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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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Heya. So. Kind of harsh question—you are reported to have inferred recently that the Black Ajah and Nynaeve etc. ability to...
...to be solid and channel properly during the Dream Battle in Towers of Midnight has an explanation. Is this true? I struggle...
... to believe that given the text and my communications with Maria, and was wondering if it was misquoted?
Aight. Literally as I posted the above to Brandon, Maria replied with that this whole issue is a Read and Find Out issue. I'm a douche.
Did anyone check out the ebook to see if any changes have been made to that scene?
Don't think so... been chatting with Maria about it and she's not indicated any changes.
Look for an email soon; there were changes. I'm having a difficult day; I didn't think that you might not have seen an ebook.
The differences were found and posted at Theoryland.
I found the bit with Luckers after I'd done the 2011 Tweets. By date, it fits here best, but the context is not necessarily significant; I can't insert entries anywhere but at the end of an 'interview' page, but I can edit previous entries, so here it is.
Regarding the Dragon and the Dragon Reborn (and Graendal's thoughts about Ishamael's musings):
"Is this soul born in any other Age, or only at the advent and (theoretically, of course) the closing of the Third Age, as the Dragon/the Dragon Reborn?"
Not one-to-one. Not for any given cultures. Well, the Aiel for instance, there are bits of Berber and Bedouin cultures. Zulu. Some things from the Japanese historical cultures. From the Apache Indians. Also from the Cheyenne. I put these things together and added in some things that I also wanted to be true about the culture beyond these real cultures.
Then I began to figure out if these things were true, what else had to be true and what things could not be true. That can be very simple. If you have a culture living in a land where water is scarce, well, obviously they value water. It's necessary for human survival. On the other hand, if they live in the middle of a waterless waste, dealing with crossing rivers or lakes is going to be difficult for them. They don't know how.
It's a strong matter of belief. If you believe something like that will happen to you, then it can and does.
[I wonder why Moghedien believed that though, if she one of the best of the (Forsaken) in Tel'aran'rhiod]
Also, what about wounds and pain? Causing pains/wounds though an intermediate source—such as stabbing one with a dagger made in Tel'aran'rhiod—causes lasting pain. Yet if one were to simply cause the other to feel that pain directly, it fades upon reaching the waking world.
No it doesn't. If you feel pain in the World of Dreams, in Tel'aran'rhiod, then you have that pain in the waking world. Tel'aran'rhiod IS real in that respect.
[More along the same, I forget wording. But I wonder why pain would stay, if Egwene's healing didn't? Belief again?]
No the...well, I am not going to say where they are for the tests for Accepted, that might be a RAFO, probably not, but it might be.
For the test for Aes Sedai, they are in effect inside what you might call an uber-virtual reality device where what happens is entirely controlled in this case by the sisters controlling the device, but it is a virtual reality that is so terrific that it is reality for you. You die, you are dead. No game over, start again. You are dead.
Is the True Power used by any other creatures or beings within Parallel or Perpendicular worlds or other dimensions?
Ok, see answering that actually gets us begging the question because let’s step back, the question that people should be asking is does the Dark One exist in all of these Parallels...
...ok, so yeah this is the question I’ll ask, you make a good point. Are there worlds and dimensions that exist outside of the Pattern?
Ok, see that’s the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to answer it. [laughter] But that’s at the core of the question. I’m going to discuss it without giving you the answer. I like to do this because I think it frames the question without giving you too much information that I have that I don’t think is appropriate to share right now. Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons? Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the ter’angreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate Universes? Do we have a multi-verse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities and do these worlds all exist or could exist, what is the difference. In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world or maybe not, maybe he makes it has he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that don’t really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that Tel'aran'rhiod is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the Finns is something different...
...he called it a Parallel World...
Yes, the Parallel World, that one and also the one Rand and Lanfear visited are persistent regardless of someone from this world visiting. Yet, many of those seem almost shadowy and reflections of the real world, some of them seem as real just strange when visiting them. What happens in these different world, that sort of thing, those were never questions that Robert Jordan answered...
