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Interviews: DragonCon Report - Matt Hatch

Summary:

Entries

38

Date

Sep 4th, 2005

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Atlanta, GA

TourCon

DragonCon 2005

Reporter

Matt Hatch

Links

Theoryland

  • 1

    Matt Hatch

    Third Q&A

    Robert and Harriet introduce themselves.

    Skipped [transcription of] first question, what are you doing when you aren't doing WoT track stuff at DragonCon?

  • 2

    Question

    As a feminist, one part, the Children of the Light get my goat, make me angry. What are the Children of the Light in the story for? (paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    The Children of the Light are all of those people who say I know the truth, my truth is the only truth, you must believe my truth. You must believe my truth, if you refuse to believe my truth I will kill you. I wanted them in there because there are always people like that in any world, and they have a tendency to organize and start killing people that don't believe what they believe, so it is really their similitude. I don't think there can be a world without the haters. Haters exist.

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  • 3

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question about what is it like to edit these books, to Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet enjoys editing the books, and even she asks him why he can't include her favorite character, etc.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan contributed to the answer, he discussed how he considers the books as one story.

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  • 4

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question by Tamyrlin (the guy writing this transcript) to Harriet, sort of a joke about something previously mentioned by Jordan in another Q&A about male and female relationships.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet went on to say that RJ was the perfect man.

    Robert Jordan

    To which RJ responded that he is in fact the greatest embodiment of what women want in men. Jordan calls himself gullible, he says he believes anything women tell him, although he does mention he knows he is gullible in this way, so he is suspect of what women tell him. He then goes on to give a short piece of advice on how to make women happy. Rule #1 Make her laugh, Rule #2 Put the toilet seat down.

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  • 5

    Ted Herman

    Can you describe the relationship between the Aelfinn and Eelfinn?

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO.

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  • 6

    Isabel

    When Mat had the dagger, Verin and Moiraine thought he would contaminate other people with the evil of Shadar Logoth, and they would contaminate other people. Fain does seem to be influencing without contaminating people. Is it as dangerous as it seems, could also normal people become evil and would they also contaminate other people?

    Robert Jordan

    No. Fain can contaminate people because he has the dagger; it is the dagger. What Verin and Moiraine thought was incorrect; they were extending it too far. It is the one of things you may have noted in the books. Aes Sedai often believe they know more than they actually know. In other words, a lot of people believe they know more than they actually know. One of the themes I have running through the books is that whatever you think you know, some of it is almost certainly wrong, and it may even be the most crucial bit that is wrong. But even when you are aware that some of your information may be wrong you still have to go ahead and make a decision. You...you cannot afford the luxury of saying, well I don't know everything and some of what I know may be wrong, so I am not going to do anything, I am just going to sit here and wait and see if I can find out some more, because that only leads to sitting still forever.

    Footnote

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  • 7

    Question

    At the end of The Great Hunt when Rand and Ishamael were fighting in the air above Falme, they appeared in the sky over many places and my question is whether this is something done by the One Power or something done by the Creator? How did they appear in the sky?

    Robert Jordan

    An effect of the Wheel, really. It wasn't the Creator. The Wheel is more than a simple mechanism. Remember the Wheel can spit out ta'veren, can spit out Heroes as a self-correcting device because the Pattern is drifting from what it is supposed to be. We are not talking about something as simple as a spinning wheel at all, we are talking something more along the lines of the most complex computer you could possibly imagine. There were at that time, two, there were false Dragons that had a chance to create a lot of disruption. By the appearance in the sky at that battle, not just in Falme but in other places, those false Dragons were taken off the board because there was only room now for one, for one Dragon.

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  • 8

    Question

    In the Wheel of Time there is focus on events occurring again and again throughout history. Is it just history which is circular, or is it time itself which is in a loop?

    Robert Jordan

    If you think of history being in a loop, then time must be in a loop. The Greeks were the first, as far as we know, to think of time being linear which allows for change. Almost every other culture prior to them had believed in circular time, if time is a wheel there is no possibility of change. Whatever I change now, whatever injustices I correct, the wheel will inevitably return, the inequities will return, there is no possibility for change, therefore there is not impetus to change. So time and history are in a loop in this world, a large enough loop...ah...it is really quite immense.

