Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
Logged In (0):
Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,
4. I heard about the hoax. Thanks for the printout of the posting. I suppose whoever posted it thought this book—The Westing Game—had some influence on some part of my writing. I'll have to try finding it; it would help, of course, if I knew whether it was fiction or non-fiction, and who the author is. Or maybe it's part of the hoax, too. The Eddings War? The Grin Thingy War? The Lanfear Trials? Elucidate further, my dear. Sorry to hear of so many falling by the wayside.
A note: Taim, whether you mispronounce it as TAME or pronounce it correctly as tah-EEM, doesn't rhyme with the others. Isn't anyone required to write poetry in school anymore? Of course, that dates me to the Dark Ages by most peoples' view, but I can still knock off a fairly good sonnet, Elizabethan or later.
Alright, um, I am not going to be up here a long time. First off, the womans name is Nynaeve (NEYE Neeve). [crowd laughs]
It's Egwene (Eg-wane), not Eg-ween folks, Egwene. Saidin (SEYE-deen). Saidar (SEYE-dar). Seanchan (SHAWN-CHAWN). Aes Sedai (Eyes Sah-Die) Aiel (Eye-eel) Suian Sanche (Su-wan San-chey) Aviendha (Ah-vee-en-da). Tel'aran'rhiod (tel-ah-ran-ree-od). Okay? Okay.
Same pronunciations as in the signing yesterday, except I managed to listen a little closer...
Egwene was definitely E-gwain
Tel'aron'rhiod was, I think, tell-erin-ree-ode or tell-erin-ray-ode, although he said it very softly and I don't think I'd get it right hearing it three times.
That's really all I have to report from Thursday. Like LitN, I was busy scanning nearby name tags hoping to see a familiar name. Also like John, my powers of deducing a man's outward appearance from his written words is clearly lacking. I'm sure I saw that hat and sunglasses a few times, but failed to notice his name tag. In any case, there really wasn't much opportunity to eavesdrop on anyone else's questions or comments to RJ, since even the front of the line was too far from RJ's signing table to clearly overhear anything.
Friday, of course, was a different affair. For the "Spotlight" on RJ, we were treated to an extended Q&A session.
It seems to me that you've put up a lot of comments given the few days that has been possible. I think I'll address a few of them.
I see that someone—anonymous—uses the audio book pronunciations for a guide.
In the very beginning, the actors doing the reading got in touch with me about pronunciations, but they stopped halfway through reading The Eye of the World, and I haven't heard from them since. So I wouldn't go too much by what they use.
On a lighter note, I understand that some of you are unhappy with the pronunciation of Taim's name.
Sorry, guys, but it is tah-EEM, not tame. Never tame. Not that one. In the same vein, Shaido is shah-EE-doh, not SHY-doh.
For a few others that I understand some folks have trouble with:
Mandragoran—man-drah-GORE-ahn.Maybe I'll give you a few others another time.
Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.
Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)
(reading) When did Lan (LAHN) first become...oh, Lan (rhymes with pan), sorry. I hear all these names at JordanCon, and half of them pronounce them one way, and half of them the other way, and I end up getting bad habits.
Yeah. I don’t care.
Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.
So is it Lahn or Lan?
Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.
As far as I know—someone could correct me—it’s Lan, but Lan was one of those ones that—I believe—some major source had wrong. I could be completely wrong on this. I know Tar Valon (Tar va-LAHN), one major source had wrong, meaning an audiobook reader, or an original typo in one of the glossaries, or something, which really itched at Jim as I understand because he really wanted it to be Tar va-LAHN and not Tar VA-lun. So...when did Lan first become a blademaster? Well...between New Spring and The Eye of the World.
Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...
Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...
Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.
Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.
Okay, the notes say that Lan became a blademaster before he turned 20, which would have been before New Spring. My thoughts on this are that Lan got his sword at an early age, and worked really hard with it, and was judged a blademaster by five blademasters sometime pretty early on. It's not mentioned specifically that I can find in New Spring, but it makes sense to me.
The characters in Mistborn all have very French names. My girlfriend insists Vin's name is pronounced almost "Veh", as it would be in France, and I'm almost convinced. How do you pronounce it?
You've also mentioned that in Elantris, there was more to Seons than what came out in the book (as far as a magic system, I believe). When you have to omit something like this, do you still consider it canon to the story? For example, if you were to write a sequel, would you feel obligated to stick with the original magic system you put into place (but never published), or would you be fine with drawing up a whole new one?
The Central Dominance is intentionally French sounding. I say Vin's name like an American would, but everyone in world would say it with a French accent. Same goes for Kelsier, (which they would say Kel-syay.) Again, I say it as an American would, but then I'm not from the Central Dominance.
Yes, I consider the ideas around Seons to be canon, though I don't always canonize something that is not in the books. If it isn't on paper, I'm usually willing to change it as it needs to in order to fit. One issue, however, is that things like the Seons are part of the greater magic system of the Cosmere (which connects many of my works.) I can't change things too much, or I'll start contradicting myself. (Which I don't want to do.)
