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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I also asked him if Asmodean and Slayer had met each other before he was killed, and he said they hadn't met. But Slayer knows of all the Forsaken and they know he exist!
RJ also said (for fun) he suspected Nynaeve to have killed Asmodean and that Moridin is hiding as Nynaeve:) (Poor Lan)
Nynaeve also had a good childhood, but she already tried to bully people:)
He has told a lot more, but I will hopefully get later a full report of someone else who had taped every conversation.
For Niall Reborn, I don't think that lurking will make me lose detachment or distance. But then, I don't really do it very often.
Oh, yes. Slayer just chooses who he will be when he steps into or out of Tel'aran'rhiod. The stepping in and out is part of the mechanism for his change. He couldn't do it in the middle of a street, say, not without the stepping in or out. Which might be a little noticeable, since he would vanish from sight for a perceptible time.
When a soul is reborn, at what point does it enter the body?
Hmm… *think, think* I’d have to say as a fetus. When the body becomes capable of sustaining life.
*stupid grin* Ok. In The Eye of the World, Thom said that the dead can take over a living body. If this happened, what would happen to the original soul?
*gave me a “haha, nice try you stupid monkey” grin* “Read and find out.”
YAAAAAAAAAAAARG! DAMN YOU! (ok, not really)
Well, It was the second time this week I got to get my book signed and talk to the great RJ. The first time was in Leiden and I didn't prepare anything so I asked something lame about what he thought of the cover art. This time I forgot to think it over again so at the last minute I had to come up with something. It turned out quite funny:
Me: "Did Slayer take Asmodean to Tel'aran'rhiod before, or after he killed him?"
He and some other people started laughing, he thought a little and answered with a smile:
"What makes you think Asmodean is dead?"
I laughed and he continued:
"Yeah, you screw with my head, I screw with yours..." (that's actually what he said.)
So Incidentally I made Jordan laugh and swear, but not answer the question.
But hey, I didn't get a RAFO.
He smiled as he signed her book and said, "You do?" And he left it at that.
For some reason I got the idea he was thinking, "Of course he did." But that was just my mind reading powers at work.
That is an awesome theory. No. But I am very glad you came up with it—it fits very neatly with how Sanderson would have done it. But still, no.
Can you tell me the actual cause for the difference?
Haha, no. RAFO.
Can you tell me what the Crossroads of Twilight superpack are hunting?
Ummm. No, I still might... it still might be in the books. So RAFO. But if it’s not in the books then it’s open for you all to ask again after A Memory of Light. But for now, RAFO.
Oh, I'm TOTALLY gonna RAFO that. Come ON! Come on. You KNEW I was gonna RAFO that. That's very important to the book.
Okay, related: Moridin says 'the one who is punished the most'. Obviously that's gotta be Cyndane, right?
Okay, yes. That is Cyndane.
So, is it possible that what happened in the epilogue, she was really going through that torture?
You will have to see it. RAFO. Okay, like someone [?] related. I don't think, by the way...when you read the book, what Cyndane is up to should be of paramount importance to you, and DO NOT believe everything that you think happens in the book.
From her point of view, or from our point of view?
From your point of view, regarding her.
I feel like somebody asked who summoned Slayer to the Blight. I could be mixing memories with Freelancer's great post @7, but I have a strange feeling that someone asked, and presented a case that it was Lanfear for similar reasons as provided above, and was told by BS that they make a good case and can defend their reasoning with confidence. I honestly don't know if I'm conflating memories, so please take this with a grain of salt.
Furthermore, the above question doesn't make sense given that the audience was instructed not to spoil A Memory of Light, and to save questions related to A Memory of Light for the personal signings, which I wasn't able to attend or eavesdrop.
Ok, I'm not sure I should give an answer to this one. Who do you think it is, what are you basing it on?
I'm pretty sure it's Lanfear. Several things. She's wearing red and black, and she doesn't have a Cour'souvra around her neck. Her appearance is unknown to Slayer, and she's pretty, though she isn't comfortable with her own reflection. She expresses disgust at having to use him. This eliminates Moghedien and Graendal.
But she's ordering Slayer to kill Rand.
