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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.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

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  • 1

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Tibur

    Hi. I love your books and I was just wondering where you got your ideas for the series. It's like nothing ever published before!

    Robert Jordan

    It all started with wondering what it was really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you are the savior of mankind. Ten years of thinking about that, and I began writing.

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  • 2

    Interview: Apr 20th, 2004

    Week 11 Question

    I just started The Great Hunt and I find the religious and political aspects very interesting. I notice the dedication for The Great Hunt says, "They came to my aid when God walked across the water, and the true Eye of the World passed over my house." Has your own religion in any way helped to shape the book?

    Robert Jordan

    Only in the sense that it helped to shape my moral and ethical beliefs. My work certainly is not religious in even the sense that J.R.R. Tolkien's was, much less the work of C.S. Lewis. That inscription, by the way, referred to Hurricane Hugo striking Charleston, where I live. The word hurricane comes from the name of a god of the Caribe Indians, who believed that the storm was that god walking across the water. Anyone who has ridden out a hurricane, and I have ridden out several, can well believe that it is. And if a hurricane isn't the Eye of the World, it's as close as we will come in this world.

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  • 3

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    He has no particular real world inspiration for the One Power, at least not that he knows of. He admits that he's read a lot of stuff and at times forgets a source here and there.

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  • 4

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    While he likes Chalker's and Varley's works, he does not intend to emulate them.

    John Novak

    "Not at all like Balthamel becoming Aran'gar?" I quipped.

    Robert Jordan

    He retorted to the effect that was one character, not a whole host of characters.

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  • 5

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    Question

    Does the Snakes and Foxes game played in the Two Rivers have anything to do with the 'finn?

    Robert Jordan

    RAFO.

    John Novak

    (My answer: Duh?)

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  • 6

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    He seems to have a half a dozen answers for the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" The one that tickled me was that he sends off to a mail order company from Trenton, New Jersey (I think) for some large amount of money, at three ideas per page.

    John Novak

    I looked askance and remarked that Ellison gave the same answer, except his ideas came from a warehouse in Peoria (which I'm sure I've read somewhere. Think it was Ellison.)

    Robert Jordan

    He shot back, "Yeah, but did you notice that mine are more expensive?"

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  • 7

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Batlar

    I have noticed some similarities to The Lord of the Rings. Was Tolkien an inspiration for for you?

    Robert Jordan

    I suppose to the degree that he inspires any fantasy writer in the English language, certainly.

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  • 8

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    J Cool ET

    You seem to have a great grasp of history; what is your background? Do you know how the Wheel will finally turn, yet?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I've been reading history as a hobby since I was five or six, and yes, I do know how it will turn, and how it will end.

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  • 9

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    MonaS

    I enjoy the many nations and peoples in The Wheel of Time and how richly their societies are detailed! What was your inspiration for the Ogier?

    Robert Jordan

    It's really impossible to say here. The Ogier came from a dozen different sources, at least.

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  • 10

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Paendrag

    Could you discuss your imagery as it relates to book of Revelation—and other sources/language use?

    Robert Jordan

    Sorry, not in under four or five hours.

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  • 11

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    How does your knowledge of physics influence your idea of channeling and the Talents involved in the books, such as Traveling, Skimming, etc? Do you have other hobbies or talents that influence your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    My knowledge of physics influenced channeling to the extent that I have attempted to treat channeling as if it were a form of science and engineering rather than magic. You might say that the Laws of Thermodynamics apply in altered form. I expect that my reading in history has influenced the books more than my knowledge of physics or engineering. I have not tried to copy any actual historical culture or period, but a knowledge of the way things actually were done at various times has helped shape my vision of the world of The Wheel, as has the study of cultures meeting that are strange to one another, and cultures undergoing change, willingly or, as is more often the case, unwillingly. I used to spend summers working on my grandfather’s farm, a very old-fashioned set-up even then, so I have some feel for country life, and I like to hunt and fish, and spent a good part of my growing up in the woods or on the water, so I have a fair feel for the outdoors and the forests, which also helps. And of course, I can use a little of my Vietnam experience. Not for setting out the actual battles, but because I know firsthand the confusion of battle and what it is like to try to maintain some semblance or order while all around you random events are pushing everything toward chaos.

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  • 12

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    Do other authors offer you advice or suggestions on how to write your books?

    Robert Jordan

    I’m not quite sure what I would say to another writer who offered me suggestions on how to write my books. When you are first starting out, you try to learn from other people, but once you get to a certain point, learning becomes more a matter of honing your own skills, and your confidence has usually advanced by this time to the point where you no longer seek the advice of others. (HEADLINE: Mark McGwire attacks Barry Bonds with baseball bat after Bonds offers advice on swing.)

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  • 13

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    What other authors have most influenced your work?

    Robert Jordan

    Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald and Louis L'Amour.

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  • 14

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    Are any of your characters or cultures designed to pay specific homage to any particular work or author?

    Robert Jordan

    No. In the first chapters of The Eye of the World, I tried for a Tolkienesque feel without trying to copy Tolkien’s style, but that was by way of saying to the reader, okay, this is familiar, this is something you recognize, now let’s go where you haven’t been before. I like taking a familiar theme, something people think they know and know where it must be heading, then standing it on its ear or giving it a twist that subverts what you thought you knew. I must admit that I occasionally drop in a reference—for example, there’s an inn called The Nine Rings, and Loial is seen reading a book entitled To Sail Beyond the Sunset—but it isn’t a regular thing by any means.

    Footnote

    To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a Heinlein reference, for those not familiar with his work. RJ is speaking here of references to contemporary culture; obviously the references to myth and legend are rather pervasive.

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  • 15

    Interview: Nov 4th, 2005

    Question

    Are the Sea Folk marriage customs based on any real culture that you know of?

    Robert Jordan

    No, they were made up in his head.

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  • 16

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    When Robert Jordan's parents couldn't find a babysitter, they would utilize the services of his redoubtable older brother, who read to his four-year-old sibling from a rich varied repertoire of Mark Twain, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and the like.

    The common thread was a zestful, sometimes wry imagination. And Jordan was an exceedingly quick study.

    Robert Jordan

    "It was galvanizing, better than a movie. I could visualize all of it in my head. By the time I was five, I had taught myself how to read."

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  • 17

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Since the books meld elements of Celtic, Norse, Middle Eastern and American Indian myth in a largely Medieval setting, obligatory comparisons with J.R.R. Tolkien surfaced almost immediately. Jordan accepts them with resigned good humor.

    Robert Jordan

    "On the one hand, I'm flattered. On the other, I would have to say it's overplayed. On the third hand, Tolkien encompassed so much in The Lord of the Rings and other books that he did for fantasy what Beethoven did for music.

    "For a long time, it was believed that no one did anything that did not build on Beethoven. For his part, Tolkien did provide a foundation while himself building on an existing tradition. Although it's difficult now to forge a singular place in this foundation, people like Stephen R. Donaldson are doing it. I hope I am as well."

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  • 18

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    He doesn't see the world he elaborates as unreal. Far from it.

    Robert Jordan

    "It exists in our past and our future. These were our legends, but because time is a wheel—according to Hindu legend—we are the seeds of their myths. Because it is a real world in my books, they have certain degrees of technology. The time in which the characters live is our future and our past. Part of what I'm exploring here is what the nature and source of our myths might be."

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  • 19

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Jordan fantasy adventures in many respects are cinematic in tone, a legacy perhaps of his great fondness for genre films, good and bad. he says he tries to write in a way that impels readers to see the story, as well as hear, and smell and feel it.

    Robert Jordan

    "I approach writing stories as if they were meant to be read aloud. Many books aren't done this way and still are great books, but I try for the effect of a classic story teller. Like most other writers of fantasy, I started out not only reading fantasy but going to fantasy and science fiction movies. In more recent years, I've probably see Excalibur two dozen times. Going semi-out-of-genre, Apocalypse Now certainly had an impact on me. It had almost all the detail wrong, but its fantastic elements nonetheless capture the feel of the place, the experience, the sense of the surreal, of abandonment, of being sold out."

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  • 20

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Whether his war experiences have influenced his fantasy writing, or more, been translated directly into fiction, is difficult for Jordan to say.

    Robert Jordan

    "I do think the military characters in my fantasy novels are more realistic in terms of how soldiers really are, how they feel about combat, about being soldiers, about civilians. Beyond that, my time in Vietnam certainly has affected a certain moral vision. Not just based on what happened to me, but on the abandonment of a people who had put everything on the line for us. It started me off on a quest for morality, both in religious and philosophical reading, and in my writing. Again one of the central themes in 'The Wheel of Time' is the struggle between the forces of good and evil. How far can one go in fighting evil before becoming like evil itself? Or do you maintain your purity at the cost of evil's victory? I'm fond of saying that if the answer is too easy, you've probably asked the wrong question."

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  • 21

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    In the realm of fantasy writing, Jordan has been less influenced than simply entertained by such works as Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series and the horror writing of Stephen King.

    He never reads fantasy when he is in the midst of writing it.

    Robert Jordan

    "I read fantasies in between books. When writing, I make it a point to read other genres, plus philosophy, history, biography, mythology."

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  • 22

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He talked for a while about 'reverse engineering' various mythos, removing the culture-specific elements and combining the stories, giving the example of the Wolfbrother idea, which was derived partly from the Native American Coyote trickster/savior figure, of whom both Mat and Perrin reflect aspects.

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  • 23

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He raised the point that Rand's creeping insanity may manifest in much more subtle ways than the people of Randland expect...which leads one to wonder about Rand's increasing withdrawal and possible megalomania. I think he is aware of the net discussion: he expressed surprise at the amount of analysis and comparison with Tolkien, Dune etc. (I felt tempted to mention A. A. Milne) and somebody in the audience compared WoT to Atlas Shrugged, which really seemed to surprise him. His attitude is that once he has written one book (and publicized it) it is time to move on to the next...The only deliberate connection between WoT and any other modern fantasy was giving the first 100-odd pages of The Eye of the World a Lord of the Rings-esque flavor, to start people off in familiar territory.

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  • 24

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He also spoke for quite some time on the splitting of the One Power into male and female halves, and on the disharmony produced when they don't work together...this came across as one of the core elements in the origin of WoT. (re: Yin/Yang—leaving out the little dots in the symbol is an intentional representation of the lack of harmony between male/female Power in Randland.)

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  • 25

    Interview: Mar 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Does evil need to be effective to be evil? And how do you define effectiveness? Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge managed to murder about 25-30% of Cambodia's population, destroy the country's agricultural and industrial base, fairly well wipe out the educated class inside the country (defined as anyone with an education beyond the ability to read; a good many of those went too, of course), and in general became so rabid that only China was willing to maintain any sort of contact with them, and that at arm's length. Their rabidity was the prime reason that they ended up losing the country. (though they are still around and still causing trouble.) In other words, they were extremely ineffective in attaining their goal, which was to seize Cambodia, remake it in the way Pol Pot wished (and still wishes), and export their brand of revolution abroad. Looking at the death toll, the cities emptied out (hospital patients were told they had one hour to leave or die; post-op patients, those still in the operating room, everybody), the murders of entire families down to infants because one member of the family was suspected of "counter-revolutionary" crimes, the mass executions (one method was for hundreds of people to be bound hand and foot, then bulldozed into graves alive; the bulldozers drove back and forth over these mass graves until attempts to dig out stopped)—given all of that, can you say that Khmer Rough's ineffectiveness made them less evil? Irrationality is more fearful than rationality (if we can use that term in this regard) because if you have brown hair and know that the serial killer out there is only killing blondes, you are safe, but if he is one of those following no easily discernible pattern, if every murder seems truly random, then it could be you who will be next. But "rationality" can have its terrors. What if that killer is only after brunettes named Carolyn? Stalin had the very rational goal (according to Communist dogma) of forcibly collectivizing all farmland in the Soviet Union. He was effective—all the land was collectivized—and to do it he murdered some thirty million small farmers who did not want to go along.

    But are the Forsaken ineffective or irrational? Are they any more divided than any other group plotting to take over a country, a world, IBM? True, they plot to secure power for themselves. But I give you Stalin v. Trotsky and the entire history of the Soviet Union. I give you Thomas Jefferson v. Alexander Hamilton v. John Adams, and we will ignore such things as Jefferson's hounding of Aaron Burr (he tore up the Constitution to do it; double jeopardy, habeas corpus, the whole nine yards), or Horatio Gates' attempted military coup against Washington, with the support of a fair amount of the Continental Congress. We can also ignore Secretary of War Stanton's attempts to undermine Lincoln throughout the Civil War, the New England states' attempt to make a separate peace with England during the Revolution and their continued trading with the enemy (the British again) during the War of 1812, and... The list could go on forever, frankly, and take in every country. Human nature is to seize personal advantage, and when the situation is the one the Forsaken face (namely that one of them will be given the rule of the entire earth while the others are forever subordinate), they are going to maneuver and backstab like crazy. You yourself say "If ever there was the possibility that some alien force was going to invade this planet, half the countries would refuse to admit the problem, the other half would be fighting each other to figure out who will lead the countries into battle, etc." Even events like Rahvin or Sammael or Be'lal seizing a nation have a basis. What better way to hand over large chunks of land and people to the Dark One than to be ruler of those lands and people? The thing is that they are human. But aside from that, are you sure that you know what they are up to? All of them? Are you sure you know what the Dark One's own plans are? Now let's see about Rand and his dangers and his allies. Have you been skimming, my dear? What makes you think the Tairens, Cairhienin and Andorans are solidly behind him? They're plotting and scheming as hard as the Forsaken. Rand is the Dragon Reborn, but this is my country, and we don't need anybody, and so on. And then there are those who don't think he is the Dragon Reborn at all, just a puppet of Tar Valon. Most of the Aiel may be behind him, but the Shaido are still around, and the bleakness is still taking its toll, since not all Aiel can face up to what Rand has told them about themselves. What makes you think the Seanchan will fall in behind Rand? Have you seen any Seanchan volunteers showing up? Carolyn, half of these people are denying there is a problem, and half are trying to be big honcho themselves. Read again, Carolyn. The world Rand lives in is getting more frenzied and turbulent. Damned few are saying, "Lead, because you know best." A good many who are following are saying "Lead, because I'd rather follow you than have you call down lightning and burn me to a crisp!"

    As for lack of challenge, I refer you again to the question about whether you really think you know what all the Forsaken are planning. Or what Padan Fain is up to. There is a flaw inherent in fiction, one that is overcome by suspension of disbelief. We do always know, somewhere in the back of our heads, that the hero is going to make it through as far as he needs to. After all, if Frodo buys the farm, the story is over, kids. The excitement comes in trying to figure out how he can possibly wiggle out, how he can possibly triumph.

    In Rand's case, let's see what he still has stacked against him. The Cairhienin and Tairens are for the most part reluctant allies, and in many cases not even that. At the end of Fires, he has Caemlyn, but I don't see any Andoran nobles crowding around to hail him. Illian still belongs to Sammael. Pedron Niall is working to convince people Rand is a false Dragon, and the Prophet is alienating ten people for every one he convinces. Tarabon and Arad Doman are unholy messes; even if Rand manages to get in touch with all of the Dragonsworn—who are not organized beyond individual bands—he has two humongous civil wars to deal with. True, he can use the Aiel to suppress those, but he has to avoid men killing men too much; there are Trollocs waiting to spill out of the Blight eventually. We must always remember the Trollocs, Myrddraal etc; the last time they came out in force, it took over 300 years to beat them back, and the Last Battle doesn't give Rand anywhere near that. Altara and Murandy are so divided in any case that simply getting the king or queen on his side isn't going to work; remember that most people in those two countries give loyalty to a city or a local lord and only toss in their country as an afterthought. Davram Bashere thinks Tenobia will bring Saldaea to Rand, and that is possible since the Borderlands would be one place where everyone is aware of the Last Battle and the Prophecies, but even Bashere isn't willing to make any promises, not even for Saldaea much less the other Borderlands, and I haven't seen any Borderland rulers showing up to hand Rand the keys to the kingdom. Padan Fain is out there, able to feel Rand, and hating him because of what was done to him, Fain, to make him able to find Rand. The surviving Forsaken are out there and except for Sammael, nobody knows what they are up to or where they can be found. For that matter, who knows everything that Sammael is up to? Elaida, in the White Tower, thinks Rand has to be tightly controlled. The Salidar Aes Sedai are not simply ready to fall in and kiss his boots, either. Aes Sedai have been manipulating the world for more than three thousand years, guiding it, making sure it remembers the Dark One and Tarmon Gai'don as real threats, doing their best, as they see it, to prepare the world for the Dark One breaking free. Are they likely to simply step aside and hand over control to a farmboy, even if he is the Dragon Reborn? Even after Moiraine decided he had to be given his head, Siuan was reluctant, and Siuan was in Moiraine's little conspiracy from the beginning. And the Seanchan...The last we saw of their forces, they were commanded by a Darkfriend. As for the Sea Folk, do you know what their prophecy says about the Coramoor? Do you think working with them it will be any simpler than dealing with the Aiel, say?

    Now, what and who does Rand have solidly in his camp? Perrin knows what is needed, but he's hardly happy about it. What he really wants is to settle down with Faile and be a blacksmith; everything else is a reluctant duty. Mat blew the Horn of Valere, but it's hidden in the Tower, and frankly, if he could figure some way to go away and spend the rest of his life carousing and chasing women, he would. He'll do what he has to do, but Light he doesn't want to. The Aiel are for Rand (less the Shaido, still a formidable force), but the Dragon Reborn and the Last Battle are no part of the Prophecy of Rhuidean. That is all wetlander stuff. Besides which, they are still suffering losses from bleakness, people throwing down their spears and leaving, people defecting to the Shaido or drifting back to the Waste because what Rand told them of their origins can't possibly be true and if it isn't then he can't be the Car'a'carn. Rand has declared an amnesty for men who can channel and is trying to gather them in; they, at least, should give their loyalty to him. But how many can he find? How much can he teach them in the time he has? How many will go mad before the Last Battle? There is still the taint on saidin, remember. For that matter, can Rand hang onto his own sanity? What effect will having a madman inside his head have? Can he stop Lews Therin from taking him over?

    I know that was supposed to be a listing of what Rand has in his favor, but the fact is that he is walking the razor's edge, barely hanging onto his sanity and growing more paranoid all the time, barely hanging onto putative allies, most of whom would just as soon see him go away in the hope that then everything would be the way it was before he showed up, confronted by enemies on every side. In short he has challenges enough for ten men. I've had people write to say they can't see how Rand is going to untangle all of this and get humanity ready to face the Last Battle. What I say is, what you believe to be true is not always true. What you think is going to happen is not always going to happen. That has been demonstrated time and again in The Wheel of Time. You could call those two statements one of the themes of the books.

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  • 26

    Interview: 1994

    Grey Culberson

    Have you heard the audio tape abridgments? What are your feelings toward them?

    Robert Jordan

    This brought a mighty harrumph from RJ. He then explained that he had not heard them but expressed his strong disapproval of the project. Apparently the publisher had acquired a portion of the rights to the series of which he was unaware, and those rights enabled them to go ahead with the project without informing or asking him. However, RJ is planning his own audio tape project which will record the books unabridged. When RJ was asked whether the voice man would be American or English, RJ expressed no opinion either way.

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  • 27

    Interview: 1994

    Grey Culberson

    (question about series genesis)

    Robert Jordan

    RJ responded that the crux of the series was based on a disbelieving boy being told he was the savior of mankind, then that youth reluctantly realizing the truth of the matter but unwilling to admit it, and finally the boy assenting to the savior role and that only left puzzling out what he would do as the savior. When asked why RJ had chosen to go into so much depth and detail so as to confuse and overburden the reader, RJ responded, "It's all right there in front of you. Surely, something I've thought about for fifteen years and written about for nine is something you can work out over a weekend."

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  • 28

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Daniel Rouk

    He mentioned the height of all the characters. Erica wrote those down. Basically repeated PNH's account of why the colors of the covers are always different.

    Robert Jordan

    The Old Tongue is a mix of Gaelic, Russian, Spanish, Japanese. A lot of different sources that are not traditionally used to make up fake languages. He has only a few phrases and a few small guides on usage written down.

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  • 29

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    All the female characters are based on his wife. I asked if she pulls her hair, and Jordan responded: "She pulls mine."

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  • 30

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Viren R. Shah

    I'm sure someone's gonna post the whole interview on here, but I caught about 8-10 minutes of it, and I'll try and write down the points I remember [I was kinda occupied at the moment, so my recollection might not be too good].