    Question

    So, the sun will never go nova, will never die?

    Robert Jordan

    In this universe, no.

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  • 9

    Question

    How did your background in physics influence how you structured the world of the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Largely it was to make things realistic, as realistic as I can. Background in physics and engineering; I also tried to structure channeling as if it were a science or technology. No eye of newt, hair of dog. There are real limits, there are rules, there are technological structures to channeling which I think are fairly obvious to anyone who looks at it. That was the major influence.

    Plus making sure that I see that everything is real. Well if I bring about a blacksmith, well I don't know anything about blacksmithing, but I was able to get some nineteenth century books on blacksmithing, and once I had written the scenes I sent them to a woman I met that was a blacksmith and farrier, and she said you need to do this and you need to do that, but otherwise it is okay.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    This woman was at the time the only woman blacksmith on the high council of American smithing. She made a lot of the stuff at Billy Graham's in North Carolina, but she wrote wonderful comments back and said, if you want Perrin to ever have children, you must have a leather apron, which was among her other good bits.

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  • 10

    Question

    I was interested in the physics like with the Mirror Worlds, the Worlds of If?

    Robert Jordan

    The Mirror Worlds of course come right out of physics, and the possibility of (mumble) universes and all of the rest of it. But frankly while I don't follow the literature, I haven't for a number of years, I occasionally get stuck on panels with physicists and I am supposed to discuss physics, which I am twenty-five years out of date. But I find that I can hold my own, although I do not have a doctorate or did I ever intend to get one, I went to work instead. I can hold my own with the PhDs in physics when they are talking theoretical physics if I stop talking physics, at least from my point of view, and start talking theology, and this troubles me.

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  • 11

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question about how he can do what others can't.

    Robert Jordan

    He talks about being picked up by a woman when he was very young, during which his face plunges into her cleavage, and she ruffles his hair and called him precocious, from which moment he was fascinated with, a life-long fascination of women. He said that in his family every last man is strong, because the women in his family kill and eat the weak ones.

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  • 12

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, if you could, I would like to know who built the Tower of Ghenjei. If you can't tell us that, is there any kind of detail you can share without compromising the future?

    Robert Jordan

    I am sorry this is a RAFO.

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  • 13

    Question

    Yesterday, you said something about Nynaeve that made it sound as if she doesn't have the spark. Does she have the spark?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, she has the spark. The question seemed to me to be about the difference between the people born with the spark and those that aren't. Even people who are born with the spark are going to start channeling whether they want to or not. But Nynaeve did it through a conscious effort, really. It wasn't just happenstance that she began channeling at that point, she had a need to channel. Uhm, the same thing that would happen later to Rand, by the way.

    Often the thing, that as I believe has been pointed out, often the thing that pulls someone that has the spark into their first channeling is a perceived need, when they channel without knowing they channel, not realizing what they have done, quite often.

    The...the people who are not born with the spark, can they channel unconsciously, can they, that is someone who can learn but doesn't have the spark, can they channel unconsciously? No. For them, they must have a teacher to guide them, or make a conscious effort, which is unlikely to succeed, but might.

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  • 14

    Question

    I guess most of your Aelfinn and Eelfinn questions are RAFO, but could you tell us why it was they didn't consider Mat's silver dagger to be a weapon, silver is really iron?

    Robert Jordan

    Why the Finns didn't consider the dagger to be a weapon?

    Question

    Yes.

    Robert Jordan

    No, I am going to have to RAFO that one, it is going to give away too much.

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  • 15

    Ted Herman

    How did Bashere and his army manage to track Taim hundreds of miles?

    Robert Jordan

    Because a man like Mazrim Taim leaves a trail, even when he is trying to travel quietly. Traveling quietly is not in his character.

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  • 16

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question to Harriet about how Jordan may have tricked her in the past, as he has done to his readers about where he was going with something or another.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She focused on two incidents when he tricked her with the books. She made a point about the 'Sword in the Stone' coming to her after having read the entire book. She didn't make the connection to Arthurian legend until she was writing the flap cover [of The Dragon Reborn].

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  • 17

    Isabel

    Will Nynaeve be able to make cuendillar?

    Robert Jordan

    I doubt it, it is as much talent as it is strength. And I don't think she has that talent.

