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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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Oh, and one more thing: The Forsaken are reborn pretty much straight away when they die. "Not right on the heels, but close." That should make things interesting :)
No, the story is NOT a dream. Jeez Marie!
A very strong male channeler bonded to a very weak Aes Sedai could not use the bond to control her. Whoever holds the bond is in charge, though she might have a hard time controlling him.
Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else.
Yes, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization.
And finally, as I have said, I would not change anything in the books except the way that I structured Crossroads of Twilight.
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?
That’s an excellent question. I’m going to have to RAFO that...it’s 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 don’t 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: “I 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...” So, in essence he said it’s 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. I’m 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, “And neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime”. In other words...
...that is consistent...
...it doesn’t affect your souls ability, your soul’s 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?
I’m 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 “I’m pretty sure” answer.
Yes, you would. Jim said that “neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime.” (DragonCon), but transmigration is not really a different lifetime; more than just the soul moves. The new person (I’m 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: “A 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.” And there is mention of the Wheel throwing out what it needs on occasion, and there’s the phrase, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.” 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.
Jordan talked about Pattern Level Events, or in other words "Effects of the Wheel". This question was asked of him at DragonCon '05. We wanted to know how Rand showed up in the sky above Falme with Ishamael. Theories... [the recording cut off here so Brandon’s answer to my question was lost. I will paraphrase it generally. I asked him if Rand’s access to the infinite lives while on Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm, was the Wheel getting involved directly.]
He replied as follows according to my memory that there was a Pattern Level Event there, but it wasn’t specifically the Wheel giving Rand access to memories [of] his previous lives. Brandon asked for some clarification about how Jordan explained his answer at DragonCon. We were rushed and I could not give him that direct quote, so I was unable to ask more specifically if Rand was seeing the soul’s history of lives lived, or if more generically the Wheel displayed to his mind a series of previous generic lives, like it displayed Rand and Ishamael in the sky above Falme. He did speak briefly about the Wheel not physically “touching” Rand and/or Ishamael, which seemed to be suggestive of his initial response that it didn’t “touch” Rand’s mind to give him access to his own memories. Once again, a more detailed discussion of this subject is worthwhile, especially one recorded.
It was also mentioned that balefire does not mean that someone can't be reborn into the Pattern.
I was very surprised by this and hadn't heard it before, but apparently Brandon has said it in previous Q&As.
Brandon said he was also surprised but that Maria was very insistent about this—so if the Dragon Reborn was balefired, he could still be reborn.
Hope you can answer this one. In the world of the Wheel, would the soul of an animal be reborn as the same animal when that particular Age comes again, like humans are?
I don't know of anything specific that Jim said about this, and I've read a lot of the FAQs and interviews. Still, it might be out there hiding somewhere. I'll put this on my things to ask his assistants about so I can know if he did. As far as I understand, the only thing we know about animals and the Wheel is that wolves go to the World of Dreams when they die.
However, looking at the sources Mr. Jordan is drawing from and the overall mythology of the series and world, I'd guess that they are reborn, and as the same animal. There is no talk of a person being reborn as a slug in their next life, and the fact that wolves are proven to have spirits gives subtle indication that other animals do as well. If so, I'd guess they are bound to the Wheel like everything else, and rewoven into the Pattern. What I say, however, is not canon in the same way that what Jim said was. Let me do some more digging to find an answer, if there is one, and ask me again some other time. (And if anyone knows of an interview where he talked about this, feel free to post and point me in the right direction.)
Female Dragon..NO when a female hero is needed she is one of the ones bound to the Wheel. Jordan did mention a name but I didn't hear it. But he did say the Dragon is never female.
Let's try and clear some of this up... I can't remember the exact question, but from what I read in this thread, it doesn't matter (I haven't read the Female Dragon thread). RJ said that, no, it is not possible to have a female Dragon. If the wheel needs a female Dragon, then it would weave in *insert female Dragon name here*. Probably because of the blank faces he was getting he then added, you can find her in the scene where Mat blows the Horn...
He also said that a soul ready to be reborn cannot change gender, therefor the Dragon is ALWAYS male.
When a soul is reborn, at what point does it enter the body?
Hmm… *think, think* I’d have to say as a fetus. When the body becomes capable of sustaining life.
*stupid grin* Ok. In The Eye of the World, Thom said that the dead can take over a living body. If this happened, what would happen to the original soul?
*gave me a “haha, nice try you stupid monkey” grin* “Read and find out.”
YAAAAAAAAAAAARG! DAMN YOU! (ok, not really)
For Rand to be Aemon reborn, Rand would have to be the same height as Aemon if Lanfear was correct in The Shadow Rising that Rand is always the same height in each of his lives.
RJ stated that Aemon was 6'1" tall, but when I asked if Lanfear was correct, RJ stated that she was not. Normally this would not say either way if Rand was Aemon.
RJ knew immediately where I was heading (this is one very intelligent man). RJ confirmed that Rand is NOT Aemon. :-(
*sighs*. He stated that it was like an author's prerogative to dangle "bait" in front of people and snatch it away. That's cruel and twisted. :-)
This not just torpedoes my theory out of the water, but just nukes it completely.
Thanks to Adrian for letting me use you as a sounding board for my theory.
If anyone wants his exact words, I can post a transcript later.
Here's what I got...
How tall was the last king of Manetheren?
The last king of Manetheren...?
The last king of... Height?
Ummm...He'd be about 6'1" [six feet one inch].
6'1"? Okay. And was Lanfear correct that Rand is always the same height in each of his lives?
No... okay. Thank you.[At this point I turned to leave.]
Rand uhhh, Rand was not the last King of Manetheren.
