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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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Elaida wasn't a Sitter when she led the arrest of Siuan, but she had organized it, managed to arrange for a rump Hall of the Tower to vote on deposing Siuan and raising her in Siuan's place. By the time Siuan was arrested, Elaida was the "legal" Amrylin Seat, so of course she was leading the Sitters.
As for her change of heart of the Black Ajah, she bounces on whether or not she believes in their existence. When she has convinced herself that they do exist, she is vehement on the subject, but uneasy over Darkfriend sisters, and so manages to convince herself that she was mistaken, whereupon she becomes vehement about their non-existence. But then she becomes uneasy over the possibility that they do exist after all and convinces herself that they really do after all, whereupon.... I have even had a character in the White Tower comment that sometimes Elaida doesn't seem to know from one day to the next whether or not she believes in the Black Ajah.
CORRECTION: Answering these questions, I have always taken the assumption that I knew the books well enough that I did not need to refer to my notes. My answer for the Week 20 Question showed that I was mistaken. I said that Elaida was never a Sitter, but no sooner was that answer posted than my assistant Maria, who also is a fan, came to me with the relevant passage where Elaida is mentioned as a Sitter. I went to my notes, and after a lot of checking, I found the following in a file working out exactly how some points were to be structured and making sure that I had all the details covered. Somehow, I had never incorporated it into the base notes, perhaps because it seemed such a small matter, Elaida having been a Sitter for such a short time and then only as prelude to replacing Siuan and Amyrlin.
ďReturning to the White Tower, Elaida quickly became convinced that Siuan and Moiraine were engaged in a scheme that involved Rand alíThor. Indeed, she had suspicions of this before departing Caemlyn for Tar Valon. Moiraineís presence in Tar Valon had not escaped her, nor that Moiraine had been seen with Rand. If, as seemed the more likely, he was simply a man who could channel who Siuan and Moiraine intended to make use of as a false Dragon, then it was a scheme that was extremely dangerous to the Tower. Revelation of such involvement could easily shatter the Towerís prestige, and with it the influence that was the primary cornerstone of the Towerís influence in the world. And if he was indeed the Dragon Reborn, Elaida certainly had no confidence in Siuanís ability to handle the him, as surely the Dragon Reborn would need to be handled, guided and directed, not to mention controlled. Helped by her long-standing personal animosity toward Siuan and Moiraine, Elaida came to the conclusion that Siuan must be removed for the good of the Tower. This was not something that could be accomplished by an ordinary sister, however the stepping down of a Red Sitter (Amira Moselle) gave her an opening, and she managed to get herself chosen as Amiraís replacement in the Hall of the Tower.
In large part this was because of Galina Casbanís support as head of the Red Ajah, Galina having her own reasons to take any chance to pull Siuan down and, of course, favoring anything that would give the Amyrlin Seat to the Red Ajah again after so long. Galina made no attempt to attain the Amyrlin Seat herself because she knew she had little or no chance of being raised. Elaida, who had been so long away from Tar Valon and thus remained out of the political currents of the Tower, not to mention the favorable mention she had received for her guidance of Queen Morgase and Andor, was another matter.
Once Elaida had a chair in the Hall, it was a relatively simple matter to identify the Sitters who seemed most likely to stand for deposing Siuan, since a number of Sitters were uneasy at best about what Siuan was up to. Her support in the Hall had eroded sufficiently by The Great Hunt that she had opposition to her journey to Shienar. As a Sitter, Elaida was able to call a sitting of the Hall while making sure that only the Sitters she wanted to attend actually received notification. Elaida is a forceful and effective speaker, and her arguments to this bare quorum in favor of deposing Siuan were also her campaign for being raised to the Amyrlin Seat herself, so the vote to depose Siuan was followed immediately by the vote to make Elaida the new Amyrlin. She did not expect the violent reaction that would come from this. She had not had access to the secret histories for very long at this point, so her view was that of most sisters. The Tower had always acceded to the will of the Hall however sisters might grumble. Like many others, she was blind-sided by what she thought she knew.Ē
So there it is. I offer my apologies for giving an erroneous answer. From now on, Iíll be sure to check my notes.
I canít 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 bookódetails that cause continuity issues later in the seriesóare referred to as GOTMisms.
