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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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So, from what I've heard, Rand won the Suvudu cage match.
This leaves me with mixed feelings. On one hand, I am pleased and proud. On the other hand, George R. R. Martin's write-up of how he thought things would go was simply epic. In his version, the fight went as it should have in many ways, particularly near the end. Rand and Jamie, sword to sword, man to man. A win without a kill, respect given on both sides.
Robert Jordan is smiling somewhere, Mr. Martin.
If we take an infinite multiverse view of things (as is suggested in the Wheel of Time world) then what Mr. Martin wrote did indeed happen. And it didn't. And everything in between happened as well.
However, in the version imagined by Brandon Sanderson, here's how the fight goes down.
Mr. Martin's narrative is more or less dead on until the end. Rand and Jamie struggle and fight, and it comes down to man against man. However, neither man can gain advantage over the other.
Then something flickers in Rand's vision. Perhaps it's a trick of the light. Perhaps it's an assassin's bolt, dipped in the poison of an asp and fired toward Rand in a moment of weakness. Perhaps it's Rand's madness asserting itself. Regardless of the cause, he thinks he's being attacked by someone other than Jamie and his allies. Treachery, a violation of the trial of seven.
It may be real. It may not be.
Rand, in desperation, somehow forms weaves of Power. Reckless weaves, fueled by anger, perhaps delusion (or perhaps when the One Power pool surrounding King's Landing was used up, some started trickling in from surrounding areas through One Power drainage ditches and has just come close enough for Rand to tap). He creates a gateway through which to escape, but also lets loose a brilliant bolt of balefire, firing it at shadows moving on the other side of that gateway.
A column of liquid light springs forth, passes through the gateway, and hits Suvudu itself.
Now, it's hard to say what effect this should have. Balefire, for those unaware, has the power to burn threads from the pattern and rework time itself. Kill someone with balefire, and things they did prior to being killed will be reversed.
Perhaps this should mean that the battle never happened. Perhaps it should wipe the entire experience from our minds. But balefire is an odd thing, as is a contest such as this one. And so, Rand's actions remove the previous fights from existence, but don't change what is happening between him and Jamie.
Through accident, Rand's balefire brings back each and every fighter who participated in this tournament. Everyone appears on the battlefield at once.
Rand and Jamie stare in wonder at the chaos that follows.
Aragorn, Garet, and Hiro have a conversation about who is really the greatest swordsman in the world. It involves much stabbing, some pizza, and very little coding.
Kahlan exclaims that she was never part of a "fantasy" novel in the first place, and so disappears in a puff of hypocrisy.
Arthur Dent says, "Oh no, not again."
Dumbledore tries to send Lyra on a quest to find some random magical object that is going to save the world, really, and is terribly important. So important that he can't go himself. Honestly.
Roland ponders for twenty-two years before telling you what he does.
Harry Dresden decides this is really all too much work, and wanders off to get himself something to drink. He gets beaten up seventeen times on his way, but saves two orphanages.
Ender writes a poem about the Shrike, entitled "It Might Be a Demonic, Sadistic, Terrible Monster Made of Blades, Thorns, and Terror—but It's Really Just Misunderstood."
Kvothe flies in, riding Temeraire, Hermione at his side, and—(I've written the second two thirds of this sentence, but I'm not giving them to you yet.)
The Wee Free Men start chatting about this interesting fellow they met WHO SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS and wonders if this is all going to create a great big paradoxical mess he will have to fix.
Ged, Vlad, and Conan give Eragon a wedgie.
Polgara throws something breakable at somebody, then goes to find Belgarath, who is most likely drinking with Mat, Tyrion, and Harry at this point.
Haplo and Raistlin get into an argument about how to pronounce Drizzt's name.
Elric tries to decide just who among these people he likes the most, so that he can be forced to feed them to Stormbringer at a terribly dramatic moment, causing much personal angst.
Anita takes out Edward for good measure.
Gandalf and Aslan eye everyone mysteriously, then have a discussion over tea about whose resurrection was more meaningful.
