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Your search for the tag 'sexuality' yielded 58 results

  • 1

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Red Ajah: not all lesbians—just manhaters. RJ knows non-manhating lesbians. Not based at all on Agnes Scott girls. Based on some girls he knew as a child.

    All women in Randland—based on his wife. "Does she tug her hair?" "No. Mine."

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    John Novak

    John Novak asked what the Nine Horse Hitch was.

    Robert Jordan

    "You're too young for that." He then said something about whipped cream, butterflies, and ribbons, but I'm definitely too young for that.

    Tags

  • 3

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (4 January 2011)

    Yes, early WoT is very Tolkien influenced. But several original things really stood out to me when I was younger.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    1) The magic. 2) Strong female protagonists. 3) A woman 'wizard' figure who was far more human than others I'd seen. 4) Tam lives.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Though I like Gandalf, Dumbledore, Belgarath, & Allanon, I prefer Moiraine as a character. (Actually, Allanon always just annoyed me.)

    HARRISON ISRAEL

    I always liked Allanon :(

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's okay. I'm fond of him. But he still annoyed me.

    HAMLETISDEAD

    Can you share what it is about Allanon that annoyed you? I can list a few, but the main reason was his decision making...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mostly the air of mystery and withholding information. Often a problem with people in his role, but he seemed more-so.

    BRYCE NIELSEN

    What about Polgara? :P

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Polgara was awesome. Belgarath was pretty cool too, but Moiraine always feels slightly more real than either one to me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But that's modern Brandon. Teenage Brandon might have thought differently.

    CHRIS WOOD

    But which of those early wizards was your favorite? I liked Belgarath, but Eddings was one of my first series.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As a youth, I often listed Eddings as my favorite author. It wasn't until I was older that WoT took over completely.

    CHRIS WOOD

    I agree, I still read Eddings and suggest him to people who are "new" into fantasy, but it has gone down my list too.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    There is a perfect age to read Eddings, where he resonates best. As you age, something about his characters and plots...stiffens.

    JENN HOGAN

    I am in agreement but I love Belgarath's humor and his devotion to family and his God and his brothers.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Belgarath was interesting also in being an amalgamation of a trickster figure and a wise mentor. By far one of Eddings' most round.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Both him and Polgara. They're both also more powerful than Moiraine. But there's just something about her. True wisdom.

    JOHN STOCKTON

    I was thrown by your "when I was younger" remark until I remembered this series started 20 years ago. Wow.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I started when I was 14 or 15...

    YELLOW

    The WoT names always annoyed me because they're so close to real names. Any chance of dropping a Blixbop into A Memory of Light?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mr. Jordan did this intentionally, to hint that the WoT world was our world in the future (and the past.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's part of the 'feel' of the world. They are close to real names because they ARE real names, just many years removed.

    TADBO

    The females in The Wheel of Time are among the most two-dimensional in the history of fantasy.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I disagree. Case in point: Tolkien's female protagonists. (Which was the comparison I was making.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But even beyond that, you have to remember, this is a society with some skewed gender relationships because of the way magic works.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But Moiraine is hardly two-dimensional. Neither is Nynaeve. They can be annoying, yes, but that's not the same as two-dimensional.

    TADBO

    They scheme, they argue, they tug on their skirts and stamp their feet, or they fall at Rand's feet. Really?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Aviendha is very distinctive. Tuon is very distinctive. Min is very distinctive. Many of the Aes Sedai act as you say, but...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...I see this as an intentional effect of the society they live in.

    ZEERAK WASEEM

    Don't you get annoyed with the females in WoT? The female lead I prefer is Aviendha, the rest are full of themselves.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, I didn't say they didn't annoy me at times. I said they were strong, and I'll add that they are interesting.

    TADBO

    Final note. I would argue that Jordan's female protagonists are MAIN characters, whereas Tolkien's are mainly supporting.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The Tolkien point is valid. However, remember what started this conversation. I was saying things about the WoT that impressed me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One was a large cast of female main characters, something a lot of fantasy by men I'd read was lacking.

    TEREZ

    WoT females are caricaturish, sometimes stereotypical, but not two-dimensional. (This from a female.)

    TADBO

    Yes, caricatures. A better description than two-dimensional.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, different people read things differently. If WoT's women didn't work for you, I understand why, though I don't feel the same.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You're not the only one to feel that way.

    TEREZ

    The fact that I see them as caricatures helps me to enjoy them as characters more. It's RJ's own type of dry humor.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I view them more of products of a society where social norms are different, and women have something 'machismo'-like.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It makes them act similar in places, even though when you see into their souls, there is something deeper.

    TEREZ

    In my opinion this is also true, but the caricature part is an important aspect of accepting ALL WoT characters as they are.

    TEREZ

    They, like the story itself, are ubertropes. There is more to them than that, just as there is more to the story.

    FELIX PAX

    It's as if RJ's sense of humor was written for a theater company on stage. Bombastic, perhaps?

    TEREZ

    I think the word you are looking for is 'exaggerated'. But yes, stage-acting a very good comparison.

    TADBO

    I don't know if I ever saw it as 'dry humor'. The Aes Sedai scared the crap out of me in high school.

    TEREZ

    Well, maybe now that you're a big boy... ;) RJ said he'd rather hunt leopards...

    TADBO

    True enough. XD

    TEREZ

    I mean, have you SEEN the map of Tar Valon? It's supposed to be funny, people. And serious at the same time, of course.

    JAMES FURLONG

    Haha! Just clicked on, never noticed THAT before. Hoho!

    HBFFERREIRA

    LOL Never noticed it before either.

    KAREN BASKINS

    LOL! In nearly twenty years of reading WoT, I never took notice of the Tar Valon map. Thank you for the laugh. I needed that. :-)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've wondered about the map for Tar Valon. That...well, that can't be an accident. I've never asked Team Jordan, though.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Needless to say, it wasn't something I noticed when I was a teen.

    TEREZ

    Someone asked RJ about it. Sort of. His answer was hilarious.

    RICHARD FIFE

    Ya know, for some odd reason, I never really saw the map of Tar Valon. Now I'll never unsee it...

    TEREZ

    Indeed, it cannot be unseen. :)

    MATT HATCH

    ...wow, this really changes how I view the siege, harbor, and the iron chain becoming cuendillar.

    TEREZ

    You are such a perv, boss.

    MATT HATCH

    Showed my wife the map. Her immediate reaction: "Oh, Jim Rigney." Big smile.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You'd never seen that before?

    TEREZ

    He had. Was just inspired by the moment to show it to his wife. And he'd never seen the quote. :)

    MATT HATCH

    I'd seen it...it was a while back; I remember thinking "really???" This reminded me and the quote made it hilarious.

    TEREZ

    Could give a whole new meaning to 'Rand had daydreamed over Master al'Vere's old map...'

    TEREZ

    '...half the boys in Emond's Field had daydreamed over it.'

    NICHOLAS BROWN

    To the blind... what am I seeing? I see a fish or a submarine. Is there something else?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Hm. How to do this without going places I don't care to go... Maybe a link will suffice. http://bit.ly/gMSLt6

    Tags

  • 4

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Luckers (10 January 2011)

    By the way about my question re: Moridin's sexuality, my friend now thinks Moridin is in love with the Dark One... :S

    Brandon Sanderson (10 January 2011)

    I didn't catch the Moridin question first time around. Would you ask again?

    TEREZ

    He asked if Moridin was gay since he's evil but doesn't appear to be interested in taking advantage of his pets.

    LUCKERS

    What she said. He seems very asexual in general. The thought came after reading the Moghedien/Shaidar Haran/Moridin scene.

    LUCKERS

    It's also not just that I think he should be raping them because he's evil, it's just there is a complete lack of interest.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As for your Moridin question, it is a good one. I'll look into it as well. I haven't seen anything either way in the notes.

    Tags

  • 5

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    NOTE—TEREZ

    This conversation starts off with some of Brandon's thoughts on the lack of female ta'veren in the story, which apparently inspired some knee-jerk posts on Twitter and Facebook about sexism in WoT. Which inspired a mild overreaction on Brandon's part, and so on, which led to a lot of discussion on semantic distinctions and the like. But it was fun. The greater (and latter) part of the conversation took place when Brandon happened to be on an airplane with a choice between reading WoT and hanging out on Twitter where some HCFFs happened to be online. [That is, people who have spent the last ten years or more (in this case) thinking about WoT more than most things, and who in this case included a gay man and a (quasi? pseudo?)-feminist.] It is, for the most part, what some might perceive to be politically biased, so I offer an apology on behalf of all of us for what might appear to be PC-ness and conservative-bashing.

    Brandon Sanderson (11 March 2011)

    I remember the first time I heard the Egwene/Nynaeve/Elayne trio called the "Wondergirls." I'm pretty sure I was in Korea at the time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've often gotten questions from people asking if Egwene was ta'veren. Obviously not, as Siuan would have seen the glow of it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    People seem to wonder why all three boys, and not a single one of the girls, are ta'veren. I've assumed this was to confuse the Shadow.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    To make it difficult to track down Rand and kill him before he grew powerful, the Pattern made three ta'veren to keep everyone guessing.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Of course, it can be argued that the Pattern doesn't do such things—it simply IS. Still, I've liked that as part of the explanation.

    JONAS MUILWIJK

    Why the hell would the Wheel want to confuse the Shadow? :S The Wheel is good nor bad, so it won't choose a side.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Think of it this way—yes, the Pattern simply IS. But evolution simply IS as well. And some times, species evolve to...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...have many offspring in order to increase the chances of survival. Likewise, we have three ta'veren. A survival mechanism.