    Isabel

    And can men make cuendillar?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. But they wont use the same weaves the women use, so they will have to figure out how to do it themselves unless they can get it from one of the male Forsaken, if he happens to know it. It is an oddity that Moghedien even knew how to do this, it's just her fascination with things that are valuable.

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  • 18

    Question

    Regarding the One Power, in a universal sense, like your physics background, is it more of a force like gravity would be, weak electromagnetic and strong electromagnetic, or is it something more of on a quantum level? Is it on a quantum level in your universe or is it a macro power?

    Robert Jordan

    I think you are going to have to think of it as being on a quantum level.

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  • 19

    Question

    It seems to me that Rand has a half brother, and I was wondering if any of the characters knew and if it mattered?

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO.

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  • 20

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question to Harriet about a subject of questions she is surprised fans aren't asking about.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She jokes that we aren't asking about Bela. She says she can't think of anything we don't ask about.

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  • 21

    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.

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  • 22

    Question

    We have seen the organizing capability of Mat and Perrin's father-in-law. And one of the most difficult things that your characters have to overcome is not knowing about what is going on. May we expect to see Mat organize an intelligence service any time soon?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and Find Out.

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  • 23

    Question

    This is a question about The Great Hunt. When Mat and Perrin found out Rand could channel, Mat related a story to him he heard from a merchant guard in the Two Rivers about a male channeler who woke up and found his entire village smashed right around him except for the bed he was sleeping in. So, with regards to multiple personalities that a channeler can get like in Rand's case, is it possible for one of them to take over when the channeler falls asleep?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, you're...I can answer that question, but I realize in answering that question I am going to have to RAFO you, because I can't answer your question without telling you some stuff I don't want to tell you yet, sorry.

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  • 24

    Matt Hatch

    This is in reference to a previous question I asked you about Parallel Worlds and Mirror Worlds, today I believe, and you mentioned they are different. And the question I had about Portal Stones was do Portal Stones lead to Parallel Worlds, Mirror Worlds, or both?

    Robert Jordan

    They lead to Mirror Worlds, the Portal Stones can take you to Mirror Worlds, not to Parallels, which are separate.

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  • 25

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question about the quality of writers in North Carolina and The Citadel.

    Robert Jordan

    They somehow get into a discussion about dead mules, and how no one ever sees a dead mule, and how Southern literature is supposed to contain dead mules. Jordan has ridden a mule, by the way.

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  • 26

    Ted Herman

    Do the Forsaken get reports from rats and ravens?

    Robert Jordan

    Eventually. Not from every rat or every raven, but eventually.

    Ted Herman

    Is there any way to distinguish one that is the eyes and ears of the Dark One?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 27

    Question

    Going back to mythology and the way that you reference everything from the western European triple goddess through Arthur to the oriental warrior ethos and everything in between. I was wondering if you could speak to what drew you to any of those particular aspects that you synthesized into this universe, and was this kind of synthesis something you deliberately set out to do?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I found them all interesting, is what directed me to them. There are many books which are based upon one myth, or perhaps I should say one country's myths. There are many Arthurian novels, there are many novels based on one continent or another, one nation or another. A few, I don't know too many based on Chinese or Japanese mythologies, but there are some. It seemed to me within the borders of the United States, I could find representatives of almost every culture of the world, not just one or two, I could find perhaps communities, and given that, it seemed to me a truly American fantasy would be based on the myths of every possible culture that could be included, so I went gathering. As I say, I was fascinated by many of these myths beforehand, but, myths and legends, and I went hunting for what I could use.

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  • 28

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] pronunciation question. I will never say TaEEM!

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  • 29

    Question

    Do males with the spark also become wilders with blocks then?

    Robert Jordan

    It depends, a woman born with the spark that doesn't get trained, she may become a wilder, she may or may not have a block, but quite often does. A man born with a spark is probably much more likely to go up and become a false Dragon, frankly, but uh, at least before the Black Tower opened up for business. But there are blocks among the men as well. We had one of the characters, one of the men who was one of the first Asha'man, one of the first to come to the Black Tower and is since deceased. He would not believe that what he channeled at, that he could affect anything he could not see. Thus he limited the range, he could not thus make a lightning bolt that hit on the other side of the hill because he could not see.