Locke steals Gandalf's staff and sells it on eBay as an authentic prop from the film trilogy. He then does the same thing with Hermione's wand.
And at that point, the great Cthulhu himself awakens, and his terrible, alien nature drives everyone irrevocably insane.
Rand wins by default, since he was already insane, and Cthulhu showing up doesn't really change him at all.
Ladies and gentlemen, we just got Cthulhu'd.
Finally, Suvudu has been running a cage match for the last few weeks pitting fantasy characters against each other; the winners are selected by popular vote. Rand al'Thor has gotten past Locke Lamora, Conan the Barbarian, Roland Deschain, and Drizzt Do'Urden to make it to the final round against Jaime Lannister from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Now, George posted over on his Not A Blog a scenario proposed by the Lannisters: that each combatant in the final round choose six companions to fight at his side:
Jaime's six will all be characters from the worlds and stories of George R.R. Martin (that would be me); Rand is free to fill out his six with characters from the works of Robert Jordan AND Brandon Sanderson. (Yes, he can even include Conan, since Jordan wrote about him).
Not sure how that last would be possible, since Rand apparently already balefired Conan from the Pattern in the second round. I do wonder what restrictions there would be, since if Rand can choose anyone from Robert Jordan's works or my works, he would have several deities to choose from. (Of course, Jaime already defeated Cthulhu, so he's proven his mettle.) If you were picking six characters to fight at Rand's side, who would you choose?
I was going to say that I was fine with this scenario if it was cool with the folks at Suvudu, but it looks like David Pomerico has already posted his version of Rand's response to the challenge, where he says he'll take on any number of Jaime's companions by himself. Now, Jaime's previous round against Kvothe from The Name of the Wind featured awesome writeups by both George and Pat Rothfuss on how they thought the fight should play out, and Jason at Dragonmount (among others) really wanted me to provide something similar for this round. EDIT—SEE BELOW—
(All, this originally said I wasn't going to do a writeup. When I dictated this post to Peter, he misunderstood what I said and wrote that I wasn't going to do a writeup. I'm totally planning to do one—I said I didn't know if I could do one like GRRM did, in-character, because I wasn't sure if it was appropriate. Rand doesn't belong to me, and I don't know if it would be right to do something from his eyes.
I AM however, planning to do a separate write up to talk about the match, maybe from my viewpoint. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but I am planning to squeeze in the time to do it, despite my deadlines. Sorry for the mixup. I was kind of mumbling when I told Peter about this, as I was working on something else, and I guess he thought I said I wasn't going to do one at all. Back to the original post now.)
I look forward to seeing what George writes. The fans ultimately decide who comes out on top, so check Suvudu and start voting sometime tomorrow.
I blogged briefly yesterday about the Suvudu cage matches. I thought I'd dig into it a little further today, as I consider Monday updates (normally) to be more "Here's what's going on" updates. I prefer to move more in-depth posts to other days.
So, the Suvudu cage match. First off, I'd like to say that I'm impressed by the improvements made to the format this year. For one thing, the editors made a conscious effort to even out the power level of the combatants. That goes a long way toward making the matchups more interesting, I think—no longer do we have to suspend disbelief to epic proportions in order to pretend that Jaime Lannister would somehow ever NEED to fight Cthulhu, and somehow find a way to win.
There are still some things to gripe about here, as there is still great power-level variety in the matchups. All things considered, this is a good group to battle it out, but do Gollum and Tasslehoff REALLY belong in this? I don't think they match the others. And what about Pug, Allanon, and Zedd? Three full-blown, deeply trained wizards amid a bunch of melee fighters? Fantasy novels aren't D&D. (Well, hopefully most of them aren't.) There's no reason to force power balance between the arcane and the non-arcane. But anyway, at least there aren't any Elder Gods running around.
