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Interviews: Goodreads ToM Fantasy Book Club Q&A with Brandon Sanderson

Summary:

Entries

22

Date

Dec, 2010

Type

Verbatim

Links

Goodreads

  • 1

    Jeanne

    Post your questions for Brandon here.

    Brandon has kindly agreed to answer questions for both The Way of Kings and Towers of Midnight. This thread is for Towers of Midnight questions only please!

  • 2

    Jon

    I was a bit shocked when I started reading Towers of Midnight. The Prologue included a Graendal scene. I went to the glossary to refresh my memory concerning that Forsaken and discovered a huge spoiler...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The glossary, remember, was begun as a tradition before there were internet wiki sites, and it's limited by size in what it can contain. I don't do the glossary; that's all on Team Jordan. Maria handles it.

    As for why the big secret was included in the glossary, I've said before that Harriet made the decision where it would go. I actually did suggest it, though I later changed my mind and thought I would put it in somewhere else, but she said, "No, I love this idea of the glossary." The reason I think that we like the glossary location so much is because the instruction I received from Robert Jordan was just a Post-It note that had written on it, "This is right," attached to a sheet of paper that was an explanation, one of the many, printed off from the internet, talking about who killed Asmodean. That Post-It note saying "This is right" was all there was—I didn't know the how, the why, the circumstances, any more than you know. So we felt that rather than extrapolate all of that ourselves, the best thing to do, as frustrating as it might be, was to give you the information much in the same way that we got it, as simply a "This is the person." That still allows a bit of theorizing on how this person was involved in the event, whether it was by her hand directly, or whether a servant was involved, or that sort of thing. That allows for theorizing.

    Dawn

    After that, I kept expecting to see that information revealed somewhere in the actual book, but as far as I can tell it wasn't there! Will it be revisited in the last book, or was the glossary the way of answering that question?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The glossary was the way of answering that question. Though in the epilogue, I had originally included a more specific line that Harriet edited out and said, "No, I like the glossary entry. We'll let it stand." There's still a hint, but it was actually spelled out in that same sentence.

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  • 3

    Dawn

    Will we be learning any more about Shara in the last volume?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will simply defer to what Robert Jordan on this. This is the story primarily of what we call the Westlands, or Randland (though he didn't use those terms). This is not the story of Shara or Seanchan. There will be no major action that takes place in those other realms. Interpret that as you will.

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  • 4

    Amelia

    Why is this book named Towers of Midnight when the only time those are mentioned are during the first chapter when the wind blows past them and also a mention in the glossary? I'm assuming they're going to be important in the next book. I think most people think these towers were the Towers of Ghenjei, so why the little twist in the title?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of Robert Jordan's titles had twists. There are some that were very straightforward—The Dragon Reborn; The Great Hunt. There are others that are simply things like Knife of Dreams, which comes from a line in a quote at the beginning of the book. The titles usually refer to something specific as well as something metaphorical. Towers of Midnight is the title I chose. There of course are the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan, and if you knew what those were for, and why they were there, it would illuminate the question a little bit more. But the title also refers to the towers that Egwene saw.

    My working title for this book was The Three Towers, as a pun on the title of the second book of the Lord of the Rings. I was writing the second book of a trilogy of sorts here, and was dealing with the Tower of Ghenjei, the White Tower, and the Black Tower. There was going to be a lot more Black Tower stuff in this book which has been moved to the next book, but when I was working on it, we had a lot of focus on those three towers. So the name just struck me. It felt like the right thing to do.

    Carrie (Care)

    I thought that maybe it had to do with Egwene's dream. She dreamt that there were thirteen black towers raising up from the ground, one fell and then raised up again taller than the others. I thought this referred to the Forsaken. Maybe Brandon can clarify.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. But I did mention that it is related to that vision.