    TIM MARGHEIM

    Weak analogy? If evolution==Pattern, you'd need "Evolution IS, and evolution itself has DMs." Pattern doesn't have species.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha ha. I didn't say Evolution==the Pattern. I was showing an amoral, natural function could create something similar to three ta'veren.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Man, people sure are quick to accuse RJ of sexism on my Twitter feed & Facebook. I think any who do this are blatantly wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's okay to not like the books, or to think RJ did a bad job with characterizations. I disagree, but everyone's tastes are different.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But he took great pains to create many strong female protagonists with a variety of strengths, and gave them their own stories.

    KATELYN HECKETT

    I've picked up some funny male bias in the books (lots of "breasts", no male equivalent, etc.) but wouldn't say RJ's sexist.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, I've noticed a few of those too.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, there are (More than a few) sexist people in the WoT. And the culture has been influenced by the male/female interactions of the Power.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, if you look at the time devoted to female viewpoints—and the plots of those characters—the "RJ is sexist" theory erodes.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Warning: Long update on this topic. As a nod to those who truly know feminist literary theory, I'll make a less "Twitter friendly" argument. Robert Jordan, by creating a world where the women and men are very aware of gender roles, spent a lot of time delving into these topics. I'm convinced he was aware of male privilege, and though biased—as all of us are—sought very hard to overcome his own biases by creating evocative female characters with plot lines that do not center around the obtaining of favor or romantic interest from male characters. He also sought to create a world where women were not defined by how they were viewed by men, but were instead defined by their intelligence, determination, and accomplishments. In this way, though he exposes some small masculine biases in various areas, he was extremely progressive as a dominant male writer of his era, and should be regarded as anything other than "sexist" for his efforts. /Scholarly Brandon

    BRANDON BALLENGER

    Agreed. Hey, how much more "Scholarly Brandon" is online? Seen your postmodernism in fantasy essay, besides that?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Not a ton. I've had to walk a fine line, as I'm not enough of a scholar to trust myself digging too deeply.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've got a Master's, so I can talk the talk—but when others spent their time in research, I spent it practicing writing.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think I have an essay or two on my website. Search for "Sanderson's First Law" and my religion essay regarding Elantris.

    TEREZ

    I didn't read all of the conversations you had about it on Twitter and Facebook, and I didn't really have gender roles in mind so much as other things. I understand what you're saying about how his world requires certain gender imbalances—I addressed that sort of offhandedly in my post by saying that the 'in practice' roles in WoT are often not what you would theoretically expect considering the circumstances. And while RJ often made comparisons to various time periods in the real world in reference to technology in particular, I'm not talking about that—I'm talking about the theoretical result of the history of the WoT world. Many of the gender imbalances are logical, but many are not, which is why they don't feel realistic at all to many readers.

    The main problem I had with your comments is that you said that anyone who accused RJ of sexism for whatever reason was 'blatantly wrong'. You sort of trivialize those things that we are 'left with' after cutting away the complex and subjective debate over gender roles, but those things we are left with are so pervasive in the novels that they give an overall impression of an old-fashioned and often casually sexist man behind the curtain. This is a big turn-off for some people, and while I feel that those who cannot overlook it are missing out on one of the greatest stories of all time, I understand that it is a legitimate complaint.

    As for the female nudity...just no. :p I mean, I know you read all the interviews at one point. 'No Male Nudity' (NMN) was not quite as popular as RAFO, but it was definitely one of his favorite stock answers (especially in reference to movie questions—it was his 'one rule') for a good few years. He was pretty blatant about his preferences there, and while I'm sure he had several cultural influences in mind, in the end it's pretty clear that he just enjoyed writing about naked women more than he enjoyed writing about naked men.

    I agree that it's wrong to judge RJ as a person anachronistically, but at the same time, I think it's wrong to make such a blanket statement about the veracity of our claims of sexism in WoT. It's there, and it's real. I agree that some people take the criticism too far without considering certain things—I've had these debates (on non-WoT forums especially) many times over the years—but it seems to me more constructive to criticize the exaggerations, or to criticize each argument on its own merits, than to denounce any and all claims of sexism in WoT in one fell swoop.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (14 MARCH)

    The "Blatantly Wrong" comment was for those who don't really know feminist theory or gender studies, and who were commenting that sexist characters and culture implied a sexist Robert Jordan. I thought better of it later, however, for the people who actually know what they're talking about. Hence the more scholarly comment directed toward people like yourself. I do not deny that there are things to talk about here. Remember, just like with the word "Racism," there are two meanings of the word "Sexist." There is the knee-jerk usage by people who intend it as an insult. And then there is the more thoughtful, careful usage by people who make a study of such things. In their hands, 'sexist' means showing one's biases and a lack of awareness of certain aspects of male privilege or gender sensitivity—using this word to describe someone is not an insult, but a description of bias. (The types of biases that we all have, and can't totally expunge—though we be aware of and try to compensate for them.) My first comment was directed at the first crowd; my second comment at the second crowd.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    For the record, I'm hardly well-read in feminist theory. I've read far more in queer theory (and most of it since then, for unrelated reasons), and queer theory is often tied up with feminist theory, but even there I'm far from an expert, and so my familiarity with feminist theory is along the lines of a vague acquaintance. I understand the distinction Brandon is making, and it's a good one, but I don't think of it as having much to do with feminist theory.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (20 MARCH)

    And, looks like I have Twitter on my flight again this time. So much for getting anything useful done...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Re: NMN. I'll give you this point in regards to Rhuidean. No good reason for Aviendha to be nude when Rand/Mat don't have to be.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As for the Aes Sedai ceremonies, they still feel very similar to sacred feminine ceremonies I've read before.

    TEREZ

    Sure, but most of the female nudity comes in the sweat tents and baths, etc. Though the baths in Fal Dara were egalitarian.

    TEREZ

    The descriptions of how Aviendha squats in the sweat tent, for instance, are really quite vulgar if you think about it.

    TEREZ

    But you don't see anything like that in the bath scene at Baerlon, for example. And even ritual nudity can get vulgar...

    TEREZ

    ...like Amys at the sister-bonding ceremony in Winter's Heart. I mean, come on.

    JAMES POWELL

    There's certainly lots o female iffy WoT nudity, but also quite a lot of male nudity—especially Rand being ogled.

    TEREZ

    Yeah, Rand does get ogled once at least. But it's a matter of balance in my opinion.

    TEREZ

    Greatest Cadsuane line ever: 'I’ve already seen more of your hairless bottomcheeks than I wish to...'

    TEREZ

    '....but if you want to flaunt them in front of all six of us, perhaps someone will enjoy the show.' :)

    JAMES POWELL

    I'm not saying that the nudity issue is balanced—clearly, it's not. But at least some effort was being made.

    TEREZ

    Yeah, @BrandSanderson and I have gone round a bit on this already. We all recognize that some effort was made. Just saying...

    TEREZ

    ...that these things were the product of RJ's heterosexual male preferences, and therefore inherently sexist.

    SETH BAKER

    Based largely upon the male characters being prudes. Doesn't that cut the other way for M/F sexual experience?

    TEREZ

    Not really, since the root cause is still RJ's brain. And Mat. Is far from a prude.

    TEREZ

    But we're at the same time not trying to make RJ out to be particularly sexist. He wasn't, especially for his Age.

    JAMES POWELL

    *nods* I'm more saddened by the almost complete lack of gay WoT characters—but that's just my personal bias.

    TEREZ

    No, it's not just your personal bias. It was RJ's. If there hadn't been lesbians you probably wouldn't care, eh?

    JAMES POWELL

    I actually found the whole issue of some women being "pillow friends", but then growing out of it and mooning over men, quite off.

    TEREZ

    Right, and the fact that the ones who don't grow out of it are for the most part evil bitches.

    LIRA LEIRNER

    There are SOME implications of being gay being equally as normal, as outlined here http://ow.ly/4imXS

    TEREZ

    Oh, we know. But it's a half-hearted implication. Not even close to half really...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, at least there wasn't the "Gay=pedophile" implication that some fantasy of the era made...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Of course, being Mormon, perhaps I'm not the best qualified to speak of someone's treatment of LGBT issues.

    LUCKERS

    Are you sure the nudity doesn't play a practical role in the ter'angreal? I note that in both the...

    LUCKERS

    ...Accepted rings and the final test the woman must be nude. Strange, two separate rituals taking the same form.

    LIRA

    And Moiraine, too. I think it's probably the rings. The other testing ter'angreal all require nakedness.

    LIRA LEIRNER

    Aviendha doesn't have to be naked when she goes through the columns. Although I thought they could have told...

    LIRA LEIRNER

    ...them to take off their clothes once they're in Rhuidean; don't see needing to taking them off before.

    TEREZ

    It's not a requirement of the ter'angreal according to them, but a sign of station (humbling).

    TEREZ

    Also, with Aviendha, there was the practical aspect of giving up her cadin'sor.

    TEREZ

    It's the same with the raisings at the Tower—they never wear those clothes again if I remember correctly.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I suspected I was half wrong when I posted this, and I was—the Accepted get their new dresses right after the test, but in New Spring, Moiraine and Siuan wore their Accepted dresses to swear the Oaths.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think Terez's argument is that women end up in these situations suspiciously more often than men.

    TEREZ

    Essentially yes. And that the description is more gratuitous. RJ could have chosen to write male nudity rituals.

    LUCKERS

    Mmm. True, but as I've argued in the past re: lack of gay men—we've been more exposed to all female...

    LUCKERS

    ...organisations and rituals. the one exception, I suppose, is the sweat tents, but again that occurred...

    LUCKERS

    ...organically. The Wise Ones were planning, and the sweat tents provided a social medium.

    LUCKERS

    By the way, my original point was simply that Moiraine and Aviendha's nudity may have served a practical purpose...

    LUCKERS

    ...when going through the ter'angreal—Mat and Rand didn't go through that ter'angreal after all.

    LUCKERS

    It's strange that the Aes Sedai and Wise Ones separately built nudity rituals around similar ter'angreal. Necessary?

    TEREZ

    Organically? You say that as if the scene wrote itself. RJ chose to use female sweat tent scenes, female nudity.

