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Your search for the tag 'military' yielded 100 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    How does your knowledge of physics influence your idea of channeling and the Talents involved in the books, such as Traveling, Skimming, etc? Do you have other hobbies or talents that influence your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    My knowledge of physics influenced channeling to the extent that I have attempted to treat channeling as if it were a form of science and engineering rather than magic. You might say that the Laws of Thermodynamics apply in altered form. I expect that my reading in history has influenced the books more than my knowledge of physics or engineering. I have not tried to copy any actual historical culture or period, but a knowledge of the way things actually were done at various times has helped shape my vision of the world of The Wheel, as has the study of cultures meeting that are strange to one another, and cultures undergoing change, willingly or, as is more often the case, unwillingly. I used to spend summers working on my grandfather’s farm, a very old-fashioned set-up even then, so I have some feel for country life, and I like to hunt and fish, and spent a good part of my growing up in the woods or on the water, so I have a fair feel for the outdoors and the forests, which also helps. And of course, I can use a little of my Vietnam experience. Not for setting out the actual battles, but because I know firsthand the confusion of battle and what it is like to try to maintain some semblance or order while all around you random events are pushing everything toward chaos.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 14 Question

    Military strategy in the War of Power must have been odd, indeed. How do the concepts of capturing and holding territory even make sense in a world where forces can Travel?

    Robert Jordan

    Good question, though not all of the forces involved could use gateways. (Rafo! Rafo!) Think of the ability to Travel in terms of moving troops via aircraft, and you will begin to get the picture. Even with the largest possible circles, there are limits to the size of gateways and thus limits to the front along which you can move troops out through it, the numbers you can commit simultaneously. Of course, you can use multiple gateways, but each is still only so large and can admit only so many soldiers at a time.

    So-called front lines were very fluid, but you couldn't fling your forces in anywhere without regard to what would be surrounding them or how you were going to re-supply, reinforce or withdraw them. Although no one has shown it so far in the books, there are ways to interfere with the making of a gateway—and ways to defend against interference—so the battle would take place on many levels. Yes, any area you hold can be attacked by your enemy, and you can attack any area that he holds. (Part of the result was great destruction and a great fall-off in the ability to produce high tech items. By the time the Bore was sealed, soldiers were already much, much more likely to ride horses and carry swords than to ride armored vehicles or aircraft and carry shocklances, which had all become very rare.) But holding an area is not impossible so long as you can successfully disrupt your opponent's attempts to make gateways into it. Even if he manages to get those first soldiers in, if you can disrupt his ability to reinforce, re-supply or withdraw, it becomes another Dien Bien Phu for him. Of course, if you fail, then it becomes Gettysburg or Waterloo, a bloody fight that will be decisive for somebody. At least until the next "decisive" battle is fought. Remember, that designation is always given after the fact, by historians.

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  • 3

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 18 Question

    How did the people of the current Age go three thousand years without discovering the military applications of explosives? Were the Illuminators just that ruthless?

    Robert Jordan

    The Illuminators were completely ruthless in protecting their secret. And they put about tales such as that exposure to air could sometimes makes the substances inside fireworks explode without fire, and even more violently than fire did, in order to discourage close examination. Then there is the fact that there hasn't been a single three thousand year climb from barbarism and disaster, but three roughly one thousand climbs, from the Breaking of the World, from the near total destruction of the Trolloc Wars, which either destroyed or doomed every nation then existing, and from the devastation of the War of the Hundred Years. As an historical note, fireworks were used in China for roughly a thousand years before someone decided to use gunpowder as a weapon. As a matter of desperation, they dropped large firecrackers on the heads of soldiers climbing siege ladders. And by the evidence I've seen, gunpowder wasn't used as a weapon again for several hundred more years after that. I can see the view. All right, they held off the assault, but firecrackers? Firecrackers?

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  • 4

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Jordan knows something of Southeast Asia; he served two tours of duty in Vietnam from 1968-70, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star as a helicopter crewman. He still hopes to one day write a book based on his experiences.

    Robert Jordan

    "But the difficulty of approaching a book on Vietnam may prevent me from doing it. There are an awful lot of people who haven't come to grips with the war, what it did to them, how it changed them."

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  • 5

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Whether his war experiences have influenced his fantasy writing, or more, been translated directly into fiction, is difficult for Jordan to say.

    Robert Jordan

    "I do think the military characters in my fantasy novels are more realistic in terms of how soldiers really are, how they feel about combat, about being soldiers, about civilians. Beyond that, my time in Vietnam certainly has affected a certain moral vision. Not just based on what happened to me, but on the abandonment of a people who had put everything on the line for us. It started me off on a quest for morality, both in religious and philosophical reading, and in my writing. Again one of the central themes in 'The Wheel of Time' is the struggle between the forces of good and evil. How far can one go in fighting evil before becoming like evil itself? Or do you maintain your purity at the cost of evil's victory? I'm fond of saying that if the answer is too easy, you've probably asked the wrong question."

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  • 6

    Interview: 1994

    John-Mark Turner

    RJ was very patient and enthusiastic. He looked different than the picture mostly due to the dark tint in his glasses.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ also mentioned being unable to attend West Point due to poor vision in his left eye. Shannon Faulkner and the Citadel...he feels she should not be allowed to attend the Citadel because she lied on her application by not revealing her gender. He also feels that single sex education is beneficial for both men and women. He said men tend to be more successful in a competitive environment while women tend to excel in cooperative environments (e.g., studies have shown that girls that go to all girl colleges have less math fear, stress, etc. than coeds). He also mentioned that he personally feels that the physical standards suffer at military institutions when women attend. He talked about himself being shot down in a helicopter and having to run twenty-five miles literally and anyone who would have been unable to do that would not have survived.

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  • 7

    Interview: Oct, 1992

    John Brannick

    What will your next project be?

    Robert Jordan

    Not sure yet, but not a fantasy—he doesn't want to be stereotyped by critics or fans. He has done research for a nonfiction history of the South's role in the American Revolutionary War.

    Footnote

    This is the only time RJ is on record saying that his next project wouldn't be fantasy. By the next year, he started talking about Infinity of Heaven.

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  • 8

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Erica Sadun

    Erica asked Jordan about Shannon Faulkner, the female attempting to get into The Citadel.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan immediately said "She's a liar," and explained how she misrepresented herself on her application. The Citadel has an honor code that views lying as a very serious offense. He thinks the military is one role where men are physically more able to do the job, and if one can't meet the same requirements then they shouldn't be accepted. He frowned on the practice of West Point no longer having women march in combat boots. He mentioned that in Vietnam he had to run for twenty-some miles, and if he hadn't been able to make it he wouldn't be here today. He says in some fields though women would naturally replace men if tradition didn't keep men involved, such as law.

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  • 9

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    On why the combat scenes are not more involved: Because in combat things never really are clear. Also they are not really important.

    Well, that's all I can really think of at the moment... I'm sure Erica will have some to say too, or more details on the above. I'll add more after tomorrow's signing at Oxford Books!

    May the Wheel keep turning!

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  • 10

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan (18 October 1994)

    Jordan was a nuclear engineer for the Army, doing work on submarines. (Army working on Naval craft?) From there he entered government service of some sort, and when he hurt his knee started writing. (See previous post on details.)

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  • 11

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Girl at Citadel: "She is a liar. She and the guidance counselor deliberately whited out all references to her gender." (Followed by about 10 minutes of impassioned talk about how running in combat boots saved his life in Vietnam—fascinating, touching and irreproducible.)

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  • 12

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Language—It is planned. Based on Russian, Chinese and a bit of Spanish with a lot of Gaelic thrown in.

    Cultures of influence—he's real big on Chinese history right now.

    Why the swords?—As in Japan, gunpowder is suppressed so martial arts are developed and are based on the sword and on agricultural implements.

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  • 13

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    Are the sword forms based on reality?

    Robert Jordan

    Sort of based on Taekwondo and Karate—but from books, not experience.

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  • 14

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    Why did Mat's battle happen off screen?

    Robert Jordan

    That's the way battles really happen. You don't actually see anything happen from the point of view, it's all a matter of waiting and trying not to die.

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  • 15

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Lou Person

    Hello all and Mr. Jordan. I am a big WOT fan and I am amazed by some of the themes, i.e. struggle between men and women. Mr. Jordan truly sheds some light on differences between men and women. There also seem to be some allusions to Native Americans, weaves of fire, air, etc. The politicking and warring of the Game of Houses and battle scenes are told with the clarity of someone who has military experience. Can you briefly state what from your background makes WOT so realistic?

    Robert Jordan

    Forty-odd years of life. "Briefly?" It's what it boils down to.

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  • 16

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan also mentioned a few things about himself. He planned to go to West Point and have a military career, but his eyesight wasn't good enough, so he went to The Citadel and served a single term in the military. When he started writing he imagined living on the French River, working 2-3 hours in the morning, and spending the day on the beach with a blond, a brunette, and a redhead. Sound familiar?

