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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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A Myrddraal wrote the Dark Prophecy on orders, as a threat. I might want to use some of the reasons, so the rest on that is RAFO.
Fain (now amalgamated with Mordeth) was seeking his own power base, something he would try again with Pedron Niall and Toram Riatin. He wanted enough power to be able to kill Rand, Mat and Perrin, though most especially Rand, and to protect himself against agents of the Shadow. Because of Darkfriend reports, the Myrddraal who wrote the prophecy already knew who the strangers on Toman Head were, or claimed to be: Artur Hawkwing's armies returned to reclaim the lands stolen from Hawkwing's heirs. He knew that they collared women who could channel, which appealed to Fain/Mordeth, since one disliked Aes Sedai at best and the other purely hated them. The Myrddraal didn't simply give this up to Fain, you understand. Fain is one of the few people who could successfully torture information out of one of the Eyeless. As for why he went to Cairhien first, he knew the location of the Waygate there (along with several others and how to read the guidings in the Ways, this last from Mordeth) and preferred to use the Ways rather than make the longer cross-country journey from Fal Dara to Toman Head.
(later) I cannot find anything to clarify the question.
RJ said the soul is immortal. But Hopper says dying in the Wolf Dream is likely permanent. Is Hopper wrong?
RAFO, for now. Ask again after the last book is out.
Ye means "I." He is "sin," she is "sar," you is "asa," and it is "aso."
One of the difficulties is context and flexibility: for example, al can mean "the" or "of the." The word cuebiyar can mean simply "heart," or "my heart," or when capitalized, "the heart" as in the heart of a people or nation. The word moridin means "grave" or "tomb," but when capitalized it means "the grave," standing for "death." It is intended to be a language of subtlety, where the meanings of words can change to a great extent according to context. Remember Moiraine's comments on the difficulty of translation.
The Fourth Age titles are not Old Tongue, though influenced by it. Some common names are from the Old Tongue, and some aren't. Sorry I can't go into more detail, but we're talking a treatise.
Well. I am going to have to cut this off, now. Thanks for writing. Keep me posted on your deductions. One of these days, maybe I'll have time to give congratulations on the hits and point out the misses. One clue to some: sometimes when words are combined and the end of the first word is the same as the beginning of the second, they overlap.
With best wishes, I am,
Mat's amulet blocks both saidin and saidar. Jordan answered this one straight-out when asked. He pointed out that the amulet only blocks actual weavings of the One Power, not the physical effects that could be caused by a weaving. For example, Elayne was able to use the One Power to hurl a rock at Mat. Rahvin was able to create a bolt of lightning which struck Mat. (Jordan noted that Mat's death by lightning and subsequent undoing of his death when Rand balefired Rahvin, fulfills a prophecy about living, dying, and then living again.)
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.
Tam "knows" that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Jordan said that Tam has all the clues he needs to figure out that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Whether or not Tam will admit it to himself is another matter. Jordan said that Tam merely finding Rand as a baby on the slopes of Dragonmount wasn't enough of a clue—even if Tam were familiar with that prophecy then, few people think about those things or expect them to happen literally to them—but that, plus the fact that Rand has disappeared off with Aes Sedai who say he's important, and the fact that the world is going crazy, should give Tam enough information to make the conclusion.
I realized the wording wasn't very clear on @e_wot. Here's the full quote:
In the way of dreams she floated above a long, straight road across a grassy plain, looking down upon a man riding a black stallion. Gawyn. Then she was standing in the road in front of him, and he reined in. Not because he saw her, this time, but the road that had been straight now forked right where she stood, running over tall hills so no one could see what lay beyond. She knew, though. Down one fork was his violent death, down the other, a long life and a death in bed. On one path, he would marry her, on the other, not. She knew what lay ahead, but not which way led to which. Suddenly he did see her, or seemed to, and smiled, and turned his horse along one of the forks... And she was in another dream.
I thought that maybe Min’s viewings had some relation to them. RJ describes the Finn as looking, not at Mat, but at the air around Mat’s head. I thought this was similar to the way Min sees her viewings. Are they related?
Long enough for what?
Long enough to be ALMOST dead.
(Emphasis mine) I was pretty sure this was where Mat died and lived again, but I guess that's out of the question now.
"The biggest single political power in their world is the great city of Tar Valon, home to the White Tower, which is the headquarters of the Aes Sedai, women who can tap into the power that drives the universe and turns the Wheel of Time, the One Power."
