art by Jake Johnson

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

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.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7652

Logged In (1): aldoarle,

Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,

Theoryland Tweets

WoT Interview Database

Home | Interview Database

Interviews: Dragonmount Interview with Brandon Sanderson by Luckers

Summary:

Entries

18

Date

Oct 26th, 2010

Reporter

Luckers

Links

Dragonmount

  • 1

    Luckers

    Hey guys, Luckers here. With the assistance of the amazing Peter Ahlstrom, I was able to conduct an interview with Brandon Sanderson. Thanks go also to Maria, who put me in touch with them. Enjoy!

  • 2

    Luckers

    When you first started work on the Wheel of Time what was the first thing you looked up in the notes/material?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Asmodean's killer. After that, I read the ending.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
  • 3

    Luckers

    Did the notes squash/support any of your theories/ideas of where the books were going? Are you able to tell us what or how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It did both. Some things were supported, some things were squashed, and some things I just didn't have any personal theories on. I can't speak of many of them. I'm trying to remember which ones were in The Gathering Storm that I can talk about. I did think that there was a good chanceóor at least I hoped and theorizedóthat Elaida would end up as a damane. And I was very happy to see that. I was taken completely by surprise by the Verin revelation. Most of the things that were squashed happen in the next two books, so I can't really talk about them. And it's very hard to look back and say, "What were my theories, and what did I think about things?" because it's been three years now since I first looked at the notes and I already have all of that in my head.

    Oh, I can tell you one thing that was squashed. To be perfectly honest, I'd always secretly suspected that Asmodean was still around, and that was totally squashed. So there you go. Part of me always thought, ďOh, Robert Jordan isn't telling us because Asmodean is around; he's doing something," but no, he's just dead. He's totally dead. But you know, I think Robert Jordan had even confirmed that and I hadn't seen the interviews until after I started working on the series. I'm pretty sure that somewhere out there is a Robert Jordan confirmation, a "He's toast" comment.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 4

    Luckers

    With The Way of Kings out, I think itís safe to say your other works are more than holding their own, but were you concerned in the early days about the Wheel overshadowing your other stories? Are you happy with the Wheel Fandomís response to your other writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, to the last question. I am happy with the response. Though I do want to make the caveat that in my mind, the Wheel of Time fandom is not my fandom. I donít mean that pejoratively. I mean that I donít have any assumption that people who read the Wheel of Time books are going to like or even read my own work. Iím flattered when they give my books a chance, but people have asked me this question a lot and I do think that over the long haul thereís a pretty good chance that Iím going to stay overshadowed by the Wheel of Time. And thatís not a bad thing. In the case of something like this seriesówhich has been a monumental influence, has sold so many copies, and is just such a dominant factor in the genreóI donít think you can help but be overshadowed by it a bit. But I knew that when I took the project on in the first place. Being a footnote to the Wheel of Time is still a position of great honor. Itís been an honor to be involved.

    I write my own books. I enjoy writing them. Itís what Iíll be doing for the rest of my life, and Iím flattered that theyíve had the success that they have, and that people enjoy them. I donít sit up nights thinking, ďAm I only going to be known as the guy who finished the Wheel of Time?Ē People are reading my stories, and beyond that I get to be a writer for a living. Thatís what Iíve always wanted to do. In all of those regards Iím insanely lucky. Youíve got to remember that I spent years and years and years writing books without anyone reading them other than my close friends. I wrote thirteen novels that way, and was completely satisfied. Sure, I wanted to get published, but it was telling the stories that was the most satisfying part. And if I had continued to do only that, then I still would have been completely satisfied. So anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

    Tags

    ,
  • 5

    Luckers

    How difficult has weaving Towers of Midnight around The Gathering Storm been? Is there a large amount of inter-connectivity? Do we cross back on any events in The Gathering Storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we do cross back on events in The Gathering Storm. The trickiest part was timeline. Robert Jordan had this innate ability to juggle timelines. This is not something he relied on Maria, Alan, or Harriet for; it was something he did on his own, just part of the genius of his brain. All of us are pretty new at this. I mean, I wrote Mistborn chronologically. There wasnít any time juggling. There was time juggling to do in Elantris, but it was across the course of a single novel. It didnít get as extensive. For the Wheel of Time, timeline things that Robert Jordan kept in his head are quite incredible, and I have to admit that Iím not as good at it as he was. Perhaps someday I will be able to get to that level, but for now Iím simply not. So working with the timeline has taken a lot of effort. I think weíve got it so it all worked out. It took a lot of help. Maria, Alan, and others all worked together with me to get things arrangedósome of our beta readers were extremely helpful in thisóbut there is a lot of juggling back and forth. You will see some events from different perspectives. It is not a complete jump back like book ten was. I would say that the book is mostly new material with a few glances at other things that are happening, but weíre moving forward; Iíd say 60% of the book is taking place past what happened in The Gathering Storm. And then thereís one timeline in particular where we jump back and catch upóthatís Perrinís timeline. But it was really challenging.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 6