I really donít think so, for either, but I cannot find it specifically stated.
Thatís a MAFO. Type that one out. Thatís a MAFO.
No. What is now the second oath (To make no weapon with which one man may kill another) was the first one that the Aes Sedai adopted. ďIt grew from an impulse within the Aes Sedai themselves coming from tales passed down regarding the War of the Shadow. The other two oaths certainly grew out of the suspicion of ordinary people towards these Aes Sedai.Ē (Thatís a quote from the notes, btw). Sometimes things happen without an agent of the Dark Oneís involvement, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
M.A.F.OóMaria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the Power and things like that. He has probably told you before, I think Iíve seen a copy of that on notes and things. He did leave scales on exactly how powerful each person is...
RAFO. Sorry, but we are doing an encyclopedia, and I have to reserve some things in case we want to put them in there.
About Gawyn's duel with Sleete, and the usage of real swords, she said she would have to look into that, since I had believed that normally practice swords are used. She said that perhaps sometimes they have to use real swords to keep their edge, so to speak, but will look into that.
With novice swordsmen, the practice sword is very good because they can swing away with abandon and be swung at and at worse get a bruise. But there comes a time when a person must practice with a real sword, and not just shadow fencing. How does a sword feel when it hits another sword? How quickly can you come back from that? Practice with the weapon you are going to use in real combat is necessary. This is especially true if you are with an army in the field; youíre not playing at keeping in shape, youíre trying to make sure that you are at your absolute top form to keep from being killed when you come up against someone else with a pointy blade. These Warders are very, very good; they trust themselves to fight with real swords without damaging each other.
So, often they practiced with practice swords, but sometimes they practiced with real swords. There is a type of practice with real swords in the books. We see it in New Spring: the Novel, where Bukama ďtook the other two a little distance away with talk of some game called ďsevens.Ē A strange game it seemed to be, and more than dangerous in the failing daylight. Lan and Ryne sat cross-legged facing one another, their swords sheathed, then without warning drew, each blade flashing toward the other manís throat, stopping just short of flesh. The older man pointed to Ryne, they sheathed swords, and then did it again. For as long as she watched, that was how it went. Perhaps Ryne had not been so over-confident as he seemed.Ē
Itís not the same as when Gawyn faced Sleete and Marlesh, but it is experienced swordsmen practicing with real swords.
Ok...which brings up the following questions about the Wheel and its relationship to souls, Talents, abilities and channeling. Is the Wheel responsible for giving or weaving in Talents and abilities to a particular life, or are they like channeling, attached to the soul?
Thatís an excellent question. Iím going to have to RAFO that...itís actually more of a MAFO. What you're asking is would someone who is reborn into the Pattern have the same Talents again?
Right. Or does...the Wheel, we obviously know it is very capable of affecting the Pattern, so the question is does it give and take when it comes to abilities and talents it needs?
Yeah, right, I will have to MAFO that.
Ok, so can the Wheel give an individual life the ability to channel, if the soul does not come to that life with an inborn ability to learn or a spark? Can the Wheel give them that?
Again, I will have to MAFO this whole thing. I will have to go and look. I donít know if someone is necessarily always born with the ability to channel, if they are in every Age...
...there is a quote I brought that we asked at DragonCon, Jordan said: ďI don't think I have said if you are born with the spark you would have the have the spark again. I have said if you were born with the ability to channel, to learn or with the spark, you will, when your soul is born again, you will have the ability again, whether with the spark or without...Ē So, in essence he said itís inherent you have the ability. Whether or not you spark or you can learn it that depends on the life.
My instinct knowing how Jim wrote and knowing the parallels in the notes would be that he would parallel the other Talents along the same lines. A Wolfbrother then would always have the ability to become a Wolfbrother and other things along those lines. Iím going off of instinct so that is an asterisked answer. I can MAFO that and look it up and we can see what we can find, but he did like to parallel a lot of these things...
...ok, so at the end of that answer he said this...we were asking a specific question about stilling and burning out...he said, ďAnd neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetimeĒ. In other words...
...that is consistent...
...it doesnít affect your souls ability, your soulís connection. So stilling and burning out do not affect the ability to channel, which seems to be integral to the soul as it pertains to a new life. That being said, Aran'gar and Osan'gar, they were transmigrated and we see that they can channel in their new bodies, which makes sense because the ability comes with the soul...