...the answers exist?
The answers exist, but are there many parallel Patterns or is there one Pattern?
Yeah, that’s...are there many Wheels or just one Wheel?
That’s not a question, I’m afraid, that I can answer because I don’t think it’s within the scope of the books and I don’t think that the characters...that there are people that could know. You will find Browns arguing all of these different things among themselves, and it’s not my place to step in and end the discussion.
That was our First MAFO (Maria And Find Out).
He also said that Egwene is a powerful Dreamer and it seems unlikely that she didn't squeeze her for the information.
This one is basic enough that I feel pretty confident that Egwene would have certainly asked Moghedien about Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene threatened to execute Moghedien if she lied; I would think that with the knowledge that Egwene gained from the Aiel Wise Ones she might use that as the occasional test, and see where it went. I think that Egwene asked Moghedien about pretty much anything that popped in her head.
Maria claims the right to amend this later.
Can a Dreamer access Tel'aran'rhiod if trapped by an a'dam?
At first, Brandon said yes, but then he qualified that with 90% chance of yes.
Can a Dreamer access Tel'aran'rhiod if trapped by the 'Finns?
Tough question LOL, MAFO.
I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I can’t back that up.
As far as I know, no. That's an 80%.
The question they should be asking is could Perrin (be taught to find dreams)?
(not verbatim) Egwene thought she was doing the right thing. She was acting as the Amyrlin and trying to make sure that he would be safe and out of the way of danger. She was not going to tie him up and leave him, she would have brought him somewhere safe away from the danger of the fight and left him there until it was over.
Who is stronger in Tel'aran'rhiod?
(not verbatim) They are both very strong, but in different ways. Perrin is very strong instinctively. Like the wolves, he makes decisions based on instinct while in Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene plans out her moves rather than going by feeling as Perrin does. If the two were matched against each other the outcome would entirely be based on what type of encounter it was.
Verin makes many statements throughout the books that are suspect now that we know she was not bound by the Oaths. In regards to the ter'angreal dream ring, Verin tells Egwene, "I tried it myself, once, some years ago. Anaiya's Healing did not work as well as it should have. Remember that."
During the time Verin gave Egwene the ring she mentioned going to Anaiya to be healed. She didn't go to a Yellow for Healing—does Verin hold something over Anaiya? Were they pillow friends? Or was this simply a case of asking a friend to do a minor healing because she knew she would keep it quiet?
Oh yeah, I also asked about the Tel'aran'rhiod fight (that was actually during the walk to the restaurant) and if the Black Ajah shouldn't have been more blurred out. See discussion at Readandfindout.com.
(long silence) I believe...I'll give you a percentage on these. If I say, "I believe", it means, "this is my understanding, but, um..."
Right, the asterisk.
There's an asterisk on it. And most of my understanding is informed by the notes and what I've read, but I often get things mixed up. So, I'm going to say on a 75% surety, not everybody can be trained to enter without a ter'angreal eventually, and some talent is required, but there are some who can...there is a middle ground between, for instance, Egwene, and somebody who can't at all.
Like Aran'gar, who obviously has hardly any talent at all, but she can get into people's dreams.
Yeah. So, there is a middle ground. But I don't believe everybody can.
Have all of the Forsaken been trained to do this or do some of them have to use gateways to get there?
In choosing the Forsaken—and this one is actually, um...I am quoting sources that you don't have access to, but I do...
In choosing the Forsaken, the Dark One was careful...um, the very nature of it led to people with great talent in many areas being chosen. They are extraordinary in many areas, and having talents that others do not have, beyond being powerful channelers.
We're talking about the thirteen that were at Shayol Ghul...
Yeah. ...This is what led to them being at the top of the heap. That said, I do believe that, among the Forsaken, there are some who had to use gateways to get there...but the majority of the Forsaken are very talented in many areas.
