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,
There are basic rules for drift, based as you say on slurring, etc. Largely it boils down to the fact that after a word is used long enough, it begins to soften and be simplified in actual use, with the written language catching up later if at all. The degree to which this happens varies from word to word. Also, from place to place. For example, Seanchan have to listen closely to understand people from our heroes' side of the ocean because the language sounds too fast, too hard and clipped. Conversely, our heroes often find Seanchan hard to understand because they speak in what seems a soft, slurring manner with an odd rhythmic quality.
When China Ruled the Seas
Evidently, China was a real behemoth in the Middle Ages, right on the track to world domination, until they decided they didn't really want to rule the world. The following is a summary from hastily scribbled notes on a subject about which I am relatively ignorant; if I fuck up, it means I can't read my notes.
In the time before Columbus...
China had a huge fleet of ships (3000 of them, half-million crew), printing presses, generally huge technological advantage over everywhere else. The fleet is commanded by a name that translates as "Three-Jeweled Eunuch" (although he was evidently not a eunuch??). The fleet had superior logistics (well, something about logistics right about here) and had reached Madagascar. They were planning to round the Cape of Good Hope and see what they found.
The year they would have reached Europe...and overwhelmed it.
Unfortunately, bad things happened. The current Emperor died and was succeeded by his son, who was young and had self-confidence problems. The palace eunuchs (evidently a powerful political force) grew concerned over the changes caused by outside influences, believing them to be corrupting Chinese culture. They convinced the Emperor to shut China off from the rest of the world by burning seafaring boats (including that huge fleet!), restricting foreigners to certain cities and killing them if they were caught outside, and killing Chinese who left to see the world and then returned.
It seems the Japanese also did this—twice, in fact.
How is it possible for Aes Sedai who have taken the Three Oaths to become damane and use the One Power as a weapon?
They can't use the One Power as a weapon, not in any conventional sense. This presents some problems for the Seanchan, but then, damane are used for more than just weapons. And from the Seanchan point of view, at worst, an Aes Sedai who has been collared is one less marath'damane running around loose and doing the horrible things that their history tells them such women inevitably do. Remember, Seanchan history records a time under Aes Sedai rule, when no one could go to sleep at night with the certainty they would wake in the morning and Aes Sedai took whatever they wanted and killed anyone who crossed or opposed them. To the Seanchan, just removing these horrors from the board is a win.
What is the origin of the raven as a symbol of the Seanchan Empire? Why isn't it a hawk?
The conquerors of Seanchan suffered the fate of many smaller groups that conquer larger. They were, in many ways, absorbed by the conquered, with only an over-layer remaining of what and who they were before.
In pre-conquest Seanchan, the raven was a symbol of rulers because (1) it was supposedly wise, and (2) (perhaps more importantly) it supposedly saw and knew everything that happened. Nothing escapes the eyes of the raven, and frankly, any hawk or eagle that tries taking on ravens, gets chased off. So, the golden hawk remains the symbol of the Imperial family, descendants of Artur Hawkwing, but the raven is the symbol of rule and of Empire.
The Seanchan also are the melting of things that have come from many different human cultures to make their culture. There have been many rigid stratified, rigidly hierarchical cultures. It's a very human thing. The concept of being able to climb above your station is a relatively new one in human culture. You were born where you were born for a reason, and that is the place you will stay, that has been the norm for human culture, for most of history.
I mean, even the groups...the Whitecloaks are the people who know the truth. Not just truth, they know Truth, they know Veritas, they know Truth with a capital T, they're the Taliban, the Ku Klux Klan, they're the people who know the truth and you must believe their truth or they will kill you. but they're not the Taliban, they're not the Teutonic Knights, they're not the Ku Klux Klan. They are simply that concept.
[interrupts: And I set that up deliberately, because, you know, one of the things about a world that believes in a circular nature of time, is that they believe that there is no real possibility of change. It is one of the things that burden India, as you might know. Whatever I do to affect change...the Wheel of Time—which is as Hindu concept (from others as well, but the Hindus believe in that)—whatever I do to affect change, the Wheel will turn and all things will return to being as they are now. Therefore my effort to affect change is essentially useless. The great gift to the world of the ancient Greeks is that they were the FIRST culture to conceive of time as being linear, which allows for change. I can change things, I can change the future, and it will not return to what it is now, because time passes on; it does not double back. So I have a Wheel of Time world, where there is a belief in reincarnation and a belief that things will return to, not exactly the way they are now, but essentially as if there were two tapestries and you look at them from across the room, and they look identical, and it’s only when you get close that you can see the differences.
