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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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I will do a blog post soon about this and similar questions. However, I can't answer much because I don't know much.
He did not explain much about the epilogue, even in the notes.
I put it in as RJ instructed, and I know nothing more about it than fandom does, I'm afraid.
Popular theory is that from his time with the Dark One/Creator/Pattern, he's able to manipulate The Pattern a bit.
This is a good theory.
What's your opinion on how pipe lighting was or could have been done even if we don't have RJ's answer?
Ha. I agree with some of the fan discussions.
Is Rand the missing link between the Pattern and the Creator himself, possibly even the balancer of light/dark?
That's one possible theory.
How did Rand light the pipe at the end of A Memory of Light?
I know no more on this than fandom does, I'm afraid. RJ did not explain.
I still can't figure it out...how did Rand light his pipe? Is he in Tel'aran'rhioid? Is everybody??
Can you explain how Rand lit his pipe in the last scene? Did he discover a new power? Is he a new power?
I'm afraid I don't know anything more than fandom does about this. RJ did not leave notes on the matter.
"That was exactly as Jim wrote it."
"He wanted to leave you feeling that the next Age will be even stranger than the last."
I asked if Rand now had some powers of the Creator & she again reiterated (maybe clarified?) that the next Age will be profoundly different.
So I then asked if that ability is going to be exclusively Rand's & she spread her hands to give me a look that said "maybe, maybe not".
The vibe I got from her is that she didn't really know what her husband meant for that to mean and she didn't want to say one way or another, but that is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth.
I asked Sanderson if we'll ever find out how Rand lit the pipe in the epilogue.
He said that nowhere in Jordan's notes did it say how the pipe was lit, but that Harriet had a couple of theories, the main one being: with it being a new Age, there's a new way of doing things, and even some new magic.
When rand lights the pipe at the end, is he directly influencing the Pattern?
RJ didn't tell us. He wrote that scene himself, and he didn't say what it meant. I think that's what it is, but I can't say for sure, because RJ didn't tell me.
Chris Cottingham asked, Is Nakomi's dealing with the soup for Aviendha the same as Rand and the pipe?
What do you mean?
Is it the same power?
(Laughs) No, it is not. I'll go ahead and, wow, you actually managed to get a question out of me about Nakomi. No that is not the same.
(Brandon later said that he didn't know anything more than the fans do about the pipe.)
Is "Nakomi" from the Old Tongue, and is there a translation?
I'll go ahead and RAFO anything else dealing with Nakomi. You did get an answer out of me on one thing, so that's good.
Nakomi wandered in from the Song of Hiawatha.
There you go.
That's what we thought, yes.
MAJOR SPOILER for A Memory of Light in the next one. Be warned:
One fan asked Brandon about a particular incident in the epilogue of A Memory of Light, when Rand lit his pipe by thought.
Brandon related that there were two kinds of notes that Robert Jordan had left—one set of notes to himself, to remind himself of various things, the other notes intended to help someone else complete the series. The epilogue, however, as has repeatedly been pointed out, did not need anyone to complete it—Robert Jordan had written it [almost] in its entirety. So, there was no explanation about how Rand accomplished this. Brandon did relate his own theory about the incident to the inquiring fan, however: "Certain people are touching the Pattern, and certain touches leave certain kind of marks."
For me, this was one of the highlights of the entire evening. The Great Brandon Sanderson himself, who has seen all of Robert Jordan’s notes and writings, and spent years working with Harriet and Team Jordan to complete the series… when it comes to this one thing, he has to come up with theories just like the rest of us fans. It made me feel really close to Brandon, in that moment.
[RJ wrote the woman in the scene. I had to dig deep in the notes to figure out...] ...who this person is. It is something that I had to put together myself.
So you had to...you didn't change anything about that scene.
I don't believe that I changed anything about that scene. You will have to compare it to the original if that ever comes out in the notes—I don't know whether that's in the stuff that was released to the [library]—but I don't believe any changes were made except for perhaps proofreading and editing changes as we went through. The big changes I made to the epilogue were the addition of certain viewpoints, but were not changes to what was written. Some of these scenes we have in the epilogue were some of the cleanest scenes that we got. And sure, we had to clean them up in some ways, but I don't believe that scene had any major edits to it, but it's now been quite a long time since I worked on that scene, so take that with a caveat.
But that was one of those scenes, when I read it...now, you'll have to remember, it was 2007 when I went to Harriet's house and I got handed this stack of paper, and I sat down and I read it, and I started with that scene. That was the first thing that I read, because that was the completed—like, I wanted to read the ending, right? There was stuff written before that, but [...] the ending to me that I read started right with what you're talking about, that exact moment with him stumbling out, and the things that he's kind of mumbling, and the things that he's hearing and saying and stuff. But, you may have to—I honestly, it's so hard for me, some of these things, it's so hard for me to remember because we're going back seven years, where I started working on that outline, right after reading what he'd written—and started building it, and over the years, we get a lot of questions, was this you? was this him? I've forgotten. [laughter] Because...no, you have this whole thing and you're working on it for seven years, and what was him and what was me stopped really being that important when we're building the story. Granted, there are certain things we really wanted to preserve of his because we wanted the actual writing he completed, but you know, which themes, and which concepts—there are things where I'm like, "Oh!—I was looking back through my outline, and I'm like, "Oh, I put this in. Why did I put that in? Oh, it's because of this," and then I went back into his notes, "No wait, no he said to do that!" And he wrote that! And they blended together quite a bit. Like, that scene, over the years, I thought, "Oh, I added some stuff to that scene." And then I went back to the original when I was going to put it in, and lo and behold, I hadn't added anything to that scene, is my recollection. It was there, and I'm like, "Oh wait, no that was him, and that's what sparked me to do this other thing," which then, we turned into this other scene, and...but it gets really hard for me to parse without having, in front of me, to say, "Okay, did I change any words?" So...
What can you tell us about that woman?
That right there is one of the two main things which I have said I'm not going to say anything about. So I'm not answering...that's...that's one of the big...I feel that the notes indicated that this should be a mystery that he wanted to be left, and...things that...there are actually very few of those that we haven't said anything about, and I think this is the one that I'm just not gonna talk about. The other one of course is the pipe, and that's because we don't know. That...the woman you're talking about, I do know things about, but I'm just not...that's...you know, this is the mystery that he wanted us to have, and the pipe is another one. Those are the two big things I can't give you answers on, one because I won't, and one because...um, because I can't. The other thing I haven't been answering is I haven't been answering who made the decision on every specific character, who should live and who should die, and I don't think that focusing on that is really productive, and so I haven't been telling people who, except for one character [looks at Harriet; audience laughs] that I didn't want to die [awws], that Harriet decided needed to go, of the four-hoofed persuasion. [laughter] In general I just don't talk a lot about those, so I'll just give you a warning, those are things I'm not going to answer. I am pretty free about a lot of other things, but I don't answer those.
In the Wheel of Time books, did the Creator have a power, similar to the True Power that the Dark One had?
I'm afraid I don't have the answer for this, not for certain. I think that readers of the text could argue both ways. For example, a certain event in the epilogue of AMOL could be interpreted this way—though everyone in Team Jordan seems to have a different opinion on what is going on, and RJ didn't leave an explanation.