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  • 17

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    David Wren Hardin

    Was Tam involved in the Whitecloak/Illian war mentioned by Pedron Niall in Lord of Chaos?

    Robert Jordan

    That isn't something I'd given much consideration to (i.e., it is background, not significant). He probably was, since he was in the Illian army then. (i.e., Tam is NOT Jain Farstrider).

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  • 18

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Question

    About skill comparisons between main character swordsmen:

    Robert Jordan

    "Read the book." About the forms used: I was curious, so I asked if he had studied the sword fighting arts or just researched. It's research, and the forms come from Japanese sword fighting and some European fencing, before the advent of well-designed and well-made guns made swords obsolete. He mentioned one book in particular, but I can't remember the title... :(

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  • 19

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    One of the things I found particularly affecting in this latest book—I enjoy the major characters, I've followed the major characters through six volumes. But there are certain scenes that really strike me as being very real and very personal. For example, in the middle of the book, Mat—who has been sent on a particular mission by Rand—meets a young boy named Olver?

    Robert Jordan

    Uh-Huh.

    Fast Forward

    And their meeting, where as Mat is talking to him, Olver is showing him his possessions: his little cache of coins, the game his father has made for him, and his red hawk's feather and his turtle shell.

    Robert Jordan

    Um-Hum.

    Fast Forward

    That was a very personal moment, that was a very real, very human moment.

    Robert Jordan

    I try to make it so.

    Fast Forward

    Which you don't see a lot in some fantasy. That one, and Rand's looking into the face of one of the maidens after she has died protecting him from an attack. Memorizing her face and name because he has vowed to memorize the face and name of all the maidens who had sworn to give their lives to protect him. Let's talk about that scene in particular, I'm curious about it. You had two tours in Vietnam, you've had military experience, you're a graduate of The Citadel. Does something like that particularly come out of the people you've met in the military and the kinds of personalities you met in the military, do you draw any of that kind of thing from that?

    Robert Jordan

    Some of it. I suppose, actually, that particular thing came from the only time I was really shaken in combat in shooting at somebody, or shooting AT somebody. I had to, uh, I was shooting back at some people on a sampan and a woman came out and pulled up an AK-47, and I didn't hesitate about shooting her. But that stuck with me. I was raised in a very old-fashioned sort of way. You don't hurt women—you don't DO that. That's the one thing that stuck with me for a long, long time.

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  • 20

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    And that resonates in Perrin's fighting his way toward Rand in the climatic scene in this battle. He basically refuses to think of them as males or females, because if he thought of the person in front of him, trying to kill him, as a female—because there is a mixture of both in the group they are fighting—he wouldn't be able to proceed, and he'd end up being killed. So he has to blank that out of his mind so he can be purely reactive. So it's almost a repeat of that.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, in a way it is. It's something that comes out of the way they think. And it fits with the society, as well, as it's been devised. Three thousand years ago men destroyed the world. In effect, O.K. it was the male Aes Sedai, but it was MEN that did it. For three thousand years the world has been afraid of men who can channel. You have that sort of history, and women are going to have power, women are going to have influence and prestige. There is not going to be the same sort of subjugation of women you find in other cultures in our world. Given that, and given the fact that men are, quite simply, stronger than women. There's no two ways about it, on the average man is stronger than woman.

    Fast Forward

    We're talking physically stronger.

    Robert Jordan

    Right. Physically stronger. It's going to be, in many cases, a very strong cultural prohibition against a man using that strength against a woman. It seemed to me to fit very well with the way the cultures are set up.

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  • 21

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    Jordan's books have been called a combination of Robin Hood and Stephen King. He manages to create characters that seem real, perhaps because he uses many of his own personal experiences in the telling of these epic stories. Do you ever use your experiences in Vietnam in your stories?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, indirectly. I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to try to kill somebody. And I know what it's like to actually kill somebody. These things I think help with writing about people being in danger, [or] especially if it's in danger of violence ... which happens occasionally in my books.

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  • 22

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    In your background, you attended The Citadel. And you're a military man, you served in Vietnam. Did that kind of help you with this head for intrigue and the Machiavellian interactions that we have in this book?

    Robert Jordan

    Actually, all that really helped me with is that I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to have a lot of people trying to kill you. And I also know what's it like to kill somebody. These things come through, so I've been told by people who are veterans of whether Vietnam, or of Korea, or combat anywhere—Desert Storm; I had a lot of fan letters from guys who were there.

    As far as the Machiavellian part, as I said I grew up in a family of Byzantine complexity, in a city where there has always been a great deal of Byzantine plotting. The court of Byzantium never had anything on Charleston for either plotting or blood feuds. It came as mother's milk to me.

    Dave Slusher

    Do you think that these books, such as they are, could only have been written by a southerner, and someone with a head for that?

    Robert Jordan

    These particular books could have only been written by a southerner because I write in a somewhat southern voice. My major influence as a writer, I think, is Mark Twain. And, there's no denying the southern voice of the books. If someone from another part of the country had written them, they would sound entirely different.

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  • 23

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Eric Ligner

    Do you draw upon your military education for your battles or from general knowledge?

    Robert Jordan

    From both, actually.

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  • 24

    Interview: Aug 25th, 1996

    Greebs

    At this point the Bolen guy shoos me away. I lurk for a while but people are asking spedly [?] questions [should have printed the FAQ].

    Robert Jordan

    I did learn that in addition to the card game and computer game and clothing line there will be a line of museum quality replica weapons. Someone asked excitedly about the SCA and RJ said that these would be real weapons since he didn't like play war [which is understandable]. Then I left.

    —Greebs

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  • 25

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    How much did your military experience influence your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    Some, I suppose, but I don't know that it had any great influence.

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  • 26

    Interview: Oct 12th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Vietnam/Rand's "No Kill Woman" Thing

    RJ vividly described an experience he had in Vietnam where he killed a female Viet Cong. He said he simply spotted a figure holding a weapon and fired on it, then "acquired the next target." He then realized that he had killed a woman—the first (and I believe only) time he's done that. This provides an obvious basis for Rand's "Achilles' Heel." (I thought he should have offed both the Tower Aes Sedai in the beginning of A Crown of Swords and Lanfear earlier, but I'm rude like that.)

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  • 27

    Interview: Oct 9th, 1996

    Question

    Are shocklances guns, or energy discharge weapons?

    Robert Jordan

    Energy discharge weapons.

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    borg

    Has your background in physics and as a member of the US Army influenced your books?

    Robert Jordan

    It could hardly help having done so.

    Tags

  • 29

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    As a man who served tours of duty in Vietnam, how does your epic reflect your own personal experiences with war, and how difficult is this for you to write about?

    Robert Jordan

    It really doesn't reflect any of my own experiences, except that I know what it is like to have someone wanting to kill you. I don't try to write about Vietnam; I thought I would, once, but now, I don't believe I could make myself. But I know the confusion, uncertainty and out-right ignorance of anything you can't see that exists once the fighting starts; I don't think war will ever become sufficiently high-tech to completely dispel "the fog of war." So I can put these sensations into my writing.

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  • 30

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Sense of Wonder

    Speaking of coming from a different time and place, it has often been said that your military experience leaves a clear mark on your work. It's a matter of record that you served two tours of duty in Vietnam and your decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with "V," and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. How would you say your military experience is reflected in your Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    My writing doesn't really reflect any of my own personal war experiences, except that I know how it feels to have someone trying to kill you. I don't try to write about Vietnam; I thought I would, once, but now, I don't think I'd be able to. However, I know the feeling of confusion, doubt, and plain ignorance of anything you can't see that exists once fighting starts. I don't think war will ever become so technologically advanced as to completely dispel "the fog of war," so I put those feelings into my writing.

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  • 31

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Nick

    What were some of the jobs that you did before you were a writer?

    Robert Jordan

    Not really a lot... I was a nuclear engineer and I was in the US Army before that. Then I became a writer.

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  • 32

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Mark Erikson

    Other than that, we just chatted about his life.

    Robert Jordan

    I asked him about the Vietnam War, and found out that he was a cold blooded killer in his youth, and he smoked a lot of pot. He even said that during that time he had someone trying to kill him, personally, and I got the distinct impression that it was someone on his own side. He said his nickname was 'The Iceman'.

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  • 33

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Gonzo the Great

    I asked a question about using gateways as cannons, but I am not certain I made clear what I had in mind, so this is not completely shot down yet.

    Robert Jordan

    You couldn't do it that way. Not the way you describe it, I think.

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  • 34

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    You have been awarded with the Bronze Star and other awards in Vietnam. Would you care to tell us how one or all of those awards came about?

    Robert Jordan

    (*sigh*) Everyone knows about one way of winning a medal. That is, to see something which needs to be done and to consciously do it at the risk of your life. I never did this. Relatively few people do, which is why we mark out those who do as heroes.

    But at other times, you can realize that you are going to die in a very few minutes, except that if you do something incredibly stupid, you might just have a small chance of living. And against all reason, it works. Or you take a step without thinking, and then it's too late to turn back, maybe because turning back is just as dangerous as going on, or even more dangerous, or maybe because you know that you will have to look in the shaving mirror, and that every time you do, you will remember that you turned back. So you keep going. Or perhaps it's because you are with your friends, and you have to back their play, even if it's crazy, because they're your friends, because they've backed your play, even when it was crazy.

