art by Jake Johnson

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

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.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7611

Logged In (1): ShadowbaneX,

Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,

Theoryland Tweets

WoT Interview Search

Home | Interview Database

Your search for the tag 'the harem' yielded 21 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    What advice would you give Rand concerning his relationship with Aviendha, Min, and Elayne?

    Robert Jordan

    Step very carefully. It’s hard enough for a man to deal with one woman at a time, since we aren’t really equipped mentally to keep up without a lot of effort. A man could get trampled very easily trying to keep up with three, not least because they have their own relationship with one another, and no matter what he does, he will not ever in a million years be able to understand that, or be able to avoid cutting his own throat on it. Luckily for him, I do, and I can. For him, anyway.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Question

    Which of the three (Elayne, Min, Aviendha) do you like best? I'm not asking which one Rand is going to get; which one is your favorite?

    Robert Jordan

    All my female characters are based on my wife. Am I supposed to dislike something about her?

    Tags

  • 3

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (10 January 2011)

    "He was sure he would never get another chance to see a Queen, and he hoped he would never have another to see a False Dragon"—Rand

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. I had in my head that Elayne picked up her swearing habit while traveling—but here she is, already speaking oaths to burn Rand's ears.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    What to say of Rand falling into Elayne's garden in Chapter 40? As a youth, I rooted for Elayne and Rand quite a bit. Until I met Aviendha.

    JERA PERTH

    Never Rand and Min? Seemed the coolest choice to me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I like Min, but remember, when I first read this book it was the only WoT book. In my mind it was "Egwene or Elayne?"

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I loved this sequence as a young man. What could be better than the hero of the book accidentally falling into a princess's lap?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Of course, because of lighter-fare fantasy novels, I thought Elayne would join him immediately and pretty much only be Rand's love interest.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's amusing to look at myself twenty years ago, reading The Eye of the World when no others in the series were out and trying to guess where it would go.

    Tags

  • 4

    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

  • 5

    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

  • 6

    Interview: Oct 9th, 1996

    Question

    How do you get your ideas?

    Robert Jordan

    I opened the closet one day and found three young women, diaphanously clad who had made themselves at home. They had hung up needle point embroidery and otherwise furnished the closet. I had a discipline stick available and beat them. Now, every day, they hand me a list of ten ideas.

    Question

    Have you been arrested for muse abuse?

    Robert Jordan

    They refuse to testify.

    Tags

  • 7

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Agent420

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

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO.

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Davidexx from Philadelphia

    First, thanks for such a wonderful series. Your unsurpassed character development, such an important part of fiction writing, makes this series stand head and shoulders above similar-themed works. My question is about balance. Obviously your world is driven by pattern and balance (male and female, light and dark, etc). Why is it that as many of your major and minor characters find their complement (i.e. significant other), Rand has three, ehh, girlfriends. Is this simply because he's the "big cheese", or does this obvious imbalance represent the Wheel weaving what is necessary for the final resolution of the story?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out. Sorry about that!

    Tags

  • 9

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    On the subject of relationships, he commented that "I know what women want. Because I am what women want. [laughter from the audience] Part palomino, part golden retriever." He then quickly howled like a dog and neighed like a horse, with more laughter.

    He commented that in 2002 he took perhaps five days off of writing. In 2001 he was "lazy" and may have had up to ten days off that year. He stated that he had originally thought that writing would be a relaxing job, in which he could retire to "the South of France and lie on the beach with three ladies in a red bikini, blue bikini, and yellow bikini to rub suntan oil upon me."

    Regarding the intensity of his lifestyle, he reminded the audience that he used to be an engineer, but found this job much more demanding. "To write successfully," he remarked, "you really have to throw yourself into your work."

    Tags

  • 10

    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

  • 11

    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

  • 12

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Question

    I was wondering, can you talk about how your lead character would have not one but three true loves, and how does your wife feel about that?

    Robert Jordan

    Um, when I was much younger, before I met Harriet, I had two girlfriends simultaneously, who arranged my dating schedule between them, who was going to date me on which night. They chipped in together to buy me birthday presents and Christmas presents. You know, they just sort of shared me between them, you know. And they had been friends before, and I am not quite sure whether or not they made the decision they were both going to date me or not, on their own, before they first met me, it just came about. But I figured if I could manage two, surely Rand could manage three. Besides there are mythological reasons to have these three women involved with him.

