Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
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."
Logged In (0):
Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,
The Strike at Shayol Ghul
Many people have asked about a short piece of writing called "The Strike at Shayol Ghul". Most people want to know: "Is it actually real, and if so, what does it say?"
First, it is real. Robert Jordan wrote it and it was included in the BaltiCon printed program. It's about four pages long in printed form, and is now available on the Web courtesy of Tor Books. Copies of the convention program, which includes the story, may still be available. See Colette Schleifer's announcement for information.
The free availability of The Strike at Shayol Ghul on the eeb makes this summary rather superfluous (I wrote it when Strike was only available in printed form, in very limited quantity) but I'm keeping it here for completeness. Now on with my summary.
In "The Strike at Shayol Ghul", Jordan describes the events leading up to the Sealing of the Bore from the perspective of a Third Age historian (at about the time of the story) who discovered some fragmented manuscripts that were written shortly after the Breaking. The single biggest fact revealed is that the during the War of the Shadow, the Aes Sedai were considering two alternate plans for defeating the Dark One.
Lews Therin proposed that the Dark One be resealed in his prison by plugging the Bore. The plug would be inserted by thirteen linked male and female channelers and would be held in place by the seven seals, which were focus points of the weaving. 20,000 soldiers would accompany them to Shayol Ghul, where the Bore could most be sensed. Lews Therin's plan had supporters and opponents. Opponents argued that the Seals required precise positioning, and that any slight error would tear the Bore open wider.
The alternate plan, which also had its share of supporters and detractors, was to build two large sa'angreal (one for saidin, one for saidar) and use them to build a new prison around the old one for the Dark One. The sa'angreal were so powerful that special "key" ter'angreal had to be constructed for channelers to use them safely. Opponents of this plan expressed concern that the sa'angreal could fall into the control of channelers following the Shadow or be misused accidentally by channelers serving the Light. Either way, the sa'angreal were expected to be powerful enough to destroy the world and beyond. Opponents also worried that while the sa'angreal might enable the building of a wall strong enough to contain the Dark One's strength right then, the Dark One was gradually chipping away at the Bore and gaining more power in the world. At some point, he might become powerful enough to tear down the new wall.
Supporters of each plan began preparation, even though the Aes Sedai as a whole failed to reach a consensus.
Latra Posae, an outspoken female Aes Sedai, considered Lews Therin's plan so dangerous that she organized support amongst the female Aes Sedai against it. In fact, she obtained the unanimous agreement of every female AS of significant power—in other words, every female Aes Sedai who could possibly be asked to assist in the force that would place the seven seals into the Bore to seal it shut. They believed this effectively halted Lews Therin's plan, as the men who supported him could not link without any cooperating women. (It was believed that correct placement of the seals required a linked group of the most powerful male and female channelers.)
While the Aes Sedai were fighting over which plan should be used, the Shadow advanced rapidly. Lews Therin decided that something had to be done right away, so he covertly organized 113 male channelers who supported his plan (they were later called the Hundred Companions, a slight miscount) and over 10,000 soldiers who were also loyal to him. The force stormed Shayol Ghul, when all thirteen Forsaken were there, and put the Seals into place.
At the moment of the resealing, the Dark One drove all of the surviving Hundred Companions (about 68, at that point) instantly insane. The Dark One also tainted saidin, although this wasn't discovered until after hundreds of other male channelers had been driven mad from it.
Reads the introduction of the manuscript: "Whoever reads this, if any remain to read it, weep for us who have no more tears. Pray for us who are damned alive."
Regarding the Dragon and the Dragon Reborn (and Graendal's thoughts about Ishamael's musings):
"Is this soul born in any other Age, or only at the advent and (theoretically, of course) the closing of the Third Age, as the Dragon/the Dragon Reborn?"
My question at the Bailey's Crossroads signing (21 Nov 1998) was:
Lews Therin wore the Ring of Tamyrlin. Who or what was this named for?
—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.
His notes about Lews Therin, I would say are about middle extensive, comparatively of different things that he has notes on. Less than some, more than others. They were extensive enough that I know enough things you don't know to make me excited, but not so extensive that you know, you are ever going to see a book about Lews Therin or anything like that.
As a followup question, are the notes about Lews Therin the same notes about the voice of Lews Therin's?
