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Terez
12-11-2012, 12:56 PM
First up, Jason's not-a-review:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/09/qdear-robert-jordanq-a-response-to-a-memory-of-light

And now, Leigh Butler's review:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/12/the-wheel-of-time-a-memory-of-light-spoiler-free-review

I'm sure we'll get a few more.

Terez
12-11-2012, 01:14 PM
My take on some things:

Geez, no consent issues here. I am not sure a proportional response is always actually proportional, you guys! What the hell?
I'm guessing this has to do with 'You will bed me now.'

Dammit, dammit, no, don’t agree, don’t agree to – DAMMIT. Well, there goes the neighborhood. You MORON. (Maybe?)
Elayne?

Hah, so sure of that theory, were you? Well, so were a lot of people. So much for that!
This could kind of be anything. I hope it's something like the stream-crossing theory which is essentially fanon these days but could well be untrue.

His pocket? Seriously?
What has he got in his pocketses??

And here’s Choked Up Incident #3, and over a sparring session!
Gawyn/Bryne?

*blink* *blink* Well, I’ll be damned. Mentioned twice, even! I’m not sure if that’s a sop to shut me up or a nod that I was right, or both, but I don’t care, because awesome. The most likely option, of course, is that it didn’t have a damn thing to do with me at all, and ultimately it is totally irrelevant anyway, but I don’t care, because thank you. I am Pleased.
Guessing this is the gay male character. Could be wrong.

AHAHAHA. Just in case there were any trolls out there still insisting on it, eh?
Either Taimandred (in which case she could be referring to the prologue) or Olvercain (in which it would have to be something else).

Uh. Is that who I think it is? Because whooooa.
Someone believed to be dead?

This would be one of those points in a story where there is really only one applicable phrase, and that phrase is oh shit.
I love O SHIT moments!

Ah, damn. Well, one prophecy fulfilled.
And apparently in a lackluster fashion?

Holy Law of Conservation of Characters, Batman! When was the last time we saw ________, TGH? Heh.
Floran Gelb? He was in TSR, but I can hope. :p

Yeah, well, dude, what did you expect? That wasn’t bringing a knife to a gun fight; that was bringing a knife to a Global Thermonuclear Warfare fight. Sheesh. Also: Damn. That sucks.
Gawyn? Or Galad?

Oh, yeah. I was wondering when they would show up. Not that I’m particularly thrilled that they’re here, of course.
Sharans? God I hope not...

*falls over laughing* Oh my God, that is hilarious. And somewhere a certain someone is saying SO THERE, IT WAS RELEVANT, WASN’T IT. Touché, Team Jordan. Touché.
I feel like I should know what this is.

Oh.
Main character death. You know, one of those ones that could happen, but we're hoping doesn't, like Nynaeve.

Anaiya Sedai
12-11-2012, 01:22 PM
i shouldn't have read this.. i felt all patient until half an hour ago...!!

SauceyBlueConfetti
12-11-2012, 01:25 PM
OMG Anaiya, THAT IS THE EXACT SAME REACTION I JUST HAD lololol

I thought to myself, ok, need to step away from TL now until the book release.


Yeah, right. Like I have that kind of willpower.

Anaiya Sedai
12-11-2012, 01:29 PM
hey even I can't stay away right now.
maybe i should go and make some more wot diapers instead to pass the time.

SamJ
12-11-2012, 02:42 PM
As above! Feels so far away still.

And a couple of thoughts.

A character we haven't seem since TGH could be Agelmar's sister. I expect some glorious last stands in the borderlands.

Geez, no consent issues here. I am not sure a proportional response is always actually proportional, you guys! What the hell?

I wondered about the Asha'man/Aes Sedai bonding as we still haven't seen that play out. More forced bonding on the way?

Yeah, well, dude, what did you expect? That wasn’t bringing a knife to a gun fight; that was bringing a knife to a Global Thermonuclear Warfare fight. Sheesh. Also: Damn. That sucks.

Rand going to SG the first time and failing?

Wow, I totally forgot that ______ didn’t actually know that. And yes, dude, your timing sucks balls. Sheesh.

Galad discovering he has a brother pretty much as he bites it?

God, they are so WEIRD. I totally don’t know how to feel about this relationship. But then, apparently neither do they, so that’s… all right? I guess?

Pevara and Androl?

Crispin's Crispian
12-11-2012, 03:15 PM
Pevara and Androl?
Thom and Moiraine.

Brita
12-11-2012, 03:32 PM
Thom and Moiraine.

Mat and Tuon?

Dom
12-11-2012, 05:37 PM
I'm guessing this has to do with 'You will bed me now.'

For some reason, I think this one has a lot more to do with Mat being unusually awkward and nervous, and dithering, than with lack of consent. Then Tuon has had enough of the chatter and tells Mat "get on with it".

Hopefully Brandon doesn't ruin their first night scene too much. The fans of Tuon/Mat relationship have been waiting for that one since KOD (and more precisely since the "You may kiss me"/"Now? while all the others are watching" scene), and expecting it would be the crowning piece of RJ's Mat/Tuon humor.

Going by the proportional answer tidbit, and the "you guys", I'd place my money on this one being simply a comment on the Pevara/Androl matters in chapter 2.

Weiramon
12-11-2012, 05:53 PM
Learned a new word: abatis. Also, ouch.

Burn my soul, this sounds dreadful, simply dreadful.

jana
12-11-2012, 06:05 PM
Pointless.

Dom
12-11-2012, 06:25 PM
Floran Gelb? He was in TSR, but I can hope.

Hmmm...

I just re read that one. From memory the list is fairly short (at least of characters who may be relevant)...

If Elayne has no choice to fall back to Cairhien at some point, and Thom remain in her entourage, and he needs rumors and such, he's got his old and dear friend Zera.

There's Tavolin, the minor noble and officer who met Rand and Lanfear.

There's Cuale, who is a Verin or Brown Ajah eyes-and-ears.

One noblewoman is unaccounted for. Bele something or other (likely ends in vere)

Ogier Elders at Tsofu, and Amalisa and her entourage. All of those are probably way too expected to return (Amalisa is running Fal Dara, sort of in the middle of danger) to be worth such a comment.

Pretty much everyone else, AS, Seanchan, Sailors, Cairhienin, Shienarans etc. are accounted for.

Heck... even the innkeeper near the CK is :) RJ reused those for COT.

arioch
12-11-2012, 06:34 PM
Heck... even the innkeeper near the CK is :) RJ reused those for COT.

Oh wow, in Malden? *looks it up*

e:

Nope, as of the Cleansing of saidin in WH, she's still running that inn.

Dom
12-11-2012, 07:20 PM
Oh wow, in Malden? *looks it up*

e:

Nope, as of the Cleansing of saidin in WH, she's still running that inn.

I meant the scene in WH, the counterpart to the Amayar scene. I just forgot the scenes were in WH and it's only what happened to the Amayar we learned later.

newyorkersedai
12-11-2012, 08:41 PM
First up, Jason's not-a-review:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/09/qdear-robert-jordanq-a-response-to-a-memory-of-light

I'm sure we'll get a few more.

HAHAHA, nice burn! No, it's not a review - it's a letter wherein the reviewer talks quite a bit about himself, without taking the time to address the work. Or, maybe, I'm too used to film critique, and this is an appropriate way to review a book. Except that nothing new was criticized, analyzed, or critiqued.

Oh, wait.

Terez
12-12-2012, 01:31 AM
Going by the proportional answer tidbit, and the "you guys", I'd place my money on this one being simply a comment on the Pevara/Androl matters in chapter 2.
Yeah, that's what people on DM said, and I agree. I just see 'consent' and think sex.

HAHAHA, nice burn! No, it's not a review - it's a letter wherein the reviewer talks quite a bit about himself, without taking the time to address the work. Or, maybe, I'm too used to film critique, and this is an appropriate way to review a book. Except that nothing new was criticized, analyzed, or critiqued.

Oh, wait.
lol, I wasn't really aiming for a burn. It's like GRRM's not-a-blog. I don't think Jason really thinks of it as a review, but he knows that he is seen outside the fandom as a WoT apologist so maybe he thought a proper review would be kind of pointless. But maybe that didn't enter into his thought process at all. :D

Anaiya Sedai
12-12-2012, 02:19 AM
Yeah, that's what people on DM said, and I agree. I just see 'consent' and think sex.

me too. but then i think sex when eating cheese on toast and sandwiches. thanks, tl. ;)

maacaroni
12-12-2012, 03:54 AM
One review is fawning brown-nosing to the nth degree.

The other is adolescent and puerile. This felt like it was being reviewed by a one direction fan.

I'll wait for Pat's Fantasy Hotlist's review, at least we know it will be grown-up and objective.

GonzoTheGreat
12-12-2012, 04:33 AM
I meant the scene in WH, the counterpart to the Amayar scene. I just forgot the scenes were in WH and it's only what happened to the Amayar we learned later.
I'm rereading CoT now, and that already contains an early (not very clear) reference to the Amayar thing. Alviarin had apparently witnessed what they did while she was doing whatever she had to do on Tremalking, and considered it a bit amusing.

Terez
12-12-2012, 04:45 AM
One review is fawning brown-nosing to the nth degree.

The other is adolescent and puerile. This felt like it was being reviewed by a one direction fan.

I'll wait for Pat's Fantasy Hotlist's review, at least we know it will be grown-up and objective.
Jason's and Leigh's reviews are not meant to be objective. That's not why they're released. They're for people who are going to like the book no matter what because it's WoT, and who simply want to know a little bit about what happens in the book. As for Pat being 'grown up'...that's subjective. ;) The review blogosphere is sometimes overimpressed with itself, and that in itself is a form of immaturity. Leigh's writing is meant to be funny, and it usually accomplishes exactly what it intends.

Dom
12-12-2012, 06:50 AM
Jason's and Leigh's reviews are not meant to be objective. That's not why they're released.

Indeed.

I guess Matt and Linda are others who may have been allowed/asked for pre-release posts, but by the nature of the exercise, they'll be different in tone from Jason's and Leigh's but equally uninformative. And for knowing a bit of the context in which it happened for TGS, it's really not easy texts to write. It can't be your candid impressions, you must talk of the your experience of reading the book but can't really say anything about the book, and not anything you're not comfortable to tell Harriet/Brandon to their faces, and not say anything you might tell Harriet in private but find unsuitable to let the public know you'd tell her, and focus on what you're enthusiastic about, except most of what you're very enthusiastic about probably is way to specific to be allowed, and it ends up pretty much as brown nosing whatever you do.

It's not even publicity, it's more a PR/fan relationship thing than anything, Harriet is perpetuating a tradition started by RJ, largely meant as a thank you to the webmasters, and through them to the internet fanbase, for their passion/support over the years.

