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Interviews: TGS Signing Report - kcf

Summary:

Entries

26

Date

Nov 16th, 2009

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Scottsdale, AZ

TourCon

The Gathering Storm Book Tour

Bookstore

Scottsdale Public Library

Reporter

kcf

Links

Theoryland

  • 1

    kcf

    Here's a summary of my Q&A and other time spent with Brandon as a Storm Leader. (It may warrant its own post, but I'll post it here first and we go from there).

    There will eventually be a pretty detailed blog post about me meeting Brandon and the whole Storm Leader experience, but that'll be a few days coming.

    I will say that meeting and 'hanging out' with Brandon was both a privilege and an honor. He's a very nice guy that immediately knew who I was from my blog—which led to my exclaiming to the group, 'he's heard of me'. Later he said that he was very happy to see that I had been chosen a Storm Leader, umm, wow, that was pretty cool. We (fans) need to all be extremely thankful to Brandon for doing this—he is on tour for four weeks away from his family, literally being in an airport on planes every day, eating out all the time, etc. The toll is beginning to show, so we need to all express our gratitude for what he's been doing for the fans. For Towers of Midnight, expect a shorter tour—two weeks, with another two-week tour for The Way of Kings.

  • 2

    kcf

    OK, on to the Q&A. The questions and answers are not exact, but I was taking notes (not that I can read my chicken scratch). I will also include my own commentary and interpretation. Brandon very much wants to be forthcoming with answers—he doesn't seem to like RAFO. Mostly it would be something like, 'I can't answer that, but I will say...'

    Unfortunately, I didn't get to ask many spoilery questions about The Gathering Storm because one Storm Leader hadn't finished yet—this means that my craving for more info about Verin, the Black Ajah, and such was not meant to be. The questions below are what I intended to ask—I didn't necessarily ask them word for word as written—and many are from suggestions here and at RAFO.com.

  • 3

    Question

    Have any characters we've seen been converted to the Shadow via the 13 Myddraal/13 channelers method? Has this method been used at the Black Tower?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO (wow the first question and I got RAFO'd). But he did go on to say that this is a 'gun on the mantle', which refers to an old saying that 'when you put a gun on the mantle in the first act, it needs to be used by the third'.

    kcf

    My interpretation: More on this will come in Towers of Midnight.

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  • 4

    Question

    What's up with Rand's sword? Was it Lews Therin Telamon's?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are some really good theories out there on the message boards and I don't have anything to add on this.

    kcf

    I followed up on where it was found, basically, 'In water, under a statue, not near Falme.'

    Footnote

    Brandon confirmed in an email that it was Justice, Artur Hawkwing's sword. It might have been Guaire Amalasan's sword before it was Hawkwing's, which would explain the Dragon scabbard.

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  • 5

    Question

    Did Graendal use compulsion on Ituralde when they met previously in Lord of Chaos? Is it still there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    MAFO.

    MARIA SIMONS

    RAFO.

    kcf

    This lead to quite a bit of discussion. Basically, Graendal pretty much uses compulsion on everyone she interacts with. He also asked if it had been revealed that King Alsalam's letters were revealed to be fake. I went into our discussion here and Dom's interpretation in particular. Brandon seemed to like it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He also said that if Ituralde was compelled, that it's still there—Rand's ta’veren [nature] does not have the power to break compulsion. And he said that it's certain that Ituralde was under the influence of Graendal.

    kcf

    My interpretation: He was compelled. It's still there, but since Alsalam is dead, it most likely doesn't matter anymore.

    Footnote

    Dom's theory: "Graendal Compelled Ituralde playing on his loyalty to his friend Alsalam, only increasing it to the point he would obey any of his orders without question, even if he rationally knew the orders made less and less sense. This is why he jumped to obey the order to go after the Seanchan even if he’s known all along this was crazy and would end with his own destruction and that of Arad Doman. To the very end, he stuck to his loyalty no matter what. Rand bypassed this because he convinced Ituralde that Alsalam was either braindead or dead, so the Compulsion remained, but it’s stopped being effective as Ituralde believed the man he had to obey was dead."

