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Interviews: Plot Related Q&A With Maria Simons + New MAFO by Luckers

Summary:

Entries

22

Date

Jun 10th, 2010

Type

Verbatim

Reporter

Luckers

Links

Dragonmount

  • 1

    Luckers

    So Maria was kind enough to answer some questions for me. There is some amazing stuff in there—including the death of one of my pet theories *sigh*. Enjoy.

    Also, this is Maria being extremely kind to me, and to all of you by extension. So appreciate her! ;D

  • 2

    Luckers

    Plot Related Q&A

    Footnote

    The new MAFO was included alongside the original question to avoid redundancy in search results. The same was done with Luckers' other MAFO report.

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  • 3

    Luckers

    The above MAFO on Souls, Channeling and Talents [this can be found in the MAFO thread stuck at the top of The Gathering Storm Forum].

    Beyond the MAFO, I was going to ask for a clarification on this. Firstly I would point out a curiosity—in KoD:23, Call to a Sitting, Tiana notes that many of the women who are strong in Nynaeve's method of Healing used to be village Wise Women. She wonders why that should make any difference, and indeed it does seem to imply that their life experience in some way affected their degree of Talent. How would this work out under the understanding of Talent as a soul-ability? Does life experience change the strength of the Talent, whilst soul-ability decides if you have it? Or should we make a distinction between Talents which are Skills—like Healing, or that Shielding Talent Berowin of the Kin has—and Talents which are Abilities—like Foretelling, Wolfbrothering or Dreaming?

    Maria Simons

    Okay, let's look at this. Why did these women choose to be village Wise Women? Maybe they haven't sparked, but the Talent is there. They may not understand it, but they feel that they should be healing the sick. So, instead of life experience affecting the Talent, I think that it's more that the Talent affects the life experience.

    Also, Aes Sedai have been taught that Healing is done one way, and that way is the only proper way. It's sort of like the gesture limitation; if an Aes Sedai learns to make weaves using gestures, she'll have a really hard time making the weave without making the gesture. I think that the former Wise Women are more open to learning the new way, and that gives them another advantage at it.

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  • 4

    Luckers

    Another curiosity would be that in Rand's Portal Stone experience in The Great Hunt Ch. 37, "What Might Be", Rand sees versions of Egwene who are better at Healing than Nynaeve. The Egwene of the story can barely Heal. Are then the Egwene's of the Mirror Worlds different souls with different abilities and Talents? Or would this again be evidence that experience can temper Talent?

    Maria Simons

    This one I have no clue on. I lean towards the first explanation, but have no evidence to back it up, other than Jim's assertion that Talents are something one is born with and cannot be learned.

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  • 5

    Luckers

    This is also from one of Brandon's hash outs with Matt from Theoryland. In it Brandon speaks of the nature of Parallel Worlds.

    Brandon: 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 ter'angreal 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 don't 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...

    Matt: ...he called it a Parallel World...

    Brandon: 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...

    Ok, my request for clarification is mainly concerned with that last paragraph—specifically it left me confused about whether Brandon is speaking about Parallel Worlds or Mirror Worlds. Brandon seems to lump both in together, describing some as shadowy, some as solid. Brandon describes the Finn world as THE Parallel World (we also know the Ogier world is a Parallel World), but in the same paragraph Brandon seems to define it as a persistent Mirror World of some form, and grants that same allocation to the world Rand and Lanfear visited in The Great Hunt.

    Maria Simons

    Cut Brandon a break, here. I had to look it up to make sure that I had which one was which correct. The 'finn worlds are Parallel Worlds, the Ogier world is a Parallel World. The place that Lanfear, Rand, Loial and Hurin went to was a Mirror World, as were all of the ones in the Portal Stone incident.

    Luckers

    [Sorry Brandon! I am an uber geek and get carried away and never meant to attack you! Mea culpa!]

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  • 6

    Luckers

    On RJ's Q&A on the Mirror/Parallel Worlds from DragonCon '05.

    Q53: Are Parallel Worlds and Mirror Worlds the same thing?
    RJ: No, they are different.
    Q54: Do Parallel Worlds have their own reflections?
    RJ: Possibly.
    Q55: Do Portal Stones lead to Parallel Worlds, Mirror Worlds, or both?
    RJ: They lead to Mirror Worlds, the Portal Stones can take you to Mirror Worlds, not to Parallels, which are separate.