You know I think that's enough of a spoiler because there is still confusion or not confusion, wondering from people whether or not Lews Therin is the voice, I mean, of course Semirhage said that it is...Robert Jordan never really made that explicit himself. What I think and what you think may be different and so we'll just leave it. There are things about this in the book.
Robert Jordan dropped a bomb at the end of Knife of Dreams, with what Semirhage was saying about or to Rand, talking about his level of stability. I remember as a reader, going through as a kid—I think Robert Jordan blindsided me with Lews Therin, because I'd been told that "Rand will go mad, Rand will go mad," but I didn't accept that voice as Rand going mad. I accepted that as another person, inside of Rand's head, and not a delusion or anything like that. Across the course of the books, Robert Jordan brought together this thing that he'd promised: "No, look, this guy is just going crazy. Yes, he's seeing part of his past life, but he's going insane. It's the immense pressure that's doing this." In looking through the notes, and seeing what Rand has to go through, it's hard not to sympathize with the poor guy.
Robert Jordan once said in an interview, when someone tried to get him to boil down the series to its core—he first said, you can't boil down this series. I wrote it as long as I did because that's how long I needed to tell the story, and so boiling it down doesn't work. But he finally did say this: At its essence, this series is about what it's like to be told that you need to save the world, and that it's probably going to cost your life. Even all of the other characters, you could say that that is a theme for them, too. Egwene has had to give up the life that she'd assumed that she was going to live, and to adopt this other life in the name of the greater good. And that's happening to everybody. Kings and queens are being cast down, and people who thought that their lives were just going to be normal and stable, and that's all they really wanted, are being forced to take upon themselves these mantles of responsibility. And Rand is at the very heart of that. Rand is the center, the example for all of them of what they're having to go through, and it's the worst for him.
I commented on the Dragonmount forums when I found this interview that it seemed that Brandon had accidentally confirmed construct theory in this interview, and that I suspected someone on Team Jordan had said something to him about it, resulting in the vaguer answers that followed on the book tour. Luckers emailed Brandon and got this response:
Feel free to post this response from me.
"I stand by everything I said in those interviews; I did not make any miss-steps. However, there is one big misinterpretation. Terez says that I was asked by Team Jordan to be more secretive. That's not the case. There was one time when Harriet asked me to be more secretive, but that was in regards to spoilers about Towers of Midnight when I was working on it, and she felt (rightly) that I was hinting about too many things that would come in the book.
I have not settled, and do not intend to settle, this debate except in regard to the things placed specifically in the books. The Geekdad interview response is primarily talking about my own reactions as a reader the first time I read specific scenes, long before I saw what was in the notes. At that point, as a fan, my view of the books shifted.
Those views may have shifted again while looking at the notes. I have not said, and will continue not to say, what was in them on this point. There are clues in the text. That is always the way it has been, and I think that is sufficient for this conversation. However, I can explicitly say there was no "Team Jordan order of silence" on this particular point. In fact, there have been few (or none) of those except in regards to spoiling surprises for the books not yet in print. I prefer to keep it that way, which is why I generally ask interviewers to run my interviews past Team Jordan for clarification, and so that they know what I'm saying and can steer me if I do happen to stray into areas best left quiet."
Of course, the bolded bits (emphasis mine) are still telling, and there must have been some reason why he decided to be less open about his feelings after this point.
(for WSB): The next question is from a Theorylander. Did Ishamael’s healing of Lews Therin back in the prologue of The Eye of the World create the same doctor-patient bond as when Nynaeve healed Egwene?
No, not that I know. I think that I would know, but no.
Sadly, he answered a very clear "No, nothing is left of that anymore."
This means that the ruins underneath the Panarch's palace in Tanchico are not the ruins of Lews Therin's palace.
On the American websites there is a term used in these cases: RAFO - read and find out.
I personally also asked if anyone has been interested in making a film inspired by his books, he replied that someone was interested in doing a film of The Eye of the World .... but for now there is still nothing concrete.
I need to learn Old Tongue for 'Read And Find Out'. [laughter]
I'm still waiting for 'May the Light illumine you'! [laughs] I was hoping somebody'd pop up with that for the podcast, and that's how I try to close each episode, so that's why I asked Brandon for it. I'm just gonna have to hound him.
