Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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RJ said the soul is immortal. But Hopper says dying in the Wolf Dream is likely permanent. Is Hopper wrong?
RAFO, for now. Ask again after the last book is out.
Here's a quote for you:
The Feast of Fools
Celebrated in Tammaz (in Arad Doman and the Borderlands) or Saven (everywhere else), the exact day varying according to locality. A day in which all order is deliberately inverted; the high perform lowly tasks (running errands, serving at table, etc.) while the low do no work and give orders to their usual superiors. In many villages and towns the most foolish person is given a title such as the Lord/Lady of Unreason/Misrule/Chaos or the King/Queen of Fools. Not an honor sought, but for that one day everyone has to obey whatever orders, however foolish, are given by the chosen one. (Called the Festival of Unreason in Saldaea; the Festival of Fools in Kandor; Foolday in Baerlon and the Two Rivers.)
What exactly is the Bore?
Well, it is at... No, I shouldn't say that. It is a thinness in the Pattern that you can feel the most at Shayol Ghul. (Don't remember what else he said.)
Ok, so, what is then the nature of the Dark Oneís relationship with the True Power? In other words, is the Power...is he the Power or it is separate like the One Power?
When people bored into his prison they were searching for a new source of power, they found him. Alright? Now, that leaves a strong implication that the True Power is the essence of the Dark One. The True Power when it is used rips apart the Pattern to rebuild it as it desires. The True Power is very destructive to the Pattern. It leaves scars on the Pattern. Robert Jordan said in an interview or maybe it was actually in the books, when you make a gateway with the True Power you are actually ripping a whole in the Pattern and going somewhere else. When you are using the True Power that is what you are doing, it is contrary to the Pattern. That is not a direct answer to your question but I think there are enough implications in there that certain things can be discussed.
[I realize now, after listening to Brandonís answer that I was making an assumption about the One Power too, that it is separate from the Creator because of what we have been given in the books and the BWB, but I should have asked if instead the One Power is the essence of the Creator...]
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 letís 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 Iíll ask, you make a good point. Are there worlds and dimensions that exist outside of the Pattern?
Ok, see thatís the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesnít mean Iím going to answer it. [laughter] But thatís at the core of the question. Iím 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 donít 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 teríangreal 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 donít 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, thatís...are there many Wheels or just one Wheel?
Thatís not a question, Iím afraid, that I can answer because I donít think itís within the scope of the books and I donít think that the characters...that there are people that could know. You will find Browns arguing all of these different things among themselves, and itís not my place to step in and end the discussion.
Are there any other sources of Powers either within the Pattern or outside of the Wheel? Are there any sources likeÖ
...sources much like the One Power and True Power?
I will have to RAFO that.
Ok...which brings up the following questions about the Wheel and its relationship to souls, Talents, abilities and channeling. Is the Wheel responsible for giving or weaving in Talents and abilities to a particular life, or are they like channeling, attached to the soul?
Thatís an excellent question. Iím going to have to RAFO that...itís actually more of a MAFO. What you're asking is would someone who is reborn into the Pattern have the same Talents again?
Right. Or does...the Wheel, we obviously know it is very capable of affecting the Pattern, so the question is does it give and take when it comes to abilities and talents it needs?
Yeah, right, I will have to MAFO that.
Ok, so can the Wheel give an individual life the ability to channel, if the soul does not come to that life with an inborn ability to learn or a spark? Can the Wheel give them that?
Again, I will have to MAFO this whole thing. I will have to go and look. I donít know if someone is necessarily always born with the ability to channel, if they are in every Age...
...there is a quote I brought that we asked at DragonCon, Jordan said: ďI don't think I have said if you are born with the spark you would have the have the spark again. I have said if you were born with the ability to channel, to learn or with the spark, you will, when your soul is born again, you will have the ability again, whether with the spark or without...Ē So, in essence he said itís inherent you have the ability. Whether or not you spark or you can learn it that depends on the life.
My instinct knowing how Jim wrote and knowing the parallels in the notes would be that he would parallel the other Talents along the same lines. A Wolfbrother then would always have the ability to become a Wolfbrother and other things along those lines. Iím going off of instinct so that is an asterisked answer. I can MAFO that and look it up and we can see what we can find, but he did like to parallel a lot of these things...
