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Interviews: DragonCon 2012 - AMOL Update Report

Summary:

Entries

12

Date

Sep 2nd, 2012

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Atlanta, GA

TourCon

DragonCon 2012

Reporter

Chris Lough

Links

tor.com

  • 1

    Chris Lough

    Youíve read the preview from A Memory of Light, but do you know what else Brandon Sanderson revealed on Sunday at DragonCon?

    The question and answer portion during the packed Memory of Light preview yielded some stunning new facts, especially in regards to what portions of the final three Wheel of Time books Robert Jordan left for fans of the series. Do you know where Brandon cameos in the books? And what huge surprise is waiting for readers at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Video and exact wordings from the Q&A is forthcoming later this week, but in the meantime, hereís a summary to tide you over!

    First, the Read and Find Outs (RAFOs):

  • 2

    Question

    Will we see cannons and gateways used in creative ways during the Last Battle?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see me playing with gateways.

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  • 3

    Question

    Will we see a Green Man in A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 4

    Question

    Will we find out what all of Cadsuaneís ornaments do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

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  • 5

    Chris Lough

    A good amount of the questions werenít concerned with the plot of the final book but with Brandonís writing style, his struggles in adapting the material, and how it was melded to the work that Robert Jordan left behind. The audience wondered whether we might see future annotated versions of the final three books, with Robert Jordanís work and Brandon Sandersonís work marked out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon responded that itís highly unlikely, due to it being against Harriet McDougalís wishes and to the fact that annotations would have to be down to the sentence level, as it was often the case that one sentence would have been written by Robert Jordan, then altered by Brandon, then edited for content and style by Harriet, then copy edited by Harrietís assistant Maria L. Simons.

    Brandon did reveal several doozies in regards to what Jordan left behind, however. Each prologue to the final three books contains a scene written by Robert Jordan. One already known is the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, for Towers of Midnight, Jordan wrote the prologue scene involving the soldiers in the Borderlander tower. And for A Memory of Light? Weíll see.

    Perhaps the biggest admission, and one that brought a hush over the crowd, was the reveal that Jordan wrote the chapter in The Gathering Storm where Verin reveals she is Black Ajah to Egwene and the sequence in Towers of Midnight where Moiraine is rescued by Mat. Two of the most important elements in these final books came directly from Jordanís hand.

    Additionally, Sanderson pointed out that the Rand and Perrin viewpoints in The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight are more of his work, while Egwene and Matís viewpoints in those books are more Robert Jordanís work.

    Brandon also revealed that he makes a cameo in the books, in much the same way that Robert Jordan makes a cameo as an item in Knife of Dreams. (He appears as a ter'angreal of a fat man holding a book in the chapter ďA Different Skill.Ē) A few years ago Sanderson was gifted one of Robert Jordanís swords, choosing a katana with red and gold dragons twining around the hilt and handle. This gift from Robert Jordanís family is now present in the series, and represents Brandonís own cameo, for those who wish to look.

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  • 6

    Chris Lough

    Brandon Sanderson

    When an audience member asked the author what scene from the entire series really stuck with him, Brandon provided three that were particularly resonant; his favorite being when Rand visits Rhuidean. A close runner-up was the sequence at the end of A Crown of Swords, where Nynaeve loses her block and Lan rushes to her aid. And another reliable favorite for Brandon? Perrin during the siege of the Two Rivers in The Shadow Rising.

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  • 7

    Chris Lough

    The audience was also curious as to what characters he had the hardest time grasping.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ďAviendha and Tuon are the ones I worked the hardest on, but I expected them to be hard. I wasnít expecting Mat to be hard. That blindsided me.Ē Brandon explained that in general the Andoran characters are the easiest for him to write as, ďThey feel like friends from high school.Ē So it surprised Brandon when he sat down to write Mat and discovered that he didnít have an immediate grasp on him. Brandon eventually realized it was because, unlike the other characters, ďMat is an untrustworthy narrator. He doesnít always believe what he says and he doesnít even always believe the thoughts in his own head. Heís a character Iíve struggled to write but I think Iíve gotten as close to him as itís possible for me to get.Ē (The positive reaction to the Mat chapter he read certainly put weight to this statement.)

    He also, tongue-in-cheek, admitted that before he wrote Cadsuane she was his least favorite character. ďShe was just too mean!Ē

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  • 8

    Chris Lough

  • 9

    Chris Lough

    Brandon also spoke about the aspects of his writing that have improved due to his work on The Wheel of Time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sanderson praised Jordanís abilities with prose, considering it unmatchable in regards to his own writing style, but noted that Jordan was responsible for Brandonís growing skills in dealing with multiple character viewpoints, and for Jordanís remarkable subtlety in regards to foreshadowing in the Wheel of Time series. Brandon also noted how differently he and Jordan approach battles in regards to their personal histories. Jordan, having experienced warfare firsthand, wrote battle scenes with a sense of dread while Brandonís battles have a cinematic design to them.

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  • 10

    Chris Lough

    The discussion of multiple viewpoints prompted one audience member to ask about the growing amount of secondary viewpoints in the series itself, most notably in the prologues.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon pointed that Jordan himself began that trend in the prologues; "Embers Falling on Dry Grass" being among Sanderson's favorite uses of that device, and revealed that readers should expect even more in the final volume.

    How many more?

    Upwards of 80. In a single chapter. Thatís around 70,000 words and which takes place near the end of A Memory of Light. (We're very curious to see if that chapter is titled "Tarmon Gai'don.")

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  • 11

    Chris Lough

    Brandon spoke further on the ending of the book and the series. For example, was the fanboy inside of him satisfied with the ending?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I really like the ending. When you get to what Robert Jordan wrote at the end of the book there's a serenity that arrives. Everything clicks into place."

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  • 12

    Chris Lough

    There was a lot more in the Q&A, including a great speech from Brandon about the emotional toll writing the Wheel of Time has. Stay tuned for the video later this week!