I began to think also of the periods involved. Do you know why the mountains in this world are so incredibly rugged? Why there’s so few passes? These mountains are only a little over three thousand years old. There are no mountains in the world that are only three thousand years old. There are no mountains in the world that don’t have hundreds of thousands—millions—of years of wind and water erosion to have worn them down. THESE are mountains in their infancy. And in this world, be have had three distinct one thousand year periods, roughly from the Breaking of the World to the Trolloc Wars, from the Trolloc Wars to the War of the Hundred Years, from the War of the Hundred Years to today. Not quite a thousand years in each case, some were perhaps a little more. But in each case, what has happened is, you have had a mixing of the population during the turbulence—the nations breaking apart—a production of a lingua franca for these people to communicate with one another, and not enough time for that lingua degenerate into distinct languages which are no longer intelligible to one another.
And that is enough so that the people of today could not understand the people from before the Trolloc Wars, who were speaking something very close to the Old Tongue, if not the Old Tongue itself. But they can understand the people of the Seanchan, who are speaking the language of Arthur Hawkwing’s time, which had not enough time to break down into separate languages, you see. And any effects of it breaking down into separate languages was modified by their getting together, so what’s happened over the space of just a thousand years is: they think each other have strong accents. It’s like I’m speaking to somebody who speaks English and he’s Jamaican, and I don’t understand him very easily, or he’s Nigerian. I don’t understand him very easily, and he’s a native English speaker—we can understand one another; it’s not easy, but we understand one another.
Yes. Those languages [on the Seanchan continent] were wiped out and the language that remains is essentially the language that was spoken by Arthur Hawkwing. But, because, as I say, of the things that happened after Hawkwing’s death: the shifting around of populations, mixing and blending of populations from different parts of the continent, and a thousand years of growth, and no time for that language to change a great deal. Also the one thing that has survived, which helped, I think: printing presses were one for the first things rediscovered, you might say, after the Breaking. People began printing books very shortly after the Breaking—I mean very shortly—as soon as people were setting up cities, there were people who had book presses going, and it’s an interesting thing: I can read Shakespeare and understand 98, 99 percent of the words and language. If you went back the same length of time between me and Shakespeare to behind him, he could not have understood what those people were saying, he could not have read what they wrote. Because the English language had changed in pronunciation, in the way the spelling was, in the way the letters were written, everything.
What happened simultaneously then: it wasn’t as I’ve heard postulated that Shakespeare was so beautiful and so wonderful that he froze the English language. What happened was: the printing press came into common use and suddenly the language stopped changing as rapidly. It still changed, but you would take me back to Elizabethan times and I would have a hard time understanding the accents, but eventually I would work into understanding what would sound to me like strangely accented English, but pretty recognizably English for most, at least for London and the south of England. So we’ve got printing presses, and so in relatively short periods of time, the language is largely unchanged, not completely but largely, in each thousand year segment. Although over the three thousand year segment it has diverged from the Old Tongue, which you must learn to be an educated man, to what people speak now, and most people do not speak the Old Tongue and can not understand the Old Tongue. A thousand years back, you’ve got Arthur Hawkwing, and that’s the language that the Seanchan speak. And these people can understand it, they only think “You’ve got a funny accent, you speak too fast, and you speak too slow, and it’s all slurred.”
Read and find out. Again, this is something I don't know whether I'm going to put it in or not.
But you see there are things that I might want to put in, I might want to use, and giving you the answer lets it out and means I might as well not use it because . . .
It's more interesting.
Does Telamon mean "dragon" or does it mean "Kinslayer" or is it something else?
What? In Lews Therin Telamon? No, no. It means something else. That's his name. Lews Therin is the name he was born with. Telamon, a name he was given later.
It does not mean dragon?
It does not mean dragon, no.
And are dragons definitely not the same as raken and to'raken?
