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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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(from the comments)
One other way to think of it is thus: The Wheel will keep on turning, and the Age that we live in (or like unto it) will someday arrive. Legends from what is happening in these books will have survived, and become the Arthur legends during our day. Or, in other cases, stories of other characters have survived in other mythologies. (Look up the Slavic god Perun sometime.)
Perrin is not a god, nor is Gawyn the knight of that story I linked. But perhaps someone who lived long ago, in another Age, gave birth to rumors about a young nobleman who made a mistake, and bore the weight of that sin for the rest of his days. And that gave birth to stories, which in turn inspired a poet to write a tale.
Berelain is Perrin's hawk (seen in Min's vision). I really don't know how anybody could have failed to make this connection, and Jordan was similarly incredulous when someone asked him. "What is the symbol of the Mayene?" he intoned heavily. "And who wears that symbol on crown, above her brow? Who is descended from Artur Hawkwing? And who is chasing Perrin like a bird of prey?" Those words aren't Jordan's verbatim, but they're close.
Largely it was to make things realistic, as realistic as I can. Background in physics and engineering; I also tried to structure channeling as if it were a science or technology. No eye of newt, hair of dog. There are real limits, there are rules, there are technological structures to channeling which I think are fairly obvious to anyone who looks at it. That was the major influence.
Plus making sure that I see that everything is real. Well if I bring about a blacksmith, well I don't know anything about blacksmithing, but I was able to get some nineteenth century books on blacksmithing, and once I had written the scenes I sent them to a woman I met that was a blacksmith and farrier, and she said you need to do this and you need to do that, but otherwise it is okay.
We were told that Harriet has said that Jordan has left more in notes than in the series itself! Brandon then related a story about how he needed to know who was traveling with Perrin. He asked RJ’s assistants to look to see if there was a file with that info. A few days later he received an email titled “traveling with Perrin.” Unfortunately it listed every single person from the Two Rivers and their occupation who was traveling with Perrin. Some hadn’t even appeared in the books!
Ok. Is Mordeth’s power, this evil power, comparable to the One Power and True Power? Is it a power that can be woven?
No, it’s more something along the lines of Perrin’s wolf power, something more natural; you couldn’t weave Mordeth.
Ok, so it’s more of a natural...
...it’s more of a natural, though it is unnatural. It’s an unnatural natural thing...
...because Jordan was really particular about...he tried to have a logic-based system as it pertained to the One Power. Is this power more supernatural in sense than it is based on physics?
Let’s say more instinctual, alright?
The published books? Ah. I don't have a specifically favorite scene, but in the recent books that Jim had written, the one that comes to mind for me is when Perrin was at his wit's end trying to find his wife and get information on Faile, and he goes to interrogate the captured Shaido they have staked out on the ground. Against all expectations, he chops off the man's limb, and makes it very clear to him that he is not going to kill him, but makes sure he is crippled for the rest of his life and will have to depend on others for his well being.
What is striking about that is not only the surprise in what happened to Perrin's personality, but the fact that we see the depths of this man who had been operating at an almost emotionless state, or at least with a single, fixed purpose, which was saving his wife. We see him, the peace-loving blacksmith who, just through fate, is thrown into a position of leadership, suddenly do something that is completely out of character, or that we think is out of character, when in fact it is springing from his depths, something that needs to be done. So, in that scene, we see an inkling of Perrin becoming the person that he needs to be to take part in the Last Battle.
As far as I know, no. That's an 80%.
The question they should be asking is could Perrin (be taught to find dreams)?
(not verbatim) Egwene thought she was doing the right thing. She was acting as the Amyrlin and trying to make sure that he would be safe and out of the way of danger. She was not going to tie him up and leave him, she would have brought him somewhere safe away from the danger of the fight and left him there until it was over.
Who is stronger in Tel'aran'rhiod?
(not verbatim) They are both very strong, but in different ways. Perrin is very strong instinctively. Like the wolves, he makes decisions based on instinct while in Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene plans out her moves rather than going by feeling as Perrin does. If the two were matched against each other the outcome would entirely be based on what type of encounter it was.
I believe Moridin was...okay, in The Gathering Storm, he was in his own dream. He at least believes he was in his own dream, and he is usually right on things like that. And in The Eye of the World, he...I believe it was their dreams that he was controlling. But...
That's difficult to do.
That's very difficult to do....so I could be wrong on that. It's easier to pull someone into your own dreams, but it's easier to influence multiple dreams from the outside. So...does that make sense?
So, since he's doing it to all three of them, that makes me believe he was actually controlling their dreams. I'm pretty sure on that one, Terez. [Cut discussion of the pronunciation of Terez.] I could be wrong...but my understanding of the mechanics is that since they're all dreaming the same thing, that it's external, much as a lot of the Forsaken have been not warding their dreams through the early parts of the books, and causing people to dream lots of weird things, and share dreams. Ishamael was doing that intentionally...doing something similar. Does that make sense?
Right, and it also has to do with his ability to find ta'veren.
In my reread I noticed in A Crown of Swords Chapter 10, "Unseen Eyes", that Egwene says it's possible for a Dreamer to pull someone out of their dreams into a dream of her own making in Tel'aran'rhiod; this is something the Wise Ones won't do, but Ishamael wouldn't have a problem with it; I had forgotten that detail for some reason, and the Moridin dream confused the issue. It can be assumed that Lanfear did the same thing; Moghedien has shown no sign of having the ability (or perhaps the desire) to reach others' dreams, but she can trap Dreamwalkers in their own dreams in Tel'aran'rhiod. Aran'gar can do it weakly, and then only if she is sleeping right next to the person. Brandon has a point about the fact that all three of them dreamed the same dream apparently at once, but in once instance, after Perrin found the wolves, it seemed to Rand and Mat that they fell asleep, had the dream, and immediately woke up, when Moiraine says they were asleep for four hours.
