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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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Yes, they are. It is called releasing a Warder, and an Aes Sedai who is very old or injured so badly that she knows she is going to die will, if she has the strength, release him so he doesn't suffer from her death. This does require the two of them to be together, and a little more time that laying on the bond. If they are physically apart, or she doesn't have enough time or strength remaining, touch on him.
It has also been used to get rid of a Warder who proved to be unsuitable in some way, such as a man who is discovered to be a thief or who takes reckless chances, a fighter of duels who won't stop without the bond being used to force him. No sister is going to want a Warder who will risk getting himself killed, with all the attendant results to her, for no very good reason.
Although use of the bond in that way (controlling) was not unknown in the past, it came to be regarded as a form of Compulsion to use it so except in the slightest forms. Besides, using the bond to control a Warder all the time is a lot of work. An Aes Sedai wants somebody who can watch her back and keep it safe, not somebody she has to work on all the time. (Which is one of the reasons Aes Sedai stopped bonding men against their will. Not ethical concerns or ethical growth, I'm afraid; it was just not very practical really.) Better simply to release the fellow who can't measure up and find another who will.
By the by, releasing a Warder except for cause (the Aes Sedai's imminent death, his own unsuitability) or because he has asked for release is something that JUST IS NOT DONE! It would gain the sister considerable opprobrium from other sisters. A sister certainly would be looked at askance if she released a Warder who was dying, for example, just to avoid the effects on her of his death. When an Aes Sedai bonds a Warder, she is expected to buy in for the full ride. For that matter, releasing him for unsuitability is considered to reflect on the sister's judgment. She should have known better about him from the start.
[Anyone got a hint as to where those references are??]
[One of the other people at the signing mentioned the 'bonds' that Moiraine tied to Rand, Perrin, and Mat early in The Eye of the World. Those were directional, and I speculated that maybe they were related, in a very small way, to the Warder bond.]
No the Amyrlin did not change five times in seven years. I didn't catch the error before the book was published, though the correct sequence is there in my master chronology. The line in The Great Hunt should have read that "four of the last five" were from the Blue. The correct sequence is: Kirin Nelway (Brown) 922-950 NE; Noane Mosadim (Blue) 950-973 NE; Tamra Ospenya (Blue), 973-979 NE; Sierin Vayu (Gray), 979-984 NE; Marith Jaen (Blue), 984-988 NE; Siuan Sanche (blue), raised 998 NE. The correction is being made in the body of The Great Hunt and in the glossary.
That is the problem with doing books this large; sometimes even with all best efforts, something slips through when I think it has been made right. So there haven't been any lies [in answer to "does the Glossary lie?"]. Not even the "distance and location." You should have heard the howl I let out when that glossary entry was pointed out to me. "No! No, I changed that before the bloody book was published!" I have been working from the start that the Warder bond could be used as a sort of direction finder by both. Either can sense the direction of the other, though it gets more vague with distance, until with long distance the most you have is a general impression of, for example, "somewhere sort of to the west." Not distance, unless they are pretty close, except by using experience, figuring how far you've gone and how much stronger the feeling is. How do you think Moiraine and Lan never had any worries about hooking back up when they were separated? There have been hints at it and oblique references in several places.
Then, I asked my question, which concerned the Warder bond and the stedding.
What happens to an Aes Sedai's Warder bond if she enters a stedding? Can she still detect it? What if I tie off a weave, and enter a stedding? If the weave vanishes, will it reappear when I leave? If it won't reappear, why can't shielded/tied channelers such as Asmodean or Liandrin simply enter a stedding to have their shield dissolved?
If I can remember correctly, I asked, "When a Warder's bond is passed is the original bond still intact or is it broken?"
Not the best choice of words, I admit, but I was nervous. A problem that would repeat itself, unfortunately, the following day.
Then she asked if Lan and Myrelle slept together.
(I thought it was duh, although it probably happened with tweaking the bond.)
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.
For Matrimoni Cauthon, Rand gets only the same benefits as he got from being bonded to one Aes Sedai. It neither multiplies nor divides. Each of a Green's Warders get the same amount of benefits as the single Warder of another sister.
For Roland Arien, a lot of people have asked questions about Alric's death. I should have made matters plainer. As I envisioned it, Alric, having sensed Siuan's extreme shock, came running to her and arrived just in time to be stabbed just before Siuan was taken into the anteroom. She should have sensed the knife going in, but that was masked by her shock. When she sees him lying there, he is dying, though not yet dead. As I said, I should have made it plainer.