So, what are my thoughts? Basically, thinking of it rationally, Pug and company should end up dominating. Maybe Beowulf too. I mean, really. Beowulf is the proto-hero that almost all of the rest are (tangentially) based upon; the guy was practically indestructible. The others are arguably demi-dieties, and would be better off playing hardball with people like Rand and Gandalf than ending up fighting people like Tally or Druss. (Who, don't get me wrong, are both totally awesome—but they're going to have trouble with people who can teleport, call down the powers of the elements, and all-around warp the fabric of reality.)
Questions like these make it a little hard for me to figure out just what's going on here. Is it just supposed to be a popularity contest? If so, Jacob Black wins and we can all go home. (Sorry, but it's true.) If it's not supposed to be a popularity contest, and we're supposed to consider each pairing realistically, why don't we have more information on the matches? How far apart do the combatants start? It's a "cage match" by Suvudu's title, but are they really fighting in a standard-issue wrestling cage? I mean, come ON, guys. We're nerds here. We can't make subjective judgments about fictional characters completely outside of canon if you don't at LEAST tell us how the fights are set up.
Do people with followers get to bring some along? What about Perrin—one of his basic powers is calling on wolves for help. So can we assume he's got a pack of them with him? Do the sf characters have guns? Can Vin assume everyone she'll fight will have metal on them, or can we assume they will each know the person they're fighting and be able to prepare?
Okay, yes, I'm overthinking this. But don't tell me you weren't too. Anyway, here's my input on the two matches I've got some responsibility for:
Perrin against Tasslehoff. Really. We're doing this? Okay, well, here's what we've got. Perrin is an extremely skilled fighter whose very nature (being ta'veren) causes probability to warp around him and bring to him the things and people he needs at the moments he needs them. He has a power-forged hammer, the allegiance of tens of thousands of trained soldiers, and the ability to call upon hundreds of wolves if he really needed to. He is a berserker on the battlefield, and has the power to move in the World of Dreams, where he has near-absolute control of his surroundings. He is guarded by Aiel warriors and two powerful Asha'man who can wield the One Power that made Rand such a force in the previous tournament.
Tasslehoff has a stick that throws rocks.
Okay, I'm underplaying it. Tas is a clever, brave little guy. (Actually, I think he may be immune to fear or something.) He's prone to have a few tricks up his sleeves, magic items stolen here or there. But he's also got a childlike view of the world, and has nowhere near the ruthlessness that Perrin has been forced by fate to learn. Tas can't win this fight. I declare that this battle plays out like so: Tas defaults on his match by not showing up. He's off picking Jon Snow's pockets. Perrin wins. (And Wheel of Time fans, don't prove me wrong. We'll never live it down if Perrin loses to Tasslehoff.)
As for Vin and Logen Ninefingers, this is a far more even battle. To put the duel on better footing, I'm going to say that this is Vin before certain events toward the end of Mistborn 3 that would make the fight wildly unfair. Also, I'm going to remove atium (which would let her see the future and win any battle she wants) from her repertoire for now. (If she has to fight Zedd, all bets are off.)
So, she's a very, very talented Mistborn, capable of greatly increased strength, greatly increased speed, near-infinite endurance, supernatural sensory abilities, the capacity to change a person's emotions at will, virtual immunity to metal weapons, the power to kill at range with coins shot at high speeds with expert precision, the ability to ignore many wounds and heal at an accelerated rate, and telekinetic powers that allow her to vault long distances and remain in the air when needed.
Okay, so maybe it's not much of a fair fight. (This is what I was talking about.) Logen is a toughened warrior, very careful, but also capable of turning into a crazed berserker who doesn't feel pain. But that's not enough to face Vin. She's out of his league. This fight goes on for a while, but he can't get to Vin, who hovers outside of his range and flings back any weapons or arrows he uses against her. She pelts him with coins, then takes his head off with a six-foot-long koloss sword.
Audible.com is once again putting on its Tournament of Audiobooks, and Towers of Midnight is one of the competitors. The first round is underway, and so far Towers is narrowly beating out American Assassin. If you want to vote, click on the Best Sellers tab. (The Gathering Storm won last year's tournament.)