(pause) I'm a little bit out on a limb on this one, but I don't believe he was. We have seen places where Rand manifests in Tel'aran'rhiod when he's in the real world, and this is something that happens with Rand that we haven't seen with other people...
Are you talking about like when...
Well, there's the Perrin sequence, for one...
Right, and when Ishamael visits him in The Great Hunt...
So, I believe Rand has got something a little unique going on there...
Oh, okay. That's interesting.
...but, I'm a little on a limb on that one.
Brandon said remembering thinking it was odd at the time when he read it but asked for an email and find out for that question.
[Julien] also asked if Rand had quit smoking since we hadn't seen him smoking tabac recently.
Brandon says that if he can't get two rivers tabac he would rather not smoke anything and Rand has been a busy guy lately. He compared it to being used to really good French wine and then having only bad American wine available, in which case Rand would rather not consume. Rather funny.
Will we see Rand in the next book? YES. The book will not be a 100% flash-back like Book 10. There will be a little bit of catch-up for Perrin, but Egwene and Rand both have large parts too.
Is Mat in Towers of Midnight?
Yes. Lots of Mat. Promise.
What happened to Elayne? It seemed she fell off the earth in the last book.
It was tough to decide that Elayne would not appear in The Gathering Storm. I knew we didn't have room for everyone. Thing is, Elayne was way ahead of everyone else in her plotline. (Meaning what she needed to get done.) And so, with great regret, I moved her to Towers of Midnight. She will appear, as will her wonderful Warder.
Will we see Galad in Towers of Midnight?
so far, I'm on record as saying this: Almost everyone who did not appear in The Gathering Storm appears in Towers of Midnight. No promises on anyone other than Main Characters, like Mat/Elayne. But expect to see a lot of people return who didn't appear in The Gathering Storm. Also, Galad happens to be one of my personal favorite characters.
Do we get anything about Shocklances?
I'm pretty late to this party, so if I don't get an answer to my question..no worries...But any chance of Egwene ever putting Cadsuane in her place?
Re: Shocklances (sp? I should really know that one) and Egwene/Cadsuane. Double RAFO. Pow!
RJ responded by saying that he, himself, found Perrin kind of boring, and he didn't understand why people liked him so much. But what really surprised him was that the most popular guy was Mat, the guy he had thought would be the most hated.
RJ then went into a minute-long tirade about how nice guys never get girls. He said that, while the girl might think she wants the good guy, she will always end up driving off with the guy in the Harley. Yes, he said Harley.
Perrin is, of all the main characters, the furthest back in his arc, if that makes sense. Like, through the most recent books, he was growing and he was getting there, he was almost there. And then, he let himself be diverted from achieving these things that he needed to achieve. And I won't say whether he achieves them or not. Sometimes the arc is. . . at the end of the arc, they make the wrong decisions.
The next question was about the heights and weights of the three amigos. I had seen the heights reported before, but not the weights. This might actually be new info.
Rand is 6' 5" to 6' 6" and 235 lbs.
Perrin is 6' 1½" and 235-245 lbs.
Mat is 6' and 180 lbs.
In The Gathering Storm, Egwene was mostly RJ, Rand mostly Brandon. In Towers of Midnight, Mat mostly RJ, Perrin mostly Brandon.
Umm, when did Perrin meet Masema? Was it in the scene where Alliandre is kneeling and giving her jewelery to him?
No, that was...
Nynaeve, yeah. Right.
Perrin met him at the same time Faile was getting kidnapped.
Right. Then in that case, yes, the Shiny Dragon was manipulating him before.
Hey went to the signing in Sydney tonight. Nothing really new, except that both times he spoke of the climax of the series (that Jordan had written) he spoke of it as one chapter (he spoke much the same in Melbourne too, but I didn't really note it then).
The second thing is that someone asked whether he had freaked Harriet out with how well he channeled Jordan, and he replied that he had freaked Harriet out, though not so much for that as for some of his crazy ideas. He said he thought Jordan would have been innovating and creating as the process of writing unfolded, and that he did much the same, throwing thoughts at Harriet, some of which made it into the book. An example of one which didn't end up in the books, and which apparently Harriet 'freaked' out about was that he suggested Perrin might take up the Way of the Leaf.
Brandon drew a graph of A Memory of Light's structure and explained in some details how he ended up re structuring it as three books. Not much that isn't already known in there, book 12 will have two main story lines (we know it's Rand and Egwene, but as I said Brandon didn't say so explicitly at the Q&A) and teasers for three more (Mat—and seemingly Perrin and Elayne). By 'teasers', Brandon precised he means 3 or 4 chapters per story line, the rest of the chapters being divided between the two main story lines (by recent books, this could means Egwene/Rand have about 10-12 chapters each, or a few more). Some developments happen in the teasers but it's not huge stuff, more like set ups chapters for what happens in book 13.
Book 13 will have the opposite, with 3-4 chapters each for Egwene and Rand, "toward the end". Brandon kept those for book 13 to avoid spoiling in The Gathering Storm the climax of book 13, which will mark the reunion of all the main story lines at some location, and launch Tarmon Gai'don. So in book 13 we will have the residual Rand/Egwene chapters that specifically build up to the reunion.
Brandon explained the decision to split the books this way came about between Harriet and him, in part to avoid the "Crossroads of Twilight trap". Apparently, RJ went that way in Winter's Heart/Crossroads of Twilight mostly because he had been affected by all the grief he got for keeping Mat out of The Path of Daggers. He decided to try to put all the main characters in the next books, even if it meant all the story lines would advance more slowly if they were all told in parallel like this. He very much regretted this after Crossroads of Twilight, for which he got even more grief than for The Path of Daggers, and decided to return to his more organic/uneven approach for Knife of Dreams and A Memory of Light. The original plan for The Gathering Storm was to develop all the story lines in parallel again, but Brandon and Harriet had qualms about this and Brandon came up with an alternative to focus on two story lines in one and three in the other.