From a mechanical standpoint, RJ explained that the bonds themselves are very different weaves, but that is more because of the differences in the situations. It is very unlikely that a Warder would ever try and kill their Aes Sedai, but that is not the case for an Asha'man and his bonded Aes Sedai. The Asha'man bond requires obedience of the Aes Sedai because the Asha'man would be in danger of her if she did not obey his every command. The Warder bond is different in that the Aes Sedai can bend her Warder to her will, but only with some effort on her part.
RJ quoted from his own book how Logain stated that the Asha'man bond could be easily modified so that the obedience requirement was removed, and here is the important part and I will quote from memory, "but that has not happened, thus far."
Oh, the mayhem I can have with this little nugget.
small: This explains why the Reds haven't summarily tried to gentle every boy at birth or every man by 30.
big: If it takes an active link to the Source to slow, or to be stilled, then what about all those other attributes that sul'dam gain with use of the a'dam? Where do they come from? How did they get there?
bigger: Is it possible that those attributes are NOT directly linked to the Source? Could it be merely the exposure to the One Power that gives sul'dam that ability? What about a Warder? Could a same-sex non-channeling warder develop those attributes over time?
I need sleep now, I'll ponder this more later.
For David, Warders don't slow. They age at a natural pace, but they do maintain vitality and vigor beyond the levels associated with most ordinary men. That said, I recently saw a photograph of a man in his seventies who had an absolutely ripped six-pack. In fact, from the neck down, if you were told you were looking at somebody in his 20s or 30s, you'd just think he was in incredible shape. And he wasn't bonded to anyone. Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects. I'm pretty certain I have said that publicly, by the way.
As an aside, I saw somewhere that I supposedly said that Sharina Melloy will not grow younger. If I did, then I misspoke. Sharina will not grow young, but she will grow younger in appearance, as will any other older women who begin to channel. For Sharina, by way of example, she will "regress" into apparent middle age, but no younger.
Uh...well...I'll have to check that. MAFO. Good question.
From Winter’s Heart, chapter 12, Rand speaking to Elayne, Aviendha, and Min: “Anyway, Alanna Mosvani got there ahead of you, and she didn’t bother asking . . . I’ve been bonded to her for months now.”
I asked around about this because I believed that Mato had misheard the name, and that the question was actually about whether Egwene knew about the bonding. (Many people pronounce it egg-WEEN instead of the proper egg-WAIN, so it's easy for those people to hear 'Elayne' when 'Egwene' is pronounced correctly.) The question was asked by Roga, a Stormleader, and he clarified:
If this question came from the Dallas signing, then it was from me. I asked about Egwene.
The reason behind the question was, I wanted to know: if Alanna's name had been on Verin's list in The Gathering Storm, would Egwene have passed over it? However, Brandon pointed out that Verin knew about the bond, so unless she had some reason to keep quiet, I'd think she should've made some kind of special warning note if Alanna had been in her list.
Egwene did not know.
Was that yours?
Why is that offensive?
They are a harem.
Noooo! Harem...I don’t know if it really does imply...but a harem implies women who sit around and do nothing...
This is true.
...until the man, um, wishes...
It’s an affectionate name for them.
Yes. But I have seen that um, that phrase before, and...yes. Is the sky clear above Alanna? I’m going to RAFO Alanna. Alanna’s got an interesting thread still, so...
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 here’s a quote from the notes for you: “She had to use the bond to compel [notice lower case here] him, sometimes, which she found both odd and somewhat insulting.” But one has to put this in the context of her other Warders, who eagerly complied with her desires, carnal or otherwise.
What you have to understand is Tomas was tired of this world. Without Verin, he didn’t really want to be around...
So Tomas is dead?
Yes. Tomas is dead. She could have released him, yes, but he didn’t want that.
There are far more reasons, worldbuilding wise, to believe it was real than to believe it was illusion.
Is Rand's soul in Moridin's body?
Ha. Right to the point, are you? Let's just say that trickery is not likely in this case.
Can you confirm that Rand's body was burned at the end of A Memory of Light?
Okay, fine. Yes, I will confirm that Rand's body was indeed the one that was burned. :)
Why didn't anybody notice when a supposedly-dead Moridin got up and walked away?
I'd say coincidence. But there aren't many of those in the WoT world.
Seems like a conversation between the Creator and Rand was missing where "switch" and Alivia's role in it are laid out—thoughts?
I believe that RJ included everything he wanted in this sequence.
Why did Rand switch bodies at the end and why is he going incognito now? Did not understand that part.
