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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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We were told that Harriet has said that Jordan has left more in notes than in the series itself! Brandon then related a story about how he needed to know who was traveling with Perrin. He asked RJ’s assistants to look to see if there was a file with that info. A few days later he received an email titled “traveling with Perrin.” Unfortunately it listed every single person from the Two Rivers and their occupation who was traveling with Perrin. Some hadn’t even appeared in the books!
Peach PITS are poisonous here and now. They're full of—strychnine? Arsenic? I've forgotten which, but they really are bad. The flesh is not. You could look it up. But after one encounter with peach pits, a person would decide the whole thing was poison. This is on a par with the eighteenth century belief that tomatoes were poisonous—some people have an allergic reaction to them.
And in some locations, six-toed cats are common.
"There are bits and pieces (of Charleston) here and there, though I continue to stress that the Two Rivers (home of the series' three main protagonists) has no relation between the Ashley and the Cooper, but of course things filter through. It's impossible to write without keeping who you are and where you're from out of it," says Jordan.
"History is mutable. It's so dependent on who you remember and what you remember. For instance, with the American Revolution, Charleston was written out of the history books because of the secession. You know, during the Boston Tea Party, we sent more food and aid to Boston than any of its neighboring colonies. But that's not something that children read about in school. The solid tones of the past are not that solid. They are a thin facade placed by partisan observers," he says.
TIL Robert Jordan's hometown of Charleston, SC lies "at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers" - in other words, The Two Rivers.
Also there is Ogier St.
Harriet drove me by here on one of my visits. Pointed at the sign and waited for me to get it.
What happened to the fourth boy from the Two Rivers?
Jim originally had good plans for him later on, but when convinced to eliminate him, he realized how easy it was to kill off that story line.
Did Charleston have a lot of influence on the Ogier?
The Two Rivers? Ogier Street?
Actually, it was later revealed that Ogier was a subconscious thing, as Jim wanted something close to the term "ogre".
And, Jim grew up in a small town, much the same as the Two Rivers in their treatment of strangers.
So what was your role? I know you picked the chapter titles, but describe for our listeners your role in sort of the creation and editing of the series.
Well, in The Eye of the World in particular, in the beginning there were four boys leaving the village, but one of them didn't have anything to do. And my husband said, "Well, I had plans for him for the fourth book." And I said, “If you bore people, then there never will be a fourth book. Cut that boring kid out.” So he did.
Yes, that's right. The original cover art—the kind of brownish cover art that was on the inside cover—does show four, which is rather ghostly.
And another thing . . . Nynaeve . . . I helped him develop her by saying, "Why on earth is she always riding up there to talk to Moiraine? She doesn't seem to have anything to talk about." And I said, "Maybe she's trying to show her that she knows her way around herbal remedies." So a major piece of Nynaeve's character slid into place with that.
Oh, that she was the Healer and the Wisdom.
Yes, the village Wisdom—for people who haven't read the books, we're getting into some detail—but you might be interested that the village the main characters come from has a mayor and a Council, who are all men. But the village Wisdom (laughs) is the wise woman of the village, and generally represents the power of women. It's a very egalitarian world as far as gender is concerned.
I did notice that, yeah.