I'm never very harsh on Jason's etc. "reviews", I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. While I worked with Linda on her site, we were sort of relieved when after some hesitation, the boss decided we'd get the book only a few days in advance. It was hard enough to write fully honest real reviews post-release after being told some were very eager to read them. And that was for TGS, which I responded mostly positively to. I've no idea what I would have done if I had to do it for TGS!!

Terez
12-12-2012, 07:30 AM
I had fun doing my pre-release review last year. It would have been better if I'd slept on it, though. I read the book in one sitting and then wrote the review, and I'd been up nearly 48 hours by the time I posted it.

GonzoTheGreat
12-12-2012, 07:42 AM
I had fun doing my pre-release review last year. It would have been better if I'd slept on it, though. I read the book in one sitting and then wrote the review, and I'd been up nearly 48 hours by the time I posted it.
Don't try this at home. These stunts are performed in college dormitories and should not be attempted by sensible citizens.

maacaroni
12-12-2012, 07:58 AM
JD's review of Crossroads of Twilight sorta blew his credibility with me.

A book, that was RJ's Silmarillion

maacaroni
12-12-2012, 08:02 AM
I had fun doing my pre-release review last year. It would have been better if I'd slept on it, though. I read the book in one sitting and then wrote the review, and I'd been up nearly 48 hours by the time I posted it.

Yes, but your review IIRC judged the book in question in context with all the others. And was at least balanced. And entertaining in parts.

LB's review was childish and (understandably, not not always necessarily) vague.

I agree with your comments regarding the blogosphere, they can be a pompous bunch but I tend to read books that Pat recommends and he's usually got it right by me. So I tend to trust his judgment on the quality of books.

Peter Ahlstrom
12-12-2012, 05:08 PM
I'll wait for Pat's Fantasy Hotlist's review
You'll be waiting quite a while.

[EDIT: See clarification on page 7 of this thread.]

jana
12-12-2012, 05:21 PM
You'll be waiting quite a while.

At least it will be a review.

If I remember correctly, and I probably don't, I only care what Wert says.

sleepinghour
12-12-2012, 05:48 PM
I'm guessing that the people who leaked spoilers from ToM won't get early copies this year... It's too bad they couldn't resist gloating as some of them actually wrote fairly decent reviews. Whatever actually happens in the book, Jason will declare it a masterpiece and Leigh will do a lot of shrieking in all caps.

Terez
12-13-2012, 04:46 AM
I'm guessing that the people who leaked spoilers from ToM won't get early copies this year... It's too bad they couldn't resist gloating as some of them actually wrote fairly decent reviews.
What's sad about it is that Pat only leaked spoilers because Larry did first, and he figured if Larry could do it, he could too. I was mostly concerned this time about Larry, because I don't think Pat would do it again, but I'm guessing Tor is playing it safe.

Tercel
12-13-2012, 06:17 AM
First up, Jason's not-a-review:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/09/qdear-robert-jordanq-a-response-to-a-memory-of-light

And now, Leigh Butler's review:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/12/the-wheel-of-time-a-memory-of-light-spoiler-free-review

I'm sure we'll get a few more.I have to say I felt a bit disturbed about how frankly they both admitted to the presence of numerous flaws in the book. Here we have reviews from two people who are usually so positive that they've been known to rave about the worst parts of the WoT series... and here both take the time to mention there were bits that fell short.

Terez
12-13-2012, 06:56 AM
Eh, I think Jason was mostly making a concession to Luckers and his crowd on the Dragonmount forums. From what we have seen in the early material, that concession is explained: Brandon writes the same way he wrote before, no big surprise. And Leigh is more critical of Brandon's writing than Jason (and she is also more critical of RJ than Jason).

maacaroni
12-13-2012, 07:14 AM
So there was leaks before, eh?

Sort of explains a reluctance to provide early reads to the SFF bloggers. You have to say that it is poor form and a serious breach of trust.

I do think Brandon was always on a hiding to nothing when it came to criticism, he as good as said it. For what its worth, I think they did the right thing, get a talented 'author-fan' to write it and write it their own way. On the other side of the coin, it was also a major opportunity for him to jump into the Epic Fantasy Premier League - I have to say I wouldn't have read Mistborn otherwise (which I really enjoyed) or Elantris (not so much). Life's about calculated risks, I suppose.

I actually just re-read PFH's review of ToM, and I still say his critique was fair up until a point. His major argument that this could be wrapped up in two books is bordering on delusional...but then I am very much in the more WoT is a good thing camp. I always enjoyed the descriptive prose and side plots, WoT is more than Dumai's Wells and the 'Relief of Maradon' to me. Those conversations and political machinations of say Andor were fascinating and are RJ's U.S.P.

So, there's not likely to be many more pre-release reviews from what we can infer, eh? C'est la vie. It's about three weeks from release, is it not?

(On a separate note, my beloved trouble-and-strife decided to book a holiday on Jan 1st, I won't be able to pick up a copy of aMoL for a few days after everyone else. I suppose I'll have to console myself with ten days on a beach in Thailand. The things I have to endure for love, eh?)

Davian93
12-13-2012, 09:27 AM
Don't try this at home. These stunts are performed in college dormitories and should not be attempted by sensible citizens.

When I was younger and dumber, I stayed up for 54 hrs once...it got to the point where I started taking micro-naps of 10-20 sec every time I blinked. When I finally passed out, I slept for 20 hrs straight without waking.

It was pretty cool.

Terez
12-13-2012, 09:29 AM
Oh god, I can't tell you how many times I have done it. I have never been able to keep a normal sleeping schedule. Any kind of 24-hour cycle is hard to do, whether it's up all night or up all day.

Davian93
12-13-2012, 09:36 AM
Oh god, I can't tell you how many times I have done it. I have never been able to keep a normal sleeping schedule. Any kind of 24-hour cycle is hard to do, whether it's up all night or up all day.

I've done 30-40 hrs a bunch of times but that time was insane. I used to have serious issues sleeping when I was younger...chronic insomnia was standard for me.

arioch
12-13-2012, 10:06 AM
So there was leaks before, eh?

Sort of explains a reluctance to provide early reads to the SFF bloggers. You have to say that it is poor form and a serious breach of trust.

I do think Brandon was always on a hiding to nothing when it came to criticism, he as good as said it. For what its worth, I think they did the right thing, get a talented 'author-fan' to write it and write it their own way. On the other side of the coin, it was also a major opportunity for him to jump into the Epic Fantasy Premier League - I have to say I wouldn't have read Mistborn otherwise (which I really enjoyed) or Elantris (not so much). Life's about calculated risks, I suppose.

I actually just re-read PFH's review of ToM, and I still say his critique was fair up until a point. His major argument that this could be wrapped up in two books is bordering on delusional...but then I am very much in the more WoT is a good thing camp. I always enjoyed the descriptive prose and side plots, WoT is more than Dumai's Wells and the 'Relief of Maradon' to me. Those conversations and political machinations of say Andor were fascinating and are RJ's U.S.P.

So, there's not likely to be many more pre-release reviews from what we can infer, eh? C'est la vie. It's about three weeks from release, is it not?

(On a separate note, my beloved trouble-and-strife decided to book a holiday on Jan 1st, I won't be able to pick up a copy of aMoL for a few days after everyone else. I suppose I'll have to console myself with ten days on a beach in Thailand. The things I have to endure for love, eh?)

There really is a certain kind of audience (only exacerbated by the Jesus-Rand thing that got a fairly major, fairly recent boost) that seems to only want to skim the series for Rand-kicks-butt moments. Not saying that PFH is one such, I haven't read that review, but really, some guys are completely ignoring the premise or raison d'etre to go on some power fantasy kick. Basically anybody who complains at length about the series being "bogged down", "overly lengthy", "why more White Tower/Andoran politics", etc.

Davian93
12-13-2012, 10:27 AM
There really is a certain kind of audience (only exacerbated by the Jesus-Rand thing that got a fairly major, fairly recent boost) that seems to only want to skim the series for Rand-kicks-butt moments. Not saying that PFH is one such, I haven't read that review, but really, some guys are completely ignoring the premise or raison d'etre to go on some power fantasy kick. Basically anybody who complains at length about the series being "bogged down", "overly lengthy", "why more White Tower/Andoran politics", etc.

What an arrogant thing to say.

Terez
12-13-2012, 10:34 AM
Yeah, I think he exaggerated a bit, but I know what he's saying. There's a lot of good stuff in books 7-10, but it's stuff that a lot of people just don't care about. They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

Davian93
12-13-2012, 10:36 AM
Yeah, I think he exaggerated a bit, but I know what he's saying. There's a lot of good stuff in books 7-10, but it's stuff that a lot of people just don't care about. They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

The problem really isnt that Books 7-10 were "slow", its that they were slow in terms of publishing. People really had issues with waiting 2-3 years for a book that only advanced the story 20-30 days at a time after enjoying books that spanned months to years of chronology.

Dajoran
12-13-2012, 10:40 AM
Yeah, I think he exaggerated a bit, but I know what he's saying. There's a lot of good stuff in books 7-10, but it's stuff that a lot of people just don't care about. They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

I read it for Perrin and Faile - I've based my entire relationship around those two guys...

Davian93
12-13-2012, 10:48 AM
I read it for Perrin and Faile - I've based my entire relationship around those two guys...

He was...the most boring man in the world.

Daekyras
12-13-2012, 10:49 AM
They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

We all love a bit of Mat (except Yks!) but am I the only one who is completely UNDERwhelmed by the Dumai's Wells scene?

I am not trying to be a troll but it really does seem to have been built up to more than it is by the fans. It is an adequate scene but I think it pales in comparison to many of the other "action" sequences in the books and is much weaker than some of the "suspense" scenes we have had eg spying on forsaken etc.

Edit- on the whole staying up thing- I read crossroads of twilight in one sitting. around 49hrs if I remember correctly. That was my last crazy readathon...

Dajoran
12-13-2012, 10:55 AM
He was...the most boring man in the world.

It's like looking into a mirror.

Edit: Perrin and I that is... I'm not inferring that you are... ahhh who am I kidding you've zoned out already...

Crispin's Crispian
12-13-2012, 10:59 AM
We all love a bit of Mat (except Yks!) but am I the only one who is completely UNDERwhelmed by the Dumai's Wells scene?

I am not trying to be a troll but it really does seem to have been built up to more than it is by the fans. It is an adequate scene but I think it pales in comparison to many of the other "action" sequences in the books and is much weaker than some of the "suspense" scenes we have had eg spying on forsaken etc.