I did mean Dreamers. People have been trying to pin me down on that one.
Yeah, everybody has been like convinced that you were just confused...
...that I was just confused. No. I meant Dreamers. I DID INDEED MEAN DREAMERS.
I know you did, but...just verifying.
Yeah. And I’m like 95% on that one. We’ll put an asterisk on it. I actually sent Maria deeper into the notes, but I know at least one is, and I’m pretty sure one of each gender is.
I believe Moridin was...okay, in The Gathering Storm, he was in his own dream. He at least believes he was in his own dream, and he is usually right on things like that. And in The Eye of the World, he...I believe it was their dreams that he was controlling. But...
That's difficult to do.
That's very difficult to do....so I could be wrong on that. It's easier to pull someone into your own dreams, but it's easier to influence multiple dreams from the outside. So...does that make sense?
So, since he's doing it to all three of them, that makes me believe he was actually controlling their dreams. I'm pretty sure on that one, Terez. [Cut discussion of the pronunciation of Terez.] I could be wrong...but my understanding of the mechanics is that since they're all dreaming the same thing, that it's external, much as a lot of the Forsaken have been not warding their dreams through the early parts of the books, and causing people to dream lots of weird things, and share dreams. Ishamael was doing that intentionally...doing something similar. Does that make sense?
Right, and it also has to do with his ability to find ta'veren.
In my reread I noticed in A Crown of Swords Chapter 10, "Unseen Eyes", that Egwene says it's possible for a Dreamer to pull someone out of their dreams into a dream of her own making in Tel'aran'rhiod; this is something the Wise Ones won't do, but Ishamael wouldn't have a problem with it; I had forgotten that detail for some reason, and the Moridin dream confused the issue. It can be assumed that Lanfear did the same thing; Moghedien has shown no sign of having the ability (or perhaps the desire) to reach others' dreams, but she can trap Dreamwalkers in their own dreams in Tel'aran'rhiod. Aran'gar can do it weakly, and then only if she is sleeping right next to the person. Brandon has a point about the fact that all three of them dreamed the same dream apparently at once, but in once instance, after Perrin found the wolves, it seemed to Rand and Mat that they fell asleep, had the dream, and immediately woke up, when Moiraine says they were asleep for four hours.
I'm actually going to RAFO that. And that's actually not one I'm RAFO'ing...I'm RAFO'ing that for very good reasons. Not just out-of-hand RAFO'ing.
(pause) I'm a little bit out on a limb on this one, but I don't believe he was. We have seen places where Rand manifests in Tel'aran'rhiod when he's in the real world, and this is something that happens with Rand that we haven't seen with other people...
Are you talking about like when...
Well, there's the Perrin sequence, for one...
Right, and when Ishamael visits him in The Great Hunt...
So, I believe Rand has got something a little unique going on there...
Oh, okay. That's interesting.
...but, I'm a little on a limb on that one.
Brandon said remembering thinking it was odd at the time when he read it but asked for an email and find out for that question.
[Julien] also asked if Rand had quit smoking since we hadn't seen him smoking tabac recently.
Brandon says that if he can't get two rivers tabac he would rather not smoke anything and Rand has been a busy guy lately. He compared it to being used to really good French wine and then having only bad American wine available, in which case Rand would rather not consume. Rather funny.
Okay. Well…I guess we'll just go into the pronunciations.
Well, our next little bit needs a little bit of a lead-in for our listeners who don't have access to our huge list of questions like we do. As part of our interview questions, we have a list of words, and we asked, "How do you pronounce each of these words?" And there are about 43 of them. There are probably some on here that don't need to be on here, and I know that there aren't some on here that should be, but these are the 43 that we came up with.
Yeah, Spencer got mad at me because I went and annotated the list, like…I gotta be exact, and he's like "No…"
I didn't get mad at you! I just took 'em off; I'm like, "Oh yeah, you're right; take that one off." Anyway. And so Maria, Alan…would you please go through the list and tell us how to pronounce these names and places?