One further question on pronunciation- Sazed. Is it sayzd, sayzed, or sah-zahd? I always pictured the Terris people as somewhat Arabic so Sah-zahd came more naturally to me, but I'm curious as to what the intended pronunciation is.
I say Sayzed, as does Kelsier. The Terris a is not as harsh as that, but it's not quite a soft "a" either.
Which brings me actually to...well, that was one of the questions I was going to ask later on; I thought I'd pick a different tangent rather than ter'angreal and the Horn of uh…call it vuh-LEAR.
Please correct our pronunciations, too, you guys, whenever you run across them; that's one of the big things we want to pin down is, how we should pronounce some of these things so if you hear us say something and you don't think it's what RJ would have wanted, then please just break in and say 'no'.
[in her sweet little girl voice] Okay.
Valere (rhyming with vuh-LEAR) was the way he pronounced it.
Yay, I got it right!
Who's keeping score?
Well, I'm almost never right, so it's good to be able to say I was right for once.
I used to be wrong about a lot of pronunciations when I first started working for him, because that was about the time of A Crown of Swords, and I would say something, and say it wrong, and he would give me this look, like 'What are you saying?' and correct me, so I got most of them down over time.
I can see that look perfectly, because I actually have a very short video clip from one of the book signings where somebody tried to pronounce 'the Shaido', and he just gave them 'the look', and said, 'It's not Shy-doh. It's not Shadow. It's Shah-EE-doh. Everybody kind of went, [in a small, apologetic voice] 'O-kie.' [laughter] He could quell an entire room with one look. It was amazing.
The first time I met Jordan at a signing, the first thing he said to me was correcting my pronunciation of something. I was like, 'Awww, I ruined it! He'll never talk to me again now!'
He wouldn't hold it against you. I—
Oh, yeah. Well clearly he didn't because he did eventually come to DragonCon, so...
Will we ever find out whose voice it was at the end of The Eye of the World?
[pause] [in a sing-song voice] RAFO! (ray-foe)
Yeah, that's a RAFO. (raffo)
I figured, but I had to ask.
I wondered how long it would take.
Maria and I have spent some time trying to figure out different ways to say 'read and find out', so we're going to be trying out some of them today, and we'll see how it goes.
Oh, this will be fun. Let me see if I can get you another trial run here. Um...Asmodean? [laughter]
Yeah. Who's that guy?
He's toast, that's who he is.
No, Sammael's toast.
Yeah, I was going to say.
Well, I think he is too.
Um, if anybody sees the back of my car, they will see that I killed Asmodean. That's all I'm gonna say. [laughter]
I thought it was Bela!
I do like the 'Bela killed him' theory. That one is just insane enough to be true.
I like that Bela is the Neigh'blis. [laughter]
Terrible puns are always a good thing.
I love it.
And the master of the terrible pun is on this call.
In Jim's office.
Well feel free. [laugher]
I am, I am.
Pun away. Well, we've got two...you pronounce it 'raffo', right? Not 'rayfo'?
I say 'rayfo'. I don't know that there's a real pronunciation for that one.
She says 'raffo', I say 'rayfo', so let's call the whole thing off.
Yeah, well we got two right off the bat. I don't know what else we're going to....well, probably everything.
Egwene (egg-WAYNE), Taim (tah-EEM), Faile (fah-EEL), Egeanin (egg-ee-AH-nin), [???—Ethenielle? (eth-IN-ee-əl]…that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Well, Nynaeve (nigh-NEEVE) seems to be mispronounced a lot too.
I could not even read her name when I first saw it. I was just like, "I'm going to skip her; she seems like a minor character." And then I was like, "Aw, crap; she's actually in this story; I'm gonna have to figure out how to actually read her name."
I can't believe it; I've actually been saying them all pretty well. It's always a worry, especially when you're doing a podcast, because you know, when people are going to be listening, you don't want to start a trend if it's not going to be the right thing.
The worst is when we get the feedback that says, "You're not saying that right! Get your pronunciations correct; you're supposed to be experts. Then it's like, "No, we're not." We actually say a lot that we're nowhere near experts in the series.
We're just fans like the rest of you guys.
I still say some things wrong, but I've been saying them that way for a long time, so…people can get over it.
At the reading that we did at DragonCon, Brandon had to read the word "Aesdaishar" for the first time out loud, and he had to stop and be like, "I've never said this word before; make sure I get it right." That was funny.
Oh, and Elayne's brother is Galad (gə-LAHD), and Gawyn (GAH-win).
Yes! We've been getting those right too!
And see, I usually say GAL-id (like the word 'gal'). I know it's wrong, but that's what comes out of my mouth. But I have on my little piece of paper here it's gə-LAHD.
We'll just chalk it up to you being southern. Gallid is the southern way of saying it.
Well, we don't really know no one did. If they did, they didn't share it, sure. You know, not all channelers are Aes Sedai, and even Aes Sedai don't always share things.