There is one of the 'POV clusters' Brandon had written that it mostly unused for The Gathering Storm and will go in book 13.
Brandon of course wouldn't tell who is the character not in The Gathering Storm at all, though he gave a few clues. Piecing all his bits of answers together, the character isn't Aviendha, Cadsuane or Nynaeve, nor Mat (the only character he confirmed is in the two first books, but we already knew this). He basically destroyed the speculation it could be Perrin by hesitating on the words 'major character' and then adding the bit that the vast majority of fans would actually place this character at the very bottom of the list of characters to be considered 'major'. The way he put Elayne over and over among the five really major ones during the Q&A suggests it's not her either after all. He also said while explaining his graph that there were chunks (his "teasers" for three story lines in The Gathering Storm and the core of the story for two—and his 'five' clusters he explicitly said were Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Mat and Elayne.
So perhaps we've read too much in his 'major POV character' comment (Jason's review may also allude to this, when he commented that one major character is missing but it's pretty much up to each reader to decide who is major and not in WOT). At some point, he said a major POV character in A Memory of Light will be missing in The Gathering Storm, which is not exactly the same as saying a major POV character from the earlier books isn't in The Gathering Storm—which is the way his previous comment was interpreted by many.
Lan isn't a major POV character in the earlier books, but now he's on his own he may very well become one in A Memory of Light.
In any case, I'm more and more thinking it's Lan (or possibly Moiraine), not Elayne or Perrin which I doubt many would place 'at the very bottom' of the list of characters to be considered major. Most people would place Elayne not near the bottom at all but among the top 7 or 8 most important characters. Above Moiraine and Lan, Thom, Loial and probably even Min and Aviendha.
Everything that I've read in the notes indicates that they are from his ta'veren nature, and that they are a manifestation of being ta'veren [?] related to his [?]
One of Perrin's manifestations, visions in the Wolf Dream...
Partially. Perrin's manifestation is also...he draws to him things that he needs; what he needs comes to Perrin. That's actually his primary manifestation of being ta'veren.
So what's the difference between what Perrin does and what Egwene does?
Oh boy. Can I get into this? They are similar, but not the same. What Egwene does is partially a Talent of the Power, and it's related to the Power. And Perrin is not.
Is it [?] him being a Wolfbrother?
[?] if he chose to.
It is related to him being a Wolfbrother.
Why can the wolves not see it?
I honestly don't remember the answer to that.
It will be very hard to do simply because, you know, you would have a lot of sentences that would four colors in them (laughter), because, here are three words from Brandon; here are a couple of words from Robert Jordan; the rest are from Harriet, that she has edited, and then here's the insertion by Maria as she's doing the copy-edit, that something needed to be [put] in. It would be very difficult to get right.
The other thing is, Harriet has several times expressed a reluctance to let people see the notes because she doesn't want people focusing when reading the books on what was me and what is Jim. I do still kinda tend to work on her and see if I can get her to let us do something with the notes. I'm not too expectant—if it doesn't happen I'm gonna be fine—but I tend to ask on behalf of the fans, people like yourself, and if I can do that I can then bring them out and I will talk a little bit more about that.
One thing that I've said to people a number of times, that in each of the three books there is a prologue [scene] that Robert Jordan wrote almost completely, or completely, for the prologue of the book, then since we split it in three, I took one scene from each completely that is Robert Jordan's—and there are a few fragments in each prologue as well that were also his—but there's one complete scene in the prologue. In the first book, it was the farmer sitting on the doorsteps watching the storm; that was one of the scenes he dictated, and we actually at JordanConI got to listen to that dictation. In the second book it was the Borderlander tower with the soldier and his son; that was one of the more complete scenes we had from Robert Jordan which had some minimal revision and editing during the process but was basically a complete scene that he gave us. And there's one like that in the third book as well.
In The Gathering Storm, I've said before that, as the notes went, Rand was a little more me; there were fewer notes on Rand. There were more notes on Egwene. We're both involved in all the viewpoints, but Rand from that is a little more me, and Egwene's a little more Robert Jordan, and then in Towers of Midnight, Perrin's a little bit more me, and Mat is a little more Robert Jordan. And maybe we'll be able to release more than that, but so far that's about all I've said. There are certain scenes that he did write, by the way—I'll give you everything; this is what I've told people; I haven't told people much—but there's a certain scene in The Gathering Storm where Egwene has an unexpected meeting with an old friend in the Tower. That one was done by Robert Jordan. And in Towers of Midnight, there is...most of the Mat stuff including the ending where a certain engagement happens was Robert Jordan.
I also asked him if the character of Verin had any mythological parallels.
He said that he doesn't know and would have to see if there is anything in the notes. He also said that most of that stuff was done by RJ but he did add some of his own. He specifically mentioned that Perrin getting wounded in the leg in Towers of Midnight was his own addition. He didn't elaborate but there are a number of deities (particularly blacksmiths of some sort) like Vulcan and Perun who were wounded in the leg.
I'll try to sum up a few other things I remember:
We talked about if he laughed when fans were guessing who wrote what and getting it way wrong. He said the story he could tell about that was someone looking at the chapter titles to tGS and saying they could tell that Brandon wrote those when of course Harriet has named all the chapters since the start.
He was disappointed that DKS couldn't finished the last cover even though he really thinks Whelan is the best fantasy artist around. He likened it to the same as it being too bad that he had to finish the series instead of RJ.
He talked some more about how he felt Mat was the hardest character to get write because he's pretty complicated. His thoughts don't always match up with his actions and it was hard to strike the right tone.
He knows that his action sequences don't sound like RJ's. He said he just doesn't have the real world experience that RJ did as a combat soldier so he just writes them as the best action scenes that he can.
He said Perrin was his favorite character so one of his goals was to redeem the character a bit and make him awesome again.