Men are not able to manipulate the power like women can, the dual nature of the power is often too much for them. "Men can't do that safely. A man who channels the One Power, which has a male half, saidin, and a female half, saidar, will eventually go mad and die," Jordan explained. "Only until he dies, he's a madman who can do horrific things with the Power. The fly in the buttermilk is this. Prophecy says that a boychild will be born who is humanity's only chance to win the Last Battle, when the Dark One breaks free of the prison where he was confined by the Creator at the moment of creation. And that boychild will be able to channel the One Power."
At some point I will do the two prequel novels that I talked about, the two other prequel novels, besides New Spring. But, primarily I will give Harriet a small hand on a project she has signed a contract for; she's gonna do an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time which will have all of the characters, all of the terms, all of the invented words, and roughly and a roughly eight hundred fifty to nine hundred vocabulary in the Old Tongue.
What I will be starting with is a trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which will be a different universe, different world, different set of rules, different cultures. One culture that you meet eventually will be as close to being inside the Seanchan empire as you can come, but this culture is even more stratified both vertically and horizontally than the Seanchan empire, much more like ancient Japan truly was, or really like medieval Japan truly was.
It's funny I talked about a book I'm gonna call Shipwrecked, some of you may have heard of that. Shipwrecked is actually the second volume of the Infinity of Heaven trilogy, because I realized I needed more of the setup and as I did more of the setup I realized I had another novel here. It could not be the first part of the novel to do that, it had to be this was a novel in itself. So in these things I had thought ten or twelve years ago, would be a trilogy, has become two trilogies, but I intend to try and hold it to that very tightly.
Brandon said there are two things going on—ta'veren and the Fisher King prophecy which says the Dragon is tied directly to the land. He says it seems to Rand that more bad stuff was happening in The Gathering Storm but that this could be either just Rand's perception or what is really going on. We should remember that ta'veren is supposed to be 50/50—an extra equal amount of good and bad going on. He would not tell us at this point whether there was really more bad stuff happening in The Gathering Storm or whether its Rand's perception as there was purposefully very few viewpoints from Rand himself in Towers of Midnight. Like the third book The Dragon Reborn, Towers of Midnight is meant to step away from Rand and view him from the viewpoints of others.
Someone also asked if Rand's ta'veren nature would affect people on the other side of an open gateway. Brandon said that the Pattern considers that Rand is where he is and not on the other side of the gateway, so he would not affect a place just by having a gateway open there and not actually being there.
Brandon made some nice remarks on prophecies. Knowing we wouldn't get anything specific he was asked about some general questions. Someone asked whether the differences between the Seanchan prophecies and The Karaethon Cycle were completely intentional, or just from natural changes in telling a story for a thousand years from generation to generation.
I did mean Dreamers. People have been trying to pin me down on that one.
Yeah, everybody has been like convinced that you were just confused...
...that I was just confused. No. I meant Dreamers. I DID INDEED MEAN DREAMERS.
I know you did, but...just verifying.
Yeah. And I’m like 95% on that one. We’ll put an asterisk on it. I actually sent Maria deeper into the notes, but I know at least one is, and I’m pretty sure one of each gender is.
He said there are lots of little things that come to fruition in interesting ways.
I said yeah, I can't wait to see how "his blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" turns out. Do you know there are some people that think Elayne will have her babies on Shayol Ghul and that will fulfill the prophecy?
He said well, Elayne is like four months pregnant at this point... Lots of things are possible with the One Power though.
In my mind, this debunks that theory somewhat.
RAFO. (You knew that was coming, eh?)
Though...it should be noted that prophecy says that Aviendha will have Rand's children...so, that's going to be kind of tough if they don't see one another again.
In the books, Mat says that he's "Pretty Sure" that he'd already died. So use that as a guide.
A better guide might be the two Balticon reports, both of which claim RJ said the Caemlyn death fulfilled the prophecy. RJ also confirmed that Mat was only 'almost' dead in Rhuidean to Tim Kington in 2003, and in 1999 in Sydney he noted that Mat hopes the prophecy was fulfilled in Rhuidean (because he doesn't remember dying in Caemlyn).
Wasn't that fulfilled when he was hung from Avendesora?
That's what I'm wondering, whether that was it or not.
But I thought Mat DIDN'T die when he got hung, just came really close ...
Mat died and then Rand used balefire and turned back time.
Right *facepalm* I don't know how I forgot that.
If he had actually died when he was hung, Rand wouldn't have been able to bring him back. (i.e.: crazy puppet girl in the Stone)
Re: Another Mat being hung confirmation. Like I said, Mat's pretty sure that counted for him dying. He really doesn't want to try anything like that again...