Ask him if the manner of the Aiel service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends was just Singing, or if it was also domestic.
As a follow-up you could ask him if female Voices were also used in non-Earthy scenarios, i.e. to enhance saidar in particular?
And ask him if non-Aiel could really have the Voice (assuming the type that enhances channeling) or if Lews Therin was just confused.
Lews Therin was confused about time and place, but what he was saying was possible.
There was more than just singing, but Brandon wasn't willing to go into it. Unsure if that was RAFO or irrelevance.
Brandon said he wasn't willing to talk much about the Voice things. I got the sense it was a subtle RAFO.
The Dragon is one with the land...so the answer is yes.
He went on to say that it says the Dragon, not the Dragon Reborn, making the point that it most definitely applied to Lews Therin. (I riffed off a second related question from Luckers which was: Did he have the same extra abilities?) Instead I asked:
Considering what you mentioned regarding Lews Therin's ability to sense the lack of inhabitants within miles of the spot he was at in the Prologue, is this ability something that comes from being the Dragon, being ta'veren, or a Talent?
(paraphrased) It's not a Talent, but I won't say whether it is a factor of being the Dragon or something about being ta'veren.
Luckers, I asked this question because the way Brandon answered the first it seemed apparent to me that the Dragon is Lews Therin is Rand, as far as 'one with the land' and abilities. My interest then became that specific ability he noted in Lews Therin during the re-read.)
My name is Drew McCaffrey; I'm from Fort Collins, Colorado. I've been an absolutely huge fan of the series for eleven years now, and I just recently graduated as a creative writing major, and I'm a writer because of the Wheel of Time. [applause, cheers]
My question is in regards to a debate that I've had with my cousin and a couple of my friends for a while now. Is it possible for a channeler to be tied to the Horn of Valere?
(Brandon passes mic to Maria, laughter) Um, I think I'm gonna have to say, that's a really good question. [laughter] I honestly can't say why not.
(to his friends) HA! [laughter, applause]
But! But I would really love to do some research before giving an absolute definitive answer [laughter] and I can't do that right now.
Would Lews Therin's soul be tied to the Horn?
Lews Therin! He was.
Well yeah. [laughter]
He was recognized.
That's right. Absolutely.
He was recognized, but was he tied to the Horn? Do we have confirmation of that happening? [laughter] Or they just know him? See, he's trying to trick us into saying things.
Maria's saying she'll have to look it up and post it.
Ooh. Agreed. Well, thank you very much, all of you, for being here tonight and...yeah. [laughter, applause]
We blame people like these, that came up with this, but I do want to—and thank you for your question—I do want to hand...(to Matt) You had a correction on something we said earlier? Do you have it? Okay, Matt's going to correct us from what we were unable to answer, because Robert Jordan apparently gave an answer.
So, there was a question about the Dragon soul, and whether that was a title or not—was that your question?—so, he did answer. Someone asked him, because it had to do with...the entirety of the question was, you know, can it change? Could it be a woman, could it be a female? Would it be the same person in a new Turning? And his point, his answer was, it could not be female—that the soul would remain the same gender—and he also said that it would not necessarily be Rand in the next Turning. So in other words, it would still be that same soul, but it would not be—necessarily—the Rand story, the next time around. It might be...whatever. And he talked about it just because, looking at the Pattern as things change in Turnings, little things are going to change, or I guess in this case, maybe it's something bigger. So, I don't know if that answers your question, but that is answered again.
The question was really more about Lews Therin as the original Dragon, or as the original Dragon that we know about, and was he born to be the Dragon, or is that something that he kind of grew into?
It's the soul, the soul is the Dragon.
Okay, so he was born to it.
What happened with them?
He killed them.
Okay, okay. He killed them.
He killed his wife. He killed his children. He killed everyone who bore a single drop of his blood. He was Lews Therin Kinslayer, remember.
In the prologue it sounds like Lews Therin balefires himself, and then is reborn as Rand al’Thor.
He does not balefire himself, so I can answer that. He does not.
So it’s just something that sounds a lot like balefire?
Yes- well there’s various interpretations of what happens there. He um- yeah there’s various interpretations of what actually killed him. If you go look and read closely, what actually killed him may be- could be subject to some debate.