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  • 5

    Tigre_azul

    Since this is Robert Jordan's, how much of this does Brandon get to "play" with, to add him in it? It Appears that Brandon does a good job of reading his critics and answers questions that have been left undone. I read a lot of complaints about Mat after the last book. I don't think that will happen as much this time. The "surprises" seem to have a lot of Brandon in them. Last note. Why did it seem there were more editorial mistakes in this book than I would have expected?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In reverse order: The editorial mistakes were basically because of the fast turnaround time between when I finished the book and when it was put out. We're working to get those fixed for the ebook and paperback editions, but really, deadlines are to blame there, which is one reason we're slowing down for the next book.

    What you're seeing with the surprises, as you described them, is that not all of those are mine; I'm writing some of them that Robert Jordan left instructions on how to write, and the way I plot and reveal is going to be manifest in the way that I approach it.

    In response to your first question, I'm given complete creative freedom in these books. Partially because Harriet trusts me, and partially because that's what a writer needs in order to be able to write a book like this. That said, I've mentioned before that I feel a strong compulsion to try to do the books as close to the way Robert Jordan would have as I can, taking into account my own writing style. I'm not trying to make these Brandon Sanderson books; I'm trying to make them Wheel of Time/Robert Jordan books, but I'm also not trying to imitate him since that would turn out as a bad parody. In the end, I'm allowed to do whatever I feel needs to be done to achieve the storytelling the story demands. I do have to convince Harriet, Maria, and Alan that it's the right thing to do. And in some cases that's an easy thing to do, and in some cases it's a harder thing to do. But in all cases I get to write it first and then let them read it. And if I don't manage to pull it off, then I say, "Well, let's try something different."

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  • 6

    Jet

    There are some channelers who have lost strength in the Power (Siuan and Moiraine), is this something that can be Healed?

    Cory

    You have to still/gentle them again, and then have them "Healed" by a channeler of the opposite sex...thats why when Nynaeve healed Logain, he regained all his power.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a common theory. I do believe Robert Jordan RAFOed this very question, which is why I feel I need to RAFO it. It should be noted that Siuan doesn't want to try this, for various reasons.

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  • 7

    Carrie (Care)

    Brandon, I would love to know if we finally found out who Gaidal Cain was reborn as (or had a brief mention of him) in Towers of Midnight? I really thought it was obvious, but after talking to some friends I guess it wasn't. I realize you might not be able to say who it is, but if you could just let me know if we did hear mention of him in Towers of Midnight, that would be awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I know what you're talking about. I won't confirm 100% or not, but the phrasing was intentional.

    Footnote

    This is apparently in reference to Grady's son, who was (by Rand's estimate) four years old in Lord of Chaos and therefore too old to be Gaidal Cain (unless Grady has another son and didn't bother to mention the other to Rand, which seems unlikely).

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  • 8

    Brandon Sanderson

    Note: I will answer all the questions asked before the end of December, but it may take me a couple weeks to get to them all.
  • 9

    robert

    What's up with the people at the Black Tower becoming shadows of themselves? Some people speculate that this was caused by 13 Myrddraal/13 Aes Sedai forcing them to the dark side. Is that true?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 10

    Robert

    Also, when Perrin sees Hopper after Hopper's death in the Wolf Dream, Hopper also appears to be a dark shadow of his former self, something sinister. Is this related to the change that is coming over the people at the Black Tower?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're speaking of when Perrin tries to "resurrect" Hopper, so to speak. That is not related to what's happening at the Black Tower. That's something else entirely. And that's not even really Hopper. That is a projection of Perrin trying to bring Hopper back.

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  • 11

    Dawn

    I thought of one more question I had. The revelation of who Mesaana was impersonating inside of the White Tower—was that something that RJ had dictated in his notes/outlines, or was that of your own creation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was directly from the notes. It was the person who most people had guessed it was, because of the foreshadowing that Robert Jordan put in.

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  • 12

    Brianna

    Here's my question: who is throwing the dice that Mat hears in his head?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 13

    Lordjuss

    Aviendha's scene in the columns at Rhuidean was wonderful. Will the columns always do that now, or has Aviendha broken them for good?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 14

    Lordjuss

    Was Byar a Darkfriend or was he Compelled by Graendal? If so, when?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. I may answer that someday, but I need to decide how I should answer it.

    Footnote

    Brandon went into more detail here.

