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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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Channeling saidin and the taint:
As some of you know, there was a pretty big debate over this topic, especially whether Thom could or couldn't channel, which I participated in. Well, I'm happy to say that I was mostly correct in my theories.
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.)
Is there a reason the Dark One could not or would not re-taint saidin?
The conditions would have to be exactly right. Those conditions were set up while the seals were being placed on the Bore. The chances that exactly those conditions would occur again are fairly small. And that is saying that it was a volitional act rather than a side-effect of trying to stop the seals from being placed. After all, if the Dark One could taint saidin at will, why could he not taint saidar as well, and why would he not have done so?
"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."
Well, I don't know, it is a combination of things. I gave this recently, so it is probably already on the net. How did I come up with the division of the One Power, the male and female half? I had seen a novel, there are a lot now, but this was the first I had seen like this. Young woman wants to be whatever it was, a magician, whatever, but she can't because she is a woman, and women aren't allowed to do that so she is going to struggle through it.
I thought it was interesting, one of the earlier novels of the feminist struggle, and all that. I put it back, because it didn't seem something I cared to read, but I thought about it because the thought that occurred to me is okay, that's real easy, women aren't allowed to do this, it is historically based or grounded at least, what if it was men who couldn't, now how would that be, as my wife points out to me, we have the upper body strength, and she is convinced all of the inequities in the world vis a vis gender, are subject to the fact that we have all the upper body strength, and I am sorry about that baby, I ain't giving it up. So, how could there be a situation where men were not allowed to do this, and it does not somehow get itself reversed over time, add into this I wanted a near gender equal world as I could, and how could I have a situation where women could maintain gender equality?
Okay, now I split men and women, have different sources of power and the male source of power is tainted. Okay, you've gotta stop men and at the same time, out of this beginning came the division of the One Power, the White Tower existing as the political center of power for three thousand years, false dragon, the destruction of the world by men, false dragons arising periodically to remind humanity exactly why men can't be allowed to channel and why the White Tower must remain the center of political power. A lot of stuff came out of that one notion.
Brandon, with you being a writer specialized in cool and unique magic systems, how was it to use and write with the magic system in Wheel of Time? Hard or easy? Did you have to come up with new weaves, or did Jordan already have unmentioned weaves written down somewhere? And how did it work for you to write channeling battles?
Well, the Wheel of Time magic system was one of those that inspired me to make magic systems the way I do. I've long loved the magic in Mr. Jordan's books, and think he does a very good job of walking the line between having it feel scientific and still feel wondrous. He does tend to go a little bit further toward wonder—as opposed to science—but that has a great number of advantages for his story.
In answer, I've come up with just a few new weaves, but mostly I wanted to use his weaves in new ways. I think there's a lot of room to explore the use of weaves and how people interact with the magic. Don't expect a LOT of this though. The focus is on the characters and the Last Battle at this point, but there were a few places where (mostly in throw-away, background moments) I was able to explore the magic a tad. I actually found it one of the easier things in the book, though I DID have to keep looking up how specific weaves were created. It gets confusing, particularly since men and women often do the weaves differently.
As for channeling battles...well, I can't really tell you if there are any of those in the book without giving anything away, now can I? So we'll have to RAFO that. ;)
From Knife of Dreams Chapter 21, "Within the Stone":
The face of the man from Shadar Logoth floated in his head for a moment. He looked furious. And near to sicking up.
Ok, we’ll move on from there. Were male channelers across Randland able to feel Rand's use of the male Choedan Kal when he destroyed it atop Dragonmount?
I would certainly think they would have been able to, consistent with what has happened before.
But did they know that it was destroyed? Is that what they felt, or was it just the use of?
I do not believe the destruction of a sa’angreal would be the type of event that you would be able to notice. It is not consistent with what we have seen before.
She doesn’t see it. We talked about this in editing when we were looking at it. It’s Graendal’s viewpoint; she’s summarizing; she doesn’t actually see it. We actually didn’t change it, because I just thought that was, ‘That’s what’s going on; it’s in her viewpoint; she doesn’t see the weaves.’ So, that isn’t an error. Maybe it’s not the clearest writing around, but I felt it was sufficiently clear when I looked at the passage. It got flagged by Maria.
Actually, we did asked for this to be changed for e- and future editions. It should now read "Aran'gar shrugged, but focused as if laying down a thick and complex Compulsion on the unfortunate Ramshalan's mind." The answer is the same, though, really; she saw nothing.
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.
Ask him if the manner of the Aiel service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends was just Singing, or if it was also domestic.
As a follow-up you could ask him if female Voices were also used in non-Earthy scenarios, i.e. to enhance saidar in particular?
And ask him if non-Aiel could really have the Voice (assuming the type that enhances channeling) or if Lews Therin was just confused.
Lews Therin was confused about time and place, but what he was saying was possible.
There was more than just singing, but Brandon wasn't willing to go into it. Unsure if that was RAFO or irrelevance.
Brandon said he wasn't willing to talk much about the Voice things. I got the sense it was a subtle RAFO.
This was my first RJ signing, at a Tower Books. While I was getting The Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart signed, I asked RJ how Narishma could have channeled inside Far Madding to set off their alarms (or was he outside but within the range of the detection ter'angreal)?
He corrected me that it was Flinn who channeled (I haven't reread that part of the book yet, and was taking the Seafolk channeler's word on it, as I recalled it), and that he did indeed do so outside the range of the blocking field, but inside the detection range.
What created the Black Wind in the Ways?
I have no idea.
I believe Robert Jordan may have answered some questions about this at certain times, so if you look at the fan archives of questions, people have asked a lot of questions about this one, you may be able to get some clues there.
RJ said that the Black Wind (Machin Shin) grew in the Ways like a parasite as a result of the taint on saidin.