Yeah, they keep a lot back.
The Blue Ajah, you know, has all its little secret weaves, and I'm sure all the other Ajahs do as well. And two, there's always the whole thing that, 'the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills', and sometimes the Wheel weaves out what it needs, and with the Last Battle coming, it needs all the help it can get…so the really talented people, the really ta'veren people, they come out again. That's for most of them. For Healing, maybe there's a different answer. Aes Sedai…they know how to Heal people, and that's the way they do it, and they don't need to know anything better! I mean, it's just Aes Sedai being Aes Sedai. They think they know what they're doing, so they don't look for a better way to do it.
And if they have discovered a better way to do it, they're probably not sharing it with other people, because every Aes Sedai is looking for an advantage over the others.
Oh, okay. So then that sort of partially answers the next half of my question, which is: How did some of these weaves get lost in the first place?
Oh, my favorite rant. All the Aes Sedai woke up one morning with amnesia. How did I Travel? I can't remember.
Well, part of it…I mean, I was reading, of all things, the Big White Book, and you know, the Breaking lasted a really long time, and things were really breaking. I mean, you might know how to Travel, but you didn't know if where you were trying to go was still there. You know, it might be in the middle of the ocean now, or on top of a mountain, so people probably weren't Traveling as much...and Aes Sedai were being killed right and left. There were all these crazy men, channelers wiping out entire cities, and the Aes Sedai women were trying to stop them, and sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes not…so, things really went to hell in a handbasket. Fast. And, you know, if a woman knew how to channel and she couldn't find anyone else who had the strength to channel, she couldn't really teach anybody to channel.
To Travel, is what I meant to say.
Yeah, there was a time of course when the White Tower wasn't there. You know, the White Tower was a recent innovation in the grand scheme of things, and so the Aes Sedai after the Breaking were everywhere, so there wasn't that institutional memory in all things at that point, and things were lost.
So the Hall of the Servants, then, basically was a much looser organization than the somewhat hierarchical White Tower…
…than we have now.
So we have a sort of central storing place for knowledge, or anything like that.
Yeah, think of what would happen to us if there was a horrible disaster that wiped out the internet. We would lose all of our knowledge except for, you know, the stuff that we still have in books. But you know, a good portion of our knowledge and communication that is electronic now would be gone.
But this podcast would remain in people's hearts. [laughter]
Well, you got me on that one, Maria, because if my computer was suddenly taken away and there were no others to replace it, I think I would probably have the equivalent of amnesia. It's my plastic brain, and I really need it. [laughter]
I've always thought that the lost talents were related to strength, because the modern Aes Sedai are weaker than the Age of Legends Aes Sedai, and a lot of these rediscovered weaves require a certain level of strength that just doesn't exist in those Aes Sedai.
Right, and also talent, because to do this Healing, you have to have a certain Talent for Healing. To make cuendillar...Janya couldn't make cuendillar worth a darn, and…she didn't have that Talent, so if somebody knew it, but there was nobody they could teach it to, it's gone!
Well, the thing is though…leading up to that comment: remember in—I believe it was Crossroads, but it might have been Knife of Dreams—when Sorilea (soar-ih-LAY-uh)—I have no idea if this is how it's pronounced...
She taught Cadsuane how to Travel, even though she couldn't make the weave work herself. So just because you don't have the strength to make the weave finish doesn't mean you can't form the weave anyway.
That's true, but...okay. We've got our nameless Aes Sedai after the Breaking, and she's found a little crew of people, and none of them are strong enough to Travel. Well, she's going to show them how to do it anyway and hopefully one day they'll find somebody strong enough but, you know, they never do. So we've got the same thing, and you know, sooner or later it's going to…if you can't actually use it for anything, you're going to put it aside and not pay any attention to it, and it will get lost.
Or, by the time that bunch of people finds someone who is [strong enough], it might have gone through several iterations and they might have the weave just a little bit wrong, so that it doesn't work either.
And—correct me if I'm wrong on this—but I don't think it's possible to write down how to do a weave. I think it's something that you have to learn through demonstration. You can't just write it down, and be like, 'Well, I'll put this on the shelf, and some day a hundred years from now someone will come along and pick it up and figure out how to weave...whatever from this. I feel like you have to be shown how to do a weave.
That is...I mean, that's how they do it. You know, the novices don't run around with heavy books; they run around being taught by actual people. It's my belief that writing might could give clues or something, but you have to be able to show it or work it out on your own.
Of course, I was going to say they could just check on YouTube and find out how, but then, would the One Power weaves even show up on video? [laughter] If they even had that...
Oh, that's a good question!
I actually was just wondering about that; I wonder if any these things—I'm sure that the effects would—but I presume that if most non-channelers can't see weaves that probably there's nothing there for a video to pick up, either...but it's an interesting question.
How to detect channeling: Whip out your camcorder! [laughter]
With a wi-fi finder.