Okay, here we go. And I may, you know, be wrong on some. But others, I'm pretty sure of.
And feel free to add some in if something occurs to you as you're going.
O-kay. We have add-uh-LAY-us. (Adeleas) el-FINN. (Aelfinn) eyes-DEYE-shar. (Aesdaishar) (RJ used EYE to rhyme with the word 'eye') ahm-uh-DEE-see-uh. (Amadicia) [glossary: ah-mah-DEE-see-ah] (ah=ahhh sound, uh=schwa) ERR-id doe-MAHN. (Arad Doman) [glossary: AH-rad do-MAHN] arr-uh-FELL. (Arafel) [glossary: AH-rah-fehl] brr-GEE-tuh. (Birgitte) (hard G) [glossary: ber-GEET-teh] Brenn. (Bryne) [glossary: BRIHN, GAH-rehth] KEYE-ree-enn. (Cairhien) [glossary: KEYE-ree-EHN] CHA fah-EEL. (Cha Faile) (mid ch) drag-car. (Draghkar) [glossary: DRAGH-kahr] EEL-finn. (Eelfinn) guh-LAHD. (Galad) [glossary: gah-LAHD] GAH-win. (Gawyn) [glossary: GAH-wihn] GALE-donn. (Ghealdan) [glossary: GHEL-dahn] I'm not sure if it's huh-REEN or huh-REEN-uh. (Harine) din toe-GAHR-uh Two Winds. ILL-ee-in. (Illian) [glossary: IHL-lee-ahn] ill-ee-AY-nuh. (? - AY is long A) CAN-door. (Kandor) (door like the word) lee-AH-nuh. (Leane) [glossary: lee-AHN-eh shah-REEF] mall-KEER. (Malkier) [glossary: mahl-KEER] my-EEN. (Mayene) [glossary: may-EHN] myur-an-DEE. (Murandy) [glossary: MEW-ran-dee] MEER-drahl. (Myrddraal) [glossary: MUHRD-draal] NEIGH-bliss. Sorry. NAY-bliss. [laughter] (Nae'blis) NEFF. (Naeff?) nee-AHM Passes (Niamh Passes) nigh-NEEV. (Nynaeve) [glossary: NIGH-neev al-MEER-ah] Plains of mah-REE-doh. (Plains of Maredo) ree-AH-nuh. (Reanne) seye-DAR. (saidar). [glossary: sah-ih-DAHR] seye-DEEN. (saidin) [glossary: sah-ih-DEEN] sall-DAY-uh. (Saldaea) [glossary: sahl-DAY-ee-ya] see-AEN. (Seaine?) Alan…
SHE-nar. (Shienar) [glossary: shy-NAHR] Swan. (Siuan) [glossary: SWAHN SAHN-chay] sor-uh-LEE-uh. (Sorilea) [glossary: soh-rih-LEE-ah] terra-BONN. (Tarabon) [glossary: TAH-rah-BON] TAR-win's Gap. (Tarwin's Gap) tell-uh-RON-ree-odd. (Tel'aran'rhiod) [glossary: tel-AYE-rahn-rhee-ODD] Tower of genn-JEYE. (Ghenjei) (hard G) truh-MALL-king. (Tremalking) [glossary: treh-MAL-king] too-AH-thuh-AHN. (Tuatha'an) [glossary: too-AH-thah-AHN]
Do you want to go over the saidar/saidin thing we talked about?
In the glossaries of the books, Jim has it sah-ih-DEEN and sah-ih-DAHR, but I swear, I don't think he pronounced it that way; I mean you kind of give a little hint of the i but not much: sah-ee-DEEN, sah-ee-DAHR.
Yeah, he always seemed to be saying seye-DEEN and seye-DAHR.
I'm surprised at how many of those I thought I knew, but I didn't.
Yeah. That's like, "Waait a second, that's not…but oh, I guess it is."
How do you pronounce the Traveling people again?