    Robert Jordan

    RJ feels that the Arthurian legend is very obvious in WoT, so he tried his level best to hide it.

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  • 31

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    As regards Randland being the future/part of our world, he made a reference to the game 'Chinese Whispers'. He said that, like in the game, the happenings of our time/age will be changed/twisted [my words] into Randland's myths, and similarly the occurrences in Randland will/have become our myths.

    He also mentioned the fact that he tried to 'reverse-engineer' [his word] the current myths that we have into WoT's happenings/history, and our history into WoT's myths.

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  • 32

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    He said that he used legends from several sources including Arthurian, Celtic, Indian, North American Indian, Oriental, [and some others which I've forgotten].

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  • 33

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    There was also something mentioned about the songs that he used in the books—John Adcox asked him whether he had deliberately given the songs a Celtic slant. [I can't for the life of me remember the answer].

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  • 34

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Red Ajah: not all lesbians—just manhaters. RJ knows non-manhating lesbians. Not based at all on Agnes Scott girls. Based on some girls he knew as a child.

    All women in Randland—based on his wife. "Does she tug her hair?" "No. Mine."

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  • 35

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Language—It is planned. Based on Russian, Chinese and a bit of Spanish with a lot of Gaelic thrown in.

    Cultures of influence—he's real big on Chinese history right now.

    Why the swords?—As in Japan, gunpowder is suppressed so martial arts are developed and are based on the sword and on agricultural implements.

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  • 36

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    Are the sword forms based on reality?

    Robert Jordan

    Sort of based on Taekwondo and Karate—but from books, not experience.

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  • 37

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Mat will lose his eye and Rand a hand: yes. (Did not ask right out. Instead, "Did you deliberately make Rand like Tew/Chew, the god of war who loses his hand?" (yes) "And Mat is like Odin who loses his eye..." (yup...but the Arthur parallels are spread around many characters. Merlin is Thom Merrilin, the Amyrlin Seat, Lan, etc...)

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  • 38

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ben & Chris

    Is stones based on GO, the Asian game of skill? It is more complex than chess...so it is appropriate if so. And what stones are used (type of stone)?

    Robert Jordan

    Stones is based on Go, and the actual stones used can vary.

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  • 39

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Mykael

    Are any of your characters based on anyone you know?

    Robert Jordan

    All of the women are based on my wife.

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  • 40

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Steve W

    Are your books based on any Biblical themes/characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Not directly. Influenced by. And not wholly—there are other influences as well.

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  • 41

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

    The guy in front of me asked about what accents the Seanchan have.

    Robert Jordan

    And RJ answered that the Seanchan have a southern accent, while the Illianers sound Dutch. He also mentioned that the Tairens have a Spanish accent.

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  • 42

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Sat

    Is the Hawkwing era and or the Seanchan based on any actual historical era and do you plan on including some more historical data about the Age of Legends and maybe a separate series?

    Robert Jordan

    The first part of your question: no. It's based on several combined. The second part: Only insofar as it affects the story in the "here and now." In a separate series: no.

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  • 43

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Andrew S

    Did you think you were going to write only the first book without sequels? If your wife is all the female characters are you all the male ones?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I knew from the start that I was writing something that would be multiple books. I just never knew how many, exactly. The last question: Probably, God help me. Never thought of it that way, though.

    Footnote

    In the Starlog interview, RJ seems to have indicated that it was originally intended to be one book.

    Tags

  • 44

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Lou Person

    Hello all and Mr. Jordan. I am a big WOT fan and I am amazed by some of the themes, i.e. struggle between men and women. Mr. Jordan truly sheds some light on differences between men and women. There also seem to be some allusions to Native Americans, weaves of fire, air, etc. The politicking and warring of the Game of Houses and battle scenes are told with the clarity of someone who has military experience. Can you briefly state what from your background makes WOT so realistic?

    Robert Jordan

    Forty-odd years of life. "Briefly?" It's what it boils down to.

    Tags

  • 45

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ben & Chris

    There is a big influence (already mentioned) from wide ranging source materials. This is a great deal of fun, tracking down all of the various sources whilst reading. Is there a reason that the Arthur and other Avalon legends are referred to so much. Gawyn, Morgase, et al.?

    Robert Jordan

    They really aren't referred to any more than many other legends and myths, but they're simply more recognizable to most Americans.

    Footnote

    RJ was probably hinting that the Americans are generally the least 'cultured' and the least likely to recognize the foreign legends he drew from, Norse and Slavic mythology (very prominent), etc. The Arthur legends are probably better-known elsewhere (i.e. Britain, France).

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Pug

    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for my mother's autographed The Fires of Heaven, 10/150 and also, what inspires your deft writing?

    Robert Jordan

    Everything!

    PUG

    Specifically?

    Robert Jordan

    Everything specifically!

    Tags

  • 47

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ami

    Hi Mr. Jordan and everyone. I was wondering about Artur Hawkwing. I notice parallels to the King Arthur legends in particular... But what other stories inspired this?

    Robert Jordan

    Too many to go into—truly too many.

    Tags

  • 48

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan discussed several spin-offs from the books. He mentioned an "Illustrated Guide the Wheel of Time" (like the one they did for Pern). When asked about Role Playing Games he said he was in contact with Wizards of the Coast (makers of the popular Magic card game. Are we in for Daes Dae'mar: the Deckmaster Game of Games?), and he was approached with an offer for an AD&D [Advanced Dungeons and Dragons] module (this raises interesting questions). The term "module" has been replaced by "adventure" and "supplement". Did Jordan dabble in RPGs ten years ago and preserve obsolete terms, or was he approached by an old time TSR [creators of Dungeons and Dragons] rep who lapsed into the "old tongue"? Also, was the word used to mean an adventure (the most common use of module) or a full world like Darksun or Forgotten Realms?

    Tags

  • 49

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    He sees some correlation between Randland's "magic" (a term he frowns on) and quantum physics, but he says it is not deliberate. He disbelieves 95-99% of modern physics but says it will be 50 years before it is put in the same file as phlogiston.

    Tags

  • 50

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (30 March 2010)

    Calling WoT derivative of Tolkien is like calling Tolkien derivative of Beowulf. True, but missing the point entirely.

    Tags

  • 51

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (21 June 2010 (Facebook))

    A fanmail tonight includes a request for Gawyn to die, and Egwene to hook up with Galad. At least it's not another begging for Rand + Egwene.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Wow. I did not mean to start an epic Gawyn/Galad/Egwene/Rand thread on my Facebook, but I appear to have done so.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Some interesting reading if you're thinking/talking about Gawyn as a character can be found here: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—Wikipedia

    (from the comments)

    One other way to think of it is thus: The Wheel will keep on turning, and the Age that we live in (or like unto it) will someday arrive. Legends from what is happening in these books will have survived, and become the Arthur legends during our day. Or, in other cases, stories of other characters have survived in other mythologies. (Look up the Slavic god Perun sometime.)

    Perrin is not a god, nor is Gawyn the knight of that story I linked. But perhaps someone who lived long ago, in another Age, gave birth to rumors about a young nobleman who made a mistake, and bore the weight of that sin for the rest of his days. And that gave birth to stories, which in turn inspired a poet to write a tale.

    Footnote

    The writer of the fanmail in question posted and elaborated at 13th Depository.

    Tags

  • 52

    Interview: 2010

    Matt Hagerman (1 August 2010)

    Is it harder to write a novel with the amount of detailed notes Mr. Jordan left as opposed to creating the world yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson (2 August 2010)

    Some parts are harder, some parts are easier. The notes mean lots of research before I can write some scenes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That slows me down a lot. But Mr. Jordan was a master worldbuilder, so—in some ways—it is easier. Hard parts have been done.

    Austin Moore

    For WoT specifically, is it tougher to write the good guys or the bad and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In WoT, I'd say the bad guys. We've seen fewer viewpoints from them, so it's tougher to research them, figure them out.

    Brandon King

    If you could be from any nation in Randland, which one and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Malkier, I think. Though others ask me this question, and I think my answer changes. I just think the Malkieri are awesome.

    Footnote

    The last Q&A was found later and added here for date proximity.

    Tags

  • 53

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (10 August 2010)

    @FelixPax You post some curious things. Tell me, did anyone ever ask RJ anything about Ila?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ila is a very mythological name, though. I suspect you are right about its origins.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Though remember, not all of the names are intentionally from mythology. Some just felt right to him, so he chose them.

    Tags

  • 54

    Interview: 2010

    Máté Csarmasz (13 August 2010)

    Does Tear's name have anything to do with the English word (tear), or is it a coincidence only?

    Brandon Sanderson (13 August 2010)

    Robert Jordan said he got names from mythology or, sometimes, they just sounded right. It might have just sounded right.

    Tags

  • 55

    Interview: 2010

    Andrea Millhouse (13 August 2010)

    Compared to the A Memory of Light note content and detail how much was left for the remaining two prequels? Were they as detailed?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 August 2010)

    There are lots of notes for everything. But RJ did not leave any scenes written, which is a big difference.

    MAGGIE MELCHIOR (13 August)

    Will you ever give us annotations for WoT like you did for your other books? Or would Harriet & Co. say no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (14 August)

    This isn't likely to happen, as I don't think Harriet would want me to do it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, a book length work of annotations plus some of Mr. Jordan's notes might be possible. It will be up to Harriet.

    Tags

  • 56

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (3 January 2011)

    The first wind is in the Mountains of Mist; I've always assumed this was a nod to Tolkien's Misty Mountains.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Look in The Way of Kings on the full map of Roshar for something similar.

    SHECKY X

    Well, his Charlestonian background makes the "Two Rivers" the Charleston area, so the "Mountains of Mist" may be...

    SHECKY X

    ... the Smoky Mountains, upstate from his home. (FYI: the Charleston area is defined by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Nice note. I'd never known that.

    LYNN OLIVER

    Listening to WoT on audiobook, first time through series. Book one seems heavily influenced by Tolkien so far.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, book one is very Tolkien influenced. Very. Book two less so. It's almost gone by book three.

    Footnote

    The Way of Kings map doesn't have the Misted Mountains labeled, but they border Shinovar on the east.

    Tags

  • 57

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (3 January 2011)

    And, here we have mention of Anla the Wise Counselor. For those not in the know, there is theorizing on her: http://bit.ly/f8s2T4

    FELIX PAX

    At least one...problem with that link...in "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" RJ refers to Robert Heinlein in The Great Hunt.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Didn't know that. Thanks.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    Will we see any more of those awesome references (Anla, Mosk and Merc, all the other tidbits) in the last book?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    There were some in my [WoT] books that I don't think have been caught yet.

    Tags

  • 58

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Diana Brewster (4 January 2011)

    Do you use Ideal Seek for your WoT research? http://dposey.no-ip.com/IdealSeek/

    Brandon Sanderson (4 January 2011)

    I have my own e-copy in word format of the entire series, to empower me to use searches. I've been to Ideal Seek before, though.

    Tags

  • 59

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (4 January 2011)

    Yes, early WoT is very Tolkien influenced. But several original things really stood out to me when I was younger.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    1) The magic. 2) Strong female protagonists. 3) A woman 'wizard' figure who was far more human than others I'd seen. 4) Tam lives.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Though I like Gandalf, Dumbledore, Belgarath, & Allanon, I prefer Moiraine as a character. (Actually, Allanon always just annoyed me.)

    HARRISON ISRAEL

    I always liked Allanon :(

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's okay. I'm fond of him. But he still annoyed me.

    HAMLETISDEAD

    Can you share what it is about Allanon that annoyed you? I can list a few, but the main reason was his decision making...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mostly the air of mystery and withholding information. Often a problem with people in his role, but he seemed more-so.

    BRYCE NIELSEN

    What about Polgara? :P

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Polgara was awesome. Belgarath was pretty cool too, but Moiraine always feels slightly more real than either one to me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But that's modern Brandon. Teenage Brandon might have thought differently.

    CHRIS WOOD

    But which of those early wizards was your favorite? I liked Belgarath, but Eddings was one of my first series.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As a youth, I often listed Eddings as my favorite author. It wasn't until I was older that WoT took over completely.

    CHRIS WOOD

    I agree, I still read Eddings and suggest him to people who are "new" into fantasy, but it has gone down my list too.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    There is a perfect age to read Eddings, where he resonates best. As you age, something about his characters and plots...stiffens.

    JENN HOGAN

    I am in agreement but I love Belgarath's humor and his devotion to family and his God and his brothers.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Belgarath was interesting also in being an amalgamation of a trickster figure and a wise mentor. By far one of Eddings' most round.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Both him and Polgara. They're both also more powerful than Moiraine. But there's just something about her. True wisdom.

    JOHN STOCKTON

    I was thrown by your "when I was younger" remark until I remembered this series started 20 years ago. Wow.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I started when I was 14 or 15...

    YELLOW

    The WoT names always annoyed me because they're so close to real names. Any chance of dropping a Blixbop into A Memory of Light?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mr. Jordan did this intentionally, to hint that the WoT world was our world in the future (and the past.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's part of the 'feel' of the world. They are close to real names because they ARE real names, just many years removed.

    TADBO

    The females in The Wheel of Time are among the most two-dimensional in the history of fantasy.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I disagree. Case in point: Tolkien's female protagonists. (Which was the comparison I was making.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But even beyond that, you have to remember, this is a society with some skewed gender relationships because of the way magic works.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But Moiraine is hardly two-dimensional. Neither is Nynaeve. They can be annoying, yes, but that's not the same as two-dimensional.

    TADBO

    They scheme, they argue, they tug on their skirts and stamp their feet, or they fall at Rand's feet. Really?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Aviendha is very distinctive. Tuon is very distinctive. Min is very distinctive. Many of the Aes Sedai act as you say, but...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...I see this as an intentional effect of the society they live in.

    ZEERAK WASEEM

    Don't you get annoyed with the females in WoT? The female lead I prefer is Aviendha, the rest are full of themselves.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, I didn't say they didn't annoy me at times. I said they were strong, and I'll add that they are interesting.

    TADBO

    Final note. I would argue that Jordan's female protagonists are MAIN characters, whereas Tolkien's are mainly supporting.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The Tolkien point is valid. However, remember what started this conversation. I was saying things about the WoT that impressed me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One was a large cast of female main characters, something a lot of fantasy by men I'd read was lacking.

    TEREZ

    WoT females are caricaturish, sometimes stereotypical, but not two-dimensional. (This from a female.)

    TADBO

    Yes, caricatures. A better description than two-dimensional.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, different people read things differently. If WoT's women didn't work for you, I understand why, though I don't feel the same.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You're not the only one to feel that way.

    TEREZ

    The fact that I see them as caricatures helps me to enjoy them as characters more. It's RJ's own type of dry humor.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I view them more of products of a society where social norms are different, and women have something 'machismo'-like.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It makes them act similar in places, even though when you see into their souls, there is something deeper.

    TEREZ

    In my opinion this is also true, but the caricature part is an important aspect of accepting ALL WoT characters as they are.

    TEREZ

    They, like the story itself, are ubertropes. There is more to them than that, just as there is more to the story.

    FELIX PAX

    It's as if RJ's sense of humor was written for a theater company on stage. Bombastic, perhaps?

    TEREZ

    I think the word you are looking for is 'exaggerated'. But yes, stage-acting a very good comparison.

    TADBO

    I don't know if I ever saw it as 'dry humor'. The Aes Sedai scared the crap out of me in high school.

    TEREZ

    Well, maybe now that you're a big boy... ;) RJ said he'd rather hunt leopards...

    TADBO

    True enough. XD

    TEREZ

    I mean, have you SEEN the map of Tar Valon? It's supposed to be funny, people. And serious at the same time, of course.

    JAMES FURLONG

    Haha! Just clicked on, never noticed THAT before. Hoho!

    HBFFERREIRA

    LOL Never noticed it before either.

    KAREN BASKINS

    LOL! In nearly twenty years of reading WoT, I never took notice of the Tar Valon map. Thank you for the laugh. I needed that. :-)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've wondered about the map for Tar Valon. That...well, that can't be an accident. I've never asked Team Jordan, though.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Needless to say, it wasn't something I noticed when I was a teen.

    TEREZ

    Someone asked RJ about it. Sort of. His answer was hilarious.

    RICHARD FIFE

    Ya know, for some odd reason, I never really saw the map of Tar Valon. Now I'll never unsee it...

    TEREZ

    Indeed, it cannot be unseen. :)

    MATT HATCH

    ...wow, this really changes how I view the siege, harbor, and the iron chain becoming cuendillar.

    TEREZ

    You are such a perv, boss.

    MATT HATCH

    Showed my wife the map. Her immediate reaction: "Oh, Jim Rigney." Big smile.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You'd never seen that before?

    TEREZ

    He had. Was just inspired by the moment to show it to his wife. And he'd never seen the quote. :)

    MATT HATCH

    I'd seen it...it was a while back; I remember thinking "really???" This reminded me and the quote made it hilarious.

    TEREZ

    Could give a whole new meaning to 'Rand had daydreamed over Master al'Vere's old map...'

    TEREZ

    '...half the boys in Emond's Field had daydreamed over it.'

    NICHOLAS BROWN

    To the blind... what am I seeing? I see a fish or a submarine. Is there something else?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Hm. How to do this without going places I don't care to go... Maybe a link will suffice. http://bit.ly/gMSLt6

    Tags

  • 60

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    James Powell (4 January 2011)

    Does having written for the Wheel of Time change the way you engage with it as a reader now?

    Brandon Sanderson (4 January 2011)

    Yes, a great deal. Though I don't know if I can explain it in 140-character bursts. :)

    Tags

  • 61

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (5 January 2011)

    People (mostly my editor) complain about my capitalization of magic-related terms. (Push and Pull in Mistborn.) I learned from RJ.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll admit, keeping track of which terms are upper case while writing these can be hard. Warder, for example, is capitalized.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. I love @GrammarGirl. She says: "Refer your editor to the section on capitalizing Platonic ideals: http://j.mp/18T09Z

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    When younger, I thought Rand's first Channeling was lightning in Four Kings. It wasn't until later that I caught the Bela thing.

    TEREZ

    No, 'channeling' is NOT capitalized. :)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's the one I most think should be. We always have to search/replace it after I write a book.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    Why did you use the word 'magic' in Towers of Midnight? It never showed up in WoT before that.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    RJ used the word a couple of times in the series.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    Did he? Because I remember being jarred out of the narrative when I saw it mentioned in Towers of Midnight. Seemed really incongruous.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, a couple of times. Mostly in earlier books. In Aviendha's vision, though, it was supposed to be incongruous.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This is (presumably) many, many years in the future. Language and usage has changed.

    Footnote

    The word 'magic' was actually only used once (in The Eye of the World Chapter 33). Brandon used 'magics' in Towers of Midnight Chapter 48 in Aviendha's POV, but he also used 'magical' in Faile's POV in Towers of Midnight Chapter 16 (neither word appears anywhere else in the series).

    Tags

  • 62

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Question

    Which of the three (Elayne, Min, Aviendha) do you like best? I'm not asking which one Rand is going to get; which one is your favorite?

    Robert Jordan

    All my female characters are based on my wife. Am I supposed to dislike something about her?

    Tags

  • 63

    Interview: Oct 26th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Overheard early during the signing: the history of the Da'shain Aiel is based on the history of the Cheyenne Indians during their several-generation migration from east of the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains—a period in which every man's hand was raised against them.

    Don Harlow

    Similarity between words 'shain' and 'Cheyenne' noted by me after hearing this.

    Tags

  • 64

    Interview: Oct 27th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    We talked a bit about the Aiel culture. Robert constantly referred to the Amer-Indian, Arab, and African cultures. In particular, how come they don't show signs of being malnourished? "Belly dancers live in the desert and yet, have been known to be full bodied. It is the people who have had their fields burned that might be a little malnourished."

    Tags

  • 65

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Austin Moore (6 January 2011)

    So what exactly is different about the outline you are making this time compared to for The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight? Besides...

    AUSTIN MOORE

    ...them being different books.

    Brandon Sanderson (6 January 2011)

    Afraid I can't answer that without giving too much away.

    Tags

  • 66

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (6 January 2011)

    First non-Rand viewpoint is Perrin, at about the 38% mark. RJ's juggling of viewpoints is something I didn't see until I was older.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Many a new fantasy writer, fresh off a WoT book, plans and plots a huge epic with twenty viewpoints. That can be overwhelming to start.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Both WoT and GRRM ease into it more than you realize. In most cases, it's better to build to complexity.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'd forgotten that Perrin nearly decides to drop his axe in the water as he swims. But he keeps it, almost against logic.