Yeah, okay. I'm going to be good now. That would be too funny. It's a shame Jessi couldn't be with us. She really wanted to be, but she had to work, and couldn't get off. One of her favorite premises is, you know, how drastically the Wheel of Time story would all be changed if they had access to cell phones and texting and the internet and everything.
Oh yeah. There would be no story.
They do though! Elayne has the communication ter'angreal. They have cell phones...ish. They just don't use them! [laughter]
Give 'em time.
I sort of [?] a couple of the guys before one time when we were podcasting and I had to get up in the office; I was working and I had to turn a phone off, and I came back and I said "I just had to disable that callbox ter'angreal." And they said, "Oh, you are such a geek." [laughter]
A 'dork' is what actually they said.
No, you are a geek, because dorks have no social status whereas geeks are more knowledgeable in one or two given fields, and since we are all major WoT nerds—we qualify as nerds, not dorks.
Yeah, we got some cred there anyway.
Yeah, but apart from Birgitte, yeah. I've always had this sort of fantasy in my mind that Nynaeve might be the reincarnation of Eldrene, the last queen of Manetheren, or something like that. And Mat, you know…gosh, he seems like...before he even left the Two Rivers, the Old Blood was coming out really strongly in him; it makes me wonder if he's not the actual rebirth of some extraordinary battle hero from Mathetheren. [silence]
Interesting speculation. [laughter]
Which is going to go nowhere!
We're not putting answers into their mouths! We're supposed to be getting answers from them, not giving them answers to give back to us! [laughter]
Oh, was that a question?
Well, sort of!
No, you're doing well; keep going. [laughter]
He's going to do what he always does; he's going to sit back and listen to all the answers until he finds one that he likes, and he says, "You know what? That was it!" [laughter]
Well, I guess this is something that we're just gonna have to hopefully read and find out...
…or I hope some of these questions are not going to be Brandon has said that Robert Jordan just said that 'this does not get resolved', you know...
That would be a shame. [laughter]
I'm not sure where that will leave us. Endlessly speculating till the Wheel stops turning…
There's no beginning or ending to the Wheel of Time.
Virginia will be reborn again once she passes and she will still be even more into WoT than she was now. [laughter] I can see it.
I can see it.
You'll learn your letters so you can read Robert Jordan in the cradle. [laughter]
I think you'll have a huge advantage, cause all the books will be out by then and you'll just be able to read 'em one after the other.
That's right, although I was going to say that I think I have the advantage, I was probably reading Robert Jordan when a couple of you guys were in the cradle.
Well, not in the cradle, but I was itty bitty when the first book came out.
I think I was still in the cradle.
Wow. I feel old.
Yeah, that's cause he…that's cause you're just…
I am twenty. I'm not even twenty yet, so...
Oh my gosh!
You weren't even born when the first book came out, buddy.
There you go.
Yeah, but they still put up with me, and I think I'm older than Cad-swayne. Is that right? Cad-swayne? Cad-swanee?
Oh, yay! Whew. So far I'm...
Except that we know that Cadsuane is a couple hundred years old, which, you know, is older than the country.
Okay, so I'm not quite older than Cadsuane...
You come close.
Yeah, I feel like it. Anyway, enough of that...
You're as old as Re-anne. Or is it Re-annie?
That's on that list.
Yeah, I've been saying that one wrong the whole time.
In general, are ending Es pronounced in the Wheel of Time names, like Reanne?
It varies. He wasn't really…I mean, sometimes yes, and sometimes…I mean, I was thinking about this, because if Cadsuane's final e was pronounced, she would be Cad-soo-ae-nah, like Macarena, and you could do a whole dance. But… [laughter] There doesn't really seem to be a rule. It's just how he felt that day I think, or how it sounded to him.
Some are, and some aren't, you know. It is kind of confusing, but we don't know for sure, if we're even right when we guess that, so you be the arbiter on this one. Unless, as Brandon said in our interview to him, unless Robert Jordan comes down to us in a beam of white light and sets us straight, some of these things may not ever be known for sure, so you have to tell us as best you can. Speaking of names that end in E , two that almost kind of strike me are, um…I started out saying muh-RELL, and then I kind of went to muh-RELL-uh, because of the presumption that the final Es were pronounced, so I don't know for sure which one is right on that; I go back and forth between that.
That's interesting. I say my-RELL. I'm not absolutely sure that's the way Jim said it.
Okay, what about lee-AHN, or is it lee-AHN-uh?
lee-AHN-uh is correct. That one is Leanne. And Reanne.
I believe that Myrelle…it's my-RELL.
You pronounce the Y?
Mm-hmm. Like 'my'.
Okay. Well…I guess we'll just go into the pronunciations.
Well, our next little bit needs a little bit of a lead-in for our listeners who don't have access to our huge list of questions like we do. As part of our interview questions, we have a list of words, and we asked, "How do you pronounce each of these words?" And there are about 43 of them. There are probably some on here that don't need to be on here, and I know that there aren't some on here that should be, but these are the 43 that we came up with.