    My thought was always that Mirror Worlds are reflections no matter how solid, whilst Parallel Worlds were completely distinct universes. As real and vital as our own. That was how Rand could lose in the Mirror Worlds and it not result in the Dark One winning. But that's all my thoughts, I was mainly just wondering at the distinctions between the two, and whether the world Rand visited was special, or if that's just my own stupidity in play.

    Maria Simons

    I think that you are correct, but I can't back it up.

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  • 7

    Luckers

    On Falme, Rand and the Seanchan.

    Question: In Falme we saw Rand fighting Ishamael and the Heroes of the Horn and the Seanchan were mirroring the progress of the battle. Does this mean that there is something inherently evil about the Seanchan Empire?

    Answer: Nobody in WoT is inherently evil, except for Shadowspawn. At the time, the Seanchan were being led by a Darkfriend.

    I almost didn't include this, it's so nitpicky, but you said you liked that. Feel free to ignore. Is this then to imply that the reason the Seanchan were paralleled with Ishamael in the fights was because Suroth was leading them? I always assumed that it was Rand's personal enmity that caused the correlation—he saw both Ishamael and the Seanchan as the bad guys, and therefore, under the effect of the Wheel's push for the Dragon event, combined with the influence of Rand's ta'maral'ailen and the 'loose reality' resulting from the sounding of the Horn, the two got linked in the weaving of the moment? Was it then more involved with the links between Suroth and Ishamael?

    Maria Simons

    I can't really add anything to Jim's answer. It certainly seems to indicate that it was the link between Suroth and Ishamael.

    Footnote

    Maria was mistaken that the question quoted by Luckers was answered by Robert Jordan. The question was answered by Brandon Sanderson in November 2009 on The Gathering Storm book tour stop in Dayton, OH.

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  • 8

    Luckers

    At the end of The Great Hunt after the Horn is sounded, Hawkwing goes to ride off, then states that 'something is wrong' and that 'something' holds him, and says to Rand 'you are here, have you the banner?' This has led to the perception that the Horn requires the Dragon or the Dragon banner to work. Is this perception correct, or is this a result of the Weave of the Moment, or just plain Hawkwing's sense of romanticism?

    Maria Simons

    I would think, given that the banner was hidden with the Horn of Valere, that it might indeed be very necessary for it. I have no idea why, though, or how.

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  • 9

    Luckers

    What was in Corianin Nedeal's notes (the ones Verin considers both giving to Egwene and destroying)? Or will we find out?

    Maria Simons

    RAFO.

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  • 10

    Luckers

    Why did Verin tell Rand that damane may feel him channeling at Falme? Did she truly fear it might be possible, or was she manipulating him? And if so to what purpose?

    Maria Simons

    I don't know if it was ignorance, or just sneaky Verin being sneaky. Either is possible; if the latter, I have no idea what her purpose was.

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  • 11

    Luckers

    In Lord of Chaos Ch. 30, "To Heal Again", Siuan, after being healed, says to Nynaeve that 'if she could heal her to half of what she was' she would be better off. This has led to the perception that Siuan and Leane are less than half their original strength. Yet in Crossroads of Twilight Ch. 19, "Surprises", we find out that both women stand several steps above the Aes Sedai minimum strength. This seems problematic—the range of Aes Sedai strength does not appear to be so great as to allow for this. So the question is, did Siuan and Leane in fact lose such a large amount of strength as they appear to have?

    Maria Simons

    Yes, they did lose a large amount of strength. The range of strength is greater than you think, I believe. At the beginning, Siuan was near the top (and Leane close behind); if she were half the strength she used to be, she'd be in the middle. Instead, she's somewhere in the lower half, but not absolute rock bottom, nor nearly as low as Daigian Moseneillin.

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  • 12

    Luckers

    Was Cyndane's new body originally Cabriana Mecandes?

    Maria Simons

    No. [alternately, I could RAFO this, although it seemed so far-fetched to me that it seems okay to answer it]

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  • 13

    Luckers

    What was the item that could help tie the Aes Sedai to Rand and help Rand that Nynaeve and Elayne found in the Tower via Need in Tel'aran'rhiod (just prior to finding the Bowl of the Winds).