    I was with a group of men who had a certain air about them, and if you didn't have it when you joined them, you soon absorbed it. A plaque in our day room read: Anybody can dance with the Devil's daughter, but we tell her old man to his face. At a time like that, in a place like that, you're all young and crazy, and if you've been there long enough, you know you're going to die. Not from old age; next month, next week, tomorrow. Now, maybe. It's going to happen, so what does it matter? In the end, for most of us, the medals boiled down to managing not to die. If you're alive when the higher-ups think you should be dead, it discombobulates their brains, so they hang a bit of something on you to balance things in their own heads. That's how it happened for me. That is why I am not I repeat, not! a hero. I just managed to stay alive. And I even managed to get sane again. Reasonably sane, anyway.

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  • 35

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    There are a lot of battles, wars, and great conflicts in your books. Did your military experiences influence that part of your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    To some extent, but mainly the thing that comes out of my experiences in the military is that I know what it's like when someone is trying to kill you. And I know that being in a battle is confusion. You know what you can see; you don't know what is happening beyond your sight. That's what comes from the military. To tell you the truth, the battles aren't nearly as interesting as the people. I like the interactions of the people—the character development, the way people play off one another.

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  • 36

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He served all over Vietnam. When asked, he rattled off about 15 or 20 different places. The only ones I caught were the delta and the rubber plantation. He was a gunner. He said he wanted to be a point, but his eyesight wasn't good enough.

    He was in the Army, and he talked about how the Air Force is full of slackers. He went to an Air Force base once and he was driving a car that had Admiral's stars on it (his dad's?) When he pulled up to the guard at the base entrance, the guy was about to give him a typical lazy Air Force salute, then saw the stars on the bumper of the car, and levitated a couple of feet off the ground. He asked the guard where the hospital was and got directions. When he got to the hospital, people were running in all directions, doctors were hyperventilating, running around holding paper bags over their mouths, and the place was chaos, all because there was a two-star on the base, and nobody knew who he was because the idiot at the gate didn't think to ask.

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  • 37

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Tim's reported his comments on the Air Force, which was both brave and funny, considering Dayton is an Air Force town (Wright Pat is here, and is the area's biggest employer).

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  • 38

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You served in Vietnam, and I was wondering how you felt about it?

    Robert Jordan

    I'd say, ambivalent. I wouldn't say, I was glad that I went...but it was something I could not have done otherwise without being someone other than I was.

    Ernest Lilley

    Where were you stationed and what did you do?

    Robert Jordan

    I was a gunner in Hueys. I was in Saigon in the beginning, and then out of Bien Hoa, and we flew everywhere. Zone C, The [Phu Rieng] Rubber Plantation, down to Cu Chi in the delta, over to Nui Ba Dinh, Black Virgin Mountain, and we were flying into Cambodia long before the "Parrot's Beak". (misspellings are mine, feel free to correct me - Ern)

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  • 39

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Here we are on the eve of another war, do you have any feelings about this one?

    Robert Jordan

    I wish we didn't have to do it, but I think it's the best chance we have for making some sort of turnaround in the Arab world. That means forcing a settlement to the Palestinian question. Iraq, before Saddam took over was the most secular and educated nation, and it is the one that has the best chance, despite the difficulties, of moving into something we would recognize as democracy.

    If that could be done, it might mitigate, to a great extent, a lot of the street hatred of the west. It really is hatred. We let women think, we let them drive cars, we let them get jobs...we tolerate Jews...we do all of these things that are nasty...and we are nasty ourselves. There's a great deal of hatred that stems from something that we in the US haven't seen since the Civil War, and possibly not even then. It's something that the Western World really hasn't seen in the last three of four hundred years.

    It's a hate of the other, because they are the other...and not like me, therefore we will kill them.

    Ernest Lilley

    Where does the hate come from?

    Robert Jordan

    A lot of it comes from awareness. Satellite television has made a lot of places in the world aware of Europe and the US, that thirty or forty years ago were barely aware of us.

    Ernest Lilley

    And we undermine their authority.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, by merely being here we threaten them. An expert was asked after 9/11 what we could do to wipe out these people's hatred of us...and he paused a moment and then answered, "We could move off the planet."

    It's something we need to be concerned about. You may say, why do we care if a third world nation has a few A-Bombs, but you know, the Soviet Union was a third world nation. Once the wall came down, we realized we were looking at a Third World Nation...that had held the world in the Cold War for all that time simply because they had nuclear weapons.

    I don't even want to think about a world in which North Korea and Saddam Hussein have nuclear weapons. Both of those governments have people which would be quite willing to use these things.

    Ernest Lilley

    And yet, we often are ugly Americans. Our biggest ambassador to the world is "Baywatch".

    Robert Jordan

    Well, yes, but our TV has been moved to the wee small hours. Movies are still popular, but the people aren't watching it...unlike a government edict...they just seem to want to watch something else.

    Ernest Lilley

    Possibly cheap video technology has allowed them to make their own content.

    Robert Jordan

    Possibly.

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  • 40

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Hellertown, PA

    I was in Iraq in '91 when I received a copy of The Eye Of The World. It was a spectacular read in the desert—wonderful fun reading. You went to The Citadel. Why did you choose that school?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I went to The Citadel as a veteran student. And I was, frankly, going somewhere else, but Col. Bunch at The Citadel kept calling me after I came back the last time from 'Nam, and I went to talk to him, and he told me about the veterans' program there. And I knew they had a good reputation in engineering and the sciences, so I ended up going. I sometimes had the suspicion I might play football for them, but I was beyond that by that time.

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  • 41

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    During the course of the meal, we eventually got on the topic of his time in Vietnam. What he revealed to us was deeply personal, disturbing, and moving. Although I will not comment on the specifics (it's his story to tell, not mine), I can say that it was the first time ever that I truly saw and felt the very essence of his books before me. In the days to come Melissa and Brad and I would talk about how it was during these stories that we saw Perrin, and Mat, and Rand in his eyes. We understood where their sad reluctance for war comes from. Their sense of duty.

    A few years ago, Robert Jordan talked about some of these same topics in an interview that he did with Dragonmount and Wotmania. Go here to read it. The part about Vietnam is about halfway down. It's one thing to read it and a whole other thing to hear him tell it. I think war in general is like that. I wouldn't know, because I have never served time in the military. But I have the deepest respect for those who do.

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  • 42

    Interview: 2005

    Experiences as a soldier

    Robert Jordan

    I'm not certain that my background in the military has informed my writing at all really. My experiences in Vietnam certainly did, because anything that you live through really has some effect on who you are and how you write. I know what being in a battle is like. I know what it is like to have somebody trying to kill me personally. I know what it's like to kill somebody. And I know what it's like to believe that you are going to die in the next two minutes. These things are very useful when you're writing high fantasy. Your characters know what it is like to experience these things; you can put that into those characters.

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  • 43

    Interview: Sep 3rd, 2005

    Question

    Are the Aes Sedai ever going to try to use cuendillar to make it into armor? Since they can't make weapons, does that restriction extend to making armor?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and Find Out.

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  • 44

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2003

    Rick Kleffel

    A large portion of this series involves complex battles and wars fought for a number of reasons. How does your experience of war in the real world feed your portrayal of war in the world you've created?

    Robert Jordan

    Primarily because I know the state of confusion that exists in battle. If people are actually trying to kill you, and you are actively trying to kill them, because that's the way it works, then you usually don't know a great deal except what is right in front of your face. Everything else, even fifty yards away, can become a total mystery, and that total mystery fifty yards away might kill you. But then, that doesn't change.

    Footnote

    It may be that RJ's last comment (which is very clear in the audio) was hinting at the fact that he has no more experience than any modern soldier when it comes to classic warfare. He is often asked this question, and his answers are always along the same lines, suggesting that, because this aspect of battle does not change, it has influenced his depiction of battle, but everything else he has had to research.

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  • 45

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    He answered a number of questions about Infinity of Heaven and his writing style, and several more technical questions (it IS possible to create heartstone chainmail).

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  • 46

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Question

    Was Mat's use of crossbows in Knife of Dreams based on the way crossbows were really used?

    Robert Jordan

    The thing that made crossbows better than longbows was that you could train someone to use a crossbow much faster than you could train them to use a bow. Then when muskets came along, they were better because they didn't require much training, and the firing rate was improved.

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  • 47

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2005

    Jason Wolfbrother

    Is "Second Captain" of the Illianer Companions held by only one person at a time, aka The Second Captain?

    Robert Jordan

    One person. Only one Second Captain and he is the second in command.

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  • 48

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Have your experiences in Vietnam helped to give a psychological depth to the Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    I think they must have. I've certainly used some things from Vietnam. I know what it is like to have someone trying to kill me. Me in particular. Not some random guy. Me. I know what it is like to kill someone. I know how the first time feels, and how that is different from the fifth, or the tenth. These things certainly went into the characters I've written. That wasn't deliberate. Who you are is constructed in large part from what you have experienced and how you reacted to those experiences. Whatever you write is filtered through who you are. So the influence has to be there.

