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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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There are definitely time constraints on the Dark One's power to transmigrate a soul. The soul doesn't have to be secured immediately—that is, the Dark One doesn't have to be ready to snatch the soul at the instant of death—but the longer that passes after the death, the less chance that the Dark One will be able to secure the soul. Someone who has been killed with balefire in actuality died before the apparent time of his or her death, and thus the window of opportunity for the Dark One to secure that soul for transmigration is gone before the Dark One can know that the soul must be secured unless the amount of balefire used is very small. Remember that the more balefire is used, the further back the target's thread is burned out of the Pattern.
After the soul is secured, then a suitable body must be acquired and stripped of the (former) owner's memory and soul to make way for the favored one. By the way, what constitutes a suitable body from the Dark One's perspective is not that of the recipient. Certainly Aginor would never have chosen to be reincarnated in his, shall we say, less than imposing body, nor would the womanizing Balthamel have chosen to be reincarnated as a beautiful woman. It was only chance that Moridin ended up in a body that is young, fairly good looking and physically imposing. Those things simply don't matter to the Dark One. But the body has to be basically healthy and sound, and neither too young nor too old. After all, the Dark One wants his servants to be effective, and a body that meets those basic requirements is more desirable than one that doesn't. Since there is no stockpile of such bodies, the only way for someone to die and immediately be reincarnated would be a matter of pure chance. That is, the death occurred when a suitable body was on hand for some other reason.
There are a few other limits and constraints, but I won't go into them here, since I may want to use them in the books, and I would rather they come as a surprise if I do.
The Dark One doesn't care about his minions sufficiently to invest much time in their punishment except as it serves to correct their behavior or as object lesson to others, nor is there much in the way of gradation. Simple failure and outright betrayal might be punished equally, or one might result in death and the other in becoming an object lesson or in something else. (The mindtrap, by the way, could be called an object lesson only to the one so trapped; remember, none of the Forsaken know who is mindtrapped except Moridin and those who are trapped.) The decision, death or object lesson or something else, normally would be simply a matter of whether or not he believed there was any point to an object lesson and/or whether or not he felt there was really any further use in the individual. Or, for that matter, made for reasons unknowable to a human mind. Remember, the Dark One is NOT human and thinking of him in human terms just doesn't work.
But he also operates under a constraint that did not exist in the Age of Legends. At that time, about 3% of the population could learn to channel to some extent, though not all chose to—the training program took time, and being able to channel carried with it certain obligations that not everyone wanted to undertake—but that still meant there were, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people in the world who could channel, and more likely millions. A large pool of possible recruits. Break a tool or decide it isn't working right and throw it out, because there is an endless supply of similar tools waiting on the shelf. That might be said to have been his attitude. In the here-and-now of the books, that figure is about 1%, and of that 1%, very, very few have any idea that they could learn to channel, much less have any training at all. Here-and-now, the pool of possible recruits is tiny.
Also, while the Forsaken themselves have realized that these primitives have discovered how to do things with the Power that they themselves cannot, or perhaps can once they learn how but never dreamed of doing until they found that the weaves existed here-and-now, they still think of people in the here-and-now as primitives, and their attitudes filter through to the Dark One, who believes that his people from the age of Legends are in all practical ways better—for which read better trained, more capable, and thus better able to serve him efficiently and effectively—than the people of the present time. And he is right. In a way. They are certainly better trained, with a much wider knowledge, at least in some areas. Some of their skills are absolutely useless in the society they are forced to live in. Aginor was a genius in biology and genetics, but in this world, he had no way to make the tools to make the tools to make the tools.... Well, you get the idea. Pity the poor chip designer dropped into the seventeenth century.
In any event, the Dark One tries to conserve his resources, using and reusing those he might have killed himself, or ordered killed, in a time where there were thousands to equal them.
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.
They still do speak the Old Tongue among themselves, but the first two who were freed, Aginor and Balthamel, had been held very near to the edge of the sealing, the reason they were so visibly affected and twisted while the rest came out whole and healthy, and they were very much aware of what had gone on in the world outside. You might say they had floated in limbo while watching three thousand plus years roll by, with the ability to zoom in. That is probably the only reason they didn't emerge entirely mad. In truth, those two have a much better understanding of the current world than any of the others because they watched it forming. They don't have a complete knowledge, because they couldn't see and hear everything at once, but they have an overview that is unavailable to any of the others, excepting Ishamael to a lesser extent. But then, he's a special case.
For the rest (aside from Ishamael), who spend those thousands of years in a dreamless sleep, the language spoken "here and now" was derived from the Old Tongue. I've heard the analogy used of a well-educated, highly intelligent citizen of ancient Rome needing to learn modern Italian. It would hardly be a slam-dunk, but he or she would have the roots of the language already. In the case of the Forsaken, the task is actually easier than that of the ancient Roman, since modern Italian is a more complex language than Latin, while the Old Tongue, as I have said time and again, is more complex and nuanced than the language of "today."
