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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.
Semirhage was present at Shadar Logoth, though not seen. You didn't see Graendal, either, though admittedly Moghedien thought of her, thinking it would be good if she or Cyndane died. If I always tried to show everyone who was present at a battle or the like, the books would be a LOT longer than they are now. And those battles would get rather boring, a list of names. Go down the checklist and make sure everyone gets mentioned. Boring. Anyway, Mesaana was the only one who tried to sit it out. By the way, Moridin also was not present, for reasons that will become self-evident as you read on.
By the by, Rand and his companions very likely would have been killed or captured if the Forsaken were not who they are, if they had been willing to form links and coordinate their attacks. But they suffer from a combination of arrogance toward the "ignorant peasants" of the current Age and distrust of one another. Forming a link is all very well, but who leads? Which of them would be willing to give up control over their own ability and put it completely under the control of another of them? Who are you willing to let get behind your back in a fight? Moghedien? Semirhage? I didn't think so.
Then he looked very closely at the card I had him sign...
Me: It's supposed to be Graendal.
Yeah, well, it is...I just never knew that Graendal had nipple-rings, that's all. Now for once, it's just a thing I hadn't realized about a character in my book, that's all.
I see fantasy writers sometimes at conventions. And no, we don't sit around talking about fantasy. We sit around drinking beer, talking about contracts, mainly. And John M. Ford comes to visit me almost every Christmas, he's a close friend of me, uhm, almost as long as I've been married. [I think that was what he said.] And no, we don't talk about fantasy either. We talk about other writers, and contracts. When...has his book finished, that sort of thing.
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.
Brandon admitted there would be overlapping chronology between The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight and that Graendal's name will be mentioned a few times.
Brandon said the progress of book completion is sometimes edited down and then up depending on the subtraction or addition of submitted content.
This lead to quite a bit of discussion. Basically, Graendal pretty much uses compulsion on everyone she interacts with. He also asked if it had been revealed that King Alsalam's letters were revealed to be fake. I went into our discussion here and Dom's interpretation in particular. Brandon seemed to like it.
A few early reviewers have noticed that there is a spoiler in the glossary. There are always little spoilers in the glossary, so that's nothing new. But in this case, it's really best not to read the glossary until you've finished the book.
The glossary, remember, was begun as a tradition before there were internet wiki sites, and it's limited by size in what it can contain. I don't do the glossary; that's all on Team Jordan. Maria handles it.
As for why the big secret was included in the glossary, I've said before that Harriet made the decision where it would go. I actually did suggest it, though I later changed my mind and thought I would put it in somewhere else, but she said, "No, I love this idea of the glossary." The reason I think that we like the glossary location so much is because the instruction I received from Robert Jordan was just a Post-It note that had written on it, "This is right," attached to a sheet of paper that was an explanation, one of the many, printed off from the internet, talking about who killed Asmodean. That Post-It note saying "This is right" was all there was—I didn't know the how, the why, the circumstances, any more than you know. So we felt that rather than extrapolate all of that ourselves, the best thing to do, as frustrating as it might be, was to give you the information much in the same way that we got it, as simply a "This is the person." That still allows a bit of theorizing on how this person was involved in the event, whether it was by her hand directly, or whether a servant was involved, or that sort of thing. That allows for theorizing.
She doesn’t see it. We talked about this in editing when we were looking at it. It’s Graendal’s viewpoint; she’s summarizing; she doesn’t actually see it. We actually didn’t change it, because I just thought that was, ‘That’s what’s going on; it’s in her viewpoint; she doesn’t see the weaves.’ So, that isn’t an error. Maybe it’s not the clearest writing around, but I felt it was sufficiently clear when I looked at the passage. It got flagged by Maria.
Actually, we did asked for this to be changed for e- and future editions. It should now read "Aran'gar shrugged, but focused as if laying down a thick and complex Compulsion on the unfortunate Ramshalan's mind." The answer is the same, though, really; she saw nothing.