Definitely not. Definitely not.
Oh that's an interesting question.
But, I mean the name [sounds?] the same. . .
But no, they're definitely not. They're definitely not.
They're flying creatures.
They're like a dragon image.
Yeah, I know they are somewhat of a dragon image. But no, they're definitely not.
Oh, cool. That's a wonderful thing to have noticed. That's great.
Although who can say what may be said in the next Age? Remember, things get repeated, things get distorted. And what the next Age believes is true history of a previous Age may not be in any way close to what actually happened. So who knows?
So was . . . In the Age of Legends, a dragon was a completely symbolic thing? It did not refer to an actual creature?
Not to an actual creature. But beyond that, read and find out.
Did they have dragons like . . . ?
No, it was symbolic at that time. There were no dragons flying around in the Age of Legends, no.
And did they have [inaudible...]
They named this man the dragon as a symbol. And his banner was a dragon as a symbol.
No, that . . . I think you better read and find out. Again, I don't know if I'm going to use it, but I don't want to put out too much.
So if you don't use it, after you finish the series, we come back to this question.
Then I couldn't hear any other questions and I went back in line. I could only ask him one question. It's a discussion we had on Theoryland a while ago. Can the a'dam hold every sul'dam?
(He managed to get my question after a few times repeating it. I'll leave that out). Frenzy, you were right. (I hope I remember your stand on this issue correctly.)
For someone—Marigan, I think, but my notes are a little wonky right about here—the Crystal Throne is not the High seat of the Tamyrlin, none of the Forsaken were among the Nine Rods of Dominion, and the "Rods" were symbols of office.
Mil Tesen was really just a peddler who happened to be in the right place to pass on news of Morgase's supposed death to Gawyn. Not everyone is somebody other than who they seem, you know.
And finally, Da'concion means "the Chosen Ones" in the Old Tongue, which is used with more frequency among the Seanchan than among inhabitants of the eastern side of the Aryth Ocean.
Just one question, though I'm expecting a RAFO: Will the White Tower, the physical structure itself, be destroyed at the end of The Gathering Storm or any other point in A Memory of Light?
Sorry, but...well, RAFO. I'm under contract not to give things like this away.
We do know that Egwene has foreseen a strike by the Seanchan on the White Tower. We don't know how this will happen, though, or even if she's interpreting things correctly.
He gave us another look, and with a smirk said, "I will say that is going to be an onscreen RAFO."
Right after saying that he said. "Let me ask you this, Do any of you believe Elaida has the will to resist the a'dam? We all said 'No' right away, he gave us a smirk and shrugged his arms.
Now although that wasn't a definitive statement, done with his body language, it damn near locked it up.
On Falme, Rand and the Seanchan.
Question: In Falme we saw Rand fighting Ishamael and the Heroes of the Horn and the Seanchan were mirroring the progress of the battle. Does this mean that there is something inherently evil about the Seanchan Empire?
Answer: Nobody in WoT is inherently evil, except for Shadowspawn. At the time, the Seanchan were being led by a Darkfriend.
I almost didn't include this, it's so nitpicky, but you said you liked that. Feel free to ignore. Is this then to imply that the reason the Seanchan were paralleled with Ishamael in the fights was because Suroth was leading them? I always assumed that it was Rand's personal enmity that caused the correlation—he saw both Ishamael and the Seanchan as the bad guys, and therefore, under the effect of the Wheel's push for the Dragon event, combined with the influence of Rand's ta'maral'ailen and the 'loose reality' resulting from the sounding of the Horn, the two got linked in the weaving of the moment? Was it then more involved with the links between Suroth and Ishamael?
Most of Robert Jordan's titles had twists. There are some that were very straightforward—The Dragon Reborn; The Great Hunt. There are others that are simply things like Knife of Dreams, which comes from a line in a quote at the beginning of the book. The titles usually refer to something specific as well as something metaphorical. Towers of Midnight is the title I chose. There of course are the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan, and if you knew what those were for, and why they were there, it would illuminate the question a little bit more. But the title also refers to the towers that Egwene saw.