Does evil need to be effective to be evil? And how do you define effectiveness? Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge managed to murder about 25-30% of Cambodia's population, destroy the country's agricultural and industrial base, fairly well wipe out the educated class inside the country (defined as anyone with an education beyond the ability to read; a good many of those went too, of course), and in general became so rabid that only China was willing to maintain any sort of contact with them, and that at arm's length. Their rabidity was the prime reason that they ended up losing the country. (though they are still around and still causing trouble.) In other words, they were extremely ineffective in attaining their goal, which was to seize Cambodia, remake it in the way Pol Pot wished (and still wishes), and export their brand of revolution abroad. Looking at the death toll, the cities emptied out (hospital patients were told they had one hour to leave or die; post-op patients, those still in the operating room, everybody), the murders of entire families down to infants because one member of the family was suspected of "counter-revolutionary" crimes, the mass executions (one method was for hundreds of people to be bound hand and foot, then bulldozed into graves alive; the bulldozers drove back and forth over these mass graves until attempts to dig out stopped)—given all of that, can you say that Khmer Rough's ineffectiveness made them less evil? Irrationality is more fearful than rationality (if we can use that term in this regard) because if you have brown hair and know that the serial killer out there is only killing blondes, you are safe, but if he is one of those following no easily discernible pattern, if every murder seems truly random, then it could be you who will be next. But "rationality" can have its terrors. What if that killer is only after brunettes named Carolyn? Stalin had the very rational goal (according to Communist dogma) of forcibly collectivizing all farmland in the Soviet Union. He was effective—all the land was collectivized—and to do it he murdered some thirty million small farmers who did not want to go along.
But are the Forsaken ineffective or irrational? Are they any more divided than any other group plotting to take over a country, a world, IBM? True, they plot to secure power for themselves. But I give you Stalin v. Trotsky and the entire history of the Soviet Union. I give you Thomas Jefferson v. Alexander Hamilton v. John Adams, and we will ignore such things as Jefferson's hounding of Aaron Burr (he tore up the Constitution to do it; double jeopardy, habeas corpus, the whole nine yards), or Horatio Gates' attempted military coup against Washington, with the support of a fair amount of the Continental Congress. We can also ignore Secretary of War Stanton's attempts to undermine Lincoln throughout the Civil War, the New England states' attempt to make a separate peace with England during the Revolution and their continued trading with the enemy (the British again) during the War of 1812, and... The list could go on forever, frankly, and take in every country. Human nature is to seize personal advantage, and when the situation is the one the Forsaken face (namely that one of them will be given the rule of the entire earth while the others are forever subordinate), they are going to maneuver and backstab like crazy. You yourself say "If ever there was the possibility that some alien force was going to invade this planet, half the countries would refuse to admit the problem, the other half would be fighting each other to figure out who will lead the countries into battle, etc." Even events like Rahvin or Sammael or Be'lal seizing a nation have a basis. What better way to hand over large chunks of land and people to the Dark One than to be ruler of those lands and people? The thing is that they are human. But aside from that, are you sure that you know what they are up to? All of them? Are you sure you know what the Dark One's own plans are? Now let's see about Rand and his dangers and his allies. Have you been skimming, my dear? What makes you think the Tairens, Cairhienin and Andorans are solidly behind him? They're plotting and scheming as hard as the Forsaken. Rand is the Dragon Reborn, but this is my country, and we don't need anybody, and so on. And then there are those who don't think he is the Dragon Reborn at all, just a puppet of Tar Valon. Most of the Aiel may be behind him, but the Shaido are still around, and the bleakness is still taking its toll, since not all Aiel can face up to what Rand has told them about themselves. What makes you think the Seanchan will fall in behind Rand? Have you seen any Seanchan volunteers showing up? Carolyn, half of these people are denying there is a problem, and half are trying to be big honcho themselves. Read again, Carolyn. The world Rand lives in is getting more frenzied and turbulent. Damned few are saying, "Lead, because you know best." A good many who are following are saying "Lead, because I'd rather follow you than have you call down lightning and burn me to a crisp!"
As for lack of challenge, I refer you again to the question about whether you really think you know what all the Forsaken are planning. Or what Padan Fain is up to. There is a flaw inherent in fiction, one that is overcome by suspension of disbelief. We do always know, somewhere in the back of our heads, that the hero is going to make it through as far as he needs to. After all, if Frodo buys the farm, the story is over, kids. The excitement comes in trying to figure out how he can possibly wiggle out, how he can possibly triumph.
