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Interviews: Afternoon Tea with Brandon Sanderson - Luckers

Summary:

Entries

38

Date

Apr, 2012

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Melbourne, VC

TourCon

SupaNova 2012

Reporter

James Luckman

Links

Dragonmount

  • 1

    Luckers

    Hey everyone, so I was down in Melbourne for SupaNova, during which Brandon was in attendance, dressed in a Taíveren Tee and sporting a hat that kind of reminded me of Matís, which, as everyone knows, is an angreal.

    Heh, in any case he took some time to answer some questions, first in the green room on the Saturday where we sat down and had a good chat—not just about the questions, but in general, which was fun—and then he allowed me to hang around awkwardly on the Sunday and get through the last few that we hadnít managed to touch on yet.

    Quick provision though, Brandon was very clear with me that he writes with the notes beside him, mainly because he canít keep it all in his head (four million words people. Four million). As such the answers he gave are honest, and out of his impressions from the notes, but he retains the right to correct against them later, if heís misremembered something.

    By the same note, these are drawn out from my short-hand notations during the interview, and if Iíve mistakenly misquoted something, Brandon has the right to say, ĎJames, dude, I didnít say it like that. Fix ití, and all blame shall be with me.

    I may also add to this after the signing and Q&A on Wednesday in Sydney, so check back.

  • 2

    Luckers

    What happened to Moiraineís original angreal? The one she had in the Two Rivers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, you mean the fat man with... no, wait that was Rand....

    LUCKERS

    Yeah, Moiraineís one was an ivory woman.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, yeah. You know, thatís a good question, because itís odd, the notes specifically said she got the angreal as one of her wishes...

    LUCKERS

    Ah, so itís definitely not the angreal Lanfear had? People have asked, I think because both were bracelets.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    No, itís definitely a different angreal. But yes, if she had another angreal, why would she ask for one?

    LUCKERS

    Maybe the Finns took her original one. I mean she was naked when they found her, so they took...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, maybe *looks dubious*.

    LUCKERS

    Or maybe itís still in Cairhien with the rest of her stuff.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, but it would still be odd, that sheíd ask, if she had another. Yeah, so, I donít know, sorry.

    Footnote

    There are not two bracelets; the description in The Fires of Heaven is the exact same description of that given in Towers of Midnight. In other words, Moiraine's new angreal is the same one she clawed away from Lanfear; her old one disappeared.

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  • 3

    Luckers

    Did Verin kill Barthanes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Goes to answer, pauses and looks thoughtful for a long moment, then said...* MAFO

    Footnote

    Maria said no.

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  • 4

    Luckers

    Verin infers that Tomas had to die within an hour of their betrayal of the Dark One, which is odd because he didnít have that requirement, and she could have released him from the bond, so I was wondering, was Verin playing here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you have to understand is Tomas was tired of this world. Without Verin, he didnít really want to be around...

    LUCKERS

    So Tomas is dead?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. Tomas is dead. She could have released him, yes, but he didnít want that.

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  • 5

    Luckers

    Do the Seanchan know of angreal? Can a damane use one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They know of angreal. Thatís in the notes. And yes, as far as I know a damane should be able to use one. I mean damane are essentially in links, and women in links can still use angreal, but this is a good question, because, itís odd then that we havenít seen them use them.

    LUCKERS

    Maybe they were thought too valuable to risk in an invasionóthough thatís odd, because that would be sort of where they are needed most.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, Iím not sure... that is strange. But they definitely know of angreal.

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  • 6

    Luckers

    Was the Shiny Dragon... was she manipulating Masema before Perrin met him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm, when did Perrin meet Masema? Was it in the scene where Alliandre is kneeling and giving her jewelery to him?

    LUCKERS

    No, that was...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Nynaeve, yeah. Right.

    LUCKERS

    Perrin met him at the same time Faile was getting kidnapped.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Right. Then in that case, yes, the Shiny Dragon was manipulating him before.