There's something else with the double A there…
ah-tha-AHN mee-AIR. (Atha'an Miere)
Okay, great. Any others you can think of that are commonly mangled, that would have driven Jim crazy?
I think I've mentioned tah-EEM before, and egg-ee-AH-nin…
dee-MAN-dred? dee-MAHN-dred? DEE-man-dred?
Ehh...dee-MAHN-dred, I think…but I wouldn't swear dee-MAHN-dred. [glossary: DEE-man-drehd]
How about all of the Forsaken? A lot of them often get mangled, or a few. GRIN-doll?
Grindle, is how I say it. [glossary: GREHN-dahl] And it's interesting, just looking at a thing, and I pronounce CADD-in-soar (cadin'sor) wrong. [glossary: KAH-dihn-sohr]
Yeah, because it's supposed to be cah-DIN-soar. [It's not, according to the glossary.]
Okay, because I say it the way you say it.
Yeah, I think… [inaudible] so that makes sense.
Oh! ish-AH-may-el, and SAM-may-el. [glossary: ih-SHAH-may-EHL, SAHM-may-EHL] [When RJ said it, the 'may' part was more like the German 'Mai'.]
Yes. Those are really common mistakes; I hear that a lot.
Ben [?] was right; we had that famous tagline from the original podcast, and we had this thing…I think, "Sammael was pretty buff!" [laughter] We used that a lot, and it sort of went away when he did, I guess.
Another one that I have lots of problems with—and I can't believe I didn't get it on the list—but is the GOLL-um (gholam), or the…I can't even pronounce it right now.
Yeah, the GO-lem, that's chasing Mat.
Oh, it's Gollum! [crosstalk]
I am not absolutely sure, but that's how I say it, so…
What about some of the other Seanchan beasts that made me think of, the grolm, then there were two of the others that…
ROCK-in (raken), and TOE-rock-in. (to'raken)
Yeah, and then there was another one, the um…
Torm…the book is right in front of me…
Oh, maybe it was the name of that…oh, Suroth's pet!
Oh yes, that thing. I can't remember… [crosstalk]
The LOW-par (lopar)?
Yeah, the lopar. Almandaragal was his name, or something like that?
Something like that. I would have to look it up.
It was a LOW-par (lopar), wasn't it?
Yeah, lopar. I think there was another one that I couldn't…maybe I'm just hallucinating. [laughs]
I'm sure there's a zillion others I'll think of after you're off the air here with us…
Oh, s'RED-dit (s'redit) is another one. Remember the elephant-like creature?
Corlm, C-O-R-L-M (I like that word). Torm…that's all I can find.
What about Tuon's new name as Empress?
Fortuona, okay. I'm not sure how else you could pronounce that, but I've been wrong before, so...
That, I'm assuming is right; I'm pretty sure I heard Jim pronounce it that way, because that was his choice of name.
There must be something else; there seems like a million things, and that I didn't add enough to the list.
Oh! What about—speaking of historical figures—LAH-tra…poe-SAI? Or poe-SAY? deh-KYU-meh? (Latra Posae Decume)
Oh yeah, LA-tra (LA rhymes with laugh)…
I got the Latra, but I'm not sure about the second and third names.
It's P-O-S-A-E, and then D-E-C-U-M-E.
deh-COO-may, okay. [crosstalk]
That's totally off the top of my head. I see it (?) and think it, anyway. po-SAY-uh deh-COO-may, yeah.
In Lord of Chaos, Nynaeve and Elayne searched for something that would tie the Salidar Aes Sedai to Rand via Need in Tel'aran'rhiod.
Need led them to three things. First it led them to the White Tower, (where Elayne glimpsed Egwene briefly), then Need shifted Nynaeve and Elayne to a locked storeroom within the White Tower (they thought that was useless). After that, Need led them to the Bowl of the Winds. My questions are regarding the first two things Need brought them to.
On the first thing, was Need bringing them to Egwene?