Yeah, Spencer got mad at me because I went and annotated the list, like…I gotta be exact, and he's like "No…"
I didn't get mad at you! I just took 'em off; I'm like, "Oh yeah, you're right; take that one off." Anyway. And so Maria, Alan…would you please go through the list and tell us how to pronounce these names and places?
Okay, here we go. And I may, you know, be wrong on some. But others, I'm pretty sure of.
And feel free to add some in if something occurs to you as you're going.
O-kay. We have add-uh-LAY-us. (Adeleas) el-FINN. (Aelfinn) eyes-DEYE-shar. (Aesdaishar) (RJ used EYE to rhyme with the word 'eye') ahm-uh-DEE-see-uh. (Amadicia) [glossary: ah-mah-DEE-see-ah] (ah=ahhh sound, uh=schwa) ERR-id doe-MAHN. (Arad Doman) [glossary: AH-rad do-MAHN] arr-uh-FELL. (Arafel) [glossary: AH-rah-fehl] brr-GEE-tuh. (Birgitte) (hard G) [glossary: ber-GEET-teh] Brenn. (Bryne) [glossary: BRIHN, GAH-rehth] KEYE-ree-enn. (Cairhien) [glossary: KEYE-ree-EHN] CHA fah-EEL. (Cha Faile) (mid ch) drag-car. (Draghkar) [glossary: DRAGH-kahr] EEL-finn. (Eelfinn) guh-LAHD. (Galad) [glossary: gah-LAHD] GAH-win. (Gawyn) [glossary: GAH-wihn] GALE-donn. (Ghealdan) [glossary: GHEL-dahn] I'm not sure if it's huh-REEN or huh-REEN-uh. (Harine) din toe-GAHR-uh Two Winds. ILL-ee-in. (Illian) [glossary: IHL-lee-ahn] ill-ee-AY-nuh. (? - AY is long A) CAN-door. (Kandor) (door like the word) lee-AH-nuh. (Leane) [glossary: lee-AHN-eh shah-REEF] mall-KEER. (Malkier) [glossary: mahl-KEER] my-EEN. (Mayene) [glossary: may-EHN] myur-an-DEE. (Murandy) [glossary: MEW-ran-dee] MEER-drahl. (Myrddraal) [glossary: MUHRD-draal] NEIGH-bliss. Sorry. NAY-bliss. [laughter] (Nae'blis) NEFF. (Naeff?) nee-AHM Passes (Niamh Passes) nigh-NEEV. (Nynaeve) [glossary: NIGH-neev al-MEER-ah] Plains of mah-REE-doh. (Plains of Maredo) ree-AH-nuh. (Reanne) seye-DAR. (saidar). [glossary: sah-ih-DAHR] seye-DEEN. (saidin) [glossary: sah-ih-DEEN] sall-DAY-uh. (Saldaea) [glossary: sahl-DAY-ee-ya] see-AEN. (Seaine?) Alan…
SHE-nar. (Shienar) [glossary: shy-NAHR] Swan. (Siuan) [glossary: SWAHN SAHN-chay] sor-uh-LEE-uh. (Sorilea) [glossary: soh-rih-LEE-ah] terra-BONN. (Tarabon) [glossary: TAH-rah-BON] TAR-win's Gap. (Tarwin's Gap) tell-uh-RON-ree-odd. (Tel'aran'rhiod) [glossary: tel-AYE-rahn-rhee-ODD] Tower of genn-JEYE. (Ghenjei) (hard G) truh-MALL-king. (Tremalking) [glossary: treh-MAL-king] too-AH-thuh-AHN. (Tuatha'an) [glossary: too-AH-thah-AHN]
Do you want to go over the saidar/saidin thing we talked about?
In the glossaries of the books, Jim has it sah-ih-DEEN and sah-ih-DAHR, but I swear, I don't think he pronounced it that way; I mean you kind of give a little hint of the i but not much: sah-ee-DEEN, sah-ee-DAHR.
Yeah, he always seemed to be saying seye-DEEN and seye-DAHR.
I'm surprised at how many of those I thought I knew, but I didn't.
Yeah. That's like, "Waait a second, that's not…but oh, I guess it is."
How do you pronounce the Traveling people again?
There's something else with the double A there…
ah-tha-AHN mee-AIR. (Atha'an Miere)
Okay, great. Any others you can think of that are commonly mangled, that would have driven Jim crazy?
I think I've mentioned tah-EEM before, and egg-ee-AH-nin…
dee-MAN-dred? dee-MAHN-dred? DEE-man-dred?
Ehh...dee-MAHN-dred, I think…but I wouldn't swear dee-MAHN-dred. [glossary: DEE-man-drehd]
How about all of the Forsaken? A lot of them often get mangled, or a few. GRIN-doll?
Grindle, is how I say it. [glossary: GREHN-dahl] And it's interesting, just looking at a thing, and I pronounce CADD-in-soar (cadin'sor) wrong. [glossary: KAH-dihn-sohr]
Yeah, because it's supposed to be cah-DIN-soar. [It's not, according to the glossary.]
