Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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When China Ruled the Seas
Evidently, China was a real behemoth in the Middle Ages, right on the track to world domination, until they decided they didn't really want to rule the world. The following is a summary from hastily scribbled notes on a subject about which I am relatively ignorant; if I fuck up, it means I can't read my notes.
In the time before Columbus...
China had a huge fleet of ships (3000 of them, half-million crew), printing presses, generally huge technological advantage over everywhere else. The fleet is commanded by a name that translates as "Three-Jeweled Eunuch" (although he was evidently not a eunuch??). The fleet had superior logistics (well, something about logistics right about here) and had reached Madagascar. They were planning to round the Cape of Good Hope and see what they found.
The year they would have reached Europe...and overwhelmed it.
Unfortunately, bad things happened. The current Emperor died and was succeeded by his son, who was young and had self-confidence problems. The palace eunuchs (evidently a powerful political force) grew concerned over the changes caused by outside influences, believing them to be corrupting Chinese culture. They convinced the Emperor to shut China off from the rest of the world by burning seafaring boats (including that huge fleet!), restricting foreigners to certain cities and killing them if they were caught outside, and killing Chinese who left to see the world and then returned.
It seems the Japanese also did this—twice, in fact.
I know I will most likely get a RAFO, but will we ever learn more about Shara?
Yep, most definitely RAFO.
I thanked him, got my picture taken, and listened to a few more questions:
He said that if you can speak the Old Tongue, learning to understand and speak the new "Vulgar" tongue is not that difficult. When the Forsaken are together having their meetings, they speak in the Old Tongue. (RJ: "But I translate it for you guys.")
Another very interesting note: Modern-day Sharans speak a form of the Old Tongue in their everyday speech. The exact analogy he used was a Roman landing in modern day Italy and having to figure out Italian from Latin. For someone extremely bright and well-educated like the Forsaken it wouldn't be that hard. This is also consistent with information in the books. The Old Tongue is more complex, so learning the Vulgar from Old Tongue is much easier than vice versa. It also gibes with Graendal's thought while she is writing a letter that the modern script was so easy to learn and duplicate.
He also went on at length about his thoughts on language drift and the impact of the printing press on continuity.
For ricktheinevitable, I have no plans to send Rand to Shara at present.
Oh, yes. I think of time in this world as fixed circular, but with a drifting variation. There are slight differences in the Pattern each time through so that if you thought of the Pattern as a tapestry and held up two successive weaves, you couldn't see any differences from a distance, only close up, but the more time turnings between tapestries, the more changes are apparent. But the basic Pattern always remains the same.
I asked a single question each of the duo, receiving a RAFO response from Brandon when I asked if we ever get to see Shara, and finally solving the mystery of how, exactly, to pronounce Cairhien from Harriet.
A group wolf howl and several goodbyes later, I find myself driving back down Route 50, and this late at night I am the only car on the road. I have left the other Tower Guard to go our separate directions, forging a lone path of light through the darkness as I travel east and north to await the Last Battle. Until then, my friends, may you always find water and shade.
—Renee, Tower Guard 11/05/2010
WOT question: Probably RAFO, but same question about the land beyond the Aiel Waste (don't remember the name)? Has RJ done some worldbuilding on it and are we going to see it before the series ends or is it some Tolkienish "Oh yeah, forgot to mention or include it on the map but there's some other kind of lands out there, just so you know. But you ain't going to see it, besides they probably don't care about the fate of the world out there".
RAFO. (But don't hold your breath. Robert Jordan said specifically: "I have no plans to send Rand to Shara" and I know several other times where he said similar things.)
Multiple factions, but not all by a long shot.
Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't RJ say in a interview that Shara wouldn't be involved in any of the WoT books?
The quotes I've seen say that nothing significant would happen there on screen.
Was Bao the Wyld part of Sharan prophecy? If so, was Demandred co-opting their Dragon prophecies?
"The Wyld" was part of Sharan prophecy; Demandred thinks he co-opted the Sharan version of the "dragon prophecies" but it was actually about him all along.