In Rand's case, let's see what he still has stacked against him. The Cairhienin and Tairens are for the most part reluctant allies, and in many cases not even that. At the end of Fires, he has Caemlyn, but I don't see any Andoran nobles crowding around to hail him. Illian still belongs to Sammael. Pedron Niall is working to convince people Rand is a false Dragon, and the Prophet is alienating ten people for every one he convinces. Tarabon and Arad Doman are unholy messes; even if Rand manages to get in touch with all of the Dragonsworn—who are not organized beyond individual bands—he has two humongous civil wars to deal with. True, he can use the Aiel to suppress those, but he has to avoid men killing men too much; there are Trollocs waiting to spill out of the Blight eventually. We must always remember the Trollocs, Myrddraal etc; the last time they came out in force, it took over 300 years to beat them back, and the Last Battle doesn't give Rand anywhere near that. Altara and Murandy are so divided in any case that simply getting the king or queen on his side isn't going to work; remember that most people in those two countries give loyalty to a city or a local lord and only toss in their country as an afterthought. Davram Bashere thinks Tenobia will bring Saldaea to Rand, and that is possible since the Borderlands would be one place where everyone is aware of the Last Battle and the Prophecies, but even Bashere isn't willing to make any promises, not even for Saldaea much less the other Borderlands, and I haven't seen any Borderland rulers showing up to hand Rand the keys to the kingdom. Padan Fain is out there, able to feel Rand, and hating him because of what was done to him, Fain, to make him able to find Rand. The surviving Forsaken are out there and except for Sammael, nobody knows what they are up to or where they can be found. For that matter, who knows everything that Sammael is up to? Elaida, in the White Tower, thinks Rand has to be tightly controlled. The Salidar Aes Sedai are not simply ready to fall in and kiss his boots, either. Aes Sedai have been manipulating the world for more than three thousand years, guiding it, making sure it remembers the Dark One and Tarmon Gai'don as real threats, doing their best, as they see it, to prepare the world for the Dark One breaking free. Are they likely to simply step aside and hand over control to a farmboy, even if he is the Dragon Reborn? Even after Moiraine decided he had to be given his head, Siuan was reluctant, and Siuan was in Moiraine's little conspiracy from the beginning. And the Seanchan...The last we saw of their forces, they were commanded by a Darkfriend. As for the Sea Folk, do you know what their prophecy says about the Coramoor? Do you think working with them it will be any simpler than dealing with the Aiel, say?
Now, what and who does Rand have solidly in his camp? Perrin knows what is needed, but he's hardly happy about it. What he really wants is to settle down with Faile and be a blacksmith; everything else is a reluctant duty. Mat blew the Horn of Valere, but it's hidden in the Tower, and frankly, if he could figure some way to go away and spend the rest of his life carousing and chasing women, he would. He'll do what he has to do, but Light he doesn't want to. The Aiel are for Rand (less the Shaido, still a formidable force), but the Dragon Reborn and the Last Battle are no part of the Prophecy of Rhuidean. That is all wetlander stuff. Besides which, they are still suffering losses from bleakness, people throwing down their spears and leaving, people defecting to the Shaido or drifting back to the Waste because what Rand told them of their origins can't possibly be true and if it isn't then he can't be the Car'a'carn. Rand has declared an amnesty for men who can channel and is trying to gather them in; they, at least, should give their loyalty to him. But how many can he find? How much can he teach them in the time he has? How many will go mad before the Last Battle? There is still the taint on saidin, remember. For that matter, can Rand hang onto his own sanity? What effect will having a madman inside his head have? Can he stop Lews Therin from taking him over?
I know that was supposed to be a listing of what Rand has in his favor, but the fact is that he is walking the razor's edge, barely hanging onto his sanity and growing more paranoid all the time, barely hanging onto putative allies, most of whom would just as soon see him go away in the hope that then everything would be the way it was before he showed up, confronted by enemies on every side. In short he has challenges enough for ten men. I've had people write to say they can't see how Rand is going to untangle all of this and get humanity ready to face the Last Battle. What I say is, what you believe to be true is not always true. What you think is going to happen is not always going to happen. That has been demonstrated time and again in The Wheel of Time. You could call those two statements one of the themes of the books.
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.)
5. Re: the Forsaken working together. Do some reading on Hitler's henchmen. Also Stalin's, and Mao's. There are plenty of other examples, but these are probably the easiest to find. In each case you find that the fellows were out for what they could get and just as likely to try pulling down one of their so-called compatriots, or at least undercut him, as to help if that was the route to greater power. Check out Goebbels-Goring-Himmler and Beria-Molotov-Kruschev, for examples, these are much easier to document than that Chinese tangle.
The question of what is evil is always difficult on the one hand and easy on the other. Is the sexual abuse of a child evil? I think that it is; I can see no excuse; I would offer no mercy. An octogenarian friend and I used to discuss the nature of evil, until he died. He would protest when I brought up something such as the Holocaust, say (though he was Jewish), because he wanted to keep it all on a level of purely Platonic ideals. It was always an effort for me to do that. To me, evil is real and palpable. The problem is, and always has been defining it. Harming someone without cause? Hitler had cause, a reason, [a carat and line leading to "however moral it was" in parentheses in blue ink] for murdering millions of people; so did Stalin and Mao. At the other end, how much harm? If you tell a lie that causes two people to argue, you have done harm, but was the act evil, or merely wrong? There are infinite shadings of degree, intent and effect to take into account.
