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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.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Nov 16th, 2010
Towers of Midnight Book Tour
OK, here goes... If anyone else has pictures from the signing, please post them also. Thanks to Cuthbert 19 for sending me his pictures.
In case the pictures get deleted from imagehost, I also put them up on a Dragonmount gallery here:
Signing Report Paris—Major spoiler warnings
The signing was a great event with over 100 people present. Brandon was very happy with it. The bookstore people were very nice and had bought some drinks for everyone.
Brandon's wife Emily sent me an email when they got to Paris and they met me in a café beforehand as a thank you for helping set up the book signing. Brandon signed my books and drew a dead Narg for me because I told him that I am on Theoryland and Dragonmount and he had done things like this for other Theorylanders (See Terez's dead Asmodean drawing).
Then we went over to the bookstore.
Here's a picture of the store window with lots of WOT books:
...and the posters they put up:
Brandon began by reading Lan's part of the prologue with great enthusiasm:
Then came the questions & answers session (see detailed description below, videos are also coming).
I met up with Cuthbert and we also talked with some other enthusiastic fans met at the signing, one of which I convinced to buy The Way of Kings. During the line, we read Julien's list of questions deciding which one or two he should ask if Brandon only had time to answer one and speculated about what the answers might be.
Here's a picture of us with the list of questions:
We intentionally placed ourselves at the very back of the line because both Cuthbert and Julien had a very big sack of books, and this gave us more time to talk about our questions and hang out near the diet coke . It took about 2 hours to get through the line, which was fine with us!
Here's a picture of people in line (near the end):
... and Brandon signing books:
When we got to the front of the line, we asked our questions and Cuthbert identified himself as the guy who (almost) found the Venice clue during the great hunt (it was lost, but Brandon sent him a copy of it + another code) who flew to Paris just for the signing. There's a great picture of them at the signing table with the clues:e
Afterwards, the bookstore was planning to take Brandon and mily to dinner but as only one person from the bookstore was coming, Brandon invited Federico, Julien, 2 other fans and I who had waited at the back of the line to come along too which was a very fun experience and we got to ask more questions (yay).
Brandon and Emily opening magic cards from Federico:
The rare card in Brandon's pack (I think this is the one he had Federico sign):
Group picture at dinner:
Please note that here were some topics that Brandon talked about at the signing and also later, so I may have put some things he said later into the description of his answer to the question at the signing to have everything on the same theme in one spot.
This was a really great time and I want to thank Brandon, Emily, the bookstore and everyone who came! For those who were there, let us know who you were and if you remember anything I didn't mention here or got a question in line that I didn't hear.
Signing Q&A Video 1:
Sorry about the shaky beginning, it gets better after about a minute:
Signing Q&A Video 2:
Video 3 and final:
Signing Q&A summary:
He mentioned that doing Towers of Midnight and rewriting/editing The Way of Kings the same year was quite intense in terms of time. He is still committed to getting books out quickly and regularly, but The Way of Kings and Towers of Midnight in one year was more than he wants to do on a regular basis.
He is going to take three months to reread the series and plans to have A Memory of Light done by end 2011 for a release in early 2012.
Brandon said there are two things going on—ta'veren and the Fisher King prophecy which says the Dragon is tied directly to the land. He says it seems to Rand that more bad stuff was happening in The Gathering Storm but that this could be either just Rand's perception or what is really going on. We should remember that ta'veren is supposed to be 50/50—an extra equal amount of good and bad going on. He would not tell us at this point whether there was really more bad stuff happening in The Gathering Storm or whether its Rand's perception as there was purposefully very few viewpoints from Rand himself in Towers of Midnight. Like the third book The Dragon Reborn, Towers of Midnight is meant to step away from Rand and view him from the viewpoints of others.
Someone also asked if Rand's ta'veren nature would affect people on the other side of an open gateway. Brandon said that the Pattern considers that Rand is where he is and not on the other side of the gateway, so he would not affect a place just by having a gateway open there and not actually being there.
Other Q&A summary
This part is from the unofficial Q&A during dinner and the questions I asked Brandon from before the signing.
Brandon said that when he arrived at Harriet's and asked to see the ending and got the pile of Robert Jordan's notes including the ending, on top of that pile was a message from a fan in the form of a dialogue between a Sherlock Holmes character and a Watson character with a note from RJ saying "this is right". Emily asked if it was from Matt Hatch and Brandon didn't think it was. He said that he can probably give send me that message so we know exactly what RJ said "this is right" to.
Maria told me that she is the one who found the Sherlock Holmes thing and gave it to Brandon. Matt Hatch was one of the most anti-Graendal Asmodean-obsessed folk out there, so Emily's comment is funny (though I'm sure Matt is flattered that she thought of him).
This is apparently all of the information that is available from RJ himself about the actual method of Asmodean's murder. In Brandon's vision of the story, he imagines Graendal killed Asmodean (did the deed herself) with balefire, but apparently this is not in the notes. So its possible that it could have been done by another kind of weave and we are free to speculate on that.