My working title for this book was The Three Towers, as a pun on the title of the second book of the Lord of the Rings. I was writing the second book of a trilogy of sorts here, and was dealing with the Tower of Ghenjei, the White Tower, and the Black Tower. There was going to be a lot more Black Tower stuff in this book which has been moved to the next book, but when I was working on it, we had a lot of focus on those three towers. So the name just struck me. It felt like the right thing to do.
@Terez LOL, I forgot that the Seanchan haven't really launched a full scale attack on Ghealdan yet (in the current time). But it also could be that Brandon interpreted the question differently. The Seanchan did conquer Ghealdan in the vision of Aviendha.
I am not sure what WSB wanted with this question. However it didn't seem there was anything exciting there.
MAFO. Brandon replied that it may be due to all the problems caused by Ituralde's raids, and possibly the issue with Galad's desertion as well.
Their plan was to push east quickly through Illian and eventually sweep north into Andor and beyond. Ghealdan was not a military threat to them for the time being, and it would fall easily to them once they had consolidated control of the southeast. There are only so many fronts on which an army wishes, or should wish, to fight simultaneously, even an army of great strength. History is littered with the corpses of generals who made that mistake.
I don't think the a'dam can. However, if the Aes Sedai believes that the person is a Darkfriend, they can channel against them.
So conditioning their mind right, can do it. (The oaths have a provision for Darkfriends, though some editions left this out.)
They know of angreal. That’s in the notes. And yes, as far as I know a damane should be able to use one. I mean damane are essentially in links, and women in links can still use angreal, but this is a good question, because, it’s odd then that we haven’t seen them use them.
Maybe they were thought too valuable to risk in an invasion—though that’s odd, because that would be sort of where they are needed most.
Yeah, I’m not sure... that is strange. But they definitely know of angreal.
I can tell you it will be addressed in the book. (A bit more was said, but not much save me acknowledging I had not expected much of an answer from this one.)
Yes, you ask a terrible question...and you actually get a better, less pitying answer than it merits. I was not very hopeful with this question but could not think of a way to de-RAFO-worthy it.
I was thinking about the Bloodknives' rings. What are the stones that they have? Are they Shayol Ghul rocks or something else?
*long pause* Finding Shayol Ghul rocks in Seanchan hands would be a very difficult thing.
So that's a no.
I didn't say no. I just said it would be a very difficult thing.
Here's a tidbit from yesterday's signing:
Brandon revealed the gist of the two lines written for the outrigger novels. He says they will be released eventually, but the gists are: The first is about Mat waking up in a gutter somewhere, likely in Seanchan. The second is about Perrin heading out and thinking about how he may be forced to kill a friend.
Did the Ogier come from the same world as the grolm and other Seanchan creatures?
I do not believe that they did.
But did they come from a different world?
[laughs] Hey, hey, That I will RAFO!
The [offscreen] conversation between Tuon and Hawkwing, can you tell us anything about that?
I can tell you that it did take place, and that Hawkwing is more inclined to agree with what's going on in Seanchan than I think what fans expect him to be. Now, remember that Hawking was not fond of Aes Sedai. Part of that was not his fault, but he was not fond of them. He is not just King Arthur, he is Alexander the Great. King Arthur ruled through justice. Artur Hawkwing ruled through justice and ruthlessness. It will certainly be a conversation filled with emotion and passion, but I don't think everyone expecting Hawkwing to take their side is understanding who Artur Hawkwing is.
What happens next? Somebody please tell me.
Well I can tell you a few things actually. The sequel trilogy that he was writing, he left us two sentences. One is, Mat is dicing in a gutter somewhere. And the other is Perrin is on a boat traveling to Seanchan thinking about how he's got to go kill a friend.
How is Mat's new name pronounced?
According to Alan Romanczuk, you do pronounce the "k".
(As Harriet says, any way you say it is OK. Check the glossaries for some help.)
Re: Tuon and Arthur Hawkwing's meeting. Brandon said #1: That while Hawkwing might have issues with certain aspects of Seanchan society, as a whole he would have found Tuon and her people to be awesome. He further said the reason he didn't show the conversation is because that and the fall out was supposed to be part of the outriggers that we won't see, and so Brandon wanted to leave that open the way Jordan would have.