Still hard at work on A Memory of Light. Today's scenes involve lots of loud noises.
Just curious, have you read the end scenes that RJ wrote? Or are you waiting till you get there?
I read them as soon as I got them. I needed to use them as a target 'goal' for the book.
Now, on to a scene that finally, at long last, fulfills something Min saw long ago...
I've finished all characters except Rand and Mat. (Note, I'm not writing in order; other characters have already-written scenes after this.)
Now, I have to finish Mat's climax, write a few more Rand scenes, then add in RJ's ending material. Then we're done. Very close now.
What are your thoughts on ending the WoT series that Robert Jordan started so long ago? :)
After a few hours with the family, am back at work on A Memory of Light. It's slightly possible that I'll finish it sometime during the night.
Would that make tonight A Memory of Light Eve?
Ha. Yes, I guess it would.
You can follow along, if you wish. I have twenty small points on my outline left to hit. Maybe 10k words or so. I'll tweet as I pass them.
First scene out of twenty finished. (Note that I'm using 'scene' here liberally to mean a point on the plot outline.)
Can you tell us who has the last chapter?
Afraid that would spoil too much.
Note that as I approach an ending, my writing speed goes up, as I get momentum. 10k tonight is not impossible. (Though most days I do 2-3.)
Two out of twenty scenes done. Eighteen left, and A Memory of Light will be finished.
Three out of Twenty of the remaining scenes in A Memory of Light have been finished. (If you're just now seeing this, check back to my last few posts.)
How long was it after the first two books were finished until they were published?
For the first one, about a year. For the next, about six months. This will probably be closer to the first than the second.
Scene four was slightly shorter than the others. 4 out of 20 finished so far tonight.
Scene #5 finished. 25% through the ending of A Memory of Light. Feeling good about these scenes. All is going very well.
Some of you have asked if I got the Magic cards you sent me off of my Amazon wishlist. I did! I'm waiting to open them until I'm done with A Memory of Light.
A few of these scenes are pretty emotional ones for me. It's been a long, long road. I started reading the WoT twenty-one years ago.
Just finished scene #6 out of the 20 remaining in A Memory of Light.
Scene seven is done. Thirteen more to go. This one...this one was tough to write.
I've apparently inspired a drinking game with this on both Twitter and Facebook. I'd join in, but: 1) Mormon. 2) BUSY WRITING END OF WOT. :)
Scene #8 is a tricky one. I know how it has to go, I just need to do it carefully. Getting close to having it right.
Scene #8 is finished. This is going well. I often build momentum like this during a powerful book ending, and this one is very powerful.
We shall see. We've still got three or four hours before I'd normally turn in for bed. If I start to get sleepy, I'll call it for the night.
No sense in pushing on if the quality starts to flag. Knowing myself, though, I'll be too excited to be tired for a while yet. Onward!
Glad to hear things are ending well! I can't wait to read it. Think I have time for a full re-read before A Memory of Light?
Depends on how quickly you read. :)
Cannot wait, but I agree. Is it really going to take a year to edit and publish?
I've done a dozen drafts each of the previous two books. That kind of thing takes a little bit of time...
I just did something to Mat that I've been gleefully waiting to do for three years.
Don't stress the thing I did to Mat too much. It's a little (and fun) thing I've wanted to see him do for a long time.
I have finished scene #9 out of 20 I need to write before A Memory of Light is done.
Best of luck to @BrandSanderson as I turn in for the night. I'm giddy for A Memory of Light.
Hopefully, you will wake to find the book finished.
It's almost 3:30am here and I SHOULD be in bed, but I feel like I need 2 stay up and cheer you on and also to witness THE END!
Ha. Well, there are still hours left to go, I suspect. I started at...what, 9:00 here? I'm to 1/2 and it's almost 2:00?
For those asking, it's almost 2:00 am here. The night is still young.
Just finished Scene #10. Halfway there!
I don't expect it to go longer than those. After editing, I'm pretty sure we'll settle at 350-360k words. (About 10% longer than Towers of Midnight.)
Brace yourselves. I just finished the last Mat Cauthon scene that, in all likelihood, will ever be written.
General writing question: after The editor edits, is it typical for an author to add/rewrite, or only the editor?
Only the author rewrites or adds. Never the editor. (in most cases.)
The fourteenth scene was Mat's, and now I've finished the fifteenth scene. Five more to go, and A Memory of Light is done.
Just finished scene #16. Four more to go. Guess I'm not stopping tonight, eh?
Scene #17 is finished. I was a tad on the longer side for the ones I'm doing here, as are the last three. 5:00 am here.
