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Interviews: LOC Signing Report - Tony Zbaraschuk

Summary:

Entries

16

Date

Oct 25th, 1994

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Seattle, WA

TourCon

Lord of Chaos Book Tour

Bookstore

University of Washington

Reporter

Tony Zbaraschuk

Links

rasfwrj

  • 1

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    Well, here's the Seattle signing report from the University of Washington bookstore. We had quite a lot of people (probably somewhere around 130-140, according to one of the UW reps there; he didn't think it was quite 150).

    Jordan was quite friendly and accessible, even on the factory line of signatures. I met several other net.inhabitants, and told one guy (who hadn't heard about it) about rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan; he said he'd log on immediately he got home that night.

    I got a number of questions answered, and heard the answers to many more. Herewith the digest. (There ARE some Lord of Chaos spoilers below.)

    Last chance to back out!

    OK, the straight scoop. At least, as straight a scoop as could be gotten. Following "answer" text is my paraphrase of Jordan comments. (I didn't have a tape recorder, sob.)

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  • 2

    Question

    How does the Black Ajah recruit new members?

    Robert Jordan

    Very carefully. You have to understand that EVERY Ajah recruits carefully and subtly. Generally, after all those years as novice and Accepted, your teachers know your character and personality VERY well, and you are guided to the Ajah where you fit. The Black Ajah watches too. And recruitment is a one-shot offer: they offer, and you can accept or die. There are a lot of ways to die that wouldn't lead to any suspicion; for instance, it's pretty easy to kill yourself experimenting with the One Power. Who would think that such a death wasn't accidental?

    One thing they do, for instance, is watch new Aes Sedai. Sometimes women get past the final tests and then discover that they don't have anywhere near as much power and freedom as they thought they would have.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [I mentioned Katerine Sedai, 17 years Aes Sedai, 12 years Black.]

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  • 3

    Question

    What were the female Aes Sedai doing during the Breaking? Surely they could have got together in circles of six or thirteen or whatever, cut off one man from the Source, and gone onto the next.

    Robert Jordan

    Several things. Partly, you have to find the men before you can do anything. Partly, by the time they realized what was going on, it was too late. The massive geological upheavals were only a part (and not the most important part) of the Breaking. There was also the cumulative social collapse, breakdown of transportation systems, etc.. Imagine a city like Seattle that suddenly loses ALL contact with the outside world. Also, the women were (after a point) trying to preserve what they could, not fight the men directly. Finally, in order to make someone stop doing something, you have to be able to threaten them. What can you threaten a madman with, that he will listen to you and stop?

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  • 4

    Question

    Speaking of the Breaking, how did Dragonmount survive all that rearrangement of geography?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, the Breaking had different effects in different areas. Some areas were raised up, others lowered, others moved around... but the effects were relatively mild in some areas; Dragonmount was one of them.

    Note that Shayol Ghul used to be a subtropical island. The Tar Valon area was moved, but as an entire piece, so the mountain, the island, and the river stayed in the same places relative to each other.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [Which I suppose makes sense, since nobody lived in the area (of Dragonmount), the men would likely have been elsewhere.]

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  • 5

    Question

    What about Mazrim Taim? Isn't his withstanding of the madness for fifteen years something exceptional? [Short segue from there to Taim=Demandred?]

    Robert Jordan

    The duration varies from man to man; the circumstances are different, and the men themselves. Nobody really knows how long the process takes (or has to take), since once you start channeling the Aes Sedai usually find you pretty quickly, and gentling stops the progression of the madness and the taint (though it does not cure what's already happened). Channeling is addictive; once you've done it, you can't stop. The Breaking took about a hundred years before all the men finally died, though some of them did shelter in the stedding for a while. Nobody knows how long the process takes, except that there is variation. It's all in my notes.

    Question

    But what about Taim? Isn't fifteen years something really exceptional? [Subtext: Is he Demandred???]

    Robert Jordan

    Read and Find Out.

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  • 6

    Question

    Can Thom Merrilin channel?

    Robert Jordan

    Absolutely not. I never intended anyone to think he could.

    TONY ZBARASCHUK

    Jordan also strongly implied that Thom was not Elayne's father. Oh, well, so much for all our beautiful net.theories based on those two facts.

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  • 7

    Robert Jordan

    Speaking of the Net, Jordan did say (as noted before) that he'd read the FAQ, and was both impressed and amused by it. We got a lot of stuff right, and a lot of stuff wrong. We also have based a lot of discussion on "facts" we deduced that were actually wrong.

    He DID say that he had done some things in response to net.speculations. First, if we seemed to be getting too close to something he had intended to stay hidden for a while longer, he would tone it done in later books. And if we seemed to be going off on an incredible tangent (the "How could they think THAT?" sort of thing) he would correct it. In both cases, however, he only did this if it could be fitted unobtrusively into the book.

