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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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I can’t find anything to clarify this, either. I will just offer up anecdote: I have been reading WoT for 22 years, and went to work for its creator over 17 years ago. I could be said to live and breathe The Wheel of Time. But Terez has taught me much about WoT. It could be a TEOTWism, or Lan could have been thinking of some very specific things that Elyas shared that he found helpful.
I thought about asking how Elyas could teach Lan anything about the sword, too, but I figured the Blight bit was the most incredible. TEOTWism: this was stolen from the fandom for Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. The first book of that series is called Gardens of the Moon, and in that fandom, details that are particular to the first book—details that cause continuity issues later in the series—are referred to as GOTMisms.
If I can remember correctly, I asked, "When a Warder's bond is passed is the original bond still intact or is it broken?"
Not the best choice of words, I admit, but I was nervous. A problem that would repeat itself, unfortunately, the following day.
Lan and Rand's swords are loosely based on the katana, and another style of sword I had never heard of before (sooba? something like that anyway. SilverWarder might know) and that others were based on medieval European styles. He said that blademasters don't follow one particular historical style of fighting, but that different blademasters have different styles depending on their culture of origin.
At this point he went off on a little tangent about Miyamoto Musashi, a reknowned Japanese swordsman that developed a two-sword style of fighting that was revolutionary at the time. He related that Musashi developed his fighting style after fighting in the Philippines against fighters (Dutch? Portuguese? I didn't write their nationality down, but somebody here might know) that were using swords and dirks in a two-handed fighting style. In any case, I think his point was to demonstrate how fighting styles, like other knowledge, disseminates from culture to culture, but is changed and adapted into something unique in each locale.
Then she asked if Lan and Myrelle slept together.
(I thought it was duh, although it probably happened with tweaking the bond.)
To: Les Dabel, Ernst Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: Seruko and Canluum Guard revised sketches/ Page layouts 4, 5, 6
The layouts look good, and I look forward to seeing the inks. I do have some corrections for the script, though.
A correction for the wording on page 7, panel 1. It should read, "Lan floated in the ko'di, one with his sword." And in panel 2, it should read, "Lan danced the forms; time flowed like cool honey." Also, on page 12, panel 1, Merean should be saying, "She's undisciplined, Larelle, and too old, I'd say."
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: Swordsmen
First off, Ernst, let's go over the five (out of six) who were actually described.
1) "A lean heron of a fellow."
2) a "fat man."
3) a "ginger-haired young splinter."
4) a "bald man."
5) a "fork-bearded fellow with shoulders like a blacksmith's." He wore a "too-fine coat," i.e. one clearly above his station.
None of the six men is bare-chested. The are described as "six ordinary men with swords at their belts, like any man on any street in the city."
These guys look like extras from a Conan the Barbarian movie. Remember, Ernst, for these guys AND for the Kandori men, their clothing should reflect about 1690-1700 but with Japanese influences. They would not be carrying multiple swords, but rather one each.
Let's see what he can come up with on another try.
All my best, Jim
(reading) When did Lan (LAHN) first become...oh, Lan (rhymes with pan), sorry. I hear all these names at JordanCon, and half of them pronounce them one way, and half of them the other way, and I end up getting bad habits.
Yeah. I don’t care.
Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.
So is it Lahn or Lan?
Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.
As far as I know—someone could correct me—it’s Lan, but Lan was one of those ones that—I believe—some major source had wrong. I could be completely wrong on this. I know Tar Valon (Tar va-LAHN), one major source had wrong, meaning an audiobook reader, or an original typo in one of the glossaries, or something, which really itched at Jim as I understand because he really wanted it to be Tar va-LAHN and not Tar VA-lun. So...when did Lan first become a blademaster? Well...between New Spring and The Eye of the World.
Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...
Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...
Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.
Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.
Okay, the notes say that Lan became a blademaster before he turned 20, which would have been before New Spring. My thoughts on this are that Lan got his sword at an early age, and worked really hard with it, and was judged a blademaster by five blademasters sometime pretty early on. It's not mentioned specifically that I can find in New Spring, but it makes sense to me.
Um…Peruse and Find Out. [laughter]
If you look on the forums at Dragonmount, you can find a thread about the reading that Brandon did at DragonCon a couple weeks ago, and Brandon read us a portion of the prologue that was a Lan point of view.