Halima is a man in a woman's body. I got Jordan to 'fess up to this one when he was talking about the new books-on-tape that will be coming out soon. He said that a male voice will read the parts that are from a man's point of view and a female voice will read the parts that are from a female character's point of view. "So, which one will read the passage from Halima's point of view?" I asked. Jordan sighed and said, "Halima's just weird." He went on to confirm that he/she is a male spirit inside a female body and suggested that he/she will change personality over time since the body affects the spirit (and vice-versa).
Also, there's another (non-FAQ-related) note concerning the pre-Bore Age of Legends...
RJ had mentioned (in response to another question) that what the characters believe does not make it so (Moiraine's statements were used as an example), so I asked whether the pre-Bore Age of Legends was the Utopia that the characters believed it to be. His reply is paraphrased below:
Compared to their current world, it certainly would be a utopia. However, that doesn't mean that it wasn't perfect. Of course, outbreaks of diseases were kept to a minimum, but it and other disasters of that ilk still occurred. Evil still existed, as well.
The Forsaken, for example, weren't exactly a stellar bunch to begin with. Semirhage, for example, was a sadist. (I'll skip his description of what a sadist is.) She went into her profession (the equivalent of a surgeon) because it provided an outlet for her sadism. (He then cited some studies that showed that there were more people with sadist tendencies in the medical profession, and surgeons in particular, to support his point.) Aginor (whom he said after some prompting had several elements of the classic mad scientist type) was a biological scientist who never considered the consequences of his actions. Aginor would say, "I wonder what would happen if I took the ebola virus and altered it to be an airborne virus." He'd go ahead and do just that, all without realizing he'd be creating a potentially unstoppable plague. All Aginor would reply to that was, "Hmm. Interesting." (Jordan then mentioned Aginor's creation of the Trollocs, their defects, "It was strong, big, tough to kill, and...... stupid," and that it was the birth of the first Myrddraal that saved the Trollocs from being a complete failure.)
Even back in the Age of Legends, regular, ordinary folks could do some pretty nasty things. He then cited a study about a small town of ordinary Germans in WWII who did some pretty horrific things (I believe he was referring to the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners").
Mordeth + person. Mordeth is a human-made evil. The Black Wind gets along with Mordeth because of professional courtesy. Fain is anti-Forsaken as well as anti-Rand. He has a lot of skills and abilities outside of channeling. He can not channel.
1. What do Rand's wards on Callandor ward against exactly?
2. Are the black cords on male Forsaken the means to access to the True Power?
3. If so, why don't the female Forsaken have them?
"Read and find out" on all three counts.
Damn. I still don't think the cords have anything to do with True Power usage though.
I'm fairly sure he's done this before, but he said Aginor and Balthamel are Aran'gar and Osan'gar, and he also said that Terry Goodkind actually uses WOT as inspiration, instead of going to a historical source. He sounded serious.
Finally, he also recommended several authors, but said that the guy who wrote Cryptonomicon was really good.
Oh, and one more thing: The Forsaken are reborn pretty much straight away when they die. "Not right on the heels, but close." That should make things interesting :)
He said that if you can speak the Old Tongue, learning to understand and speak the new "Vulgar" tongue is not that difficult. When the Forsaken are together having their meetings, they speak in the Old Tongue. (RJ: "But I translate it for you guys.")
Another very interesting note: Modern-day Sharans speak a form of the Old Tongue in their everyday speech. The exact analogy he used was a Roman landing in modern day Italy and having to figure out Italian from Latin. For someone extremely bright and well-educated like the Forsaken it wouldn't be that hard. This is also consistent with information in the books. The Old Tongue is more complex, so learning the Vulgar from Old Tongue is much easier than vice versa. It also gibes with Graendal's thought while she is writing a letter that the modern script was so easy to learn and duplicate.
He also went on at length about his thoughts on language drift and the impact of the printing press on continuity.
I have always thought that the small whimper of a theory as it dies is a beautiful sound.
(General laughter all around.)
The Forsaken are a group of power hungry people who don't like one another and vie with one another for power as much as they vie with the forces of the Light. Much like the internal politicking in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But look at the situation in the world as it actually stands, from the White Tower divided to crop failures caused by a too-long winter and a too-long summer and people fleeing their farms because the Dragon Reborn has broken all bonds, meaning still less food, and that spoiling at a fearsome rate, from chaos in Arad Doman to a large part of the Borderland armies out of position, from the arrival of the Seanchan focusing too many eyes on them instead of the Shadow to the strongest single nation, Andor, riven by civil war in all but name and Tear split by open warfare, from.... Well, take your pick. There are lots more to chose from. Take a step back and look at what the forces of the Shadow have wrought. The world and the forces of the Light are in bad shape. At this point, boys and girls, the Shadow is winning. There are glimmers of hope, but only glimmers, and they MUST pay off for the Light to win. All the Shadow needs for victory is for matters to keep on as they have been going thus far and one or two of those glimmers to fade or be extinguished. The forces of the Light are on the ropes, and they don't even know everything the Dark One has up his sleeve.