    Naturally, he refused to provide specifics. I asked if the linking discussion on the Net had led to the glossary entry in Lord of Chaos (which discussed linking in some depth). He said no, the info about linking has been in his notes all along, but he had to cut it out of previous glossaries in order to save space.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [I was discussing Moghedien's nature at this point, as an example of how wrong some of our deductions were [specifically mine about Moghedien's exact identity and the nature of her companions—see the FAQ, and compare with the Salidar sections in Lord of Chaos] and said that it was almost impossible to get a straight answer (or any info) out of Moghedien, and Harriet Jordan said that that was a lot like her husband; it was very hard to get info out of him.]

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  • 8

    Question

    What about Warders? I thought the previous glossaries (up to The Fires of Heaven) said that Aes Sedai couldn't sense the direction of their Warders?

    Robert Jordan

    The link goes both ways. Aes Sedai CAN sense the direction (and, roughly, with some practice) the distance of their Warders. Those earlier glossary entries were an error carried over from a very early version of the glossary. If you read carefully, you will notice references in the earlier books to Aes Sedai sensing the direction of their Warders.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [Anyone got a hint as to where those references are??]

    [One of the other people at the signing mentioned the 'bonds' that Moiraine tied to Rand, Perrin, and Mat early in The Eye of the World. Those were directional, and I speculated that maybe they were related, in a very small way, to the Warder bond.]

    Footnote

    Encyclopaedia WoT keeps a list of errata here.

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  • 9

    Question

    What about those Warders in Caemlyn around Logain in The Eye of the World? Didn't Moiraine say that they were all Red sisters? Reds don't have Warders!

    Robert Jordan

    Moiraine never mentioned the sisters escorting Logain (not all of whom were Red Ajah). The ones with Logain weren't in Caemlyn at the time. Moiraine was referring to those that were in Caemlyn. There is something explaining this in Lord of Chaos. Remember that the interleaving of plot threads goes backward as well as forward.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [Evidently they stayed with the army, which stayed outside the city.]

    [Side note: I think I know the reference Jordan was talking about, but I'm not sure I believe it. Remember when Logain was talking to those Altaran nobles, mentioning all the Reds that had secretly supported him, apparently under Elaida's direction. Mentioning this at Siuan's instigation, we all thought. What if Logain was actually telling the truth? Siuan Sanche will be the most surprised woman in the world. I sort of hope I'm wrong on this one. Can anyone else come up with another reference in LoC that might explain this? One mentioning Reds in Caemlyn around the time of Logain's capture?] [Note 2: If Jordan was planning this all the way back in The Eye of the WorldI am in awe. Pure stricken awe at the plotting consistency.]

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  • 10

    Question

    How many more WoT books will there be?

    Robert Jordan

    Several. Some. A few. I'm not even speculating now on how many books I hope it will take, because every time I do mention a number I hope I can finish it in, it turns out to take longer. It will be at least eight, because I've signed the contracts for books seven and eight.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [I got the strong impression that Jordan is NOT padding anything; the WoT just keeps growing by leaps and bounds.]

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  • 11

    Question

    What about Gawyn?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, all the information he can find indicates that his mother's dead. (First the rumor, then it apparently got confirmed when he reached Cairhien.) Rand probably killed her. His sister is missing, maybe dead. Rand's involved again. He released the woman responsible for finding Rand because he loved Egwene. Egwene is tied up with Rand, who killed his mother and is probably responsible for his sister's disappearance. Why do you think he's under any stress?

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [Even Rand thinks that Morgase is dead.]

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  • 12

    Question

    Can the Power really be used to make you different? [This arose as part of a discussion of Illusion ("Mirror of Mists" is an old name for the same thing).]

    Robert Jordan

    Illusion is illusion. Doesn't fool the sense of touch, so you have to be really subtle (such as Moghedien's disguise) to avoid detection.

    Question

    So Sammael couldn't make himself taller?

    Robert Jordan

    He could make himself look taller, but he's not interested in looking taller. He wants to be taller. Besides, any sufficiently experienced man would be able to tell that it was illusion.

    Question

    So the Power really isn't capable of genetic reconstruction? (Like, for example, making you taller.)

    Robert Jordan

    Maybe, in the Age of Legends, someone might have been able to pull it off, if they were really skilled. Might have.

    Question

    Like Aginor? He seemed to be the expert among the Forsaken on that.

    Robert Jordan

    Aginor was d**n good, but he wasn't that good.

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  • 13

    Question

    What about your characters? Are there any of them you don't like?

    Robert Jordan

    You have to like a character to get inside of them, to make them real to the reader. Ever read a book where several characters felt right, and one of them was just wrong, where your reaction is "That can't be a real person?" If so, odds are that the writer didn't like that character. I get into each of my characters. For instance, I'm really a mean SOB when I'm writing Semirhage.

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  • 14

    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?

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  • 15

    Robert Jordan

    Finally, Jordan refused to either confirm or deny

    (a) if Bela was ta'veren

    (b) that Bela was a Darkfriend

    (c) whether Bela killed Asmodean.

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  • 16

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    Comments invited!

    Tony Z

    P.S. That isn't a Trolloc horn on his cane, it's an English ram's horn.

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