This will lead into the next question, but I don't think she believes that Slayer can succeed, she's using him as a distraction, and to give her options, because she's playing a deep game.
Ok, here's your answer. Your case is very, very, very solid, and you can stand by it.
Was Luc a Darkfriend when he went to the Blight?
I'm going to have to MAFO this one, because this is one that I can never remember, and I've had to ask Maria like three times—the whole Luc thing—because I had it spelled out for me several times, but since Jim did a lot of the Luc scenes, I didn't need to remember it, if that makes sense. So go ahead and ask Maria. She's...there's a lot of stuff on that in there—and hopefully that'll end up in the encyclopedia—but there's a lot of cool stuff on Luc and Isam in the notes. It's one of the areas that isn't as sparse. But I can't remember. I want to say no, that neither of them were, but I can't remember when it happened, you know...
Well, I mean...Isam was a baby, you know?
Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, and so....
So...I mean obviously he wasn't a Darkfriend when he went to the Blight...
Right, but he grew up on the streets....
Right, he grew up under that influence, right?
Yeah, it's like he was...always...or was he? And when did they...when they...I want to say that Luc wasn't, but you'll have to ask Maria.
The next one is something that somebody asked for me—on my behalf—before, but did Perrin bind his soul to the hammer? Or...
Did Perrin bind his soul to the hammer? That's an interesting question. Why are they asking this?
Because I asked before, was it Hopper? It's because of what Slayer said about his ability to step in and out....
Right, was based on having two souls in one body...
Yeah, and he said, "It's just like you," right?
You know, so it has to be something.
Yeah, it's a good question. (with an air of finality) That's a very good question.
(sighs loudly) (people around laugh)
I would say...how about this: I would say the relationship between Perrin and Hopper is...part of the reason that...Hopper may not...have suffered as dire a fate...(crosstalk)
That's what I was hoping for...
...as wolves would normally suffer when killed where Hopper was killed. How about that?
Yeah, that's what I was hoping for, but your answer to the last one kind of drew me on the path of the hammer, which was somebody else's idea, right?
But yeah. Good!
So there you go.
That makes me happy.
I think I know who sent Slayer to Far Madding.
I always thought it was Taim...
Because why else would he disguise himself?
Yeah. That one I know.
Perrin is my favorite character in the series, and has been since I was a youth. Like many readers, I was frustrated by his choices through the later books, though the writer in me really appreciated Robert Jordan's skillful guidance of the character. The problems Perrin confronted (sometimes poorly) highlighted his uncomfortable relationship with the wolves, his unwillingness to cut himself a break, and his ability to devote himself so utterly to one task that everything else vanished. (As a note, I feel this is one of the major things that made me empathize with Perrin for all those years. Of the main characters, he is the only artist. However, he's an artist like me—a focused project builder. A craftsman.)
Though I wanted to be careful not to overdo the concept, one of my goals in these last few books was to bring back ideas and conflicts from the first books—creating parallels and emphasizing the cyclical nature of the Wheel of Time. Again, this was dangerous. I didn't want these books to become a series of in-jokes, homages, and repetitions.
However, there are places where it was not only appropriate, but vital that we return to these themes. I felt one of those involved the Whitecloaks and Perrin, specifically the two Children of the Light he had killed during his clash with them in the very first book. This was a tricky sequence to plot. I wanted Perrin to manifest leadership in a way different from Rand or Egwene. Robert Jordan instructed that Perrin become a king, and I loved this plot arc for him—but in beginning it with the Whitecloaks, I threatened to leave Perrin weak and passive as a character. Of all the sequences in the books, I struggled with this one the most—mostly because of my own aspirations, goals, and dreams for what Perrin could become.
His plot is my favorite of the four for those reasons.
I had other goals for Perrin in this book. His experiences in the Wolf Dream needed to return, I felt, and push toward a final climax in the Last Hunt. This meant returning to a confrontation with Slayer, a mirrored character to Perrin with a dual nature. I wanted to highlight Perrin's instinctive use of his powers, as a contrast to the thoughtful, learned use of power represented by Egwene. People have asked if I think Perrin is better at Tel'aran'rhiod than Egwene. I don't think he is, the balefire-bending scene notwithstanding. They represent two sides of a coin, instinct and learning. In some cases Perrin will be more capable, and in others Egwene will shine.
