storm. I knew we didn't have room for everyone. Thing is, Elayne was way ahead of everyone else in her plotline. (Meaning what she needed to get done.) And so, with great regret, I moved her to Towers of Midnight. She will appear, as will her wonderful Warder.
Will we see Galad in Towers of Midnight?
so far, I'm on record as saying this: Almost everyone who did not appear in The Gathering Storm appears in Towers of Midnight. No promises on anyone other than Main Characters, like Mat/Elayne. But expect to see a lot of people return who didn't appear in The Gathering Storm. Also, Galad happens to be one of my personal favorite characters.
Do we get anything about Shocklances?
I'm pretty late to this party, so if I don't get an answer to my question..no worries...But any chance of Egwene ever putting Cadsuane in her place?
Re: Shocklances (sp? I should really know that one) and Egwene/Cadsuane. Double RAFO. Pow!
Well, 1) we haven't seen Elayne in a whole book; we don't really know what she's doing, and 2) she has problems channeling because of this pregnancy deal, and 3) everything's going to be in the Old Tongue and she's a little busy to sit down and translate documents.
But you don't understand the significance of that ter'angreal: Jim foreshadowed the creation of the Kindle. [laughter]
Mmhmm, he did. And actually, Elayne—right now as we speak—is in her bed reading fiction on that.
I bet they're dirty romance novels.
I was going to peg her for an urban fantasy fan.
No, no, no, no, no. She loves the Harlequins. Case closed.
Oh, the Harlequins. Yeah.
Either her or Aviendha, but one of those two is definitely into the Harlequin super-romance.
How can she get all excited about the cover art of Fabio when she's got Rand? [laughter]
Have you seen the cover of Lord of Chaos?
Yeah, I'm telling you! No comparison.
Yeah, that one was nicknamed at our house 'Passion of the Aes Sedai'. I actually had to take the dust jacket off of that one when I would take it to school, when I was in high school, because I was like, "I do not want people to think I'm reading some kind of filthy romance novel in class."
Well, I'm thinking more of, what was it? A Crown of Swords? Where he's got the, uh…all he needs is some baby oil and a little less clothes and he looks like he's posing…
We love fist-pumping, body-building Rand.
Don't make me get out the water bottle to squirt you ladies. Jeez… [laughter]
I have a big cardboard cut-out of fist-pumping, baby-oil Rand in my garage right now. I use it as a [decoration] at conventions. [Amusingly, it was stolen at JordanCon 2011, a few months after this interview.]
Is that cool, or is that creepy?
Well, it's a little insane I think.
Karede catches up with Mat and the Band. Tuon completes the marriage ceremony.
Mat fights a battle with Elbar's men to allow Karede to get Tuon away safely.
Elayne is 66 days pregnant.
Melaine is 167 days pregnant.
In Lord of Chaos, Nynaeve and Elayne searched for something that would tie the Salidar Aes Sedai to Rand via Need in Tel'aran'rhiod.
Need led them to three things. First it led them to the White Tower, (where Elayne glimpsed Egwene briefly), then Need shifted Nynaeve and Elayne to a locked storeroom within the White Tower (they thought that was useless). After that, Need led them to the Bowl of the Winds. My questions are regarding the first two things Need brought them to.
On the first thing, was Need bringing them to Egwene?
I believe it was Egwene.
On the second thing, what was the item Need brought them to in that storeroom?
Was that something besides the Horn of Valere?
It could be.
[I felt that this question was grasping at straws here a bit from the impression I got from him, i.e. it's not that important regarding what the item is, but that it will come into play. And it's not the Horn of Valere in this case. I could be wrong, that's just the vibe I got.]
I just ask because, like Nynaeve has been channeling longer, and Egwene was forced. And Rand likely was too, and as a man gains strength more swiftly...
Yeah, Elayne might not... I think she is, but she may not quite be there.