    VARGA TAMÁS

    Are there actually clues in WoT that you did not find so far? That's cool.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I always find new things when I reread.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Good suggestion: @Terez27 says if you have a WoT question, and want to see if it's been asked before, you can direct it to her first.

    AARON J

    Skipped your tweets when you warned against spoilers; are you on a #wotrr binge at the moment? Can I read without worry?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For the next four months, I'll be doing the reread. Spoilers will be present, but hopefully vague enough to not ruin things.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But I'll be posting about the reread almost every day.

    Tags

  • 67

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Alex Lund (7 January 2011)

    I was wondering what nation the Seanchan relate to in real life. I can peg the rest...

    Brandon Sanderson (7 January 2011)

    Mix of Japan and Texas, mostly. There's no perfect correlation.

    Tags

  • 68

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Quartzlyn (7 January 2011)

    LOVING the way you write all of the WoT characters, especially Aviendha! Thank you :)

    Brandon Sanderson (7 January 2011)

    I've been waiting for some more Aviendha in the books, and was glad for a chance to slip her in some more.

    Tags

  • 69

    Interview: 2010

    Terez (16 August 2010)

    Are there many themes in WoT that will only become clear as we read the final two books? Things going back to early books?

    Brandon Sanderson (17 August 2010)

    I think so.

    Tags

  • 70

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (17 August 2010)

    Q: When do you start A Memory of Light? (Asked with a smile, but with real curiosity too I'm sure.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    A: I start it January 1st. I'm taking four months to relax my brain and work on something else, to refresh myself and keep creative.

    Tags

  • 71

    Interview: 2010

    Shivam Bhatt (8 November 2010)

    Do you think you'll actually be able to wrap up the story in A Memory of Light? Seems like a lot of endgame threads still open.

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    I have no plans to split the book again. I am 2/3 through the outline. Anything can happen, but it looks like one.

    Tags

  • 72

    Interview: 2010

    Spencer Pranger (8 November 2010)

    Why is Hoid trying to restore the Pattern?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    Lol. Hoid has no involvement in anything WoT. :)

    Tags

  • 73

    Interview: 2010

    Matthías Páli (8 November 2010)

    How many rounds are there in the Age of Legends game sha'rah?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    MAFO.

    Maria Simons

    I can't answer that MAFO off the top of my head.

    Maria Simons

    (later) I don't know.

    Tags

  • 74

    Interview: 2010

    Brian Cayen (8 November 2010)

    You've said in the past that Aviendha's voice was one the hardest for you to write....is this still the case?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    It still takes the longest to prepare for, but it is no longer as difficult as it was.

    Tags

  • 75

    Interview: 2010

    Luke Piper (8 November 2010)

    Which character kept you up at night worrying the most?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    Rand. In both books.

    Tags

  • 76

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (10 January 2011)

    Pop quiz: What is the first thing that makes Perrin hate his axe? (It's something I've always found very interesting about him.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's not Whitecloaks, though that's a good guess. Perrin thinks if the ravens attack, he'll kill Egwene & save her from a worse death.

    LORI ELENA MELE

    Ah, I'd forgotten about that. Elyas goading him about it didn't help either, as I recall.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, Elyas all but taunted the truth out of him.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Regarding how Elyas goads Perrin in that scene: I'm sure he knew exactly what Perrin was thinking, and wanted to make him confront it.

    TEREZ

    Well, yeah. Perrin didn't say anything about what he was thinking. Elyas said it all, exactly what he was thinking.

    TEREZ

    Both his true motivations—choosing her death—and the motivations he feared (which were stupid, of course).

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    No. Elyas claims that he thinks Perrin hates Egwene. Which is dead wrong, and Elyas knew it.

    TEREZ

    Right, that's what I was saying. Both his true motivations and the stupid ones. Elyas mocks him for the latter.

    TEREZ

    And then spells out what he really wanted: 'One clean blow of your axe, or the way the animals we saw today died?'

    TEREZ

    It's not that Perrin was thinking he hated her. He was hating himself for wanting to help her, which was dumb.

    TEREZ

    Which of course led to a philosophical conversation similar to Second Amendment debates. Which was ongoing, of course.

    TEREZ

    Did the axe make Perrin more likely to kill? Than before? Than with the hammer? What about the sword, and the spear?

    TEREZ

    I see it as Elyas very blatantly pointing out the flaw in Perrin's logic. He didn't hate her—that was exactly the flaw.

    TEREZ

    Didn't hate her, but he hated the axe, and that was a good thing. Never stopped. (Another good cover @torbooks)

    Tags

  • 77

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Ted Herman

    The second signing session of the day was local, just a short drive up a rainy, traffic filled highway. This one had a Q&A session also, same restrictions on autographs though (two hardcovers, no personalization per trip in line). RJ seemed like he wanted to get going quickly for an early trip to the next stop tomorrow, so I only went through the line once.

    Robert Jordan

    In the Q&A, everyone was using the same questions that are answered in just about every Q&A RJ does, or at least recently: about writing female POVs, about compiling his notes, how does he store all the info about the plots and characters, etc... He did give some new info/answers on a couple of topics. He did repeat the tidbit about writing additional side stories that was on Wotmania today. He mentioned that he hates Apple computers because the early versions were not compatible with each other :p He mentioned if a mini series is done on NBC, there might be other sequel series on showtime or sci-fi channel.

    Tags

  • 78

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (11 January 2011)

    I'm now onto the last part of The Eye of the World. I've mentioned before that I, personally, find this the roughest part of the entire series.

    FELIX PAX

    Worse than books between Lord of Chaos and Winter's Heart? Really?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, honestly. I've mentioned before I don't have the problem with those that others do.

    DOVI JOEL

    Do you mean roughest as in not well written? I love that part, I find it so epic (especially when the Creator talks to him). [Note: this is Dovi Joel's assumption.]

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    None of it is poorly written. In fact, some of the scenes—such as the Ways—are wonderful.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's just that it seems like we have a different book, with different goals, starting on us here.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The climax for The Eye of the World doesn't completely click for me. I like the Ways, I like the Blight, but the entire package feels too sudden.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    We spend the entire book with Tar Valon as our goal and Ba'alzamon as villain. Now, the Eye is the goal and two Forsaken are villains.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Personally, I think this is due to RJ planning books 1-3 as one novel, then discovering it was too much and creating a break-point.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    To be fair, I feel I had some of the same problems at the end of Mistborn. Powers manifest that I could have foreshadowed better.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One of the great challenges as a writer, particularly in fantasy, is to learn that balance of foreshadowing vs. pacing.

    BONZI

    And I would think, foreshadowing effectively vs. giving away too much.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, exactly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (11 JANUARY)

    For those curious, I'm reasonably sure books 1-3 were one novel at first. Tom Doherty, CEO of Tor, told me in detail of RJ's WoT pitch.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    He pitched a trilogy, but the first book ended with Rand taking the sword (that wasn't a sword) from the Stone (that wasn't a stone.)

    MICHAEL REYNOLDS

    The sword in the stone!!! How on Earth did I miss that? :shame:

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Lol. I missed it the first time too. And things like Caemlyn, Egwene, Gawyn, Galad, Merrilin. I at least got Artur Hawkwing...

    MICHAEL REYNOLDS

    Ever feel like RJ removed any possibility of borrowing from any mythology ever again? He seemingly hit 'em all buffet-style.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Actually, I've felt that very thing.

    JAMES POWELL

    I'd heard that one reason that WOT is so long is that Tor asked RJ for "more books", and he thought they meant "more WOT".

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's not actually true, from what I know. Tor never pushed RJ for more books. He was allowed to what he wanted, as he wanted.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    People are noting George R.R. Martin expanded A Song of Ice and Fire also. RJ and GRRM are similar types of writers: http://bit.ly/e59ox0 Search for 'gardener.'

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm am more of an architect than a gardener. I do more 'gardening' on character, but I plan world and plot very extensively.

    FELIX PAX

    Did RJ have a cluster of concepts, themes or concepts written down in his notes? Mindmaps? To create his story's "garden"?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, many.

    FELIX PAX (17 JANUARY)

    What do you think of the literary method of foreshadowing by saying something is impossible to do or will not occur?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think it can work very well. RJ certainly did it quite a bit. You need to be somewhat subtle with it, though.

    Tags

  • 79

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (12 January 2011)

    It's interesting to see how much Loial adds to these scenes. His personality is a balancing factor; calm, knowledgeable, not arrogant.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    And yet, Loial disappears in the end game. Please bring him back for the finale!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills, and I do as I must.

    KYLE WEST

    Is it hard for you to still enjoy the series now that you are "behind the scenes"?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think I enjoy it more, now, actually. Though I am a little sad not to be able to read new WoT books when everyone else does.

    Tags

  • 80

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Thomas Grossnickle (12 January 2011)

    What philosophies have influenced WoT? I feelt a bit of the Hindu Creator, Preserver, & Destroyer ...

    THOMAS GROSSNICKLE

    ...with Lews Therin an avatar of preservation and Rand the Destroyer...

    THOMAS GROSSNICKLE

    Who destroys the world when it is beyond preserving, only to create it anew.

    Brandon Sanderson (12 January 2011)

    I see a lot of that too. I'm convinced RJ blended something from most major philosophies and mythologies into the books.

    Tags

  • 81

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brian LePoidevin (17 January 2011)

    Pardon me if this has been asked a million times but what did you find heartbreaking to write in Towers of Midnight? Noal? Aiel future?

    Brandon Sanderson (17 January 2011)

    Aiel future, all the way. And the death of a certain character related to Perrin.

    JEFF EDDE

    Possibly a RAFO, but will you find A Memory of Light to be even more heartbreaking to write?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It WILL be heartbreaking, if only because it's the last. I can't say if it will be heartbreaking for similar reasons or not.

    Tags

  • 82

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Emil Schuffhausen (17 January 2011)

    I have six chapters left in The Eye of the World, should catch up by tonight. What scene are you most looking forward to in The Great Hunt?

    Brandon Sanderson (17 January 2011)

    I love the ending. Probably that.

    TJ

    While doing your #wotrr, notice the metaphors. Loved RJ's style there. Not noticed in new book. Great though. Halfway so far.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Every time I try to do a Jordan-esque metaphor, I fail, so I remove it. It's an aspect of his style I can't imitate, I'm afraid.

    TJ

    Aw man, I believe you're not giving yourself enough credit, but I'll respect it. Thanks again!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll keep an eye on it. Maybe I'll figure it out. But often it's better to do things in my style rather than to poorly imitate RJ.

    JAN CARRICK

    Will you attempt to move closer to RJ's descriptive style in A Memory of Light? You were close in The Gathering Storm, but departed from that in Towers of Midnight.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm afraid I knew from the beginning that I couldn't imitate RJ's style. I try in some ways, but I am not him.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I will write the book the best way I know how, but will not be trying to imitate RJ. I WILL strive for character voice accuracy.

    JAN CARRICK

    Well, the descriptive style is a central feature of WoT. I don't think being more descriptive would constitute imitation.

    JAN CARRICK

    I'm asking because your narrative style was much closer to RJ in The Gathering Storm. I was surprised to see you move away from that in Towers of Midnight.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, I see. You don't mean "Describe in the way RJ did." You mean "Please describe more."

    CHRIS B.

    Do you take notes, besides twittering, during #wotrr?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Many.

    MATT H.

    Can you put all of your notes online somewhere? Come on, that's easy...right?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Lol. Those would have so many spoilers in them it would cause several people's heads to explode.

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  • 83

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    David Hager (20 January 2011)

    To write, "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass..." for the final time—any thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson (20 January 2011)

    I'll try to do a post when I do it.

    Tags

  • 84

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    John Anderson (24 February 2011)

    Given how RJ went to great length in an attempt to synchronize his plotlines before the finale, don't you feel that you had...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...an obligation not to destabilize the chronology the way you ended up doing? With all due respect, I think time has shown...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...that it was a massive mistake structuring The Gathering Storm/Towers of Midnight the way you did. Which is a shame, since your WoT-writing is GOOD.

    Brandon Sanderson (25 February 2011)

    I'm afraid I don't follow you. The plotlines weren't synchronized in previous WoT books.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I realize there may be disagreement, and am not offended by it. But I maintain that the structure of The Gathering Storm/Towers of Midnight is the right one.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I only had two choices with The Gathering Storm. Have a book more like Crossroads of Twilight with lots of slices of all characters, but without complete arcs for any...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Or do what I did, and make a Rand/Egwene book and a Mat/Perrin book with some time jumping.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Of course, this wouldn't have been a problem if it would have been possible to do a single, 600k word volume.

    JOHN ANDERSON (26 FEBRUARY)

    No, but the books showed that RJ was trying to synchronize the plotlines for the finale—sometimes at the reader's expense.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    This, combined with RJ's statements that the finale would need to be one book, suggests to me that he had a very strong wish...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...to tell the final part of the story in a more traditional chronological manner. Of course, this couldn't be published in...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...one volume, but the story still could've been told the way RJ wanted it to be told. The story just loses so much due to...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...this division. Take Rand and Perrin's scene at Dragonmount, for example. I feel these scenes were MEANT to be told in parallel.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...as opposed to one year and 500 pages apart.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    I believe that a slow The Gathering Storm and fast-paced Towers of Midnight would've been by far the best choice from a literary point of view.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    This would also lead to fewer continuity errors and better coherence in terms of both themes and action.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    The biggest mistake, for me, was the insistence on publishing before you had the full overview, i.e. before you had written...

    JOHN ANDERSON

    ...the whole part of the story that needed to be divided. The result is a structural mess far worse than Crossroads of Twilight. No offense.:)

    JOHN ANDERSON

    What annoys me is that you write WoT so well that this could've been a spectacular ending if told the way I feel RJ wanted.

    JOHN ANDERSON

    I would very much like to hear what you think about this. I'm disappointed at the way this was done, but mean no offense.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (28 FEBRUARY)

    No offense taken. You have some points. For the Hardcore breaking the book mid-story may have been better.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, the average WoT fan would have found those books a much less rewarding experience.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    In a perfect world, we could have delayed another year and just released them one after another, two months apart.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then I could have cut the books as you suggest. That wasn't viable, however, because of the constraints placed upon me.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One of those constraints is that The Gathering Storm HAD to be a homerun. It had to be extremely powerful, not slow.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It had been years since a WoT book, and with a new writer working on it...well, we just couldn't have a slow half-book.

    COLIN WILSON (26 FEBRUARY)

    I agree with having complete arcs in The Gathering Storm but why interweave chapters in Towers of Midnight? Why not catch up first? (interested, not cross)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I tried to do so, but the book was feeling 'off' by sticking Perrin's narrative all at the front. Beyond that, chapter one had to be Rand.

    JAN CARRICK

    Why did Rand have to be in chapter one? To me, knowing he was alright pretty much killed the suspension of the other characters' threads.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (28 FEBRUARY)

    Hard to explain. It was simply the place that scene had to go.

    HBFFERREIRA (27 FEBRUARY)

    Both novels gave us closure for some plots, instead of The Gathering Storm giving us none. For what it's worth, I think you did great.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (28 FEBRUARY)

    Thanks. I didn't think it was that hard to follow. The only potential problem is Tam.

    Footnote

    Tam was the biggest problem for the more casual fans, but the hard core fans tended to have a bigger problem with the separation between Rand's and Perrin's points of view at Dragonmount. But you had something similar with several groups experiencing the cleansing of saidin, in one way or another, in Crossroads of Twilight.

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  • 85

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    James Powell (27 February 2011)

    Kaladin's situation in Bridge Four reminded me a lot of Egwene's in The Gathering Storm—did you think of this at all writing either?

    Brandon Sanderson (28 February 2011)

    Though the Bridge Four situation was written first many years ago, and the Egwene situation was RJ's and not mine, I DID notice.

    Tags

  • 86

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (11 March 2011)

    The scene of Perrin at the forge in Tear is one of my outright favorites. People often ask if killing characters is tough...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...Yes it is. But writing the Towers of Midnight scene with Perrin and the hammer he got here in Tear was more emotional for me than most deaths.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (12 MARCH)

    I have finished The Dragon Reborn (finally) on my re-read. Next up, my favorite of the books. The Shadow Rising.

    Tags

  • 87

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (18 March 2011)

    This Thom scene in The Shadow Rising chapter 17 is an absolute gem of writing. Wonderful characterizations, excellent motion, powerful reversals.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Guys, when I talk about how to write a great scene, THIS is what I mean.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Notice that the Siuan mentions that the Blight is retreating in this chapter. Hmmm... Wonder why...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I remember reading somewhere that some think this was an effect of the Eye of the World's usage. Hmm...

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    Brandon is probably hinting here that it rather has something to do with the Fisher King prophecies.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Thom, speaking of how future ages may see him: "Not a gleeman—but what? Not eating fire, but hurling it about like an Aes Sedai..."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Will you believe that, in my youth, it wasn't until around that moment that I caught the Thom/Merlin connection?

    OWENSMTO

    Don't feel too bad. I didn't catch the Mat/Odin connection until very recently. And Perrin is Thor, it seems. heh.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I believe there's actually a Slavic god of the forge named "Perun" or something along those lines.

    NATHAN ANDRUS

    Thom/Merlin connection? I don't see it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Look really closely at Thom's last name.

    Tags

  • 88

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Question

    About skill comparisons between main character swordsmen:

    Robert Jordan

    "Read the book." About the forms used: I was curious, so I asked if he had studied the sword fighting arts or just researched. It's research, and the forms come from Japanese sword fighting and some European fencing, before the advent of well-designed and well-made guns made swords obsolete. He mentioned one book in particular, but I can't remember the title... :(

    Tags

  • 89

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Question

    Physics/Math background and how it affected his writing:

    Robert Jordan

    —only marginally useful

    —structure

    —Schrödinger's Cat and other Quantum Physics stuff helps with conceptualization of fantasy structure.

    —His editor (also his wife) said that the physics and math was more important than he gave it credit for. ;)

    Tags

  • 90

    Interview: Oct 31st, 1994

    Judy Ghirardelli

    Next time through (for my next 3 books): Is the Tower of Ghenjei based on the dark tower from the story of Childe Roland?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Judy Ghirardelli

    (Sorry Emma—it sounded like a good idea to me...)

    Tags

  • 91

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Sense of Wonder

    From the October/November 1994 issue of Sense of Wonder, a B. Dalton publication

    It's an exciting fall for fans of Robert Jordan's phenomenal series The Wheel of Time. Book Five: The Fires of Heaven, which was a New York Times best-seller, finally came out in paperback this September, and the long-awaited sixth book, Lord of Chaos, will be out in hardcover this October. Since this series has captured the imagination of so many readers, I asked Robert Jordan to talk to Sense of Wonder readers about the inspiration behind his remarkable Wheel of Time series.

    Robert Jordan

    The first inspiration was the thought of what it was really like to be tapped as the savior of mankind. In a lot of books that have somebody who is the "chosen one" if you will, it seems that the world quickly divides into allies who are strongly behind the "chosen one" and the evil guys. It seemed to me that if somebody is chosen to be the savior, there is going to be a good bit of resistance, both "let this cup pass from me," and a lot of people who aren't going to be that happy to have a savior show up, even if they are on his side nominally. That established, I began to think about the world.

    What I'm trying to do here is rather complex. The usual thing is to either tell a sweeping story that is, in effect, the history of a nation or a people, or to tell a tighter story that is very much inside the heads of individuals themselves. I am trying to do the stories of individual people, a large number of them, at the same time as I tell the story of a world. I want to give readers an entire picture of this world—not just its current history and situation, but its past as well. That's hard to do at the same time we're so deeply involved with individual characters. The complexity of that combination is one of the reasons the darn thing has gone on as long as it has.

    There are a number of themes that run through the series. There's the good old basic struggle between good and evil, with an emphasis on the difficulty in recognizing what is god and what is evil. There's also the difficulty in deciding how far you can go in fighting evil. I like to think of it as a scale. At one end you hold purely to your own ideals no matter what the cost, with the result that possibly evil wins. At the other end, you do anything and everything to win, with the result that maybe it doesn't make much difference whether you've won or evil has won. There has to be some sort of balance found in the middle, and it's very difficult to find.