The forging of Perrin's hammer, the death of Hopper, and the wounding of Perrin in the leg (which is mythologically significant) were in my narrative plan for him from the get-go. However, weaving them all together involved a lot of head/wall-bashing. I wanted a significance to Perrin's interactions with the Way of the Leaf as well, and to build a rapport between him and Galad—in my reads of the characters, I felt they would make for unlikely friends.
Of all the major plot sequences in the books, Perrin's was the one where I had the most freedom—but also the most danger of straying too far from Robert Jordan's vision for who the character should be. His instructions for Perrin focused almost entirely on the person Perrin would be after the Last Battle, with little or no direction on how to bring him there. Perrin was fully in my hands, and I wanted to take extra care to guide my favorite character toward the ending.
I will note, by the way, that Verin's interaction with Egwene in The Gathering Storm was my biggest surprise from the notes. My second biggest was the Thom/Moiraine engagement. Robert Jordan wrote that scene, and I was surprised to read it. (As I said, though I loved and had read the books, there are plenty of fans who were bigger fans than myself—and to them, this was no surprise.) I didn't pick up the subtle hints of a relationship between the two of them until my reread following my getting the notes.
Without delving too much into specifics, because I'm not sure exactly what's going to end up in the encyclopedia and what's going to end up in the notes, and things like this. Without going too much into specifics, for the Last Battle itself a lot of what Robert Jordan left me are concepts: concepts on this is how I want this to feel, the big crux of the Last Battle comes down to this question, this is where someone's crowning moment is—these sorts of emotions. It was like he was laying down the emotional beats, and the actual how to put it together—a lot of that was left in my hands. He did have some brainstorms on that, but some of those brainstorms were from years ago, before he wrote... For instance, I've mentioned before that there is a brainstorm we have on "here's how Rand is going to do it"—here's a brainstorm that Robert Jordan had left. But he'd written this brainstorm around book 7 or 6 or something, and it involved the Choedan Kal—both of them. And we're like, well he obviously threw that out the window and decided not to go with that. But some of these brainstorms that he'd had, we can say, oh this is the emotional resonance he's going for. Looking at the idea between we want to have the different powers work together, to work in this way from his brainstorm, even though we can't do it in the way that he was thinking of doing it ten years ago, we can still see the sort of thing that he was going for.
And the scene that Terez mentioned at the end mentions Rand's big revelation that needed to happen so that the last moments could occur—he's reflecting on that when he comes out. And so we knew this emotional resonance that Robert Jordan wanted. And we had all these sort of other things where he talks about just the feel he wants and things like this. And so a lot of the specifics—how to put these things together—were things that I pitched to Team Jordan to fit the framework of the notes, and then we tried out and saw if they worked. Which is kinda how you do writing, at least if you're an outliner like me. I pitch ideas at myself, I build an outline out of it, and I try it out and see if it works. And what ended up in the book are the things that did work. What didn't end up in the book are the things that didn't work. For instance, "River of Souls", which was in the (Unfettered) anthology, is one of the things I mentioned—that's the sort of thing that we tried that doesn't work. And the reason a lot of times that these things are being cut is because we are striving for that balance between "let's push the story in new and innovative ways" between "let's make sure we're not straying too far from Robert Jordan's vision". And something like "River of Souls" strayed too far, and also kind of was distracting from the main point of the book—there were two big reasons to cut that sequence. But you see us doing things like that, and so the ones we end up with... A lot of these things about the actual Last Battle are me looking to put together what I feel creates the emotional resonance and the plot structure that Robert Jordan wanted for this ending.
I've said before that the main bulk of the writing we had for this last book involved three main areas: the Epilogue, the scene at the Field of Merrilor where Moiraine shows up and things like this, and the scene at the beginning in the Town, the village in the Waste—what does he call it? Does he call it the Town? The Town is what he calls it. Yeah. And those are three places where we have kind of unchanged Robert Jordan writing. Granted, all through the books, each of the books, you'll find sprinklings where I'm able to use a paragraph or two, or a page, or something from his notes that spawns a chapter, but that's where we have untouched Robert Jordan writing in this last book—I think those are the three main places.