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  • 49

    Interview: Aug 15th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    All:

    The dynamic duo has returned from the Mayo with mostly good, but certainly mixed results. Amyloidal deposits are measured as monoclonal free light chain fragments. There are "good and bad" light chains. The good news is that the ratio of good to bad has definitely improved. The mixed news is that both numbers were up. We are ecstatic that the news is positive, but would have liked the offending Lambda light chains to have stayed level or decreased in number. Overall though guys, this is very good news.

    The computer has been relocated from the office to the house and RJ was working, some. Not right now though guys. In preparation for the trip, the docs pulled him off of Lasix, a diuretic, which resulted in a gain of almost 12 pounds in three days. At the Mayo, he went back on the Lasix and dropped 5 pounds in 2 days. Then the Lasix was stopped for the trip back home and a gain of 7 pounds was achieved. Through it all, RJ figures he has about 20 to 25 pounds of excess water on him at the moment. The extra weight was causing the difficulty in sleeping he described to you before. Result: the docs have him back on the Lasix to get rid of the water weight and have enforced strict rest. Sorry, no writing, not even on the blog at the moment. He is reading your posts however.

    He hit me with something on the phone today that I never knew about. Like many soldiers, he had a nickname while serving in Vietnam. RJ overheard a group discussing something and one said they should ask Ganesh what to do. He walked into the discussion and asked who this Ganesh was. "You.", they told him. You see, RJ was considered a good luck charm by those he served with. He and the crews he served with always made it back. It got to where pilots would ask for him by name for their crew. Ganesh is the Hindu Lord of Good Fortune. RJ referred to Ganesh as the Remover of Obstacles. To this day, he has no idea who gave him the name. I still consider him my good luck charm. Heck, he brought Harriet into my life. A man can't get any luckier than that. Truth be known, both of us married above our station. Bitter truth guys, we all do.

    To Sue fighting the same menace, prayers go both ways. Stay the course.

    To Johannes in Sweden, when RJ recovers and revisits your beautiful country, hopefully you'll get the chance to chat with him about both his worlds.

    To Jennifer Sedai, Harriet is all you said and more. Elegant, intelligent, a worker not a watcher, interesting and interested, a friend to all, a hell of a cook, a gardener extraordinaire, unpretentious, the defender and provider of those in need, tough, tender and above all, REAL. My life is better for having her in it. Know I'm not speaking out of turn, RJ's is too.

    To all of you who've asked me to pass on your love to them both, done and will continue. Please don't stop. Long live the Dragon and his Queen!

    Wilson
    Brother-Cousin, 4th of 3

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  • 50

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For SSG Travis Kennedy, thank you very much, both for passing your story along to me—frankly, I never imaged one of my books saving anyone's life, and I have passed your story on to various people under the title DO YOU STILL THINK I SHOULD WRITE SHORTER BOOKS?—and for the work you are now doing with our wounded undergoing rehab. Thank you doubly, for your service in the Sand, and for your service now.

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  • 51

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, just to side-step for a minute, "Let slip the dogs of war" is not Roman, though Shakespeare put it first in the mouth of Antony in Julius Caesar. Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war. The first part, Cry Havoc, was a recognized standard command among English Medieval soldiers. As much so as "attention" or "about face" would be today. It meant to turn the soldiers loose to loot and cause chaos. Dogs of war, of course, would have been recognizable to Shakespeare's audience as a term for soldiers. Sorry about that, but I thought I'd get it in.

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  • 52

    Interview: Apr 9th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    For Major Jim. First, thank you for your service. A correction however, RJ flew IN helicopters, he wasn't the pilot. Volunteered he did, to be a door gunner on a huey. Freaking insane. Imagine if you can a rather large 19 year old tethered to the chopper, standing outside on the skid, laying suppressing machine gun fire on the landing zone in front of and below the helicopter. On one occasion, one of the times he knew he would be dead in seconds, an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) was fired at their ship as they were slowing to land. The business end of the grenade is smaller than a football and travels at blinding speed. RJ saw it approaching and knew they were all dead. The only thing he could do to defend his crew was to fire his machine gun at the rapidly approaching object. What are the chances of hitting it? With the luck of Ganesh, his bullets found the target and it exploded, close enough that shrapnel rained on the helicopter.

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  • 53

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    I think I need to put a few things straight about this whole shooting down an rpg in flight thing. First off, it definitely comes under do not try this at home even if you ARE an expert. Expert is defined as anyone who has tried it once and is still breathing. You see, there aren't many reasons to try such a thing. But when looking right shows certain death coming hotfoot, and looking left shows a crack in the wall that you couldn't scrape though one time in a million...one in ten million...you instinctively make a dive for the crack. Now I was very lucky. Very lucky. I just happened to be laying down suppression not very far from Mr. NVA when he took his shot, so I only has a small arc to cover. Just a quick shift of the wrist. Still, a lot of luck involved. When the pilot asked what happened, I just said an rpg went off prematurely. I figured he wouldn't believe what happened. Even some guys who saw it all from other choppers didn't believe. I heard a lot of "You know, it almost looked like you shot that thing out of the air" and "You were really lucky that thing went off prematurely. I never heard of that happening before."

    Now there's the matter of actually seeing the rpg in flight. That came from being in the Zone. An RPG is a rocket propelled grenade, and it is fast, fast, fast. I've heard a lot of athletes and sportscasters talk about being in the Zone, but I think most of them simply mean they played their A-game. But they weren't in the Zone, because in the Zone, you don't make mistakes. None. I discovered this playing baseball and basketball and later football. You can't always get there, certainly not at will, but when you do.... What happens is that while you are moving at normal speed, everybody else, everything else, is moving in slow motion. Passes float like they were drifting through honey. You have all the time in the world to position yourself. And your vision improves, sharpens. The quarterback has carried out a perfect bootleg. Everybody thinks that fullback coming up the middle has the ball. But even if you didn't catch the motion when the QB tucked the ball behind his leg, you spot that tiny sliver of ball that just barely shows, and you're right there to meet him when he reaches the line. Maybe you drop him for a loss before he can get his pass off. In the Zone. That's the only reason I could make this play.

    On another note, I was riding an M-60 on a pintle mount, not a .50 cal. We only had a limited number of Ma-deuces, and we had to be careful not to let any IG inspectors see them because we weren't authorized to have any at all. Don't know whether I could have done it with a .50, frankly. A matter of just that much more weight to swing, that much more inertia to overcome. It was damned close even with a 60.

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  • 54

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Paracelsus, I had two nicknames in 'Nam. First up was Ganesha, after the Hindu god called the Remover of Obstacles. He's the one with the elephant head. That one stuck with me, but I gained another that I didn't like so much. The Iceman. One day, we had what the Aussies called a bit of a brass-up. Just our ship alone, but we caught an NVA battalion crossing a river, and wonder of wonders, we got permission to fire before they finished. The gunner had a round explode in the chamber, jamming his 60, and the fool had left his barrel bag, with spares, back in the revetment. So while he was frantically rummaging under my seat for my barrel bag, it was over to me, young and crazy, standing on the skid, singing something by the Stones at the of my lungs with the mike keyed so the others could listen in, and Lord, Lord, I rode that 60. 3000 rounds, an empty ammo box, and a smoking barrel that I had burned out because I didn't want to take the time to change. We got ordered out right after I went dry, so the artillery could open up, and of course, the arty took credit for every body recovered, but we could count how many bodies were floating in the river when we pulled out. The next day in the orderly room an officer with a literary bent announced my entrance with "Behold, the Iceman cometh." For those of you unfamiliar with Eugene O'Neil, the Iceman was Death. I hated that name, but I couldn't shake it. And, to tell you the truth, by that time maybe it fit. I have, or used to have, a photo of a young man sitting on a log eating C-rations with a pair of chopsticks. There are three dead NVA laid out in a line just beside him. He didn't kill them. He didn't choose to sit there because of the bodies. It was just the most convenient place to sit. The bodies don't bother him. He doesn't care. They're just part of the landscape. The young man is glancing at the camera, and you know in one look that you aren't going to take this guy home to meet your parents. Back in the world, you wouldn't want him in your neighborhood, because he is cold, cold, cold. I strangled that SOB, drove a stake through his heart, and buried him face down under a crossroad outside Saigon before coming home, because I knew that guy wasn't made to survive in a civilian environment. I think he's gone. All of him. I hope so. I much prefer being remembered as Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles.

    Footnote

    RJ told this story at Archon where he did a panel with GRRM in 2001, and there is a report from Westeros.

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  • 55

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Cody Griffin, thanks for your service, and congrats on the promotion. I'll ride the Ma-deuce on your APC any time, Cody. Who ever said I was sane?