    Footnote

    Technically Perrin met Masema in Fal Dara, and spent a fair amount of time with him on the way to Falme, and afterward.

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  • 7

    Luckers

    What does amahn'rukane mean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *stares at me blankly for a long moment* What... um... what has been said on it before?

    LUCKERS

    Just that itís a sword sticking out of the earth. Cadsuane names it...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh right, umm. I donít know. *he laughs* You can probably tell something about it from that.

    LUCKERS

    That itís not important.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *laughs again*.

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  • 8

    Luckers

    So, there are two different types of Darkhounds. Ones that can be killed with a sword, and ones that take balefire, and I was wondering if the difference was that the ones who can be killed with a sword are the ones that are turned by a Darkhound bite, whilst the balefire ones are those changed using the original method to make Darkhounds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is an awesome theory. No. But I am very glad you came up with itóit fits very neatly with how Sanderson would have done it. But still, no.

    LUCKERS

    Can you tell me the actual cause for the difference?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Haha, no. RAFO.

    LUCKERS

    Can you tell me what the Crossroads of Twilight superpack are hunting?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ummm. No, I still might... it still might be in the books. So RAFO. But if itís not in the books then itís open for you all to ask again after A Memory of Light. But for now, RAFO.

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  • 9

    Luckers

    Are the ripples in Knife of Dreams balescreams?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *grins* RAFO. And say thatís a RAFO with a grin.

    Footnote

    This most likely had something to do either with balefire or the True Power.

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  • 10

    Luckers

    Are the major characters all at their full strength now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    LUCKERS

    I just ask because, like Nynaeve has been channeling longer, and Egwene was forced. And Rand likely was too, and as a man gains strength more swiftly...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, Elayne might not... I think she is, but she may not quite be there.

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  • 11

    Luckers

    Who was behind the attack on Demira Sedai?

    Brandon Sanderson

    MAFO.

    Maria Simons

    Padan Fain and his corrupted Whitecloaks.

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  • 12

    Luckers

    What happened to Merilille and Talaan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    LUCKERS

    I have this theory that they were killed by Careane to try and get the Windfinders to leave the palace.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *poker face*

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  • 13

    Luckers

    What happened to Liandrin after Suroth was arrested.

    Brandon Sanderson

    *immediate, no hesitation* RAFO. Iím going to RAFO everything about... *he cuts himself off* RAFO.

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  • 14

    Luckers

    Do the Forsaken know the weaves Elza used to break the warding Cadsuane placed on the Domination Band?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    LUCKERS

    So, why didnít they use it on wardings Rand placed on Callandor, and the other things theyíve wanted that were warded earlier in the series?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *stares at me for a long moment, thoughtfully* They may not have know them then. The thing is... we donít see a lot of the Shadow innovating with the Power, unlike with the Light, but they have been. As much as the Light. But they know, now. The notes definitely say this.

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  • 15

    Luckers

    Were the sisters at the Silver Swan sent by Cadsuane?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Footnote

    "Recently one of her watchers at the Swan had overheard a disturbing name, murmured and quickly shushed, as if in fear of eavesdroppers. Cadsuane." (Crossroads of Twilight 12, "New Alliances")

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  • 16

    Luckers

    Are Toveine and Gabrelle and the rest of the forcibly bonded sisters still plotting to bring down the Black Tower?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. I will say this though, this does get touched on in A Memory of Light. There are a few scenes where we see this.

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  • 17

    Luckers

    Did Verin have any other reasons for going to the Two Rivers, other than recruiting girls?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO *he grins at me*. You know Iím going to RAFO Verin stuff. Weíve given a lot there.

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  • 18

    Luckers

    Can someone who is leashed by an a'dam touch Tel'aran'rhiod?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *blinks at me* Umm. That's a really good question.

    Luckers

    I ask, because it's odd that Moghedien never tried to use the dream to escape, or to capture someone in Salidar and compel her to free Moghedien in the waking world, or anything like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's a good question. I'd guess no, but you can MAFO that.