Think of it this way. The bell is about to ring for the fifteenth round, and the Light is so far behind on points the only way to win is a knockout. Our boy is game, but he's wobbly on his legs and bleeding from cuts over his eyes. Now he has three minutes to pull out his best stuff and deliver the punch of his life. The Dark One has taken a few shots, but nothing that has really damaged him. He's still dancing on his toes and talking trash. His head shots can fracture a skull, and his body punches can break ribs. And now he's ready to unveil his surprises. You didn't think all it would take is for Rand to show up at the Last Battle, did you? According to the Prophecies, the Light has no chance without him, but his presence doesn't ensure victory, just that the Light has a chance. Gotta stiffen your legs and blink the blood out of your eyes. Gotta suck it up and find that punch. Three minutes to go, and you gotta find that knockout. That's your only chance.
For Dracos, the Forsaken could not talk to one another, not even Balthamel and Aginor, who were trapped near the surface and at least intermittently conscious and aware what was happening in the world. You might say that being trapped where they were, in a Bore that existed everywhere at once, allowed them to see the whole world. But for the others, it was a deep and dreamless sleep. Even for Ishamael, except when he was spun out periodically. When thinking about the Forsaken, you might factor in the effects of dream deprivation.
For Mark A, there are plenty of reasons for men and women to have a certain degree of distrust, though the fact that many Aes Sedai have Warders and good relationships with them shows that it isn't all mistrust. How much trust do most men and women have for the opposite gender here and now? I trust Harriet with my life, but look at how most people are. Look at most women's views of men, and most men's views of women. There is a lot of distrust right there. As for the Forsaken, they don't trust anybody. Gender doesn't enter into it.
For Desiree, part of yours, about continuing the blog, is answered above. The criteria for rising among the Forsaken boils down to a combination of effectiveness and ruthlessness. Asmodean may have held few field commands, but he was quite effective as a governor and administrator. Even the Shadow needs those.
For someone—Marigan, I think, but my notes are a little wonky right about here—the Crystal Throne is not the High seat of the Tamyrlin, none of the Forsaken were among the Nine Rods of Dominion, and the "Rods" were symbols of office.
Mil Tesen was really just a peddler who happened to be in the right place to pass on news of Morgase's supposed death to Gawyn. Not everyone is somebody other than who they seem, you know.
And finally, Da'concion means "the Chosen Ones" in the Old Tongue, which is used with more frequency among the Seanchan than among inhabitants of the eastern side of the Aryth Ocean.
Here is an alphabetical list of names chosen, with details if given. They will be linked to EWOT pages when those are updated after the A Memory of Light comes out. The main auction for the speaking part was won by Sandip Mehta.
Eric Allen (In the Tower Guard; gets sworn at by someone who swears a lot. Perhaps Uno?)
Charlie Bachelder (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. (Deathwatch Guard)
Paul Benish (Malkieri)
Jonathan Brockelman (Whitecloak)
Joff Brown (a city)
Brandon Bryant (Band of the Red Hand)
Jonathan Burt (Whitecloak)
Jay Dauro (Deathwatch Guard)
Jacob Figler (Band of the Red Hand)
Craig Foster (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Filis [Emery?] (Green Ajah)
[?] Gilbert, son of Chris
Courtney Gliszczynski (First name used.)
Einar Laastad Kjosavik (Asha'man who is balefired by a Forsaken.)
Nils Loodin (Aiel scout)
Glen MacDonald (Deathwatch Guard)
Mikayla Micomonaco (damane)
Bach Payson (Borderlander; does not live long.)
Eleanor Pettener (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Bryan Ragon (Borderlander; does not live long; dies well.)
Kimberly Readdy (Wise One, or perhaps an apprentice.)
Kris Ring (Seanchan Blood)
Nikhil Rode (Aiel scout)
Maureen Sampson (Aes Sedai)
San D'ma Shadar (Group referenced by Mat which fought in a historic battle; translates to "Slayers of the Shadow".)
Michael Sarcone (Darkfriend, on request.)
Shane Spears (Aiel, of course.)
Margaret St. John (Maiden name [not tweeted] will be a Seanchan general.)
Caitlin Sullivan (White Ajah)
Roger Trask (Aiel fighting in Last Battle)
Lindsey Turnbow (wolf)
Neil Tweed (Some woods, named after the original owners.)
Pia Maria Vaajakallio (Aes Sedai)
Kurt Wagoner (Two Rivers man)
Jordan White (wolf)
Savannah Rose Young (Seanchan general)
Thursday is the final day to enter the drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light. Details here.
Today's the final day to enter the drawing (& support JordanCon) to get your name in A Memory of Light. Last chance.
The drawing to get your name in A Memory of Light closes to entries in 4 hours. I still have a lot of names to draw.
How many more names are left to draw?
