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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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Thank you very much for the copy of The Chronicles. I was not aware that I had fans who followed my work so closely. It is a real pleasure to discover. I apologize for the delay in writing, but in addition to writing (which takes no small amount of time), I have been on a round-the-world promotional trip and a close family member had to have open heart surgery, both of which occupied me fully. I do not have access to Prodigy, but please keep me on your mailing list through Tor.
By the way, the capture of Yurian Stonebow did not "bring and end to the Trolloc Wars" (Guide to WoT). Yurian Stonebow "rose from the ashes of the Trolloc Wars." That is, he came along after the wars ended.
Read and find out. Again, this is something I don't know whether I'm going to put it in or not.
But you see there are things that I might want to put in, I might want to use, and giving you the answer lets it out and means I might as well not use it because . . .
It's more interesting.
Does Telamon mean "dragon" or does it mean "Kinslayer" or is it something else?
What? In Lews Therin Telamon? No, no. It means something else. That's his name. Lews Therin is the name he was born with. Telamon, a name he was given later.
It does not mean dragon?
It does not mean dragon, no.
And are dragons definitely not the same as raken and to'raken?
Definitely not. Definitely not.
Oh that's an interesting question.
But, I mean the name [sounds?] the same. . .
But no, they're definitely not. They're definitely not.
They're flying creatures.
They're like a dragon image.
Yeah, I know they are somewhat of a dragon image. But no, they're definitely not.
Oh, cool. That's a wonderful thing to have noticed. That's great.
Although who can say what may be said in the next Age? Remember, things get repeated, things get distorted. And what the next Age believes is true history of a previous Age may not be in any way close to what actually happened. So who knows?
So was . . . In the Age of Legends, a dragon was a completely symbolic thing? It did not refer to an actual creature?
Not to an actual creature. But beyond that, read and find out.
Did they have dragons like . . . ?
No, it was symbolic at that time. There were no dragons flying around in the Age of Legends, no.
And did they have [inaudible...]
They named this man the dragon as a symbol. And his banner was a dragon as a symbol.
No, that . . . I think you better read and find out. Again, I don't know if I'm going to use it, but I don't want to put out too much.
So if you don't use it, after you finish the series, we come back to this question.
Well, I don't know, it is a combination of things. I gave this recently, so it is probably already on the net. How did I come up with the division of the One Power, the male and female half? I had seen a novel, there are a lot now, but this was the first I had seen like this. Young woman wants to be whatever it was, a magician, whatever, but she can't because she is a woman, and women aren't allowed to do that so she is going to struggle through it.
I thought it was interesting, one of the earlier novels of the feminist struggle, and all that. I put it back, because it didn't seem something I cared to read, but I thought about it because the thought that occurred to me is okay, that's real easy, women aren't allowed to do this, it is historically based or grounded at least, what if it was men who couldn't, now how would that be, as my wife points out to me, we have the upper body strength, and she is convinced all of the inequities in the world vis a vis gender, are subject to the fact that we have all the upper body strength, and I am sorry about that baby, I ain't giving it up. So, how could there be a situation where men were not allowed to do this, and it does not somehow get itself reversed over time, add into this I wanted a near gender equal world as I could, and how could I have a situation where women could maintain gender equality?
Okay, now I split men and women, have different sources of power and the male source of power is tainted. Okay, you've gotta stop men and at the same time, out of this beginning came the division of the One Power, the White Tower existing as the political center of power for three thousand years, false dragon, the destruction of the world by men, false dragons arising periodically to remind humanity exactly why men can't be allowed to channel and why the White Tower must remain the center of political power. A lot of stuff came out of that one notion.
During the era when I was trying to find my voice and find out what I was going to do as a writer, I felt that Robert Jordan had really captured the story of the hero's journey, the monomyth type epic fantasy, and done it about as well as it could be done. And so I started to look for things that I could add. This was very good for me to be doing, to be spending this time thinking about, not just retreading what had gone before, but really doing what some of the greats in the past had done.
One of the reasons I love the Wheel of Time is because I felt that when it came out, it best blended what was familiar about fantasy with a lot of new concepts. A lot of the books that were coming out were using the old familiar tropes: elves, even if they called them a different name, and dwarves, and even dragons, and these sorts of things. And then you came along to the Wheel of Time, which didn't use any of those things, or if it did, it twisted them completely on their head. No one knew what a dragon was, and a dragon was a person. And you know, the magic system having a logical approach to it rather than just being something that happened. And he really took the genre in a different direction. And I said, I have to do something like this. Not that I ever wanted to, or intend to, or think that I could be revolutionary in the genre in the way he was, but I wanted to add something. I wanted to take a step forward rather than taking the same steps that people had taken.
And so I began to ask myself what hadn't been done. And so you end up with me, Brandon, who...sometimes I look at myself as a postmodern fantasy writer. If you read the Mistborn trilogy, it's very much a postmodern fantasy epic. It's the fantasy epic for someone who's read all these great fantasy epics. And the story's kind of aware of all of those. It's the story of what happens if the dark lord wins? What happens if the prophecies are lies? What happens if all the things we assume about the standard fantasy epic all go horribly wrong?
I don't want to simply be someone. . . to be postmodern, you have to be a little bit deconstructionalist, which means you're relying on the very things that you're tearing apart. I think there's a level beyond that, which is actually adding something new, not just giving commentary on what's come before. But I do love the whole postmodern aspect. I love delving into that. It's something that I think can be unique to my generation because we've grown up reading all these epics, where the generation before us didn't.
For Rachel, the phoenix is the female symbol of power in Chinese cosmology as the dragon is of male power, so a phoenix wouldn't do for me. Although there is a phoenix among the symbols carved into my Chinese chair, which you may have seen in Faces of Fantasy and elsewhere.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON: (The books that are done.)
The Rithmatist (once named Scribbler): Summer 2013
Steelheart: Fall 2013 or spring 2014.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON: (Working on right now.)
Stormlight 2: Hopefully Fall 2013.
Shadows of Self (New Wax and Wayne): 2014
Alcatraz 5: I own the rights again now, and hope to write this book sometime in the near future.
Stormlight 3: Goal is to write this soon after Stormlight 2
Steelheart and Rithmatist Sequels: I will probably try to do one of each of these between Stormlight 2 and 3.
Elantris 2: I'd still love to do a sequel for 2015, the 10th anniversary of the book's release.
Warbreaker 2: Long ways off.
Dark One: Unlikely any time soon.
The King's Necromancer: Unlikely any time soon.
I Hate Dragons: Unlikely any time soon.
Death By Pizza: Turned out mediocre. Won't be released anytime soon.
The Silence Divine: Will be written someday.
White Sand: Will be written someday.
Mistborn modern trilogy: Will be written during the gap between Stormlight 5 and 6.
The Liar of Partinel Didn't turn out well. Scraped.
Dragonsteel: Won't be written until Stormlight is done.
Not a lot of changes from back then, except that Steelheart got finished and Rithmatist got a release date for certain.
He calls himself an old reptile.
Is he immortal?
Functionally, meaning he doesn't age but can be killed.
And it is a he and not a she?
It is a he.