Huh. I missed that.
There's a real possibility he has saddle sores about now. [laughter]
I would think so. I mean, he's been riding since World's End at Saldaea, so…I hope I said that right.
He got as far as Kandor in the passage that Brandon read us.
A pretty good distance.
It's actually kind of a circular tie-in with Lan having gone to Kandor in New Spring.
Mmhmm. He's come full circle since New Spring.
In Nynaeve's Accepted test, Lan tells her that Malkier is a joint monarchy, which he says is a Borderland custom. Later we find out that Kandor is not a joint monarchy, but Saldaea is. Is Nynaeve queen of Malkier now that Lan has finally declared himself king?
Lan does not consider himself King, because he has no kingdom. The answer to that is, depends on your perspective. He has agreed to lead the Malkier—he has not agreed to be king. It's different. See how Aes Sedai I answered that? (laughter)
Try telling Nynaeve she's not a queen. (laughter)
I won't forget Nynaeve yet, but I don't think she's fully realized what she's getting into yet, with him.
I guess Lan says it best (last scene in Towers of Midnight): "I am al'Lan Mandragoran," Lan bellowed. "Lord of the Seven Towers, Defender of the Wall of First Fires, Bearer of the Sword of the Thousand Lakes! I was once named Aan'allein, but I reject that title, for I am alone no more. Fear me, Shadow! Fear me and know. I have returned for what is mine. I may be a king without a land. But I am still a king!"
When Lan tracked down Myrelle in Lord of Chaos, she used the bond to Compel him to come to her, in such a way that he wouldn't detect it. Did she have to use the bond to seduce Lan, or did he just go along because he didn't have anything better to do?
(laughter) I'd have to look that one up. I don't know. I'd have to look it up. I don't have the answer to that one. We'll call that one a MAFO though. I'm actually curious myself (laughter).
The question poses a false dichotomous argument: was Lan "seduced" by the bond or did he have nothing better to do? [Terez: it was a joke.] Suffice to say that Lan was psychologically devastated at this point—not in his right mind, his will to live shattered. Myrelle took control of him to save his life; he really had no choice in the matter. And here’s a quote from the notes for you: “She had to use the bond to compel [notice lower case here] him, sometimes, which she found both odd and somewhat insulting.” But one has to put this in the context of her other Warders, who eagerly complied with her desires, carnal or otherwise.
Brandon tried to get moments for every character in A Memory of Light. Egwene is ready to be bad ass in the Last Battle; her character development is done.
Perth Exclusive for #WoT counted scenes by viewpoint. Rand has the most viewpoints in A Memory of Light, not a huge margin. Others tied.
Caveat, still revising A Memory of Light, so that can change.
It's not much but Brandon S just told me that Lan has the most POVs in A Memory of Light, only just ahead of Rand. But that could change with editing.
I thought he said Rand ahead of the other main characters?
That doesn't even make sense. :s Sure, Lan is vital, but it's hard to see how the story could focus on him that much.
Confirmed it was Rand with the highest number of POV scenes in A Memory of Light (at the moment).
Perrin forging his hammer is probably my favorite that I worked on extensively. My favorite that Jim worked on extensively would be Verin's last scene. Rand atop Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm is a pretty big one for me. In the last book, my favorite would have to be Lan's charge right at the end, which is a scene that I worked out years ago, that I pointed a lot of things toward, and specifically in this book built a lot of things around. For a fun scene, getting Mat on the back of a raken was a pure joy for me to be able to do.
What other scenes really stand out to me? Robert Jordan's last scene, which I've mentioned before, is a great one because it's become the focus, for me, for the entire sequence that I have written. From the beginning, that was the ending that I was working toward. So I was very excited to be able to actually get there.
That's just a few scenes; there are a lot of them in this book and the series.