Okay, because I say it the way you say it.
Yeah, I think… [inaudible] so that makes sense.
Oh! ish-AH-may-el, and SAM-may-el. [glossary: ih-SHAH-may-EHL, SAHM-may-EHL] [When RJ said it, the 'may' part was more like the German 'Mai'.]
Yes. Those are really common mistakes; I hear that a lot.
Ben [?] was right; we had that famous tagline from the original podcast, and we had this thing…I think, "Sammael was pretty buff!" [laughter] We used that a lot, and it sort of went away when he did, I guess.
Another one that I have lots of problems with—and I can't believe I didn't get it on the list—but is the GOLL-um (gholam), or the…I can't even pronounce it right now.
Yeah, the GO-lem, that's chasing Mat.
Oh, it's Gollum! [crosstalk]
I am not absolutely sure, but that's how I say it, so…
What about some of the other Seanchan beasts that made me think of, the grolm, then there were two of the others that…
ROCK-in (raken), and TOE-rock-in. (to'raken)
Yeah, and then there was another one, the um…
Torm…the book is right in front of me…
Oh, maybe it was the name of that…oh, Suroth's pet!
Oh yes, that thing. I can't remember… [crosstalk]
The LOW-par (lopar)?
Yeah, the lopar. Almandaragal was his name, or something like that?
Something like that. I would have to look it up.
It was a LOW-par (lopar), wasn't it?
Yeah, lopar. I think there was another one that I couldn't…maybe I'm just hallucinating. [laughs]
I'm sure there's a zillion others I'll think of after you're off the air here with us…
Oh, s'RED-dit (s'redit) is another one. Remember the elephant-like creature?
Corlm, C-O-R-L-M (I like that word). Torm…that's all I can find.
What about Tuon's new name as Empress?
Fortuona, okay. I'm not sure how else you could pronounce that, but I've been wrong before, so...
That, I'm assuming is right; I'm pretty sure I heard Jim pronounce it that way, because that was his choice of name.
There must be something else; there seems like a million things, and that I didn't add enough to the list.
Oh! What about—speaking of historical figures—LAH-tra…poe-SAI? Or poe-SAY? deh-KYU-meh? (Latra Posae Decume)
Oh yeah, LA-tra (LA rhymes with laugh)…
I got the Latra, but I'm not sure about the second and third names.
It's P-O-S-A-E, and then D-E-C-U-M-E.
deh-COO-may, okay. [crosstalk]
That's totally off the top of my head. I see it (?) and think it, anyway. po-SAY-uh deh-COO-may, yeah.
I had one last pronunciation—and unfortunately I had my thing muted at the moment—but is it ah-SHAHN-dah-RYE? (ashandarei)
Oh! I didn't think of that one. [crosstalk]
How do you pronounce the Mistborn Planet? [Scadrial]
Sca (as in Scab) dri (as in drink) al (sounds like ul).
Okay. I always said Sca (as in Skate) dri (as in drink) al (as in Albert)
That’s perfectly fine. This can launch me into my little thing on pronunciation. As readers, you get the say, you’re the director. I wrote the script. The director can always change things. If you want a character to look differently in your head, that’s okay. If you want to pronounce things however you want, that’s okay too. Because a book does not exist until it has a reader. It really doesn’t live. It exists, but it doesn’t live until you read it and give it life. So however you feel like doing it, go ahead. And remember, I’ve said this numerous times before, I don’t pronounce all the names right. I’m American, so I pronounce things with an American accent. The best example I give is Kelsier, because I do say Kel (as in bell) si (as in see) er (as in air), but they say Kel (as in bell) si (as in see) er (as in hey) in-world (it sounds very French). I say E (as in the letter e) lan (as in lawn) tris (as in hiss), they say E (as in the letter e) Lan (as in lane) tris (as in hiss) in-world. So there are linguistic fundamentals of these because I do have some linguistic background, but I don’t always say them right. I like saying Sa (like suh) rene (like Reen), instead of Sa (like suh) rene (like meany), which is how they say it. Which Suh-reany sounds kind of dumb in English. And in their language, it’s a beautiful woman’s name, but here you wouldn’t call someone Suh-reany, you’d call them Suh-rean.
A lot of people asked pronunciation questions.
He remarked that no one ever seemed to read the glossaries. He also remarked that one of the taped versions (I omitted this earlier because I didn't catch the publishers) was just awful about this—they stopped calling for clarifications about halfway through the first book. He thought this meant they had enough to extrapolate correctly for the rest of them. They did not.
He ended by commenting that everyone was going to come up with their own internal pronunciations anyway.
What would it take for me to successfully bribe you into writing a sequel to Alloy? I think you may have answered this one before, but where do you come up with your names for all your characters? Thank you! I really love your work.
I will probably do one anyway.
