Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
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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Halima is a man in a woman's body. I got Jordan to 'fess up to this one when he was talking about the new books-on-tape that will be coming out soon. He said that a male voice will read the parts that are from a man's point of view and a female voice will read the parts that are from a female character's point of view. "So, which one will read the passage from Halima's point of view?" I asked. Jordan sighed and said, "Halima's just weird." He went on to confirm that he/she is a male spirit inside a female body and suggested that he/she will change personality over time since the body affects the spirit (and vice-versa).
Someone asked Jordan about the 'gars, and mentioned that he'd seen theories that Lanfear was one of the 'gars. I was expecting a RAFO, but RJ gave the guy a disgusted look, and said that "No, Osan'gar and Aran'gar are Aginor and Balthamel." The guy said (I'm paraphrasing here), "You're confirming this, and not hinting about it?" RJ replied (more paraphrasing), "I'm confirming. After all, it's pretty obvious in the books that it's those two. After all, that's what Aginor thought was so funny; Balthamel, the lecher, was stuck in a female body." Jordan then went on to give the standard disclaimer that a lot of the clues are already in the books, and reasonably intelligent people should be able to figure a lot of this out. His job, he said, was to make sure you're still guessing about some stuff at the end of the story.
It's fairly safe to say that this was Jordan's version of thwacking the guy with a clue stick...
The Two *gars
RJ admitted outright that they were Aginor and Balthamel, and that Aginor was the male and Balthamel was the woman. I still feel that Aginor describing himself as "helping" make the Trollocs is not consistent, but hey, I didn't write the books. When I asked him if he was confirming their IDs, RJ said (in a slightly tired tone), "I've never denied it." This was rather surprising to me, to say the least.
I'm fairly sure he's done this before, but he said Aginor and Balthamel are Aran'gar and Osan'gar, and he also said that Terry Goodkind actually uses WOT as inspiration, instead of going to a historical source. He sounded serious.
Finally, he also recommended several authors, but said that the guy who wrote Cryptonomicon was really good.
OK, Tim and Matthew did a great job on many, many aspects of the Dayton signing. I'm going to try and not repeat much of their reports; additionally, a lot of things that RJ said and many questions are well-known to the group (such as the Shipwrecked book, the last scene already known, Halima wears a thong, etc.).
I was impressed with the number of folks—Tim was right, near 300. I lucked out—arrived at the store around 5:45 PM, saw no seats in the back of the signing area, lurked up front (passing Tim and his friend as they played Go, only I had no idea who they were) and sat down in the second row. Turns out the store handed out numbers going front to back, so I was #9. Having staked out a good seat, I was hoping for a good chance to ask all of the questions posted in the Last Call thread from yesterday.
Also, I happened to be sitting next to Scott Carlson, an occasional poster to the group since 1998. I sadly did not get the name of his friend, but they were great to meet and discuss theories about the books, as well as talk about other sci-fi/fantasy works.
OK...a few things missed on or not quite heard right from the other posters on the pre-signing spiel:
(long silence) I believe...I'll give you a percentage on these. If I say, "I believe", it means, "this is my understanding, but, um..."
Right, the asterisk.
There's an asterisk on it. And most of my understanding is informed by the notes and what I've read, but I often get things mixed up. So, I'm going to say on a 75% surety, not everybody can be trained to enter without a ter'angreal eventually, and some talent is required, but there are some who can...there is a middle ground between, for instance, Egwene, and somebody who can't at all.
Like Aran'gar, who obviously has hardly any talent at all, but she can get into people's dreams.
Yeah. So, there is a middle ground. But I don't believe everybody can.
Have all of the Forsaken been trained to do this or do some of them have to use gateways to get there?
In choosing the Forsaken—and this one is actually, um...I am quoting sources that you don't have access to, but I do...
In choosing the Forsaken, the Dark One was careful...um, the very nature of it led to people with great talent in many areas being chosen. They are extraordinary in many areas, and having talents that others do not have, beyond being powerful channelers.
We're talking about the thirteen that were at Shayol Ghul...