Still a good fifty, I'd say.
Have you been using people's names for characters? Haven't seen any posts/updates with that in a long time.
I've been putting in placeholders, and will be drawing out names over the next few months to replace them.
Shaun Davis, I just used your name in A Memory of Light.
Shiv Whorra, I needed another name, and you're in too.
Is there a running list somewhere of the reader names you've used? And I hope you're feeling completely well soon. : )
We'll post them all once I'm done.
For those asking about names: this was done as a fund-raiser for JordanCon, so I'm no longer taking names. (Sorry.)
Explanation follows. (I do this sort of thing for all of my books, though, so there will be chances for other books.)
Robert Moreau and Robert Rose, you two are next. Welcome to A Memory of Light.
It is so exciting to see you pulling the names out of the hat... how many do you think you'll end up using? :)
Still many more.
Since you're not taking names anymore and have a full rough draft, could you make a guess at our odds of being drawn?
Really hard to guess. I have about 1,000 placeholders in the book, as told to me by Word, but...
Most of those are not "replace a name here" notes, but instead "Look this up" or "describe this better" or "continuity check."
Brandon Bryant, welcome to the Band of the Red Hand. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details)
I know no new names—for those of us who put ours in the hat before, how many spots approximately are left? What are our chances?!
I have no idea, I'm afraid. There are about 2k people in the drawing. Maybe a hundred names? Rough guesses.
Daniel Egonsson, I drew your name for A Memory of Light. (Unfortunately, we're not accepting new names. Details: http://www.mistborn.com/blog/1021/)
But for those of us in the drawing we still have a shot right?
Gavin Doyle, you're in too. (Yes, I will eventually post a list of all of these.)
Jacob Figler, you're next. (Sorry, ladies. I'll draw some female names soon.)
Hey that's me!!! Are you saying my name is going to be in A Memory of Light???
Yup. You're in the Band of the Red Hand.
YES!!! Check out the shirt I got yesterday hahaha! Perfect! And THANKS!!! http://yfrog.com/ob7i2zpj
Useful picture. Now I can describe you. :)
haha, well if you need any details let me know!
Okay, here's a woman: Jesamyn Angelica, you're in A Memory of Light.
Kevin Fanshier, I only needed one name for A Memory of Light today, but yours is it.
Kurt Wagoner, you're in A Memory of Light as a Two Rivers man.
Laura Hepburn, I have chosen your name for A Memory of Light.
Leisha Springer, your name came up next.
Nathan Sawyer, you were drawn next.
Do you or your assistant keep a list of drawn names? Can you post them?
I do keep a list, and will post them eventually.
When you write a book do you fill the less important names in later?
Often I do just that. It can break the flow of writing to develop the right name, particularly when I might cut that scene.
Angela Ryddingwood, I have drawn your name.
Bach Payson, I put you in A Memory of Light, but immediately killed you. Sorry 'bout that.
Oh, and Bryan Ragon, same goes for you. You died well, though.
Craig Foster, you round out the trio of dead Borderlanders I needed for this scene.
Just curious Brandon, are the names coming out of the proverbial hat, or do you look for names that can be easily WOTified?
Most things are pretty easy to wot-ify. And, since I can use either first or last, I haven't yet found any that don't work.
Are you changing the names of people you put in A Memory of Light to make them more "Randland" appropriate?
They are changed.
Michael Gonzalez, your name came up next. (Yes, I am wot-izing all of these.)
Mione Haak, I drew your name for A Memory of Light.
Neil Tweed, you too.
Who am I? Dark or light? Do I die well?
I try not to use fan names for the shadow very often. I actually named some woods after you.
You would have been one of the original owners of the land where the woods were, I should think.
Nikhil Rode and Nils Loodin, I needed two Aiel scouts.
Kris Ring, you're a member of the Seanchan Blood.
Johnnie Lee Barrington, Jr. and Jay Dauro, you are members of the Deathwatch Guard.
Paul Benish, hope you look good in the hadori.
I'm confused. You are still using names but won't take anymore? So my name may still come up assuming you aren't done us ...
It very well might. If you are on the list, there is a chance.
Pia Maria Vaajakallio, you are Aes Sedai.
Maureen Sampson, you're in the White Tower too.
Natalie Doyle, your name came up for A Memory of Light.
Melissa Bergevin, your name came up next.
Harm Wieringa, your name came up next.
Taking a long time to add the names hehe
I'm doing the first revision, and running across places where I left placeholders instead of names.
Jordan White, you're a wolf.
Lindsey Turnbow, you too.
Is anyone keeping track of the names that are being drawn for A Memory of Light?
Yes, they are. We'll post them eventually.
Savannah Rose Young, you're a Seanchan general.
Sally Rankin, your name came up too.
They all get changed. Some as little as Thom or Mat (if appropriate.) Some to things very different.
How many names got submitted?
Three thousand, I think.
Anna Roberts and Andrew Holcombe, I drew your names most recently for A Memory of Light.