I asked about his Alcatraz books and he said there will be one more but it's not high on the priority list and will be several years. He also said the Scholastic distribution wasn't great and he's working on buying back the rights and bringing the series to TOR for wider distribution and ebook release.
Stuff like that. Nothing that hasn't been covered before.
"We'll remember those who fell, and we'll tell our children how we stood when the clouds turned black and the world started to die. We'll tell them we stood shoulder to shoulder, and there was just no space for the Shadow to squeeze through." (p. 278)
Perrin forging his hammer is probably my favorite that I worked on extensively. My favorite that Jim worked on extensively would be Verin's last scene. Rand atop Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm is a pretty big one for me. In the last book, my favorite would have to be Lan's charge right at the end, which is a scene that I worked out years ago, that I pointed a lot of things toward, and specifically in this book built a lot of things around. For a fun scene, getting Mat on the back of a raken was a pure joy for me to be able to do.
What other scenes really stand out to me? Robert Jordan's last scene, which I've mentioned before, is a great one because it's become the focus, for me, for the entire sequence that I have written. From the beginning, that was the ending that I was working toward. So I was very excited to be able to actually get there.
That's just a few scenes; there are a lot of them in this book and the series.
Brandon Sanderson on writing Robert Jordan's characters:
"I'm going to bring my own interpretation as a longtime fan of the characters, and in most cases they're spot-on with what most people think—there haven't been many complaints about my Perrin, for instance. In some cases there are complaints and they're right. My early Mat was off, and I acknowledged this, I looked at what the people were saying. In other cases, such as Lan, they're wrong. [Laughs] What can I say? I'm a fan too, and we will have these arguments about whether this character would do this or that character would do that, and you'll find that in any community. On the other hand I do get complaints and the complaints are legit. I'm not Robert Jordan, and I can't do some of the things he could simply because I don't have his life experience and in many ways I'm not as good a writer as he was. . . And if that really bothers you, then hopefully we can get the original notes released . . . so that those for whom my interpretation was not good, or my failings ruined the experience for them, they can at least look at what Robert Jordan had and imagine their own story."
There are, what? What are we up to, like 2800 named characters in the Wheel of Time? [laughter] It's more than two thousand; it was more than two thousand when I started, and it was like 2400 or something like that when I started, and I've added a few. So, how can we keep track of all of these characters? That actually is when people ask me, what the hardest part about this was, I often say that that was the hardest part. It's not just keeping track of them, because actually keeping track of them is somewhat easy; there's lots of fan resources, which I use. The Encyclopaedia-WoT is my favorite, though tarvalon.net runs a very nice Wiki which goes more in-depth and things. And keeping track—that's the easy part. The harder part is, Robert Jordan gave them all voices, right? Everybody talked in their own way, and was their own person, and when, you know, Perrin is traveling with like three random Wise Ones, they're all individual personalities, and so before I could write a scene, I had to go back and remind myself, how each of these three people...what their attitudes were, and how they spoke, that sort of thing. It was very difficult.
I don't know if you—I mean, I tell this story; I don't know if you guys have heard this before—but the level of detail Robert Jordan went into in the worldbuilding...there was one point where I was working on Towers of Midnight, and I sent an email to Maria saying, "I can't keep track of who is with Perrin. Do you have just a list somewhere?" And I was really just meaning the Wise Ones, right? And, you know, named characters. Maria comes back and says, "Well I just dug this out of the notes; I hadn't seen it before. Maybe this will help. It's a file called 'With Perrin'". I went, "Oh, good." And I opened it up...no, that's not what it is; it is the names of all the Two Rivers folk who haven't been named in the books yet. [laughter] ...who are traveling with Perrin, and often a little bit about each of them, and a list of several dozen names of people who haven't been named yet. That's the level of detail we're talking about with this, and it was a challenge; it was a challenge on all of us.
Fortunately, we did have Maria and Alan, who we should mention—Alan Romanczuk, who is also one of the assistants and very good at this sort of thing, and I would focus my writing, particularly in first draft, on just getting the emotional content of a scene down, right? Get the narrative flow down, make sure it's working, and I would try to get all the voices of the characters right, but I wouldn't worry as much about continuity. I would then send it to Maria, and she would send back this thing with all of these notes saying, "Oh Brandon. Oh Brandon, you can't do this." "Oh Brandon, you killed her." "Oh Brandon..." You know, stuff like that. You see her shaking her head over each of these things. And then we would try and fix all of the problems caused by that, and that's kind of how it went.
(to Melissa) Cool t-shirt! [laughter]
Hi; my name's Melissa Snedeker; I'm from Colorado Springs. I have been reading the series for about ten years now. Love it. My question is to Brandon. There is a notable difference between you and Robert Jordan's writing. I was wondering what the biggest influence that you had on the books [was], and what were your main thoughts that you added on top of Robert Jordan's?
I usually shy away from saying too much about this because we prefer that when you read the books you not spend a lot of time trying to figure out what was me and what was Robert Jordan. It's safe to say that, at any given point in the book, you will find my influence and his influence.
That said, I've said before the epilogue of this book—and significant chunks of the last little part as well, but specifically the epilogue—was written by him before he passed away, so you do know that. Things I've said before—and I'm probably not going to say much more than this, at least until the books have been out for a while—in Gathering Storm, if it was Egwene, Egwene's plotline was more Robert Jordan, and Rand's plotline was a little more me—we both were involved in both, but there is that—and if it was in Towers of Midnight, Mat's plotline was more Robert Jordan, and Perrin's plotline was more me.
But it's really hard to get down into specifics, because I don't want you focusing on that, and beyond that, I've even started to forget. [laughter] Because I've been working on this... No really! You guys laugh about that, but I've been working on it so long, I will do things, and it's things that came out of the notes, and then I'll go back and look and I have forgotten that those things came from the notes, because at this point in the creative process, you're building a book, and you're looking for the inspirations from the stories or from the notes, and they're kind of sometimes the same to me, whether it's the notes or the stories. And so, anyway, I'm sorry to give you kind of a roundabout non-answer to your question, but maybe in another year or so I can say a little bit more. But really, we would rather it just remain....we don't want it to be at the forefront of people's minds when they're reading.