...ok, so at the end of that answer he said this...we were asking a specific question about stilling and burning out...he said, ďAnd neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetimeĒ. In other words...
...that is consistent...
...it doesnít affect your souls ability, your soulís connection. So stilling and burning out do not affect the ability to channel, which seems to be integral to the soul as it pertains to a new life. That being said, Aran'gar and Osan'gar, they were transmigrated and we see that they can channel in their new bodies, which makes sense because the ability comes with the soul...
...and because of that if you were male before and reborn (in a female body)...you are channeling the wrong power...
...exactly...he was transmigrated into a different body, but still channeling the same power the soul inherits. So considering Jordan's statement about stilling and burning out not affecting the channeling ability of the new life of a soul, is the same for the new life of a soul transmigrated?
Iím going to say that transmigrated...if you were burned out and transmigrated you would still be burned out, is my guess.
Is that a MAFO question? Or...
...that is my guess and you can MAFO it if you want to send it to me, but that is a ďIím pretty sureĒ answer.
Yes, you would. Jim said that ďneither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime.Ē (DragonCon), but transmigration is not really a different lifetime; more than just the soul moves. The new person (Iím at a loss for words here) also has the memories of the previous person, and its personality, and such. So Brandon is correct.
Jim says of Talents: ďA Talent is a special ability with the One Power. While the name is used for other things, a Talent is, in truth, something which is inborn in the person and not something that can be learned.Ē And there is mention of the Wheel throwing out what it needs on occasion, and thereís the phrase, ďThe Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.Ē The Wheel can give and take as it needs.
I believe that the potential for a Talent is there, but it doesn't necessarily manifest each time a soul is born. If the Wheel needs the Talent, the Talent is there. But if the Wheel doesn't need it, it lies dormant.
Jordan talked about Pattern Level Events, or in other words "Effects of the Wheel". This question was asked of him at DragonCon '05. We wanted to know how Rand showed up in the sky above Falme with Ishamael. Theories... [the recording cut off here so Brandonís answer to my question was lost. I will paraphrase it generally. I asked him if Randís access to the infinite lives while on Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm, was the Wheel getting involved directly.]
He replied as follows according to my memory that there was a Pattern Level Event there, but it wasnít specifically the Wheel giving Rand access to memories [of] his previous lives. Brandon asked for some clarification about how Jordan explained his answer at DragonCon. We were rushed and I could not give him that direct quote, so I was unable to ask more specifically if Rand was seeing the soulís history of lives lived, or if more generically the Wheel displayed to his mind a series of previous generic lives, like it displayed Rand and Ishamael in the sky above Falme. He did speak briefly about the Wheel not physically ďtouchingĒ Rand and/or Ishamael, which seemed to be suggestive of his initial response that it didnít ďtouchĒ Randís mind to give him access to his own memories. Once again, a more detailed discussion of this subject is worthwhile, especially one recorded.
One thing that strikes me is people's perception of the Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is just a structural device: it has seven spokes which represent the seven Ages. The Wheel turns; people forget about the previous Age and a new Age is entered. It goes around seven times and it starts again from square one. Very similar patterns of events occur in each Age, but they are changed, just as two people can have very similar personalities but still be very different people in many other respects. The same way with the different Ages.
So the Wheel does not have a specific purpose. It does not have a motivation. It is not a conscious being. The Wheel is just there, operating as an organizing principle of the world. Jim played down the religious aspects of all this. There is a creator, but there is not even a notion that the creator is God. The creator, of course, is God, but it is the creator. And the creator is not given much of a personality in these books. The creator is a stand-back kind of entity, less so than the Dark One, which opposes the creator and everything the creator has created, which is mankind.
And so, that's all I'm saying: don't read too much into the Wheel of Time. I think the Wheel of Time is also drawn in part from the Buddhist concept of the Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is something that we are on. In creation, we are created in who knows what form, evolve through many, many lifetimes, until we no longer have to be on the wheel. We have reached our goal, which in Eastern Thought is being one with God, part of the infinite ocean. In Jim's world, it is not so cut and dried. As far as we know, individuals stay on the Wheel of Time forever.