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  • 56

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    Are you studying up on military tactics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Harriet has sent me multiple large volumes of military tactics which she said Robert Jordan had been using and that I should reference, even specific battles, historical battles that he had talked about as references for battles. The answer is yes, I have a lot of reading to do, specifically for the last battle.

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  • 57

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2010

    Question

    RJ was able to write the fighting and military scenes so well because of his military background. How do you deal with those scenes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I rely a lot on Alan, and I read a lot of military history.

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  • 58

    Interview: Dec 23rd, 2010

    Scott Wilson

    Your battle systems are both complex and innovative. In writing these scenes, was a significant amount of research necessary, and did you encounter any difficulties when writing the sequences?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on what I was trying for in the various different books. For instance, in Mistborn, I wanted the battle sequences to be very personal. One-on-one, allomantic fights, or one-on-small group.

    As a novelist, feel that I need to approach action sequences differently from how movies approach them. In a film you can watch Jackie Chan going through this marvelous fifteen-minute blow-by-blow fight, but I think that in fiction the same thing written out descriptively would get very boring. I can't compete with movies in that regard. So I try to make my action sequences character-driven and problem-solving-driven, as well as how the magic system works. I look at what resources the character has, what they are trying to achieve, who they are and how that influences their actions.

    For The Way of Kings it was a little bit different in that I was trying to do large-scale warfare, and in that case I needed to look to historical accounts and research and read up on how actual battles played out. Something that gave me a bit of leeway was setting the battles in scenery like the Shattered Plains. One of the reasons I did that is because it's fantastical scenery that couldn't exist in our world, at least not in the same way, and it therefore allows me to exercise my fantasy worldbuilder muscles as well as my historical warfare muscles, such as they are. Putting all of that together let me create scenes that are hopefully unlike anything others have written or that my readers have read.

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  • 59

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Richard Fife

    So we know you're doing the re-read of the series right now, and Twittering about it frantically. But how else are you preparing yourself to write the mother of all conclusions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How am I preparing myself?

    Richard Fife

    And this actually is for all four of you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll go first but I think that others will have some things to say along these lines. I think one of the things we're doing is we're slowing it down a bit. We all got overworked last year, and getting Towers of Midnight out by the date that we had promised and that Tor wanted it has had detrimental effects on our ability to work at the beginning of this year. And so, we are going to slow it down a bit. One of the reasons for this is the re-read, but one of the reasons is we just worked too hard last year. And there are repercussions for doing that, and if we do that again, you're going to end up with a bad book. So, I think that's one of the preparations we're doing. We're building in more time for revision, is really what we're doing.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I second that. Brandon is one of the world's fastest writers, but I am not one of the world's fastest editors. Last year was what Jim and I, well what I learned to do for Robert Jordan was curbside edits, kind of drive-by edits, but after a while that has a big cost. And there was no way, looking at the last book, that I could do my part of the work again as fast as I did last year.

    Richard Fife

    Alan? You have anything?

    Alan Romanczuk

    Preparation?

    (Mumbled conversation ensues between Alan and Brandon and something about battles...)

    Brandon Sanderson

    All I was going to say is, we're doing a lot of reading, all of us, in historical battles and the history of warfare in order to prime ourselves. I'm not going to tell you what specifically we're reading, but we are doing a lot of research in that area, particularly Alan and I.

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  • 60

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2010

    Question

    Someone asked how the Trollocs are getting enough food in the Blight; they can't just eat each other right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said that the number of Trollocs in the Blight currently is unsustainable over a long period of time but we should remember that the Shadow does has access to channelers that can create gateways (implied: as a means to bring food TO the Trollocs).

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  • 61

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    After he explained how they taught him to speak in the army. They'd stand you with your nose touching the barracks and get you to give your orders, if the people on the other side obeyed, you were half way there. If the barracks obeyed, you had it.

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  • 62

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2011

    Question

    Has Brandon (and Team Jordan I think) done any research on the battles/armies etc.?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, a lot. Brandon didn't want to give me specific examples to avoid spoilers for those who can guess. They contacted one very well known author who helped them with this research. Anyone can guess? I'll give one easy clue: Boromir.

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  • 63

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2001

    Reporter

    Other than that, it was about Jordan. Not even mostly about his series. Just himself.

    Robert Jordan

    The highlight is that he served in the Vietnam war and he was, apparently, quite an efficient soldier. It did a job on his psyche, it seems. One thing he mentioned was that there was a picture that his friend took of him, where he was sitting on a log eating his ration, with 3 or 4 dead bodies around him. One of them was a guy with half his brain blown off by a grenade or something. Quite gruesome.

    Footnote

    RJ told this story on his blog in 2007.

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  • 64

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    Scot T. May

    I only got a chance to ask one question.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan was in Vietnam from '68-'70, apparently.

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  • 65

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    I don’t mean to intrude on something that may be a personal matter to you, but I know that you served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Did that experience affect in any way your work?

    Robert Jordan

    No, it didn’t have an effect on my work. In my family going into the military was a tradition, sometime as a career, sometime just for one tour of duty. I choose the Army and because there was a war going on, I went where the war was. Simple.

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  • 66

    Interview: Nov 29th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    —Talked about some of his medals and how he got them.

    —Again talked about people writing in his world and this time made another reference to "breaking something".

    —Talked about some of his reference material he has made such as a listing of all of the Aes Sedai. Said that alone takes up an entire floppy disk.

    —And the funniest thing of the night was when a friend of mine asked him about the *sniffs* RJ said that "a women can put more in a single sniff than a guy can in a 'Yo Mutha!'"

    That was funny. RJ actually said 'Yo Mutha!'

    RJ cool

    ~B

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  • 67

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    And as far as I know, the two tours [in the Army] were fighting in Vietnam. In what capacity?

    Robert Jordan

    I flew in a helicopter as a gunner. Then I was a Sergeant and trained recruits.

    Tahir Velimeev

    On sorties, it most likely became necessary to shoot?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes ... But understand, on assignment you usually do not see people—you open fire as soon as you notice any movement, and do not think about it being a person. Otherwise, it is impossible—this is war, and the morals of a military person are other than those of a civilian: for a Commander the main thing is to perform his mission and save his soldiers. Reflection in the middle of a fight is dangerous—you will be killed before long.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Were you ever wounded?

    Robert Jordan

    Fortunately, no. A couple of times hurt ... Once, during a hard landing I knocked out teeth on the back of the pilot's seat in front of me. And another time a tiny splinter hit me in the eye. At first I didn’t notice anything and felt no pain, but then the blood flowed. Then the piece was drawn out with a magnet ...

    Tahir Velimeev

    Thus, the "Purple Heart" among your military decorations, right?

    Robert Jordan

    No—don’t even suggest such a thing! But there is a Distinguished Flying Cross for service, Bronze Star, and two Vietnamese Crosses for bravery.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Yeah, the bouquet* on a blazer really makes an impression ...

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you.

    Footnote

    *Literally "fruit salad".

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  • 68

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    After military service I entered the Citadel—The Military College of South Carolina. Despite its name, it is, in fact, a university. At the Citadel I received a degree in physics and worked as a nuclear engineer for the Navy. Doesn’t it seem to you that that a fantasy author having an education in physics is somewhat out of the ordinary?

    Tahir Velimeev

    I would not say that. I know several Russian science fiction authors with an education in the natural sciences that have been successfully working in the fantasy genre ... By the way, we now come to how the writer emerged from the engineer.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, maybe there is more prosaic level—the abundance of free time. After an unfortunate accident I found myself in a hospital bed with a lot of time, and I read everything I wanted. And one day I thought that could well try to write myself. Having started writing in 1977, I’m determined to do so right up my dying day.

    Tahir Velimeev

    And why fantasy? Why not works about, say, the Vietnam War, which would seem more logical?

    Robert Jordan

    In my opinion, fantasy allows you to create new cultures, experiment with them, and apply a freedom to them that is impossible in the real world. Fantasy enables a brighter, clearer portrayal of the struggle between good and evil, allows you to speak more freely about what is right and what is not, and no one can say that your opinion doesn’t fit with what is generally accepted. And I think one of the cornerstones of fantasy is the belief that any obstacle can be overcome, and that if things did not work out today, they will tomorrow. Also in today's world fantasy concerns itself with myth, directing us to the deep layers of the human soul, and teaches people to believe in miracles ... The popularity of this literary genre is to a large extent determined by humankind’s aspirations for Justice...

    As for books about war ... I have a desire to write about the Vietnam War, about my comrades, and I hope that God will give me this opportunity. And for myself, I decided that this book will be released under my real name—James Oliver Rigney, Jr. ...

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  • 69

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, you're writing a lot about wars, about the psychology of man in war. Is this a consequence of your experience in Vietnam?

    Robert Jordan

    No, my knowledge of strategy and tactics, knowledge of the causes and possible course of the war is more related to history. It is true that I was a soldier and I had to fight to the battlefield, and then (I was young and stupid) I was expecting much from a military career, but now I have realized that in order to study the human perception of the war in the future and maybe even the changes in military affairs in general, we must first look at how war has been perceived in the past.