    Maria Simons

    I believe that you cannot touch Tel'aran'rhiod while leashed, but I can't find anything in the notes that states so outright.

    Footnote

    When Brandon was first asked this question in 2010, he said "90% yes". In 2013 (after Luckers' 2012 interview), he said it was "not outside the realm of possibility". Maria answered the question later in 2013.

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  • 19

    Luckers

    Are the Tel'aran'rhiod precepts enforced, and did breaking them expose Birgitte to what Moghedien did?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not as far as I know, and Iím pretty solid on... I went through the notes on Tel'aran'rhiod heavily in the course of my work on the Wheel, so yeah.

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  • 20

    Luckers

    In The Great Hunt Ishamael has no knowledge that Mat sounded the Horn, and thinks Rand did. Later on though, a Fade refers to Mat as the Hornsounder. How did he know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    LUCKERS

    *we talked about this for a while, and I didnít take any notes on that part of the conversation (so it was nothing big) we dropped back into interesting stuff a bit later and I resumed note taking*

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I will say that, in the course of writing A Memory of Light, I learned some very interesting things that went against some strong preconceptions I had about the Horn. Some of the ideas I had, about how it worked, turned out to be incorrect.

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  • 21

    Luckers

    How did Moiraine identify Sammael and Beílal in The Dragon Reborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have no idea.

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  • 22

    Luckers

    Okay, so, there have been three incidences where characters have ignored the Choedan Kal in favour of Callandor—or well, not even that. Just ignored the Choedan Kal. Shaidar Haran in The Gathering Storm when Elza took the Domination Band, Solinda during Randís flashbacks was the one who gave the teríangreal to the Aiel, but made no efforts to secure the Choedan Kal like Callandor, and the Aes Sedai who was looking to fight Ishamael during the breaking who took saíangreal from the Aiel, but left the Choedan Kal. So I guess the question is...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why are they choosing Callandor over the Choedan Kal?

    LUCKERS

    Well, not even that, really, because two of those have nothing to do with the Callandor. I guess itís more, was there something dodgy... did they know something about the Choedan Kal... why did they leave it?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    There is a reason. It has to do with Callandor being key to the ending, and the Choedan Kal not.

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  • 23

    Luckers

    Okay, so the warding on the Great Holding in Tear... itís just, Moiraine, Mat, Rand, the Wonder Girls, all come and go with ease, yet Mesaana speaks of there being a nasty warding that stopped her getting in, and there is no sign that Beílal... I mean, why wouldnít Beílal have taken the fat man angreal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *nodding before I finished* MAFO. That was something I was going to look into myself, because it stumped me during my last re-read. I never got round to it... you havenít seen the size of the pile of notes, they are huge, and most of my time... I have to give over to things that are involved in what Iím working on. Sometimes though, I do just go into them purely for fan interest.

    Luckers

    I would love to have an afternoon alone with the notes. *another fan nods fervently*

    Maria Simons

    It is my understanding that Rand put that warding on when he was getting ready to leave Tear. As for Beílal . . . well, he was one of the Chosen; what need had he of an angreal to go up against an untrained sheepherder? Thatís my best guess, anyway.

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  • 24

    Luckers

    Are the negative effects of the Oath Rod cumulative? Like the diminished life...

    Brandon Sanderson

    As far as I know, no.

    Footnote

    RJ said it takes three to get the ageless look, so from that and the descriptions of the tightening of the skin, it seems that at least is cumulative.

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  • 25

    Luckers

    Sammael claims to have a truce with Rand, even though we see Rand turn him down. Was Sammael lying, or did...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Iím fairly sure he was lying. As in, Iíve seen something in the notes at one point, and Iím pretty sure it was... but my memory being what it is, I will say you can MAFO that. But Iím pretty sure he was lying.

    Maria Simons

    Sammael was lying in an attempt to manipulate Graendal.