I keep flashing back to times I've read the WoT books through my life. Looking back, you could call Rand/Mat/Perrin my oldest friends.
Scene #18 is done. Two more to go.
Scene #19 is done. Deep breath. I'm beginning the last scene I will write in the Wheel of Time, then will add RJ's ending.
I've been listening to Pandora as I do this, but am wondering if I should pick a specific song to listen to as I finish. Suggestions?
My choice for a song to play as I write the last few paragraphs here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-0G_FI61a8
Ladies and gentlemen, A Memory of Light—the final book in The Wheel of Time—has been finished.
Now I'll open a metric gigaton of Magic cards that have been sent to me by fans, sleep for a day, and rest until next week.Then: revisions!
As for when the book will come out, Tor should do an announcement soon. Revisions will take a good six months. So fall, I expect.
Another common question: How many revisions will I do? The last two took about a dozen. (On non-WoT books, I do about seven or eight.)
Also, it's going to be tough to give direct replies to questions right now, what with like 1000 people tweeting/facebooking at me. :)
But lots of people are asking about outriggers/prequels. The answer is still the same. We'd rather not risk exploiting RJ's legacy.
It is a step I don't think we want to take. Better to stop while we're ahead. I'm sorry, but they probably won't ever happen.
And now, yes, I will go to sleep. 7am here. That's 10 hours of solid writing after a full day of solid writing, so I'm beat.
Thank you all for the good wishes. May you find water and shade.
Ah. Good morning, all. (Yes, it's five in the afternoon here.) Checking email, and...INBOX EXPLOSION. I guess I was expecting it. :)
Why are they choosing Callandor over the Choedan Kal?
Well, not even that, really, because two of those have nothing to do with the Callandor. I guess it’s more, was there something dodgy... did they know something about the Choedan Kal... why did they leave it?
There is a reason. It has to do with Callandor being key to the ending, and the Choedan Kal not.
I thought that had already been answered. Did Jim not answer this?
No. Everyone thought it referred to Carlinya being da’covale to the Empress. But no, it hasn’t been answered.
Oh. Oh, okay. Well, I will RAFO/MAFO it. You can email Maria and me about it, but I may have to RAFO it.
The raven is a symbol of the Dark One as well as the Seanchan; Carlinya was killed fighting the Black Ajah.
The scene depicts Min, Aviendha, and Elayne gathered on a battlefield around what is presumably a funeral pyre for Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. What we recognize as a yin/yang appears in the clouds, possibly signifying a unity that has evaded male and female channelers for over 3000 years.
We are very excited to reveal the cover to A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. The artwork for this final edition is by, arguably, one of today’s most beloved illustrators, Michael Whelan.
The task of jumping into a 14 volume series on its last installment must have been a daunting one but Michael rose to the occasion. Harriet McDougal, Jordan’s editor and widow remarked, "that is the Rand I have waited to see for twenty years” when she saw the image. And while the artwork clearly has all the earmarks of a Whelan painting, its theme and coloration make it a fitting heir to Darrell K. Sweet’s series of Wheel of Time covers.
In keeping with the series’ covers, the scene gathers elements from a key scene in the book. Here, Rand stands with Callandor on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, heading down into its depths to confront the Dark One even as the sun itself vanishes from the world. Two Aes Sedai follow the Dragon Reborn into the mouth of darkness, two women who have been with Rand since the very beginning.
Mr. Jackson (your name isn't Michael is it? because that would be unfortunate),
Thanks for the reassurances. Do you happen to know if specs were given for the eclipse? We're wondering if we can assume it's accurately portrayed from the perspective of an astronomer (we have one of those at Theoryland, and a hobbyist as well). That's not to say we can figure anything out about it right now, or even that we'll be able to figure it out when the book comes out judging on recent portrayal of chronology. Just curious. No worries if no particular care was taken to portray it accurately; I understand it's complicated, but it could have been made simple if RJ left notes about it. Also curious as to why it didn't show up until the final draft.
We didn't talk about it, but I can ask him. Michael has more than a passing interest in astronomy so it's possible.
And M and R are my initials...
The few pages of manuscript I was given to work from didn't have any mention of an eclipse. The subject didn't come up until I had done several conceptual renderings. After sending some of them to TOR I got an email from Irene telling me that if I showed the sky through the mouth of the cave I might want to work an eclipse into the scene.
For reference I looked at a lot of photos of eclipses and liked the idea (for symbolic reasons) of indicating an imminent annular eclipse, the kind where the moon doesn't entirely cover the sun but leaves a thin ring of light in the sky.