It depends on the series. For Mistborn, I build a 'feel for certain regions and develop names using the linguistic rules of that region. The Central Dominance (and Elendel in this book) had a slightly French feel to the linguistics, and many of the names came from that paradigm.
However, unique to the Mistborn world was the need to give people simple nicknames in a thieving crew sort of way. Wax, Clubs, Breeze, Mr. Suit, all of these are along those lines.
Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS
(Warning, spoilers below! Don't read this section if you haven't read ELANTRIS!)
Aon Ehe is often mispronounced as "E-hay." Though scholars of Aonic insist that the proper pronunciation "E-Hee" is more accurate, the former is slowly being acknowledged as an acceptable pronunciation as well. It is infrequently used in names during modern days, as the meaning of "danger" is seen as unfavorable. However, historically, it was a favorite Aon for poets and artists (who often took new names for themselves when entering into their maturity as an artist, a tradition by which they removed themselves from their old body of work and indicated that they were beginning anew).
Some famous examples of names from Aon Ehe include the poet Ehen, the artist Ehelan, and Mehen the philosopher.
In the history of Elantris, Aon Ehe played an interesting role as it is the first known Aon to have been drawn with the Chasm Line. During the research of King Raoden, he was practicing this Aon (for its complexity) when he realized the problem with AonDor. The story goes that he added the Chasm Line without thinking, making Aon Ehe spurt out a column of fire and destroying an entire bookshelf.
Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS
(Warning, spoilers below! Don't read this section if you haven't read ELANTRIS!)
As use of the name is out of favor recently, the only character in Elantris who appears with Aon Ene in their name is Sarene. Eventeo, Sarene's father, is not only a traditionalist, but a scholar himself. He is well aware of the ancient meaning of the Aon, and has remarked on occasion that he finds the choice particularly accurate when applied to his daughter.
Ene is one of the primary constellations in the Arelene sky, and the star pattern is the most easy to pick out. It contains the pole star of the world, a concept which has fascinated philosophers throughout history.
Eventeo's use of the simple word "Ene" as a nickname for Sarene is another traditional association with names attached to the Aon. Much as some cultures shorten words or names into common nicknames, Ene—pronounced Eeenee—is a commonly applied term of endearment for someone who has this Aon in their name.
There are a couple of interesting things about this chapter. First off, it didn't originally start with Raoden waking up. When I first wrote the book, I threw Raoden directly into the city, line one. That original line was: "It wasn't until Raoden heard the gate swing closed behind him, booming with a shocking sound of finality, that he realized he had been damned."
While this line worked pretty well, I found I had to do an extended flashback showing him waking up and frightening the maid, etc. In the end, I realized that this was a bulky construction that didn't really speed the novel up—but rather slowed it down. So, I rewrote the first scene to have Raoden waking up, seeing Elantris, and then realizing he'd been taken by the Shaod.
My books tend to have what are called 'steep learning curves.' In other words, they take a little getting used to. Fantasy in general has a steep learning curve, and I don't tend to write very standard fantasies—I like to push the genre a little bit, introducing strange settings and irregular magic systems. Because of this, I have to be very careful at the beginnings of my books not to overwhelm the reader. This book was a good example—taking it a little easier, giving the reader a more cautious ease into Elantris, proved the better route.
Happily, I eventually managed to preserve the original line with its catchy feel. I don't usually do things like this—I don't believe in the standard 'hook' idea. However, when I was thinking about this book, the first lines of the first three chapters were some of the first things that occurred to me. These three lines became the foundation for how I characterized the separate viewpoints, and they were part of what drew me to writing the book in the first place. If you go through and read them, I think they each have a little bit of zip, and hopefully invoke a sense of curiosity. These three lines introduce each character and one of their primary conflicts, and do it in a simple, clear way.
Maintaining this feel with the new first scene was important to me, even though it could be argued that the first line of chapter one is a bit of POV error. I'm revealing information that the viewpoint character doesn't yet know. I avoid these, but in this case, I felt that cohesion was more important than strict POV, right here.
I also did a second massive cut just after Raoden was thrown into the city. If you read the earlier draft, you'll see that he struggles with what has happened to him a bit more. There's even a brief section where he thinks about Ien and some of the Seon's words of wisdom. I cut these sections because they just slowed the book too much. I figured Raoden's shorter soul-searching at the beginning, where he quickly comes to the decision to 'look damnation in the face,' helped the story move along. Again, I worry about my beginnings—perhaps too much—because they have a history of dragging just a bit. By pushing Raoden into walking through the city, I kept the pacing up.
Everything else in this chapter pretty much stayed the same. In the original draft, Galladon was actually named Galerion. I made the change because the name 'Galerion' just didn't fit the eventual linguistic style I devised for Duladel. Again, I didn't do as much planning for this book as I now for books I write now, and I just kind of let the names and cultures develop as I wrote. In the end, Galerion's culture out-developed his name. I figured that the main Dula in the book needed to have a Dula-sounding name. Interestingly, Moshe—my editor—independently decided that he really didn't like Galerion's name. When I made the suggested change, he was very pleased. Originally, he didn't like Raoden's name either—but this came, mostly, because he had trouble pronouncing it. I actually really like the name, but understand that it can be difficult if you don't understand the Aonic language. Remember—two hard vowel sounds formed by the Aon, every other vowel is soft. RAY-OH-den. (Read the pronunciation guide for more.)