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  • 70

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    Can war really be perceived, at least, by any normal person as something other than a terrible disaster?

    Robert Jordan

    I come from South Carolina, USA, and our memories of the 130 kilometer strip of destruction left by the Yankees—General Sherman—are as fresh as if it occurred yesterday, not one hundred thirty-five years ago. Yet throughout history both war itself has changed, and its perception by the participants and the civilian population. Let's start with the fact that most of the past wars were strictly localized.

    Yes, people knew what war is like. They knew that if war came through their area, then it would destroy their homes, farms, villages and towns. They knew that war brings with it the robbers and marauders. And that death is not waiting for as many soldiers as it is civilians. But five kilometers from the battlefield people hardly felt by its effects. As a result of the battle the trade routes might have changed; another king might take control of the throne; the army could bring with it disease, but in essence, five kilometers was a sufficient distance for a relatively safe existence. The outcome of the battle between York and Lancaster had no significant effect on the lives of individual men or women if they were not directly involved in the conflict and did not lie directly in the path of the army.

    This was the main feature of the perception of war, from the Greeks and Romans and ending in the XVII-XVIII centuries.

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  • 71

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    The eighteenth century? Age of Napoleon?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, at the time of Napoleon, in my opinion, arose the first approximation of what could be considered "national wars." When almost the entire nation is drawn into the affair, or even entire nations, a large amount of people are drafted for military service and an attempt is made to subject industry and agriculture to the interests of the military. When movement by rail was invented, it became possible to quickly transfer a large number of soldiers from one place to another, and snow and dirt become a tactical question, not a strategic one. The same thing happened at sea. The fleet was no longer dependent on the wind and was able to sail, wherever and whenever the admiral wanted. Agricultural development has allowed a much smaller amount of farmers to feed a much larger group of people. Add to that the trains and ships for transporting goods, and the army, being on a campaign, gets everything it needs.

    Of course, this is accompanied by a change in the perception of people concerning what you can expect and what is permissible in war. For centuries, looting remained an intrinsic right of a soldier during the campaign. The people mourned the losses, but no one believed that the soldiers had stepped over the line of what was allowed. However, over the centuries following the Napoleonic wars, the notion arose that civilians and civilian property cannot be touched. Of course, neither robbery nor looting has disappeared, but people, at least civilians, have come to believe that the war is a military affair and should not affect them.

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  • 72

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    But the First World War, and even more—the Second World War quite clearly illustrate that this belief, i.e. the war will pass you by, is unsound.

    Robert Jordan

    This lesson was forgotten the next day. After completion of the Second World War something occurred, that was unprecedented in human history. We lived for fifty-five years without a global war. Offhand I cannot even recall another precedent, when some large nation went for a half-century without a major war. At least in Europe or America, I'm can’t cite any such instances.

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  • 73

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    And this is being said by a participant of the Vietnam War?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan were very, very important for the participants. But these wars have been completely localized. Their effect was local, if you don’t count the political changes in the participating countries. Speaking at the global level, the two generations have grown up, and only a small fraction of them have direct combat experience. Most of those who remember the Second World War, who saw it with own eyes, have died. Changes in people's perception of war is incredible. We in the West...

    Question

    You continue to divide the world into East and West?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, but while maintaining the terminology I have added to this idea another concept. In the days of my youth the United States and Western Europe were called the West and the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union were the East. I grew up in suspense, because I knew that the day could start with a large tank battle between East and West, or that nuclear missiles could be dropped on cities in both areas. I do not think I need to say how happy I was when the danger had passed, but I should clarify that today, when I think and speak of "the West", I am including Russia in this concept. We were allies before we became enemies, and I very much hope that in future we will stand beside you, and you will stand with us.

    As I said, we in the West have undergone radical changes in our perception of war. In the U.S. there is a very vociferous minority which believes that any future conflict MUST occur without any losses on our side. I repeat: without any losses. Moreover, every war must take place with MINIMAL losses to the enemy! This belief has reached the point that an extensive research program has been initiated to develop weapons that can destroy the enemy's ability to fight, but without harming his personal well-being. Thus, the nature of future wars comes from the civilian’s understanding of what they should be.

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  • 74

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    Judging by your tone, you personally do not really believe in this?

    Robert Jordan

    I have already told you about William Tecumseh Sherman, the general, for whom I have little love, but I cannot deny his acute powers of observation and language. During the Franco-Prussian War, he became a columnist and completely shocked the Prussians with sharpness of his stories. He was probably infuriated that the Prussians meticulously and heartily reopened what the armies of the North and the South had opened a decade earlier. So, during this war, Sherman noted: "The war adds to hell—he said—and there is no way to avoid it." To forget this is dangerous, as you may encounter with those who have not forgotten.

    Dreams of a bloodless war must be accompanied by a formulation of the rules of combat, rules which must be carried out "humane" war. But we have seen and see people who do not follow any rules, and will fight based on their own rules. Osama bin Laden and his ilk create bombs, that kill hundreds of innocent people, give them the chance and they will blow up the bomb, killing thousands and millions. They will take hostages and order and perform assassinations. To appeal to them or to encourage them to join the "civilized people" is by definition useless.

    In addition, the rules are always changing. Sometimes they are changing under the influence of forces that are not under our control.

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  • 75

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    You mean something like global warming?

    Robert Jordan

    Climate change in the future makes me more than worried, even if one considers only the favorable scenario. If we consider the worst, then I’m terrified. They can be avoided, but... The nations of the Third World demand exclusive rights in the fight against global warming, because, if you follow their logic, everything that happens is a conspiracy against them personally, and they should have a chance to become equal to the developed world. If our leaders grant them these rights, in the coming century, China will be the main polluter of the environment and the major contributor to global warming on Earth, but who can stop them? So the climate becomes a wild card in the total war game. Which of the nations will suddenly discover that they have too little land to feed themselves, and decide to take land from their neighbors? Which nation, upset by the changes in climate that have been caused by the attempt to become equal with the civilized world, will go down the ancient path of resolving internal conflict, i.e. foreign war?

    We believe that we can limit the future of war—the length, the amount of bloodshed, the site of action—but can we really? Can we at least know where the next war will come from, or who will be our new enemy? Today in the heart of Africa, in Congo, there are seven tribes and the three rebel groups engaged in what many call the "First World War in Africa." The United Nations are trying to stop the conflict, but without visible results. You can try to believe that this war is far away or that it involves only a third world country or that this war doesn’t affect us, but history has seen cases, where a miniscule conflict turned into a large-scale war. The fire of the First World War started from a single spark, but who could believe that everything starts with the Serbian attempt to gain independence from Austria-Hungary? Any "reasonable" person of that time would say that this is not enough to spark the fire.

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  • 76

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    And where do you think can be a spark will come from today?

    Robert Jordan

    We do not know, and we cannot know. Today, many of the nations, even terrorist organizations, are eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The nuclear missile that will destroy Washington, DC, and Moscow can be launched from a place which no one ever considers a real threat. Pneumonia, anthrax or Ebola could devastate our country, and the source will be a country that no one would ever consider to be a powerful enemy.

    Features of war have changed as much as the crossbow gave way to a musket, and rifle replaced the musket. A clumsy, almost useless aircraft in 1914 turned into a fighter jet and an intercontinental ballistic missile in 2000. But there is something that has not changed. I usually end my discussion on this topic with three quotations. One I mentioned in our conversation, but it's worth repeating.

    "War is hell, and there is no way to avoid it."—General William Tecumseh Sherman, 1865

    "War—it will not play fair. I am not here to teach you to play fair; I'm here to teach you how to win."—Master Sergeant Maxwell Ritter, U.S. Army, 1968

    "As long as minds grasp the philosophy and the passion burning in their hearts, there will be war."

    Footnote

    The Sherman quote seems to be something of an urban legend. The others can't be found or placed. RJ probably paraphrased them in the first place, and the rest might have been garbled in retranslation.

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  • 77

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    You were in Vietnam, you know war. What do you think of Bush's war? Is it good versus evil? Was it avoidable?

    Robert Jordan

    This morning I read in the paper that a mass grave has been found in Iraq in which there were three thousand bodies. Saddam Hussein murdered them, murdered his people. Yes I think it was a war of good against evil. That was evil.

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  • 78

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    The last battle strategy and body count were in RJ's notes, the specifics not. So he did specify who'd die but not how. Help was gotten from Bernard Cornwell. (woohoo!)

    RJ set up the whole layout of the battle, who would be where and who would not make it out but he kept insisting that he'd write the Last Battle on the fly, so to speak. Apparently Bernard Cornwell lives kind of close to their place so one day Harriet asked him over for coffee and he had a few good pointers for the battle (which I personally think is great because his battle-style has a very similar immediacy in scale as RJ displayed in Dumai's Wells and while I also think that BS writes good battles, he's better at the one-on-one type things and not so good with the massive event that the Last Battle would be).