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  • 15

    Lordjuss

    How long before Rand's epiphany did Mat arrive in Caemlyn? How long after the 30 days were up did he wait before going to the Tower of Ghenjei?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat set aside the letter and didn't open it for the required number of days. The next day he left for the Tower of Ghenjei. As for the rest, I will send you to the fan-curated chronologies. I have a chronology on my computer, but let's let the fans work it out.

    Lordjuss

    Rand goes to Bandar Eban shortly after coming back from Tar Valon. Nearly a month later, he rescues Ituralde just before going to the Borderlanders (the day before the Field of Merrilor). What was he doing in the intervening 20 days?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Lordjuss

    The night before going to the Tower of Ghenjei, Mat sees Rand in a tent talking to some people. This is the day before Rand visits the Borderlanders so what event was he seeing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't seen the fan-curated timelines and compared them to the actual timeline. I'm not sure if a lot of these timeline questions are accurate.

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  • 16

    Lordjuss

    Harine (the Sea Folk ambassador) appeared early in The Gathering Storm but hasn't been seen since. Where was she during Towers of Midnight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harine has basically been stewing about the fact that she's been blown off.

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  • 17

    Lordjuss

    Did Naeff bond Nelavaire or was it the other way around? Where did she come from—was she one of Cadsuane's companions or one of Toveine's assault force?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The other way around, and neither. Nelavaire is one of the 23 Aes Sedai who were captured at Dumai's Wells and later swore fealty to Rand.

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  • 18

    Lordjuss

    Finally, a little request... The Land of the Madmen is mentioned in the Guide but never in the series itself. It would be lovely if it could at least be mentioned in one of the books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Your request is under consideration.

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  • 19

    Stublore

    As regards the True Power, how come Rand was able to use it, when earlier we are told only those the Dark One allows can use it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Semirhage believed that the Dark One had specifically granted Rand the ability. I won't say whether that's true or not. There are other theories out there that I don't want to squelch. But one possibility—and she certainly believed it—was that Dark One, in his desire to corrupt Rand, gave him that ability.

    Footnote

    Brandon said later that one typically has to go to Shayol Ghul to get permission to use the True Power, and many suspect that Rand's sensing of it is a product of the link between him and Moridin.

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  • 20

    Stublore

    On a slightly related note, the Chosen had protection from the taint, was this something unique to the Chosen (it occurs to me actually, that said protection could only have been given AFTER they were freed from the Bore, as such a precaution would have not been needed before Lewis Therin sealed the Bore), or would all Darkfriends have such protection?

    To answer my own question, I'd guess it was unique, else male Darkfriend channelers would have been at a huge advantage after the Breaking.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All Darkfriends do not have such protection.

    Stublore

    Which makes me wonder, if such protection could not be conferred after the Breaking was it because the Dark One was imprisoned and so could have less effect on the world, or was it something that needed to be done at Shayol Ghul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 21

    Jet

    Did you ever get bothered with how late Perrin's POV was and how chronologically disorienting his parts were at times (good job on the Tam being picked up and Rand in Dragonmount portions though)?

    Did you like having to "jump back in time" or was it just something that had to be done as Perrin's was so late in the the WOT timeline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was an effect of the books spending so much time with so many people off target from one another. Eventually they were going to have to come together, and this was the best way that I was capable of doing it. Robert Jordan may have been able to do it better, but after the books were split, this was the best way I could do it.

    Footnote

    To quote Brandon from another interview: "The plotlines weren't synchronized in previous WoT books."

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  • 22

    Machavelli

    Hi Brandon. I was really looking forward to reading about Rand after the end of The Gathering Storm, where he changes. I want to know how much he has changed since he and Lews Therin became one. He is the main character but he is barely in this book. Why is that? and will we get to read from his point of view in A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will get to read from his point of view in the last book. This was done intentionally, and it's something the Wheel of Time books have done all across the history of the series. Sometimes certain characters have to take a back seat while others' stories are being told. In this case, that happened to Rand. It was very important to me for narrative reasons that you see him externally before you see him internally.

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