On my last reread, I found this to be the case. I think WoT in particular tends to have fan-generated feedback loops that end up creating their own realities (see the "quarterstaves always win vs. swords" axiom). Dumai's Wells was impactful--the first time I read it I wasn't overwhelmed with awesomeness but rather sickened by the slaughter. I thought RJ tried to write it in a horrific way, not a glorious one. In any case, I found a lot of the action in the first four books to be more exciting than that scene.

I suppose I don't dislike Mat, but I get a little tired of him. I'm definitely not a fanboy, and I think I'd probably dislike him in real life. :p

Dom
12-13-2012, 11:22 AM
Yeah, I think he exaggerated a bit, but I know what he's saying. There's a lot of good stuff in books 7-10, but it's stuff that a lot of people just don't care about. They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

Yeah. This is not as such a problem with the books, it's a problem connected with RJ's choices for his "cocktail" for WOT.

He's decided to mix several styles and traditions. some normally appealing to rather different readerships. One of that is epic fantasy. Another strong aspect is much more in the vein of Alexandre Dumas (not the Dumas of the simpler novels, the one of Memoirs of a Physician.. a mix of history, politics, relationships/romance, mystery, magic, secret societies etc. with a massive, massive cast) to which RJ added the whole bag of tricks of Irish folk-tellers, with their abundant use of motifs, mystery elements, foreshadowing and their love of keeping the audience puzzled etc.

Part of his readership love the whole, part of his readership would probably love the series even if WOT wasn't set in a fantasy world (MBs like this one is testimony to that, it's those aspects of the series we discuss with most passion) and there's a big part of the readership who got into it for the epic fantasy and who've grown more and more impatient with the fact by mid-serie or so, the central epic became but a skeleton around which RJ wrote all the rest. The first three books are sort of like his act 1, his Fellowship of the Ring, and AMOL (now TGS/TOM/AMOL) was to be his ROTK, and people whose main or sole interest is the epic feel they've been stuck in a never ending TTT from TSR to KOD, that seemed to depart more and more from the central epic the more it went on. It's quite understandable those who began WOT expecting a more classic fantasy epic, and the first three books lured them in even more, are extremely frustrated that the epic got stuck at act 2.

Terez
12-13-2012, 11:27 AM
I read it for Perrin and Faile - I've based my entire relationship around those two guys...
Kinky.

Yeah. This is not as such a problem with the books, it's a problem connected with RJ's choices for his "cocktail" for WOT.
I liked his way of describing 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.

kcf
12-13-2012, 11:48 AM
A few things to add.

Remember, Jason's review was an early version of the book that he read as a beta reader. Presumably, issues he had were addressed in some fashion. I'm not sure about when or which version Leigh read.

But, final books are in the wild. I have a copy. I know of at least 4 other blogger/reviewers who either have it or know it's on the way. Ironcially - at least half of them have not read far enough into the series to read this book yet. I think it's interesting that Peter is hinting that Pat won't be getting an early copy. That amuses me. I really hope he bitches about it - he doesn't seem to realilze that it just makes him look like an ass. I'll be curious to see if Larry gets a copy this year. I'm fairly certain he could care less, but then for someone who doesn't seem to care, he sure does talk about them a lot.

In case you're curious, there was an 'embargo' that came with the book. But unlike previous years, it wasn't one I had to agree to in advance (though that could be because I have agreed to it in the past and followed through as I agreed). The embargo states:

"...we ask that all reviews and spoilers not be printed untile the release date, January 8, 2013"

So, while there will be a fair number of people with public presence who will have read prior to release, I doubt too much will come from it.

FYI - started last night. I had only read the prologue in advance and not the other released chapters. I'm now on Chapter 4, so I haven't yet read much that isn't already out there. It's good. I think it's going to be very good. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

Terez
12-13-2012, 12:14 PM
A few things to add.

Remember, Jason's review was an early version of the book that he read as a beta reader. Presumably, issues he had were addressed in some fashion. I'm not sure about when or which version Leigh read.
Leigh read the final version. And I'm pretty sure the corrections were available to Jason to read, too. I don't think that he would mention things in his review that were fixed; he's the type who would check to see if they were fixed first. But as I said above, his comment is not all that difficult to understand.

I'll be curious to see if Larry gets a copy this year.
If Pat isn't getting one, then I highly doubt it.

kcf
12-13-2012, 12:22 PM
And I'm pretty sure the corrections were available to Jason to read, too. I don't think that he would mention things in his review that were fixed; he's the type who would check to see if they were fixed first.

Jason was interviewed on a podcast last week and in that interview he stated that he wrote the letter prior to the changes that were made and he hadn't (at the time of the interview) been privy to what changes were made.

Peter Ahlstrom
12-13-2012, 12:52 PM
Tor doesn't have any problem with objective reviews, positive or negative. They do have a problem with breaking embargo (aside from specific agreements with Leigh and Jason).

Terez
12-13-2012, 01:20 PM
Jason was interviewed on a podcast last week and in that interview he stated that he wrote the letter prior to the changes that were made and he hadn't (at the time of the interview) been privy to what changes were made.
Was that specifically in reference to the weaknesses he mentioned in his review? Because the betas only influence certain things. I just doubt he would mention such a thing in his review if he thought there was a possibility it would be changed; if he were to claim such a thing I'd call it backtracking.

Dom
12-13-2012, 01:55 PM
If Pat isn't getting one, then I highly doubt it.

Larry's focus has changed a lot too. He's reviewing Fantasy novels a lot less than before.

maacaroni
12-13-2012, 04:24 PM
Tor doesn't have any problem with objective reviews, positive or negative. They do have a problem with breaking embargo (aside from specific agreements with Leigh and Jason).

Fair enough on all accounts, really. You can't help thinking breaking agreements for early reading is 'pissing on your chips' (to use an Irish saying my old ma uses) as why would publishers provide early releases in future. Not smart.

ultimately, WoT is so popular that a few negative reviews won't change most fans anyway. An average WoT book is still much better than most stuff out there anyway.

connabard
12-13-2012, 06:08 PM
Yeah, I think he exaggerated a bit, but I know what he's saying. There's a lot of good stuff in books 7-10, but it's stuff that a lot of people just don't care about. They read WoT mostly for the Dumai's Wells moments and Mat.

I just feel that in books 7-10, for characters other than Rand, there aren't a lot of resolutions to their plots.
If you disregard Rand's destiny to fight the Dark One being his MAIN storyline, generally whatever he starts at the beginning of any said book, is resolved at the end but it's not the case for other characters, especially so in books 7-10 so it just feels dragged out, though it isn't, there just isn't enough room in 1 book to wrap everything up because there's too much going on at once.
At least, that's what I felt like the last time I reread and that was at least a year ago.

Dom
12-13-2012, 06:40 PM
ultimately, WoT is so popular that a few negative reviews won't change most fans anyway.

In the end it's not even about that. It's that the publisher has invested a whole lot of money and efforts in promoting the book, and in WOT's case it's not only meant to boost sales, it's also to target hardcore fans with specific pre-release activities. If they give us a chapter, or release a video on friday, they want our attention on their stuff, they don't expect to see reviews interfere with their own efforts when they specifically put an embargo on reviews until day X. It's all the more frustrating to them when they did that stuff they consider quite cool and are excited about to keep happy big fans they know they wouldn't have to invest a cent to sell the book to. But helping the fansites remain popular serves them in the long run, and they're very aware and respectful of this. They're getting the hardcore fans excited so less hardcore fans catch the vibe and it rekindles their interest, and that everyone also contributes to a much larger awareness of the release among the readers who don't come to sites regularly.

For having dealt with some of them, Tor's publicists are very cool and hardworking, and very professional. Having to deal with non-pros like bloggers is a new thing for publishers, and much harder to deal with then normal media. They showed great and genuine interest in what we were doing at the 13th depository to lead to TGS's release, often got in touch with us just to pass us positive feedback from this or that person about a specific article or feature we had published etc. But they also have communications plans they invested a lot of effort in, and if you want to be treated like the professional media by those people, you need to follow the rules as if you were one. It's simply a matter of respect for their work in the end.

I know the decision of at least someone involved in breaking the embargo for reviews last time had something to do with the fact some book stores didn't respect the street date and spoilers were already all over the place, and IRRC, there was also a conflict between the deals between Orbit and some bloggers they sent advanced copies to, and the deals between Tor and others (more specifically, IRRC Orbit let one or two people release reviews earlier while Tor still had an embargo in place, and some people Tor had sent copies to then broke their embargo without asking them first if it still held).

Still not excusable in my book, if you're even the least bit ethical an embargo is an embargo no matter what happens, but most bloggers don't have a background in media ethics anyone who studied in journalism, or who works for a professional media outlet gets.

Terez
12-14-2012, 02:28 AM
I believe that it is in Tor's best interest to fastrack more fan teaser reviews when the unchecked spoilers start floating around. It helps to distract from the real spoilers. They might like to think that their own efforts are enough to distract from the spoilers, but they're not really. Tor is slightly too conservative on teasers (see Leigh's review) to really compete with the temptation to look at unchecked spoilers.

Last year the unchecked spoilers showed up at RAFO before anywhere else. Basically it was some dude who showed up to tell everyone who killed Asmodean. Then a couple of people showed up and there was some modest spoiling, and then Larry jumped in, and then Pat, and then me but I had gotten the book on my own and was thus only self-restricted.

What's not in Tor's best interest is for the 'teasers' to be coming from outside the fandom. And while Peter is probably right that they don't take this into consideration when deciding who gets a copy in the future, I think it was especially enraging to the fandom to have the teasers mostly coming from WoT critics. (I realize Pat is a little more in the middle on that, but the tone of his posts was somewhat antagonistic, if not nearly as antagonistic as Larry's posts.)

maacaroni
12-14-2012, 03:45 AM
I have to say, I have gotten the last four WoT books ahead of the release date here in the UK and this was from two mainstream and one independent bookseller.

It is difficult to stop because ultimately WoT is not as big in the UK (but massive in the SFF circles) and for the average shop manager it is just another book they have to flog. The damned fools!

Dajoran
12-14-2012, 04:53 AM
Kinky.

Unfortunately, 'Gangham Style' is a poor replacement for the Sa'sara.

Tercel
12-14-2012, 05:02 AM
ultimately, WoT is so popular that a few negative reviews won't change most fans anyway.Also, because this is the last book, it doesn't matter to the publishers if it's absolute rubbish.

Anyone who's read the series will still buy it. So it will get #1 bestseller even if it's utter crap from page 1 to page 1000.

And then, if it's so bad that everyone stops reading the series in disgust, then it won't change anything much anyway because the series is finished, so people can't refrain from buying future books, because there aren't any.

GonzoTheGreat
12-14-2012, 05:12 AM
Also, because this is the last book, it doesn't matter to the publishers if it's absolute rubbish.

