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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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The Creator's "Inability" To Act On His Creation
Having encountered a similar "theology" in Donaldson's Covenant series, I have been quite curious why the Creator can't act on His own world. It didn't seem to make sense, except as a plot device.
This sheds a LOT of light on some things in Randland. First, there will not be any final expiation of evil (i.e. Book of Revelation in Christianity). What we have is an infinite cycle ("Wheel") of the struggle of light and darkness. The best to be hoped for is an eternal balance, rather than some final, complete victory (for good). This bothers me on several fronts, not the least that evil can win and good can't.
Also note that this really helps explain Fel's ramblings in Lord of Chaos. The sealing, Bore and all that will just cycle endlessly.
Iím going to ask you a lot of questions about the Dark One and the Creator...
You are going to get a lot of RAFOs on this, because Robert Jordan often stayed away from, and in the notes I get the sense, the direction to stay away from questions that couldnít be answered from someone in the world. Does that make sense? When he would like to answer the question, somebody knew that, even if they were dead, somebody in world knew the answer. When you would ask him questions nobody knows the answers to except the Dark One or the Creator themselves, he did not answer very often and that is why you donít know very much.
Ok, that is absolutely fair, so you probably will RAFO, I would say, 90% of these...
Did the Creator or does the Creator use the One Power to create?
I know youíll RAFO this one but Iíll ask it anyway. Does the Creator, for a lack of a better word, weave the One Power?
Ok. Iíll jump off the Creator for the moment...
How about this, I do know...Robert Jordan...there are answers to these things that you are wanting to know...
Do you believe they ever will be discussed, like Encyclopedia type of things or do you believe..
...he did not want to leave explicit answers about a lot of these things. There will be hints. So, they are a double RAFO because they are the sort of things Robert Jordan did not like to answer and they could spoil things [...] Double RAFO.
[HahóI got a DRAFO]
One thing that strikes me is people's perception of the Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is just a structural device: it has seven spokes which represent the seven Ages. The Wheel turns; people forget about the previous Age and a new Age is entered. It goes around seven times and it starts again from square one. Very similar patterns of events occur in each Age, but they are changed, just as two people can have very similar personalities but still be very different people in many other respects. The same way with the different Ages.
So the Wheel does not have a specific purpose. It does not have a motivation. It is not a conscious being. The Wheel is just there, operating as an organizing principle of the world. Jim played down the religious aspects of all this. There is a creator, but there is not even a notion that the creator is God. The creator, of course, is God, but it is the creator. And the creator is not given much of a personality in these books. The creator is a stand-back kind of entity, less so than the Dark One, which opposes the creator and everything the creator has created, which is mankind.
And so, that's all I'm saying: don't read too much into the Wheel of Time. I think the Wheel of Time is also drawn in part from the Buddhist concept of the Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is something that we are on. In creation, we are created in who knows what form, evolve through many, many lifetimes, until we no longer have to be on the wheel. We have reached our goal, which in Eastern Thought is being one with God, part of the infinite ocean. In Jim's world, it is not so cut and dried. As far as we know, individuals stay on the Wheel of Time forever.
On the question on the "alignment" of the characters, he said that there are no completely good character in the books, as he thought such a character would be completely boring (rightóGalad is boring!ómy comment), and would probably be killed rather quickly, like other fully good persons in the world. He took Jesus as example of this. Instead, every person struggles with the good and bad sides of his/her personality.
Another point he pressed was that "no one's going to rescue you", there are not going to happen any miracles. The Creator shaped the world and set the rules, but does not interfere. Humankind messed things up, and have to fix it too, as well as finding the truth themselves.
(split from another question) ...And a question chosen vicariously for another friend: has the Creator been very intimately and directly connected to the story, or is he kind of like the absent god, where he set things in motion and left?
(split from another question) ...And then, the question of the role of the Creator, by which you mean God, not the writer?
Yes, exactly. [laughter]
As you know, he said he didn't believe writers who said, "I just work to a certain point and then the characters take it over." He said, "I don't believe that for a minute." [laughter] Actually, what he said was, "I am Old Testament god, and my fist is in the middle of my characters' lives." But the way he envisions the Light in these books is that they have a very immediate sense of the Creator, which is—they don't need churches, because he's right there for them. Not that they don't believe; they believe so deeply that they live their lives in a sense of God, the Creator.