Galladon/Galerion originally spoke with a much stronger dialect in this chapter. However, these dribbled off after the first few chapters, and I decided I didn't want him to be quite as difficult to understand. So, I went back and cut them. You'll notice, however, that Galladon still hits the dialect pretty hard in this first chapter.
Interestingly, I've never annotated about Sarene's nickname before. Only her father uses it, and when Moshe read the draft, he had trouble understanding how to get 'Ene from Sarene. That's probably because he, like most people, pronounced her name like the word serene. That's all right—I don't really mind how people pronounce the names in my books. When I read, I see a name, come up with a pronunciation in my head, then go with that from there on. Nothing can convince me that I'm pronouncing it wrong, not even the author him/herself. (Even still, the names of Anne McCaffery's dragons are jumbled, meaningless noises in my mind. That seemed right at the time.)
Anyway, if you're interested, there's a pronunciation guide for Elantris on the site. Sarene's nickname comes from the Aon in her name: Aon Ene. While in our world, we tend to choose nicknames based on the first syllable of a name, nicknames in Arelish come from from the Aon. Since Sarene's Aon comes late in her name, that's where the nickname comes from. 'Ene,' by the way, is pronounced 'Ay-nay.'
On the encyclopaedia-wot, he actually pronounces them and has audio files. (to Maria) Am I correct? (Maria agrees.) And he's dead on. And I actually—it's kind of a fun story here. When I found that out, before I even started writing—because I was embarrassed about my pronunciations, and I still don't get some of them right—I went and I downloaded all of those, because he has just a batch file that you can download, and I put them on my iPod to shuffle between my songs, and so occasionally—even still—when I'm working out, I'll be sitting there, you know, going along on the treadmill, and then the song ends and I hear, "Rhuidean", and then I go back [laughter] Oh, I don't get that one right? No. Wait, are you sure I don't get that one right? Rhuidean. What did you say? (Maria pronounces Rhuidean.) Okay, "Rhuidean". There's a story, though. I once asked how to pronounce Morgase's name, and these two disagreed, and had a nice argument about it over dinner. [laughter]
Another place for some pronunciations: At Dragonmount they have a 4th Age podcast, and at one point they interviewed me and Alan and had us go down a huge list of things for pronunciation, and it's still on Dragonmount somewhere.
But it's my considered opinion, that however you pronounce any of the names, you are right. [laughter, applause]
Well, they read word for word. They're not edited. And really, as far as I know, there's no direction. They did ask for — at the beginning, with The Eye of the World, they wanted advice on pronunciations. (laughter)
And they got it, and they understood some of the instructions and missed a couple. (laughter) And I will tell you that the readers are a husband and wife of professional actors, both of them. But the woman's response—when she saw The Eye of the World, she said, "Why do you bother with a woman reader?" And the answer was: wait for the next book. (laughter)
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.
Right, that’s one of the most contentious name decisions that I’ve chosen. Before I tell you the answer, I will preface it by saying I don’t say the names right, in a lot of times. For instance I say “E-lawn-tris” like everyone else, but in world they say “Elayn-tris” because of the system of language that’s been built. I say “Kel-seer” and they say “Kel-see-ay,” in-world. And so I’m American and I use my pronunciations I say “Say-zed”.
However, that may not be the way they actually say it. And beyond that, every reader of a book has the ability to rewrite the book as they wish. A book doesn’t exist until you’ve read it. I write a script, I write- I get you hopefully seventy five percent of the way there but the last twenty-five percent is you, it’s participatory. And as you write, you create the images of them in your own imagination and that becomes the right interpretation for you. And you have line [inaudible] veto.
When I read Anne McCaffrey’s books the dragons are these unpronounceable things in my head that I could never actually because it’s just something a dragon can say. And it has very little relationship to the letters that are there on the page. I have a friend, who when he reads the Wheel of Time- the first time when Thom Merrilin shows up in the books, on screen, it says he has these big drooping moustaches. My friend said, “No he doesn’t.” And he cannot imagine Thom Merrilin with a moustache. To me, the moustache is an integral part of who Thom Merrilin is. It’s like him, he’s the moustached guy! Well, theres a couple other moustached guys but Thom’s the first moustached guy in the Wheel of Time! And so, you have the right to say it however you want.
Is the city that the Parshendi are in Urithiru?
In the Way of Kings, Jasnah tells Shallan that Urithiru is not on the Shattered Plains. So either Jasnah is incorrect or that is not Urithiru.
In other words, you’re not going to tell me?
I’m just clarifying for you so that you have all the information you need in order to make judgements and ask questions.