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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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(Consternation on his face) He was goofing off somewhere.
And his army? They didn't do anything of note, eh?
We had some discussion about whether or not the scene in AMOL in which Rand thinks Roedran is Demandred was intended as a bit of a dig at all the fan theories assuming that to be true. Or was Rand really just supposed to be convinced of that same theory? (And how did Shara never occur to anyone in the books?)
Balefire question: If balefire isn't tearing someone's soul out of the pattern, why is it so destructive? Why, in AMOL is it literally tearing the world apart when Darkfriends are using it?
Thanks! I will try and remember to ask more questions on 15 April!
1. The item you discuss was not intended as a dig against fans. You could read it, potentially, as an acknowledgement of fans—though really, all it comes from is the fact that you have a fan writing these books. I'm aware of many of the theories, and even spent years thinking about them and talking of them. In constructing this scene, it was my impression that if we'd spent all of this time working on these theories, how much more effort would those in world have expended?
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought. I thought it would be very strange if he HADN'T considered it. Therefore, I put a note of it in the text—to indicate that the characters had been working through these same issues, and come to some of the same conclusions. It wasn't meant to break the fourth wall, though I can see how it stands out to some readers.
2. I was under the impression that to be killed by balefire meant dying forever. However, Maria and the notes showed me I was wrong about this fact. Balefire does weaken the Pattern, but it can't destroy souls, which are (you might say) the substance of the Pattern. Just like you can take a hammer to a cup and shatter it, but the pieces of glass will still be there. The Pattern can (theoretically) be unraveled, the world end, but the souls still exist.
It should be note that Moridin believed strongly that the soul CAN be ended by other means, and the implication of wolves (at least) being killed with no rebirth means it can happen.
So, in final answer to your question, it is so destructive because it leaves the Pattern in a mess, strained, and more easily subjected to the Dark One's will. His goal is to shatter the cup, so to speak, and then rebuilt it into a cup more to his liking.
Oh man, I am so happy (a) that you answered my questions and (b) that you answered them well. Thank you for all you've done with the series, Brandon!
(I pointed out the Demandred scene because it is fun on all of those levels. I've thought about the "fourth wall" comment and it doesn't make sense; there's no moment where Rand looks at us. Just at Roedran, in a way that actually is entirely sensical.)
And so, my impression was that this would be genuinely what the character thought.
This was a bit jarring for me, because most of the reasons for the Demandred=Roedran theory came from hints given by Robert Jordan, that Rand wouldn't have access to.
Ah, but Rand would have a whole LOT of information in-world that we don't have. Spy reports, rumors, his knowledge of how the Forsaken like to work. If you remove the places where one of the Forsaken had already set up shop, remove the monarchs that Rand has already met and interacted with, and look for a place that has been suspiciously quiet, you end up with very few options.
One of which just happens to be as we now know Shara.
It's funny, it was an RJ quote that pushed people away from that particular theory. It turned out to be an extremely Aes Sedai answer.
I would love to read that quote.
And of course RJ would give Aes Sedai answers. That makes a lot of sense.
I'll try to find it, but he basically said that we'd never see Shara "on-screen".
Oh right! Yeah. That's a very Aes Sedai answer. Heh. 'You'll never see their country, but they'll see ours!'