He seemed to like this question. He likened it to a tapestry. When seen from a distance, each Third Age (to make it easy to track) has exactly the same pattern as the previous Third Age. However, when seen up close, there are differences. Threads are different, different nations exist, geography is different, different personalities rise to prominence. These changes, while minute in the grand scale of the Pattern, affect the Pattern enough so that while two iterations of an Age are almost the same, the first "Third Age" may be wildy different from the hundredth "Third Age".
(My interpretation) Thus while some point out that since the Wheel keeps turning, there can't be anything new under the sun, in fact the "Age Lace", as it's referred to, is going somewhere. It may be that this really will be a "Final Battle", if the Age Lace is at this crux point and the Dark One wins. The Dark One says He'll break the Wheel and finally rule all time or whatever. This may be possible, however, it probably requires very specific victory conditions, as has been mentioned elsewhere. Other conditions may require more turning. But if the Light wins, it probably keeps turning.
No, that is correct. Rand caused the bruises, so balefiring Semirhage would not make them go away. Balefire only removes paradoxes caused by the direct actions of the one who is balefired. And the bracelets remained after Rand balefired [Semirhage and Elza] because they weren't really part of Semirhage or Elza.
(comment regarding the thread on Dragonmount where some are arguing that by balefiring Graendal's palace, the Compulsion disappeared since there'd never had been a palace in the first place, and others are arguing that it doesn't work that way, objects don't have threads).
Everything has a thread, not just souls. Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern.
First I want to applaud the OP for a well thought out theory supported by evidence. I have enjoyed the debate on this topic.
Now the bad news: I attended the Robert Jordan book signing here in Charlotte, NC tonight (11/4/05). While he was signing my books, I asked him if he could credit or discredit the theory that the Dark One charged Demandred with the task of wielding Balefire in an attempt to weaken the Pattern, so that the Dark One may be have a better chance of victory at Tarmon Gai'don.
He didn't quite understand my point and asked me to explain it again. When I did, alluding to the consequences of Balefire, and quoting the Dark One's asking Demandred about his willingness to use balefire for the Dark One, he quickly shook his head and gave an unequivocal no.
I'm afraid this theory is disproved by the word of Robert Jordan himself.
He said the Forsaken are using balefire to help unravel the Pattern. That was all he'd say on it, told me the books provide enough evidence for it.
At any rate I'm not sure whether or not this helps anyone's arguments as I haven't read all of them; y'all write too much.
Soóone Jordan booksigning against the theory, and one for. Sounds like we can't put this theory in the "Debunked" pile yet...
I suppose it's possible that Mr. Jordan may not have fully understood my question and therefore his answer isn't exactly for or against this theory. LOL The question I asked was this: Have the Forsaken, Demandred specifically, used balefire to destabilize the Pattern at all?
He said that they've used balefire and the consequences were destabilizing the Pattern and that in the books you could see evidence of that.
I should've been more specific in my question to him and my post here; that was first time I've ever commented on a message board, etc. I'm usually just a reader/browser to forums and such. I personally think the other fella's question was more specific therefore the answer probably more accurate as pertaining to the topic at hand. The answer he gave me upon further reflection could mean any number of things. It's hard to say. Guess we'll all find out when A Memory of Light is published.
(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.)
I don't know. (Brandon looks at Maria)
I don't know. It might be in the notes.
You said that the balescreams in Knife of Dreams were because Demandred was balefiring whole cities...
I did not say that.
You did not say that.
That was reported! (on a private Facebook group)
That was reported; that's not what I said.
What did you say then?
I told them...they said, "What caused these?" And I said, "Ah, that's very interesting. By the way, Demandred was balefiring whole cities.
But you didn't say that's what caused them. Okay.
Good answer, because that gets rid of my next question. Okay.
Mmhmm. They asked about balefire and things like that, and it was...
...and they connected it...
...and I thought they might, but I specifically said, "BY THE WAY..." This is not....
(laughs) ...Well, we're recording now.
So there you go.
When rand lights the pipe at the end, is he directly influencing the Pattern?
RJ didn't tell us. He wrote that scene himself, and he didn't say what it meant. I think that's what it is, but I can't say for sure, because RJ didn't tell me.