The scene depicts Min, Aviendha, and Elayne gathered on a battlefield around what is presumably a funeral pyre for Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. What we recognize as a yin/yang appears in the clouds, possibly signifying a unity that has evaded male and female channelers for over 3000 years.
Brandon drew a graph of A Memory of Light's structure and explained in some details how he ended up re structuring it as three books. Not much that isn't already known in there, book 12 will have two main story lines (we know it's Rand and Egwene, but as I said Brandon didn't say so explicitly at the Q&A) and teasers for three more (Mat—and seemingly Perrin and Elayne). By 'teasers', Brandon precised he means 3 or 4 chapters per story line, the rest of the chapters being divided between the two main story lines (by recent books, this could means Egwene/Rand have about 10-12 chapters each, or a few more). Some developments happen in the teasers but it's not huge stuff, more like set ups chapters for what happens in book 13.
Book 13 will have the opposite, with 3-4 chapters each for Egwene and Rand, "toward the end". Brandon kept those for book 13 to avoid spoiling in The Gathering Storm the climax of book 13, which will mark the reunion of all the main story lines at some location, and launch Tarmon Gai'don. So in book 13 we will have the residual Rand/Egwene chapters that specifically build up to the reunion.
Brandon explained the decision to split the books this way came about between Harriet and him, in part to avoid the "Crossroads of Twilight trap". Apparently, RJ went that way in Winter's Heart/Crossroads of Twilight mostly because he had been affected by all the grief he got for keeping Mat out of The Path of Daggers. He decided to try to put all the main characters in the next books, even if it meant all the story lines would advance more slowly if they were all told in parallel like this. He very much regretted this after Crossroads of Twilight, for which he got even more grief than for The Path of Daggers, and decided to return to his more organic/uneven approach for Knife of Dreams and A Memory of Light. The original plan for The Gathering Storm was to develop all the story lines in parallel again, but Brandon and Harriet had qualms about this and Brandon came up with an alternative to focus on two story lines in one and three in the other.
There is one of the 'POV clusters' Brandon had written that it mostly unused for The Gathering Storm and will go in book 13.
Brandon of course wouldn't tell who is the character not in The Gathering Storm at all, though he gave a few clues. Piecing all his bits of answers together, the character isn't Aviendha, Cadsuane or Nynaeve, nor Mat (the only character he confirmed is in the two first books, but we already knew this). He basically destroyed the speculation it could be Perrin by hesitating on the words 'major character' and then adding the bit that the vast majority of fans would actually place this character at the very bottom of the list of characters to be considered 'major'. The way he put Elayne over and over among the five really major ones during the Q&A suggests it's not her either after all. He also said while explaining his graph that there were chunks (his "teasers" for three story lines in The Gathering Storm and the core of the story for two—and his 'five' clusters he explicitly said were Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Mat and Elayne.
So perhaps we've read too much in his 'major POV character' comment (Jason's review may also allude to this, when he commented that one major character is missing but it's pretty much up to each reader to decide who is major and not in WOT). At some point, he said a major POV character in A Memory of Light will be missing in The Gathering Storm, which is not exactly the same as saying a major POV character from the earlier books isn't in The Gathering Storm—which is the way his previous comment was interpreted by many.
Lan isn't a major POV character in the earlier books, but now he's on his own he may very well become one in A Memory of Light.
In any case, I'm more and more thinking it's Lan (or possibly Moiraine), not Elayne or Perrin which I doubt many would place 'at the very bottom' of the list of characters to be considered major. Most people would place Elayne not near the bottom at all but among the top 7 or 8 most important characters. Above Moiraine and Lan, Thom, Loial and probably even Min and Aviendha.
One thing that was made clear in the notes is that not everything seen by Min is to have significance for the books.
And others, such as Alivia, were to be things that people in world placed much import upon—but were actually minor.
Can you speak to why Leilwen did not try to contact Elayne while she was in Caemlyn?
(pause) I'm trying to remember.
When Mat came to Caemlyn, she was with him. Mat saw Elayne, but she didn't.
I don't know why she didn't.