RJ wrote these scenes, and intended to leave them as is. I don't think me delving into explanations is what he'd want.
Did the bonding between Rand, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min transfer over to the new body?
Yes, though I don't know how or why.
Why did the bond survive the body switch at the end of A Memory of Light?
I don't know. RJ did not explain this one to me.
How were Rand/Elan able to switch bodies?
How did Rand wind up with Moridin's body?
Could you explain further about the body switch and how it was possible?
This is one that I'm not answering, I'm afraid. RJ wanted some things about the ending to remain ambiguous.
Brandon answered (paraphrasing) that distance would affect the strength of their communication.
Was Alanna captured in Tear?
No. She managed to get away from Tear.
Okay. Good answer. (crosstalk)
What happened to her Warder, Ihvon?
Her Warder Ihvon um, met...
It is not happy.
Unpleasant fate, okay.
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.
How come Lan couldn’t tell that Moiraine was alive, and with the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn? Because he felt the severing of the bond?
He did not have the bond any more. Since the bond was severed, he couldn't feel her any more.
But why would the bond be severed, she was still alive?
RJ says it is because she went to another dimension, and when that slice happened, it cut the bond. The bond couldn't function across the dimension there without some sort of connection there, without some sort of opening portal or something like that.
Androl and Pevara
In working on the Black Tower plot, one thing I realized early on was that I wanted a new viewpoint character to be involved. One reason was that we didn't have anyone to really show the lives of the everyday members of the Black Tower. It felt like a hole in the viewpoint mosaic for the series. In addition, each Wheel of Time book—almost without exception—has either introduced a new viewpoint character or added a great deal of depth to a character who had only seen minimal use before. As we were drawing near to the end of the series, I didn't want to expand this very far. However, I did want to add at least one character across the three books I was doing.
I went to Team Jordan with the suggestion that I could fulfill both of these purposes by using one of the rank-and-file members of the Black Tower, preferably someone who wasn't a full Asha'man and was something of a blank slate. They suggested Androl. The notes were silent regarding him, and while he had been around, he so far hadn't had the spotlight on him. He seemed the perfect character to dig into.
A few more things got spun into this sequence. One was my desire to expand the usage of gateways in the series. For years, as an aspiring writer, I imagined how I would use gateways if writing a book that included them. I went so far as to include in the Stormlight Archive a magic system built around a similar teleportation mechanic. Being able to work on the Wheel of Time was a thrill for many reasons, but one big one was that it let me play with one of my favorite magic systems and nudge it in a few new directions. I've said that I didn't want to make a large number of new weaves, but instead find ways to use established weaves in new ways. I also liked the idea of expanding on the system for people who have a specific talent in certain areas of the One Power.
Androl became my gateway expert. Another vital key in building him came from Harriet, who mailed me a long article about a leatherworker she found in Mr. Jordan's notes. She said, "He was planning to use this somewhere, but we don't know where."
One final piece for his storyline came during my rereads of the series, where I felt that at times the fandom had been too down on the Red Ajah. True, they had some serious problems with their leadership in the books, but their purpose was noble. I feel that many readers wanted to treat them as the Wheel of Time equivalent of Slytherin—the house of no-goods, with every member a various form of nasty. Robert Jordan himself worked to counteract this, adding a great deal of depth to the Ajah by introducing Pevara. She had long been one of my favorite side characters, and I wanted her to have a strong plot in the last books. Building a relationship between her and Androl felt very natural to me, as it not only allowed me to explore the bonding process, but also let me work a small romance into the last three books—another thing that was present in most Wheel of Time books. The ways I pushed the Androl/Pevara bond was also something of an exploration and experiment. Though this was suggested by the things Robert Jordan wrote, I did have some freedom in how to adapt it. I felt that paralleling the wolf bond made sense, with (of course) its own distinctions.
Finding a place to put the Pevara/Androl sequence into the books, however, proved difficult. Towers of Midnight was the book where we suffered the biggest time crunch. That was the novel where I'd plotted to put most of the Black Tower sequence, but in the end it didn't fit—partially because we just didn't have time for me to write it. So, while I did finish some chapters to put there, the soul of the sequence got pushed off to A Memory of Light, if I managed to find time for it.
I did find time—in part because of cutting the Perrin sequence. Losing those 17,000 words left an imbalance to the pacing of the final book. It needed a plot sequence with more specific tension to balance out the more sweeping sequences early in the book where characters plan, plot, and argue. I was able to expand Androl/Pevara to fit this hole, and to show a lot of things I really wanted to show in the books.