    Another recurring theme is lack of information, and the mutability of information. No one knows everything. Everyone has to operate on incomplete knowledge, and quite often they know they are operating on incomplete knowledge, but they still have to make decisions. The reader quite often knows that the reason why a character is doing something is totally erroneous, but it's still the best information that the character in the book has. I like to explore the changeability of knowledge, the way that, in the beginning, characters see things in one way, and as they grow and learn more, we and they find out that what they knew as the truth wasn't necessarily the whole truth. Sometimes it's hardly the truth at all. When Rand and the rest first met Moiraine, they saw her as an Aes Sedai, and they thought of her as being practically omnipotent. It's only as they go along that they begin to find out that the Aes Sedai have limits. In the beginning everyone says the White Tower makes thrones dance and kings and queens play at their command, but the characters begin to find out that, yes, the White Tower has certainly manipulated a lot of thrones, but it's hardly all-powerful. Characters learn more about the truth as time goes on, and sometimes found out that what they knew before was only the first layer of the onion. That's a major theme, really, in the whole series, that changeability—the way something starts out seeming to be one simple thing, and slowly it is revealed to have a number of very complex layers.

    But for all the grand events and great hoop-la and whoop-de-do going on, the things that really interest me more than anything else are the characters themselves. How they change. How they don't change. How they relate to each other. The people fascinate me. And, of course, there are things happening that major characters sometimes don't even see, and the reader sometimes does. There's a lot going on beneath the surface that major characters don't realize, despite the fact that they do see a lot of what seems very furious activity.

    Tags

  • 92

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Harriet McDougal

    When we got to the head of the line, Harriet was taking the books, and opening them to get them ready. I handed her a copy of Reagan O'Neal's The Fallon Blood, and asked if he would mind signing it. She exclaimed over how long it had been since she'd seen that book.

    Robert Jordan

    He exclaimed over it too, and signed it 'Reagan O'Neal'. I asked him if Lord Valentine's Castle in any way inspired the menagerie scenes and he said, "No."

    Tags

  • 93

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    And that resonates in Perrin's fighting his way toward Rand in the climatic scene in this battle. He basically refuses to think of them as males or females, because if he thought of the person in front of him, trying to kill him, as a female—because there is a mixture of both in the group they are fighting—he wouldn't be able to proceed, and he'd end up being killed. So he has to blank that out of his mind so he can be purely reactive. So it's almost a repeat of that.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, in a way it is. It's something that comes out of the way they think. And it fits with the society, as well, as it's been devised. Three thousand years ago men destroyed the world. In effect, O.K. it was the male Aes Sedai, but it was MEN that did it. For three thousand years the world has been afraid of men who can channel. You have that sort of history, and women are going to have power, women are going to have influence and prestige. There is not going to be the same sort of subjugation of women you find in other cultures in our world. Given that, and given the fact that men are, quite simply, stronger than women. There's no two ways about it, on the average man is stronger than woman.

    Fast Forward

    We're talking physically stronger.

    Robert Jordan

    Right. Physically stronger. It's going to be, in many cases, a very strong cultural prohibition against a man using that strength against a woman. It seemed to me to fit very well with the way the cultures are set up.

    Tags

  • 94

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    4. I heard about the hoax. Thanks for the printout of the posting. I suppose whoever posted it thought this book—The Westing Game—had some influence on some part of my writing. I'll have to try finding it; it would help, of course, if I knew whether it was fiction or non-fiction, and who the author is. Or maybe it's part of the hoax, too. The Eddings War? The Grin Thingy War? The Lanfear Trials? Elucidate further, my dear. Sorry to hear of so many falling by the wayside.

    A note: Taim, whether you mispronounce it as TAME or pronounce it correctly as tah-EEM, doesn't rhyme with the others. Isn't anyone required to write poetry in school anymore? Of course, that dates me to the Dark Ages by most peoples' view, but I can still knock off a fairly good sonnet, Elizabethan or later.

    Tags

  • 95

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    5. Re: the Forsaken working together. Do some reading on Hitler's henchmen. Also Stalin's, and Mao's. There are plenty of other examples, but these are probably the easiest to find. In each case you find that the fellows were out for what they could get and just as likely to try pulling down one of their so-called compatriots, or at least undercut him, as to help if that was the route to greater power. Check out Goebbels-Goring-Himmler and Beria-Molotov-Kruschev, for examples, these are much easier to document than that Chinese tangle.

    The question of what is evil is always difficult on the one hand and easy on the other. Is the sexual abuse of a child evil? I think that it is; I can see no excuse; I would offer no mercy. An octogenarian friend and I used to discuss the nature of evil, until he died. He would protest when I brought up something such as the Holocaust, say (though he was Jewish), because he wanted to keep it all on a level of purely Platonic ideals. It was always an effort for me to do that. To me, evil is real and palpable. The problem is, and always has been defining it. Harming someone without cause? Hitler had cause, a reason, [a carat and line leading to "however moral it was" in parentheses in blue ink] for murdering millions of people; so did Stalin and Mao. At the other end, how much harm? If you tell a lie that causes two people to argue, you have done harm, but was the act evil, or merely wrong? There are infinite shadings of degree, intent and effect to take into account.

    Footnote

    See RJ's next letter to Carolyn for more discussion on this point.

    Tags

  • 96

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (11 April 2011)

    Working on a scene that RJ wrote part of. In some ways, those are the toughest ones. Most time consuming, at least.

    AUSTIN MOORE

    How much do you usually have to change of RJ's scenes? Just the first part and the last so it fits in well or what?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Depends on the scene. If I'm lucky, it's what you explained. But getting my parts to match can be a LOT of work.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's especially true if it's a new character, without a viewpoint narrative I can study except for the unfinished scene.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Some of the scenes need more, as they are first drafts RJ intended to revise. I try not to change too much, but some of the scenes were ones where he was careful to lay down important things—like motivation—first, but didn't work on setting very much. (I'm working on one of those now.)

    DAVEJUSTDAVE

    RE: reworking RJ's scenes. Ever get tired and goof? "As Rand reached for the Shardblade..er...Callandor"...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. No, I haven't done that. Usually when writing WoT I make sure I'm very steeped in reading it at the time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (12 APRIL)

    Scene I worked on yesterday is done. A Memory of Light is now at 2% done. (Assuming a 300k length, or about the length of The Gathering Storm.)

    DAVID WILSON

    How fast do you expect the % to increase? I'm not badgering, just curious :)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    My goal is 2-3% a week while doing the reread. Then to step it up a bit from there.

    FELIX

    On a more serious note, which book are up to your #wotrr project?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Book five. I've completed two scenes from A Memory of Light as well.

    Tags

  • 97

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (14 April 2011)

    Yes, Delta has free twitter again on this flight. I will try my best to get work done. Why is it so much more tempting while flying?

    LUCKERS

    Wanna have a detailed conversation about something? We already did sexuality in the Wheel.

    LUCKERS

    Seriously, its 4am here, I'm feeling loopy and sad not to be at JordanCon... I'm go for anything.

    LUCKERS

    Reverse the normal vibe. Ask me questions. :P

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Bad Luckers. Go to sleep, let him work.

    LUCKERS

    Hush.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, we could get into how timid a lot of us fantasy writers are about writing black viewpoint protagonists.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It is noticeable to me. I don't think it's intentional bias, and if it is, it's worry about doing something wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But you see a lot of black side characters (in film too) but few black leading men.

    LUCKERS

    Interesting point actually... a form of reverse-racism. The fear that you are going to step wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. You can read up on something called "Racefail" in the sff community from a few years back, if you want.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Google it. You'll find some interesting points along these lines.

    LUCKERS

    I did so, and yeah I see what you mean.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I do wonder if it also has to do with not having racially integrated kingdoms (as makes sense) in fantasy.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    So, if you want to tell a story about one kingdom, it naturally follows that you end up with a lot of people of the same race.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you add someone else to be racially diverse—but that person you add becomes, by nature, the outsider.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Which, of course, only reinforces the bias, despite attempts at being diverse. It's a tough nut to crack.

    LUCKERS

    That does make sense—though I like RJ's futuristic blending of races. Sharan, Tairen, Seanchan—the blend has no meaning.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I'm not so sure this is completely true; it's probably quite significant that the Empress of Seanchan, an empire despised mostly because of slavery, is a black woman (not because it's significant in the WoT world, but because it isn't). It might also be significant that the only other known slavery of the WoT world is in Shara, which parallels Africa in many ways, including the dark-skinned natives. The dark-skinned Tairens are unique in Randland proper for their feudalistic serfdom.

    LUCKERS

    For myself, I write fantasy set in modern times—I touch on race heavily but have avoided aboriginal issues.

    LUCKERS

    Which wasn't intentional.

    JAMES POWELL

    Often, when reading a book, I don't know what colour a character's skin is—it's rarely described.

    JAMES POWELL

    I suspect this is to do with "white" = "default". The best exception I've seen is @neilhimself's Anansi Boys.

    LUCKERS

    I don't think it's white=default so much as caution about giving offense...at least on my part.

    JAMES POWELL

    I often wonder if having one black character (amid a load of white characters) is worse than having none.

    LUCKERS

    It's funny, I never realised but I have no black characters in my book, and thinking about it it's likely...

    LUCKERS

    ...because I've no idea how to write an aboriginal viewpoint. I lack the insight—though that's wrong in itself...

    LUCKERS

    ...because there will be many black and aboriginal people with an upbringing similar to mine.

    LUCKERS

    Tokenism, and the perception thereof, is an issue. Brandon's revelation of a gay character in Towers of Midnight received...

    LUCKERS

    ...some very... heated... attention based on this.

    JAMES POWELL

    Yeah, but the revelation of a gay anything causes heated attention somewhere ;)

    LUCKERS

    This is true. My high school graduation was no exception. :P

    JAMES POWELL

    Oh aye? Did you ask for a Gay Diploma? ;)

    LUCKERS

    Made out with a guy on the dance floor... it was rather dramatic, but easier than explaining.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. Tokenism is a real danger. And it's tough to do these things without stepping into this trap.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    On one side, you have GLBT readers emailing me and asking sincerely to be better represented.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you have RJ saying to fans "Yes, there are gay characters. It just hasn't been right to mention it yet."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, when the time is right to mention one, how do you keep it from feeling just like a token nod?

    LUCKERS

    On the other hand, from the perspective of a minority that has only very recently received airtime...

    LUCKERS

    ...seeing anything is kind of... well, nice. I can remember being young and avidly watching Dawson's Creek...

    LUCKERS

    ...for the characters who, by today's standards, are very much tokens.

    LUCKERS

    Avoiding a token nod: by not making it the main point. But even so, if he's the only one, he'll be seen that way.

    LUCKERS

    For all that she's a bad guy, Galina's lesbianism was the perfect non-token introduction.

    LUCKERS

    Lord of Chaos Chapter 53, her attentions to Erian....

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm curious. Did you ever read Rose of the Prophet? If so, what did you think of the gay character?

    LUCKERS

    Haha... you asked me this last time—but no. It's on my list now, but hard to find in Australia.

    LUCKERS

    She's also Mormon, no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I liked them as a teenager, but haven't read them in years. If I remember right, however, the gay character...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...falls into the "safe gay friend" category that you see used so often in film, though he has a lot more depth.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The gay man is a major viewpoint protagonist, but his sexuality is very subtle. [Tracy] Hickman is LDS, but not Margaret [Weis].

    PETER AHLSTROM

    And Tracy Hickman is a guy.

    LUCKERS

    Really? *goes red in the face* I've been referring to him as a her for YEARS.

    LUCKERS

    Have you read R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I keep meaning to read it. I think I even bought a copy. But I haven't yet.

    LUCKERS

    It's awesome. I raised it because it has a very poignant depiction character confused about his sexuality.

    LUCKERS

    Here's a question based on 'subtlety'—like the depiction of the black character, can an overly camp character work?

    LUCKERS

    In one of my early drafts I had a camp gay man, and I was accused of homophobia... it's kind of the same point...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As an aside, I really wish "homophobia" hadn't stuck as the term of choice in these matters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I guess "homoinsensitivitia" didn't have the right ring to it.

    LUCKERS

    Fear of singularity in sexuality. Sounds like Star Trek jargon.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    This point came up in the flamewar that followed Brandon's revelation about the gay man on Dragonmount (referenced earlier by Luckers). I think that the connotations of the word are independent of the word itself, and would have likely stuck to whatever word we might have used instead of 'homophobia' (because 'phobia' itself doesn't always have connotations of hatred). In reality, there are many degrees of homophobia ranging from squick to hate, but those on the squick side tend to resent the word being applied to them as it implies a socially unacceptable prejudice.

    RI SCOTT

    On the gay character question, why do you think fantasy, in general, so badly underrepresents the LGBT community?

    RI SCOTT

    It's one thing that deeply bothers me about a genre I love so dearly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    If I had to say, I'd guess it's not intentional. It has more to do with what I posted earlier—authors not wanting to do it wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That, mixed with the desire to create sympathetic characters—and the most simple way to do that is create someone like yourself.

    RI SCOTT

    I always wondered if there was any marketability concern—that books would sell less with major gay characters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Maybe. But most writers/editors I know don't think that way. They write the book they want to, then figure out how to market it.

    LUCKERS

    I've had so much fun hanging out with you tonight, but its 5:30 in the morning and I need sleep.

    LUCKERS

    Have a blast a JordanCon. I'm really sorry I'm not there to meet you in person.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. Good night, then. Sorry I've been a little distracted this time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Remind me again. You're over in Australia, right? If so, what city?

    LUCKERS

    Sydney. Same as Linda.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll be there next year, if I haven't mentioned. You, me, and Linda need to hang out when I come.

    LUCKERS

    We will do this. I'm definitely going to be at JordanCon 2012 as well. Still, sad... have fun on my behalf.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    It turned out that Brandon was planning on going to Australia during JordanCon 2012 (so of course Luckers changed his plans).

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  • 98

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (24 June 2011)

    For those asking, Red Eagle IS working on WoT video games. Those are further along than the Mistborn one. Don't know when there will be news.

    JOHN ORESKOVICH

    Who is working on the WoT games? I still remember playing the original PC version years ago.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Red Eagle, who have the movie rights, are developing them. They've got several in the works.

    LEIGH POWER

    Really? No news on the websites.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Red Eagle hasn't been forthcoming on the info; they don't want to speak too soon. They are working on them, though.

    RAY WILLMOTT

    I thought Obsidian were developing the WoT games? Are they doing that alongside Red Eagle?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Red Eagle is working with Obsidian, the latter having come on to help.

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  • 99

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Matt Ward (6 July 2011)

    Imagine—WoT turned into a TV series such as 'A Song of Ice and Fire'. Have you ever been approached with ideas?

    Brandon Sanderson (6 July 2011)

    Universal pictures holds rights. I think they're trying for a feature film.

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  • 100

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Bruce et al.,

    Your questions are complex, or at least their answers are, and I'm afraid that the time I put into answering letters is time not put into writing, but I will try to answer you. Though I suspect not as fully as you would like. (I have 60 letters to answer today.)

    What language is the Old Tongue based on? Gaelic, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and some additions of my own—bridging material, if you will. Grammar and syntax are a blending of English, German and Chinese, with some influences from a set of African languages, read about long ago and all but the oddities of structure long since forgotten. There are inverted constructions, for example (as in Mordero dagain pas duente cuebiyar!—literally, "Death fear none holds my heart!") and places where the article is omitted, especially where the word is a title or has gained enough importance to now incorporate the article; the absence of article indicates that it is the important or special meaning of the word that is intended. Though even then, it is not a hard and fast rule; the same inconsistencies of English are incorporated here. I am attempting to create a language which has grown, not one which was made.

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  • 101

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    As for Common, Plain Chant, and High Chant: Common is ordinary speech, of course; telling a story as one man in the street might tell another. Plain Chant adds a rhythmic half-singing to poetic imagery; nothing is ever described plainly; conveying emotion is as important as conveying description. High Chant is sung, really, as though Benedictine monks had been brought up in a tradition of Chinese music; the rhythms are more precise, and emotional content is more important than mere description. High Chant can be all but unintelligible to those who are not used to it; it is a form used only by court bards and the like. I should point out that Common, Plain and High are not language names, but names used by bards for different forms of recitation.

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  • 102

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    The world is nationalistic, jingoistic as you put it, because people have belly-buttons. They are human. Look at the conflicts between different parts of France between the fall of Rome and, say, the Sixteenth Century; they all spoke the same language, differing only in accent, but the Normans and Burgundians, among others, were ready to kill one another at the drop of a hat. For that matter, look at out own Civil War, and various regional differences before and since. We all speak the same language, yet do you believe that a perfect state as achieved totally by local vote would be the same in say, California, Oregon, Georgia and Maine? The differences might not be as large as they once were, but that is largely an effect of radio and TV homogenizing our culture.

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  • 103

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    Jordan, a veteran of the Vietnam war, has definitely connected with his audience, both male and female. And he has some definite thoughts as to why fantasy literature is so popular.

    Robert Jordan

    Two things, really, I think. One, you can talk about good and evil, right and wrong, and nobody tells you that you're being judgmental. And the other thing is, in fantasy there's always the belief that you can overcome whatever obstacles there are, that you can make tomorrow better. And not only that you can, but that you will, if you work at it.

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  • 104

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Majority rules, my dear? You should know that I am neither Democrat nor Republican; I am a monarchist. For the church for the laws, for the king, for the cause! For Charles, King of England, and Rupart of the Rhine! Ah, for the chance to re-fight Malvern Hill. God send this crumb well down!

    Ah, me. To do evil without doing wrong. What about the law of unintended consequences? An example, partly fictive, but possible. We have passed laws protecting harp seals. The result so far, an explosion in the harp seal population, an explosion in the orca population (they feed on harp seals, among others) and a sharp decline in commercial fishing in those waters (orcas and harp seals both like to eat the same fish that people do). Nothing evil so far, just fishermen and cannery workers out of work and some fishing towns in depressions, but here is the fictive yet possible part.

    Population explosions frequently result in waves of disease, quite often new and deadlier strains of something that has been around in the population with less effect for some time. As witness AIDS, Ebola, Zaire and the Devil's own litany of others, these things can be devastating. So, postulate that the explosion in harp seal population results in the appearance of a virus among the seals—call it Seal Ebola—and the next thing you know there aren't any harp seals left at all. (Some of these things do seem to come close to 100% lethality, and if you only have 90%, which is the rate among humans with Zaire, I think, you are left with 10% of the population weakened and in no shape to escape orcas or sharks and with systems weakened to where they would be easy prey for other illnesses that they usually shake off.)

    Worst case. Seal Ebola does not only infect harp seals. After all, most diseases that affect one part of a species will affect the rest. So seals vanish. All of them. Or maybe it's the orca explosion, and all the whales and dolphins that are wasted. The ecology of the oceans is thrown into a tailspin from which it might never recover. Now, will future generations record what we did as evil? If they use out present manner of viewing history—holding everyone in history to the standards of our time, usually more tightly than we hold most of our own populations, holding them to account as if they had our knowledge and lived in a world with our moral views, and condemning those ancestors who fail to measure up—if thy use that method, they certainly will. Would what we did be evil? I don't know. An act taken with the purest of intentions that resulted in the death of an entire species. The result could not be called other than evil, but does that make the cause evil? Now more than ever, I regret that Robert Marks, an old friend, died some years ago. This is the kind of question that would make him want to open a bottle of good brandy and discuss it for hours.

    "No man is an island, but every one a part of the main. Therefore, send not to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee." John Donne.

    Don't worry about grinning over the fate of the poor string bean. I have heard people express the belief from the heart. Not from the brain, though; I think that they lacked that particular organ. Then there is the group of rather vocal people who believe that human beings have no more rights than any other animal ("a boy is a cat is a dog is a rat"), though they generally express it by saying that animals should have the same rights as people. To vote, perhaps? To hold elective office? We already see enough jackasses in public office.

    Don't worry too greatly about how much of what you said there that you actually believe. The purpose of the sort of discourse you engaged in is not so much to express belief as to explore ideas and possibilities. you say, if this, then maybe that, and if both things, then this other should follow. None of that is saying that you necessarily believe in any of the points, though it can lead to belief in various things. It is a good way to reason out what you do believe in. Much better than simply taking someone else's word for it. That is fine for 1 + 1 = 2, but not so good on points of morality, ethics, philosophy, or whether monarchist feudalism would function better than the mish-mosh of corruption, self-interest and idiocy we are saddled with at present.