Yeah. Alright, thank you so much.
Perrin's spirit guide. Note that the "he" in the next sentence does not refer to the same creature.
Did the Shadow Prophecy at the end of Towers of Midnight come to pass? If so can you explain as I did not recognize it.
Everything in it happened, but not exactly as many would have interpreted.
That is an excellent question...that I'm not allowed to answer. (Sorry.) I feel bad. I'm giving you lots of RAFOs.
Is Rand still ta'veren? If not, how did he warp reality and light his pipe at the end?
These are questions that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
How can you still be RAFO'ing stuff? What is left to read?
To RJ, RAFO sometimes meant "Read, think about it, and decide." It didn't always mean "I'll give an answer."
Is 'RAFO' basically to mean we're never going to find some things out?
There's a "Talk it over, see if you can figure it out" aspect to it as well.
No, he didn't, but I just couldn't fit it in logistically.
Mat/Perrin Rand/Perrin and Rand/Mat from these two books was my nod toward that.
Here's a tidbit from yesterday's signing:
Brandon revealed the gist of the two lines written for the outrigger novels. He says they will be released eventually, but the gists are: The first is about Mat waking up in a gutter somewhere, likely in Seanchan. The second is about Perrin heading out and thinking about how he may be forced to kill a friend.
I was at the Toronto A Memory of Light signing last night, and one of the things Brandon mentioned was that Robert had plans for TWO more WOT trilogies!
He then killed all our hope by saying that there will not be any more WOT books as per Robert's request. The WOT is done.
He also mentioned that the sequels only had one sentence each for a description. He didn't say what they were out loud as it could spoil A Memory of Light for people.
I asked him what they were as I was getting my books signed and this is what he said:
The first is "Perrin is going to Shara to kill an old friend."
I got Trae Cooper to ask Brandon about this in Atlanta, because I was pretty sure it was supposed to be Seanchan rather than Shara. Trae reported that it was indeed supposed to be Seanchan.
And the second is:
"Matt lying in a gutter wearing a tattered cloak."
I'm thinking the Perrin one could be him going to kill Rand or Gaul. Could also be Longtooth. It could also be "old friend" in a sarcastic way and could be some form of Slayer returned.
The Mat one could be him having issues with the rebels back in Seanchan? That one's very vague.
Unfortunately we'll never know as even Sanderson knows nothing beyond these two sentences, but still exciting!
Ta'veren Telepathy in Technicolor (TM): what was the point?
Not totally sure; RJ's notes just said "This keeps happening up to the very end." Narratively, to keep attention focused on the Superboys, and to connect timelines.
Who was his favorite character to write and who does he see himself the most in?
Perrin was his favorite. Even though Perrin went through "a slump" in the series in order to build tension, Brandon always stayed "Team Perrin." Perrin was the most natural. Mat was tough and thus a cooler character to write. Brandon enjoyed writing Mat, especially in A Memory of Light. Mat challenged his skills more than anyone else. The saddest part for him with finishing the series is that he can't write Mat anymore.
Harriet added that there will not be any more WoT books (other than the encyclopedia). She said that Robert Jordan hated the idea of someone taking his material, although he did want the series finished. He stated he would run over his hard drive before allowing others to "sharecrop." Harriet stated that the two sentences about the outriggers that Robert Jordan left behind will be released in April or May. She said that with the encyclopedia there is "the work of at least a year."
You said that the balescreams in Knife of Dreams were because Demandred was balefiring whole cities...
I did not say that.
You did not say that.
That was reported! (on a private Facebook group)
That was reported; that's not what I said.
What did you say then?
I told them...they said, "What caused these?" And I said, "Ah, that's very interesting. By the way, Demandred was balefiring whole cities.
But you didn't say that's what caused them. Okay.
Good answer, because that gets rid of my next question. Okay.
Mmhmm. They asked about balefire and things like that, and it was...
...and they connected it...
...and I thought they might, but I specifically said, "BY THE WAY..." This is not....
(laughs) ...Well, we're recording now.
So there you go.
The next one is something that somebody asked for me—on my behalf—before, but did Perrin bind his soul to the hammer? Or...
Did Perrin bind his soul to the hammer? That's an interesting question. Why are they asking this?
Because I asked before, was it Hopper? It's because of what Slayer said about his ability to step in and out....
Right, was based on having two souls in one body...
Yeah, and he said, "It's just like you," right?
You know, so it has to be something.
Yeah, it's a good question. (with an air of finality) That's a very good question.
(sighs loudly) (people around laugh)
I would say...how about this: I would say the relationship between Perrin and Hopper is...part of the reason that...Hopper may not...have suffered as dire a fate...(crosstalk)
That's what I was hoping for...
...as wolves would normally suffer when killed where Hopper was killed. How about that?
Yeah, that's what I was hoping for, but your answer to the last one kind of drew me on the path of the hammer, which was somebody else's idea, right?
But yeah. Good!
So there you go.
That makes me happy.
The name...how do you pronounce it? Is it no-tay, or no-tie?
Oh, it's...you pronounce the K.
Oh, you pronounce the K!
....according to Alan, who is the Old Tongue expert, who corrected me on it even though I named him.
So say it!
k'no-tie. But Alan can correct me, because Alan is the expert.
Does it have any mythological basis that you know of?
No, it does not that I know of, because that one, as most of the names—not all of them, but most of them that I named, because I named him—came from me writing something in English, and saying, "Alan, give me the Old Tongue."
And so, there are times where he'll find something, and I'll be like, "Oh, that sounds like this! Let's use it. Oh, this sounds like this; let's use it." Most of the time, it's...he comes up with the direct translation.