Suvudu has Vin up against Jon Snow in the semifinals of this year's cage match. Since Jon Snow hails from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, he's probably going to win. Which I'm perfectly fine with, as George is a true master of a writer. Besides, I really have no interest in seeing both Vin and Perrin winning their semifinal matches (Perrin will be pitted against Quick Ben from Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, who is no pushover) and facing each other in the final.
Ta'veren Tees is having a contest where customers can win free Wheel of Time shirts. See their contest rules here.
[Brandon is signing my copy of Towers of Midnight and drawing a lovely picture of Goodkind.]
You even put the yeard in! That's awesome.
All right. Kelsier and Moiraine are facing each other in the Suvudu cage match next round. Guess I should do a write up.
I think I'll just flip a coin to decide who wins, then write something that makes it seem logical.
Though this is (for a Suvudu Cage Match) actually quite even, I'm going to have to play it very tongue-in-cheek. Just a warning.
Don't expect an epic battle. I don't have the time to spare to write up something like that in this case.
Okay, that's done. Quick and dirty, I'm afraid, but it's all the time I could spare. Should be up on Suvudu soon, maybe on my website also.
Warning: it not only contains huge spoilers for both series, but a lot of WoT and Mistborn in jokes.
If you disagree with the results of my coin flip, feel free to vote however you wish in the cage match poll. :)
Write up I did for Kelsier and Moiraine will go up Monday, I believe. I'll post a link when it goes live.
You stole my cage match, Brandon! ;)
Ha! You were the one who would tackle this, eh?
Well, if you had something cool you wanted to do, I'll post it on my site if you still want to write it.
In case you haven't seen it, my Moiraine vs Kelsier write up is here.
I liked it, it was a fun read, still voted for Moiraine though :P ^_^
I actually tried to leave it ambiguous at the end. The thing people should be asking themselves is this:
"As the write-up was from Kelseir's viewpoint, can we assume that the whole thing happened as Moiraine wanted it to?"
You need to ask yourself that whenever you end a conversation with an Aes Sedai. :)
Finally, the 2012 Suvudu Cage Match has started, and this year's bracket features both Moiraine Damodred and Kelsier. In the first round, Kelsier is up against Gale Hawthorne, and Moiraine faces off against Tarzan. Voting runs through Thursday.
This week's Suvudu Cage Match features Moiraine versus Jardir and Kelsier versus Ray Lilly. If both Moiraine and Kelsier win, they will be up against each other next week, which would mean that (barring fires to put out) I would be inclined to do a writeup of my own. They have to survive this week before you get to see that though, and both have worthy opponents. Voting ends on Thursday.
If you missed it on Twitter or Facebook, here's the link to my Suvudu Cage Match writeup of Moiraine vs. Kelsier. Don't expect an epic battle. I don't have the time to spare to write something like that in this case. Instead, I played it very tongue-in-cheek. I flipped a coin to decide who won, then wrote something that made it seem logical. Warning: it not only contains huge spoilers for both series, but a lot of Wheel of Time and Mistborn in-jokes. If you disagree with the results of my coin flip, feel free to vote however you wish in the cage match poll.
In the Suvudu Cage Match, you voted Moiraine into the final match, against Kylar Stern from Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy. If you're interested, vote for who you think would win.
Came for the ass kicking, left cause of ass kissing.
...You do realize that Brandon wrote this?
Sadly yes, I heard about him writing it last week, was extremely hype for it. And all for this, something that reads like mediocre fan-fiction. With great expectations comes great disappointment.
In that direction lay a trap.I've stated before that I am uncomfortable with these cage matches because the pairings are often silly, and because I have trouble believing some of the characters would actually fight one another for any reason.
Because the nature of the whole things is so ridiculous to me, I couldn't possibly play it straight. And if I did, the effort required to make it work would distract me from other projects&madsh;and I would have to write both characters out of character to the point that it would just come off as lame.
And so, you get a silly conversation. That was really my only option here, I'm afraid.
This is in reference to the Suvudu cage match between Kelsier and Moiraine.