And the question is also, has the Creator been intimately connected to Rand's journey? Did the Creator purposefully set Rand up to be the Dragon Reborn?
I think only in the sense that the Creator is perceived by the characters as being pretty intimately involved in all their lives.
Thank you. Tai'shar!
The Dark One seems to be conscious and aware of the events in the world. Is the Creator also conscious of world events?
Brandon said that's left up to the reader. He then said that many people think the voice in all caps in The Eye of the World is the Creator, which might indicate the Creator was, but stated it really wasn't known even in-world.
Did the Creator ever manifest in the books? And I don't mean the VOICES IN CAPS.
Did the Creator speak in ALL CAPS at least once or twice?
The same voice spoke in all caps in the series.
So, at the end of The Eye of the World, the all caps voice? Will we ever find out who it was, or what they were looking for?
The all caps voice at the end of Eye of the World makes an appearance in A Memory of Light.
What about what wasn't there?
What about what wasn't there?
What do you mean, what wasn't there?
Maybe it'll be in the encyclopedia. I can still RAFO things, Harriet is working on an encyclopedia of The Wheel of Time, which is coming out maybe in two years or so.
Hey Brandon! I'm the redheaded dude who was helping at the last two Midnight Release parties, and I am actually at BYU right now. I have two questions:
I know you've said you can't answer these directly, so, rather than give the "official" answer, I was wondering if you could give us your "fan theory" on the answer, as if you weren't the writer.
What do you think about Mat, Rand, and Perrin keeping certain "abilities"? I know you've said that they may or may not still be ta'veren, and Perrin thinks they aren't, but can Perrin still talk to wolves? Is Mat still lucky? Does Mat still have his memories?
In your opinion, who do you think Nakomi was? Do you like the "Nakomi is the avatar of the Creator theory"? Do you think of her as the third member of the Christian godhead?
Finally, Harriet was quoted as saying that she thinks Rand's special ability at the end was a "new magic"? Do you agree? Or do you think it is something else?
Thanks for being awesome!
1. Perrin can still talk to wolves. That is certain. Also, Mat keeps his memories. These two are official, not theories on my part. What I can't give official on is the ta'veren-ness of the guys. I don't think RJ ever even says in the notes. Me? I think they aren't.
2. I'm too close to this one. I can't say, unfortunately. I can answer as a fan for things I don't know because it's not in the notes, or for things I could theorize about before I came onto the project. For things I learned about while working, I don't have a "fan" perspective, only a writer perspective. Sorry.
3. Harriet is more likely to be right than I am, but I don't believe it is a new magic. I think it is a result of Rand touching the Pattern directly.
Awesome! So, I'm still unsure about Mat's luck. Would you say that's part of his "ta'veren-ness?"
Thanks for the great answers. I'm more at peace now with some of the previous answers you've given.
My gut tells me Mat still has his luck, but not to the extent he once had. But I have no foundation for this in the notes.
Could you explain what the deal is with the Great Serpent? I was half-expecting it to appear in the middle of the big showdown at the end of A Memory of Light. Is it just a different metaphor for the Wheel?
Did we ever meet the Creator in the series? If so, who?
I'll preface this with a warning. Even though the series is done, and I can speak more freely, some things are intended to be vague by RJ's own intention. This allows dreaming and thinking about the world to continue. For example, I can't answer question 2 for these reasons. For question one, I think RJ himself was vague. (Maybe a Theorylander can speak here.) This isn't one I'm capable of answering, because I don't want to make an answer canon one way or another, as I don't think RJ wanted that.
In the Wheel of Time books, did the Creator have a power, similar to the True Power that the Dark One had?
I'm afraid I don't have the answer for this, not for certain. I think that readers of the text could argue both ways. For example, a certain event in the epilogue of AMOL could be interpreted this way—though everyone in Team Jordan seems to have a different opinion on what is going on, and RJ didn't leave an explanation.