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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The first people to discover the ability to channel learned through trial and error, with fairly high casualty rates until they learned enough not to kill themselves accidentally. Their appearance marked the beginning of the previous Age to that of the books, or at least the end of the Age before that one.
Yes, as I have set things up, there are Ages when no one has any idea of how to channel or even that the One Power exists. Our own, for one. (The Wheel of Time turns.)
For kcf, again, we have never met anyone who has the Talent of emulating the effects of a ta'veren over a small area.
I give my input on the design of the chapter icons whenever a new one seems needed, but Harriet actually decides where to place them, and I am happy to leave the job to her.
Yes, Ingtar was seen at the Darkfriend Social.
The Wheel creates ta'veren at need, making someone who is already alive one. You aren't born ta'veren. Can you imagine being around a ta'veren who is teething?
It would be possible for a Darkfriend or Forsaken to be made ta'veren, but it seems unlikely. Ta'veren are part of the Wheel's self-correcting mechanism. When the Pattern seems to be drifting too quickly, and especially if it is in the wrong direction, one or more ta'veren are created. I can't really see how making a Darkfriend or Forsaken ta'veren would help with correcting the drift of the Pattern.
Ta'veren can oppose one another, when their conflict is what the Wheel "sees" as the necessary corrective. And, no, ta'veren is not Old Tongue for Deus ex machina. It came out of musings on luck, charismatic leaders, and the theory of the indispensable man.
Katerine escaped with the help of Darkfriends. Galina, who is much more closely watched by Wise Ones than Katerine was, would have little opportunity to use their help for an escape even if she wanted to, and she doesn't, not until she can get her hands on that rod. She'll put up with anything to get that.
Anyone who can channel, however weakly, can see the glow of saidar and feel someone channel. For sul'dam who have been sul'dam for a time, some begin to be able to see what might be called a ghostly image of the flows. Others convince themselves that this is, of course, only imagination and manage to give themselves a block.
Wow, you have a lot of questions. One more, and then I'm off to the next person.
Someone who sees ta'veren sees them as glowing. The more strongly ta'veren, the brighter the glow. This is a Talent, and is something that only someone who can channel can do. While she was stilled, Siuan could not see ta'veren, nor could she have if she had been burned out.
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.
What about this notion of time as a wheel? Is that your idea?
No. It's not mine. It is from Hindu mythology that time is a wheel. But actually, most eastern cultures believed that time was circular. The Greeks gave us the great gift of believing that time was linear. And that's a great gift because if time is circular, if everything repeats in cycles, then change is impossible. No matter what you do, it's always going to come back to what is here. But if time is linear, then change is possible. But I wanted the circularity because I wanted, again, to go into the changes by distance. So, the myths and legends and a few of the stories that these people tell, well, some of them are based on our own current events, on the present. What they are doing is based on our myths and legends. So they are the source of our myths and legends, and we are the source of theirs.
Tell me a bit about the idea of the One Power.
In these books there is the One Power, which comes from the True Source. And the One Power is what turns the Wheel of Time, the power that drives the universe. And the conceit is, is the One Power actually consists of two quite separate halves that work with each other and against one another to produce the driving force of the universe. Men can tap into one side, women can tap into the other. A man can't teach a woman how to use the male half, or how to use the female half for that matter, and she can't teach him.
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.
Could you explain what the deal is with the Great Serpent? I was half-expecting it to appear in the middle of the big showdown at the end of A Memory of Light. Is it just a different metaphor for the Wheel?
Did we ever meet the Creator in the series? If so, who?
I'll preface this with a warning. Even though the series is done, and I can speak more freely, some things are intended to be vague by RJ's own intention. This allows dreaming and thinking about the world to continue. For example, I can't answer question 2 for these reasons. For question one, I think RJ himself was vague. (Maybe a Theorylander can speak here.) This isn't one I'm capable of answering, because I don't want to make an answer canon one way or another, as I don't think RJ wanted that.
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 balefireówhich I thought would also remove people. Maria explained that I was wrong, and RJ was firm on this one too.)
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.