    In the end, I believe that we ourselves define what is good or evil. Several hundred years ago, slavery was seen as good and right. I don't mean just black slavery; there were white slaves in Europe—and slaves in Asia, Africa and just about everywhere else—for thousands of years before the first black slave was brought to America. Helping a slave escape was theft of property at best and an abomination in the eyes of God—or the gods—at worst. Time passes, and our views alter significantly.

    If an Avatar of Pure Good appeared and told us that in order for Good and Light to triumph over Evil and Darkness, the human race must be extinguished, I think we would decide that old Av was sliding us the long con. And I think we would be right to. Not only as a matter of species survival—any species that is ready to slit its collective throats for whatever cause should go ahead and do it now; it isn't up to survival in a universe that, if not malignant (I do not believe that), is certainly neither benign, compassionate nor caring—but also because I would seriously doubt the Good- and Light-hood of whoever/whatever made such a pronouncement. The Devil can quote scripture, and all that.

    Footnote

    See RJ's previous letter to Carolyn for the beginning of this conversation.

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  • 105

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    Do you remember when you conceived The Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    The first thought that came to me was what would it be like, what would it really be like, to be tapped on the shoulder and told you were born to be the savior of mankind. And I then very quickly thought, what would happen if the savior of mankind really showed up and he was really there to save the world from impending doom, what would the real response of the world be? And after ten or twelve years of knocking around in my head, because I always give my books a long lead time, that turned into The Wheel of Time.

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  • 106

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    Jordan's books have been called a combination of Robin Hood and Stephen King. He manages to create characters that seem real, perhaps because he uses many of his own personal experiences in the telling of these epic stories. Do you ever use your experiences in Vietnam in your stories?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, indirectly. I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to try to kill somebody. And I know what it's like to actually kill somebody. These things I think help with writing about people being in danger, [or] especially if it's in danger of violence ... which happens occasionally in my books.

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  • 107

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    There is more to making the Myrddraal sword than simply quenching it in a living body. Though I am not going to go into details here, it must be a human body. Trollocs, for instance, though much easier to procure, would not work. I wonder what you would get using, say, rabbits? A blade that made your wounds break out in Easter eggs?

    The piece in the game could be said to still be human—those pieces that came from humans, anyway; there were other sources too—though they are about the size of moderately large chess-pieces. They retain memories, souls, personalities, but they are part of the game now, permanently slaved to the game and part of it as surely as a cog in a clock is part of the clock. They have no personal volition, though they do have awareness. The only lives they can live are being used in the game. In the Age of Legends, these games were destroyed when found; the choice for the pieces was to remain part of the game or death, since removing them from the board/field meant death in any case. The game is all one, board and playing pieces together. And that is much as I will tell you of it. I don't want to give away what I might use later on, after all.

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  • 108

    Interview: Jun 17th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    The reason Robert Jordan chose to write fantasy was its opportunities to build cultures and experiment with them, in a way and with a freedom to comment that is unachievable with a "realistic", domestically based world.

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  • 109

    Interview: Jun 17th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    The interview then continued with the communication between the various characters, and Robert Jordan stated clearly that every person keeping a secret, or withholding information, has a good reason for it, even if it in many cases are very personal. He exemplified this with the relation between Birgitte, Elayne and Egwene, where everyone knew that all knew Birgitte's secret (or at least a large part of it), but due to Elayne giving her word, the situation could not be resolved. Robert Jordan also took this as an example of the very great significance on a person's word and on oaths that the people in TWoT places. A word given is something to be kept, at all costs, however the circumstances changes.

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  • 110

    Interview: May, 1995

    Austin Sirkin

    I recently received a letter from RJ. I'm posting all of the info I think is worthwhile. Have fun!

    Robert Jordan

    I wrote "Jak o' the Shadows" to the tune of "Gary Owen," but I suppose anybody can put the words to what they wish.

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  • 111

    Interview: May, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    No, I'm not opposed at all to the idea of a Wheel of Time movie.

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  • 112

    Interview: May, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    The unabridged audio tape should be neat, nifty, and other outdated slang. It will be just what it says: every word of the books. I am talking with the audio publisher about having sections from a male point-of-view read by a man and those from a female point-of-view read by a woman. I think it will make it even better.

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  • 113

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Karl-Johan Norén

    The major theme he tried to put forward in the WoT books he saw as the nature of information:

    Robert Jordan

    "Information changes, over time, distance and perception. Only way to see the truth is to oneself experience the event, but even then every person perceives it differently". Knowledge and information has an inherent mutability. The example he brought up was Birgitte's living of the history, apart from reading it, and the very different views it brought.

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  • 114

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    The Nine Rings Inn in The Great Hunt he readily confessed was a homage to our favorite professor—J.R.R. Tolkien.

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  • 115

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    His influence from Mark Twain, mainly Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he said was in the dialogue. Every person was given a rather natural, personal way of speaking, separate from the "chanting" found in other fantasy or pre-20th-century novels.

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  • 116

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Halima is a man in a woman's body. I got Jordan to 'fess up to this one when he was talking about the new books-on-tape that will be coming out soon. He said that a male voice will read the parts that are from a man's point of view and a female voice will read the parts that are from a female character's point of view. "So, which one will read the passage from Halima's point of view?" I asked. Jordan sighed and said, "Halima's just weird." He went on to confirm that he/she is a male spirit inside a female body and suggested that he/she will change personality over time since the body affects the spirit (and vice-versa).

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  • 117

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Hi. We're speaking with author Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series, and the newest book is Lord of Chaos. And . . . welcome to the show.

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you for having me.

    Dave Slusher

    And you're here on a publicity tour, and you're in Atlanta now. We're talking to you just prior to your signing at Oxford Books. Briefly, if you can—I know your series sort of defies brevity in a way—tell us a little about the series and the place of the newest book in the series. It's a very large question.

    Robert Jordan

    It isn't really possible to tell you a little bit about it at this point. When the third book was published, I was asked to do a one-paragraph synopsis of each of the first two books. And I said that isn't possible. And then I was asked, "well then, can you do a one-page synopsis of each of the first two books to send out with the third one to reviewers?" And I said it really isn't possible. You don't realize, I'm doing War and Peace here, except that I'm doing it for an entire continent, not one nation, and I'm doing it in a fantasy world that never existed, so everything is being created. It isn't possible to do it that quickly. A bare bones outline of each of the first two books was ten to twelve pages, and that was very bare bones. Not possible to do a short outline, no.

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  • 118

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    How did the series come about when you originally started writing it? You started about eight years ago?

    Robert Jordan

    I started writing about eight years ago. The first thought occurred to me, oh, somewhere between 18 and 20 years ago. My books always bubble around in my head a long time before anything gets on paper. Actually, yeah, I guess it is about that.

    The first idea that came to me, the first thought, was what is it really like to be the savior of mankind? What's it really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told you are the savior of mankind, and oh by the way, we expect you to go mad and die in order to fulfill prophecy and save everybody. That was the genesis.

    Dave Slusher

    Originally, had you planned it to be as epic in scope as it has turned out to become?

    Robert Jordan

    Not really. When I went to my publisher originally—and this was about 1986—I said I want to do this set of books, and I have no idea how many books I'm talking about. It is at least three or four, it might be five or six, I don't know. And luckily he was willing to go along with that. Most publishers would not go along with that. Most publishers would not go along with me not giving then an outline for the book, but instead giving them a twelve- or fifteen-page philosophical treatise explaining the themes of the book, and not a damn thing about what's actually going to be in the books. But Tom has always liked what I write, so he was willing to go.

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  • 119

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Tell us a little about the origins. Basically in any type of fantastical literature, you don't have the crutch of being able to pillage our own history so much. You have to make everything from the mythology and the basis of the culture up. I would imagine this was a pretty tall task for this series.

    Robert Jordan

    It's complicated. My degrees are mathematics and physics, but one of my hobbies has always been history. And also what now is called, I suppose, social anthropology. Those were hobbies of mine from the time I was a boy. It became relatively easy for me to create a "fake" culture simply because I had studied a good bit about how cultures came about. And I was always willing to ask the question of result. If you begin by saying: I want this, this, this, and this to be true in the culture I'm creating. But, you then say, if A is true, what else has to be true? And if B is true, what else has to be true? And more than that, if both A and B are true, what has to be true about that culture? Then you add in C and D, and you've started off with four things that you wanted to be true in this culture, and you have constructed the sort of culture in which those four things can be true—not the only culture in which they could be true necessarily, but one that holds together.

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  • 120

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, when you're writing on this scope, you're writing on many levels at the same time. You've got the individual interactions. You've got the interactions of different cultures. You have the larger interactions of the good and evil, and you have the supernatural characters that are sort of pulling strings all down below them. How hard is it to balance the action through all of these different levels?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's not all that hard in my head because I grew up in Charleston, which one writer once said makes Byzantium look simple. But I couldn't do it in a computer. I don't have the time to invest in that much effort on the computer simply to keep track of it.

    There are a lot of layers—everything is an onion. And we're talking almost a four-dimensional onion here. Any particular point that you look at—almost any particular point—has layers to it. It's one of the interesting things to me, is how much can I layer things without making it too complicated. It's quite possible for somebody to read these books as pure adventure, and I actually have twelve-year-old fans who do that. I was surprised to find that I had twelve-year-old fans, but I do and they read it just like that. Other people spend quite a lot of time discussing the layering, and it's fun for me to do.

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  • 121

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Since you had mentioned the characterization of women in the books: now this book has, as opposed to some of the older fantasy of the last forty years, you have women, very strong women in positions of power, in positions of combat. Is that something that wouldn't have happened if you were writing these books in the past? Is that kind of a product of our times?

    Robert Jordan

    No, it's a product of growing up with strong women. All of the women I knew growing up were quite strong. All of the men I knew growing up were quite strong because any of the weak men got shredded and thrown aside. So it made for a certain viewpoint, a certain outlook in life.

    Aside from that, the basic premise of the books, that 3000 years before the time of the books the world was essentially destroyed. The details don't really matter in the context of this interview, except for the fact that that destruction was caused by men, members of the male sex. A world that has grown out of that has to have a great deal of power for women, especially when the world has spent the last 3000 years being afraid of any man who has the ability to channel the One Power. You have to have a world where women have power. That's the way it's going to evolve. It can't go any other way. It's only a question of how much power they have.

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  • 122

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, structured as it is around the prophecies and the circularity of your history, does that lend to the story a certain . . . obviously, it focuses where the story can head. Does it limit you in any way, when you've got characters that are acting out the prophecies?

    Robert Jordan

    Not really. What I do is have certain main points that I know I'm going to touch on. But I am flexible in the order that I touch them, and I'm flexible in how to get from one to the next. Think of it as traveling cross country, and you know that you're going to go to mountain A, mountain B, mountain C, and mountain D. But maybe you'll go to mountain D first and mountain A second, and then you'll slide back to C. And in traveling from one mountain to another, you can take a lot of different paths.

    It becomes a little bit more complex because you have to imagine this whole piece of terrain is only one layer, and you have another piece of terrain stacked above it, and another stacked above it, and another stacked above it, and another stacked above that. And which path is taken on the first level influences which path can be taken on the second level, which influences which path can be taken and which can't on the third level, and so forth on down the line. But still, the main points are fixed. It's only the paths between that flex.

    Footnote

    RJ might have been dropping hints here, in his special way, about Rand going to Dragonmount before going to Shayol Ghul.

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  • 123

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    In my reading of the book, it seemed to me that individual identity is one of the themes that pretty much permeates a lot of the interactions of the characters. You have various struggles. You have the struggle of Rand for his own identity. You have various people submerging their identities in either cultural bonds, or you have various bonds, the bonds between the Aes Sedai and the Warders.

    Robert Jordan

    It is one of the themes. We like to believe in the United States that we're a nation of great individualists. And we do have occasional great individualists. By and large, we are a nation of people who bond together in groups and are generally suspicious of anybody in any other group. It's always been a struggle for Americans, it seems to me, what group to belong to and how far to submerge ourselves in that group. How far do you retain your own thoughts, and how much do you go by received wisdom? Sometimes received wisdom is true, and sometimes it's not. And it's difficult sometimes to tell the true from the false.

    So, that is all part of it, that struggle, which I play out again and again. Because I'm not trying to give answers here, I'm basically trying to tell a story. And if in telling a story, I can make a few people think about this or that and ask a few questions, I'm really not that interested in what answers they come up with as long as I can get them to ask the questions.

    Tags

  • 124

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, a lot of fantasy, and yours is no exception, deals with the idea of nobility. It's a very old tradition in fantasy going back a thousand years, to have the idea of someone of common upbringing that rises up to the leadership position.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, further than that.

    Dave Slusher

    And your structure is quite similar to the King Arthur structure.

    Robert Jordan

    It's not only an ancient structure like that. It's in places like, oh, say a country that has a tradition of the common man born in the log cabin and rising to the White House. You know, anybody can be President. And in recent years, anybody has been.

    It's an old tradition, and it's not just American. I've seen it in Japanese and Chinese mythology and African mythology. In Asia and Africa, more often the fellow who's the commoner who aspires to greatness gets punished for it by the gods. It is more—I should say, not exclusively—but more of a European and Middle-eastern tradition that the common man can challenge the gods, the entrenched powers, and conquer, or at least work out some sort of rapprochement.

    And yeah, I work with that. I've tried to mine myths from every country and every continent. And reverse engineer them, of course. The Arthur myths, the Arthur legends, are easily recognizable in the books. I tried to hide them to some extent, but frankly Arthur is, I believe, the most recognizable legend in the United States. More people know about King Arthur than know about Paul Bunyan or Davey Crockett or anything that we have out of our own culture. But the others—myths from Africa and the Middle East, Norse mythology, Chinese mythologies—those things I could bury more deeply, more easily, because they're not very much recognized here.

    Tags

  • 125

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, let's talk a little about when you first started writing this series. Did you have any indication that it would be as popular and take off the way it has?

    Robert Jordan

    Of course not. Look, I hoped that the series would be successful. Nobody writes a book and hopes it's going to be a flop. But as far as this—no, I had no notion, no notion at all.

    Dave Slusher

    And I'm sure that you're aware of it. For example, on the internet there's a very large group devoted to your work. Very in-depth discussion. Does this flatter you, that people are so willing to discuss in very, very fine detail?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a wonderful ego stroking. And it's also astonishing. I've known it about it for some time, and I'm not certain I'm over it yet, really. It does sort of make me want to drop my jaw. I find it astonishing. And, as I say, it's very very flattering, very flattering.

    Dave Slusher

    Do you find that people's interpretations of the book, do they match up with what you intend? Or do people sometimes bring to you an interpretation that you hadn't thought of yourself?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, more often they're trying to work out details of what I'm intending to do, and what I have meant by things that I've already written. I've been sent in some cases sheets of Frequently Asked Questions and the answers that have been deduced. The only thing is, they're right between 20 percent, and oh, 33 percent of the time. They're almost right maybe another 20 percent of the time, 25 percent. And the rest of the time, they've gotten off into an incredibly wild tangent that makes me wonder if I ought to re-read the books to figure out how they came up with this.

    I do look at what they have said. And by that, I mean I look at it when somebody sends me a print-out. I'm not on the 'nets, normally. But sometimes people will send me a print-out of a couple of days of discussion, or a Frequently Asked Questions list, as I said. And I'll look at that, and it does give me some feedback.

    There are things in the books that I have tried to bury very deeply. And if, from the discussion or from the questions, I can see that they're beginning to get close to something I want to keep buried, I know that I have to be more subtle from now on, that I haven't been subtle enough. Or, on the other hand, there are some times when I realize that they're spending a lot of time discussing something that I was certainly not trying to make obscure that I thought was perfectly obvious. Then it becomes plain to me that I've gone the opposite way. I didn't say enough about it for them to understand. So then I have to maybe reiterate a little bit.

    But I certainly—I don't change the plots or anything like that. I'm certainly not going to alter the fates of major characters or anything of that sort, whether someone has figured out what that's going to be or not. I must say, they've not figured out very much of that accurately, but it's fun to see.

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  • 126

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    In your background, you attended The Citadel. And you're a military man, you served in Vietnam. Did that kind of help you with this head for intrigue and the Machiavellian interactions that we have in this book?

    Robert Jordan

    Actually, all that really helped me with is that I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to have a lot of people trying to kill you. And I also know what's it like to kill somebody. These things come through, so I've been told by people who are veterans of whether Vietnam, or of Korea, or combat anywhere—Desert Storm; I had a lot of fan letters from guys who were there.

    As far as the Machiavellian part, as I said I grew up in a family of Byzantine complexity, in a city where there has always been a great deal of Byzantine plotting. The court of Byzantium never had anything on Charleston for either plotting or blood feuds. It came as mother's milk to me.

    Dave Slusher

    Do you think that these books, such as they are, could only have been written by a southerner, and someone with a head for that?

    Robert Jordan

    These particular books could have only been written by a southerner because I write in a somewhat southern voice. My major influence as a writer, I think, is Mark Twain. And, there's no denying the southern voice of the books. If someone from another part of the country had written them, they would sound entirely different.

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  • 127

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (3 August 2011)

    I'm currently writing "Through Lines" on A Memory of Light, meaning I'm taking one character or group and going beginning to end.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll end up writing the ending a number of times through different eyes, each separated by a short book's number of pages. Odd experience.

    CHRISTOPHER SKINNER

    How do you do that without diminishing the impact of the "big finish" (I mean there's denouement anyway, but the climax)?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Careful planning, followed by a lot of reads-through of the entire book to smooth and enhance.

    NEIL MCKINNON

    Did you do that with Rand/Egwene in The Gathering Storm and Mat/Perrin Towers of Midnight?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, I did.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    At about 20 scenes and 50k words, the first "Through Line" of A Memory of Light is done. I can't tell you who it is, but I'm very pleased.

    ERIC PETERS

    Why wouldn't you be able to tell us who it is? Is it a real secret who all of the characters in the book are at this point?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Some people don't want any kind of spoiler. Knowing there are 50k words of someone means they don't die at the start.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    If you look back through my Twitter feed, you can figure out who it is. [It was Perrin.] I might do a blog post on it too, with a spoiler warning.

    SHARON VERNON

    Do you find it easier to write "through lines" and then tie it all up together later?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For a very big, complex book, it's basically the only way I can do it. Otherwise, I lose character voices.

    FRANK KWIATOWSKI

    Is this your style, or how RJ wanted it? Just curious.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (4 AUGUST)

    What specifically are you asking about? The writing of "Through Lines?"

    FRANK KWIATOWSKI

    You mentioned writing the same ending multiple times. I'm taking it as the same ending being reviewed from different POVs?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Different pieces of what, together, will be the ending sequences of the book.

    CONNOR EVERINGHAM

    I'm guessing that with one through line at 50k words, A Memory of Light will be a massive book?Will chunks be taken out during editing?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I always edit down, rather than up. I overwrite intentionally on first drafts. But the book will be big.

    PHIL

    I might just be ignorant here, but what's a "Through Line"?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Where you write one character's parts, all the way through the book.

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  • 128

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (24 August 2011)

    Update on that scene that wasn't working in A Memory of Light yesterday: tried it again today and it worked just fine.

    THOMAS LACHESIS

    Did you try a new way in to the scene? Or, was it simply stepping away from it?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Stepping away from it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Moving A Memory of Light completion bar from 40% -> 43%. Assuming the rest of the week works as well as today did, it will move quickly for a while.

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  • 129

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (31 August 2011)

    Dang. I just pulled off something in A Memory of Light that is GRRM-esque. I'm not certain if I should apologize, feel awesome, or go take a shower.

    SARAH WALTERS

    Haven't read GRRM, should I? Also, I recommend feeling awesome and writing more of A Memory of Light, but I'm biased.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Depends on your threshold for content. His writing is genius, but he is very brutal. I could only stomach the first one.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    His short stories are awesome, by the way. I've liked every one of those I've read.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Also, the Minas Tirith theme is playing on Pandora. Perfect.

    TEREZ

    Gah, now you've got me thinking Boromir/Gawyn.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I have no idea if Brandon saw that tweet, but his next one came after it, for what it's worth. Some more info was given on this in the reddit Q&A, and there might be another clue here.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Some good mythological underpinnings and references in this scene, as I believe RJ would have done.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    If I ever get to write the annotations for this book as I plan, this scene will be a nice one to talk about.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    One of the challenges in writing these books is to get mythology right. Not too overt, with careful references. RJ left help, fortunately.