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  • 26

    Luckers

    Why did Aranígar not kill Chesa?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chesa?

    LUCKERS

    Egweneís maid. Aranígar killed the others, but not Chesa.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Right. RAFO, and I... when I RAFO, I do it with things that might have significance.

    LUCKERS

    I was being a bit sneaky. There was this theory that Chesa might be a Darkfriend—brought in by Sheriam, left along by Aranígar.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *poker face* RAFO.

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  • 27

    Luckers

    Faolain refers to something she is working on that is as good as anything the Wondergirls have made. Do you know what it is, and can you tell me?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes I know, and no I canít.

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  • 28

    Luckers

    What was the stylized raven that Min viewed around Carlinya?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I thought that had already been answered. Did Jim not answer this?

    Luckers

    No. Everyone thought it referred to Carlinya being daícovale to the Empress. But no, it hasnít been answered.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh. Oh, okay. Well, I will RAFO/MAFO it. You can email Maria and me about it, but I may have to RAFO it.

    Maria Simons

    The raven is a symbol of the Dark One as well as the Seanchan; Carlinya was killed fighting the Black Ajah.

    Footnote

    The reason why fans thought it was surely in reference to the Seanchan is because Min thought it looked like a tattoo. (See The Fires of Heaven Chapter 26.)

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  • 29

    Luckers

    How much time does A Memory of Light cover?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on which part of the world you are in. You will understand that when you read A Memory of Light.

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  • 30

    Luckers

    Is Michael Whelan planning on using the same concept asÖ I canít remember his name right now. Isnít that horrible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no itís fine. His name was Darrell Sweet, and no. Look it was a hard decision, but we talked about using the original sketching and—

    LUCKERS

    Oh, no, I meant like... the concept. Like will he be drawing the same scene?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, right. No. No, I originally sent the suggestion of three different scenes, and Michael and Torís art coordinator, Irene...

    LUCKERS

    Irene Gallo?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. Michael and Irene chose a different one between them than Darrell and Irene had.

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  • 31

    Luckers

    These are bits and pieces that we discussed or I overheard during the course of the weekend, but which I didnít keep shorthand notes on, and therefore cannot reliably reconstruct our conversations, and there is the greatest chance here, I think, for me to have misquoted something, so take all this with a grain of salt.

  • 32

    Brandon Sanderson

    When we were discussing Moiraineís various angreal, Brandon said he was of the impression that even with it, Moiraineís was still very close, but just shy of her original strength. I checked that night and Moiraine does say in Towers of Midnight that with it she is 'very strong, stronger than I was before'. I checked with Brandon and he nodded and said that that was a scene that RJ wrote, and it went in almost without any changes. I started to ask whether he was still under the impression that Moiraine was close to her old strength, albeit on the upwards side (after all to an Aes Sedai Moiraineís old strength was Ďvery strongí, and therefore Moiraine might only be marginally stronger, and she might very well phrase it precisely as she did). A fan approached at that moment, and Iím not sure how much of the question Brandon heard, and we never got a chance to raise it again, so it might be worth clarifying.

    Footnote

    Brandon went into a little more detail here on the changes he had to make for that scene.

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  • 33

    Brandon Sanderson

    When we were in the Green Room Brandon broached a subject of his own, in Asmodean, stating he wanted to explain how that happened. Basically, Jim left a note saying Ďfit it iní, and when they were initially discussing how to do it Brandon threw out as more of a joke than anything else Ďjust put it in the glossaryí. Harriet apparently loved that idea, and when it came time for Brandon to write, he did lay it out in a Graendal POV [note: I canít remember if he said it was in an outline for a POV, or whether he actually wrote it] Harriet wrote back in her notes Ďno, no, weíre going to put that in the glossary.í Brandon himself definitely seemed to have wanted the information laid out in scene, and said there were actually a couple of scenes he thought he could have done it in.

    LUCKERS

    They still argue about it anyway, you know.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *laughs* Yeah, well, you know Jim himself never wrote it out. There was just that email a fan had sent him, you know the...