...and because of that if you were male before and reborn (in a female body)...you are channeling the wrong power...
...exactly...he was transmigrated into a different body, but still channeling the same power the soul inherits. So considering Jordan's statement about stilling and burning out not affecting the channeling ability of the new life of a soul, is the same for the new life of a soul transmigrated?
Iím going to say that transmigrated...if you were burned out and transmigrated you would still be burned out, is my guess.
Is that a MAFO question? Or...
...that is my guess and you can MAFO it if you want to send it to me, but that is a ďIím pretty sureĒ answer.
Yes, you would. Jim said that ďneither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime.Ē (DragonCon), but transmigration is not really a different lifetime; more than just the soul moves. The new person (Iím at a loss for words here) also has the memories of the previous person, and its personality, and such. So Brandon is correct.
Jim says of Talents: ďA Talent is a special ability with the One Power. While the name is used for other things, a Talent is, in truth, something which is inborn in the person and not something that can be learned.Ē And there is mention of the Wheel throwing out what it needs on occasion, and thereís the phrase, ďThe Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.Ē The Wheel can give and take as it needs.
I believe that the potential for a Talent is there, but it doesn't necessarily manifest each time a soul is born. If the Wheel needs the Talent, the Talent is there. But if the Wheel doesn't need it, it lies dormant.
That was our First MAFO (Maria And Find Out).
He also said that Egwene is a powerful Dreamer and it seems unlikely that she didn't squeeze her for the information.
This one is basic enough that I feel pretty confident that Egwene would have certainly asked Moghedien about Tel'aran'rhiod. Egwene threatened to execute Moghedien if she lied; I would think that with the knowledge that Egwene gained from the Aiel Wise Ones she might use that as the occasional test, and see where it went. I think that Egwene asked Moghedien about pretty much anything that popped in her head.
Maria claims the right to amend this later.
The Gathering Storm begins sometime in April. It ends around the end of June/beginning of July. However, Perrin advanced very littleóonly about two weeks. Mat advanced a bit more, but was still about a month behind Rand and Egwene (this gets an asterisk as a MAFO), but Mat traveled to Caemlyn about 30 days before the end of the bookóhe emphasized 30 days and asked if I understood the significance of thatóI said that I do. (Interpretation: Mat will open Verinís letter very early in Towers of Midnight).
Tuon's timeline jumps around the most. In Knife of Dreams, she ended about a month ahead of everyone else. There were probably (MAFO) about two weeks between her meeting with Rand and the launch of the attack on the White Tower.
That sounds about right to me.
Haven't heard yet from Maria on this one, so it is still a MAFO (Maria and find out).
No, Sammael was not paged. Sammael had sent Carridin to Ebou Dar to find the cache of Power goodies. The notes say that Sammael became aware that there were other parties engaged in the same search, and decided that he had to light a fire under Carridin. Also note Sammaelís reaction to the news that Mat is in Ebou DaróďĎHere?Ē Oddly, for a moment, Sammael seemed taken abackĒ. It seems to accentuate that Sammael is surprised; if he had been paged, it seems that his answer would have been different.
I got a lovely smile from Harriet that told me she was pleased that someone had finally figured that out, and she said that she believes I am exactly right about that. She was a little sketchy on the details, though, and so was Brandon, so Brandon said it was essentially a MAFO. So I talked to Maria after that session, and she was taking a break so I didn't want to ask her about it just then, so I asked her if I could message her about it, and the other MAFO we got today, and she said yes, so I will hopefully be hearing more about that soon. Brandon asked me not to put that one in the interview database until I hear from Maria about it.
Oops. I really have been terribly slow with these. I canít find anything that says yea or nay on this one.
I think that Brandon got the impression Harriet was leaping on it too quick, and that's quite possible; I might have read too much into it.
Can a Dreamer access Tel'aran'rhiod if trapped by the 'Finns?
Tough question LOL, MAFO.
I donít know. I donít think so, but I canít back that up.
The next time we see him he is in Tar Valon, it is true, but that doesn't mean he didn't stop by Caemlyn on the way. He could have gone to Caemlyn before Tar Valon, although the timing would be rather tight, I think. There are other possibilities: he intended to go to Caemlyn, somehow learned Rahvin was there, and decided to skip that for the time being. Or he intended to go to Caemlyn, but his baser instincts prevailed and he decided to get his dagger first. I can't find a solid answer.