I very rarely come out and tell you guys something like that. It's much more intriguing to simply dangle a bit of "bait" in front of you and snatch it away. But, ahh no. That's that's that's definitely a "blue sky" direction.
Aan'allein, there it is nervous statements and all. You should have been there. "you can... hear him. You can... bathe in his presence...words cannot even begin to describe it. You must experience it to know. You must."Oops, got a little carried away there... ;-)
Yeah, but apart from Birgitte, yeah. I've always had this sort of fantasy in my mind that Nynaeve might be the reincarnation of Eldrene, the last queen of Manetheren, or something like that. And Mat, you know…gosh, he seems like...before he even left the Two Rivers, the Old Blood was coming out really strongly in him; it makes me wonder if he's not the actual rebirth of some extraordinary battle hero from Mathetheren. [silence]
Interesting speculation. [laughter]
Which is going to go nowhere!
We're not putting answers into their mouths! We're supposed to be getting answers from them, not giving them answers to give back to us! [laughter]
Oh, was that a question?
Well, sort of!
No, you're doing well; keep going. [laughter]
He's going to do what he always does; he's going to sit back and listen to all the answers until he finds one that he likes, and he says, "You know what? That was it!" [laughter]
Well, I guess this is something that we're just gonna have to hopefully read and find out...
…or I hope some of these questions are not going to be Brandon has said that Robert Jordan just said that 'this does not get resolved', you know...
That would be a shame. [laughter]
I'm not sure where that will leave us. Endlessly speculating till the Wheel stops turning…
There's no beginning or ending to the Wheel of Time.
Virginia will be reborn again once she passes and she will still be even more into WoT than she was now. [laughter] I can see it.
I can see it.
You'll learn your letters so you can read Robert Jordan in the cradle. [laughter]
I think you'll have a huge advantage, cause all the books will be out by then and you'll just be able to read 'em one after the other.
That's right, although I was going to say that I think I have the advantage, I was probably reading Robert Jordan when a couple of you guys were in the cradle.
Well, not in the cradle, but I was itty bitty when the first book came out.
I think I was still in the cradle.
Wow. I feel old.
Yeah, that's cause he…that's cause you're just…
I am twenty. I'm not even twenty yet, so...
Oh my gosh!
You weren't even born when the first book came out, buddy.
There you go.
Yeah, but they still put up with me, and I think I'm older than Cad-swayne. Is that right? Cad-swayne? Cad-swanee?
Oh, yay! Whew. So far I'm...
Except that we know that Cadsuane is a couple hundred years old, which, you know, is older than the country.
Okay, so I'm not quite older than Cadsuane...
You come close.
Yeah, I feel like it. Anyway, enough of that...
You're as old as Re-anne. Or is it Re-annie?
That's on that list.
Yeah, I've been saying that one wrong the whole time.
In general, are ending Es pronounced in the Wheel of Time names, like Reanne?
It varies. He wasn't really…I mean, sometimes yes, and sometimes…I mean, I was thinking about this, because if Cadsuane's final e was pronounced, she would be Cad-soo-ae-nah, like Macarena, and you could do a whole dance. But… [laughter] There doesn't really seem to be a rule. It's just how he felt that day I think, or how it sounded to him.
Some are, and some aren't, you know. It is kind of confusing, but we don't know for sure, if we're even right when we guess that, so you be the arbiter on this one. Unless, as Brandon said in our interview to him, unless Robert Jordan comes down to us in a beam of white light and sets us straight, some of these things may not ever be known for sure, so you have to tell us as best you can. Speaking of names that end in E , two that almost kind of strike me are, um…I started out saying muh-RELL, and then I kind of went to muh-RELL-uh, because of the presumption that the final Es were pronounced, so I don't know for sure which one is right on that; I go back and forth between that.
That's interesting. I say my-RELL. I'm not absolutely sure that's the way Jim said it.
Okay, what about lee-AHN, or is it lee-AHN-uh?
lee-AHN-uh is correct. That one is Leanne. And Reanne.
I believe that Myrelle…it's my-RELL.
You pronounce the Y?
Mm-hmm. Like 'my'.
I can't remember what RJ has said about when a spirit is linked to a body in WoT terms.
RJ said viability.
I thought that's what he had said. So I'd say there is a chance. (But as you can guess, the notes don't say.)
I have a question about who Gaidal and Birgitte might be reborn as. I was wondering if Gaidal could be the son of an Asha'man and if Birgitte might be reborn as an Aiel?
Gaidal definitely could be, and there's a pretty big hint in Towers of Midnight that many folks online have found. As for Birgitte, it's possible.
Do you know who Birgitte is reborn as?
I think a case could be made for Melaine, as the Wise Ones talk about her time being near.
In the WoT, a soul becomes tied to the body at viability.
(As noted in the group Q&A per Robert Jordan.)
I think that's pretty much confirmation that Gaidal is Grady's son. I can't decide whether the comment on viability is to direct attention towards Elayne, as she is at that stage of pregnancy, confirmed by that crazy scene. I know in the torchat Brandon said the notes don't say who Melaine's children are, so maybe he's just stating everything he knows. I prefer to think that Elayne's children might be Calian and Shivan and would usher in the end of the current age. I look forward to the encyclopedia, that's for sure!
Once a person pledges themselves to the Shadow (either voluntarily or involuntarily), are they always reborn as agents of the Dark?
BWS first qualified that any answer he will give is as always subject to the caveat that it is subject to a subsequent unearthing of RJ's notes on the subject or an answer that RJ previously gave on the subject. BWS then stated that assuming that a soul was not transmigrated (for example the 'gars [I probably botched the spelling of this word]), then no. That person's soul is a blank slate.