Anyone who's read the series will still buy it. So it will get #1 bestseller even if it's utter crap from page 1 to page 1000.
Be fair: if it had been written by Britney Spears (BS) rather than by Brandon Sanderson (BS; maybe abbreviations aren't as informative as they should be), then you wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't even buy it in that case. Britney is a better philosopher when she uses other people's words than when she uses, like, you know, her own.

maacaroni
12-14-2012, 05:15 AM
Also, because this is the last book, it doesn't matter to the publishers if it's absolute rubbish.

Anyone who's read the series will still buy it. So it will get #1 bestseller even if it's utter crap from page 1 to page 1000.

And then, if it's so bad that everyone stops reading the series in disgust, then it won't change anything much anyway because the series is finished, so people can't refrain from buying future books, because there aren't any.

But it won't be! It'll be brilliant. I have faith in RJ and BS

GonzoTheGreat
12-14-2012, 06:42 AM
I have faith in RJ and BS
Which BS? :D

maacaroni
12-14-2012, 07:02 AM
Barbara Streisand Daaaaaarling.

Memories (of) light (in) the corner of my mind...

Peter Ahlstrom
12-14-2012, 11:57 AM
And then, if it's so bad that everyone stops reading the series in disgust, then it won't change anything much anyway because the series is finished, so people can't refrain from buying future books, because there aren't any.

Except that Tor wants Brandon's own books to sell well in the future, and if AMoL doesn't keep jumping off the shelf after the first week due to word of mouth—I'm not saying Brandon's career is over, but the marketing push that Stormlight 2 gets will be much diminished. Count on it.

suttree
12-14-2012, 07:41 PM
I actually just re-read PFH's review of ToM, and I still say his critique was fair up until a point. His major argument that this could be wrapped up in two books is bordering on delusional...but then I am very much in the more WoT is a good thing camp. I always enjoyed the descriptive prose and side plots, WoT is more than Dumai's Wells and the 'Relief of Maradon' to me.

While I also love the descriptive prose and depth in RJ's work it is not in the slightest bit delusional to say AMoL could have been wrapped up in two books. TGS and ToM have a shocking amount of filler in them for where we are in the sotryline. You could literally cut whole sections away and not lose a thing. I feel RJ could and would have done it in one final book broken up into two WH sized volumes.

GonzoTheGreat
12-15-2012, 04:13 AM
While I also love the descriptive prose and depth in RJ's work it is not in the slightest bit delusional to say AMoL could have been wrapped up in two books. TGS and ToM have a shocking amount of filler in them for where we are in the sotryline. You could literally cut whole sections away and not lose a thing. I feel RJ could and would have done it in one final book broken up into two WH sized volumes.
Possibly true. But then, RJ was the original author, so he had a lot more justification when it came to deciding "this bit can actually be done without" than BS, who has the job of filling in the many holes left because of RJ's too early death.

Given a choice between cutting too much or adding too much filler, I think that taking the second choice is by far the better for BS. I definitely do not fault him for that.

Dom
12-15-2012, 09:49 AM
Possibly true. But then, RJ was the original author, so he had a lot more justification when it came to deciding "this bit can actually be done without" than BS, who has the job of filling in the many holes left because of RJ's too early death.

Given a choice between cutting too much or adding too much filler, I think that taking the second choice is by far the better for BS. I definitely do not fault him for that.

There's a bit of that, but there's also the fact Brandon couldn't become RJ either. They have very different ways of developing and pacing narratives. Late series RJ relied on a restrained number of fairly long scenes and a whole lot of ellipses. Brandon's own style (for his own work, I mean) is far more similiar to the early series RJ, who followed more his characters step-by-step. Even then RJ did that to a lesser extent than Brandon did in TGS/TOM. Brandon developed the arcs in a style he was comfortable with. It was enough of a challenge for him to find the right voices of characters who aren't his own, and develop arcs that would ring true and be faithful the character development, and wouldn't forget details from ealier books, without trying to also emulate a structure/style of storytelling that isn't natural to him. Brandon had to follow his instincts.

Most of the (so-called) "filler" in TGS/TOM actually results from the differences in narrative styles. It's mostly apparent with Egwene, Mat and Perrin. RJ had set things up in KOD not to have to return to Mat, Egwene and Elayne early in AMOL. He meant to skip ahead a little with Perrin, and not with Rand. Brandon seemingly wasn't too comfortable to just jump right in with all three, and he retconned a few things to give himself more space to develop the arcs in a way he was more confident/comfortable to work with. He's done that by having Rand skips a few week ahead, creating a gap between his timeline and Perrin's, reducing the gaps between him and Egwene's, Elayne's, Mat's. That way, he could introduce Egwene back much earlier.

Concretely, we know RJ planned one dinner scene with Elaida, and KOD had brought us to that day. It suggests RJ had in mind to send Egwene to a cell right away (but only when Rand's timeline reached the day of Elaida's dinner), where she would have a few visitors (likely much the ones seen in TGS - RJ probably wrote a lot of the exchanges, Brandon simply framed them in different settings), including at some point Meidani (and of course Siuan, via TAR). Meanwhile the Rebels (Lelaine) were restless. As days passed in her cell, Egwene calmed down and realized her plans were leading to a definitive breaking of the Tower, that she had to unite the Ajahs to her, not foster more divisions. Meidani would have been more pivotal, because she'd have been the only one beside Egwene herself, and the Rebels she told about it via Siuan, who knew what really happened at the dinner. The BA hunters would have been the Sitters who after they met Egwene took upon themselves to face Elaida and secure Egwene's release, shortly before Verin showed up and the Seanchan attacked. It's essentially the story arc Brandon used, but he split the dinner event in two scenes, giving Egwene a whole lot of scenes happening over months in between. Essentially, Brandon's scenes repeated and expanded character development RJ already had done in KOD.

It's the same with Mat. It's fairly just looking at the first material we know RJ wrote himself for him, that he meant to surprise us by reintroducing him in Caemlyn and reveal Verin brought him there with a mysterious letter. It was to happen when the timelines of Rand/Perrin had passed the point of Elayne's coronation (which in TGS happens much earlier because Brandon had Rand skip weeks ahead right in his first scene).

Whatever the exact details, and we probably won't ever know for sure, it's fairly apparent RJ planned to have much shorter "pre-epiphany" arcs for Egwene and Mat. The first part of the book would have mostly dealt with Rand and Arad Doman-Graendal - concluding with his meeting with Tuon, and starting just a bit later, Perrin-Galad. Then Egwene and Mat would have been in sync with the others and their arcs would have started. Egwene would have been sent to a cell shortly before Rand and Tuon met, and the rest of her arc would have taken place during the time it took Tuon's forces to plan, mobilize and travel from Ebou Dar to Tar Valon.

Brandon essentially spread things out and expanded the timelines to be able to work things out at a pace more natural to him, and closer to the narrative style of early-RJ than late-series RJ. Obviously RJ would have stuck more to his late-series style, with less events happening, less scenes/episodes to cover them (and having a lot of events be referred to rather than show them on-screen), and less calendar time to cover. RJ also felt no compulsion to deal with secondary players the way Brandon did. It's most unlike RJ to return so often to Ituralde, Aviendha, Lan, Cadsuane, Gawyn, Siuan and co. so much. Brandon gave all of them an arc, showed developments "on screen". Typically, RJ would have given them a set up scene that hinted at a turning point or decision coming, then "surprise us". No way RJ would have walked us through Gawyn's arc in TGS. He would have had one Darlan scene learning of Egwene's capture and showing his dilemma, and then show up in the rebel camp, revealing to us his decision, and this not long before the Seanchan attack. With secondary players, RJ let us fill the gaps ourselves. Just looking at some of the notes we've had over the years, it's obvious some of that is the result of RJ expanding things a lot more in those than he did in the series. We only have to look at the notes explaining Elaida's background/plot/reasoning vs. how much of that was just hinted at in small touches "on screen". With only the notes, and trying to translate all the points found in them on screen, we'd end up adding a whole lot of Elaida scenes that aren't in the series. It could well be what happened with Gawyn - character notes about him explained a great deal of his reasoning, and Brandon worked it all in, whereas RJ would have hinted at some of it, and let us puzzle out the rest.

Both approaches work and have their pros and cons. Brandon's style is more dynamic, give more room to early series-style action scenes/episodes... also require more of those, and more events/twists and turns to work, though, just like The Great Hunt and all its "episodes" (RJ's most "stretched out" book.).

RJ's AMOL would most likely have been much closer to KOD in style and approach, while Brandon expanded the outline the way RJ turned his original outline for book 1 into EOTW/TGH/TDR. Brandon attempting to do it more like KOD, with a more key scene/ellipse/key scene approach, could very well have turned out disastrous - as he has none of the mastery/knowledge of the characters and plot details RJ had to be able to do this.

Like suttree I'm quite convincedif RJ had he regained his health and been back to something like his regular work schedule would have pulled it off in "one book", which he would have been forced to split in two WH or KOD-size books for publishing.

It would not necessarily have been better, at least in the eyes of many. A lot of people much prefer the faster paced/more dynamic but-thing-need-to-develop-through-many-more-events/episodes approach of RJ back in the early series than what he did in KOD. A lot of people found that in KOD RJ focused on odd things, and then what they would have wanted to see in great details (usually action...) was dealt with abruptly, or had too many ellipses. But it's a little futile to argue that the way Brandon chose to approach the key points of AMOL and deal with them more in the style of the early series didn't result in a much longer, much more episodic narrative.

Personally my main objection concerns character development. Returning to an approach with many events happening before the whole triggers character development made the characters feel a lot less mature then they were by KOD.

dfchang813
12-15-2012, 06:15 PM
Dom, very nice analysis and I agree with all of your points.

Sanderson did the best he could under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and all things considered he did a phenomenal job.

Criticism will be there no matter what. RJ was routinely eviscerated for writing style, character, plot, etc, etc. George RR Martin who is one of the better writers in epic fantasy I've read has been roasted as well especially for Feast and Dance. Same with Erickson, same with Bakker.

Overall, while I've certainly noticed small things here or there, nothing has come close to taking me out of the world of the Wheel of Time or the enjoyment of the story unfolding and for that I'm profoundly grateful to Brandon for pulling that off for me at least.

suttree
12-15-2012, 07:51 PM
What on earth do people come down on Bakker for? As a lit major I can honestly say he is one of the top tier fantasy authors whose work holds up outside of genre. Love that dude...

I agree that Sanderson had a difficult job and that AMoL will be the final statement on how things have gone. In relation to TGS and ToM however the work was just far too uneven. For the first time I really felt like I was "reading down" in the world of the wheel.