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  • 6

    Question

    Please tell me all you can about the potential novella that fills in holes? What holes? Who? Where will it be published if written? Is this material that you really wanted to include in Towers of Midnight or The Gathering Storm but just couldn't fit in? How does this match up with your feeling about not writing other stuff in the WOT world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are about 50,000 words of secondary plots that Sanderson wants to include in Towers of Midnight. He's just not sure all of it will get into the book. If something gets cut, he'd like to get to his fans on his website.

    This lead to quite a bit of discussion about Towers of Midnight. It will be a very different book from The Gathering Storm. The Gathering Storm was very intentionally focused. Brandon felt strongly that a 'hit' wasn't good enough, that The Gathering Storm needed to be a home run. (At the table, we all thought it was a home run.) Towers of Midnight will need to catch up many plot threads and will be much less focused. This will have its problems and it will be a big struggle to find the right balance—they aren't there yet in the writing process. Brandon mentioned a few plots as examples which strongly suggests they will be in Towers of Midnight—Loial, Lan, Fain, Taim, Logain, Elayne, if Mat does what fans think he will, etc.

    kcf

    My impression is that the novella, will actually be a series of prologue-like scenes that just don’t make it into the final book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This also lead to lots of discussion on the Encyclopedia. It will include lots of spoilery stuff that doesn't make it into the books. But, there are several examples in the notes where RJ specifically says that certain plots will not be revealed. Someone asked about Merilille—the Aes Sedai in Caemlyn who ran away with a Sea Folk apprentice. It was implied that this may be a thread that goes unresolved.

    Footnote

    The novella was to be about Pevara and the events at the Black Tower. Brandon later decided that the novella probably wasn't going to work. He got two chapters into Towers of Midnight and the rest into A Memory of Light.

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  • 7

    Question

    Can you clear up the timeline issues? How do Mat, Perrin, Rand, and Egwene all match up in the timeline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Gathering Storm begins sometime in April. It ends around the end of June/beginning of July. However, Perrin advanced very little—only about two weeks. Mat advanced a bit more, but was still about a month behind Rand and Egwene (this gets an asterisk as a MAFO), but Mat traveled to Caemlyn about 30 days before the end of the book—he emphasized 30 days and asked if I understood the significance of that—I said that I do. (Interpretation: Mat will open Verin’s letter very early in Towers of Midnight).

    Tuon's timeline jumps around the most. In Knife of Dreams, she ended about a month ahead of everyone else. There were probably (MAFO) about two weeks between her meeting with Rand and the launch of the attack on the White Tower.

    Maria Simons

    That sounds about right to me.

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  • 8

    Question

    How does Nynaeve compare with Semirhage in One Power strength?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm pretty sure she's stronger, but they are very close. RJ has a list of all the channelers' strengths. On that list, only six people are stronger than Nynaeve. It's such a rare event that pretty much anytime we meet someone stronger than her, it's explicitly said. There are two One Power strength scales—an 'old' and a 'new'. Nynaeve was the top of the female list for the 'old' list. Six are stronger on the 'new' list.

    Brandon was pretty certain that Nynaeve is stronger than Mesaana, who isn't particularly strong in Forsaken terms.

    Brandon was very open and willing to talk about this issue—people who care about these things should ask at every opportunity.

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  • 9

    Question

    Tell me what you can about Laras' backstory. Is she an agent of the Kin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Basically RAFO. Laras is in New Spring (which I don't remember).

    This led to a fair amount of discussion about backstories—he doesn't want to spoil something that could be revealed. So, I followed up with something like 'presumably, if the prequels are written, we'll learn more of Laras'. Brandon said yes, presumably.

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  • 10

    Question

    Are there any circumstances of death that could prevent the Dark One from resurrecting someone (other than balefire)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but I'm not going to tell you what.

    This led to a fair amount of discussion about balefire and such. At one point, Brandon said 'all Forsaken other than Sammael who haven't come back were balefired'.

    I immediately jumped on this and asked if that included Asmodean—Brandon said that he wasn't talking about Asmodean (we all didn't even want to go there), but this is further evidence of Brandon slipping hints that Asmodean was balefired.