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  • 79

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Matt Hatch

    What was it like to be the daughter of a Navy admiral—and you said Commandant, also—what was that like?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I didn't have a whole lot of experience of that, because he retired when I was about six. He would say, "Clear the decks!" (laughter) There was another admiral in the extended family, and they kept running into each other because they got out of the Academy at the same time, so they'd end up at Coronado, more or less, and Uncle Benny was at Pearl Harbor too, and his stuff can be read online—his memoir of the attack—and he was prone to say "Late hammocks this morning!" And the children knew what it meant, but I didn't have that—"late hammocks" means you don't have to get out of bed at the usual time—but these guys sort of didn't notice they weren't hammocks; they were actually beds. And there was a floor, not a deck!

    My father had a very hard decade, really; he had an older brother who died of tuberculosis during the war; the family big house—he was a Yankee, and it was in Ossining, New York, site of another Big House—but the big house burned down during World War II, so here he is, watching the world fall apart, and fighting across the Pacific, and at home everything is pretty much falling apart, too. I think he had struggles with depression...and, he was old when I was born—he was probably close to fifty—so what do you do with a rugrat? (laughter)

    Matt Hatch

    What do you recollect, then, most about that? What is it about your father from when you knew him—

    Harriet McDougal

    Distance, sorry to say.

    Matt Hatch

    And you think that was a product of what you just said?

    Harriet McDougal

    It was a very hard time for him. He was decent to me. I mean, he fed me and clothed me, and never abused me, but it was not what you call a warm relationship.

    Footnote—Maria Simons

    "Uncle Benny" was Robert Bentham Simons II—I'm married to his grandson, Robert Bentham Simons IV, and mother of his great-grandson, Robert Bentham Simons V. Harriet's aunt married his brother Albert. He was the captain of the USS Raleigh at Pearl Harbor.

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  • 80

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Jeffrey Daniel

    So what do you think the most challenging part of writing A Memory of Light was? Was it those logistics, or was it writing battle scenes, or...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the battle scenes were the toughest part of A Memory of Light, definitely. At least the toughest for me, because it's not necessarily something I naturally excel at. I think I'm okay at it. I've read a lot of books...but I've read a lot of books. I haven't done it. Fortunately, Alan Romanczuk has done it. He was a soldier and Jim was a soldier, so I'm really relying a lot on him for getting it to feel right. You know, my book learning only gets me so far in the way that tactics are done and the way a battlefield plays out. So, that's been one of the big slow-downs for this. The other big slow-down for this has been just making sure we get everything in there. There are a lot of things that need to go in the book and there are some things that aren't going to make it. Jim said that certain things don't get resolved, and there are certain things we just didn't have time for and we said, "Okay, this just doesn't get resolved." And I'm sorry about that. He warned you, I will warn you: there are some non-resolutions.

    Joe O'Hara

    I don't know how other people would feel about that, but I kind of enjoy that. To me, that's where a fandom would go. We can continue to speculate and wonder and think about.

    Jennifer Liang

    Yeah, it gives us something to talk about. We can ride that or like ten years at least. (laughter)

    Jeffrey Daniel

    JordanCon will be good for a while. We'll have a lot of talking panels on that one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will try to keep them quiet. There are two deleted scenes from the book that actually covered very interesting things. And after the books are out I will give you guys some hints and then you can spend the next ten years deciding what was in them.

    Jennifer Liang

    Yeah, we'll ask you some really weird questions over the next ten years. We used to do that to Robert Jordan. We'd ask him very oblique questions, hinting at the thing we really wanted to know, because we were like doing process of elimination, and logic trees and...yeah, he caught on.

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  • 81

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    The skinhead look seems to meet with a good bit of approval. Should I adopt that? Get the salamander tattoo and arrive at signings on a Harley. Fat Boy or Soft Tail? Not one of those new ones that try to look like a BMW, though. Maybe I should just go for a Japanese crotch rocket and blow into town at 200 mph. Well, even those need a little work to hit 200, but they'll leave a Harley in the dust for sure. No hate mail, please. I love Harleys, but I needed to go really fast, I'd be riding Japanese or Italian if stock.

    Some of you seem a little confused over what I mean by a salamander. My walking stick for black tie has a silver head which most people think is simply a lizard with malachite eyes. Only close observation will show that the lower half of the lizard is actually flames. The salamander, the lizard that lives in fire. The ancients believed that asbestos was salamander skin, that salamanders were fire elementals, and even that salamanders were the guardians of the gates of hell. In any case, they have always been seen as symbols of survival under adverse conditions, able to walk through the fires of hell unharmed. Of course, a group of us were going to get salamander tattoos during an R&R in Hong Kong. I was too drunk to make the appointment, and I was the only one who made it back to the world, but I figure that was coincidence.

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  • 82

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Doctor, I've pretty much settled on channeling, if that is the proper word, myself. It seems to work. Although that first day, at lunch, I did slip briefly into Brando from Apocalypse Now, and I must say that afterward we could carry on a pleasant conversation at our table without any bother from brainless chatter from tables around us. I may keep that one in reserve.

    That's about it for now.

    Remember guys, Illegitimei no carborundum!

    RJ

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  • 83

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    David Funke

    As I starting moving towards Mr. Jordan, I prepared my books to be signed, by turning to the title/author page. I had with me: Knife of DreamsNew Spring: The Novel, Lord of Chaos, and issues one and two of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: New Spring comic book. My plan was to go around the line 3 times in order to get them all signed. I chose New Spring: The Novel and Knife of Dreams for the first pass through.

    As I got close, I heard Mr. Jordan answering other people's questions. Mentions of "Aes Sedai" and "Seanchan" whispered through the air, though I couldn't hear much more than those. When I rounded a corner and was in sight of Mr. Jordan, (only 3 people in front of me), I got to hear more conversation.

    Robert Jordan

    One gentleman told Mr. Jordan that his books are being read by our troops overseas. Mr. Jordan seemed pleased about that, and mentioned that he tried to go across to the Mideast to appear with the USO, but no dice (from what little I heard).

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  • 84

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Chris Lough

    Brandon also spoke about the aspects of his writing that have improved due to his work on The Wheel of Time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sanderson praised Jordan’s abilities with prose, considering it unmatchable in regards to his own writing style, but noted that Jordan was responsible for Brandon’s growing skills in dealing with multiple character viewpoints, and for Jordan’s remarkable subtlety in regards to foreshadowing in the Wheel of Time series. Brandon also noted how differently he and Jordan approach battles in regards to their personal histories. Jordan, having experienced warfare firsthand, wrote battle scenes with a sense of dread while Brandon’s battles have a cinematic design to them.

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  • 85

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX

    That battle's inevitably violent, and Jordan's own background in the military has enabled him to bring a paradoxical perspective to the subject.

    Robert Jordan

    I know what it's like to be in the middle of a battle and I know what it's like to have somebody try and kill you... I can put that in. There's a balance between the moments when you can look back and say that was a magnificent thing and when you say, 'What the hell is going on here?' In the aftermath you're so relieved you're still alive that you can walk among the dead laughing, and people who haven't been there will say that's insanity. It's not; it's the sort of thing that happens...

    SFX

    Which presumably makes it easier to understand characters' motivations in combat?

    Robert Jordan

    I try to get into their heads. Sometimes it's difficult—it's hard for me to imagine being a five-foot three female, but I work at it and think I've done a fairly effective job. When I was touring for The Dragon Reborn a group of women told me I'd settled an argument they'd been having about whether Robert Jordan was a pen name for a woman!

    But I can get into anyone's head—I'll walk out of my study and my wife will say, 'Been into someone nasty today, haven't you?'

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  • 86

    Interview: Mar 15th, 2003

    M. L. Van Valkenburgh

    Somewhat inevitably, perhaps, Jordan ended up being compared to fantasy's other master—J.R.R. Tolkein, of Lord of the Rings fame. And from a powerful source, too.

    "Jordan has come to dominate the world that Tolkien began to reveal..." crowed the New York Times. Perhaps it was his battle scenes, which portray a realism that only one who has experienced battle—Tolkien in the World Wars and Jordan in Vietnam—can truly contemplate, although Jordan says he reached further back for his sources.

    Robert Jordan

    "I was reading about 16th and 17th century battle scenes. You can't see it unless you're there, but basically, it's just mass chaos and confusion," he says.

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  • 87

    Interview: Jul 9th, 2012

    Phillip Carroll

    Okay. One of the—probably the last question that was brought was, how has your own...have you placed your own footprint, or fingerprint, on the Wheel of Time? And I think you brought it up here, in this last panel about worldbuilding, with the cannons.

    Brandon Sanderson

    My goal in the Wheel of Time was not to put my own fingerprint on it. I wanted to finish Robert Jordan's series as close to the soul of the series as he would do, and yet I realized as part of the process quickly that I couldn't imitate him, and that I would have to make it a little bit my own—it would have to be a collaboration—and that's a necessary evil. I really do wish that Robert Jordan were here to finish the books the way that they should have been finished, but there are certain things that he does that I can't do. For instance, he was in Vietnam. He was a soldier. He understood battle in a way that I never will. I instead have watched a whole lot of Hong Kong action films, you know, things like that, and so the way I approach an action sequence is very different from him, and the way I look at magic is a little bit different from the way he looked at magic. That's one thing that is different [between] us. So, the action sequences, things like that. My goal has been to make the characters still feel like themselves, but you will see my fingerprint on things: the way I treat some of the worldbuilding and the action sequences are the two big ones.