    TEREZ

    Even if the nudity does have a practical purpose that doesn't change the fact that he chose to write it that way.

    TEREZ

    He chose to develop the female organizations, and he chose to show lesbians outside those organizations rather than men.

    LUCKERS

    He chose to write the scene with Rand naked and being eyed by a dozen women too. So what?

    TEREZ

    Again, it's about balance. The 'suspiciously more often' bit. I feel you are being overly defensive about it.

    LUCKERS

    Are we to presume he did it lasciviously? To titillate? This is what I meant by it happening organically.

    LUCKERS

    I'm not being defensive—rather I don't see the problem. The female nudity was never vulgar... it just was.

    TEREZ

    As I said, it's clear enough he just enjoyed writing about naked women and lesbians more than he enjoyed...

    TEREZ

    ....writing about naked men and gay men. It's fanservice, but I don't think he thought of it like that.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've got to side with Terez on this one. It IS there. RJ did a LOT of things with great equality, but...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...when it came to nudity, he liked showing naked women more than men. I don't think it was vulgar, though.

    TEREZ

    Depends on your definition of vulgar. RJ was very good at avoiding vulgarity on the surface, but hinting at it.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I had this scene from The Fires of Heaven in mind, and it sums up many tweets I made on the subject which were omitted:

    Moiraine, seeming slight and small beside the others, also looked unruffled, although sweat rolled down her pale nudity and slicked her dark hair to her scalp, with a regal refusal to acknowledge that she had no clothes on. The Wise Ones were using slim, curved pieces of bronze, called staera, to scrape off sweat and the day's dirt.

    Aviendha was squatting sweatily beside the big black kettle of hot, sooty rocks in the middle of the tent, carefully using a pair of tongs to move a last stone from a smaller kettle to the larger. That done, she sprinkled water onto the rocks from a gourd, adding to the steam. If she let the steam fall too far, she would be spoken to sharply at the very least. The next time the Wise Ones met in the sweat tent, it would be Egwene's turn to tend the rocks.

    Egwene cautiously sat down cross-legged next to Bair—instead of layered rugs, there was only rocky ground, unpleasantly hot, lumpy and damp—and realized with a shock that Aviendha had been switched, and recently. When the Aiel woman gingerly took her own place, beside Egwene, she did so with a face as stony as the ground, but a face that could not hide her flinch.

    To call these descriptions 'gratuitous' is, of course, only in comparison to RJ's (incredibly rare) treatments of male nudity (and not in comparison to, say, GRRM).

    LUCKERS

    @BrandSanderson I still think that implies a little too much premeditation in the depiction, but I'm happy with your description.

    LUCKERS

    I'm not denying its presence, I'm denying the implications that the depiction is wrong. It flowed naturally...

    LUCKERS

    ...from the plot, and wasn't lascivious. I certainly don't think RJ worked to include it.

    LUCKERS

    Besides... if you wanna have a gay male character in A Memory of Light I'd not complain. :)

    TEREZ

    Okay then. Do you think that RJ's insistence that there be no male nudity in the films was 'organic'?

    Footnote—Terez

    I was wrong about the film distinction, though I do believe there is an older report somewhere mentioning this that I am missing. However, there is a 'no male nudity' tag for all the times RJ mentioned it at signings; it was a running joke for him.

    TEREZ

    That is where this little debate started, because it is essentially the proof of the point.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. Well (though I'm on your side) it could be argued that's a marketing decision.

    TEREZ

    LOL. Many things could be argued. Some arguments are more logical than others, though. :)

    LUCKERS

    I didn't know about this insistence. That's a little... weird, honestly. No, ok, a lot weird.

    TEREZ

    See, if you had actually read my debate with @BrandSanderson we wouldn't have to catch you up. ;)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's cultural, unfortunately. You can have female nudity and get a PG-13. But not male. Of course, that...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...leads us to the whole topfreedom debate, which ISN'T something I really want to get into.

    TEREZ

    It doesn't necessarily lead there. Again, I bring it up mostly for cultural awareness reasons.

    LUCKERS

    That's really stupid—but does make some sense. Also, I don't know if you remember Terez but for a while there were...

    LUCKERS

    ...some fairly rampant pockets of homophobia amongst the fandom—I had this discussion with @zemaille at WorldCon.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I had the same discussion with Linda before Luckers did, at the previous JordanCon. I think she was a little shocked by the number of people at tor.com who refuse to even recognize that pillow friends are lesbians.

    TEREZ

    There still are. It's mostly visible at tor.com—some staunch conservatives there.

    LINDA TAGLIERI

    Oh yeah!

    TEREZ

    Which is unfortunate considering Leigh's views. There is a ruckus every time she brings it up.

    LUCKERS

    *nods* And as sad as it is to think that RJ was wary of this—it's reasonable to avoid alienating your fans.

    TEREZ

    Well, if he was trying to avoid alienating THOSE fans he wouldn't have included lesbians either.

    LUCKERS

    Mmm. Lesbians have always been the safer homosexual depiction—which says a lot about our society.

    SETH BAKER

    In the end, you're indicting modern Western society, not RJ himself. He knew what you can't do and sell.

    TEREZ

    The first bit, yes. The second bit...I don't think that marketing was his only motive.

    SETH BAKER

    There're people who are not morally opposed to homosexuality, are fine with reading FF, but not MM for what it's worth.

    TEREZ

    And that is exactly the problem that is being addressed. Not judging RJ so much as ourselves.

    LUCKERS

    I hesitate to ask—but what's topfreedom? My mind went to an icky place. :S

    TEREZ

    LOL. I imagine it has to do with the fact that men can go shirtless but women can't.

    LUCKERS

    OH! That's... much nicer than what I was thinking. Hehe.

    LUCKERS

    I will say this, though—the complete lack of any sort of hetero-normative assumption in WoT gets RJ my vote.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I wish this plane would let me use Tweetlonger to jump into this with more teeth.

    TEREZ

    Feel free to jump in with teeth later. We're not going anywhere. :)

    LUCKERS

    Yes. More teeth would be awesome! But we aren't going anywhere.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This whole issue—homosexuality, conservatism, and the WoT—deserves a serious, thoughtful post.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I just can't do that in 100 character bursts.

    TEREZ

    Cool. I am looking forward to it.

    LUCKERS

    I respect that Brandon. Still, post what you want—we understand it's not your full argument.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I will say that there IS a gay male in Towers of Midnight, placed there on my part as I felt similar to you on this issue.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I was going to tell you who it was, but figuring this out is the sort of thing you guys love, isn't it?

    TEREZ

    YAY! But of course, then you have to be careful not to make him too throw-away....

    TEREZ

    I considered Androl earlier, when I considered you might do this. lol. But I will think on it some more.

    LUCKERS

    Oh. Hey! Awesome. Ok, now we have to figure it out.

    LUCKERS

    Hopefully not Denezel or Hatch—their wives would be furious. :D

    FOOTNOTE

    Jason Denzel and Matt Hatch, webmasters of Dragonmount and Theoryland respectively—they were recognized as innkeepers in Towers of Midnight.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll note that references to his sexuality were cut merely because I moved the chapter with mention to A Memory of Light.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I won't say if it's a new character or one I made a decision on, since there weren't notes either way.

    TEREZ

    And he seems to have ruled out Moridin, alas. But that would be sort of Dumbledore-y anyway.

    TEREZ

    (And yes, I have read @BrandSanderson's thoughts on Dumbledore. Just saying. And we're not talking kids' books here.)

    LUCKERS

    I'm beginning to think it somewhat strange that I'm the one defending RJ the heaviest given your points...

    LUCKERS

    ... and the fact that I'm gay. Does that mean my loyalty to RJ defies reason, or that I'm so used to accepting...

    LUCKERS

    ...the dribbles that are depictions of homosexuality in fantasy? A disturbing thought.

    TEREZ

    Nah, not weird at all. You're pretty anti-activist in a lot of ways. Overcompensation, of course. ;)

    TEREZ

    I believe you are sensitive to the right-wing idea of the Gay Agenda.

    TEREZ

    So you seem to have a reluctance to champion your own causes too loudly, internally as well as externally.

    TEREZ

    In some ways it's a healthy reluctance. In some ways, it's sad that it is necessary.

    LUCKERS

    Well the gays are plotting world domination—we discussed this in our last High Council. But that's another conversation.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You have good reason to defend him, Luckers. There ARE good examples. Arrela is one.

    TEREZ

    Seonid isn't bad either. Right? :D I think they might have been responses to the criticism.

    LUCKERS

    *nods* Arrela's love was beautiful. And your scene in The Gathering Storm was heartbreaking.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, gay men are few and far between. But it could be much worse. See: Eddings, or worse, Goodkind and Newcomb.

    SETH BAKER

    I'm with you on that. I got bored reading Goodkind because of how annoyingly ANTI-PC it was.

    SETH BAKER

    In the end, I want my stories to refrain from editorializing. Tell the story, and tell it to your audience.

    BRANDON

    Goodkind is...well, let's not go there. It's good, sometimes, to be anti-PC, as the world isn't PC.

    BRANDON

    But if you're going to delve in and editorialize, I believe it important to look at the other side too.

    TEREZ

    I haven't read Newcomb, but yes, Goodkind's inclusion was of the worst sort.

    TEREZ

    Again, few people think RJ is all bad on this. But the fact that we are so appreciative of his rather biased...

    TEREZ

    ...and gratuitous inclusion shows how far behind we are as a society.

    BRANDON

    Ha. Terez, you NEED to read Newcomb. If only because I want to see your head explode when you do.

    TEREZ

    LOL. Well, I will bring it along to JordanCon then, so you can observe. ;)

    BRANDON

    It is an incredible experience. Goodkind times 1000 in the anti-feminist department. And it seems unconscious.

    LUCKERS

    Goodkind disturbs me on more levels than that, but I do take your point—it was what I meant by accepting dribbles.