    This led to a small debate about Osan'gar—I didn't think he was balefired, everyone else at the table thought he was.

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  • 11

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon also said that the Dark One would have liked very much to transmigrate Sammael but didn't. Apparently, since he died by Mashadar, Sammael was either unable to be transmigrated or it would have been a very bad idea. Basically, Mashadar tainted Sammael's thread somehow.

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  • 12

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was also mentioned that balefire does not mean that someone can't be reborn into the Pattern.

    I was very surprised by this and hadn't heard it before, but apparently Brandon has said it in previous Q&As.

    Brandon said he was also surprised but that Maria was very insistent about this—so if the Dragon Reborn was balefired, he could still be reborn.

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  • 13

    Question

    Did Rand directly have the Dark One's permission to channel the True Power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very difficult (but not impossible) to channel the True Power without the Dark One's direct permission.

    This led to lots of discussion about the whole Semirhage death scene. Basically, she felt betrayed by the Dark One, and Brandon says she's a very astute person. Brandon also said that Moridin and the Dark One are on the same page with most things, and that Moridin is the most trustworthy Forsaken for the Dark One.

    kcf

    My interpretation is that Rand channeled the True Power through the link with Moridin, but this was not discussed. Also it was strongly implied that the idea that the Dark One served Semirhage up on a platter for Rand to balefire is true.

    Footnote

    This question was explored further here and here.

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  • 14

    Question

    You mentioned that Shaidar Haran has quite a few limitations on his power. Can you give us a few concrete examples of these limitations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shaidar Haran needs a minion to most of his work for him. Elza was essential to Shaidar Haran in getting things done.

    This led to lots of discussion about swearing to the Shadow—basically, it's a very bad idea and you forfeit some very basic protections when you do. Shaidar Haran has special power over those that swear to the Dark One, and the Forsaken in particular.

    I asked about Alvairin's special mark, and he said Shaidar Haran has similar power over her. The implication is that there are lots of ramifications for swearing to the Dark One. Brandon mentioned that this makes Verin all the more remarkable.

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  • 15

    Question

    Where did Cyndane’s new body come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Where have any of the new bodies come from? He then mentioned that it's not confirmed who Cyndane is, though he didn't refute me when we all said that it's pretty certain.

    I asked about her strength in the One Power—Brandon says she's very, very weak. This surprised me since I didn't think she was that weak.

    Footnote

    She's not; Theorylanders hounded Brandon, and he cleared it up here. She's weaker than she was, but still stronger than Graendal.

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  • 16

    Question

    Whatever happened to the kidnapped King of Illian—Mattin Stepaneos?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's still in the White Tower. Brandon thought about mentioning him a few times, but it just didn't work out. It was implied that we'll see further mention of this in Towers of Midnight.

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  • 17

    kcf

    A few other interesting notes from my discussion and the general Q&A.
  • 18

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are over 4,000,000 words of notes.

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  • 19

    Brandon Sanderson

    Verin's revelations will have ramifications throughout the last two books. Brandon is surprised that more people haven't been asking about this.

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  • 20

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maria and Peter lurk on lots of message boards to keep in touch with the what the fans are talking and theorizing about (Hi guys). They occasionally talk to Brandon about stuff, especially when they feel it's something Brandon should know about. But Brandon generally keeps his distance so as not to influence his writing.

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  • 21

    Brandon Sanderson

    His goal is 2000 words a day, but it doesn't work like that. Some days are much more, others much less.

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  • 22

    Brandon Sanderson

    RJ left detailed descriptions of people after the Last Battle (make of that what you will).

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  • 23

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hinderstap is a re-imagining of the old ‘Stone Soup’ folk tale.

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  • 24

    Brandon Sanderson

    Michael Whelan will do the cover for the first Way of Kings book.

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  • 25

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tor will re-release the series with new cover art after it's done.

    kcf

    (Lots of discussion on this one at various times, but we'll leave it off the record.)

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  • 26

    kcf

    Enjoy—I've got some work to do and I'll check back in this evening.