Was anyone else a little disappointed with the way to Ogier showed up for the Last Battle? Kinda just like "Oh yeah, we are here too." Then that was it. The scenes in which we see Ogier fighting are awesome, but I felt their introduction to the Last Battle was a little lacking. Anyone else?
The way they show up is actually the result of a sequence being cut. Originally, Perrin led an expedition into the Ways to try and close the Waygate in Caemlyn from behind. During this, the Ogier arrived, full of song, to drive off the Black Wind. Unfortunately, this sequence had logistical problems with the rest of the book, and had to be deleted entirely. The biggest casualty of this cut was the Ogier introduction, which didn't work nearly as well in the new sequence as it once had.
Thanks so much for adding your insight.
Ever thought about publishing a deleted scenes book? If movies can do it, why not books?
Afraid it isn't my call. You'd have to convince Harriet. That said, we are releasing some deleted scenes in the Unfettered Anthology to help with a friend's medical bills. (They aren't the Perrin ones, though.)
Thank you for being a redditor as well as an awesome author.
Did the same thing happen with Mashadar?
No, no deleted scenes here. I did Mashadar the way I did because of the small amount of information in the notes about it or Fain, and I felt that going with what little I did have was better than exploring widely without knowing where RJ wanted to go. In some other cases, I did extrapolate when we didn't have much from RJ, but here it felt better to go with the "less is more" idea.
There was a big danger in these books in me taking over too much and driving the books far from RJ's original vision. I had to pick and choose carefully which parts I extrapolated, and I did it based more on my own instincts and talents than anything else. For example, I felt very comfortable with Perrin as a character—he'd always been my favorite, and I felt like I knew him very well and could write him strongly. So, in Towers of Midnight where we had very little direction on what to do with Perrin, I felt that the right move was to expand his part and develop a sequence on my own.
However, for Mat in the Tower of Ghenjei, RJ had been planning this sequence for years and years. He wrote or outlined a good portion of it before he died. It was a small sequence, however, only a couple of chapters worth. I realized fans would be expecting more from this sequence, but my instincts said that it would be wrong to develop it into something much larger. That would not only go against RJ's wishes, but would risk messing things up royally. RJ had laid careful foreshadowing and groundwork for the scenes, and had a specific vision for this sequence. Perhaps if he'd lived, he would have expanded it in additional directions, but it would have been the wrong place for me to add.
Fain through my three books feels very similar to me. It wasn't as strict here as it was with the Mat/Ghenjei sequence—I COULD have expanded, and perhaps I would have, given more time. However, at the same time, there is an argument to be had that RJ wanted Fain to have a lesser-than-expected place in the Last Battle, and expanding him would undermine this.
I wish the Ways had been touched on. They were very interesting, as well as the portal stones. Was there any more info, or back story, on the Black Wind that hasn't been shared? Thanks for responding to us, by the way. I loved the last three books, you did an awesome job on them. I am getting ready to start going through some of your own stories.
There is some, but not as much as I think fans hope. In regards to something else mentioned on this thread—I believe that RJ was planning to do the Ogier/Seanchan Ogier relationship exploration in the Outriggers.
What logistical problems were there?
IIRC in some of Brandon's other posts on Reddit, he indicated that the deleted scenes were casualties of keeping the book reasonable in length. Additionally, Harriet or the publisher preferred that the storyline in A Memory of Light should be directly approaching the Last Battle, and this sequence got a little too far away from that.
There were a number. The biggest one was that the sequence wasn't needed. As you can judge from the final book, the Waygate didn't NEED to be closed. The structure of the battle worked just fine without it, as the plan was always to draw the Shadow's armies upward and through the woods. By the time the big fights here played out, it didn't matter terribly much if the Trollocs were being resupplied from behind.
Beyond that, the weight of this heavy Perrin sequence in the early middle of the book was distracting, keeping attention away from Rand and from the push toward the rest of the Last Battle. (this is what simps984 mentioned in his reply, which is correct.) The sequence was awesome on its own, but distracting in conjunction with the rest of the novel.
I would still have liked to have found a way to make it work, but I feel that way about every scene I end up deleting from the book. The truth is that aside from the Ogier arrival, nothing big was lost by cutting this ten thousand words—and a whole lot was gained.