    As far as my view on this, with Harriet, I have many more than three women, there are so many facets to her personality she quite often makes me dizzy, I am quite satisfied there. About how she feels about this, I suspect you want her answer, I seem to remember her saying to me, you do remember this is fantasy right? And I think it was an accident she was holding a carving knife to my throat, just coincidence, but I am not sure.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    In four short words, I am not for it. Four and a half words.

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 2005

    Question

    A question a girl asked, which is often asked, is why Rand gets to sleep with three women.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ laughed at this and explained the usual story of his earlier life when he dated two women. He explained if he could have two, why could Rand not have three?

    Allentrace

    I tried to catch Harriet's response to this but my vision of her was obscured.

    Tags

  • 14

    Interview: Sep 21st, 2010

    Matt Hatch

    The last question…Mitchell asks, can we expect an epic Rand/Elayne/Aviendha/Min reunion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m so glad you said reunion.

    (Small group of people erupt in laughter)

    Matt Hatch

    You were wondering where I was going with that... (More laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. Ask again later.

    Tags

  • 15

    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

  • 16

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    eliyannakaiser

    How goes loverboy's Min/[Elayne]/Aviendha thingee? And which girl would you go with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s interesting, as could be expected. I’d pick Min for me, but Aviendha for Rand. Know that RJ was very clear on how that whole thing was to end up. So no guesswork by me. (whew).

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    I asked him of the three women in love with Rand who he (RJ) preferred; he said because all the women characters were based on his wife, he couldn't say which he liked most. Maybe I was getting too personal. Dunno.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2013

    tiffranosaurusrex

    If you had to think into the future of Randland, what do you picture the remaining heroes doing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, in RJ's notes, Perrin was to be involved in the Outriggers (which would be the story of Mat and Tuon in Seanchan.) So Perrin would make his way there, eventually. (I don't know how that would have worked with Perrin's new obligations.) From here, I stray away from canon (meaning what RJ wanted) and into my own imaginings. I imagine that Rand went to see the world, becoming like Jain Farstrider. Min joined him, and they saw the world. Aviendha and Elayne spent decades, maybe centuries, leading their own people before retiring to join the other two.

    Tags

  • 19

    Interview: 2013

    Twitter 2013 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Aaron Oster (23 January 2013)

    If, hypothetically, there was a body switch in WoT, how would it happen? Would it be an actual switch or illusion?

    Brandon Sanderson (23 January 2013)

    There are far more reasons, worldbuilding wise, to believe it was real than to believe it was illusion.

    TJ

    Is Rand's soul in Moridin's body?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Right to the point, are you? Let's just say that trickery is not likely in this case.

    TJ

    Can you confirm that Rand's body was burned at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, fine. Yes, I will confirm that Rand's body was indeed the one that was burned. :)

    Jonathan MacAlpine

    Why didn't anybody notice when a supposedly-dead Moridin got up and walked away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd say coincidence. But there aren't many of those in the WoT world.

    Siraaj

    Seems like a conversation between the Creator and Rand was missing where "switch" and Alivia's role in it are laid out—thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe that RJ included everything he wanted in this sequence.

    Jason Cassidy

    Why did Rand switch bodies at the end and why is he going incognito now? Did not understand that part.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RJ wrote these scenes, and intended to leave them as is. I don't think me delving into explanations is what he'd want.

    El Brian

    Did the bonding between Rand, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min transfer over to the new body?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, though I don't know how or why.

    Kamarile Sedai

    Why did the bond survive the body switch at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know. RJ did not explain this one to me.

    J Crosby

    How were Rand/Elan able to switch bodies?

    Sean Duffy

    How did Rand wind up with Moridin's body?

    James Starke

    Could you explain further about the body switch and how it was possible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.

    Tags

  • 20

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    Of Rand's three girls, who is your favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Aviendha. Easy answer there, definitely Aviendha.

    Tags