Caitlin Sullivan, you're in the White Ajah.
Courtney Gliszczynski, your name came up next. I think I'll adapt your first name, not your last, if that's all right...
Michael Sarcone, you asked to be a Darkfriend for some reason, and I obliged.
Chris Gilbert, you entered your son's name into A Memory of Light and it has been used.
Drew a bunch of names I didn't report. Eric Silva, Hugh Hill, Sean Little, Rion Kinosaki, Helen Cousins, Eyal Weinstock.
This is Sean Little, the guy that emailed you previously regarding putting in a group name. Did that entry have...
...San D'ma Shadar as the name?
Thank you very much.
Trying to figure out the San in that phrase, though. Is the "San" a name, or a word in the Old Tongue I'm missing?
The translation used on the site (made by our Old Tongue experts) is Slayers of the Shadow. I could ask for the exact translation.
That works for me. I actually put the name in a place where it could refer to a group, so I'll tweak it to do so.
Your favorite Two Rivers man, Azi al'Thone, back to bug you again :D I had put in an entry for SDS as well... and since...
...I'm a member of SDS of TV.Net, I'm wondering what (if any) possibility there is of making Azi part of it?
Of course, I understand if that's complicated or doesn't fit with the story—had to ask anyways.
The group is referenced by Mat as being part of a historical battle.
Oh okay! Yes, that would be really hard to make work then :P Thanks for the response, Great Lord :)
Working on one of the big, climactic sections at the end of A Memory of Light right now. Not many names left to draw, I'm afraid. A handful, maybe.
Remember, there is a special group of Dragonsworn in the Last Battle representing all who donated, so even if you aren't named, you're there.
Roger Trask and Charlie Bachelder, turns out I needed two more Aiel to fight in the Last Battle.
Yes, but I'm not going to tell you what.
This led to a fair amount of discussion about balefire and such. At one point, Brandon said 'all Forsaken other than Sammael who haven't come back were balefired'.
I immediately jumped on this and asked if that included Asmodean—Brandon said that he wasn't talking about Asmodean (we all didn't even want to go there), but this is further evidence of Brandon slipping hints that Asmodean was balefired.
This led to a small debate about Osan'gar—I didn't think he was balefired, everyone else at the table thought he was.
Shaidar Haran needs a minion to most of his work for him. Elza was essential to Shaidar Haran in getting things done.
This led to lots of discussion about swearing to the Shadow—basically, it's a very bad idea and you forfeit some very basic protections when you do. Shaidar Haran has special power over those that swear to the Dark One, and the Forsaken in particular.
I asked about Alvairin's special mark, and he said Shaidar Haran has similar power over her. The implication is that there are lots of ramifications for swearing to the Dark One. Brandon mentioned that this makes Verin all the more remarkable.
(General summarization of the attack on Rand) Moridin is speaking to the Chosen. He’s kind of pissed. He’s saying look somebody, it was either Sammael or someone pretending to be Sammael, but it was definitely one of the Chosen. Is Moridin’s assumption/belief correct, that the only way for that to have occurred was for one of the Chosen to be involved?
Someone very high up would have to have been involved.
(Sorry Terez—made up these questions on the fly, so they weren’t very good, but it’s something to chew on. Next.)
This has to do with the Luckers’ Shiny Dragon theory. Masema mentions having a vision, someone tells him to kill Perrin. So, my question, was the individual telling him to kill Perrin a male or female?
He saw a male.
Yes, yes he was a male or a female.
Most of Robert Jordan's titles had twists. There are some that were very straightforward—The Dragon Reborn; The Great Hunt. There are others that are simply things like Knife of Dreams, which comes from a line in a quote at the beginning of the book. The titles usually refer to something specific as well as something metaphorical. Towers of Midnight is the title I chose. There of course are the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan, and if you knew what those were for, and why they were there, it would illuminate the question a little bit more. But the title also refers to the towers that Egwene saw.
My working title for this book was The Three Towers, as a pun on the title of the second book of the Lord of the Rings. I was writing the second book of a trilogy of sorts here, and was dealing with the Tower of Ghenjei, the White Tower, and the Black Tower. There was going to be a lot more Black Tower stuff in this book which has been moved to the next book, but when I was working on it, we had a lot of focus on those three towers. So the name just struck me. It felt like the right thing to do.
On a slightly related note, the Chosen had protection from the taint, was this something unique to the Chosen (it occurs to me actually, that said protection could only have been given AFTER they were freed from the Bore, as such a precaution would have not been needed before Lewis Therin sealed the Bore), or would all Darkfriends have such protection?
To answer my own question, I'd guess it was unique, else male Darkfriend channelers would have been at a huge advantage after the Breaking.
Speaking about activities outside of the White Tower, Verin was quite the traveler. She plays an integral role throughout the series, particularly in The Great Hunt, where she displays some of her deceptive personality.
Was Verin sent to Shienar by the Black Ajah?
I did mean Dreamers. People have been trying to pin me down on that one.
