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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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When Fades use their swords, we often see blue flashes when the Fade blade hits another weapon. Is this an interaction between the Fade blade and a specific sort of weapon (such as other Fade blades, or Aes Sedai-forged swords), or an interaction between the Fade blade and any iron, or is it just a special effect with no special basis?
With respect to Aes Sedai-forged weapons, like Lan's sword that never needs sharpening: was the Power just used in the manufacturing process, to change the structure of the steel to make it extra-strong, or was a flow of the Power somehow incorporated into the steel?
(If you'll recall, this was a big argument a few months ago, related to the Fade blade thing.)
Lan and Rand's swords are loosely based on the katana, and another style of sword I had never heard of before (sooba? something like that anyway. SilverWarder might know) and that others were based on medieval European styles. He said that blademasters don't follow one particular historical style of fighting, but that different blademasters have different styles depending on their culture of origin.
At this point he went off on a little tangent about Miyamoto Musashi, a reknowned Japanese swordsman that developed a two-sword style of fighting that was revolutionary at the time. He related that Musashi developed his fighting style after fighting in the Philippines against fighters (Dutch? Portuguese? I didn't write their nationality down, but somebody here might know) that were using swords and dirks in a two-handed fighting style. In any case, I think his point was to demonstrate how fighting styles, like other knowledge, disseminates from culture to culture, but is changed and adapted into something unique in each locale.
Both answers on the chat are RIGHT!!!! He knows exactly how Thom managed to escape with only a limp and how he managed to survive that. But he might use it in the next book and doesn't want to give away anything. So we have to do it with the knowledge that both answers, although seemingly conflicting, are both CORRECT.