No questions Mr. Sanderson, just wanted to let you know that as a long time WoT fan I enjoyed your continuation of series and am looking forward to A Memory of Light.
With that said, this is a picture of Graendal and her large breasts in a black see-through gown—NSFW
Wow. I don't know what to say. I never thought, being who I am, I'd get RR34'd. (That's not a challenge, mind you.)
Glad you like the books. I hope you don't mind that I've basically never clicked on one of your links... I'm pretty sure the one you're linking to here is one of Seamus's works, though, so let me point everyone to his print gallery. He has done some of my favorite all-time character portraits for the series. His Perrin, Faile, and Tuon—for example—are exactly as I imagine the characters.
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.
I’m fairly sure he was lying. As in, I’ve seen something in the notes at one point, and I’m pretty sure it was... but my memory being what it is, I will say you can MAFO that. But I’m pretty sure he was lying.
Sammael was lying in an attempt to manipulate Graendal.
When we were in the Green Room Brandon broached a subject of his own, in Asmodean, stating he wanted to explain how that happened. Basically, Jim left a note saying ‘fit it in’, and when they were initially discussing how to do it Brandon threw out as more of a joke than anything else ‘just put it in the glossary’. Harriet apparently loved that idea, and when it came time for Brandon to write, he did lay it out in a Graendal POV [note: I can’t remember if he said it was in an outline for a POV, or whether he actually wrote it] Harriet wrote back in her notes ‘no, no, we’re going to put that in the glossary.’ Brandon himself definitely seemed to have wanted the information laid out in scene, and said there were actually a couple of scenes he thought he could have done it in.
They still argue about it anyway, you know.
*laughs* Yeah, well, you know Jim himself never wrote it out. There was just that email a fan had sent him, you know the...
The Sherlock Holmes one?
Yeah, just that with a note saying 'this is it'. Everything else...
Hah. Yeah, I never really cared about Asmodean.
Me either, really. Until I went on the boards, and everyone was discussing it.
Yeah, now they have the debate about whether Tam and Cadsuane are going to get married.
*shudders* Yeah, I’ve... ah... heard that one.
Basically, it is to do mainly with her environment whilst with Mat. For the first time she was with someone close to her who she can trust. We know how they do things in the Imperial family. After Thanksgiving gatherings they have to do a roll call for the survivors.
Back amongst the Seanchan she is home to chaos and a totally different situation. She will have much different mindset. Also, in Towers of Midnight she is dealing with the White Tower—an issue which makes the most placid Seanchan go rabid.
When I pushed Brandon regarding possible involvement of Greandal, he refuted it. Or at least said that if I am "digging" for something—there is nothing I can find. Something to that effect.
Fun, but also annoying, since I couldn't tell anyone.
Did Graendal kill Asmodean? Huge fan of yours and WOT, first read The Eye of the World when I was 13, 15 years ago.
Yes, she did. And thanks!
Ok, I'm not sure I should give an answer to this one. Who do you think it is, what are you basing it on?
I'm pretty sure it's Lanfear. Several things. She's wearing red and black, and she doesn't have a Cour'souvra around her neck. Her appearance is unknown to Slayer, and she's pretty, though she isn't comfortable with her own reflection. She expresses disgust at having to use him. This eliminates Moghedien and Graendal.
But she's ordering Slayer to kill Rand.
This will lead into the next question, but I don't think she believes that Slayer can succeed, she's using him as a distraction, and to give her options, because she's playing a deep game.
Ok, here's your answer. Your case is very, very, very solid, and you can stand by it.
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.
Is the Town, the only human settlement in the Blight?
I believe so.
And was the Town the same cluster of building that was seen by Graendal in Towers of Midnight from Moridin's...
He acknowledged why Asmodean's killer was revealed the way it was. Apparently when he got the "Notes" from Harriet there was a sticky note on the top that just said "Graendal killed Asmodean" with no further explanation or notes. So they thought it'd be fun to provide the same type of blank answer to the rest of the community.