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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I must say that I'm not surprised that most of your predictions didn't come out. I try to avoid doing what people expect. And I avoid answering questions, at least about what is happening in the books. If I answer some, people can begin to figure out some important things that I mean to hide simply by which I answer and which I don't. Whether you decide to go with publishing or illustration for a career—or both—good luck. Again, thanks for your letter.
Jordan answered any spoilers about the story pretty much as follows. First question where this occurred is below:
What about Jain Farstrider? Will we see him again?
"If, by the end of the last page of the last book you haven't read any more about him, then I guess there was nothing more to say."
He mentioned that he isn't going to offer any windows into the story other than the text. If it's not readily apparent, then he isn't going to illuminate it further. Thus no mind-shattering revelations about the plot here!
6. I'll give 10,000 Maniacs a try, if I can find a CD or tape in my copious free time, and also Ms. Merchant solo. As for Scott, I'll bet he doesn't!
7. There are answers/replies or partial answers/replies to most of your questions in what is already published, through Lord of Chaos. For the rest.... You know the answer. All together, now...
Yes, my wife was the one who had heart surgery. Not a heart attack, though. She is perfectly recovered.
With best wishes,
Some of the "Read-and-find-out-answers" are partly due to that there are things that might happen, not decided yet, in future books. He also saw it as a way to diminish the reader's reading experience due to narrowing his view of the future works. And he was vastly amused by our looney theories, especially the Bela Darkfriend one. Unfortunately, I missed telling him of the Demandred being Olver theory.
At this point Robert Jordan went into Waldenbooks and was about to sit down, but came back out again and said, "A lot of people ask when will the next book be released. I promise on my mother's grave the next book will be on the shelves in stores." At this point some punk kid walking by screamed, "YEAH! I DON'T EVEN READ YOUR DAMN BOOKS! YEAH!" So I could not hear the conclusion to Jordan's statement. But one of the employees walked over from where Jordan was standing towards my end of the line, so I called her over and asked her what the last part was. She said he finished by saying "when I have finished writing it."
Once again Jordan left to go sign books, but came back out soon after saying that it was okay to take pictures of him, to have your picture taken with him, but under one rule, men can't take their clothes off. After this he really did begin the signing.
It took me about 30 minutes to get near to where Jordan was signing (the line moved really fast). I saw two people get their books signed before me. The first young man made a rude comment to Jordan as he walked off, saying, "See you in two years at the next book signing, if the book is out by then." But Jordan took it in stride and without comment turned his attention to the next person who asked him a question in a whisper, and he received a RAFO. The man seemed upset and asked, "What does that mean?" to which Jordan calmly answered, "It means I don't want to give away too much of the story." I handed my two books to his assistant, who got them ready to sign. I was a bit nervous, since the last two guys had been rather curt with Jordan, I wasn't sure if his mood would have soured. But he wasn't, in fact one of the things that impressed me the most, was that he was still in a jovial mood. I ended up asking two questions, but they are not story related, but his answers are interesting anyway.
I should clarify this. RJ said that many misinterpret RAFO. When he says RAFO, all he is saying is that the information might already be in the book and you need to read more carefully, or that it might be something he wants to use at a future point and doesn't want to give away at this point in time. It does not mean that it will show up later for certain. People are making assumptions and guesses and adding things to what RAFO actually means.
I’m 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 couldn’t 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 don’t 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?
Something I don't believe that Brandon has previously said as clearly as he did to us today, or else has not been reported. Harriet made it clear to him that Robert Jordan greatly enjoyed the discussions which came up out of the books, that it was one of his great joys to know how much thought was inspired by his work. Because of this, quite a number of the times when Brandon answers a question with RAFO, it might not turn out to be something that will be written into the story, but giving an answer which would end theorizing and discussion wasn't something he wanted to do (yet). He really does wish to answer questions which won't spoil the future text of the story, but he also wants to honor this thinking of Jordan's.
So some questions will have a RAFO next to them, but with a + to indicate it might not really be a Read And Find Out situation.
The back of the card reads: "Be Proud. You have earned an official R. A. F. O. (Read And Find Out) card! You received this for asking the right question at the wrong time. It might mean the answer spoils too much; it might mean that the answer would make people focus on the wrong things; or it might just be intended to keep you guessing. Regardless, it has been a pleasure to not answer you."
Yes, yes, and I will say that the answer to the coming question is Read And Find Out. I like that answer. My wife once asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I told her 'Read And Find Out'. Three days before I had the nerve to go home.
Well the question was: but will you really write down concrete evidence to all the mysteries from your books, or will you just add a last bunch of hints in the next few books and 'call it a day'?
Read And Find Out.