Davian93
12-15-2012, 09:10 PM
I'm rereading tWoK right now and Brandon is a really, really good author. Rereading it has really calmed me down a bit on my criticism of BS when it comes to WoT. Its not his fault really. He's doing his best with an impossible task. He's not RJ, he cant help that.

Also, Way of Kings is worth the purchase if you havent read it yet. i know most of you have but there is a strong minority of RJ fans that hate him enough to refuse to read BS's other books.

Dom
12-16-2012, 12:05 AM
i know most of you have but there is a strong minority of RJ fans that hate him enough to refuse to read BS's other books.

I guess so. I have bought but haven't yet read TWOK 1. Some of my disappointment with TOM had to do with the fact I just couldn't believe Brandon let the book be released in the state it was in - it was so much below his standards, especially for his recent works like Warbreaker and the last Mistborn. There are things Brandon does really well, and his own stories play on those strengths and usually avoid what he's less good at. He didn't have that luxury for WOT.

It was even more frustrating that some aspects of TOM were improved compared to TGS (which I found overall above my expectations, btw), that on their own most scenes of TOM are good and some quite excellent (with the exception of some Mat scenes which are altogether really bad, like the whole first meeting with Elayne sequence - or the Perrin-Elayne meeting etc.), and he's "got" Perrin better than any other character, but the way that novel was structured and put together was appalling - not even Brandon's earliest published work had that strong "beginner's mistakes" vibe as TOM, which read like an early draft for its structure. He's done things in TOM he no doubt teach his students never ever to do in a novel (like having a character appear in two story lines following two different timelines, and out of order. You get a scene with Elayne, a scene with Elayne-Egwene followed by a scene in which Elayne hasn't met Egwene yet - all that without solid chronology pointers included. Ouch! He's too experienced to do amateur mistakes like that) It's not normal at all an editor of Harriet's caliber and experience let that remain in a final version either, not normal she's let "draft" worthy stuff stand, like some Perrin scenes essentially repeating stuff from previous scenes. Things like that normally get cut/reworked as the editing stage. The whole idea of having Rand/Egwene develop in parallel on a different timeline should have been scrapped as soon as unsolvable problems of intersections surfaced. It wasn't unsolvable or even hard to fix, they just had to push all the Rand-Egwene scenes further in the book, RJ-style.

Beside, it was bad enough that the resolution brought by Rand's epiphany was known when you should not have known this reading Perrin's and Mat's stories (it undermined suspense a lot), without making it even worse by revealing at the onset that Rand and Egwene agreed to a general meeting set 30 days later. That turned the whole thing into "how Perrin, Mat, Aviendha and Elayne and co. have a few adventures before they're ready to set out for the Fields of Merrilor". We even had a deadline entering the book for Mat to set out for Ghenjei. Sheesh.

I can only conclude they all had their noses on the deadline and getting the minutia right and never could properly step back and really see the novel as it stood as a whole, and how much work it still needed to be optimized.

It could have had a big role, as Brandon has the habit of drafting whole stories, let them stew in the back of his mind sometimes for years, and return later to them to write a much improved second draft. The WOT schedule really screwed his usual process. That was probably the biggest mistake of the whole project, not to let Brandon (and the counterpart: Brandon not insisting more to get it), who was already facing big challenges writing someone else characters and filling someone else's spotty outline in a series with that much details follow something much closer to his natural creative process. When he chose to write by clusters because his own preference for more linear drafting would have been too demanding (it was hard enough to get the characters' voices and keep track of all the details of an arc without trying to switch between them), he never expected he'd be forced to stop drafting the story midway. Brandon doesn't do "midway", he always get to the end of a story no matter what to be able to look at the whole before he makes any attempt to restructure and polish anything. It's his method, it's how he gets good books out. And based on his own books, that process works well enough for him, much better than the process, a kind of compromise between his own, RJ's and something force on him by circumstances, he had to follow for WOT. It's the same for Harriet. She's known not to even read anything from a work she'll edit before she gets a full draft to judge the whole as she edits the parts. We were told she made exceptions only for RJ and only for the late series, where the editing cycle was ridiculously short, notoriously for COT. She had to do it for Brandon too - especially for TOM, and we see the result.

Even as he discussed the book split, Brandon was still saying he would have much, much preferred to take another half year or so to finish the first draft of everything before getting to rewrites and splitting stuff up.

There's no escaping the fact the process and circumstances shouldn't matter in the end and it's the final product on which the work should be judged, but given those circumstances it's also unfair to look at TOM as a regular Brandon novel. His work on WOT had improved what he can do as novelist, but honestly I find all his own novels superior to his two WOT books. All but Elantris, and perhaps the first Mistborn which was a bit rough (he still had his bad habit of relying way too much on dialogues as if he wrote screenplays rather than novels back then)

TWOK looks quite interesting, I'm just waiting to put AMOL behind me before starting any new series.

sleepinghour
12-16-2012, 12:59 PM
I can only conclude they all had their noses on the deadline and getting the minutia right and never could properly step back and really see the novel as it stood as a whole, and how much work it still needed to be optimized.


Someone reposted Terez' list of RJ quotes regarding the series' length on Reddit, to which Brandon replied (http://www.reddit.com/r/WoT/comments/14q354/so_how_long_is_the_series_going_to_be_rjs_answers/c7fu36t?context=3):
Ah, and what a marvelous 2,000 page book it would have been. I was really shooting for this. Turns out, however, that I don't have the influence that RJ did, and couldn't persuade the publisher that printing a 2,000+ page book was viable. You'll have to be satisfied with three 800 pagers instead.

I do kind of hope we'll be able to do a cut of the volume in ebook where I weave the three books back into one, which would fix some of the timeline confusion in TofM, which was the big casualty of the split.

(I knew that, in all likelihood, a split would be mandated, and so I prepared for it by deciding on the three book split instead of a two book split, as I feel it fit the narrative flow better. However, I was working on Perrin when the first split happened, and didn't realize until afterward that by jumping back to the beginning of his story after finishing TGS, I was going to create the issues it did with Tam.)

I appreciate Brandon's honesty and willingness to discuss the creative process with fans, but the third paragraph (emphasis mine) is very headdesk-inducing.

Terez
12-16-2012, 01:41 PM
By the way, Reddit is caught up in the database. I was amused that Robert copy/pasted that whole post, lol.

Great Lord of the Dark
12-16-2012, 02:24 PM
Dom, your analysis is very insightful, especially given how familiar you are with the quotes Brandon et al. have provided about the writing process. However, I disagree in several ways.

It is wrong to say that Robert Jordan would have focused on the main heroes over secondary characters such as Gawyn. Defining the main players is problematic. Are Thom, Moiraine, Elayne, Loial secondary characters? Does Gawyn compare? What about Shalon, Cadsuane, Aviendha, Bethamin, Tuon?

It is preposterous to suggest that Jordan would have stuck to the basic 5-7 characters to cram it into one book. He had plenty of opportunities to keep the focus tight in earlier books and did not. The first reason is that some of these characters either offer an efficient viewpoint to give or conceal information from the reader. The second reason is that he used these secondary characters to frame the themes and parables that the main characters were going through, whether he used their viewpoint or not.

None of many earlier scenes in the series would have the impact they did if Jordan hadn't been stating and reiterating the problem from a variety of angles. In The Gathering Storm, Gawyn is used to strong effect as a counterpoint to Rand, having two paths to choose from, not knowing whether the one he chooses will gain him what he wants or destroy it. Where Egwene's scenes involve her ascension, Siuan's scenes in contast have her finally passing the torch to Egwene, becoming subservient. All of these together, plus the majority of other plotlines in the book, revolve around the framework used to make decisions, figuring out what they place above their own desires, what is the higher purpose they serve.

It is typical, but wrongheaded, to place chronology or plot ahead of theme. The story is there to tell a story about something, and that something can't take a backseat to worries about Tam's whereabouts, or suspense, as though suspense was the only emotional state the story is trying to convey.

I think Brandon did a fairly brilliant job assembling the appropriate elements to tell a complete story in The Gathering Storm, and again in Towers of Midnight. The elements you complain about are no more confusing than the introduction of a new object, person, or location, and there have been plenty of those throughout the series. And even where it is jarring, readers will, as usual, trust that it will be explained later, which it is, very satisfactorily.

With another few years to work on it, many of these so-called problems could have been handled even better, but at a significant cost of time. Brandon is one of the fastest writers out there, in addition to 'getting it', both of which are the qualities which singled him out as Jordan's successor.

No Brandon, or a Brandon or Team Jordan who scrutinize even more than they did, results in a possibly better work, in a certainly much longer time frame. They worked their fingers very hard to get us a conclusion in five years. How much longer should they have put their other projects on hold while beholden to rabid fans? There are millions of readers of these books, a paltry several thousand of which are avid posters on extreme fan sites like this one. And a minority of those gripe about what was wrong, just as they did when Jordan himself was writing.

The author is never wrong, and they don't owe you anything. The generosity they've displayed interacting with fans, including them in the story, addressing the concerns they did, is monumental. I fail to understand why the whiny tone persists. The years of devotion don't entitle us to anything. I continue to be impressed with authors' and publishers' ability to rise above pointed criticism.

In short, Brandon and Team Jordan have put out works that have garnered minor quibbles, none of which significantly detract from the timeliness, or quality of the book or series as a whole, and I have to stomp down my ire, and question whether it is misplaced, since I realize that like me, you are also slavishly devoted to the series. It must be that I always root for underdogs, and it feels much like the authors are underdogs for some reason.

Terez
12-16-2012, 03:01 PM
Since when is literary criticism a 'whiny tone'? :confused: If you want to see 'whiny tone', go to Dragonmount... :rolleyes:

Dom
12-16-2012, 05:29 PM
We don't disagree as much as you think, because short of producing a full scale outline to explain, it's hard to convey what I mean.

It looks like you've misinterpreted some of the things I've raised. The book you think I imagined isn't the one I have in mind.

But first, we fully agree on themes, and if there's one thing Brandon truly impressed me with, it's his handling of those. It's not flawless, but it's pretty close and much closer than I expected.

It is wrong to say that Robert Jordan would have focused on the main heroes over secondary characters such as Gawyn.

That's not exactly what I meant, and I've complained enough myselfthat Brandon didn't use the secondary players and minor arcs enough, though I mean mostly around Egwene.

I agree with most of your points about Gawyn, but when was the last time RJ needed so many scenes and such a developed arc for him? Never. That didn't make Gawyn's themes any less rich. RJ simply needed a lot less episodes and on screen appearances to develop these things. Gawyn has more scenes in TGS/TOM than in all the other WOT books combined... and for a very little role, even thematically.

I'm not saying this is bad. Brandon gave us a walk-through version, Jordan rather has us jump and trust we could follow. Secondary players, when they were not present with main players, could have two-three scenes in a book, sometimes just one.