    BRANDON

    The thing is, [RJ] tried. And in the end, that's the most important thing can ask. The second is that they listen.

    BRANDON

    And I do think RJ listened. I think he grew more sensitive on this subject as time passed.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    RJ was in many ways very responsive to fan criticism, but he seemed to play the Eelfinn in that he liked to make jokes out of granting our wishes. A good example: Fans complained that characters never had to use a privy while in POV. RJ added a couple of references (including an 'if you must know' from Tuon), and he even threw in urine-tasting in Crossroads of Twilight. Clearly that was RJ getting a laugh on us. He made passing mention of male homosexuality in a couple of the later books (including New Spring), and while it wasn't quite a balance for his lesbians, it was an improvement. He also made public statements that homosexuality was all around not a big deal in Randland, for either gender. He made it clear that, in general, writing about male sexuality was just a squick for him, but he tended to be rather open and modern about his sexuality (even in the family-friendly context of WoT) and so the gender bias sticks out to many modern readers.

    TEREZ

    Agreed, as I noted before re: the response to criticism. Again, it's more about us than about him.

    LUCKERS

    Interesting thought—about listening and changing. Kind of beautiful as well—that fans can give back to authors.

    LUCKERS

    That RJ touched on it at all was good—especially when we remember when he was writing these books.

    LUCKERS

    It does well to remember just how much the degree to which homosexuality is depicted has changed recently.

    TEREZ

    This is true. I just feel that now is the time to blow it out of the water, for that very reason.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm curious if either of you read Rose of the Prophet, and what you thought of it. (Because of the gay male character.)

    TEREZ

    hmm, nope, haven't heard of it. I was told Deathgate was the only thing by [Weis and Hickman] worth reading.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    To explain, I rarely find myself overly desirous of reading new books since WoT occupies so much of my time these days, so I tend to go by friend recommendations and not worry much about whether or not I would actually agree.

    LUCKERS

    Do you guys realise how much Rand's early arc resonates with a gay teenager?

    LUCKERS

    A young man who—through no choice of his own—finds himself to be something hated and feared.

    LUCKERS

    Something judged to be morally wrong though no moral choice has been made on his part.

    LUCKERS

    The whole arc—the 'men's pride, men's sin' resonated very heavily with me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's FASCINATING, honestly. I'd never thought of that.

    TEREZ

    I bet RJ never thought of it either. :D But yes, it's a good comparison in many ways.

    LUCKERS

    All of this is why I never liked Mat in my first readings (when i was like 13). His reaction to Rand was...

    LUCKERS

    ...a little to close to home. And no I haven't read [Rose of the Prophet]—I will now though. (sorry for going on this tangent).

    LUCKERS

    It doesn't really matter to me if RJ meant the comparison—that he depicted something similar with such...

    LUCKERS

    ...visceral realism is the value of a great writer, because then the fans can take what they need from it.

    LUCKERS

    And in truth Rand's arc in dealing with it taught me how to. In fact its one of the reasons I love Cadsuane...

    TEREZ

    Because Cadsuane was Rand's faghag? No wait, that was Min! No, she was his beard...

    LUCKERS

    She doesn't feel sorry for Rand, or try to coddle him—she treats him like she would any other person...

    LUCKERS

    Her refusal to let Rand allow circumstance to victimize him was a powerful and subtle theme.

    TEREZ

    Indeed, that's why I like her. And why most people hate her. Because she should respect his authoritay!

    LUCKERS

    And I think it is the greatest service anyone in the books has done him. Even if Rand couldn't appreciate it.

    LUCKERS

    Re: Parallels between Rand's early arc and being gay...[from The Great Hunt]

    "No, I can't. I mean . . . I didn't do it on purpose. It just happened. I don't want to—to channel the Power. I won't ever do it again. I swear it."

    "You don't want to," the Amyrlin Seat said. "Well, that's wise of you. And foolish, too. Some can be taught to channel; most cannot. A few, though, have the seed in them at birth. Sooner or later, they wield the One Power whether they want to or not, as surely as roe makes fish. You will continue to channel, boy. You can't help it. And you had better learn to channel, learn to control it, or you will not live long enough to go mad. The One Power kills those who cannot control its flow."

    "How am I supposed to learn?" he demanded. Moiraine and Verin just sat there, unruffled, watching him. Like spiders. "How? Moiraine claims she can't teach me anything, and I don't know how to learn, or what. I don't want to, anyway. I want to stop. Can't you understand that? To stop!"—Chapter 8, 'The Dragon Reborn'

    That desperation is something I remember. Then this...

    He paused, frowning, thinking things through. Finally, he said quietly, "Rand, can you channel?" Mat gave a strangled gasp. Rand let the banner drop; he hesitated only a moment before nodding wearily. "I did not ask for it. I don't want it. But. . . . But I do not think I know how to stop it."

    —and finally...

    Mat hesitated, looking sideways at Rand. "Look, I know you came along to help me, and I am grateful. I really am. But you just are not the same anymore. You understand that, don't you?" He waited as if he expected an answer. None came. Finally he vanished into the trees, back toward the camp.—Chapter 11, 'Glimmers of the Pattern'

    Potent scenes. Especially Mat's last lines. *shrug*

    TEREZ

    Yeah, I knew exactly what you were talking about as soon as you mentioned it. Perrin isn't much better.

    TEREZ

    Perrin is just not as thoughtlessly hurtful as Mat is. He's more the silent disapproval type.

    LUCKERS

    Though Perrin does realise the hypocrisy, and feel bad, so I didn't mind so much. :)

    LINDA TAGLIERI

    Yes, I appreciated Perrin's sympathy and tact—like when he said Rand is now a dreaded figure.

    LINDA TAGLIERI

    For instance he suggested that while running was understandable, it might not be possible.

    LINDA TAGLIERI

    Of course, Perrin is coming to terms with being a werewolf, so understandable he knows how Rand feels.

    LUCKERS

    And with Perrin the parallel stops—Rand is a genuine threat, whereas homosexuality isn't.

    LINDA TAGLIERI

    Both Perrin and Rand loathe themselves because they feel they are a threat to society.

    LUCKERS

    Just got a rather abrupt tweet from someone who I think thought I was implying Rand was gay.

    LUCKERS

    Which clearly is accurate. The Harem are the red herring to end all red herrings.

    TEREZ

    LOL. Yeah, well...ignorance and prejudice go hand in hand (or so they say). ;)

    TEREZ

    You know you're gay when you need THREE beards to maintain your cover.

    LUCKERS

    Lol!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    And...half of my in-flight WoT reread time was sucked up by a great Twitter conversation about gender and LGBT issues in the WoT.

    TEREZ

    Ohhhh, blame it on us will you! :p You knew as soon as you saw you had Twitter you weren't getting any work done. ;)

    LUCKERS

    Haha. Yeah—I've written a hundred and fifty words in three hours. Today was gonna be my productive day too. *sigh*/

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I have a new goal: to get Terez and Leigh Butler to do a feminist review of Newcomb's Fifth Sorceress for Tor.com. How can I make this happen?

    PETER AHLSTROM

    Sadist.

    TEREZ

    LOL. If you can talk Leigh into it, I'm so down with that.

    LUCKERS

    Lol. A gay, a feminist and a Mormon walk into a bar—whereupon they have a deep and meaningful conversation about sexuality in WoT. #NoJokes

    TEREZ

    LMAO. It's funny, though...I don't really think of myself as a feminist. Just an equalist.

    LUCKERS

    I was just being funny with the no jokes thing—the reality of us three having that conversation struck me.

    TEREZ

    Not to mention, you were raised Catholic, and I was raised Southern Baptist. Now we need a Muslim...

    Tags

  • 6

    Interview: Oct 31st, 1994

    Judy Ghirardelli

    Theoretically, if you, well not you, if someone, well, err, ummm, ... *blushing furiously*... had sex in Tel'aran'rhiod, could they be pregnant in the real world?

    Robert Jordan

    He just stared at me for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, and it must have been days later, I was so embarrassed, he smiled and said, "Read and find out. I like the dirty questions! You notice it's always the women who ask the dirty questions, never the men."

    Judy Ghirardelli

    I sputtered and babbled a bit, saying, "It was not really dirty, and it was my husband's question, not mine at all, not dirty, no..", after which I was reduced to a blathering idiot. How embarrassing! On the way out of line, Chad teased me about asking dirty questions... After this, I was just like a deer frozen in the headlights. I could not think of any other thing to say (even though I had the list in front of me).

    Tags

  • 7

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (14 April 2011)

    Yes, Delta has free twitter again on this flight. I will try my best to get work done. Why is it so much more tempting while flying?

    LUCKERS

    Wanna have a detailed conversation about something? We already did sexuality in the Wheel.

    LUCKERS

    Seriously, its 4am here, I'm feeling loopy and sad not to be at JordanCon... I'm go for anything.

    LUCKERS

    Reverse the normal vibe. Ask me questions. :P

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Bad Luckers. Go to sleep, let him work.

    LUCKERS

    Hush.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, we could get into how timid a lot of us fantasy writers are about writing black viewpoint protagonists.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It is noticeable to me. I don't think it's intentional bias, and if it is, it's worry about doing something wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But you see a lot of black side characters (in film too) but few black leading men.

    LUCKERS

    Interesting point actually... a form of reverse-racism. The fear that you are going to step wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. You can read up on something called "Racefail" in the sff community from a few years back, if you want.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Google it. You'll find some interesting points along these lines.

    LUCKERS

    I did so, and yeah I see what you mean.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I do wonder if it also has to do with not having racially integrated kingdoms (as makes sense) in fantasy.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    So, if you want to tell a story about one kingdom, it naturally follows that you end up with a lot of people of the same race.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you add someone else to be racially diverse—but that person you add becomes, by nature, the outsider.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Which, of course, only reinforces the bias, despite attempts at being diverse. It's a tough nut to crack.