Like, Shaisam, actually...
Yeah, I mean that's easy to figure out for us, right?
Yeah. And there are some where I say, "Let's find something that feels like this..." and then, you know, of course, Perrin's hammer, right?
That's one where you're like, you know, let's find an Old Tongue translation that works for what the mythological symbolism is.
And that works well. It's hard to pronounce though.
Yeah, it is a little hard to pronounce though.
Can you pronounce it?
MAH-HAHL-in-ear? Eh...ask Alan.
Was it actually Egwene talking to Rand, after...
Oh, I've left this one intentionally ambiguous.
I figured that's what you did.
That, and whether Lan actually died or not, are both ones that I'm not going to answer.
Yeah, and whether Perrin actually died or not, because he's in the dark prophecy too.
Yes, but do remember that the dark prophecy people are misinterpreting that one a little bit, by intention.
Yeah... [Amusingly, Brandon is talking about the dark prophecy in Towers of Midnight, and I'm talking about the one in The Great Hunt.]
You know, they're supposed to misinterpret it, but one of the lines doesn't refer to Perrin; it refers to Hopper, and then the next line...
Well, not her new lover!
That's not Hopper, is it? (laughter behind)
She's not into...okay. Good. (laughs)
When Perrin asked the wolves to relay a message, was that the greatest game of Telephone ever played?
It probably was the case! They would call it something different, because they didn't have telephones.
Was Perrin's hammer forged with Hopper's soul, or was he considered dead at the time?
There was nothing in the notes to say I could put Hopper's soul in the hammer, but there was also nothing to say I couldn't, so I believe it was there, since otherwise it would be gone forever. [Much cheering from the Memory Keepers]
Perrin felt his ta'veren-ness melting away. If Mat lost it too, does he lose his luck?
I don't believe that he does. Being a ta'veren has a distinct effect on him, but I think there is an innate luckiness to Mat, partially drawn from the fact that the Heroes [of the Horn] call him Gambler. And so in other lives where he would not have been ta'veren he was still a gambler and still lucky. However, I do think being a ta'veren meant that the luck was greatly magnified, and I think it grew stronger and stronger through the series. That's my read on it from the notes, and I'm pretty sure on that one. I have to give the caveat that there could be something out there that contradicts me.
What happens next? Somebody please tell me.
Well I can tell you a few things actually. The sequel trilogy that he was writing, he left us two sentences. One is, Mat is dicing in a gutter somewhere. And the other is Perrin is on a boat traveling to Seanchan thinking about how he's got to go kill a friend.
With the Wheel of Time, who’s your favorite character to read about, and then your favorite one to write about?
My favorite one to read- during the early parts of the series it was Perrin and during the later parts of the series it was Mat. And my favorite one to write was probably Perrin because- historically, like when I was a young guy reading the books, he was my favorite, he was the one I identified with.
He stated straight out that Lanfear had additional plans in motion that can be figured out based on A Memory of Light that none of the fandom has found yet (or at least not posted). He was asked for specifics and gave a RAFO, then specified he meant that in terms of re-reading A Memory of Light.
He confirmed that Lanfear's compulsion of Perrin was only in A Memory of Light and that she didn't like using it and so had not done so in their previous meeting back in the early books.
Lastly, and IMO, most important. While he stated he was paraphrasing from memory, he revealed the "two sentences" that Jordan had left for the outriggers. The first was a scene of Mat in a wool cap laying in a gutter having gambled away everything. The second was a scene with Perrin on a ship thinking that he was going to have to go kill a friend.
Hey Brandon! I'm the redheaded dude who was helping at the last two Midnight Release parties, and I am actually at BYU right now. I have two questions:
I know you've said you can't answer these directly, so, rather than give the "official" answer, I was wondering if you could give us your "fan theory" on the answer, as if you weren't the writer.
What do you think about Mat, Rand, and Perrin keeping certain "abilities"? I know you've said that they may or may not still be ta'veren, and Perrin thinks they aren't, but can Perrin still talk to wolves? Is Mat still lucky? Does Mat still have his memories?
In your opinion, who do you think Nakomi was? Do you like the "Nakomi is the avatar of the Creator theory"? Do you think of her as the third member of the Christian godhead?
Finally, Harriet was quoted as saying that she thinks Rand's special ability at the end was a "new magic"? Do you agree? Or do you think it is something else?
Thanks for being awesome!
1. Perrin can still talk to wolves. That is certain. Also, Mat keeps his memories. These two are official, not theories on my part. What I can't give official on is the ta'veren-ness of the guys. I don't think RJ ever even says in the notes. Me? I think they aren't.
2. I'm too close to this one. I can't say, unfortunately. I can answer as a fan for things I don't know because it's not in the notes, or for things I could theorize about before I came onto the project. For things I learned about while working, I don't have a "fan" perspective, only a writer perspective. Sorry.
3. Harriet is more likely to be right than I am, but I don't believe it is a new magic. I think it is a result of Rand touching the Pattern directly.
Awesome! So, I'm still unsure about Mat's luck. Would you say that's part of his "ta'veren-ness?"
Thanks for the great answers. I'm more at peace now with some of the previous answers you've given.
My gut tells me Mat still has his luck, but not to the extent he once had. But I have no foundation for this in the notes.
Was anyone else a little disappointed with the way to Ogier showed up for the Last Battle? Kinda just like "Oh yeah, we are here too." Then that was it. The scenes in which we see Ogier fighting are awesome, but I felt their introduction to the Last Battle was a little lacking. Anyone else?
The way they show up is actually the result of a sequence being cut. Originally, Perrin led an expedition into the Ways to try and close the Waygate in Caemlyn from behind. During this, the Ogier arrived, full of song, to drive off the Black Wind. Unfortunately, this sequence had logistical problems with the rest of the book, and had to be deleted entirely. The biggest casualty of this cut was the Ogier introduction, which didn't work nearly as well in the new sequence as it once had.