Both approaches work, RJ's way worked, your analysis of the character shows well it was all there for the reader to decipher despite Gawyn appearing in about 25 scenes only until TGS. RJ had us work for it, though. We had to extrapolate more. Brandon spelled things out more.

All I'm contending is that by going this way, Brandon seriously expanded the word count.

Not that Brandon denies this, by the way. He's quite aware of the narrative differences between his style and RJ's.

I'm not saying he shouldn't have. It's the way he was comfortable to develop characters, and it's the way he writes. He doesn't like static scenes. RJ could have a character sitting on a horse thinking for several pages, be interrupted by an underling, see a thing or two around, than think some more. All the thought process was there, he needed no more scene with that character as it's not one who drove the plot.

Brandon had the characters do a lot more things in each scene. Gawyn won't just sit on a horse, he will make an inspection tour, or spar with a warder. He'll describe what he's doing, think about what he's doing, and though that some of the character development thought will show up. It's not bad, it's just that you several scenes with Gawyn to get through the same thought process.

It's a different storytelling style, that's all. Brandon's more dynamic, and he didn't rely as much on ellipses and key scenes.

Does Gawyn compare? What about Shalon, Cadsuane, Aviendha, Bethamin, Tuon?

A fairly objective way is to go with average screen time per book (or story arc), and look at the gaps/ellipses too.

It's far less about the importance of characters to themes or plot - some very minor characters are terribly important and judging their importance t this way becomes rapidly arbitrary - and more about how much screen time RJ usually dedicated to their stories or POVs/perspectives.

A concrete example is best, I guess. In one of the books, Gawyn has character development thoughts, then he gets new orders from a Red we aren't privy to. All we learn of it is a through a mention of raids on Bryne's outposts.

In Brandon's style, Gawyn's scene would have been less static, he wouldn't have gone through all the thought process in the first scene. It would continue in a second scene, for example with him preparing a raid, or thinking about one and how he felt about that. Then we would return to him scouting at an outpost, and return to him again to witness one raid. We might have gotten an aftermath scene, with the conclusion, with how Gawyn felt about it all. The sames themes are developped, the same plot points, but it's done in a great deal more episodes. It's what Brandon did with Gawyn in TGS/TOM.

Such "walk-throughs", Jordan usually deserved to the main cast, those with hundreds of scenes in the series. Had RJ done this with all the Siuan, Verin, Cadsuane, Lan, Loial etc. the series would have been considerably larger... to tell the same story, develop much the same themes.

It is preposterous to suggest that Jordan would have stuck to the basic 5-7 characters to cram it into one book.

Which is not quite what I had in mind. It's where you misunderstood me.

If anything, I find Brandon has tended to under use most tertiary players. RJ used to populate the background with them. We had small touches and mentions where now they're either absent, just stand there, or are replaced with generic new players (never named before AS, Asha'man, Aiel, Two Rivers people, nobles etc.) RJ was really an expert at that, far more economical than some believe because he managed to update us on the Will al'Seens in two lines here and there and no more.

He had plenty of opportunities to keep the focus tight in earlier books and did not. The first reason is that some of these characters either offer an efficient viewpoint to give or conceal information from the reader. The second reason is that he used these secondary characters to frame the themes and parables that the main characters were going through, whether he used their viewpoint or not.

I agree, but RJ's style was to do this mostly avoiding to dedicate scenes to secondary players. He did that when it counted.

It is typical, but wrongheaded, to place chronology or plot ahead of theme. The story is there to tell a story about something, and that something can't take a backseat to worries about Tam's whereabouts, or suspense, as though suspense was the only emotional state the story is trying to convey.

You don't know me well if you think I place themes after plot or chronology.:p

Your one of the few I know who's as obsessed as I am with those aspects.

And again it's not that I think Brandon didn't succeed well at doing. On the contrary.

I merely contend he's needed a seriously higher number of scenes to do it than RJ usually took to write similar developments. That's for book length.

There's just my major gripe with the way the book was divided.

Yes, the story lines of Rand and Egwene worked really well in parallel.

But this was achieved at the sacrifice of the other parallels between those two and Mat and Perrin. Oh, I'm intelligent enough to pretend TGS and TOM are one book and draw them myself, but it's not quite the same as experiencing it emotionally, all together.

This was also achieved at the expense of drama.
It's important too, especially in the part of the story where it borders on tragedy.


RJ had set things up for everything to enter a very dark spiral as AMOL opened. He had worked very hard to bring each story arc exactly at the right point to pull it off, making some unusual compromises to achieve it (I'm referring to Egwene's KOD super chapter. That chapter is amazing for its richness and how much developments RJ managed to cram credibly in so short a text, but it's so atypical it's a very good sign of RJ's intent to bring Egwene up to the point she had her dinner with Elaida and ended up in a cell as AMOL began. It's pretty much factual, Brandon has said he split the dinner outlined by RJ in two scenes.). The one thing I really didn't like about Egwene's story arc relates to her themes. It think it would have changed a lot of things if she had spent her arc confined to a small cell - being a prisoner was a huge issue with Egwene, and my guess is that RJ planned to make a bigger deal of this, leading to the Seanchan attack.

As for Mat, he was stuck and stalling for 30 days, frustrating us (would have worked really well, with the red herring that perhaps it's Moiraine Rand needed). The rest all spiraled downward with Rand the worst and Egwene close behind. The cumulative effect RJ was obviously aiming for, it's what Brandon ruined. What's left of it is TGS. Perhaps you could pretend you didn't know about the epiphany and Merrilor and experience Perrin/Mat that way in TOM, but personally, I couldn't.





I think Brandon did a fairly brilliant job assembling the appropriate elements to tell a complete story in The Gathering Storm, and again in Towers of Midnight.

With TGS, yes. He spread it out more than I feel RJ would have, but it worked and I was quite happy with it.

With TOM I completely disagree however. Each individual story line work, the themes mostly work (it's undermined by not running in parallel with the TGS material) but honestly the whole barely works as a novel. It's probably the book with the worst structure I've read in eons.


there have been plenty of those throughout the series.

We must not be talking about the same thing.

With another few years to work on it, many of these so-called problems could have been handled even better,

Which is essentially my feeling. Not that Brandon lacked talent, but that he wasn't allowed to work in optimal conditions.

Brandon is one of the fastest writers out there, in addition to 'getting it', both of which are the qualities which singled him out as Jordan's successor.

All the more reason to let him work his way, no? He was but half a year or 9 months away from being able to split the material optimally.

Insisting to get a book out the year it was promised cost us all a lot. Brandon included.


The author is never wrong, and they don't owe you anything.

That amounts to saying books are all equally good and shouldn't be criticized in any way.

The generosity they've displayed interacting with fans,

You miss the point entirely. Brandon would be the first to tell you that, by the way.

Criticizing the final result on its own merit, for its literary and entertainment qualities isn't in any way attacking Brandon personally.

It's not about his dedication, his generosity, the massive challenge it represented, the attenuating circumstances. It's all about the book itself. Oly the book itself.

What we're doing criticizing the book is little different from what Brandon experiences when he submit his work to his writers's group.

We're talking about our experience of the book in the end. TGS gave me a really good time, much better than I expected. TOM didn't give me a good time. If it wasn't WOT, I would not have finished it. It didn't deliver for me, and I found it mostly very irritating and frustrating. I can't help it, it's how the book make me feel. And I'm not exceedingly critical, I wouldn't read Fantasy at all if I was.

It must be that I always root for underdogs, and it feels much like the authors are underdogs for some reason.

I don't think they need anyone defending their cause that way. They generally understand it's about their work, not them. Brandon is far, far from allergic to that type of criticism, especially when it focuses exclusively on the book. He doesn't have the time to do this anymore (and he's never been comfortable doing it for WOT that's in part a collaborative effort) but there used to be a time when he would appear in a thread like this and defend his choices, concede points or agree to disagree. He loves writing groups, he's quite used to unforgiving criticism of his work. Several of his novels reached final form following that sort of process.

Beside, it's not like I'm altogether bashing the work blindly. It's not because I didn't enjoy TOM at all and the combination of book division and the chosen structure ruined my enjoyment that I can't see all that's good in it, all that impressed me. And I sure don't think Brandon was the wrong choice to write the books. I'm still very happy he was chosen. But none of that change anything to the fact I didn't enjoy TOM, and re reading it didn't much help (except the one time I switched between TGS and TOM, following more the chronological order of scenes.. rather cumbersome, and no more optimal than reading them as published. It gives a better impression of how the story line develop in parallel, but it also highlights a lot the redundant elements and such.)

You experienced the book differently and enjoyed it more and found it satisfying. That's great.

I can't lie and pretend it was the same for me, though.

For sure it dampened my expectations for AMOL a bit, but at the same time I can hardly see how Brandon could possibly have had the same issues with that one he had with TOM. Error of minutia, small continuity errors, too flagrant changes in voices or tone etc. I notice, but it's not bothering me that much as I can make abstraction of that as I read. And with all the timelines now in synch or close, the book can't possibly have the structural issues TOM had. Beside, Brandon is at his best with climaxes, so that too is promising.

suttree
12-17-2012, 12:06 PM
Since when is literary criticism a 'whiny tone'? :confused: If you want to see 'whiny tone', go to Dragonmount... :rolleyes:

Seriously...

Great Lord of the Dark
12-18-2012, 01:20 AM
Dom, you correctly point out various places where I misunderstand your earlier comments, and your subsequent explanations help put everything back in its proper context. Thanks.

While Brandon and others may think he greatly expanded the word count, I'm not sure an RJ chapter for Gawyn wouldn;t be the quivalent of the three or four mini-chapters that Barndon wrote. What would be different is the placement in the story. Jordan was able to maintain focus in one area for a longer period, but Brandon seems to prefer jumping about more. Even so, he doesn't use many words to re-establish setting, or time, or anything else, he just leaps back into where he left off.

When I say the author is never wrong, I mean that they wrote what they did for some reason that usually only they know, often for multiple reasons. It's difficult to second-guess that when we are assuming we know what was trying to be conveyed. In this particular context, under whatever constraints he was under, Brandon handed in a manuscript, the best he could, and it couldn't be improved without trade-offs. It doesn't mean his book is the best, or that it's drivel, or equivalent to every other book out there. It's just what an author was able to write under the circumstances. They can't revise forever, at some point they have to hand it in, and they are right to do so. If they weren't right that it was publishable, then it would not be published. I suppose I had that GRRM line in my head.