The Dragon is one with the land...so the answer is yes.
He went on to say that it says the Dragon, not the Dragon Reborn, making the point that it most definitely applied to Lews Therin. (I riffed off a second related question from Luckers which was: Did he have the same extra abilities?) Instead I asked:
Considering what you mentioned regarding Lews Therin's ability to sense the lack of inhabitants within miles of the spot he was at in the Prologue, is this ability something that comes from being the Dragon, being ta'veren, or a Talent?
(paraphrased) It's not a Talent, but I won't say whether it is a factor of being the Dragon or something about being ta'veren.
Luckers, I asked this question because the way Brandon answered the first it seemed apparent to me that the Dragon is Lews Therin is Rand, as far as 'one with the land' and abilities. My interest then became that specific ability he noted in Lews Therin during the re-read.)
There are far more reasons, worldbuilding wise, to believe it was real than to believe it was illusion.
Is Rand's soul in Moridin's body?
Ha. Right to the point, are you? Let's just say that trickery is not likely in this case.
Can you confirm that Rand's body was burned at the end of A Memory of Light?
Okay, fine. Yes, I will confirm that Rand's body was indeed the one that was burned. :)
Why didn't anybody notice when a supposedly-dead Moridin got up and walked away?
I'd say coincidence. But there aren't many of those in the WoT world.
Seems like a conversation between the Creator and Rand was missing where "switch" and Alivia's role in it are laid out—thoughts?
I believe that RJ included everything he wanted in this sequence.
Why did Rand switch bodies at the end and why is he going incognito now? Did not understand that part.
RJ wrote these scenes, and intended to leave them as is. I don't think me delving into explanations is what he'd want.
Did the bonding between Rand, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min transfer over to the new body?
Yes, though I don't know how or why.
Why did the bond survive the body switch at the end of A Memory of Light?
I don't know. RJ did not explain this one to me.
How were Rand/Elan able to switch bodies?
How did Rand wind up with Moridin's body?
Could you explain further about the body switch and how it was possible?
This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
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.
One thing that was made clear in the notes is that not everything seen by Min is to have significance for the books.
And others, such as Alivia, were to be things that people in world placed much import upon—but were actually minor.
There is a deeper meaning. But it's philosophical more than anything else.
It is in reference, in part, to their changing purpose.
Was Bao the Wyld part of Sharan prophecy? If so, was Demandred co-opting their Dragon prophecies?
"The Wyld" was part of Sharan prophecy; Demandred thinks he co-opted the Sharan version of the "dragon prophecies" but it was actually about him all along.
(I was surprised to get an answer to this; I expect some of it will show up in "River of Souls" anyway. An interesting follow-on question might be whether this means the Sharans were destined by the Pattern to fight for Team Dark.)
A fan asked him if Alivia's role in the epilogue was her fulfillment of Min's viewing and he said that it was very clear that that was all that that viewing meant. He said that fans are speculating that she played a part in the body swap but she did not.
Brandon went in to little detail about the body swap, saying he knows as much about it as we do and the notes just didn't give more. He asserted that he has to do with the balefire streams touching and the fact that Moridin no longer wanted to continue to exist but that Rand very much wanted to continue to exist.
I received a reply from Maria Simons regarding one of my previous questions:
I'm sorry to be so long in answering; it's been a busy week. But the answer to your question is that she (Moiraine) knew the face of her husband from a viewing of Min's.
For the record, I can only imagine how her schedule has gone since the AMoL release, and with Harriet joining in on the tour, so I don't consider a couple of days as long to respond at all. Like everyone else associated with The Wheel of Time, she rocks. And a long-standing question finally confirmed!
Alright, is Cadsuane's lesson to the Asha'man yet to come?
To the Asha'man? It is the same lesson that Rand learned, but they....they started to learn it.....
I would say that they have not completely learned it yet. Not until they have spent years...um...growing...
Well the distinction in Min's viewing is that none of them would like learning it from Cadsuane.
Yeah, so that's where everybody gets a little bit confused.
But yeah, I got you.
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)
Was Min's "three ships sailing" inspired by the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María?
I don't believe so. Wow, but I don't know, so I can't say on that one...
Oh, it wasn't yours?
It was in the last book: three ships sailing, insect in the darkness, red lights....
Yeah. It's not the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María....
Yeah, well I thought it might have been inspired by that...
We'll have to dig into the notes on that one.
Does Nicola’s Foretelling represent a single moment in time?
Which one is she talking about?
Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade
MAFO. I’m gonna MAFO that one. I think I know that one, but I don’t think I want to touch it.