Brandon Sanderson on writing Robert Jordan's characters:
"I'm going to bring my own interpretation as a longtime fan of the characters, and in most cases they're spot-on with what most people think—there haven't been many complaints about my Perrin, for instance. In some cases there are complaints and they're right. My early Mat was off, and I acknowledged this, I looked at what the people were saying. In other cases, such as Lan, they're wrong. [Laughs] What can I say? I'm a fan too, and we will have these arguments about whether this character would do this or that character would do that, and you'll find that in any community. On the other hand I do get complaints and the complaints are legit. I'm not Robert Jordan, and I can't do some of the things he could simply because I don't have his life experience and in many ways I'm not as good a writer as he was. . . And if that really bothers you, then hopefully we can get the original notes released . . . so that those for whom my interpretation was not good, or my failings ruined the experience for them, they can at least look at what Robert Jordan had and imagine their own story."
When Gawyn and Galad were defeated so handily by Demandred, I was thinking it was a throwaway of two characters. Then Lan rolls in and it put everything in perspective to show how good he was. Was that the purpose?
That was part of the purpose. It was a war, and someone needed to take out Demandred. Gawyn's arc is tragic, and the end of the arc is what we all know he shouldn't do, by going out by himself.
How come Lan couldn’t tell that Moiraine was alive, and with the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn? Because he felt the severing of the bond?
He did not have the bond any more. Since the bond was severed, he couldn't feel her any more.
But why would the bond be severed, she was still alive?
RJ says it is because she went to another dimension, and when that slice happened, it cut the bond. The bond couldn't function across the dimension there without some sort of connection there, without some sort of opening portal or something like that.
Dalinar and Lan, who wins in a swordfight? Both full Shardbearers.
Both full Shardbearers. Lan probably wins, I would guess. Lan is more pure swordsman than Dalinar. Dalinar spent a lot of time on things like battlefield tactics.
If you're still hanging around, there's something that's been nagging at me since I read A Memory of Light.
Lan. Why is it that Lan ended up surviving? Was this your decision, or RJ/Harriet's? Lan has pretty clearly been building towards dying to the Shadow the entire series. Was it just too obvious of a move? That being said, it was one of my happiest moments when he stood back up. Kinda nice to see Lan stay an unstoppable juggernaut.
Lan's survival was mandated by RJ. It was something we could have changed, in that he didn't say directly "don't kill him", but some of his notes talk of what happens after the Last Battle, and those involve Lan. It is clear to me that he wanted Lan to live. I took comments like this as mandates unless there were very good reasons to do otherwise.
Note that I have not weighed in on whether Lan died or not. The position some fans have theorized (that he died, and Rand changed the Pattern) is defensible. Some asked me about it on tour. I haven't said whether it is the case or not.
And, because I have more leeway with such things now, here are some nice quotes for you directly from RJ's notes regarding what happens to Lan and the Borderlands following the Last Battle.
"Malkier might have a lot of uniting to do with the western end of the Borderlands under Lan, who will find himself made king out there . . ."
"The Blight recedes to some extent, I'm not sure how far, it recedes a good bit, though. And they can reclaim some, I'm not sure they can reclaim all of Malkier at this point, but the Blight has visibly retreated so they can go down there and check on the towers on the Blight Border. And they are miles inside the Borderland now, instead of being right on the Border, towers sitting right on the edge of the Blight. They're not on the Blight anymore."
So, talk that the Blight is completely gone isn't true, though it does retreat. (And there are other pockets of land in the north where it is not present.)
Thanks! I would love to say that I responded like a normal 20-year old would and was mildly happy about getting this extra information. However, instead, I squealed in glee. So thank you for bringing me squeal amounts of joy, Mr. Sanderson.
Also, there is an even greater oddity: travelers, a man and a woman. She goes veiled, and is dressed more richly (though not ornately) than anyone remembers seeing in Emond's Field before. He wears scale armor and carries a pair of swords (one long and one short), plus a third, longest of all, tied to his saddle. They arrive on the day of the beginning, causing great wonder, for the road from Emond's Field south leads only to Parry Coomb. They give no reason for their arrival, nor do they say how long they will stay. The woman's name is Moiraine, and the man is called Lan.
Nyneve is suspicious of them, but they offer to pay in gold, and that is reason enough in Owyn al'Vere's mind to allow them to stay. It is not that he is greedy, but few people come to rent rooms at the tavern. He sees no harm in them. He is a friendly man, always ready to see the best in anyone and often able to bring it out, even from those others thought had no good qualities at all. This is one of the reasons he was chosen Mayor.