Yeah, everybody has been like convinced that you were just confused...
...that I was just confused. No. I meant Dreamers. I DID INDEED MEAN DREAMERS.
I know you did, but...just verifying.
Yeah. And I’m like 95% on that one. We’ll put an asterisk on it. I actually sent Maria deeper into the notes, but I know at least one is, and I’m pretty sure one of each gender is.
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.]
Moved A Memory of Light from 90% done to 92% done on my website progress bar. Getting very close now.
Writing a conversation between two of the Forsaken right now.
I read this too quickly and thought you said "writing a conversation between two of the Foreskin right now".
That would be a VERY different book, eh?
Oh, yes. I used Arthurian legends, Chinese and Japanese mythology, Indian mythology, traditions from Latin America and Africa. Some myths from Europe, but not much of Celtic because it’s been done so much.
This means you’ve read about all of these subjects?
I read about everything. My knowledge is this wide and much less deep. I truly like to read about a lot of things.
Many thanks, all, for the birthday (and Koloss Head-munching Day) wishes! You are all awesome. To celebrate, I'm writing A Memory of Light. ;)
To get ready for today's writing, I have put on my "Blood and Bloody ashes" shirt from Ta'veren Tees. (https://taverentees.com/threads/)
Note that my wife stole my Koloss Head-Munching Day shirt for the day, which is why I'm not wearing it. (http://store.inkwing.com/happy-koloss-head-munching-day-t-shirt)
Also, for A Memory of Light, I did finish the early-book material I'd left for later, and am back at the ending. My shirt is very appropriate today.
Hm... I haven't given any good A Memory of Light teases today, have I? Well, right now, one of the Forsaken is wearing the image of another Forsaken.
And I was hoping you would say one of the Forsaken was wearing another's pants.
Well, that too, of course.
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.
Umm, when did Perrin meet Masema? Was it in the scene where Alliandre is kneeling and giving her jewelery to him?
No, that was...
Nynaeve, yeah. Right.
Perrin met him at the same time Faile was getting kidnapped.
Right. Then in that case, yes, the Shiny Dragon was manipulating him before.
So, why didn’t they use it on wardings Rand placed on Callandor, and the other things they’ve wanted that were warded earlier in the series?
*stares at me for a long moment, thoughtfully* They may not have know them then. The thing is... we don’t see a lot of the Shadow innovating with the Power, unlike with the Light, but they have been. As much as the Light. But they know, now. The notes definitely say this.
I lend a lot of credence to the theory that at least one of the Forsaken is or was a Dreamer.
I did my best to just get him to tell us straight up that one IS, actually that more than one is a Dreamer. But he persisted in using the above language.
Yes, I know.
Why is he dead?
Robert Jordan once said that res...transmigrating a soul had not just to do with the way that they were killed but the time and...not necessarily just a weave, but why and how. [Technically, where and how.] I am not going to delve too much into transmigration. Robert Jordan did speak on these sorts of things. And so, the Dark One also might not think that the person was an asset worth bringing back.
Dashiva kinda sucks.
I'm not gonna say, but those are all factors in this.
When asked if any of the Forsaken ever had any children he said MAFO.
Getting back to Callandor, we know that you have to channel the appropriate power though a seed—saidin or saidar. So I was wondering how Callandor got True Power capability. Is it because of the flaw, or did someone channel the True Power through the seed at the time it was created?
That's an excellent question to which I do not have the answer. It's not one I had considered.
Somebody had said when I posted in the Facebook re-readers group that there is a theory that the capability might be due to the Taint, but I wasn't sure that was the case.
I believe it was made intentionally to do what it did for a specific use. Not what it ended up being used for. I don't think it was used for that. I think it was built—you're going to have to clear it with Maria—I think it was built to be a trap for one of the male Forsaken.
From Freelancer, Can you speak to how and when a True Power sa'angreal was created?
I believe that such a thing, you'll have to check with Maria to make sure that I'm not saying anything wrong, but I believe that this thing was created as a trap for one of the Forsaken.
I think what he is more after, is once we have had the talk about the seed for a sa'angreal...
Uh, huh. How did that happen? That I am not talking too much about.
So all the Forsaken pretty much ended up helping the Light win by accident. Is that the Pattern's design?
Well, this question is loaded with some issues. First off, there's the concept of the Pattern. Does it have a will? The Wheel does the weaving. The Pattern more IS...but some quotes in the books do ascribe small motives to it. This doesn't even get into the idea of whether what the characters believe is true or if it is simply their way of understanding.
Let's put it at this...Moiraine would say that the Wheel has woven what it Willed, and men beating against it only served to more surely enmesh them into their places.
Robert Jordan didn't leave me a ton of direction regarding the Black Tower. There were a few gems that we knew, but in a lot of places I was left to follow my instincts regarding the plotting points he had built across the last few books. He did leave a lot of clear instructions regarding Taim, fortunately, including his backstory and instructions for a scene where Taim was named as one of the Forsaken.