Thanks so much for adding your insight.
Ever thought about publishing a deleted scenes book? If movies can do it, why not books?
Afraid it isn't my call. You'd have to convince Harriet. That said, we are releasing some deleted scenes in the Unfettered Anthology to help with a friend's medical bills. (They aren't the Perrin ones, though.)
Thank you for being a redditor as well as an awesome author.
Did the same thing happen with Mashadar?
No, no deleted scenes here. I did Mashadar the way I did because of the small amount of information in the notes about it or Fain, and I felt that going with what little I did have was better than exploring widely without knowing where RJ wanted to go. In some other cases, I did extrapolate when we didn't have much from RJ, but here it felt better to go with the "less is more" idea.
There was a big danger in these books in me taking over too much and driving the books far from RJ's original vision. I had to pick and choose carefully which parts I extrapolated, and I did it based more on my own instincts and talents than anything else. For example, I felt very comfortable with Perrin as a character—he'd always been my favorite, and I felt like I knew him very well and could write him strongly. So, in Towers of Midnight where we had very little direction on what to do with Perrin, I felt that the right move was to expand his part and develop a sequence on my own.
However, for Mat in the Tower of Ghenjei, RJ had been planning this sequence for years and years. He wrote or outlined a good portion of it before he died. It was a small sequence, however, only a couple of chapters worth. I realized fans would be expecting more from this sequence, but my instincts said that it would be wrong to develop it into something much larger. That would not only go against RJ's wishes, but would risk messing things up royally. RJ had laid careful foreshadowing and groundwork for the scenes, and had a specific vision for this sequence. Perhaps if he'd lived, he would have expanded it in additional directions, but it would have been the wrong place for me to add.
Fain through my three books feels very similar to me. It wasn't as strict here as it was with the Mat/Ghenjei sequence—I COULD have expanded, and perhaps I would have, given more time. However, at the same time, there is an argument to be had that RJ wanted Fain to have a lesser-than-expected place in the Last Battle, and expanding him would undermine this.
I wish the Ways had been touched on. They were very interesting, as well as the portal stones. Was there any more info, or back story, on the Black Wind that hasn't been shared? Thanks for responding to us, by the way. I loved the last three books, you did an awesome job on them. I am getting ready to start going through some of your own stories.
There is some, but not as much as I think fans hope. In regards to something else mentioned on this thread—I believe that RJ was planning to do the Ogier/Seanchan Ogier relationship exploration in the Outriggers.
What logistical problems were there?
IIRC in some of Brandon's other posts on Reddit, he indicated that the deleted scenes were casualties of keeping the book reasonable in length. Additionally, Harriet or the publisher preferred that the storyline in A Memory of Light should be directly approaching the Last Battle, and this sequence got a little too far away from that.
There were a number. The biggest one was that the sequence wasn't needed. As you can judge from the final book, the Waygate didn't NEED to be closed. The structure of the battle worked just fine without it, as the plan was always to draw the Shadow's armies upward and through the woods. By the time the big fights here played out, it didn't matter terribly much if the Trollocs were being resupplied from behind.
Beyond that, the weight of this heavy Perrin sequence in the early middle of the book was distracting, keeping attention away from Rand and from the push toward the rest of the Last Battle. (this is what simps984 mentioned in his reply, which is correct.) The sequence was awesome on its own, but distracting in conjunction with the rest of the novel.
I would still have liked to have found a way to make it work, but I feel that way about every scene I end up deleting from the book. The truth is that aside from the Ogier arrival, nothing big was lost by cutting this ten thousand words—and a whole lot was gained.
Hey Brandon once upon a time you posted Final Fantasy X song "To Zarkanad" on your Facebook page and said it was perfect for the scene you were writing in A Memory of Light, so tell me if you remember which scene was that?
It was the last few scenes I was working on, Perrin after the Last Battle and a few of the Loial sequences in the epilogue, which were parts I had a hand in writing as opposed to putting in what RJ had written.
What was your favorite scene in any of your published books that you had to eventually cut from the book?
Perrin traveling the Ways in A Memory of Light.
What?! Can you tell us about that scene? This is the first I've heard of it. That sounds awesome.
Perrin gathered a team and traveled the Ways in order to try to close the Waygate in Camelyn from behind. It was determined that this section, among having other issues, was not needed for the final book and was distracting from the momentum toward the Last Battle.
Oh, my question was does Perrin lose a body part in the book, since Mat has lost one, Rand has lost one, does Perrin lose one next?
Perrin’s body part was the knee, where he got shot through the leg with the arrow. Because the mythological symbolism is with Mat- it’s the Odin mythology, and Odin lost an eye. Perrin is actually the blacksmith mythology, which if you’ve read in Hephaestus and Perun and of the various blacksmiths, they usually have a bad leg. I wasn’t going to chop off his leg. I had that wound, and he kind of feels a phantom wound, if you’ll read in the last book there are several times where his leg aches even though he was healed. That’s the symbolism there.
So, did you just decide to [inaudible] or was that..?
No, Robert Jordan had done that, that was him.
I wasn’t sure if I was just coming up with a fantasy or not.
Though I knew he had to be wounded in the leg, I didn’t know how or how badly so I kind of came up with how it happened.
This one is from Terez, about WoT. It says "Does Moridin have anything to do with the Knife of Dreams?"
She thinks that his name "Tedronai" translates into Knife of Dreams in WoT.
(slightly surprised) Oh. If that is the case Terez,which it very well may be, I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s mostly because I don’t do anything with the Old Tongue- I let Alan handle it, because he’s so good at it, I pretty much just refer to him. The only thing I tried to name on my own was Perrin’s hammer. And even that, he had to fix a few little things to make it work right.
So I won’t kill that theory, but I can’t confirm it either.