    Luckers

    You spoke during the signing tour of perhaps having some material of Pevara being awesome on your websiteóis that still on the table? If it is, would it be pre- or post-Towers of Midnight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That suggestion came about because I wasnít sure if I was going to be able to fit it in. In the end I decided to get three or four chapters of it into Towers of Midnight. So it is there. I havenít yet decided whether the rest of that story will happen on screen in A Memory of Light or whether it will have to happen off screen. The outline is all there, but Iím still not sure what Iíll have time for and what will work with the pacing.

    Posting something on my website is not something that I could just do offhandedly. If I were going to do it it would take a lot of talking to Harriet and Tor and getting permission. So that was really only a long-shot contingency plan. Will it happen? I donít know. Weíll have to see what gets into A Memory of Light. Iím pleased with the parts I was able to fit into Towers of Midnight, which means thereís a good chance Iíll be able to fit the rest into A Memory of Light.

    Footnote

    Some fans were very vocal in opposing the idea when it was first raised, and Harriet would probably have been reluctant to do it anyway. However, Brandon said he managed to fit the rest into A Memory of Light.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 7

    Luckers

    I found "Veins of Gold" and "A Fount of Power" to be two of the most epic and intense climaxes in the series. In your opinion are the two climaxes of Towers of Midnight similarly epic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The climaxes in the book are epic. One thing you have to remember in Towers of Midnight is that there is not as narrow a focus as there was in The Gathering Storm. So weíre dealing with more characters in many different places, which means that instead of as in the previous book where we could dedicate a good third of the pages directly to Rand—maybe even more—and build to one majestic, powerful climax, Iím not doing that as much in this book. Instead of twenty chapters from one character, youíll get ten, and building to each climax will narratively depend on your love for the characters and your experience from the previous books. I think there are some wonderful climaxes that are a long time in coming. Are they on the level of The Gathering Storm? Iím really going to have to let people decide that for themselves.

    Defining what makes something epic is so hard even for an epic fantasy writer. One definition of epic can be what we just talked about—a big, massive build across a huge number of chapters to something enormously earth-shattering. But you can also look at epic as a dozen different characters seen across a dozen different plots building toward one event—each of their pieces is smaller, yet builds to something larger. Those are both good definitions. Towers of Midnight is more like the latter definition. The Gathering Storm is more like the former definition.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 8

    Luckers

    I thought Randís arc in The Gathering Storm was brilliantóstarting to get better thenóbang! Cuendillar Rand, and finally "Veins of Gold". Was it difficult to write? Can you give us some insight into how you stayed in the mind of a madman?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was difficult to write. Iíve said before that I view a lot of these characters as my high school friends, people I grew up with. Facilitating Rand going through these extremely painful and sometimes revelatory moments was not easy emotionally, and yet thereís an excitement and a power to writing emotional scenes where things are coming together. So I would say itís actually more difficult to write a character like Gawyn, whoís frustrated and struggling with not knowing what heís doing, than someone like Rand who always has a directionóeven if that direction is straight down, as it was in places. Heís always moving. So because of that, Rand was in many ways easier to write than other characters were. Yet at the same time it was painful to write. That doesnít really answer your question, but maybe it does give some insight, as you asked.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 9

    Luckers

    Also, did Agelmar give Hurin a hug when he got back from meeting Rand?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, I donít know if Shienarans are really hugging types. But Hurin seems like he might be the hugging type, so maybe.