Yeah. ...This is what led to them being at the top of the heap. That said, I do believe that, among the Forsaken, there are some who had to use gateways to get there...but the majority of the Forsaken are very talented in many areas.
She doesn’t see it. We talked about this in editing when we were looking at it. It’s Graendal’s viewpoint; she’s summarizing; she doesn’t actually see it. We actually didn’t change it, because I just thought that was, ‘That’s what’s going on; it’s in her viewpoint; she doesn’t see the weaves.’ So, that isn’t an error. Maybe it’s not the clearest writing around, but I felt it was sufficiently clear when I looked at the passage. It got flagged by Maria.
Actually, we did asked for this to be changed for e- and future editions. It should now read "Aran'gar shrugged, but focused as if laying down a thick and complex Compulsion on the unfortunate Ramshalan's mind." The answer is the same, though, really; she saw nothing.
It was pretty close. She did a good job.
That is interesting, because I'm still speculating that there may be other Black Ajah working around that haven't been discovered, and actually I have a whole load of questions I'd love to ask, but I just know they're all gonna be…you know, "Read and Find Out" answers. It always amazes me that Egwene spent so much time under Halima's thumb, in a way, that I can't believe that the only weaves that she laid on her were producing migraines. It makes you wonder if there isn't some hidden Compulsion weave going on there, that we'll find out later that maybe some of the Black Ajah in the White Tower could take advantage of. You know, there are so many things like that that I just know…
Yeah, I don't wanna go there.
I don't think that there's any Black Ajah left in the White Tower currently.
I wouldn't wanna bet my life on that. I don't think there are many.
Other than Mesaana who's hiding somewhere because she can defeat the Oath Rod, or so thinks Egwene herself in the end of The Gathering Storm.
Well, you still have the Black Ajah that escaped, too.
Yeah, there was a lot of those that got out.
And we have Maria and Alan just sitting there going, "Yep, yep; you do." [laughter]
No, I was just thinking that she was minimizing headaches. What a horrible thing for migraine-sufferers.
Oh, listen…I get migraines. I have complete and total sympathy for anybody that gets migraines, but it seems to me like that probably wasn't the most…probably wasn't the only thing that she was doing to poor Egwene.
Well, the consensus that we…that was in the WoTFAQ when I was editing that article this summer was that Halima doing something to suppress Egwene's Dreaming talent so that she was not getting messages about the future any more, from whatever causes this to happen, and so the headache is the side-effect of that. I don't know if this is true or not; this is just the fan speculation from the WoTFAQ, but it is very telling that as soon as she gets away from Halima and is in the White Tower, her Dreaming ability comes back, because she had been having nightmares that she couldn't remember before about being chased by something, or something like that, and then when she gets into the White Tower, she stops having those nightmares, and she starts having the prophetic dreams again.
And she stops having headaches as well.
Yeah, and the headaches go away. And she does not make the connection in Knife of Dreams when she first sees this happen. I don't remember if she makes the connection in The Gathering Storm when she finds out about Halima's infiltration of the Salidar Aes Sedai. I have to go back and reread The Gathering Storm in the next couple of weeks, because I'm a little fuzzy on the details there.
Mm-hmm. Well, it certainly seems plausible. [laughter]
I'm not surprised that you guys have got this down to an art.
You guys give the perfect Aes Sedai answers.
I love it when I ask Maria and Alan things that relate to FAQ, and they'll just kind of smile and nod at me and go, 'That's a good guess!'
I was going to say another Aes Sedai answer, but then...I wonder if we’re going to get the Asha’man known for convoluted answers, but then they don’t have the oath rod to get around. They can say whatever they want to at all times.
They'll just blow you up and have done with it.
Yeah. They are refreshingly direct about their methods.
Egwene’s maid. Aran’gar killed the others, but not Chesa.
Right. RAFO, and I... when I RAFO, I do it with things that might have significance.
I was being a bit sneaky. There was this theory that Chesa might be a Darkfriend—brought in by Sheriam, left along by Aran’gar.
*poker face* RAFO.