(I was surprised to get an answer to this; I expect some of it will show up in "River of Souls" anyway. An interesting follow-on question might be whether this means the Sharans were destined by the Pattern to fight for Team Dark.)
I was at the Toronto A Memory of Light signing last night, and one of the things Brandon mentioned was that Robert had plans for TWO more WOT trilogies!
He then killed all our hope by saying that there will not be any more WOT books as per Robert's request. The WOT is done.
He also mentioned that the sequels only had one sentence each for a description. He didn't say what they were out loud as it could spoil A Memory of Light for people.
I asked him what they were as I was getting my books signed and this is what he said:
The first is "Perrin is going to Shara to kill an old friend."
I got Trae Cooper to ask Brandon about this in Atlanta, because I was pretty sure it was supposed to be Seanchan rather than Shara. Trae reported that it was indeed supposed to be Seanchan.
And the second is:
"Matt lying in a gutter wearing a tattered cloak."
I'm thinking the Perrin one could be him going to kill Rand or Gaul. Could also be Longtooth. It could also be "old friend" in a sarcastic way and could be some form of Slayer returned.
The Mat one could be him having issues with the rebels back in Seanchan? That one's very vague.
Unfortunately we'll never know as even Sanderson knows nothing beyond these two sentences, but still exciting!
Along with that, Harriet spoke briefly about how impressed she was with Bao the Wyld, aka Demandred, that he was this stunning juggernaut of hatred and destruction, but also that he spent the time creating a life and position for himself among the Sharans. It seems that he went there almost immediately after "waking" from the Bore, and that much of the activities he went through are in parallel with Rand's actions on the main segment of the continent, and that journey of Demandred's is what will be published in the Unfettered volume.
Brandon specified that although it is Wheel of Time material, it cannot be considered 100% canon, because it was cut early enough that it did not get subjected to Maria's detailed continuity validation.
(Concerning the crystals collapsing into the hill after the battle) Have you heard of a myth about Merlin in a crystal cave and the Holy Grail? We all know what its other name is.
Yes but there are many layers there. The sa'angreal was shaped like a cup (-which I did notice earlier-). And Bao the Wyld, think about the name, it sounds like Beowulf (-looks like I should read that for more theorizing-).
You said that the balescreams in Knife of Dreams were because Demandred was balefiring whole cities...
I did not say that.
You did not say that.
That was reported! (on a private Facebook group)
That was reported; that's not what I said.
What did you say then?
I told them...they said, "What caused these?" And I said, "Ah, that's very interesting. By the way, Demandred was balefiring whole cities.
But you didn't say that's what caused them. Okay.
Good answer, because that gets rid of my next question. Okay.
Mmhmm. They asked about balefire and things like that, and it was...
...and they connected it...
...and I thought they might, but I specifically said, "BY THE WAY..." This is not....
(laughs) ...Well, we're recording now.
So there you go.
Now, are Graendal's actions in Shara mentioned at all in "River of Souls"?
I don't think we talk about them.
I was just curious as to how that interacted... (crosstalk)
I mean, I considered...Yeah, it certainly helped with what he was doing.
But I mean...yeah. It's...
Because she totally didn't know he was there, so....
Yeah. It certainly helped, and if I had been able to go back, and do—which I wouldn't have done—but if, you can imagine, there's a very cool interaction there, where he's there, and she's doing stuff, and he's taking advantage of it, but she's not seeing him and things like that. Like, the whole Demandred In Shara thing is awesome, because there's like twelve books worth of coolness of him being the hero...
Because all this stuff is in the notes, right?
What's that? Oh, some of it is, not all of it.
Oh, well yeah, because I know you said you had to kind of....you know, extrapolate a little bit...
I had to extrapolate a lot of the Sharan culture and things, which is where "River of Souls" came from. At the end of the day, because I was extrapolating these things, that's what made them distracting from the main plotline, if that makes sense.
And so, a lot of what I was doing was like, it you know...all of Demandred's flunkies. Jim didn't name those; they're not in the notes...but I put them in because, you know, we have to evoke this entire two years of awesomeness....
Yeah, it can't just come out of nowhere, and be nothing.
Yeah, so there's that. But yeah, it was too much me, also.