MAFO. Brandon replied that it may be due to all the problems caused by Ituralde's raids, and possibly the issue with Galad's desertion as well.
Their plan was to push east quickly through Illian and eventually sweep north into Andor and beyond. Ghealdan was not a military threat to them for the time being, and it would fall easily to them once they had consolidated control of the southeast. There are only so many fronts on which an army wishes, or should wish, to fight simultaneously, even an army of great strength. History is littered with the corpses of generals who made that mistake.
1. How many of the Heroes of the Horn are currently "in the flesh"?
2. How did the Eye of the World's location move about?
Oh, wow. You're going to make me dig into the notes, aren't you?
Why don't I MAFO those? Send me an email and I'll dig through to get your answers, or will have Maria do it.
1. Oh, the passage of time. If I had answered these back when I should have, I would have RAFOed. But now that A Memory of Light is out, at least I will say that there are fewer than there were. I donít have hard numbers on all the heroes.
2. I donít know.
I believe, but am not taking the time to look it up, she used means more mundane than you're probably expecting.
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 hereís a quote from the notes for you: ďShe had to use the bond to compel [notice lower case here] him, sometimes, which she found both odd and somewhat insulting.Ē But one has to put this in the context of her other Warders, who eagerly complied with her desires, carnal or otherwise.
*blinks at me* Umm. That's a really good question.
I ask, because it's odd that Moghedien never tried to use the dream to escape, or to capture someone in Salidar and compel her to free Moghedien in the waking world, or anything like that.
Yeah, that's a good question. I'd guess no, but you can MAFO that.
I believe that you cannot touch Tel'aran'rhiod while leashed, but I can't find anything in the notes that states so outright.
Iím fairly sure he was lying. As in, Iíve seen something in the notes at one point, and Iím pretty sure it was... but my memory being what it is, I will say you can MAFO that. But Iím pretty sure he was lying.
Sammael was lying in an attempt to manipulate Graendal.
I thought that had already been answered. Did Jim not answer this?
No. Everyone thought it referred to Carlinya being daícovale to the Empress. But no, it hasnít been answered.
Oh. Oh, okay. Well, I will RAFO/MAFO it. You can email Maria and me about it, but I may have to RAFO it.
The raven is a symbol of the Dark One as well as the Seanchan; Carlinya was killed fighting the Black Ajah.
That sounds like a question for Maria, I'm afraid. I don't have the notes handy to look into the discrepancy.
Email is probably best, or grabbing her at JordanCon. (Or sending the question with someone you know who is attending.)
Actually, the easiest way is probably to drop me an email through my website and let me forward it on to her.
Hello. My name is Brigitte Reed; I'm from Kearns, Utah, and I just wanted to say that I started reading the series when I was thirteen, and I was in the 8th grade, and so I've been reading it over...about fourteen years, and it's the best series I've ever read, and I'm so thankful to you, Harriet, for being willing to give it over to Brandon so that he could finish it for us.
And I actually have a question for Maria, and this is a question that I asked Brandon in November that he didn't know the answer to. [laughter] So he told me to email him, and he would email you. But I wanted to know if the women in Randland shaved. [laughter]
I thought I had answered this one somewhere along the line. Um...not really. [laughter] This is...I went digging around in the notes, and...basically, in the...the razors the men shave with are just not really good for shaving legs...so, it would be dangerous. Also, we see how they brush their teeth in the Wheel of Time, and we see men shaving, and a lot of things. And I think if they did, at some point Jim would have had a woman with her leg outstretched, shaving.... [laughter] You know? So, I am reasonably certain they did not.
Thank you very much.
But I think, in the thousands of years since the Breaking, there's been a certain amount of blessed evolution, so that women no longer have hair on their legs. [applause, cheers]
That was my other thought. [laughter]
I think Maria and Harriet are planning to put these in the encyclopedia, but you are right on the third question.
What did Moiraine ask Aelfinn/Eelfinn?
Ooh, good question. And one I don't have the answer to that handy, but we can MAFO that and ask Maria.