I believe it was Egwene.
On the second thing, what was the item Need brought them to in that storeroom?
Was that something besides the Horn of Valere?
It could be.
[I felt that this question was grasping at straws here a bit from the impression I got from him, i.e. it's not that important regarding what the item is, but that it will come into play. And it's not the Horn of Valere in this case. I could be wrong, that's just the vibe I got.]
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.
*blinks at me* Umm. That's a really good question.
I ask, because it's odd that Moghedien never tried to use the dream to escape, or to capture someone in Salidar and compel her to free Moghedien in the waking world, or anything like that.
Yeah, that's a good question. I'd guess no, but you can MAFO that.
I believe that you cannot touch Tel'aran'rhiod while leashed, but I can't find anything in the notes that states so outright.
(Sorry I cannot put out his precise words, but here is the gist)—Jordan started by having balefire do this, but he later debunked this theory by saying someone killed by balefire can be reborn at some point. We currently know of nothing/no method that will completely remove someone from the Pattern.
I thanked him and turned to walk away at this point, so that he could continue with the signing. But he called me back and commented that:
The wolves in the Wolf Dream. We know that in the Wolf Dream something can be completely removed from the Pattern.
(Again, not his exact words, but this pretty close. Perhaps J.D can back me up here. He was there.)
Everything that I've read in the notes indicates that they are from his ta'veren nature, and that they are a manifestation of being ta'veren [?] related to his [?]
One of Perrin's manifestations, visions in the Wolf Dream...
Partially. Perrin's manifestation is also...he draws to him things that he needs; what he needs comes to Perrin. That's actually his primary manifestation of being ta'veren.
So what's the difference between what Perrin does and what Egwene does?
Oh boy. Can I get into this? They are similar, but not the same. What Egwene does is partially a Talent of the Power, and it's related to the Power. And Perrin is not.
Is it [?] him being a Wolfbrother?
[?] if he chose to.
It is related to him being a Wolfbrother.
Why can the wolves not see it?
I honestly don't remember the answer to that.
Being a fan for so long, there was a danger that I would come in and say, "Well, this is my chance to fix all the things that have bugged me about the Wheel of Time." But I realized I couldn't approach the story like that.
Robert Jordan handles magic systems in a different way from how I handle a lot of mine. He works harder to preserve the sense of wonder than I do. I explain more nuts and bolts. He reserves the right to say, "We don't know how this works." I had to tell myself my job is not to change that. That's how his magic works, and it works really well like that. Even though on the Sanderson's First Law scale, it is much more to the middle than mine are. Mine are on the right side (right meaning direction-wise, not correctness-wise), where his is more toward the middle and Tolkien is more toward the left side. And I didn't want to push it.
The balance that I struck is, I was going to do my best to avoid a lot of new weaves [different kinds of magic], and I was going to take the existing weaves and push them further along the scale than I would let myself [in my own books]. The two instances are what happens in the world of dreams and gateways. I told myself, I am going to play with these two parts of the magic systems and let myself do some of the fun things I will do with magic. I am not going to spend a lot of time inventing new parts of the magic.
I don't know. (Brandon looks at Maria)
I don't know. It might be in the notes.
In The Gathering Storm, Rand says to Nynaeve: "Dream on my behalf, Nynaeve. Dream for things I no longer can." Was this a red herring? Or was it a completely innocent statement?
It wasn't a red herring. I meant it as a completely innocent statement. It was just about Rand telling Nynaeve to keep on wishing for him to be able to live.
I really have always liked, obviously, his system, which is part of why I love the books. His system had this nice mix between the visual aspect—I really loved the weaving, and things like this—and it had some interesting ramifications on physics and whatnot, and I also liked a lot of the sense of mystery to it, in that they didn't know everything, which is one thing that I like, when a magic system—you know, I like to write very rule-based magic systems, but I feel that, if you know everything...I mean, we don't know everything about physics; we don't know everything about science, and so how can you know everything about the magic, which is the science of a certain world? That said, Jim generally was more flexible with himself on allowing himself to do different things with the magic. He had a more open-ended magic system, I would guess. A lot more weaves were created, and things like that, and I tend to make my magic systems more restrictive.