    LUCKERS

    The Sherlock Holmes one?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, just that with a note saying 'this is it'. Everything else...

    LUCKERS

    Hah. Yeah, I never really cared about Asmodean.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Me either, really. Until I went on the boards, and everyone was discussing it.

    LUCKERS

    Yeah, now they have the debate about whether Tam and Cadsuane are going to get married.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    *shudders* Yeah, Iíve... ah... heard that one.

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  • 34

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon again spoke of Aviendha and the Aiel, due to the way they think, mentioning how he went through several drafts and back and forths with Harriet, whilst doing multiple re-reads of Aviendhaís POVs.

    Then he spoke of Mat, saying that Mat is such a complicated character, though you might not think he is at first glance. He is an unreliable narrator, with vast differences between how he thinks and how he acts, and that Jimís Mat POVís are some of the best in the series. He then spoke of his own writing and that because of these elements itís easy to miss things with Mat, and that that is why his early scenes in The Gathering Storm are not as good as his scenes in Towers of Midnight, where Brandon began to Ďget himí. Brandon finished by saying heís best in A Memory of Light.

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  • 35

    Question

    [Who is your most hated character?]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Luckers is going to roll his eyes at me, but back before I started writing—before writing her POVís showed me how awesome she is—it was definitely Cadsuane.

    LUCKERS

    I rolled my eyes at him. Heh.

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  • 36

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon spoke of how sometimes the characters he liked did get more air time, and that this was a side effect of having a fan write the books. He spoke of his love of Perrin, and how he wanted Towers of Midnight to be a 'big, awesome, Perrin book', and that that is what he hoped he delivered.

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  • 37

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon was talking about the differences between his writing and Jimís, and choosing not to try and match styles because it couldnít be done. He describe it as 'I do serviceable prose, where Jim wrote beautiful prose', and that there have been scenes heís come to where heís simply had to say 'I just have to do this my way, thereís nothing for it'.

    He spoke then of Jimís ability to layer subtle foreshadowing, which is something heís never had to do outside of his story behind the story [heís referring to the greater cosmos of his own works, the whole, Shards of Adonalsium and Hoid storylines that go on in the background]. He said it has been a real challenge to catch all the balls that Jordan left in the air, and that sometimes you can see that. ĎSome he caught smoothly, others he snatched from the air and slammed on the table. Some he even just said 'this happened'.

    Finally he spoke of plotting, and how sometimes Jordanís notes have said two contradictory things Ďmaybe Iíll do this, or maybe Iíll do this other completely opposite thingí. Brandon said he then often had to choose between them, or sometimes choose a third thing entirely.

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  • 38

    Some Stuff for fans of Brandonís Other Works

    Brandon Sanderson

    Firstly he read from his novella, Legion, which is out in November [I think??]. It's about a genius whose genius manifests in the form of hallucinations. Basically whenever this guy studies anything, he creates a hallucinatory expert that retains the full extent of all this knowledge like a repository, and it is with his 'legion' of hallucinatory experts that his full genius and ability comes from.

    On the second day he read from a new novel set in the Elantris world (though in a whole different part of the world, with completely new characters (barring, of course, Hoid)). I didnít write it down, but the title was something like 'Soul of the Dragon Emperor'. The magic system involves Forgers, people who can through study and understanding somethingís past, forge a soulseal which can change that past so long as it is touching the thing itself. So a Forger could look at an old and battered table, and by studying it—understanding where the wood came from, where the polish came from, so forth—they could then create a soulseal that says the table has been lovingly and carefully cared for, and so long as that seal is laid into the table, the table will no longer be battered and old, but perfectly polished. This is the gist of the plot as well, that something has happened to the Emperor and a talents Forger who works as a thief is supposed to Forge the Emperorís soul so that it appears as if nothing has happened.

    Other than that the only other thing I have in my notes is that Shallan is to be the Stormlight 2 Flashback character.

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