    Matt Hatch

    [Tape ended] Other side, Jordan discussed the Land of Madmen, that blocks in men were one of the reason the isle/continent still remains.

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  • 30

    Question

    While reading the whole series of books, I find myself seeing some aspects of Mat, Rand, and Perrin. I was wondering as you were creating these characters, what parts of yourself did you see in these three characters and then what parts of yourself does your wife see in these characters that you have created?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I dont know, as I like to point out, Lan was the guy I grew up wanting to emulate. Mat is the side of me that at fourteen was passing myself off at twenty and picking up college girls in bars on North Market St. Perrin is the side of me who knew I was bigger than kids of my own age, so I did not have a fight with any single person, there were some times where kids of my own age decided since I was too big to fight one-on-one, it was quite alright to come at me with five or six together, but the only fights I had one-on-one until I got into the army were with kids who were three to six years older than I was, because I was going to hurt the other guys, I was afraid of [hurting] kids of my own age, I would walk away from a fight with kid of my own age because I was bigger than he was, I was going to hurt him, there was that out of me in Perrin. And in Rand, I don't know, I don't know what there is of Rand in me, except that I always felt like an outsider, even when I was an insider, I felt like an outsider.

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  • 31

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question: Asked Harriet how often she was RAFO'd.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Never she says, but she says she doesn't want to get it from him, she wants to read it, and so he says he doesn't tell her, because it would affect what she does as an editor. Harriet says she knows the general gist of the final scene of the last book in the series.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan jokes about RAFOing Harriet regarding the meal he wanted for dinner, RAFO.

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  • 32

    Question

    Can you make music using just the One Power?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, you could.

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  • 33

    Question

    With regards to Healing stilling vs. being burned out. There are a lot of theories online that you can Heal stilling but you cannot Heal being burnt out. Is that true?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and Find Out.

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  • 34

    Camel

    I know a lot of questions have been asked and I was wondering if either of you knew of a question we haven't asked that you think we should have asked already, and what would that be?

    Robert Jordan

    You really think I am going to be that easy? I mean I am gullible, but that's with women, Jack!
  • 35

    Question

    The relationship between Rand and his adopted father, I enjoyed it very much in the first book. And I wondered if it was a deliberate choice to keep them separated over most of the series so far?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, a deliberate choice, yes.

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  • 36

    Question

    You have said you are going to keep the series to twelve books. Since we are on eleven, what comes after book twelve, what do you plan to do after that?

    Robert Jordan

    At some point I will do the two prequel novels that I talked about, the two other prequel novels, besides New Spring. But, primarily I will give Harriet a small hand on a project she has signed a contract for; she's gonna do an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time which will have all of the characters, all of the terms, all of the invented words, and roughly and a roughly eight hundred fifty to nine hundred vocabulary in the Old Tongue.

    What I will be starting with is a trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which will be a different universe, different world, different set of rules, different cultures. One culture that you meet eventually will be as close to being inside the Seanchan empire as you can come, but this culture is even more stratified both vertically and horizontally than the Seanchan empire, much more like ancient Japan truly was, or really like medieval Japan truly was.

    It's funny I talked about a book I'm gonna call Shipwrecked, some of you may have heard of that. Shipwrecked is actually the second volume of the Infinity of Heaven trilogy, because I realized I needed more of the setup and as I did more of the setup I realized I had another novel here. It could not be the first part of the novel to do that, it had to be this was a novel in itself. So in these things I had thought ten or twelve years ago, would be a trilogy, has become two trilogies, but I intend to try and hold it to that very tightly.

    Question

    I guess I have two questions after hearing that. One is, are we going to see a full version of the prophecies of the Dragon in the encyclopedia?

    Robert Jordan

    No, the prophecies would be a volume in themselves, and I don't think I am going to go into that. I will admit I have not written out a complete set of the prophecies. I have the prophecies written out that I needed, but not the others.

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  • 37

    Question

    Can a person who cannot channel the One Power, can they use the True Power of the Dark One?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 38

    Question

    Before it became public knowledge that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, did Tam al'Thor know or suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn or could channel?

    Robert Jordan

    No, Tam had no inkling of this.

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