    Phillip Carroll

    Okay, great.

    Footnote

    The link for cannons is from DragonCon a few months later, but it's probably safe to assume Phillip was talking about something along the same lines.

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  • 88

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    Hello. This question is in relation to Wheel of Time. How did you find taking over from another author and keep it consistent? Obviously there'd probably be some force of having to conform to a previous author's writing style, so that it keeps some sort of consistency, but how do you still own that work and keep it true to yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. You're asking the hardest question that I think I had to ask myself when I took on this project. How do I make sure....I didn't want the Wheel of Time to become about Brandon. At the same time I had to trust my storyteller instincts, which is the only way I knew how to tell the story, and it was a really difficult process to work out, and I kind of turned it into a give and take. There are certain things that I learned from Robert Jordan that I do very similar to him that I could then do in his style very well. There are other things that were unique to him that I just couldn't in any way mimic.

    For instance, his action sequences come from a life spent partially as a soldier, and serving in Vietnam, actually being in firefights; that lends a certain type of narrative to a fight sequence. I haven't done any of that. I've just watched a bunch of kung fu films. If you read my action sequences, you're not going to feel like Robert Jordan's because there was no way to imitate him, and I felt that if I tried, I would just be parodying him, and so it was really a give and take. In some places I really tried hard to emulate what he would have done in his style, and in other places I have to say, there's just no way for me to do that; I have to approach it my way, and I took that on a case-by-case basis.

    All in all, my main goal, which I've succeeded at in some places, and failed at in others, but my main goal was to make the characters feel like themselves, and that was my focus. Can I do this? I've said it before: no one can replace Robert Jordan. No one can get it a hundred percent right but him. I think I've been doing a fairly good job, but there are certainly mistakes I've made in trying to get those characters' souls to be the right souls, and that was my main goal, is to try and get that right.

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  • 89

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2012

    The China Post

    On every visit abroad, Sanderson said, he takes notes and tries to write down a story that inspired him, to be used as a "seed" for later stories.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For example, an exhibit of necklaces and armors made out of coins that he saw nine years ago in the Middle East inspired him to create "coin armors" for the characters in his new book A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be launched in fall this year.

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  • 90

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    With Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight complete, Brandon Sanderson had to face his greatest challenge yet—writing the final battle in A Memory of Light.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Memory of Light was a challenge for a number of reasons. There is a lot of warfare in this book—more so than all of the others—which needed to be realistic, and the tactics needed to be sound. And these were the sorts of things that Robert Jordan was extremely good at doing—he was a military historian. I don't have his background, so I had to rely a lot on the notes, and on Team Jordan. You want the story to be focused on the characters—it has to be a personal story. How to balance that, how to tell the story of these wars in a series which is primarily concerned with the characters was a real push back and forth with the text, trying to massage it and edit and work it to the point that it would convey their stories but still be true to the tactics that would make this all come together.

    Tom Doherty

    There's been huge enthusiasm. People have been waiting for this for a long time. If they once dipped into it, they wouldn't be able to put it down.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And in January, they will finally get the full story—the final volume of the Wheel of Time. The end of an Age has arrived. The Dark One is almost free. The Wheel of Time hangs in the balance, and prophecy must be fulfilled. The Last Battle begins January 8th.

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  • 91

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    Although I think you're right—we are getting into kind of details, but I do want to come back to the worldbuilding a little bit later in the conversation. But without giving too much away about the final book–there's a lot of fighting because, you know, it is the Last Battle, right?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes.

    Petra Mayer

    And I know that your husband had a military background. Can you talk about that, and how it may have influenced his writing?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes, he served two tours in Vietnam, in the Army. He was a helicopter door gunner.

    Petra Mayer

    And a Citadel graduate, right?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes, he was. He went to The Citadel as a Veteran student, and loved that institution and the Army with–with all his heart, you might say. A friend of his said to me once, "Some people take off the uniform, and that's that. Other people, the uniform sinks right into their skin." And my dear husband was one of the latter.

    Petra Mayer

    And it really shows in the books. There's a lot of tactics, a lot of military strategy.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes, it does. The New York Times said at one point that the books reflect the last 30 years of American experience, including war, in the way that Tolkien's book reflected the last 30 years of the English experience when he was writing during World War II, that Robert Jordan's battle scenes are pretty wonderful.

    Petra Mayer

    That's an interesting parallel to Tolkien actually.

    Footnote

    The New York Times' article on Tolkien and Jordan, published in 1996, can be read here.

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  • 92

    Interview: Jun 3rd, 2011

    Helen O'Hara

    Are there bits in it where you were aware that it felt like your writing rather than him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are some. For example, Robert Jordan was a Vietnam veteran: he'd been in real battle. My battle training has been watching cinema and reading great books. So my perspective on fight scenes is very different from his. I can't get that authenticity 100%, and if I try too hard it's going to feel fake. I have to do the action sequences like I do action sequences. So it'll flow like cinema rather than having the chaos and insanity of real battle.

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  • 93

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2013

    Question

    What kind of research did you have to do to make the battle tactics so believable?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Memory of Light tactics were the things I was most worried about getting right. RJ was more a military historian than me and he was a soldier, so we went looking for help. Harriet knows a man named Bernard Cornwell who writes a lot of military fiction, so he helped us, and Alan Romanczuk is a war historian, who was able to help us a lot. He built the battle plan for the entire war, as far as troop movements and the tactical portion of the Last Battle. Connecting them and making it meld into the story with the characters was my job. We went rounds about "this is tactically sound" or "no it's not", so Alan was a big help making it believable. I did research, but my feeling is that I can get to 70–80% of knowledge on a subject pretty quickly through a month or two of research, but getting that last 20% is something that takes 10 years of work. My goal is to get to 70–80, and then give it to someone who knows their stuff and have them help me from there.

    Chris W

    The names of the people Brandon referenced here were probably butchered. I was just trying to keep up with him so I could record the main parts of his response instead of focusing on the names of his references. [Fixed—Terez]

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  • 94

    Interview: Feb 15th, 2013

    Rebecca Lovatt

    Also of interest to WoT fans and aspiring writers, both: one fan asked, given the lack of majorly epic-scale battles in Brandon's other work, how he approached the near endless warfare that makes up the bulk of A Memory of Light.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The answer: research, research, research, and lots of help from experts. Brandon asserts (and I can believe) that he can get himself to about 80% expert on just about any topic in the course of writing prep, but his lack of personal experience with warfare (reminding us of Mr. Jordan's service in Vietnam) put him at a disadvantage in accurately conveying what needed to be conveyed in the last battle. Military buffs and armchair historians came to the rescue (including Team Jordan member Alan Romanczuk), outlining a series of strategies and tactics based on real-world battles that Brandon used as a guide. However, Tarmon Gai'don being on a somewhat different scale than we're used to in our Age, both metrically and dramatically, there was a lot of back-and-forth between Brandon and the battle guys about amping up the drama without sacrificing realism—inserting twists and character moments to make us cheer or weep.

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  • 95

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Question

    Why did we not see cuendillar made into chain mail or shields?

    Brandon Sanderson

    BWS does not know if something like this was ever done at some point in the history of WoT.

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  • 96

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    The last book had a lot of military action in it. Did you have to do a lot of research for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes we did. And I relied a lot on some experts that we know to give me a lot of help on that.

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  • 97

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    Did you have any Air Force consultation with the to'raken scenes at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was in mind. We had a lot of military experts help us out with these books. I relied on them a lot.

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  • 98

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2014

    Devon Wolfman Starr

    What was your experience like working on specifically tactics of the biggest military engagement of the last novel?

    So this is another one of those places where it required a lot of push and pull between us. This is something that Robert Jordan had more talent for than I have. He was a military tactician and military historian, and I am not. I am an action movie buff, and a Chinese Kung Fu movie buff. And I love vibrant, engaging visual action sequences. And large scale battle tactics are something I usually go to other people to use as resource on. And so on this one, we made Alan Romanczuk our Great Captain who was going to define our tactics....(indecipherable)...There was a lot of conflict between he and myself—good-natured, but sometimes heated—because I kept pushing toward more cinematic and more character focused. And he kept pushing toward more realism and more focus on the tactics. And that was a lot of push and pull between us. We did go to some people starting out to ask for advice on what we should use as patterns for this. And we got some great advice there on which real historical battles would make great models for us to follow. We felt that was one of the things that we should do is rather than try to come up with this from scratch, we really should use something which happened in our world as a patten because that would help us from making any big blunders. And then Alan would say, "This is what the tactics would be here." And I'm like, "That's not dramatic enough. This is what needs to happen to make the story go." He'd be like, "That violates these rules of tactics." And I'm like, "All right. What can we do in between these two that is still dramatic and still tactically sound?" And we went back and forth a lot on that.

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