    Maria Simons

    You don't really think I'm going to answer every single question, do you?

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  • 14

    Luckers

    In Lord of Chaos Ch. 20, "Heading South", Mat finds a Tinker caravan where the Tuatha'an have all been slaughtered. One of the Tinkers wrote 'tell the Dragon Reborn' in his own blood...Mat thinks, 'tell him what'? And that is the question—what did one of the Tuatha'an have to tell Rand that was so important? Also, was this done by the Whitecloaks?

    Maria Simons

    I mean, come on. There are still two books to come.

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  • 15

    Luckers

    On the issue of cuendillar. It is stated that the One Power makes it stronger. Brandon said there is another way besides the True Power. Were the [people in the] Age of Legends aware of this, and is this why they could equate the relative strength of something indestructible?

    Maria Simons

    And an encyclopedia.

    Footnote

    (Maria's answer is a continuation of her theme in the previous two questions.)

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  • 16

    Luckers

    Why was there a flash of blue when Thom fought the Myrrdraal in The Eye of the World?

    Maria Simons

    To quote Robert Jordan himself, RAFO.

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  • 17

    Luckers

    When were the Oaths implemented? Were they all done at the same time? If not, when were each put in place?

    Maria Simons

    From the BBoBA: "These oaths were not always required, but various events before and since the Breaking caused them to be necessary. The Second Oath was the first adopted after the War of the Shadow."

    And according to Sheriam, "Once, Aes Sedai were not required to swear oaths. It was known what Aes Sedai were and what they stood for, and there was no need for more. Many of us wish it were so still. But the Wheel turns, and the times change. That we swear these oaths, that we are known to be bound, allows the nations to deal with us without fearing that we will throw up our own power, the One Power, against them. Between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years we made these choices, and because of them the White Tower still stands, and we can still do what we can against the Shadow."

    So we have the Second Oath was adopted first, and the other two added between the Trolloc Wars and the War of a Hundred Years (if we believe Sheriam, anyway, and I can see no reason for a lie on this one).

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  • 18

    Luckers

    Was Egwene's one-eighty on the issue of the Oath Rod a natural change of mind, or was she influenced to it by Halima?

    Maria Simons

    That was Egwene, influenced by Siuan, doing her best to be the best Aes Sedai EVAR.

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  • 19

    Luckers

    Min says she was never able to master the 'ignoring heat/cold' trick. And we've never seen any non-channeler master it. Is it something only a channeler can do?

    Maria Simons

    It shouldn't be. Of course, it's been kept secret from most non-channelers, so that's not really evidence. I think that part of it is that a channeler is used to controlling things more—they have to have more focus and self-discipline just to manage the One Power, so they are better at controlling their reactions in general, and the trick works better for them because of it.

    Luckers

    In the same note is that why Min couldn’t mask her bond?

    Maria Simons

    Yes.

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  • 20

    Luckers

    Is strength in the power evenly distributed? Would on a scale of one to one hundred the most channelers be on the 50 mark? (within a gender, of course).

    Maria Simons

    Jim described it as a bell curve, with most channelers in the middle.

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  • 21

    Luckers

    Of the really strong channelers we know the nature to, all but one have been sparkers. This has led to the belief that sparkers are on average stronger than learners. Is this belief justified?

    Maria Simons

    No. "Having been born with the inherent spark apparently is not an indicator of strength. There are as many with weak potential who will channel whether they are taught or not as there are of great potential" (from Jim's notes). The stronger ones just get more attention.

    Luckers

    Do stronger sparkers stand a better chance of surviving touching the Source unaided?

    Maria Simons

    It depends on what you mean by "stronger" sparkers. If you mean strength in the One Power, not really. If you mean strength of will or character, perhaps. Jim said of touching the One Power unaided: "if you have not learned some sort of rough control, conscious or not, you will die screaming and writhing in agony."

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  • 22

    Luckers

    Is the old man we see serving Graendal in an earlier book Alsalam?

    Maria Simons

    RAFO.

    Footnote

    Maria verified at JordanCon 2012 that it was Farstrider.

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