I then asked about the RJ quote where he said that the place and the method of Asmodean's killer both mean that he couldn't come back.
Brandon said this was also a RAFO as he couldn't tell us why the place was important at this point without giving something away. He seemed to know something about this reason (there is probably information about why someone killed in the place Asmodean was couldn't be brought back by the Dark One). I asked if whether "where" referred to the city of Caemlyn or something else and this was also a RAFO.
He also said that RJ's answer to WSB "The Dark One couldn't bring back Asmodean because of the combination of two factors: HOW HE DIED and WHERE HE DIED. Not one or the other, both factors." might be interpreted as both factors (each alone) would have prevented the DO from bringing Asmodean back (and not just one or just the other) OR both factors (each alone) were not sufficient to prevent the Dark One from bringing Asmodean back and the combination of both was required. It seemed to me like his vision of it was more the first answer than the second (both factors each alone would have prevented it).
I am guessing that we will learn about that in either A Memory of Light or the encyclopedia, but probably A Memory of Light. My personal theory is that there is perhaps some kind of magic tied to the city of Caemlyn that makes the Dark One's power be lessened within that city itself and perhaps he cannot bring back anyone killed there. This is perhaps also a reason that he wants to make a strike at the city of Caemlyn with all of the Trollocs very soon.
I asked if there would be another Great Hunt for A Memory of Light and Brandon said yes and he is thinking about putting in all the chapter names. He said we will notice in Towers of Midnight that not all of the chapter names got put in because he took out some of the ones that he thought would be so easy to guess. Because of this filtering on the chapter names, he was impressed that we guessed so many. I told him that there were 6000 failed guesses we listed and about the list and search engine that was made by Theorylanders to avoid making the same wrong guesses and he was very impressed by that. He said Tor was surprised by the success of the Hunt and that they were very pleased.
At dinner, Cuthbert told us in detail about his involvment with the last clue. He had to get up on the chair of the photobooth to look at what was on top and a lot of the security guards were looking at him funny. He also got a lot of Twitter followers and people encouraging him to go get the clue.
He said there are lots of little things that come to fruition in interesting ways.
I said yeah, I can't wait to see how "his blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" turns out. Do you know there are some people that think Elayne will have her babies on Shayol Ghul and that will fulfill the prophecy?
He said well, Elayne is like four months pregnant at this point... Lots of things are possible with the One Power though.
In my mind, this debunks that theory somewhat.
Brandon said remembering thinking it was odd at the time when he read it but asked for an email and find out for that question.
[Julien] also asked if Rand had quit smoking since we hadn't seen him smoking tabac recently.
Brandon says that if he can't get two rivers tabac he would rather not smoke anything and Rand has been a busy guy lately. He compared it to being used to really good French wine and then having only bad American wine available, in which case Rand would rather not consume. Rather funny.
Cuthbert gave Brandon packs of Magic cards in Italian and Brandon had him sign one of the cards, which was neat.
Other things we discussed included the Mistborn movie (Brandon has seen a screenplay and it was pretty good, but the project is not for sure going to be made). Dreamworks Animation has the rights to Alcatraz and Red Eagle has the rights to Wheel of Time.
There was an April Fools joke at one point that Lindsay Lohan was going to play Vin in the movie by Brandon's friend Dan Wells who does the Writing Excuses podcast for aspiring writers with Brandon. If you haven't listened to their podcast yet you should, its quite entertaining even for people who have no desire to become writers. Brandon mentioned that maybe about 50% of the audience is listening just for fun and may not have an actual desire to become professional authors.
Finally, Brandon told us that he is likely coming back to Europe next year. He wants to get to the UK very much and will likely go to the Imaginales d'epinal convention which is in March. He said that he generally has more time at conventions to do things like play Magic than at signings as there are events over multiple days, parties, etc...
He said "aren't there a lot of people who think its Paitar"?
I said not that I knew as, RJ said we hadn't seen Demandred's alias on-screen prior to Knife of Dreams and we had seen Paitar before. Roderan is basically the only important king of Randland or one of them that we haven't seen on screen.
He didn't deny or confirm any of the above.
All this talk about gateways now has me curious if gateways always have to be flat or if there could ever be a curved gateway. But I didn't think to ask that. For example, could you make a spherical gateway around somebody with the destination being a fiery pit and they couldn't move otherwise they'd be toast? If someone made a circular gateway, how would that look on the other side (a big round sphere of nothing... ?)
Brandon said there was no way around this as they had to catch Perrin up. Then we asked if there was a chance of getting the last three books re-released with the chapters in chronological order. He said this might be possible as an e-book or maybe a rearranged audiobook. Only the chapter orders would be changed.
You couldn't fit it all in one published book and it would just be weird to have three separate volumes published again with the chapters in different orders. I could totally see an ebook or one huge rearranged audiobook though as something attractive and maybe not too costly to produce that some HCFFs like us would enjoy having.
Finally, here are some pictures of my books.
Towers of Midnight with dead Narg (awesome):
The Way of Kings:
Contents of my backpack before going to the signing (that thing was heavy)!!