Some things will be concrete evidence, some things will be hints and clues. I do not want to tell you what’s coming. If I would tell you everything what's coming, you'll start saying: "Oh gee, I knew that. I knew that. Yeah he's getting awfully boring. I'm gonna go and read Terry Goodkind..."
Read and find out.
Okay, fine, be that way.
No, that's all right. It's one of the most frequently asked questions. RAFO (read and find out) is also the one of my most frequently given answer to things. Once Harriet asked me what I wanted for dinner and I told her to read and find out.
Will we ever find out whose voice it was at the end of The Eye of the World?
[pause] [in a sing-song voice] RAFO! (ray-foe)
Yeah, that's a RAFO. (raffo)
I figured, but I had to ask.
I wondered how long it would take.
Maria and I have spent some time trying to figure out different ways to say 'read and find out', so we're going to be trying out some of them today, and we'll see how it goes.
Oh, this will be fun. Let me see if I can get you another trial run here. Um...Asmodean? [laughter]
Yeah. Who's that guy?
He's toast, that's who he is.
No, Sammael's toast.
Yeah, I was going to say.
Well, I think he is too.
Um, if anybody sees the back of my car, they will see that I killed Asmodean. That's all I'm gonna say. [laughter]
I thought it was Bela!
I do like the 'Bela killed him' theory. That one is just insane enough to be true.
I like that Bela is the Neigh'blis. [laughter]
Terrible puns are always a good thing.
I love it.
And the master of the terrible pun is on this call.
In Jim's office.
Well feel free. [laugher]
I am, I am.
Pun away. Well, we've got two...you pronounce it 'raffo', right? Not 'rayfo'?
I say 'rayfo'. I don't know that there's a real pronunciation for that one.
She says 'raffo', I say 'rayfo', so let's call the whole thing off.
Yeah, well we got two right off the bat. I don't know what else we're going to....well, probably everything.
How 'bout those Yankees? [laughter]
Alright, well there are...I believe there are four. Is that right, Maria?
Yeah, four. Uh-huh.
Four. Alright, so what else do you want to know?
Wow. When are we going to find out about the quadruplets? I mean, we presume that they're working on the generation of them at some point here, but they're running out of time before the Last Battle. I mean, are these going to be born post-Tarmon Gai'don, or pre-Tarmon Gai'don, or are we just going to have to read and find out?
They are running out of time.
And Aviendha's somewhere in the Waste, or on her way to the Waste.
Well now she is, but she was with Rand for quite a while, so...
[something about Min]
Yeah, but she didn't have her honor, remember?
I know, but that doesn't mean that she couldn't have hooked up, uh...you know, I don't know.
No, Aviendha [something]
[interrupts] That's what I'm wondering; that's what I'm wondering. Have they even started yet? If they're not started yet, I don't see how they could be born before Tarmon Gai'don, unless that's the odd thing, that she does a Star Trek sort of plot and has, you know, fully-grown...
[something about MTV?]
I'm just gonna say, read and find out.
*sigh* Well you know we will.
When you tell somebody that, does anyone ever just go, "Well that's it; I'm done. I've had it! Never reading the Wheel of Time again!" No, no…they all come back and read.
I tried that once. I put the book down for a sum total of about two days, and I'm like, "To hell with it; I gotta keep going!"
It is a very oddly addicting series.
I'm Stefan from American Fork, locally, and I had a really good question, but I looked it up on the internet before I came, and it was answered both on Dragonmount and Theoryland. [laughter] And so I had to come up with something else.
So, we have seen the hierarchies explained in a lot of the different orders in Randland, like—you know, the Wise Ones, it's kind of force of will, right? Like, Aes Sedai, they kinda defer based on the strength of Power, that kind of thing. Have we seen that in the Black Tower, and is that what's going on with how the men treat Androl?
The Black Tower is still unformed. They've begun...you've gotta remember—like you mentioned the Wise Ones; you mentioned the White Tower—these are institutions that have been going for a long, long time, and they've had plenty of time to build their hierarchies organically. The Black Tower has not had that chance yet, and I think that if you were to watch the Black Tower for the next thousand years, assuming it survives—assuming it survives even this book [laughter]—you would see them come up with their own method of stratification, and it might be similar to one of the others; it might be different, and you'll just have to read and figure out on your own what you think would happen.
Read And Figure Out.
Yes, Read And Figure Out. [laughter] Because you're trying to compare, in a lot of ways, apples and oranges, because something that's had a thousand years to grow is going to be—you know, it's going to have some of that rigidity that something brand-new doesn't have.
Okay, thank you.
I have been advised to RAFO questions regarding most everything from there on.
It's funny to say RAFO when there is no more to read, but what that term means is "This is supposed to be ambiguous."
With all of the homages to global myths/legends, is Nakomi the Wandering Jew/Jenn?
That's a very clever question that nobody has yet asked me. I'm not going to say more, however.