Everything I know about Aelfinn/Eelfinn questions/wishes will be in the encyclopedia.
I'm going to MAFO this one, since I honestly can't remember. I did get an answer from Maria as I was writing the books, though.
I'm going to plead the encyclopedia on this one.
Was Luc a Darkfriend when he went to the Blight?
I'm going to have to MAFO this one, because this is one that I can never remember, and I've had to ask Maria like three times—the whole Luc thing—because I had it spelled out for me several times, but since Jim did a lot of the Luc scenes, I didn't need to remember it, if that makes sense. So go ahead and ask Maria. She's...there's a lot of stuff on that in there—and hopefully that'll end up in the encyclopedia—but there's a lot of cool stuff on Luc and Isam in the notes. It's one of the areas that isn't as sparse. But I can't remember. I want to say no, that neither of them were, but I can't remember when it happened, you know...
Well, I mean...Isam was a baby, you know?
Yeah, uh-huh. Yeah, and so....
So...I mean obviously he wasn't a Darkfriend when he went to the Blight...
Right, but he grew up on the streets....
Right, he grew up under that influence, right?
Yeah, it's like he was...always...or was he? And when did they...when they...I want to say that Luc wasn't, but you'll have to ask Maria.
Um, was there any connection between Mat's luck and the dagger?
Um, not that I know of. Good question, but we can MAFO that one, but you can give the, "not that I know of". I'm still kind of...you know, the Mat's luck being beyond him being ta'veren, is one that's very interesting to me, because everything that I know says that his luck does extend beyond his ta'verenness, but...
Well, it's like his whole plotline seems kinda designed as like this revenge story for Manetheren against Aridhol, you know?
Yeah, uh-huh. Yep.
And, you know, he starts speaking the Old Tongue right before they go into Shadar Logoth; that's the first time he speaks it...
...you know, and then as soon as he wakes up from the Healing, he's got memories, he's got this luck, you know?
About—if you can estimate—how many Aiel were in the Town?
Oh, boy. I think there is an estimate in the notes.
Yes, so ask Maria, and if I say it, I will get it wrong because Jim has an estimate of how many Sightblinders were going to be in the Last Battle.
And that would include, you know, ones born there and ones captured, and...yeah.
Why didn't the bond protect Bryne's dreams?
Why didn't the bond protect Bryne's dreams!
The Warder Bond...
Yes! Um....(pauses to think)
Is it an active thing?
Is it an active thing, like...she has to....Moiraine kind of phrased it like it wasn't...
Yeah. No, no no.
...like, because of the bond, he's protected.
Yeah. (long pause) Why don't I MAFO this one so I don't say it wrong, because I had to go to Maria on this one.
Right. Yeah, okay.
...if that makes sense. And so, I will tell you wrong. I will MAFO it, because it's one I had to talk to her about. So we'll go back to the source of me being...or me working these things out in the first place.
From Freelancer again. Moiraine promised Thom to tell the names of the Red Aes Sedai (who gentled) Owyn. Does she ever do that?
Yes. It's not onscreen but it does happen.
And is there anybody in that list that we would be interested in?
I actually asked that question to Maria, and Maria said no.
Really what I said is, "Do we want to do this, is this relevant?" She said, "No I don't think this is relevant, and it's not worth jumping through hoops."
Because there is nothing there that's going to, yeah.
That was what came of it. Now whether that actually means, is there any name you'd recognize, you might recognize a name, but it wasn't relevant enough to jump through storytelling hoops to get that on screen, to bother with it.
Can Cadsuaneís Aes Sedai, Merise, Corele, and Beldeine, use the bond to compel their Ashaíman?
Wow. Oh boy. Iím going to have such trouble with her questions. I have trouble with her questions when Iím steeped in the Wheel of Time lore and working on the notes every day, and now that I havenít even looked at them in like ten months...
Tell her to ask Maria?
But thatís one I should know, is the thing. Itís not a hard question. Itís just one where Iím... I donít think they can. But, you should really ask Maria. But I donít think they can. I should know that one, you can tell her I should know that one, but I donít think they can. I knew it at one point.
Does Nicolaís Foretelling represent a single moment in time?
Which one is she talking about?
Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade
MAFO. Iím gonna MAFO that one. I think I know that one, but I donít think I want to touch it.