Can the anti-balefire weave restore threads to the Pattern?
Yes, it repairs threads to the Pattern. The threads may not be exactly the same, but it does repair them.
So does that mean Hopper could the next time in this cycle?
I can't speak for Hopper, other than, I have hope.
We had some discussion about whether or not the scene in AMOL in which Rand thinks Roedran is Demandred was intended as a bit of a dig at all the fan theories assuming that to be true. Or was Rand really just supposed to be convinced of that same theory? (And how did Shara never occur to anyone in the books?)
Balefire question: If balefire isn't tearing someone's soul out of the pattern, why is it so destructive? Why, in AMOL is it literally tearing the world apart when Darkfriends are using it?
Thanks! I will try and remember to ask more questions on 15 April!
1. The item you discuss was not intended as a dig against fans. You could read it, potentially, as an acknowledgement of fans—though really, all it comes from is the fact that you have a fan writing these books. I'm aware of many of the theories, and even spent years thinking about them and talking of them. In constructing this scene, it was my impression that if we'd spent all of this time working on these theories, how much more effort would those in world have expended?
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought. I thought it would be very strange if he HADN'T considered it. Therefore, I put a note of it in the text—to indicate that the characters had been working through these same issues, and come to some of the same conclusions. It wasn't meant to break the fourth wall, though I can see how it stands out to some readers.
2. I was under the impression that to be killed by balefire meant dying forever. However, Maria and the notes showed me I was wrong about this fact. Balefire does weaken the Pattern, but it can't destroy souls, which are (you might say) the substance of the Pattern. Just like you can take a hammer to a cup and shatter it, but the pieces of glass will still be there. The Pattern can (theoretically) be unraveled, the world end, but the souls still exist.
It should be note that Moridin believed strongly that the soul CAN be ended by other means, and the implication of wolves (at least) being killed with no rebirth means it can happen.
So, in final answer to your question, it is so destructive because it leaves the Pattern in a mess, strained, and more easily subjected to the Dark One's will. His goal is to shatter the cup, so to speak, and then rebuilt it into a cup more to his liking.
Oh man, I am so happy (a) that you answered my questions and (b) that you answered them well. Thank you for all you've done with the series, Brandon!
(I pointed out the Demandred scene because it is fun on all of those levels. I've thought about the "fourth wall" comment and it doesn't make sense; there's no moment where Rand looks at us. Just at Roedran, in a way that actually is entirely sensical.)
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought.
This was a bit jarring for me, because most of the reasons for the Demandred=Roedran theory came from hints given by Robert Jordan, that Rand wouldn't have access to.
Ah, but Rand would have a whole LOT of information in-world that we don't have. Spy reports, rumors, his knowledge of how the Forsaken like to work. If you remove the places where one of the Forsaken had already set up shop, remove the monarchs that Rand has already met and interacted with, and look for a place that has been suspiciously quiet, you end up with very few options.
One of which just happens to be as we now know Shara.
It's funny, it was an RJ quote that pushed people away from that particular theory. It turned out to be an extremely Aes Sedai answer.
I would love to read that quote.
And of course RJ would give Aes Sedai answers. That makes a lot of sense.
I'll try to find it, but he basically said that we'd never see Shara "on-screen".
Oh right! Yeah. That's a very Aes Sedai answer. Heh. 'You'll never see their country, but they'll see ours!'
So all the Forsaken pretty much ended up helping the Light win by accident. Is that the Pattern's design?
Well, this question is loaded with some issues. First off, there's the concept of the Pattern. Does it have a will? The Wheel does the weaving. The Pattern more IS...but some quotes in the books do ascribe small motives to it. This doesn't even get into the idea of whether what the characters believe is true or if it is simply their way of understanding.
Let's put it at this...Moiraine would say that the Wheel has woven what it Willed, and men beating against it only served to more surely enmesh them into their places.
Knowing what you know about Shai'tan, would it have been possible or at all interesting to have had a part from his POV?
Anything is possible, but I don't think it would be right for the book. Even in 'What if' land. Putting in a recreation of him was even a stretch—anything you read in the books is how mankind's minds choose to visualize him. He doesn't really have a personality. He, like the Pattern, simply IS.