    LUCKERS

    That does make sense—though I like RJ's futuristic blending of races. Sharan, Tairen, Seanchan—the blend has no meaning.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I'm not so sure this is completely true; it's probably quite significant that the Empress of Seanchan, an empire despised mostly because of slavery, is a black woman (not because it's significant in the WoT world, but because it isn't). It might also be significant that the only other known slavery of the WoT world is in Shara, which parallels Africa in many ways, including the dark-skinned natives. The dark-skinned Tairens are unique in Randland proper for their feudalistic serfdom.

    LUCKERS

    For myself, I write fantasy set in modern times—I touch on race heavily but have avoided aboriginal issues.

    LUCKERS

    Which wasn't intentional.

    JAMES POWELL

    Often, when reading a book, I don't know what colour a character's skin is—it's rarely described.

    JAMES POWELL

    I suspect this is to do with "white" = "default". The best exception I've seen is @neilhimself's Anansi Boys.

    LUCKERS

    I don't think it's white=default so much as caution about giving offense...at least on my part.

    JAMES POWELL

    I often wonder if having one black character (amid a load of white characters) is worse than having none.

    LUCKERS

    It's funny, I never realised but I have no black characters in my book, and thinking about it it's likely...

    LUCKERS

    ...because I've no idea how to write an aboriginal viewpoint. I lack the insight—though that's wrong in itself...

    LUCKERS

    ...because there will be many black and aboriginal people with an upbringing similar to mine.

    LUCKERS

    Tokenism, and the perception thereof, is an issue. Brandon's revelation of a gay character in Towers of Midnight received...

    LUCKERS

    ...some very... heated... attention based on this.

    JAMES POWELL

    Yeah, but the revelation of a gay anything causes heated attention somewhere ;)

    LUCKERS

    This is true. My high school graduation was no exception. :P

    JAMES POWELL

    Oh aye? Did you ask for a Gay Diploma? ;)

    LUCKERS

    Made out with a guy on the dance floor... it was rather dramatic, but easier than explaining.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. Tokenism is a real danger. And it's tough to do these things without stepping into this trap.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    On one side, you have GLBT readers emailing me and asking sincerely to be better represented.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you have RJ saying to fans "Yes, there are gay characters. It just hasn't been right to mention it yet."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, when the time is right to mention one, how do you keep it from feeling just like a token nod?

    LUCKERS

    On the other hand, from the perspective of a minority that has only very recently received airtime...

    LUCKERS

    ...seeing anything is kind of... well, nice. I can remember being young and avidly watching Dawson's Creek...

    LUCKERS

    ...for the characters who, by today's standards, are very much tokens.

    LUCKERS

    Avoiding a token nod: by not making it the main point. But even so, if he's the only one, he'll be seen that way.

    LUCKERS

    For all that she's a bad guy, Galina's lesbianism was the perfect non-token introduction.

    LUCKERS

    Lord of Chaos Chapter 53, her attentions to Erian....

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm curious. Did you ever read Rose of the Prophet? If so, what did you think of the gay character?

    LUCKERS

    Haha... you asked me this last time—but no. It's on my list now, but hard to find in Australia.

    LUCKERS

    She's also Mormon, no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I liked them as a teenager, but haven't read them in years. If I remember right, however, the gay character...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...falls into the "safe gay friend" category that you see used so often in film, though he has a lot more depth.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The gay man is a major viewpoint protagonist, but his sexuality is very subtle. [Tracy] Hickman is LDS, but not Margaret [Weis].

    PETER AHLSTROM

    And Tracy Hickman is a guy.

    LUCKERS

    Really? *goes red in the face* I've been referring to him as a her for YEARS.

    LUCKERS

    Have you read R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I keep meaning to read it. I think I even bought a copy. But I haven't yet.

    LUCKERS

    It's awesome. I raised it because it has a very poignant depiction character confused about his sexuality.

    LUCKERS

    Here's a question based on 'subtlety'—like the depiction of the black character, can an overly camp character work?

    LUCKERS

    In one of my early drafts I had a camp gay man, and I was accused of homophobia... it's kind of the same point...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As an aside, I really wish "homophobia" hadn't stuck as the term of choice in these matters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I guess "homoinsensitivitia" didn't have the right ring to it.

    LUCKERS

    Fear of singularity in sexuality. Sounds like Star Trek jargon.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    This point came up in the flamewar that followed Brandon's revelation about the gay man on Dragonmount (referenced earlier by Luckers). I think that the connotations of the word are independent of the word itself, and would have likely stuck to whatever word we might have used instead of 'homophobia' (because 'phobia' itself doesn't always have connotations of hatred). In reality, there are many degrees of homophobia ranging from squick to hate, but those on the squick side tend to resent the word being applied to them as it implies a socially unacceptable prejudice.

    RI SCOTT

    On the gay character question, why do you think fantasy, in general, so badly underrepresents the LGBT community?

    RI SCOTT

    It's one thing that deeply bothers me about a genre I love so dearly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    If I had to say, I'd guess it's not intentional. It has more to do with what I posted earlier—authors not wanting to do it wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That, mixed with the desire to create sympathetic characters—and the most simple way to do that is create someone like yourself.

    RI SCOTT

    I always wondered if there was any marketability concern—that books would sell less with major gay characters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Maybe. But most writers/editors I know don't think that way. They write the book they want to, then figure out how to market it.

    LUCKERS

    I've had so much fun hanging out with you tonight, but its 5:30 in the morning and I need sleep.

    LUCKERS

    Have a blast a JordanCon. I'm really sorry I'm not there to meet you in person.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. Good night, then. Sorry I've been a little distracted this time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Remind me again. You're over in Australia, right? If so, what city?

    LUCKERS

    Sydney. Same as Linda.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll be there next year, if I haven't mentioned. You, me, and Linda need to hang out when I come.

    LUCKERS

    We will do this. I'm definitely going to be at JordanCon 2012 as well. Still, sad... have fun on my behalf.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    It turned out that Brandon was planning on going to Australia during JordanCon 2012 (so of course Luckers changed his plans).

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    First, the question of Hake's inn in The Eye of the World is answered: it is not a whorehouse, at least not more than any other inn. :-) Due to the increase in women's power, the very concept of prostitution is unknown; but women have much greater freedom in choosing their partners, both casual and permanent. He specifically mentioned Mat's little escapades with various maids and serving-girls.

    Tags

  • 9

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Pam Korda

    Hawk found a way to get RJ's attention. Brandish a whip. You see, RJ IS a dirty old man.

    That was it for Saturday. On Sunday was the reading. He read a piece from A Crown of Swords. (I'll put it in a separate post, to avoid spoiling anybody even a bit. It wasn't a very plot-intensive bit, though. Fewer spoilers than the Prologue has!) It was a Mat bit. After the reading, he talked about Mat as a character a bit.

    Robert Jordan

    Anyway, Mat has indeed had far and away more MPS experience than our other young heroes, and intends to get much much more. I believe the quote was something like "The world is full of beautiful women, and Mat wants to romp barefoot though them all. (or was that with them all. same thing.) He's slept with lots of women; he's slept with women old enough to be his mother..."

    Also, Mat makes the Aes Sedai nervous.

    Sigh, and if RJ had shown all of this "on-screen," y'all wouldn't be complaining about the lack of explicit sex in TWOT!!! (And the books would read like The Fallon Blood.)

    Tags

  • 10

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

    Tags

  • 11

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ryssgarde

    You approach the issues of sex, love and the like with all of your characters while maintaining an almost virginal perspective and yet there is a GREAT deal of nudity throughout the novels. No problem with this but when are Rand and Mat and Perrin going to stop thinking the other has the upper hand?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm not sure that they ever will. Who knows? It seems to me to be a very human thing in dealing with the opposite sex at least to think that somebody else knows more about it than you do. You might swagger and put on a surface belief of "well, I have that nailed!" but I think for most people, there's a little voice in the back saying, "God, he really does know how to handle women, doesn't he?" or "God, she really does know all about men!"

    Tags

  • 12

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Question

    What is going to happen with Elayne, Min, Rand and Aviendha in their relationship? Will they all get along?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out! (he chuckled richly)

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: Oct 9th, 1996

    Question

    You might also want to ask him about the sexual preferences of Galina, Bain and Chiad. :-)

    Robert Jordan

    *chuckle* RAFO.

    Tags

  • 14

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Eligar

    What cultures and societies did you base Saldaea on?

    Robert Jordan

    Saldaea is based, in part, on a number of Middle Eastern cultures and several cultures in countries surrounding the Black Sea. In part.

    Eligar

    And *nervous grin*, is the sa'sara supposed to be a sort of belly-dance? *duck*

    Robert Jordan

    The sa'sara, now... You'll need a certificate from your doctor, a note from your mother and a certificate of health for whoever you intend to dance it for before I can give you any more information beside the name.

    Tags

  • 15

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Agent420

    Will Rand end up with all three girls or just one? =)

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO.

    Tags

  • 16

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Chris Mullins

    I asked RJ, at the Palo Alto signing, if Moghedien was raped by Shadar Haran in A Crown of Swords.

    Robert Jordan

    His reply was, "Yes. Amongst other things."

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Drew Gillmore

    Chris used his moment with the Creator to open himself up to a huge RAFO, but his question was answered. Chris asked if Moghedien had been raped by Shaidar Haran.

    Robert Jordan

    The answer was "Yes, among other things."...

    ...Another interesting point that may just be my interpretation of things, is that someone asked if Lanfear had been raped as well, right on top of the Moghedien question, and he answered right away with a "No". It could be any number of explanations, but it seemed to me that it was a given that Cyndane was Lanfear from the context of the conversation.

    Like I said, just my interpretation.