Perrin is my favorite character in the series, and has been since I was a youth. Like many readers, I was frustrated by his choices through the later books, though the writer in me really appreciated Robert Jordan's skillful guidance of the character. The problems Perrin confronted (sometimes poorly) highlighted his uncomfortable relationship with the wolves, his unwillingness to cut himself a break, and his ability to devote himself so utterly to one task that everything else vanished. (As a note, I feel this is one of the major things that made me empathize with Perrin for all those years. Of the main characters, he is the only artist. However, he's an artist like me—a focused project builder. A craftsman.)
Though I wanted to be careful not to overdo the concept, one of my goals in these last few books was to bring back ideas and conflicts from the first books—creating parallels and emphasizing the cyclical nature of the Wheel of Time. Again, this was dangerous. I didn't want these books to become a series of in-jokes, homages, and repetitions.
However, there are places where it was not only appropriate, but vital that we return to these themes. I felt one of those involved the Whitecloaks and Perrin, specifically the two Children of the Light he had killed during his clash with them in the very first book. This was a tricky sequence to plot. I wanted Perrin to manifest leadership in a way different from Rand or Egwene. Robert Jordan instructed that Perrin become a king, and I loved this plot arc for him—but in beginning it with the Whitecloaks, I threatened to leave Perrin weak and passive as a character. Of all the sequences in the books, I struggled with this one the most—mostly because of my own aspirations, goals, and dreams for what Perrin could become.
His plot is my favorite of the four for those reasons.
I had other goals for Perrin in this book. His experiences in the Wolf Dream needed to return, I felt, and push toward a final climax in the Last Hunt. This meant returning to a confrontation with Slayer, a mirrored character to Perrin with a dual nature. I wanted to highlight Perrin's instinctive use of his powers, as a contrast to the thoughtful, learned use of power represented by Egwene. People have asked if I think Perrin is better at Tel'aran'rhiod than Egwene. I don't think he is, the balefire-bending scene notwithstanding. They represent two sides of a coin, instinct and learning. In some cases Perrin will be more capable, and in others Egwene will shine.
The forging of Perrin's hammer, the death of Hopper, and the wounding of Perrin in the leg (which is mythologically significant) were in my narrative plan for him from the get-go. However, weaving them all together involved a lot of head/wall-bashing. I wanted a significance to Perrin's interactions with the Way of the Leaf as well, and to build a rapport between him and Galad—in my reads of the characters, I felt they would make for unlikely friends.
Of all the major plot sequences in the books, Perrin's was the one where I had the most freedom—but also the most danger of straying too far from Robert Jordan's vision for who the character should be. His instructions for Perrin focused almost entirely on the person Perrin would be after the Last Battle, with little or no direction on how to bring him there. Perrin was fully in my hands, and I wanted to take extra care to guide my favorite character toward the ending.
I will note, by the way, that Verin's interaction with Egwene in The Gathering Storm was my biggest surprise from the notes. My second biggest was the Thom/Moiraine engagement. Robert Jordan wrote that scene, and I was surprised to read it. (As I said, though I loved and had read the books, there are plenty of fans who were bigger fans than myself—and to them, this was no surprise.) I didn't pick up the subtle hints of a relationship between the two of them until my reread following my getting the notes.
When I launched into this book, I'd just finished Towers of Midnight and was in a very "Perrin is awesome" mood. I wanted to keep writing Perrin, so I did his sequence for the book first. It worked, to an extent. I love the Perrin parts of this book. However, by the end—and after finishing the other viewpoints—we found that the book had way too much Perrin in it. Cutting the sequence where Perrin travels through the Ways to try to close the Caemlyn Waygate from behind was one method of balancing this out. The sequence was also cut because Harriet felt I'd gone too far in the direction of returning to previous themes in the series, bringing back something better left alone so we could focus on the Last Battle. (In addition, Maria thought my descriptions of the Ways just didn't fit the story.)
This was a 17,000-word sequence (and it ended with the Ogier rescuing Perrin and his company from the Black Wind, driving it off with their song). I love the sequence, but unlike the sequence with Bao (the deleted scenes named "River of Souls" and included in the Unfettered anthology) it is not canon. It couldn't happen for a multitude of reasons, and got trimmed.
Otherwise, Perrin ended up as I wanted him. A lot of people were surprised that I knocked him out of the fighting for a big chunk of the Last Battle, but I felt it appropriate. The fighting armies were Mat's show, and Perrin's focus for the fighting was to join Rand and protect him in the Wolf Dream. There was so much else going on, I decided to bench him for a chunk of the warfare—and I'm pleased with the result. It brought real impact to the Slayer fight, where Perrin was left wounded.
In your opinion who is stronger in the the world of dreams? Perrin or Egwene?
I'd say that at this point, it's less a matter of who is stronger, and more a matter of what they're doing. Perrin could probably win a fight, but his raw knowledge and understanding is less—he works on instinct.
Everything I'm saying right now is not 100% canon, because I'm only working off of my guesstimates based on his notes. I believe that Mat's luck is a soul attribute that is independent of him being a ta'veren, but enhanced by his ta'veren nature. Part of the proof of this is the Heroes of the Horn knowing him as Gambler, which means in other Ages when he's been born and not been ta'veren, he's still had luck and attraction to things like that. Plus things in the notes, I'm basing on that. So it does not necessarily mean they aren't ta'veren right now, but even if they weren't, I think Mat would still have his luck.
So you don't know whether they're ta'veren or not?
I do not know. My suspicion is that if he would have written the outriggers, Mat still would have been, and maybe Perrin, because Perrin was going to be in the outriggers, we know this. But I don't know for sure. But I think it would have been fun, if in some parallel dimension if I were to have written them, which I'm never going to, I would have not made Mat ta'veren, or Perrin, I would have made Tuon ta'veren, and forced Mat to deal with someone else who was ta'veren, which I think would have been interesting.