Although I missed several of your points, I think you missed one of mine, in that optimal time to polish off someone else's unfinished saga is ceratinly more than the five years it took, which seems grossly unfair to Team Jordan and Brandon, who may have other things they hoped to accomplish in that time. I suppose they've reached some balance bewteen time and desire to see it done well, and are very pleased with the end result, and they seem much better suited to make that decision than we readers.

Although my post was directed fairly directly at you, much of the whining I was upset about was the usual 'money-grubber' posts here and elsewhere, as though the almighty $$ is all that matters to the people who were along with Jordan for the last two decades, helping in the background, devoted to completing the man's life's work for its own sake. Sorry for implying that was you. I wrote a post comparing The Gathering Storm to the ongoing theme of multi-generational duty, and how Jordan was forced into a situation like many of his characters. I find it unfortunate that theme is lost on people who apparently read this far.

I've got to say both of Brandon's Wheel of Time books started iffy, and then around page 200 or so, something clicks and I just roll with it. I still get jarred here and there, but the momentum just carries me through. I think that building momentum is due to the way he jumps from character to character so quickly, and it is a good offset to the standard Jordan format.

I hope we get a chance to keep having thses discussion before some real detailed reviews creep in.

Tercel
12-19-2012, 04:42 AM
Except that Tor wants Brandon's own books to sell well in the future, and if AMoL doesn't keep jumping off the shelf after the first week due to word of mouth—I'm not saying Brandon's career is over, but the marketing push that Stormlight 2 gets will be much diminished. Count on it.Well much of the impact of AMoL is going to hinge on the ending, which was written by RJ. Given RJ's ending and the sales-effect of the remainder of the WoT series, I doubt the quality of Brandon's work in the remainder of AMoL is going to have much of an effect on sales one way or the other.

Given Brandon's other WoT books (and also his own books), I don't really need reviews to know that AMoL will be adequate, tolerable, okay-overall, and will contain a number of errors that will annoy hard-core fans. Brandon's a solid and dependable writer who tends to overreach. So I would be really surprised if he screws up AMoL majorly. But, by the same token, Brandon doesn't often hit heights of brilliance either (IMO Alloy of Law was an excellent exception), so if that does happen in AMoL I would more expect it to be a result of RJ's ending. But I suppose that since I currently can't decide whether to bother reading Stormlight 2 (please let it not contain the extremely-boring character-backstory-flashbacks that SL1 featured!), how good a job he does with AMoL will probably tip those scales for me one way or the other.

Terez
12-19-2012, 06:56 AM
Well much of the impact of AMoL is going to hinge on the ending, which was written by RJ.
According to Brandon, the bit written by RJ—the famous "last scene"—is only 1000 words.

Davian93
12-19-2012, 07:10 AM
According to Brandon, the bit written by RJ—the famous "last scene"—is only 1000 words.


That's pretty depressing.

Isabel
12-19-2012, 07:17 AM
Really ? I remember him saying or hinting it was a couple of chapters.:mad:

Terez
12-19-2012, 07:34 AM
Yup, really (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#18). Though he did say RJ wrote other parts toward the end.

Dom
12-19-2012, 08:03 AM
Yup, really (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#18). Though he did say RJ wrote other parts toward the end.

About 50k words worth of it he said a few times. It might cover a much larger part of the ending that's more by RJ than Brandon. At first Brandon seemed to imply it was a continuous narrative, but later he more and more seemed to narrow it down to the last scene (which is really quite short, your 1000 words), suggesting the rest of the 50k might be a bunch of scenes in advanced stage but not final, and not necessarily continuous.

Is it possible they're from the big LB chapter, perhaps the beginning of the ending rather than the real climax section? Do the quotes of Brandon allow for this possibility T.?

They might also be scattered scenes from the climax section, I guess.

I doubt it's a full 50k continuous narrative, I vaguely remember Brandon reporting he was writing/drafting when he said he reached the point where he added RJ's scene. Can't recall if he was writing the epilogue or the climax section, though.

Isabel
12-19-2012, 08:05 AM
Yup, really (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#18). Though he did say RJ wrote other parts toward the end.

Than i must have misunderstood him in the past :( 1000 words really isn't much. I am a bit disappointed and worried now. I really hoped on a big chapter.

GonzoTheGreat
12-19-2012, 08:09 AM
1000 words really isn't much.
"You? No!" wasn't all that many words either, but it did keep us busy for quite a while.

Terez
12-19-2012, 08:17 AM
About 50k words worth of it he said a few times.
I get the impression that's about what RJ left total, in actual written and/or dictated scenes. Maybe a little more. Unless you know of a quote to the contrary?

To understand my next step, you have to understand what we mean by "Notes." There are really three groups of these.

1) Robert Jordan's Worldbuilding Notes. These were in a series of dozens, maybe hundreds of files embedded chaotically inside of files inside of files, using his own system of notation. The notes reach all the way back to early books he was working on, as he was working on them. They aren't intended to be read by anyone other than him, and are sometimes very difficult to figure out. This is the group that Harriet has said, in her estimation, include a total wordcount equal to or greater to that of the published series.

2) The notes for the last book, gathered by his assistants Maria and Alan, with Harriet's help. These are far more focused on the last book, notes that RJ wrote specifically focusing on the last book. This is a much more manageable amount, maybe fifty or a hundred pages. It includes interviews that Alan and Maria did with RJ before he died, asking him what was to happen to certain characters.

3) Scenes for the last book, either in written form or dictated during his last months. This includes some completed scenes. (The last sequence in the book, for example. Also a lot of prologue material, including the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, the Borderlander Tower scene in Towers of Midnight, and the Isam prologue scene from A Memory of Light.) A lot of these are fragments of scenes, a paragraph here and there, or a page of material that he expected to be expanded to a full chapter. This is different from #2 to me in that these are direct scene constructions, rather than "notes" explaining what was to happen.

Together, #2 and #3 are about 200 pages. That is what I read the night I visited Harriet, and that is what I used to construct my outline.http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#29

I'm guessing they waited to be explicit about this because they didn't want people to freak out about how little RJ had actually written.

Clues he has given recently on, for example, the Thom/Moiraine engagement scene, also discussed on that page, indicate that they were dictated, not written because the tense was wrong. I can't see RJ writing in the wrong tense even in first draft.

50k words is about 100 typed pages, single-spaced. And somehow I think if it was over 200 pages (rather than under), Brandon would have said 'over 200 pages'.

Dom
12-19-2012, 08:17 AM
Than i must have misunderstood him in the past :( 1000 words really isn't much. I am a bit disappointed and worried now. I really hoped on a big chapter.

It's longer than that, it's only the final scene which is 1000 words long.

Brandon repeatedly compared the length of the material left by RJ for the "ending section" to the (original) prologue. Later he did specify it included the "last scene", and that one RJ had written shortly before his passing.

He had worked more than that on the ending section earlier, it's how he worked (ending first, key scenes scattered through the book (and not necessarily big events, his key scenes were often pivotal character moments he was drafting the dialogues for only), prologue section and first scene of the book for each character, then he worked on filling all the As to Bs). So in "narrative form", he left a big chunk for the ending section, most of the prologue scenes in various states of drafting, he had worked on the pre-Merrilor climax for Mat (and several other key scenes scattered through the book including the Verrin and Egwene one), but Brandon has hinted that Ghenjei was the third biggest continuous section he left in advanced draft form beside prologue and ending), and he was working to develop Egwene's pre-Merrilor story in more details, so Brandon had more material, sketched scenes, dialogues and outlines for this than for the rest. It's the pre-epiphany sections for Rand and Perrin he didn't get much chance to get to except for scattered scenes, notes and sketch of key scenes, or so Brandon's comments have suggested.

Terez
12-19-2012, 08:27 AM
Sorry, I stopped reading your post after the 50k thing.

Is it possible they're from the big LB chapter, perhaps the beginning of the ending rather than the real climax section? Do the quotes of Brandon allow for this possibility T.?
We don't have many clues, but the impression I get is that there are a few RJ scenes scattered throughout.

Dom
12-19-2012, 08:33 AM
I get the impression that's about what RJ left total, in actual written and/or dictated scenes. Maybe a little more. Unless you know of a quote to the contrary?

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#29

I'm guessing they waited to be explicit about this because they didn't want people to freak out about how little RJ had actually written.

Clues he has given recently on, for example, the Thom/Moiraine engagement scene, also discussed on that page, indicate that they were dictated, not written because the tense was wrong. I can't see RJ writing in the wrong tense even in first draft.

50k words is about 100 typed pages, single-spaced. And somehow I think if it was over 200 pages (rather than under), Brandon would have said 'over 200 pages'.

It could be. All I recall for sure is that he compared what RJ left for the ending section to the length of the prologue and spoke of a third noticeably bigger chunk (he didn't elaborate - it was pre-TGS), but it became obvious later he was speaking of Ghenjei. The rest was scattered scenes through the book.

How many words are the prologue scenes + Ghenjei + other scenes we know RJ has written? It would give us an idea, as Brandon also said once there was about as much material written by RJ in AMOL as in the other two books.

Another clue: he referred to the ending section left by RJ as "his goal", that for the third book he'd have to bring the threads to that, and he also said once he had to write book 3 to lead into the section written mostly by RJ (he specified it wasn't the epilogue).

Oh well, we'll know soon enough. Brandon is more talkative about this once a book is out. I know Harriet would prefer we don't even delve on those matters at all, but that's never really worked, neither before the book comes out nor after.

Terez
12-19-2012, 09:04 AM
It could be. All I recall for sure is that he compared what RJ left for the ending section to the length of the prologue and spoke of a third noticeably bigger chunk (he didn't elaborate - it was pre-TGS), but it became obvious later he was speaking of Ghenjei. The rest was scattered scenes through the book.
Yeah, the prologue of TGS was only 31 book pages.

Sid
12-19-2012, 10:54 AM
on Twitter sometime between ToM and AMoL, he said the parts written by RJ were about 10% of AMoL. I guess most people thought that meant 30-35k words of stuff at the end. If it's only 1000... well, they were smart to make us think otherwise or a lot of people would have probably talked themselves out of buying the books in frustration long ago.

Terez
12-19-2012, 11:18 AM
Just saying the last scene is 1000 words. That doesn't mean RJ didn't write anything else in the ending.

Dom
12-19-2012, 11:27 AM
Yeah, the prologue of TGS was only 31 book pages.

If I understood correctly, a significant amount of RJ's original prologue ended up elsewhere, though.

Do we know if the Slayer scene is a last bit from it btw?

Terez
12-19-2012, 12:07 PM
Yeah, I think so. So his original prologue would have just been those three scenes—Renald Fanwar, Melanarin Rai, and Isam.

Isabel
12-19-2012, 12:27 PM
Do you really tink the isam scene was by RJ? Its been a while since i read it, so i dont remember what i thought.
but how does that fit in withthe : there is a ------- in the blight and no one knows about it.
I havent been following discussions about it, but isnt that about the aiel city?
Why would rj say that o one knows about it, if he already wrote about it?