    Someone else who was paying more attention could fill in here.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Drew Gillmore

    I don't remember most of the other questions. A couple of interesting things I do remember, however:

    Robert Jordan

    The first is that the reason The Path of Daggers seems short is that Jordan could not go any farther without writing a whole lot more. The stage it seems, is once again set. Another interesting thing was Jordan asking Hawk if she was into leather, and if she was "top, bottom, or switch".

    Dirty old man, indeed.

    Tags

  • 19

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Then I asked about Elayne's Rod of Pleasure, and got a RAFO with the explicit warning that we might not ever get to the FO part.

    Footnote

    RJ managed to slip the 'FO' into the next book. A careful reading of 'A Lily in Winter' answers the question of what Elayne was doing when she was blacked out.

    Tags

  • 20

    Interview: Oct 31st, 1998

    Lara Beaton

    I asked at the signing on Saturday. The exchange went something like this:

    What happened with Elayne and that warm ter'angreal?

    Robert Jordan

    (laughs) What do you think happened?

    LARA BEATON

    We figured it must be some sort of One Power sex toy.

    ROBERT JORDAN

    (laughing harder) I may write something about that in a later book.

    LARA BEATON

    RAFO, right?

    Robert Jordan

    Exactly.

    Footnote

    This was clarified further in Winter's Heart, 'A Lily in Winter'.

    Tags

  • 21

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    I see the books, in a way you separate the sexes quite distinctly. Have you had much feminist critique of the way you treat the male characters and the way you treat the female characters, and how, in a way the male characters seem to be... have the upper edge?

    Robert Jordan

    You think the male characters have the upper edge? I like this, no, no, I like this one. I've had women come up to me before anyone knew who Robert Jordan was. I've had women come up to me at signings and tell me that until they saw me they thought that Robert Jordan was a pen-name of a woman, because they assumed that no man could write women that well. I thought, okay, that's the best compliment I received on my writing that I was able to get inside the skin of women well enough to fool women. You know, it's pretty good. I have seen feminist critiques, I've seen other sorts of critiques. Some of them made my hair stand on end. I had a woman stand up and point something out to me just down in Melbourne a couple of days ago about how all my women are very eager and ready to take charge, take the adventure, do what has to be done and all of my guys are trying to slide out the back door. You know, I don't want any part of this, and I haven't realized quite that it was that heavy. I don't think that I've had any really bad critiques. There may have, that haven't come to my attention. Just as I say a few that had been supposedly writing things that god knows I didn't intend to write or have any meanings I didn't intend to have. Does that answer your question or come close?

    Question

    It does answer my question. I think, to me, you certainly stimulate and challenge our imagination in your work. However I don't necessarily think you challenge our concepts of sexuality in the same sense. I believe that in your writing you very much distinctly keep the females in the female roles and the males in the male roles. And I think in our society, in today's society we're starting to get very challenged in the separation between the sexes—

    Robert Jordan

    Would you like to tell an Aiel Maiden that she's in a traditional female role? Forget about Aes Sedai, I'd love to see you go up to Nynaeve before she met any of these people and tell her she's in a traditional female role. I don't think I've got anybody in a particular traditional role. And no, I'm not challenging gender stereotypes. I'm doing a lot of things here and there's only so much I can do. There are other threads, other questions, other things that would be great write about, to put into these books. The only trouble is, would you really stick around if it was twenty-two books and they were twice as thick as this? All right, if so... Not only that, I'm not sure you could stand the strain. I have notes on characters, on countries, cultures, customs, all sorts of things. Aes Sedai—I have two files of two megabytes or so on each. One's just lists of individual Aes Sedai and information about them. The other is the founding of the White Tower—the customs, the cultures, the sexual relationships among Aes Sedai in training, the whole nine yards. Everything I could think of that might be useful about them. The story isn't there. None of it is on a file anywhere, there are no charts. One of my cousins asked us, "What are your critical path charts? You gotta have critical path charts for something this complex." And I said, "Yes I do have to have critical path charts," but even putting them on a computer in 3D it looks like a mess of spaghetti. If I pull in close enough to be able to see what's happening, I am so tight on that one particular area that the rest of it becomes meaningless. The only way I can do it is keep it up here. So the charts are all up here, the stories all up here. And I'm not sure how much more complex I can make it and how many more threads I can add and still hang onto it. So if I'm going to go into gender stereotypes I'm going to have to drop some of the things from the prophecies.

    (Later) Robert Jordan

    Oh, I wanted to add something here because of gender stereotypes and so forth. Somebody asked me why didn't I have any, in another question and answer session, asked me why didn't I have any gay characters in the books. I do, but that's not my bag to bring out the question of gender stereotypes and the whole nine yards. And they're just running around doing the things that they do and you can figure out who some of them are. If you want to help them, I don't care. It's not the point if they're gay or not gay, okay?

    Tags

  • 22

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    His wife was in fact a publisher, and it was through RJ's attempts to get published that he met her. He started dating her, and eventually married her. She did in fact offer to publish his book, but RJ realised it was not a good idea to have his wife as his sole source of income, so took it elsewhere. Another detail that I can remember (whoever was in the front row taping the event; could you write up his exact words throughout the session?) is that he used to write for a women's erotic "soft-porn" author, who gave him a headstart in the writing profession. His pronunciation was interesting, and he was humourous (Lady: "How can you deal with all the stress?" RJ: "I am a Warrior-God").

    Footnote

    The verbatim transcript of this question makes it clear RJ actually wrote bodice-rippers for Harriet, otherwise known as the Fallon books, and later Conan. Harriet herself has commented on the 'warrior god' thing. Also, RJ did in fact publish his first book with Harriet, but then they started dating.

    Tags

  • 23

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Question

    What was the use of Elayne's "rod" in The Path of Daggers?

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO and he's surprised at the imaginations of some of the female fans who mail him—their imaginations are quite vivid.

    Footnote

    This was explained in Winter's Heart, 'A Lily in Winter'.

    Tags

  • 24

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Pam Korda from Chicago

    What exactly is the "hot" ter'angreal played with so enthusiastically by Elayne and when will we see it actually put into use?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out, Pam. You're experienced enough at this to know that I wouldn't give that answer, I think!

    Footnote

    This was explained in Winter's Heart, 'A Lily in Winter'.

    Tags

  • 25

    Interview: May, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    I don't remember how we got on the subject, but at one point he made mention of the whole lesbian issue. Something to the effect of..."Well, you put fifteen-year old girls in a tower filled with almost entirely women, with their hormones raging on overdrive, keep them away from men, because you can't afford to lose any of them, and what do you think is going to happen?" I think this answers the questions about whether there are really lesbians in Randland, and if they are intentional.

    Tags

  • 26

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    Do you have someone to advise you on writing sex scenes from a women's point of view?

    Robert Jordan

    No. And if I had she would lie to me. A woman is as likely to tell the truth about that as men are to tell them, and if you think about how many of that you would tell anyone on god's green earth about that. And if you come upon that teaspoon of liquified truth you would tell, know that that is five times the truth that she would tell you.

    No, what I do is, I eavesdrop. [laughter] One time when he was younger and eavesdropping on women, he received Veritas. He knew everything there was to know about women. And it turned his hair completely white, and beyond, so that most of it is dark again, except for that piece in his beard there, plus it also erased all knowledge he had gained straight from his head.

    Aan'allein

    [In other words, more and more he was really getting in a funny-story-telling mood. Maybe Jordan should have become a stand-up comedian. I don't know how much of the humor I manage to bring across, I can imagine it's very little, but if you were there you would have laughed at every other remark, just like the rest of us.]

    Robert Jordan

    Once in all his books, he went to Harriet saying, "Okay, in this particular situation, this is how I think this woman would react, this is how I think she would feel. Do you believe it?" And she said, "yes, I do."

    Aan'allein

    And then my tape ended.

    Tags

  • 27

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He talked a little bit about when he realized women are different from men. He said a woman (friend of his mother's?) in a summer dress picked him up, and he could feel the dress sliding over her, and he thought "She doesn't feel like mother." He could smell her perfume, and thought "She doesn't smell like mother." Then she went to put him down, and her grip slipped, and his face was buried in her cleavage. She set him down, mussed his hair and called him precocious. He ran off to look 'precocious' up in a dictionary. Now that he had noticed women, he was trying to figure out how they got to be that way. He could see that if you took a boy and scaled him up, you basically had a man, but he couldn't figure out how the little girls he knew could turn into women. He decided it must involve cocoons.

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Question

    Someone asked about how he writes women so well.

    Robert Jordan

    When he was a teenager, he didn't have much luck with women despite being very pretty. He mentioned this to his uncle, and he said, "You like to hunt deer, don't you?" "Yes." "You know a lot about deer?" "Yes." "You know their habits, when they get up, where they like to forage, what trails they tend to follow, etc.?" "Yes." "Well, do you think that hunting deer is more important than hunting women?" So he started to study women.

    Tags

  • 29

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Someone asked for a little more description about the sa'sara—as in how does he envision one doing it—which he thought was hilarious. He said she was the first person who'd asked him about it and apart from saying it would be like something a non-tourist might see in Cairo or Istanbul, he said it wouldn't be "boring" like a stripper act in the U.S. He seemed to really get a kick out of this question.

    Tags

  • 30

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    (from John Nowacki's report): Someone asked for a little more description about the sa'sara—as in how does he envision one doing it—which he thought was hilarious. He said she was the first person who'd asked him about it and apart from saying it would be like something a non-tourist might see in Cairo or Istanbul, he said it wouldn't be "boring" like a stripper act in the U.S. He seemed to really get a kick out of this question.

    Zeynep Dilli

    What he said. That was fun.

    Tags

  • 31

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    Earlier that weekend, Melissa had been amazed when Brad and I told her what the "warm" ter'angreal really was. If you don't know what I'm talking about...go look around on the Internet. If you're over 18 that is. Anyway, Melissa was so shocked by this that she asked RJ flat out if it was true. (*Smacks forehead* So much for being dignified with our VIP guests!)