    JOHANN THORSSON

    You mean like Rand having a wound in his side, a la Jesus on the cross?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's one of very, very many. But yes. And, you know, Rand being a sheepherder...

    SIMEN ISAK DITLEFSEN

    RJ used a lot of mythological inspiration. But I haven't seen a lot of Greek myths used. Have you?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's there. Look where Perrin gets wounded.

    SIMEN ISAK DITLEFSEN

    ahh... The Achilles arrow?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Look up blacksmith gods. Hephaestus, Wayland. And, you know, Perun...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But I felt RJ thought Greek/Roman was overdone, so stayed away from using it as much as Norse/Celtic/Native American.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Okay, signing off for the night. I need to be up for my Q&A on reddit come noon my time. (I'll tweet a reminder.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Moved the A Memory of Light progress bar up to 48% complete to reflect work done so far this week. Been a good week.

    ELVAN

    I believe you are trying to kill us by triggering extreme amounts of anticipation and excitement. Some of us don't have the heart to take it you know. Seriously though, can't wait.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. Just trying to keep everyone involved, if only in a small way. ;)

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  • 130

    Interview: 2012

    Jerron Spencer (31 August 2011)

    Is the long wait for A Memory of Light so it can make more sense than Towers of Midnight? I LOVE WoT, but Towers of Midnight was jumbled and super annoying.

    JERRON SPENCER

    I don't mean to sound the jerk, but character and time references felt disjointed and it was hard to follow.

    JERRON SPENCER

    The Gathering Storm worked well. I never felt confused or bothered. Some revelations came off as "too sudden", but it flowed nicely.

    JERRON SPENCER

    Towers of Midnight had none of the smoothness of the previous books, and stumbled from poor integration with The Gathering Storm.

    Brandon Sanderson (31 August 2011)

    What you're noticing has to do with two primary issues, I believe.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    First, the book getting split in half after I'd written much of it to go together. (I hadn't written any of the third then.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Second, RJ had been letting people get off timeline with one another for books and books. Bringing them back together was hard.

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  • 131

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Austin Moore (1 September 2011)

    Can you say without spoiling who the toughest character is for you to write in A Memory of Light to end the series?

    Brandon Sanderson (1 September 2011)

    Hm... Toughest to write because of their content, or toughest because of their voice?

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  • 132

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (7 September 2011)

    Sometimes, it feels like cheating to have Alan and Maria (Robert Jordan's assistants) to look things up for me on these books.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For example, Alan is a military history buff, and has been my personal "Great Captain" for A Memory of Light, giving valuable advice on tactics.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Finished a really awesome scene today, and started one that turned out meh. I'll have to rework that one come this evening.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Not counting that scene, but counting the awesome one, A Memory of Light is at 52% done now.

    JOHN UNDERWOOD

    52%? That's great! I'm wondering though how did you come up with that number?

    JOHN UNDERWOOD

    Do you have a specific number of pages in mind to finish the book?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've used 300k words as a rough estimate for each of these books for getting the % bar.

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  • 133

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (10 September 2011)

    Finished another "Through Line" of A Memory of Light. This one turned out really, really well. I'm kind of surprised, honestly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This is a character I think many readers are less excited about, but the story here is very powerful. I'm pleased.

    HARSH AGARWAL

    When can we expect the last book to be released?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Next year sometime. Spring at the earliest (I don't think it's likely) fall at the latest.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Nice big jump in the progress bar today as I pull a few things I'd already been working on and place them in the book. 52% -> 56%.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For those curious, I've been timing lately and looking at my historical wordcounts (I often keep lists of daily progress.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Writing a given amount of words on the Wheel of Time takes about twice as long as it does when working on non-WoT books.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I think this is due to: 1) The complexity of working in such a long series. 2) Making sure character voices match those in RJ's writing.

    TERRY SIMPSON

    Which character voice have you found it hardest to duplicate? And has that difficulty stayed consistent for each book?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mat. Yes, he has always been the toughest.

    CAITLIN GRANT

    Love knowing progress but just remembered Tor will likely delay e-release. #frustration

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Not Tor, actually. Harriet. I'm working on her, though.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The delay last time was because The New York Times didn't count ebook sales for bestseller lists.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    A lot of people are asking about the release date for A Memory of Light, so I'll talk about it again. I just couldn't get it out for this November.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    My new rough-draft goal is November, with a revised book sent to Harriet January 1st. Book could be out any time between March (unlikely) and November.

    OSKAR KOIVUJUURI

    This November? I thought it was always supposed to be released March of next year? Oh well.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I was hoping March. It's theoretically possible...but Harriet thinks not. She wants more time to edit than she had for Towers of Midnight.

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  • 134

    Interview: 2010

    Tragoul (29 June 2010)

    Do you try to write straight through a book from start to finish or do you write random bits and then put them together?

    Brandon Sanderson (30 June 2010)

    I usually write straight through, sometimes by plot line. But some books—like Towers of Midnight—don't let me do that.

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  • 135

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (2 July 2010)

    Thank goodness for Maria and Alan. Every time I start to think I know the WoT world pretty well, they prove that I've got a long way to go.

    Tags

  • 136

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (13 August 2010)

    Back to work on Towers of Midnight. Canceled Writing Group tonight to get more time. Goal for today is to get to 66%.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Hm. This scene needs better description. Well, off to the Big White Book to do a little research on how the area should look...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For those following along, the scene that I cut from Towers of Midnight, then found a way to add back in, is now in chapter 30.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    At 53% so far today. Man, I need to step it up, eh? Not sure what is causing me to go so slowly today. Only 2% so far.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Okay, at 55%. Much better progress through this hour.

    BOB GIBSON

    How do you determine that a book needs another scene, especially so late in the process?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Just instincts. Something needed to be added to properly pace the narrative.

    BEL'SHAMHAROTH

    I don't suppose you'd be willing to give us a hint on what was so important that you needed to add a new scene this late?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (14 AUGUST)

    It's less that it was super important, and more I felt a new scene would smooth things.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, and at 62%. Not sure if I'll hit that 66% mark or not.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Okay, 64% will have to be the end for tonight. 5am. Seems like a good time for bed.

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  • 137

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    He says that unabridged books-on-tape production of The Eye of the World and A Crown of Swords are forthcoming. When, I dunno; I got the impression it was still a rather nebulous plan, but Tor (or whoever) has agreed to do them. The two mentioned above will be the first released, and the intermediary books will come out on tape in due course. The idea is to get a woman to read the parts which are in a woman's POV and a man to read the parts in a man's POV. Marina Sirtis of Star Trek fame, and Ben Kingsley were mentioned as possible readers.

    Footnote

    All of the Wheel of Time audiobooks are read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer.

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  • 138

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Background: I asked him how much of the setting, etc. was worked out before hand, and how much he does as he goes along. He said that he has a 10pp or so history of all the countries/regions, and societies. When the plot goes into a region, he fleshes out the outline.

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  • 139

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    All the women are based in part on his wife. Many women have been amazed that he was not a woman using a male pen name because he writes women so well. He just wrote them as he thought women would be if men had destroyed the world 3000 years ago. Obviously, their roles would be much different than they are in our society. The women are not based on Southern women in general, just his wife.

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  • 140

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    He made the Aiel look Irish because he thought it was kind of funny. He doesn't like the fact that hardened desert warriors are always described as looking a certain way, so he used the opposite description.

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  • 141

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    He intentionally started the series out kind of Tolkienesque, so that readers would feel like they already knew the land somewhat. Then he deliberately deviated from Tolkien so the readers would not know what to expect. He tried to avoid too much Arthurian and Celtic mythological references early on because they are so well known.

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  • 142

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    The short reign of Colavaere was not a reference to Jane Grey.

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  • 143

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Searles O'Dubhain

    I noticed that your other pen name is Sean O'Neal. Did you draw Mat's "Band of the Red Hand" from family stories?

    Robert Jordan

    No. That came from my mind twisting certain mythologies that I had read, certain legends.

    Footnote

    The pseudonym is actually Reagan O'Neal, not Sean O'Neal.

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  • 144

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Hopper

    I find your characterization of the relationships between the male and female characters to be interesting, and amusing. Did you model Nynaeve after an older sister or other female that tortured you in your youth? :)

    Robert Jordan

    All of the women are modeled in one way or another after the conglomerate of women I've met in my life...but every single one of them, EVERY one of them, has some element of my wife in her. I won't say what elements are in what characters, we'd get too far afield...I will say it has nothing to do with torture in that particular case.

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  • 145

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Martin Reznick

    How was the Dark One created, i.e. is he a fallen angel, an inherent part of the universe, etc.?

    Robert Jordan

    I envision the Dark One as being the dark counterpart, the dark balance if you will, to the Creator...carrying on the theme, the ying yang, light dark, necessity of balance theme that has run through the books. It's somewhat Manichean I know, but I think it works.

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  • 146

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Brendan T. Lavin

    Mr. Jordan. I love your series, it is intricate and interesting. My favorite character (other than Rand) is Mat. People have speculated that Odin was the outline for this character. I see Chukullen (misspelled). Could you elaborate?

    Robert Jordan

    There are a number of characters reflected, mythological characters, reflected in each of the books. Because of the basic theme, if you will, of the books, that information becomes distorted over distance or time, you cannot know the truth of an event the further you get from it. These people are supposed to be the source of a great many of our legends or myths, but what they actually did bears little resemblance to the myth. That is the conceit, that time has shifted these actions to other people, perhaps compressing two people into one or dividing one into three as far as their actions go.

    So Rand has bits of Arthur and bits of Thor and bits of other characters. And so does Mat and so does Nynaeve, and so do others. And yes Mat does have some bits of Odin, but not exclusively. He has bits of Loki and bits of Coyote and of the Monkey King.

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  • 147

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Eric Ligner

    I like your use of strong female characters. Was there any inspiration for this?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I grew up in a family of strong women. Most of the women I knew growing up were quite strong. I very early on realized that—well, it seemed natural, this is how I saw the world. There were strong women and strong men and when weak men came along they were ridden over. But the fact that there were strong women didn't mean no strong men. Again, it's a given, there had to be a balance.

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  • 148

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Lauryn

    I love the song lyrics in your books. Do you write songs and music other than in the books?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not at all I'm afraid. Some poetry to my wife now and then, that's all.

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  • 149

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Dave Berenthal

    Are there any particular themes that you have added since the beginning, e.g., theme or characters that you did not have in mind when you first thought up the series? Are there any items of the story that have been cut out that you would like to tell us about?

    Robert Jordan

    In both cases, no. I have, in some cases, developed the story in ways that I did not quite intend to at first, but there has been no important character who has been deleted, there has been no necessity to add in something I did not expect to add in.

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  • 150

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Martin Reznick

    I am an avid reader of author Ayn Rand. A hero in her novel The Fountainhead matches Rand's physical description exactly. Coincidence?

    Robert Jordan

    Coincidence—I'm afraid I haven't read Ayn Rand since college.

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  • 151

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ammon

    Have you ever put your own personality in one of your characters, or do you liken yourself to one of your characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I expect there's a bit of me in all of the male characters. My secretary thinks that I am Mat. My wife thinks I'm Loial. Other people have said they detected me in other characters, but I think it's just a bit of me in all of the male characters. I'm not sure how I could have written them otherwise.

    Footnote

    It's not clear whether RJ's 'secretary' is Maria or Marcia Warnock. (Marcia seems more likely as RJ generally referred to Maria as his 'assistant'. She started working for him about this time.)

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  • 152

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Eric Ligner

    Do you draw upon your military education for your battles or from general knowledge?

    Robert Jordan

    From both, actually.

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  • 153

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    James Tillett

    Of the many themes that occur throughout your books, which do you consider the most important?

    Robert Jordan

    I think that's for the reader to decide. I like to put things out there and let the readers absorb them as they will. One of the things that has happened that I rather enjoyed was listening to some people talk as they waited for me to sign books. They were discussing the books, then changed the subject, and, without meaning to, were discussing what I consider one of the subjects of the books...that was very gratifying.

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  • 154

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Lyndon Goodacre

    I've heard that there is going to be a Wheel of Time computer game. How much are you involved in this (if it's true), and how do you feel about a game based on your work?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's true, it's in the works from Legend Entertainment. I'm involved to the extent that I told them I would not accept the first scenario they gave me. I told them there were certain things I wanted done in the game, such as being able to play as a female character, multiple solutions to problems, being able to get through segments without solving all the problems, and they're working on it. Apparently Glenn Dahlgren, who is designing the game, is very much in agreement with me on these things.

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  • 155

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Scott Robertson

    Mr Jordan, I was wondering where you came up with the "old language" and the Aiel language? Are there preset rules to them and it is a functioning language? Or do you just have a set of words that you devised and insert when needed?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a functioning language in that I have developed a basic grammar and syntax, and have a vocabulary list which I have devised, some from Gaelic of course, but from languages less often used...Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese. I try to follow these rules that I've set up, but occasionally I realize I have to invent a new rule because I'm doing something I've never done before. But it all follows the grammar I've devised. As far as the Aiel that I've devised as a culture, they have bits of Apache, bits of Bedouin, bits that are simply mine.

    Footnote

    The Aiel do not have their own language, but they do use some Old Tongue words that have fallen out of use on the other side of the Dragonwall.

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  • 156

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Charles W. Otten

    I find your style similar to Ernest Hemingway in your attention to detail. Do you consciously write this way, or do you find yourself just writing this way? I wish to write in the future after life's experiences and this would be of great assistance.

    Robert Jordan

    I simply write the way I write. I don't try to imitate anyone. I've certainly read—and still read—Hemingway, and admire most of his books, but I think the person with the greatest influence on my style is Mark Twain. The trouble with that is that I've read a great many authors, and I can't say who has most influenced me over the years without my knowing it.

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  • 157

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Gail Ann Shafton

    I find it interesting that there is no formal theology in the series. Why is this?

    Robert Jordan

    This is a world where what might be called the proofs of religion are self-evident all the time. It seemed to me there was no necessity for the trappings of religion which by and large are to reinforce us in our faith. And to convince others, if your beliefs are made concrete and manifest around you at any given time, there is not the need for that.

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  • 158

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    John

    Have you ever considered making the Wheel of Time into a movie?

    Robert Jordan

    With almost every book that has come out, and certainly every one that has made the bestseller lists, there's a feeler about a movie, but it always goes away, because any one of these books would have to be a TV miniseries. There's no way that I can see to compress them into a three-hour movie or even a four-hour movie. That's not to say it won't happen, but I don't really expect it.

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  • 159

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Karl Schwede

    Is there any particular inspiration for the Forsaken, and the other antagonists in your series, as there are for the women characters? Demandred and how he was always an inch behind Lews Therin (in the Power, in swordsmanship etc...), for example—was there a particular inspiration for that?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, there are—and I won't go into details because I want to keep the mythological and legendary roots hidden—I don't want to have people spending more time discussing the legends than the stories! The thing is there are several legends and myths based on such jealousy, on the man who is just a half a step short of another man. The woman who would have been the greatest of her age, but there was another who was just a bit better. That sort of jealousy leads to the worst kind of hatred. When someone can easily defeat you, there's not that kind of jealousy. But when he beats you in a photo finish every single time, that is when emotions begin to curdle and rancor sets in, and you find yourself with this festering deep inside that can turn into murderous hatred.

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  • 160

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Searles O'Dubhain

    The initiation rituals for raising an Accepted to Aes Sedai seem to be based upon some sort of real-life ceremonies. Where did you get the idea for the three passes through the ter'angreal?

    Robert Jordan

    Trinities and threes and multiples of three or seven turn up again and again in mythologies and legends throughout the world and in ceremonies throughout the world. That part is hardly original. It's something that speaks to us on some deeper level. It's so prevalent, it must. It's all pervasive.

    Footnote

    The 'three passes through the ter'angreal' corresponds to the way in which a novice is raised to Accepted, not how an Accepted is raised Aes Sedai.

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  • 161

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Belsamar

    OK. Let's see if this works. Hello, RJ. Just out of curiosity, do your predictions (Foretellings and Min's viewings) have a well, Delphic quality by accident, or by choice? And did you ever think of writing a copy of The Prophecies of the Dragon?

    Robert Jordan

    There's very little in the books that's by accident—very little...and no, I've never thought of writing out the complete Prophecies of the Dragon. As already stated in a previous book, they would comprise a volume of some 300 to 400 pages.

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  • 162

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    CMore102

    Since there are currently Wheel of Time card games and video games in the works, what other media will we see in the future? Comic Books? Films?

    Robert Jordan

    I really don't know. I just take it as it comes. There will be a line of Wheel of Time fantasy clothing and jewelry. There's a company that wants to make Wheel of Time weapons—swords, etc., but nothing in the way of games that I can discuss.

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  • 163

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Seraph23

    First off, I'd like to say thanks Mr. Jordan for providing my family and I countless hours of reading enjoyment, and I'd like to ask you something about the Aiel, well, who are they?

    Robert Jordan

    You're welcome. And they are the descendants of the pacifists who were in service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends. If on the other hand, you mean the source of the culture...in my mind, they contain some elements of the Apache, some of the Zulu, some of the Bedouin, and some elements of my own including that I rather liked the fact of making the desert dwellers blue-eyed and fair instead of the usual dark-eyed, dark-complected desert people.

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  • 164

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Sarpeshka

    Mr. Jordan, how do you come up with names for characters in your stories?

    Robert Jordan

    I have a huge list of names. Whenever I see an interesting name I jot it down. I almost never use the name as it is, though. I change it.

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  • 165

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Scotty1489

    Are any of the characters based on real people?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not really, except that all of the women have something of my wife in them.

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  • 166

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Argive000

    Mr. Jordan, I want to inform you that a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame has just completed a thesis on the rebirth of philosophy in literature centered around your Wheel of Time series.

    Robert Jordan

    That's very nice to know. I've had several people send my copies of their master's theses and other undergraduate theses, comparing me to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It's enough to swell my head. Luckily, my wife takes care of that little problem. ;)

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  • 167

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Scotty1489

    Is our earth a future or past turn of the wheel?

    Robert Jordan

    Both. The characters in the books are the source of many of our myths and legends and we are the source of many of theirs. You can look two ways along a wheel.

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  • 168

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    JJVORSmith

    There's been some question about how the Aiel sustain their vast numbers east and west of the Dragonwall. How can millions of Aiel live on grubs in the Waste and why don't they scavenge the land clean in Illian, Cairhien, and Caemlyn?

    Robert Jordan

    They can live in the same ways that the Bedouin manage to live in a desert where you or I would die, and the Apache did so. They make very efficient use of what they find. And if they stay in one place for too long in too great a number they would indeed strip the land bare. But there certainly aren't millions of them in Illian.

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  • 169

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Sheriam

    Mr. Jordan? If I may? How did you develop the language?

    Robert Jordan

    The words come partly from Gaelic, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese. The grammar and syntax I believe I invented myself although it's possible that another language uses the same. Of course, just as with English, I have deliberately put in some very illogical inconsistencies.

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  • 170

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (28 October 2011)

    I find myself thinking "It's been forever since I wrote Perrin. I'll be glad to get back to him." Then I realize his sequence is done.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Note that this isn't because Perrin isn't in the book much. (He is.) It's because I wrote his chapters first.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It is odd, knowing that some characters have had their stories told, that no more will be written about them. You'll feel this next year.

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  • 171

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Any chance of seeing the "Wheel of Time" in other media (television, CD-ROM's, etc.)?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't know about TV certainly, but a company called Legend Entertainment is working on a Wheel of Time role playing game that will have both strategic and tactical levels and be able to be played against your own computer or on the Web against other players. I think it should be interesting. I gave them a number of requirements which all boil down in a way to ... it should be impossible to play the same game twice.

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  • 172

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    How much did your military experience influence your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    Some, I suppose, but I don't know that it had any great influence.

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  • 173

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Did you base any of the WOT characters on real life friends, or acquaintances?

    Robert Jordan

    No, with one exception. All of the major female characters have some part of my wife in them.

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  • 174

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    How much did Tolkien, or even Eddings' Belgariad chronicles influence the WOT series?

    Robert Jordan

    Eddings certainly not at all, and as for Tolkien, only to the degree that (1) he showed that it was possible to write a very large series of books, a very large story, and (2) the fact that I purposely did the first, oh, perhaps 80 pages of The Eye of the World as an homage to Tolkien in a way, that it was set in the same sort of pastoral country that Tolkien wrote about.

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  • 175

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Just curious, but what culture(s) were the Seanchan based on?

