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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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Ok, I'm not sure I should give an answer to this one. Who do you think it is, what are you basing it on?
I'm pretty sure it's Lanfear. Several things. She's wearing red and black, and she doesn't have a Cour'souvra around her neck. Her appearance is unknown to Slayer, and she's pretty, though she isn't comfortable with her own reflection. She expresses disgust at having to use him. This eliminates Moghedien and Graendal.
But she's ordering Slayer to kill Rand.
This will lead into the next question, but I don't think she believes that Slayer can succeed, she's using him as a distraction, and to give her options, because she's playing a deep game.
Ok, here's your answer. Your case is very, very, very solid, and you can stand by it.
About—if you can estimate—how many Aiel were in the Town?
Oh, boy. I think there is an estimate in the notes.
Yes, so ask Maria, and if I say it, I will get it wrong because Jim has an estimate of how many Sightblinders were going to be in the Last Battle.
And that would include, you know, ones born there and ones captured, and...yeah.
Is the Town, the only human settlement in the Blight?
I believe so.
And was the Town the same cluster of building that was seen by Graendal in Towers of Midnight from Moridin's...
Do we know what Moridin was doing in the Town?
Umm, Define we.
Will we know what Moridin was doing in the town?
That depends on how good you are at guessing.
I think he was building a new Westin Hotel.
Sounds reasonable to me.
The week after my husband's funeral, a friend was staying with me. She'd come down for the service, and she, as so many people are, was both a fan of fantasy and heavily into the net. And she put a printout in front of me—the basic sort of semi-Luddite—and said, you need to read this. And it was the eulogy that Brandon had written and posted on his website. And I read it and thought, gosh, that's just beautiful. And it's also the feeling for my husband's work that I would love to see in whoever takes over to finish the series, because in his last weeks and months, my husband had made it very clear to me that he did want the series finished. I draw a distinction—he had a horror of sharecropping, the endless work of other writers in a world that someone has created. He really had a horror of that, so that's not going to happen. But he really did want the series finished.
He began one Saturday night. His cousin—a cousin named Wilson Grooms, who was as close to him as a brother—was visiting. And I had a friend there, thank God, who'd once been a court reporter. And I was scrabbling round in the kitchen making food or something, and Jim . . . who’s read the book? Who's not read the book?
The last one? Who hasn't finished the last one?
No spoilers, then.
Well, okay. My husband, called Jim, began to talk and he said, there's a blank in the blank that nobody knows about, not even Harriet. And he was off and running. And the court reporter was there, fortunately, because I was trying to take notes, and instead I was just staring at him in rapture, kind of. And Wilson went out at midnight and bought a tape recorder, and that was the start of a real outpouring of what he wanted in the rest of the series. That's how I knew he wanted it finished. Otherwise, he'd have kept his mouth shut. Which was not very much in his nature.
And I . . . I tell this story a lot, but it's a fun story. I flew in. Harriet herself picked me up at the airport. I had been really nervous to meet Harriet—like, you know, really nervous. I knew Harriet . . . like, she was one of the big editors in the field, and authors have this kind of—even, you know, published authors—are sometimes kind of scared of editors, right? And Harriet . . . I don't know if you guys know . . . I mean, she edited Ender's Game, okay? She edited—and discovered—Robert Jordan, and she's behind the two biggest books in fantasy and science fiction of the last 30 years—Ender's Game and Eye of the World. So I was really nervous.
And so I'm like . . . and then I meet her, and as you can tell, she's like this wonderful, just so nice, awesome person. It was such a relief. I'm like, oh good. I actually called Emily that night and I'm like, ahh, I didn't need to be worried. Like, take your favorite grandmother and mix her with a southern gentlewoman and you have Harriet.
I've hidden the whips.
And she drove me to the house there in Charleston, which is this wonderful house, built in the 1700s, right?
And we walk in the door, and Harriet had been cooking dinner, and it was a bean soup. I still remember all these things where she said, well I put some soup on, and I can warm it up, and would you like to have some food? And I said, I would like the ending, please.
Because I didn't know . . . You know, I just signed the contracts without knowing. You know, you guys work for Microsoft, NDA stuff, you got to say yes first, and then you get the NDA, and then you get to be a part of it.
And so, I knew that there was an ending, because Robert Jordan had talked about writing the ending. I knew, and Harriet had confirmed, the ending had been written. And so I walked in, and it was like ten o'clock at night. But I got that ending, and I sat down in the front room—sitting room—and I read what you now have as primarily the epilogue of A Memory of Light. Almost all the epilogue was in there.
Also contained in there were several big important scenes from the prologue, which we split among the three prologues. There were a couple of the really cool scenes in there. There was the Tower of Ghenjei. There was a place where Egwene gets a special visitor, and—I think it's called A Cup of Tea—that scene, but really it was the ending that I wanted to read.
And there's the blank in the blank.
There's the blank in the blank, yes, which is in the prologue of A Memory of Light—one of the prologue sequences. And I read all of this and read his ending, which you now have in your hands.
And Harriet afterwards—she said, well what do you think? And I said, it was satisfying. That was my word for it. It was the right ending. I felt a huge sense of relief. In a lot of ways, there wasn't a lot there. There were 200 pages, and so it wasn't huge. But at the same time, it was a huge relief to me, because the ending had been done, and it had been done right. And my job, then, was not so impossible, because all I had to do was get from well-written book to well-written ending without screwing it up too much.
And having that ending in hand is really what has made this possible, and made me able to work on these books in a way that I really feel conformed to Robert Jordan's vision for them, because I knew where he was going. And I tend to work from an ending—that's how I write my books, is I always have the ending in mind first. And so, that is the story of how you came to get A Memory of Light. And it has been an awesome and daunting and horrifying and extremely hard and wonderful experience all in one.