    Robert Jordan

    I was sitting right next to RJ and I saw his tiny smile behind his beard. He just said "Read and Find Out".

    Jason Denzel

    In my mind that translates to: "Go do a search on one of those WoT sites and they'll tell ya".

    Tags

  • 32

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    Later on, Melissa made a joking comment about Rand and his three girlfriends.

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Jordan's reply was not what we expected. He explained that at one point in his younger life he had two girlfriends at once. They knew about each other, and they arranged dates for him so they could both be there. They were fine with it, and young Jim Rigney just went along with it. (Wouldn't you?) He figured that if he could have two girlfriends at once, then a guy like Rand could definitely do three.

    Jason Denzel

    I guess it's true that we all find inspiration from our everyday lives!

    Tags

  • 33

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He wrote his Conan books about the man as a late teen, early twenties, because that was one of the few parts of his life where there was a gap in previous books and because he wanted to explore Conan's relationships with women. If you've read any of RJ's Conan books, Conan is as clueless and frustrated about understanding women as Rand, Perrin and Mat!

    Tags

  • 34

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Question

    Why does Rand get three girlfriends?

    Robert Jordan

    When RJ was young, for a while he had two girlfriends who shared him and even managed who got to date him when. He figures if he can have two, then the savior of the world can have three!

    Tags

  • 35

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2005

    Zaela Sedai

    Then she asked if Lan and Myrelle slept together.

    Isabel

    (I thought it was duh, although it probably happened with tweaking the bond.)

    Robert Jordan

    And for Jordan is was also duh, yeah they slept together.

    Tags

  • 36

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    And for MJJ, as posted by DomA, pillow friends are not just good friends. Oh, they are that, too, but they also get hot and sweaty together and muss up the sheets something fierce. By the way, pillow friends is a term used in the White Tower. The same relationship between men or women elsewhere would be called something else, depending on the country.

    Tags

  • 37

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For jofraz, I have gay and lesbian characters in my books, but the only time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I haven't been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a matter of course. Remember, Cadsuane is surprised that Shalon and Ailil were so hot to hide that they had been sharing a bed even knowing how prim and proper Cairhienin are on the surface. Well, for many it is just on the surface.

    Tags

  • 38

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Question

    The first girl to ask a question asked, "Why is it that the most powerful women in the world perceive their power as stemming from a 'pale, white shaft'?"

    Robert Jordan

    RJ chuckled, and then said if you "missed the symbolism there, you just don't get it." He also said that if their power came from a "hole in the ground" it just wouldn't be as much fun, and they would only be feared if you thought you might "fall in", which would not be much fun, he assured us.

    Footnote

    This question was also asked by Fomu and Jarrod, and the latter report seems to make it clear that RJ was referencing the map of Tar Valon.

    Tags

  • 39

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Jarrod

    Eventually Mr. Jordan turned to his quest of finding females that wanted some questions answered and got a good one when a lady asked why the most powerful women in the world get their power in a pale, white shaft (the White Tower).

    Robert Jordan

    The answer was, "If you can't grasp the symbolism, my dear... Because I thought about having them have their center of power be a hole in the ground and I thought it wasn't really going to be as significant. It wasn't going to stand out and have people say 'Wow, Gee...look at that on the horizon'. You sorta have to walk to the edge and say, 'Welp, don't wanna fall off into that, now do you?'"

    Footnote

    Tags

  • 40

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Question

    A few feet behind me was a woman with a very different question, "Can you tell me why the place of most of the female power in the realm resides in a 'big, white tower'? (Paraphrased because I can't remember her exact quote, but obviously making a phallic reference.)

    Robert Jordan

    Laughter reigned for a time, but RJ, as always, was waiting for her. He proceeded to tell how he needed a literary device to show the strength of the women who would inhabit the tower; something that when seen from far off on the horizon would inspire awe. He thought about making the home of the Aes Sedai a large, black hole in the ground, but since that is something you would almost fall into as you walked up to it, it just did not have the same power as a tower.

    Then he rhetorically asked her if she had actually read any of his books and seen the women in them. She explained that yes, she had and she used the term she did, since she was quoting from the prologue of Knife of Dreams. He said he knew the quote, he did write it after all, but again, had she actually read the books to see what power the women in the books did wield? Much laughter ensued at the good-natured banter between him and the audience.

    Footnote

    This question was also asked by Kevin Dean and Jarrod, and the latter report seems to make it clear that RJ was referencing the map of Tar Valon.

    Tags

  • 41

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2011

    W. Heus ()

    How do you feel about the lack of prominent gay characters within the epic fantasy as a genre and do you ever include (or will ever include) gay or lesbian characters in your own work?

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    That's an issue that I feel I should speak about delicately, because it's one of those charged issues that can create a lot of division. But my basic feeling is that a character should not be any more or less sympathetic, or more or less evil, or anything like that, because of sexual orientation or because of basic beliefs or philosophy on things like religion. So there are gay characters in my books, though so far they have been side characters. I don't make a big deal of it, because I tend not to make a big deal of the sexuality of side characters in general. For instance, in The Way of Kings, Drehy, a member of Bridge Four, is gay. He's based on a good friend of mine who is gay. There is a lesbian character in Alloy of Law; again I don't make a big deal of it though it's a little more obvious.

    Basically, I just try to write characters and try to have different makeups of characters. I feel gay characters should be included, and I'm annoyed that sometimes there seems to be an association between including gay characters and using that as a means of making them seem like a reprehensible character. You may know what I'm talking about; I've seen it in books before and it bugs me. Just like it bugs me if an author makes a character religious and the tone of the book implies, "Well, obviously, religious people are all idiots, so I'm not going to make this character actively an idiot, I'm just going to represent them as being religious," which by the tone of the book indicates that they're an idiot. That's not to say that there can't be social structures like religions that will push people toward doing things that are questionable or morally reprehensible—there can, of course, and it will happen—but I'm talking about the individuals. I don't know that I have strong feelings on the subject other than that I think people should be represented as people.

    I wrote a bit more about the subject in my essay on Dumbledore.

    Tags

  • 42

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez

    Is the sky clear above Alanna or only the harem? (Brandon, who was reading from my list of questions, refused to say 'harem' and said 'THE THREE WOMEN' before I cut him off with my uproarious laughter.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Was that yours?

    Terez

    Why is that offensive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What's that?

    Terez

    They are a harem.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Terez

    They are!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Noooo! Harem...I don’t know if it really does imply...but a harem implies women who sit around and do nothing...

    Terez

    This is true.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...until the man, um, wishes...

    Terez

    It’s an affectionate name for them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. But I have seen that um, that phrase before, and...yes. Is the sky clear above Alanna? I’m going to RAFO Alanna. Alanna’s got an interesting thread still, so...

    Terez

    Yay!

    Tags

  • 43

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    relevant_rule34 ()

    No questions Mr. Sanderson, just wanted to let you know that as a long time WoT fan I enjoyed your continuation of series and am looking forward to A Memory of Light.

    With that said, this is a picture of Graendal and her large breasts in a black see-through gownNSFW

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. I don't know what to say. I never thought, being who I am, I'd get RR34'd. (That's not a challenge, mind you.)

    Glad you like the books. I hope you don't mind that I've basically never clicked on one of your links... I'm pretty sure the one you're linking to here is one of Seamus's works, though, so let me point everyone to his print gallery. He has done some of my favorite all-time character portraits for the series. His Perrin, Faile, and Tuon—for example—are exactly as I imagine the characters.

    Tags

  • 44

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    RJ exercises his hands a lot to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and whatnot. He had amusing comment on how women saying “Oh, he’s got such strong hands” and whatnot is BS, and that what they’re thinking about is those muscular jaws. (I won’t elaborate, as I think your imagination will make that more interesting than it really was.)

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  • 45

    Interview: Apr, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    And finally, RJ mentioned that cleavage is the best thing since the invention of cheese in answer to the (probably ironic) question if there will be more talk of cleavage in the next books. According to RJ it's one of the first things people notice, it's the way men look at women, and women think of it in the same way. That's why he uses it as well.

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Signing Report (Mat Cauthon)

    The person said something along the lines of: "My wife thinks Perrin is the sexiest man alive."

    Robert Jordan

    RJ responded by saying that he, himself, found Perrin kind of boring, and he didn't understand why people liked him so much. But what really surprised him was that the most popular guy was Mat, the guy he had thought would be the most hated.

    RJ then went into a minute-long tirade about how nice guys never get girls. He said that, while the girl might think she wants the good guy, she will always end up driving off with the guy in the Harley. Yes, he said Harley.

    Tags

  • 47

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    davebrk ()

    What's your stance about sex in books? Compared to some other authors (Martin, Bakker) your books are almost sex-free. Is that because you're religious? Or you just don't feel that sex has a place in your type of fantasy book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not one to say what has a 'place' in my type of fiction. There shouldn't be one person who has such a say—variety is exceptionally important.

    People do have sex in my books, but you're right—I don't depict it happening. Part of this is the tone I want to have in my novels. Martin and Bakker write their type of story, and do it well. It is not the type of story I want to tel. My religion plays a part in this.

    Another part is my feeling that I'd like to learn to tell stories like those in the past, who—through being reserved—were often more powerful in composition than they could have been by being graphic. I appreciated it when authors I read—like Anne McCaffrey and Robert Jordan—were not graphic in their depictions. It allowed me to play the story at the rating level I wanted to in my head, and allowed others to play the story at the rating level they wanted.

    I want to write books that I don't feel uncomfortable giving to my young teenage nieces and nephews, but which also hold power and depth of storytelling enough to be engaging to the adult readers looking for something new in fantasy. This is the balance I've come up with. It's not the only way to handle things.