    Robert Jordan

    A good deal of Japan, of the Shogunites, Imperial China, and in general a good many rigid hierarchical stratified societies. Too many to list really, I suppose.

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  • 176

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Did you get any inspiration from Arthurian legend?

    Robert Jordan

    Quite a bit, along with other Celtic myths and Norse myths and African and Middle-Eastern, and Hindu and Chinese and Japanese and Native American and even Australian Aboriginal. Plus some others here and there to tell you the truth.

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  • 177

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Did your purposefully use Neo-Pagan and New Age influences to develop the WOT series?

    Robert Jordan

    Not knowingly no. I don't think so.

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  • 178

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Would you ever consent to a movie?

    Robert Jordan

    Sure! But who's going to make a movie at 16 or 18 hours per book? If anybody out there actually thinks he can cut one of these books down to a two hour movie, I suspect he's been drinking something funny!

    Question

    Well, there's always the option of a mini-series.

    Footnote

    At the time, full-season book adaptations were unheard of.

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  • 179

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Are you saying all the characters are based on various cultures around the world?

    Robert Jordan

    Bits and pieces sometimes. Not the characters, but the nations are sometimes based on bits and pieces of actual cultures and quite often it has nothing to do with any culture that I am aware of consciously.

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  • 180

    Interview: Oct 9th, 1996

    Question

    Is "Ogier" from "to sing Ogier"?

    Robert Jordan

    No. It's to sound like Ogre but not be exactly the same. Name of family in Charleston.

    Footnote

    It's also a small street not far from where RJ lived with Harriet in the historic district of Charleston.

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  • 181

    Interview: Oct 12th, 1996

    Mike Lawson

    Also, there's another (non-FAQ-related) note concerning the pre-Bore Age of Legends...

    Robert Jordan

    RJ had mentioned (in response to another question) that what the characters believe does not make it so (Moiraine's statements were used as an example), so I asked whether the pre-Bore Age of Legends was the Utopia that the characters believed it to be. His reply is paraphrased below:

    Compared to their current world, it certainly would be a utopia. However, that doesn't mean that it wasn't perfect. Of course, outbreaks of diseases were kept to a minimum, but it and other disasters of that ilk still occurred. Evil still existed, as well.

    The Forsaken, for example, weren't exactly a stellar bunch to begin with. Semirhage, for example, was a sadist. (I'll skip his description of what a sadist is.) She went into her profession (the equivalent of a surgeon) because it provided an outlet for her sadism. (He then cited some studies that showed that there were more people with sadist tendencies in the medical profession, and surgeons in particular, to support his point.) Aginor (whom he said after some prompting had several elements of the classic mad scientist type) was a biological scientist who never considered the consequences of his actions. Aginor would say, "I wonder what would happen if I took the ebola virus and altered it to be an airborne virus." He'd go ahead and do just that, all without realizing he'd be creating a potentially unstoppable plague. All Aginor would reply to that was, "Hmm. Interesting." (Jordan then mentioned Aginor's creation of the Trollocs, their defects, "It was strong, big, tough to kill, and...... stupid," and that it was the birth of the first Myrddraal that saved the Trollocs from being a complete failure.)

    Even back in the Age of Legends, regular, ordinary folks could do some pretty nasty things. He then cited a study about a small town of ordinary Germans in WWII who did some pretty horrific things (I believe he was referring to the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners").

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  • 182

    Interview: Oct 12th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Vietnam/Rand's "No Kill Woman" Thing

    RJ vividly described an experience he had in Vietnam where he killed a female Viet Cong. He said he simply spotted a figure holding a weapon and fired on it, then "acquired the next target." He then realized that he had killed a woman—the first (and I believe only) time he's done that. This provides an obvious basis for Rand's "Achilles' Heel." (I thought he should have offed both the Tower Aes Sedai in the beginning of A Crown of Swords and Lanfear earlier, but I'm rude like that.)

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  • 183

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Kaldric

    I've noticed the influence of Stephen Donaldson in the Wheel of Time. Has he been a great influence?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I'm really surprised.

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  • 184

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Rand

    Would you allow the series to be made into a series of movies if they were going to be as great as the books?

    Robert Jordan

    Sure. If they were going to be as good as the books.

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  • 185

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Eligar

    What cultures and societies did you base Saldaea on?

    Robert Jordan

    Saldaea is based, in part, on a number of Middle Eastern cultures and several cultures in countries surrounding the Black Sea. In part.

    Eligar

    And *nervous grin*, is the sa'sara supposed to be a sort of belly-dance? *duck*

    Robert Jordan

    The sa'sara, now... You'll need a certificate from your doctor, a note from your mother and a certificate of health for whoever you intend to dance it for before I can give you any more information beside the name.

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  • 186

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Loial

    I've noticed a bit of an influence from the Star Wars series...is there any truth to this?

    Robert Jordan

    (lol) No. I don't read Star Wars books.

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  • 187

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Mel

    Do you put any of your friends or your personal character traits into your characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No, none of my friends, none of me. There is a touch of my wife in all of the major female characters, however, and a good many of the secondary female characters. She's a very complex woman.

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  • 188

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Ravens

    About the upcoming (and looking really great) Wheel of Time game by Legend Entertainment. How much control over the game do you have? (I'd hate seeing it ripped for the Wheel of Time feeling.) Do you think it would be possible to move the One Power into the game, working as it is to be understood in the books, and what is your overall opinion about making a game of the books before the books are finished? (I know it's a prequel, but anyways...)

    Robert Jordan

    I'm happy about making a game about the books before the books are finished. There have been some compromises between what I wanted in the games and what Legend wanted. At first, they told me that they couldn't do certain things until later and I said, "well, here's your money back." After which, they decided that maybe they could do those things now and, in fact, it seems that these things are part of what look to make this one of the hottest games—and maybe the hottest game—anywhere in sight.

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  • 189

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    SamMaEL

    I've noticed a lot of the names in your books are based on historical cultures. Which culture do you think has influenced your books the most?

    Robert Jordan

    I think it's a toss-up between the ancient Celts, the Japanese of the Shogunites, and France of the 17th Century. But then, there are a lot of bits and pieces that have come from a great many sources. I'm not truthfully certain that the three that I gave you really ARE the greatest influences.

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  • 190

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Ishamael

    How much of Jesus Christ is there in Rand? We have the wounded palms, side wound, crown of swords... How representational of Jesus Christ is Rand?

    Robert Jordan

    Rand has some elements of Jesus Christ, yes. But he is intended more to be a general "messiah figure." An archetype such as Arthur, rather than a manifestation of Jesus Christ in any way.

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  • 191

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    borg

    Has your background in physics and as a member of the US Army influenced your books?

    Robert Jordan

    It could hardly help having done so.

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  • 192

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Loial

    What do you think has been your best book thus far? Do you like writing more action or more for the human emotions?

    Robert Jordan

    My best book is the one that I'm working on now. My best book is ALWAYS the one I'm working on now. And, as far as I'm concerned, action is always secondary. The main part of the story is the relationships between people. Those relationships sometimes lead to god-awful troubles, battles, etc., etc., but it's the relationships that are the important things.

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  • 193

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Loial

    Do you think a two-hour movie could ever do the series justice? Or would it at least have to be a trilogy of some sort?

    Robert Jordan

    I think it would take at least 18 or 20 hours of movie to do any one of the books. Which means, I suppose, that none of them will ever be done as movies.

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  • 194

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Lana Trezise from Columbia, MO

    A recurring motif in the Wheel of Time series is the differences between men and women. Why did you decide to make this such an important feature in your writings, and why do you take such a bipolar view on gender?

    Robert Jordan

    I became fascinated with women at the age of three. It's a long story—too long to go into here. But I quickly realized that for everything that was the same about men and women, there seemed to be at least two or three things that were different. Once I had decided that I wanted to use the One Power in the way that I was using it—that is divided into a male half and a female half—it became obvious to me that the differences between men and women themselves should also play a part.

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  • 195

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Gautam Mukunda from Harvard University

    Mr. Jordan—I'm a dedicated fan of your series who's bought all of the books in hardback, and first I'd like to thank you for bringing such a wonderful world to life for us. It seems to me that your work is something relatively new in fantasy—you're exploring a situation where there is no known quest or goal to be fulfilled in order for victory to be assured. Instead it seems more like the real world—uncertain, with the heroes fighting a war without knowledge of the 'victory conditions'. Would you care to comment?

    Robert Jordan

    I wanted to write a fantasy that reflected the real world. With characters who reflected real people—not specific people—but characters who were real people. And there are things about the real world that I wanted such as people who end up heroes very rarely set out to be heroes and heroic journeys consist mainly of sleeping rough and going hungry, wondering how you are going to pay for the next meal and wonder exactly what it is you are supposed to do and how are you going to get out of it alive.

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  • 196

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Linda from Sweden

    I've only had a quick look at the guide so far, but I couldn't find much additional information on Mayene. Perhaps you could tell us which, if any, cultures you have based it on and what the people are like, apart from that they don't exactly seem to suffer from excessive modesty. ;)

    Robert Jordan

    Well Mayene is based culturally on the cities of the Hanseatic league, as well as Venice and Genoa when those cities were world commercial powers and city states in themselves. Of course, I didn't put anything into the guide that I wanted to come as a surprise in the books. You have to remember that. Which is one reason I gave quite as much as I did about the history of the world and considerably less about the "present day."

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  • 197

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Nick Hersh from MVNC

    Mr. Jordan, absolutely fascinating series, I love it. How much do you feel you drew from the Bible in creating the Dragon character, i.e., Moses leading the Israelites from Egypt as opposed to Rand leading the Aiel from the Waste?

    Robert Jordan

    I drew from everything that I have read in the past 40 odd years, including the Bible. It's very hard for me to say—in most cases—exactly what the sources were in any particular instance.

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  • 198

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Joel from Phoenix, AZ

    You have said several times that you based many of the cultures in the Wheel of Time on cultures of history. Do you have a favorite period in history, or a favorite culture?

    Robert Jordan

    The Enlightenment would have been a fine time to live, I think. And there are a few others. But by and large I am happy right where I am . . . and when.

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  • 199

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Joar from Costa Mesa, CA

    You have mentioned that you intentionally tried to recreate some of the feel of Tolkien's Middle Earth, especially in the first book. Considering many of the similar elements between the stories and the fact that time in your world is cyclical, with heroes being reborn through the ages, did you intend to imply that Middle Earth could possibly be "an Age long past, an Age yet to come"?

    Robert Jordan

    Certainly not. In the first hundred pages of The Eye of the World I did try to invoke a Tolkienesque feel. But after that I have certainly not tried to reflect in any way Middle Earth. As a matter of fact, beginning back in that very early part of The Eye of the World, I deliberately took off in a very different direction from Tolkien and I've been running hard in that direction ever since.

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  • 200

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Jonathon from Nebraska

    Mr. Jordan...I play a one of the best telnet games based on your books (cshadow.net port 4000). It runs as close to you books as we can get. My question is this...I play a Seanchan character and have for some time. What was your basis when creating the Seanchan race and the structure of their society? I enjoy the race completely and love the structure of its hierarchy and was just curious as to what they are created from in your mind...? Thank you!!

    Robert Jordan

    Imperial China. Japan during the Shogunites, with strong dollups from the Persian Empire and from the Ottoman.

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  • 201

    Interview: Sep, 1998

    Rajiv Mote

    And once the crowd had cleared out, he was willing to chat (we talked about where he got "Easing the Badger" and the related iconography). But I agree, his wife was by far the more enthusiastic and charming.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, he didn't give a "within-WoT" story explanation. But "Easing the Badger" and the picture of the dancing badger and the man with a golden (not silver, like in his book) shovel came out of a history book RJ had read. (His wife remembered the name, but I forgot it, along with the historical period.) There was a group in England who used that name and had that iconography on a banner. He didn't know anything about the group other than that, but his wife speculated that "Easing the Badger" could be something like the "Upping of the Swans", which was the annual count of the swans living in the royal gardens.

    Rajiv Mote

    For what it's worth, when he signed my book, he wrote "You're too young to know what 'Easing the Badger' means!"

    Footnote

    This report could only be partially recovered from rasfwrj.

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  • 202

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    The Chicago Sun-Times calls your work "A fantasy tale seldom equaled and still more seldom surpassed in English." This is rather high praise! What does fantasy mean to you? Why would you decide to write epic fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    It is certainly high praise—embarrassingly high! I chose fantasy in a large part because of its flexibility. It is possible to talk about right and wrong, good and evil, with a straight face in fantasy, and while one of the themes of the books is the difficulty of telling right from wrong at times, these things are important to me. There are always shades of gray in places and slippery points—simple answers are so often wrong—but in so much "mainstream" fiction, there isn't anything except gray areas and slippery points, and there isn't 10 cents worth of moral difference between "the good guys" and "the bad guys." If, indeed, the whole point in those books isn't that there is no difference. Besides, while I read fairly widely, fantasy has been in there since the beginning. My older brother used to read to me when I was very small, and among my earliest memories are listening to him read Beowulf and Paradise Lost. I suppose some of it "took."

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  • 203

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    As a man who served tours of duty in Vietnam, how does your epic reflect your own personal experiences with war, and how difficult is this for you to write about?

    Robert Jordan

    It really doesn't reflect any of my own experiences, except that I know what it is like to have someone wanting to kill you. I don't try to write about Vietnam; I thought I would, once, but now, I don't believe I could make myself. But I know the confusion, uncertainty and out-right ignorance of anything you can't see that exists once the fighting starts; I don't think war will ever become sufficiently high-tech to completely dispel "the fog of war." So I can put these sensations into my writing.

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  • 204

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    What do you hope readers will gain from reading your novels?

    Robert Jordan

    I do hope that people will occasionally think about "the right thing to do," about right behavior and wrong, after reading one of my books. I certainly don't try to tell them what right behavior is, only to make them think and consider. But mainly, I just want to tell a story. In this case, about ordinary people pushed into extraordinary events and forced to grow and change whether they want to or not, sometimes in ways they never expected and certainly wouldn't have picked out given a choice. I am a storyteller, after all, and the job of a storyteller is to entertain. Anything else is icing on the cake.

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  • 205

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    It has been said that the elaborate and rich descriptions you use to create your worlds and characters bring your stories to life. Where do your descriptions come from? Are any of your characters based on real people?

    Robert Jordan

    The descriptions come from years of reading history, sociology, cultural anthropology, almost anything I can put my hands on in any and every subject that caught my eye. Including religion and mythology, of course, necessities for a fantasy writer, though I went at them first simply because I wanted to. It all tumbles together in my head, and out comes what I write. I don't try to copy cultures or times, only to make cultures that are believable. I can't explain it any better than that.

    I don't base characters on real people. With one exception, at least. Every major female character and some of the minor have at least a touch of my wife, Harriet. I won't tell her which bits in which women, though. After all, what if she didn't like it? She knows where I sleep.

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  • 206

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    What does your fan mail tell you of the chords you've struck to create such a devoted following?

    Robert Jordan

    In large part, that I've created characters people believe in. One fairly common is that the reader knows somebody just like Mat or Nynaeve or whoever, or that they feel they could meet them around the next corner. Character is very important to me; story flows from character. Also, I suspect that the strong interweaving of mythologies from a number of cultures plays a part, too. Modern society—at least in the West—pretends that we have outgrown the need for myth and legend, but people seem to hunger for them. Where we have forgotten our myths, we create new ones, although today we don't realize what we are doing. But then, maybe people never did truly realize what they were doing in making myth; perhaps it has always been an unconscious act. The cultural trappings surrounding myth and legend vary widely by country, but if they are stripped to the bare core you find among the same stories repeated over and over around the world. However different their cultures, custom and mores, people share many of the same needs, hopes and fears. Anyway, I believe there is a strong echo of myth and legend in my writing, and I think people feel that.

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  • 207

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Andrew Wooster from Pomona College

    Do you feel that the fantasy genre of literature has any importance in society, and if so, what is its importance?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I think it has too many levels of importance to go into all of them here, but the one that is very clear to me is the human need for myth. We have tried to scrape away, carve away, all the myths in our lives, but we do have that need. It can be demonstrated as simply as by looking at the rise of urban legends. Humans have a deep need for myth, and fantasy literature helps to provide that, I think. Or at least to provide an outlet for that need.

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  • 208

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Shawn from t_voice@bellsouth.net

    What are the chances of seeing any adaptations either film or television of any characters from the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    I really don't know. I occasionally have gotten approaches in the past, but the books are all so long and involved that I think it would take a 16-hour movie to do any one of the books. We'll see what happens.

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  • 209

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Joey from Arizona

    Mr. Jordan, my favorite character is Mat, and I was wondering, do you find it ironic that a Hero of the Wheel, who does not know that he is a Hero of the Wheel, blew the Horn of Valere? Also, where did you get the idea for Mat?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, Mat is a lot of guys. Mat is Coyote and Trickster and a lot of other characters out of myth and legend. He's the reluctant hero, he's a lot of things. He's the bad boy on the Harley. He's a lot of legends.

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  • 210

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Sense of Wonder

    In a field where J.R.R. Tolkien has been used as a yardstick that leaves most authors far behind, the notoriously discriminating New York Times says you have come to dominate the world Tolkien began to reveal. As your Wheel of Time series has grown, the richness and compelling nature of your creation has also been favorably compared with that of other great masters in creative fields, including the Brothers Grimm, Aldous Huxley, Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and Beethoven! You are part of a distinguished heritage. What do you feel is most distinctive about your work?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I believe I write with a distinctly American voice, and a distinctly Southern one to boot. There is a great story-telling tradition in the South. My grandfather, father, and uncles were all raconteurs, and I grew up listening to their stories, as well as those of other men. There's a touch of oral tradition in my writing. Maybe that's where Beethoven comes in. A spoken story must flow musically, in words and in structure. I believe that my fiction reads as if it were meant to be read aloud. It certainly goes well in the unabridged audiotape versions. In short, it is a matter of time and place and experience. I grew up in a different place and in a different way from any of those men, and lived a different life. I am none of those men, could not be, and don't want to be. I am myself.

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  • 211

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Sense of Wonder

    Speaking of coming from a different time and place, it has often been said that your military experience leaves a clear mark on your work. It's a matter of record that you served two tours of duty in Vietnam and your decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with "V," and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. How would you say your military experience is reflected in your Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    My writing doesn't really reflect any of my own personal war experiences, except that I know how it feels to have someone trying to kill you. I don't try to write about Vietnam; I thought I would, once, but now, I don't think I'd be able to. However, I know the feeling of confusion, doubt, and plain ignorance of anything you can't see that exists once fighting starts. I don't think war will ever become so technologically advanced as to completely dispel "the fog of war," so I put those feelings into my writing.

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  • 212

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Sense of Wonder

    You are a strong support of literacy programs, such as Reading is Fundamental (RIF), and your novels have been praised by the American Library Association, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) and Library Journal. Do you hope your work will be used to further literacy?

    Robert Jordan

    I hope so, and I also hope that people will occasionally think about "the right thing to do," about right behavior and wrong, after reading one of my books. I don't try to tell them what is right or wrong, only to make them think and consider. But primarily, I am a storyteller, and the job of a storyteller is to entertain. In the case of the Wheel of Time, I tell a story about ordinary people pushed into extraordinary events and forced to grow and change whether they want to or not, sometime in ways they never expected.

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  • 213

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Kayleigh

    Who is your greatest inspiration?? Your greatest influence?

    Robert Jordan

    I really have to list five authors I believe are the greatest influence on me. Louis L'Amour...Jane Austen...John D. MacDonald...Charles Dickens...and Mark Twain.

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  • 214

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    DrewofWotism

    I am curious to find out why there are no male Dreamwalkers mentioned since according to the Wise Ones it is not connected to the One Power.

    Robert Jordan

    Simply because it's a talent that appears very rarely among men. The Wise Ones are doubtful that there actually can be a male Dreamwalker. One of the themes of the book is that no one knows everything there is to know. Another is that just because you believe something to be true, doesn't mean that it is true.

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  • 215

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Tijamilism

    I love all the similarities between Frank Herbert's Dune and WOT. Was this intended? If so, are you a fan of his?

    Robert Jordan

    No, there was no intention to make any similarities between Dune and my writings. And I am certainly a big fan of the original Dune novel. Although I doubt if I've read it since it first came out!