I gotta ask, is Nakomi / the Woman at the End a Shard of Adonalsium? Perhaps Balance?
No. There is not crossover between my shared world and the Wheel of Time. (Sorry.)
Who helped Rand out of the Shayol Ghul after the fight with the Dark One and told him he knew what he needed to do?
Hi, Neth. This is one I'm not answering, but if you track me down in person, you might be able to beat it out of me.
Is Nakomi the avatar of the Creator?
SIFADFOE (Scream In Frustration And Don't Find Out, Ever) :-)
Yay, that means I can officially not give a shit about Nakomi. :)
You are allowed that right officially. She's becoming the Asmodean kill of this sequence of books.
I, of course, should have realized she'd become so big a thing as she did—but that wasn't the intention.
I want to know what the heck was with Nakomi—who/what she is. Also was that her at the end of A Memory of Light?
Just answered this. Have a look below. (Sorry. It's a RAFO, I'm afraid.)
Who/What is Nakomi?
That is a good question, but not one I'm planning to answer any time soon. (sorry.)
Who was Nakomi? How did the body swap happen? How did Rand light the pipe?
You've asked all three of the big questions I'm not allowed or unable to answer, I'm afraid.
Who was the old Aiel lady at the end of Rand's battle?
Is Nakomi the person that Rand encountered at the mouth of Shayol Ghul? And is she the embodiment of The Creator?
This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
That is an excellent question...that I'm not allowed to answer. (Sorry.) I feel bad. I'm giving you lots of RAFOs.
Is Rand still ta'veren? If not, how did he warp reality and light his pipe at the end?
These are questions that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
How can you still be RAFO'ing stuff? What is left to read?
To RJ, RAFO sometimes meant "Read, think about it, and decide." It didn't always mean "I'll give an answer."
Is 'RAFO' basically to mean we're never going to find some things out?
There's a "Talk it over, see if you can figure it out" aspect to it as well.
I actually should probably do a few frequently asked questions as well. For those wondering, there is an encyclopedia in the works. (applause) This was something that Harriet's been working on for years, and (to Harriet) I'll just let you mention about it, if you would.
I started keeping a list of proper nouns with The Eye of the World. I didn't know what I was up against. (laughter) Because I began, just keeping the list, without any chapter references, with The Great Hunt I began adding chapter references, and every book since then has been combed through. The last book, we had an intern, and we said, "Yeah!" (laughter) "You can code the names, and please put in when they die, what chapter, if anybody dies."
So anyway, this thing has been in progress from the beginning, and it will take us a year to figure out exactly how to organize it, what to leave out, what to add in. As Brandon has said, there are 32? 38,000 pages of notes. The entire series is ten thousand pages, so there's a lot of stuff in the notes. Brandon tried to put it all into one document, and when it got to that far, his computer stopped counting, and then it crashed. (laughter) So there's a lot of material.
Yeah, it wasn't even funny. My poor little laptop's like, "What have you done to me?" (laughter) I thought, you know, because Harriet's often said, "Oh there's more notes than there are words in the entire series combined," and so I thought, "Oh, I'll find out exactly how many there are." No, I didn't find out how many there are; I just crashed my computer. But yeah, she has said that some of the things from the notes will end up in the encyclopedia, some tidbits and things that you don't already know, so that means I can still RAFO questions when you ask me. (laughter)
Who Killed Asmodean? (The single most repeated question. I heard it like 30 times just while standing in line.)
Will we find out who killed Asmodean in The Gathering Storm?
A question related to that. There’s an idea going around that all the spren that can Nahel Bond, all Knight Radiant spren are called honorspren, and then Nohadon talks specifically about honorspren. Is that the case? You know, is it just the Windrunner spren, or is it all the spren?
I’m going to deal with this in the next book. So I’ll just go ahead and let it be a literal RAFO. It is coming.
(interruption, leading Brandon to lose his train of thought)
So what we are dealing with here is that all Spren are indeed all pieces of the one who has gone, so those spren are all- except the Windrunner spren, the spren like Syl, have certain umm.
Nohadon mentioned that "All the spren aren’t as discerning as honorspren."
So there has been dissension among them about who gets to call themselves honorspren, if that makes sense, and there is some disagreement among scholars about which ones are really, you know "This is what defines an honorspren".
But the spren you are running into are all (something) of either Honor or Cultivation, or some mixture between them. And you can usually tell the ones that are more Honor, and the ones that are more Cultivation. That should be able to be (something).
Here’s an interesting one. Why do some Breaths flare when people die? Vasher mentions it in the book.
I will answer that in the next book, if I ever get to it.
A while back someone asked if Hoid's sword is Nightblood, you said that was interesting. Is it similarly Invested?
I'm going to RAFO that. It is a very interesting question.