    Tags

  • 48

    Interview: Jun 11th, 2007

    Melinda

    I'll comment on the [LDS] readers' reaction to murder and mayhem vs. curse words. I read lots of sf and fantasy throughout most of my teens and twenties, and still have a shelf full. I married a man who has filled bookshelves with fantasy novels. So I've seen a lot of the genre, though I don't read much of it anymore. I am very bothered by brutality and especially by violence against women. If you can create a world where magic works, why can't you create a world where women don't get raped? Bad language doesn't bother me, however.

    But I don't write to the author and complain. I simply throw the book across the room and never read anything by that author again. My husband has recommended that I read a few of his fantasy books, and after several hit the wall (and one I threw away—he still doesn't know that but I am not having a book with a rape description that graphic in my house (Household Gods by Harry Turtledove and Judith Tarrand if you're curious about which one)) I have learned to ask him, "do the characters even talk about an intent to rape?" If he says yes, it goes back on the shelf. It surprises me how often he says yes to that question. Maybe his taste in fantasies runs to more violent fantasy novels then the stuff I used to read.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For my part, the thing that bugs me is that it seems like the way a lot of books (not just fantasy) depict evil men is by showing that the only thing they want to do is rape somebody. It happens a lot in fantasy, and I think you have a point—as I consider it, it's an over-used convention. It seems that there are a LOT of books out there where the author puts a woman in danger of being raped just so that a hero can show up and save the day.

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  • 49

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    At this point he paused and said that he was glad that no women had asked a question that make him blush yet. Usually at signings this size some woman will.

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  • 50

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so I'm a prude. I'll admit that. I like my characters to be married before they have sex. Besides, Sarene is right—she deserves a wedding. She's waited since chapter two to have her big, princess's wedding. She deserves something official. So, Raoden and Sarene spend this night apart. Besides assuaging my moral sense of decency, it works much better for the plot to have them apart.

    Notice that Raoden awakes here, much in the same way that he did in chapter one. I kind of wanted this chapter to call back to that one. Both chapters open with a slight sense of peace, followed by awful discovery. Both end with Raoden being cast into hell.

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  • 51

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Jared S. Samet (31 October 1994)

    Is RJ trying to insinuate that the Red Ajah is made up of lesbians?

    Daniel Rouk

    Someone (Erica?) asked this question at the first Atlanta Signing.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan said that he doesn't know how this idea caught on. The Red Ajah does have women who hate men, but not all do. He went on to say that its a bad logical jump to say that just because a woman hates men means that she is a lesbian.

    He then went on to say that he had a lesbian friend and they went out together looking for women and made a good team that way. (Erica, do you remember when this was? I have an idea that he meant over in Vietnam.)

    Daniel Rouk

    My impression is that RJ is not in the slightest bigoted about lesbians. He does have theories about female vs male roles in the army though, but that is a different topic.

    Footnote

    Erica Sadun's comments from the Atlanta signing about the Red Ajah and lesbians are here.

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  • 52

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Daniel Shepherd (13 July 2012)

    @Terez27 Trying to figure out who the gay character was that @BrandSanderson put in Towers of Midnight. Was it Androl?

    Terez

    That is my best guess. I wonder if we scared him away from going through with that...'twas very controversial.

    Brandon Sanderson (13 July 2012)

    The place wasn't right in Towers of Midnight. Gay character is in A Memory of Light. It's really not a big deal; just a small mention.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will say, at this point, that it is a character RJ mentioned was gay in the notes, so I noted it in the text.

    Terez

    [Links to following tweet from this conversation.]

    Brandon Sanderson (20 March 2011)

    I won't say if it's a new character or one I made a decision on, since there weren't notes either way.

    Terez (13 July 2012)

    I'm guessing that's a product of Twitter being a bad place for trying to say things clearly. The older tweet was confusing anyway.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow, that was indeed confusing. I don't even know what I was trying to say.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I remember typing was "I won't tell you if it's something RJ had in notes or not."

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  • 53

    Interview: 2012

    doshiamit (April 2012)

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only time a reviewer will highlight brevity as a distinguishing feature of my work.

    Good article, by the way.

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  • 54

    Interview: 2012

    tsaot (June 2012)

    I'm an avid Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader, but it seems all the authors my dad has introduced me to are dying off (Gordon R. Dickson for example) and as there is no rating system for book content, it's hard to find new authors that keep the sexual content to at least a PG-13 level. So far I've struck out with Old Man's War (while not graphic, the sexual content was rather high), George RR Martin, and Mercedes Lackey. So fellow saints, what have you found that's good?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon Sanderson here, with a few suggestions.

    Garth Nix is wonderful. If you haven't tried Sabriel, I suggest it.

    Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency-style fantasy novels. I find them different, clever, and fun.

    A Fire Upon the Deep is one of my all-time favorite SF books. I can't remember if there are content issues. I'm in a re-read right now, and it is as delightful as I remember it being. But something might come up that I didn't remember being there from a read last decade.

    Tad Williams is wonderful, but very long-winded. (I happen to like how long-winded he is, but I should warn that is his style. Very little tends to happen at the start of one of his novels, as it's all set-up.)

    L.E.Modessit Jr. writes epic fantasy after the older style—more slow-paced, lots of description. I find his books to be quite good, but they're not for everyone. They do tend to be very clean, though. (Same goes for Terry Brooks, who has a strong personal rule that he will never write, or cover blurb, something that is not clean. His books do feel a tad out dated these days, though.)

    Other LDS author pals of mine who write mainstream sf/f: Shannon Hale, James Dasnher, Jessica Day George. All YA, all very good writers. Also, if you haven't read Eric James Stone's nebula-winning short piece "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made," look it up. I think he posted it free on his website. It's about an LDS branch president on a space station in the sun, trying to help beings made of plasma live the law of chastity. Really.

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  • 55

    Interview: 2012

    Twitter 2012 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (29 August 2012)

    I'll be reading a new section from A Memory of Light at Dragon*Con. My complete schedule is here.

    Brandon Sanderson (2 September)

    Tor dot com has posted the excerpt from A Memory of Light that I'm reading today.

    W.S.E. (3 September)

    A little disgusted that you included a throwaway line about Tylin raping Mat. Still buying the book though. Probably twice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hard to ignore that it happened, returning to the city as he was.

    Luckers

    ... you re-awakened the Mat/Tylin sexual assault vs. super funny joke fury. Ahh the indignant fandom. *sighs*

    Brandon Sanderson

    *sighs in agreement*

    W.S.E.

    I feel the same way about all the characters saying "you go Tylin" in A Crown of Swords, too.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is one of the WoT's most controversial sequences, to be sure.

    Brandon Sanderson (4 September)

    The three excerpts of A Memory of Light that have been released so far: http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/04/a-memory-of-light-prologue-excerpt http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/07/read-an-excerpt-from-chapter-one-of-a-memory-of-light http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/09/a-memory-of-light-chapter-11-excerpt

    Footnote

    RJ apparently said that it was supposed to be seen as rape, and that it was also supposed to be funny. Some fans took the humorous treatment of the subject very badly (because rape is, after all, quite serious), but RJ was likely trying to draw attention to the double standard.

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  • 56

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Brigitte Reed

    Hello. My name is Brigitte Reed; I'm from Kearns, Utah, and I just wanted to say that I started reading the series when I was thirteen, and I was in the 8th grade, and so I've been reading it over...about fourteen years, and it's the best series I've ever read, and I'm so thankful to you, Harriet, for being willing to give it over to Brandon so that he could finish it for us.

    And I actually have a question for Maria, and this is a question that I asked Brandon in November that he didn't know the answer to. [laughter] So he told me to email him, and he would email you. But I wanted to know if the women in Randland shaved. [laughter]

    Maria Simons

    I thought I had answered this one somewhere along the line. Um...not really. [laughter] This is...I went digging around in the notes, and...basically, in the...the razors the men shave with are just not really good for shaving legs...so, it would be dangerous. Also, we see how they brush their teeth in the Wheel of Time, and we see men shaving, and a lot of things. And I think if they did, at some point Jim would have had a woman with her leg outstretched, shaving.... [laughter] You know? So, I am reasonably certain they did not.

    Brigitte Reed

    Thank you very much.

    Harriet McDougal

    But I think, in the thousands of years since the Breaking, there's been a certain amount of blessed evolution, so that women no longer have hair on their legs. [applause, cheers]

    Maria Simons

    That was my other thought. [laughter]

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  • 57

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Heather

    Hi, I'm Heather; I am from Lehi, Utah. The last time we came to the booksigning two years ago, I was also very pregnant, and I gave birth 24 hours later. [laughter] So cross your fingers!

    But my question is...I have not been a Wheel of Time fan as long as my husband—he introduced me to them after we were married—and I know that the female characters get a lot of hate from the fans sometimes, cause...well, I've always loved them; I thought they were really well-developed, and I really love the woman's world that's been developed in the series, too; you at least see Elayne's midwife appointments, and we see a lot of other things, and the women's magic is almost exclusively through the books until Rand comes along and kinds of makes things for the guys better again.

    So, how...I don't know how to phrase this, but how did Robert Jordan write about women so well, because a lot of times I feel like he hits the nail right on the head. Did you really influence that, Harriet, or...was he just a sensitive guy? [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    I did not consciously influence it. At a very early signing in California, a group of women came in, in long skirts, and they had on kind of shawls, and long hair, and they went up to him at the signing table—there were three or four of them—and they said, "Well, this settles an argument." And he was looking up at them, and he said, "About what?" And they said, "We felt that Robert Jordan must be the nom de plume of a woman writer, because who could write women that well?" And he said, "Well, I'm not." [laughter] Looking up through his beard. [laughter]

    But he, with the first book I think it was, Tor sent down a fan letter, and very sillily, had taken it out of the envelope, and it was a hand-written letter from a woman in Florida, who said, "You have answered the question that Freud was afraid of: 'What do women want?' They want power, just like men." [laughter, applause] And I think maybe that's what made his women so good.

    Heather

    Thank you.

    Harriet McDougal

    Good luck, and I hope you get home safely this time! [laughter]

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