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  • 216

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Jimbo3

    How did you get the idea for the the Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    Well...the first thing I thought of was what would it REALLY be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you had been born to save mankind. And somehow or other I suspect it wouldn't be very much like anyone had said it was so far...and about the same time, I was wondering about the sources of myth. And why there are so many myths and legends that show striking similarities when they're paired with cultural references. Those two things are as clear to a starting point as I can show you. And they bounced around in the back of my head along with 40 odd years of reading everything I can get my hands on. History, Biography, Myth, Legend, Comparative Religion, Social Anthro, whatever I found. And out eventually came the Wheel of Time...but not until a number of years thinking about it.

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  • 217

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Slayer

    I noticed how there are many similarities between the WOT and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Is this on purpose, or do great minds just think alike?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's not on purpose, though I don't know about great minds. Lord of the Rings has more dissimilarities than similarities to my series. I have no elves, no unicorns, no dragons. Tolkien wrote from a distinctly English viewpoint and voice about myths and legends that came from England. I write in an American voice, in fact a distinctly southern voice, about myths and legends that come from every country represented by the population of the US. And then there's the role played by women...there are only two women in Lord of the Rings....women tell half the story in WOT! There are other differences, and I sometimes find it hard to see the similarities.

    Footnote

    RJ stated in other interviews that he wrote the first part of The Eye of the World to be somewhat reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, as a sort of homage to Tolkien.

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  • 218

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    The Aiel were based on bits of the Apache, Zulu, Bedouin, and Arab(?) cultures.

    Matthew Hunter

    Nothing startling here, but I don't think we've had this one answered as a complete list before. It was fired off really fast, so I may have missed some...

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  • 219

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    I grew up around strong women; weak men were pickled and salted. The women wouldn't waste time raising a weak boy.

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  • 220

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Matthew Hunter

    Where did ideas come from?

    Robert Jordan

    What if you were tapped on the shoulder and told you had to save the world?

    What are the sources of myths? "Reverse-engineered" legends.

    The game of "telephone". (He calls it "whisper").

    Proud of the little things that slip up on you, like Callandor being "the Sword in the Stone."

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  • 221

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Matthew Hunter

    When China Ruled the Seas

    Evidently, China was a real behemoth in the Middle Ages, right on the track to world domination, until they decided they didn't really want to rule the world. The following is a summary from hastily scribbled notes on a subject about which I am relatively ignorant; if I fuck up, it means I can't read my notes.

    Robert Jordan

    1484

    In the time before Columbus...

    China had a huge fleet of ships (3000 of them, half-million crew), printing presses, generally huge technological advantage over everywhere else. The fleet is commanded by a name that translates as "Three-Jeweled Eunuch" (although he was evidently not a eunuch??). The fleet had superior logistics (well, something about logistics right about here) and had reached Madagascar. They were planning to round the Cape of Good Hope and see what they found.

    1490

    The year they would have reached Europe...and overwhelmed it.

    Unfortunately, bad things happened. The current Emperor died and was succeeded by his son, who was young and had self-confidence problems. The palace eunuchs (evidently a powerful political force) grew concerned over the changes caused by outside influences, believing them to be corrupting Chinese culture. They convinced the Emperor to shut China off from the rest of the world by burning seafaring boats (including that huge fleet!), restricting foreigners to certain cities and killing them if they were caught outside, and killing Chinese who left to see the world and then returned.

    It seems the Japanese also did this—twice, in fact.

    Matthew Hunter

    This was a very long spiel coming from the nonfiction military history books he recommended. There was a lot more detail than I managed to capture, but one thing that stood out in my mind was that he had just told us the origins of Shara and the Seanchan. Or some of them, at least.

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  • 222

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Drollick

    I liked the Conan book you did. On your listed mention of authors who most influenced you, you did not list Robert E. Howard. Is there a reason?

    Robert Jordan

    He didn't influence me, that's why. I enjoyed reading the stories when I was a boy and I enjoyed writing the Conan novels, but Howard was never an influence on my style.

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  • 223

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Moderator (Call)

    What's his favorite sci-fi movie?

    Robert Jordan

    Actually...I think I have to go all the way back to Forbidden Planet. My favorite fantasy movie would have to be Excalibur. There are a lot of good science fiction movies out there, from Bladerunner to The Day The Earth Stood Still to The Terminator, but nothing can touch Excalibur.

    Footnote

    RJ referenced Terminator 2: Judgment Day rather blatantly with the 'new breed' of Darkhounds first encountered by Rand in Rhuidean, to the point that the fans often refer to them as T2 Darkhounds. There are two Excalibur parallels in WoT: Callandor and Justice.

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  • 224

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    ilrudy

    Do you see a movie coming in the future? [Moderator: From your books, I bet ilrudy means.]

    Robert Jordan

    Not unless someone wants to make an 18 hour film. That's how long any one of these books would take, I believe.

    Moderator

    A miniseries? (Moderator smiles)

    Robert Jordan

    And no one is doing miniseries any more. Of course, "New Spring" has just been released but no one has come sniffing around yet. Boorman would be the guy...

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  • 225

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Strider71

    What do you think of the parallels drawn between you and Tolkien?

    Robert Jordan

    I assume the questioner means the parallels drawn by [Edward] Rothstein of The New York Times. I find them interesting...I was not aware there were quite so many.

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  • 226

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    TGofWotism

    Will there be a Wheel of Time Role Playing Game?

    Robert Jordan

    There is a computer game coming from Legend Entertainment to be released next spring. I am told it was the absolute hit of the #e show this past summer. (E3) And if I can believe the things that various computer gaming magazines said, it will be one of the best or perhaps even the best game to be released in years.

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  • 227

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Joni

    You mention different accents, like the Taraboner and Murandian, as well as the slurred speech of the Seanchan. Are any of these accents and dialects at all comparable to those in this world, and if so, which ones sound like which?

    Robert Jordan

    To some degree, some of them are like accents from this world. It would be a bit much to go into here to discuss which ones are like which. Let your mind go free.

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  • 228

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    dancer

    I'm impressed by the scene details, especially the towns; what were your best research resources?

    Robert Jordan

    Too many to go into...forty odd years of reading and studying and traveling... really, too many to go into.

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  • 229

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Robert Jordan (28 August 1999)

    The other really interesting thing he said was that ABC have bought the rights to make a WOT mini-series. It doesn't mean they will, but they've got the guy who wrote 'Merlin' working on a script.

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  • 230

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Mark Erikson (28 August 1999)

    And there is something else that keeps nagging at my memory, but I can't put my finger on it. I'll post again when it comes back to me.

    Robert Jordan (31 August 1999)

    Now I have it, although it's fairly mundane. It's about the WOT game by Legend Entertainment. He said that he asked them to have a female character, and they were initially against it, but he pressed the issue and they conceded. Then Tomb Raider became big, there were some design changes and suddenly there was sex appeal.

    He also asked for a replayable game, and they told him it could not be done.

    So he came up with the idea of having a massive library of ter'angreal in the game, and at the start of each game, the computer randomly selects some, and they're the weapons you have to use in the game, allowing for many different strategies, depending on which weapons you have and which you don't.

    He also said that Legend has done such a good job on WOT that they've been contracted to do the sequel to Unreal. (I'm no big fan of Unreal, but I don't think that he means Unreal Tournament.)

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  • 231

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    I'm just wondering, for the Age of Legends, will you be following up or going back to that or maybe endorsing a movie on the Age of Legends?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I'm waiting for some contracts to catch up with me which are an option by NBC to do a mini series based on The Eye of the World with the screen writer who did NBC's Merlin. Now that's an option. It might happen, it might not happen. That's the only movie or TV activity going on. As far as the Age of Legends is concerned and going back to them, when I reach the last scene of this book I would have told the story that I wanted to tell in this world. I would have said what I wanted to say in this world. And my intention at that point is to go onto a different universe, a different world, a different set of rules, different cultures. I've been thinking about it for about five or six years now.

    Question

    With the same characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No, certainly not. If I've done it, why do it again? That's the trap that sometimes you guys push the writer into. You say, "You know, I really liked what you've done before. Do it again." And he does. And pretty soon he's doing the same thing over and over again. Now I'll hope you'll stick with me because I've done this. When I finish it I will have done it and I will try to go on something else that is not exactly the same. I hope you'll like it.

    Question

    Wouldn't be based around your physics by any chance?

    Robert Jordan

    Not in particular. Not to any greater degree than this is.

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  • 232

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Where do you come up with all the names for the cities? Do you just pick them out of your head?

    Robert Jordan

    Ahh, yeah. And I admit to making lists. I read fairly widely and...Newspapers, foreign newspapers, foreign to me, to the States. The Economist and other magazines that have stories about other countries' news stories. And I'll see a name that it isn't the name that I want but I realize if I twist it and turn it inside out and tie it into a knot, it's a name that sounds very nice. It's the name I want. The same way names out of myth and legend that in some cases are twisted or turned or changed and others aren't. I figure that most of you are far enough along that you read, that you know Rand al'Thor, al'Thor, yes he is an Arthur analog. He is also a Thor analog. Some of you might not have picked that one up yet. And Artur Hawkwing is also an Arthur analog. Because what I've tried to do is not give you any sort of retelling of myths or legends but to reverse engineer every one of them so that I can give you some version of what might have happened and then have been changed by telling and retelling and retelling and retelling into the myths and legends we have today.

    Question

    On that point, the cultures from the books, would you say you've used cultures from today's society as a base for the cultures from the books?

    Robert Jordan

    Not a great deal from today's society, no. Not really. The Whitecloaks are based on any number of groups who knew the truth, who know the truth and they want you to believe the truth. They want you to know the truth too. And if you don't know the truth, if you don't believe the truth they'll kill ya. There's been a lot of them, all over the world. They're the basis for the Whitecloaks. The Aiel, for instance, bits of the Bedouin, bits of the Yaqui Indians, the Apaches, bits of Zulu, bits of the Northern Cheyenne, a lot of bits of my own. Some pieces out of Japan, some bits out of China. And then structure it together how these things have all...If all these things were true, all of these bits I wanted to have, and that culture lived in the middle of the desert, a very inhospitable desert, what else has to be true about these people. And thus I get the Aiel culture.

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  • 233

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Paul Colquhoun

    I have just returned home from a talk/booksigning here in Sydney.

    FOOTNOTE

    There is a verbatim transcript of this Q&A here.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ did say that the rights to a mini-series of the The Eye of the World has been sold, and that the scriptwriter from Merlin was involved. He also said there was no guarantee that anything would come of this.

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  • 234

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    I asked about Ishamael's bit in the book 8 prologue, but got two RAFOs so we won't know whether it is set before hand, or (the first question I asked) if the nine mentioned were all Forsaken.

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  • 235

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    We found out his favourite authors. Yes, there is a cardgame on the way, similar to Magic: the Gathering. At least three more books...He's disappointed about our failure to find who killed Asmodean...A couple of other stories...There was a drunk guy there who kept interrupting and shouting (almost abusing) RJ (Aggghhh!!!)

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  • 236

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    RJ confirmed that a WoT (or, more correctly, a The Eye of the World) miniseries has been signed, and the creator of the Merlin miniseries is at the helm, but there are no other details as of yet.

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  • 237

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    There is a collectible WoT card game, a la "Magic: The Gathering" on the way. He considers all proper approaches for WoT merchandise, mainly because he enjoys playing around with it. This means that there may be WoT jewelry and the like in the future, if the right people approach RJ about it.

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  • 238

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    There are things I am saying, things I am talking about, but I try not to make them obtrusive. The necessity to struggle against evil, the difficulty of identifying evil, how easy it is to go astray, are very simple questions. In modern mainstream fiction, if you discuss good and evil, you're castigated for being judgmental or for being old-fashioned. Originally this was a way of deciding which was the greater wrong—'It is wrong to steal, but my child is starving to death. Obviously, in that situation it is better to steal than to let my child die of hunger.' But today that has been transmogrified into a belief that anything goes, it's what you can get by with, and there is no real morality, no right, no wrong—it's simply what produces the Platonic definition of evil: 'a temporary disadvantage for the one perceiving evil.'

    In fantasy, we can talk about right and wrong, and good and evil, and do it with a straight face. We can discuss morality or ethics, and believe that these things are important, where you cannot in mainstream fiction. It's part of the reason why I believe fantasy is perhaps the oldest form of literature in the world, at least in the western canon. You go back not simply to Beowulf but The Epic of Gilgamesh.

    And it survives pervasively today. People in the field of science fiction and fantasy are willing to accept that the magic realists are fantasy writers, but to the world at large, 'Oh no, that's not fantasy, that's literature.' Yes it is fantasy. And a lot of other things, that are published as mainstream, really are fantasy but not identified as such. We really have quite a pervasive influence.

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  • 239

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    How are the plans for the tele-movie version of Eye of the World coming along?

    Robert Jordan

    So far, the contracts have been signed, and I know no more. NBC has purchased an option, and while I hope the series will be made, many more options are purchased than shows see the light of day.

    Question

    Have any actors been cast yet?

    Robert Jordan

    Not that I know of.

    Question

    I read a two year old interview on the web which had you say you could not see your series turn into movies; what changed your mind?

    Robert Jordan

    The words "mini-series" and "at least four hours and possibly six." I still don’t see any way that one of the books could be pared down enough to fit into the usual two-hour theatrical release, but four or six hours makes a difference.

    Question

    When are you hoping this project will be broadcast in the U.S. and will it be released on video/DVD?

    Robert Jordan

    I could wish for next week, but if wishes were wings, pigs would fly. I really have no idea as to the answer of either question.

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  • 240

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Where did the idea of the Wheel of Time come from?

    If you mean simply the concept of time as a wheel, that comes from the Hindu religion, though many cultures have or had a cyclical view of the nature of time. If you mean the books, then the idea came from many things. From wondering what it really would be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told, "You were born to save mankind. And, by the way, you’re supposed to die in the end, it seems." I wondered what a world might be like where the feminist movement was never necessary simply because no one is surprised to see a woman as a judge or ruler, a wagon driver or a dock hand. There’s still some surprise at a woman as a soldier—a matter of upper body strength, and weapons that need upper body strength—but by and large, the question of a woman not being able to do a job just doesn’t arise. I wondered what it wold be like if the "wise outsider" arrived in a village and said, "You must follow me on a great quest," and the people there reacted the way people really react when a stranger shows up and offers to sell them beachfront property at incredibly low prices. I wondered about the source of legends, about how events are distorted by distance—either spatial or temporal—about how any real events that might have led to legends would probably be completely unrecognizable to us. This is getting entirely too involved, so let’s just say that the books grew out of forty-odd years of reading everything I could get my hands on in any and every subject that caught my interest.

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  • 241

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    If and when you start another series of books after the Wheel of Time series will you use some of the characters from that series?

    Robert Jordan

    No. Absolutely, positively, never under heaven! I have no plans ever to return to this universe once I reach the end. If I have such a compelling idea one day that I simply must go back, then I’ll shift the story so far in time that it might as will be a different universe. Anything else would be doing the same thing over again. For the next set of books, I will be in a completely different universe with different rules, different cultures, different people. I expect I will examine some of the same issues—the clash of cultures, the tide of change, the difficulty men and women alike have in figuring out the rules of the game—but I certainly don’t expect to chew my cud twice.

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  • 242

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Have any writers influenced you?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I think so. I believe that the major influences on my writing are Jane Austen, John D. MacDonald, Mark Twain, Louis L'Amour and Charles Dickens.

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  • 243

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Paul Ward

    Possible question: Languages/accents?

    Robert Jordan

    Seanchan -> Texas accent. Two Rivers -> Irish/English accent. Illianers -> Dutch. Aiel -> somewhat Slavic. Tairen -> Spanish. Domani -> Indian. Saldaean -> Egyptian/North African.

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  • 244

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Paul Ward

    Possible question: Someone found a "Master Knifemaker" Herron. Was he the inspiration for heron-mark blades?

    Robert Jordan

    No... I am not familiar with him at all.

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  • 245

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    What inspired you to write in the fantasy genre?

    Robert Jordan

    Some stories need to be told in certain genres, and fantasy allows the writer to explore good and evil, right and wrong, honour and duty without having to bow to the mainstream belief that all of these things are merely two sides of a coin. Good and evil exist, so do right and wrong. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference, just as it can be difficult to know what is the proper thing to do, but it is worth making the effort.

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  • 246

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    Was there a single idea that inspired the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Not a single idea, but many, large and small, which coalesced. I wondered what it would really be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you had been born to carry out a great mission, that this was your inevitable destiny no matter what you yourself wished. I was thinking about the source of legends, about how come must be real events distorted by the passage of time, and also about how similar many legends are between different and often distant cultures. There were many other things involved in this, but eventually they began to come together in my mind, and I saw the possibility of the story.

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  • 247

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    Would you like to see the Wheel of Time made into a movie—or movies? If so, who would you like to see play Rand?

    Robert Jordan

    I would very much like to see the Wheel of Time made into a miniseries for television, perhaps by someone like HBO. They do very good work, and there would be no commercial interruptions. I don't think I would let one of the books be made into a movie. Such a movie would have to be at least five or six hours long, perhaps longer, just for one book, to maintain the coherence of the story, and movies of that sort aren't being made by anyone I know of. As to who should play Rand, I really don't know. How many good, young actors are there who happen to be six feet five inches tall?

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  • 248

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Do the events of the outside world (i.e. current affairs, politics and the like) affect what you write in your books?

    Robert Jordan

    They must filter in, to varying degrees. I follow the world news assiduously, and I can’t see how I could keep events in the world from affecting events in the books. But it happens when and as I choose. Refugees in Kosovo, ethnic cleansing, famine in Africa, civil wars, upheavals, floods, whatever—you might say I use those events to give authenticity to similar events in the books. I don’t like preaching, but I always hope my readers will think a little beyond the story, and I think that acquired authenticity helps.

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  • 249

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Question

    Have you ever seen "Army of Darkness"? There's a scene in there where Ash (the protagonist) smashes the mirror and mini dopplegangers come out of each shard.

    Robert Jordan

    No. When did the movie come out?

    Footnote

    Army of Darkness was released on October 9, 1992...and The Shadow Rising was released on September 15, 1992. Looks like both parties are innocent (not that most fans of WoT would have minded if RJ had referenced the movie).

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  • 250

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Question

    There were a lot of fans upset at your decision to sell the Prologue to S&S as an ebook, and there were other people upset at your "special introduction", thinking that you were mocking your fans. What was your intent/how did this come about?

    Robert Jordan

    People who got upset about the "special introduction" need to "take a break and get a milkshake." The introduction was definitely about mocking ebooks and how it really did feel like selling your soul. S&S came to him and begged for something—anything—to sell from Winter's Heart as an ebook. He didn't go to them at all.

    Question

    Do you think you'll ever put the books out in electronic format?

    Robert Jordan

    When there's a reader that he can "drop in the water, dry with a hair dryer, and then read" he'll move over to ebooks. He's also waiting for the industry to hash out its standards. He expects that to take another 5 years or so.

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  • 251

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Ken Wimer from Vallejo, CA

    Mr. Jordan, it is a such a pleasure to converse with you like this. (Unfortunately, I am at work, so I must submit this without knowing if it will actually get answered, being 10 AM PST!) My question: It is apparent that the majority of the "World" is and has been greatly influenced, if not outright controlled by females. As we all know, females and males must work together (as in a circle) so as to defeat the Dark One. Will we be seeing more of a "work together attitude" between men and women in your future novels, or more of the "women should control all while looking down their nose at men" theme?

    Robert Jordan

    Both. I'm not certain that I have a women-looking-down-their-nose at men theme; I simply have women that consider themselves competent in and of themselves.

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  • 252

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Cathy from Bigfork, Montana

    From the Message to the Reader at the beginning of "Snow", you seemed to have mixed feelings about the e-book format. Being from a rural area, with few bookstores, I love it. How do you feel about this new format as an author and part of the publishing industry?

    Robert Jordan

    I feel that it's a very new format, and that we have at present no idea whatsoever in what direction it is going to develop, or how widely it will be accepted. At the moment, relatively few people buy ebooks, unless they are by Stephen King, say, or if they are self-help or business. Even then, the numbers are not very big as compared to actual books on paper.

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  • 253

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Lars-Remi (Kagato) from Norway

    Is there any chance whatsoever that you could explain to us the full set of rules for the game 'Snakes and Foxes'? I would really like to try playing it.

    Robert Jordan

    (laughs) Not tonight! There's a fair description in one of the books, though—perhaps someday I'll put it down in print somewhere. Really, it is a child's game.

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  • 254

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000