Because of this, growing into the books, I worried that, working in a system where I was uninhibited in that way, that I would just go completely bonkers. [laughter] And so, when I sat down to work in this system, I decided it was...when necessary I would develop new weaves, but that I would resist the urge, and that there had been so much developed by Jim so far that I would use weaves either in the books or from the notes whenever possible, and I would prefer to take those and try to go new places with them as opposed to developing lots of new and different weaves, which is why you see me doing things like pushing gateways a little bit further, because I thought there was a lot of room to explore there, or pushing what Perrin does in the wolf dream, and these sorts of things, because these are established systems that Jim created for me, and for all of us, and I felt there was so much room to move in those that I didn't need to go other places. There are some places in the books where a new weave was appropriate, and we did that, but I tried very hard to cap that, because I worried I would just do too much, if that makes any sense.
I really enjoyed working with it. In fact, the Wheel of Time...in a lot of ways, the Wheel of Time doing what it did had prevented me in my career from ever approaching doing those things, if that makes any sense. Because I loved the Wheel of Time, I didn't want to be repeating something that...I didn't want to be, you know, accused of just copying Robert Jordan. And so, because of that, you don't see me writing a lot of the types of things that he did, like you know I'd always wanted to do a dream world, but I never did a dream world because the Wheel of Time had done one so well. And then when I was able to work on this, I got to kind of do all of those things that I'd made off-limits to myself because Robert Jordan had done them already, and done them so well, and it was pretty awesome to be able to do that. It was one of my favorite parts about doing this, is all these things that were on my list of "Robert Jordan did this so don't do it," suddenly became things I could do. So... [applause]
And as a follow-up to that, I think that, instead of just being the magic system guy, I think that Brandon has every right to be the good, quality compelling character guy. So... [applause]
Quick note before I pass out, just wanted to let you guys know that I only ended up having time for a single question; I asked "if there are any humans who have found a way, or been given a way, to inhabit Tel'aran'rhiod beyond a normal lifetime, without being a Hero of the Horn" for Freelancer and Wet @145/146 :P (I figured my Callandor questions could be asked later...).
The answer was (Paraphrased): I don't know. It's possible, but I don't know if anyone has done so.
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 am assuming so, but again, I don't know.
I got the impression (because of this conversation) that Brandon kinda tried to explain that one.
If people can be removed from the Wheel by dying in the Wolf Dream or the Dream World when they're there in person, how is it that there are any people left, if there's been an infinite number of turns of the Wheel?
They actually can't. That only works on wolves, regardless of what some people think in-world. I thought like you do, but Maria was quite firm that RJ said it couldn't happen, even in the World of Dreams. (Or even with balefire—which I thought would also remove people. Maria explained that I was wrong, and RJ was firm on this one too.)
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.
Yes. Brandon said that he disagreed with RJ's views that a hero once bound could not be unbound. Brandon thought that since the WoT is infinite, eventually everyone would be bound.
I had talked to Brandon about this before, noting that it was possible for heroes of the horn to die a permanent death, if killed after death while in Tel'aran'rhiod, same as the wolves. (See The Fires of Heaven Chapter 14, "Meetings".) I figured he had forgotten, so I emailed him after Res posted his report. This is his response to me:
I had completely forgotten that. So there IS an unbinding method. You just can't live through it.
For what it is worth, I am reasonably certain there is nothing in the notes about Noal being an old hero. [...] But maybe someone can find something in the notes at the [College of Charleston] library to be certain.
In your opinion who is stronger in the the world of dreams? Perrin or Egwene?
I'd say that at this point, it's less a matter of who is stronger, and more a matter of what they're doing. Perrin could probably win a fight, but his raw knowledge and understanding is less—he works on instinct.