    Footnote

    [Luckers comment: I canít actually believe he answered this :D]

    Tags

    ,
  • 10

    Luckers

    Following that is probably a good time to ask: Were you scared by the rabid nature of the fans? We do be crazy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was very scared. Heh heh. For one thing, I was really scared that I would pronounce things wrong and get raked over the coals for that. I also knew how passionate people are about this—and they have a right to be—so I feared I would be vilified for my faults. Because I do have faults. Iíve been very up-front with people that I donít consider myself as good a writer as Robert Jordan, particularly at the height of his writing abilities working on these books. And so that was a real concern for me. I talked about that last year on tour quite a bit, which anyone who saw my presentation about the books would remember. Screwing this up would mean hatred on huge levels from a large number of people. So I just took that as extra motivation to not screw it up. Or at least to screw it up less than any other person could have, since Robert Jordan was no longer here to do it right.

    Tags

    ,
  • 11

    Luckers

    Whatís the funniest/oddest thing a fan has ever suggested to you, or asked you about the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There was a fan who came up to me completely seriously and said, ďI know the secret. Donít worry. I know itís going to happen. I wonít tell people. I just want you to know that I know. I know that Mat is actually the Dragon Reborn and not Rand. I know this is going to come out in one of the next books, and everyone else will be surprised, but itís all laid out right there, and here are the facts of why Mat is the Dragon Reborn.Ē And I blinked and said, ďOh, well, thatís an interesting hypothesis,Ē and then thought, I hope youíre not terribly disappointed when you find out youíve been wrong all these years.

    Footnote

    This probably refers to Felix, whom Brandon met at a signing in the LA area at least once. Felix believes that Rand is a false Dragon, and that Mat is He Who Comes With the Dawn, and that he's going to have a threesome with Aviendha and Tuon. Or something.

    Tags

  • 12

    Luckers

    Cadsuane seems more than any other to be a character people either love or hate to great degrees, and I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on her as a character, and her role in the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The fact that people are so passionate about her means that Robert Jordan wrote her the right way.

    Tags

    ,
  • 13

    Luckers

    Will Verin face punishment from the Dark One for what she did? (Also, wow for that scene. Just plain flat out wow!)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I canít claim very much credit for that scene.

    Will Verin face punishment from the Dark One? It will all depend on whether he can get his mitts on her or not.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 14

    Luckers

    What is your favorite aspect of the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As Iíve read each book at different times in my life, my answer to this has changed significantly. So I guess that as I think about it now, my favorite aspect would be how the books change and grow with you as you age. Iíve said before that many of the other books I started reading as a teenager just didnít age as well. And thatís okay. They were brilliant for the time when I read them, and they were written for who I was when I read them. The fact that they have a much narrower focus does not mean that they are bad books. But as I grew up and became more proficient at understanding stories, and my tastes in stories changed, the Wheel of Time changed with me. The fact that the Wheel of Time has such a breadth and depth to it, that it can work for so many different people in so many different walks of life, is a great monument to Robert Jordanís ability to write.

    Tags

    ,
  • 15

    Luckers

    What is your favorite plot-line, and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Itís hard to define what a plotline is. Iíve said before that my favorite little chunk in the series is when Rand went into Rhuidean, because I love the nonlinear storytelling, the weaving of past and present, the ability to tell us who current people are by showing their ancestors. I think itís just a beautiful, wonderful sequence. But I donít know if that counts as a plotline.

    Maybe Perrinís defense of the Two Rivers would be my favorite plotline in the series, because it has really great underdog story to it. At that point in the series, Rand is moving mountains, so to speak, and changing the world, yet this plotline focuses narrowly on real peopleóeveryday peopleóand their struggles and how theyíre fighting and changing. So I really enjoy that one.

    Tags

    ,
  • 16

    Luckers

    Got any fun anecdotes from behind the scenes of Team Jordan for us?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Other than Butt Trollocs?

    Here's a typo from Towers of Midnight for you. I wrote: "Butt Trollocs are cowards at heart." Beta reader highlights and asks: A new tribe of Trollocs? :)

    I donít know. Theyíre fun people. Alan makes really really bad puns a lot of the time, which is quite amusing. Watching their commentary on the drafts as weíre passing them back and forth (and theyíre writing out their thoughts and responding to each otherís thoughts) can be a hoot and can be frustrating at the same time.

    Tags

    ,
  • 17

    Luckers

    Now. Asmodean. I require you answer this question fully and truthfully without any Aes Sedai skittering about. Did Vin kill him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha ha ha ha! No, it was not Vin. Now Hoid on the other hand... (No, Iím just joking.)

    Tags

    ,
  • 18

    Thanks Brandon for doing this, and Peter and Maria for helping it to happen. Much appreciated!

    Tags

    ,