Dom
12-19-2012, 12:50 PM
Yeah, I think so. So his original prologue would have just been those three scenes—Renald Fanwar, Melanarin Rai, and Isam.

Hmm... that doesn't sound right for some reason. I'd think the Faliendre scene, the Tylee one, the Masema one, the Ituralde one would have been at least drafted or outlined for the prologue too, the first Galad scene as well.

By the look of things, RJ meant to include the scene he kept from us in KOD (ie: the development of Rand seeking another meeting), and then he cleared the last stuff holding up Perrin's storyline. Then the book would open just a few days later with Rand. After a few chapters, he would have been ready to switch to the real beginning of Perrin's story, a few weeks after leaving Malden (It's sort of a retcon by Brandon. Tylee was staying longer, Perrin was about to move in KOD. Brandon had Tylee leave and Perrin remain a few more hours at Malden. It suggests RJ intended to go back to Masema's scene and little more, than jump 1-2 weeks, nearer the road for the first real scene).

Terez
12-19-2012, 01:44 PM
Do you really tink the isam scene was by RJ? Its been a while since i read it, so i dont remember what i thought.
Brandon said it was.

Austin Moore (September 19) (https://twitter.com/Southpaw2014/status/248274281270747136)
Was the RJ part of the prologue the Bayrd scene?

Brandon Sanderson (https://twitter.com/BrandSanderson/status/248279531671150594)
No, actually. It was the Isam part, though I filled in a hole in the middle of the scene. but how does that fit in with the : there is a ------- in the blight and no one knows about it.Luckers and I discussed this before Brandon said RJ had written it. He said he thought it was written by RJ, and I told him I could see why he thought that, but I thought no one knew about that until he was on his deathbed and I assumed he didn't do any writing after that. But then I realized that bit of info was what inspired them to get a recorder (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=527#5), so all of the dictated scenes would have been done after that, like the one you guys listened to at the first JordanCon. And a lot of the scenes he 'wrote' were just like that, and Brandon had to adapt them for tense and other issues. Like he said here:

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#8

Re: Contractions. Interesting story here. Harriet and Team Jordan worried about my use of contractions in places that RJ did not. It seemed very striking to them. Their first instinct was to go through and change it, after the fact, in order to match RJ's style.

Harriet didn't like how that looked. She felt that my style needed to be blended with RJ's, rather than taking my style and forcing it to fit into something else. So it was decided that one of her tasks, as editor, would be to blend the writing after it was put together. She'd go through and make scenes feel right together, and would blend the two styles like a painter blending paint.

So, she takes away contractions from me where she feels they need to go and she actually adds them to RJ's writing where she thinks it needs to be blended. I was curious if that was the case here, so I went back to the original notes.

And it turns out RJ wrote the scene with contractions. Most likely, he was planning to trim them out with editing. Remember, even the most complete scenes we have from him are first drafts. In fact, in some of them, the tense is wrong. (Much of this Moiraine/Thom/Mat scene is in present tense. )

An example from the notes is:

He puts the [I]angreal on her wrist, and says 'I'll marry you now.'

In revision, this line turned into:

He put the bracelet back on her wrist. "I'll marry you now, if you wish it."And here:

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=818#11

For instance, the first scene in The Gathering Storm, there’s a prologue with an old farmer sitting on his front porch. This scene was dictated by Jim, and we actually had the recording of that, it got played at JordanCon I. And the interesting thing, if you were to have listened to that or if I can just describe it to you. It’s all in present tense. It’s like, “There’s this farmer, and he’s sitting on the porch and he looks up and he sees the clouds. These are black and silver clouds, and he’s never seen black and silver clouds before; they’re very striking.” And Jim goes through this whole narrative like that. Well, that’s very complete as a scene, he does the whole thing. And yet it’s in present tense, without a lot of the language turned into written language; it’s talked through.

Terez
12-19-2012, 01:52 PM
Hmm... that doesn't sound right for some reason. I'd think the Faliendre scene, the Tylee one, the Masema one, the Ituralde one would have been at least drafted or outlined for the prologue too, the first Galad scene as well.
I'm not so sure RJ detailed an outline for the prologue at all, unless Brandon said so explicitly to you. I know most of the detail about the structure of the three books and the planning came from your report, but then there is the fact that Brandon is not always entirely clear what he's talking about. Judging by the numbers he gave about the notes I quoted above, and the way Brandon tends to communicate, I'm guessing that the material RJ wrote/dictated for the ending is about equal to the material he wrote/dictated for the prologue. Most of the rest was the Ghenjei sequence, but there are a few other scattered bits throughout the books. That assumption fits with the info Brandon gave on how much was written. (About 100 typed pages, 150 at most, including dictations.)

Isabel
12-19-2012, 01:59 PM
Brandon said it was.

Luckers and I discussed this before Brandon said RJ had written it. He said he thought it was written by RJ, and I told him I could see why he thought that, but I thought no one knew about that until he was on his deathbed and I assumed he didn't do any writing after that. But then I realized that bit of info was what inspired them to get a recorder (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=527#5), so all of the dictated scenes would have been done after that, like the one you guys listened to at the first JordanCon. And a lot of the scenes he 'wrote' were just like that, and Brandon had to adapt them for tense and other issues. Like he said here:

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=722#8

And here:

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=818#11

Ah, thinking about it that way makes sense.

Terez
12-19-2012, 02:25 PM
Ah, thinking about it that way makes sense.
I also realized there was a little more detail in that LibertyCon transcript:

During the last months, his cousin Wilson and members of Team Jordan would be talking to him and Jim would start talking about scenes. There’s a famous one (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=527#5), “There’s a ______ in the Blight,” which is a quote from Wilson. That was a time when Jim told him—you’ll have to have him tell that story some time, it’s awesome—but Jim just started going off—Jim is Robert Jordan, for those who didn’t know—Jim would go off on...he just talked through this entire scene. And that’s one of the ones that we had the most understanding of, in a lot of ways, some of these scenes where he would talk about them.
He's most likely talking about the Isam scene.

Dom
12-19-2012, 04:02 PM
I'm not so sure RJ detailed an outline for the prologue at all, unless Brandon said so explicitly to you.

I can't remember the details, though it looks like there was some kind of an outline or something as Brandon spoke of moving RJ's prologue scenes into the book and bringing some of his scenes into RJ's prologue, and he's mentioned that prologue scenes had to be moved to the prologue of the second book as they introduced matters that ended up in TOM.

It will be nice to be able to ask Brandon those questions more openly at some point.

There seems to be more dictated/drafted material than we often assume. Every now and again Brandon seems to had a new scene to the list of those "he shouldn't really get credit for".

Of course it could be that they knew something was for the outline because in a narration/dictaction RJ explained where each character started. Everything happening before was forcibly prologue stuff.

Terez
12-19-2012, 04:35 PM
The only scenes we know of for sure that were written/dictated by RJ:

Renald Fanwar
A Visit from Verin Sedai
Melanarin Rai
Ghenjei sequence
Isam
The last scene

I don't think I'm forgetting any. He has said that RJ went into more detail about certain things in the notes, but I don't think he's specified any scenes RJ wrote aside from that. There are certain ones we know for sure were written by Brandon, though.

Dom
12-20-2012, 07:29 AM
The only scenes we know of for sure that were written/dictated by RJ:

Renald Fanwar
A Visit from Verin Sedai
Melanarin Rai
Ghenjei sequence
Isam
The last scene

I don't think I'm forgetting any. He has said that RJ went into more detail about certain things in the notes, but I don't think he's specified any scenes RJ wrote aside from that. There are certain ones we know for sure were written by Brandon, though.

That's really not a lot. I guess the more often Brandon mentionned them, the more my impression there were more grew!

I guess it's likely most of the prologue was also dictacted, the way Brandon kept repeating early on that it was "mostly RJ" etc. Three scenes is barely a match for Ghenjei which I understood was a smaller chunk than the only two really substantial ones.

I really wished I had my iphone at the time at I went to Brandon's signing. He had drawn color graphs of those things to explain how he rearranged the outline into three books. It gave a vague idea of how much of AMOL to expect was done by RJ, but I can't trust my memory anymore on any of the details.

Some of the things he spoke of over the years (like that for some secondary characters all he had was stuff from RJ's ending section and he had to figure out how they went from KOD to there, and that for AMOL what he had to do was to merge every thread seamlessly into the the section written by RJ) makes me think he can't possibly have meant a 1k-word scene by that.

Mind you, a lot of that could be brief narratives of stuff that happened to a lot of characters toward the ending or during TG rather than full narratives in the vein of the Fanwar POV.

arioch
12-20-2012, 09:30 AM
If that's true then he's done a top notch world class 1-in-a-billion job at it.

Southpaw2012
12-20-2012, 11:32 AM
The only scenes we know of for sure that were written/dictated by RJ:

Renald Fanwar
A Visit from Verin Sedai
Melanarin Rai
Ghenjei sequence
Isam
The last scene

I don't think I'm forgetting any. He has said that RJ went into more detail about certain things in the notes, but I don't think he's specified any scenes RJ wrote aside from that. There are certain ones we know for sure were written by Brandon, though.

RJ also wrote the Seanchan attack on the White Tower in TGS

Southpaw2012
12-20-2012, 11:38 AM
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.



Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

Josh Jersild (26 July 2011)

I'm at the end of my WoT reread and was curious...did you add any plot elements in The Gathering Storm or Towers of Midnight, or is it all from RJ's notes?

Brandon Sanderson (26 July 2011)

There is some I had to add. In The Gathering Storm, Egwene is more RJ and Rand is more me. In Towers of Midnight, Perrin me, Mat RJ.

Terez
12-20-2012, 12:34 PM
RJ also wrote the Seanchan attack on the White Tower in TGS
Brandon has made it clear enough that Egwene's sequence in TGS was planned in detail by RJ, but he has not made it clear that RJ actually wrote most of it. Other interviews provide more detail. In other words, he had to fill in a lot of Rand's plot in TGS because RJ didn't specify what Rand was to be doing during that time aside from a few highlights. The Verin scene is the only one we know for sure was actually written/dictated by RJ in that sequence.

Dom
12-20-2012, 05:19 PM
Brandon has made it clear enough that Egwene's sequence in TGS was planned in detail by RJ, but he has not made it clear that RJ actually wrote most of it. Other interviews provide more detail. In other words, he had to fill in a lot of Rand's plot in TGS because RJ didn't specify what Rand was to be doing during that time aside from a few highlights. The Verin scene is the only one we know for sure was actually written/dictated by RJ in that sequence.

Another huge suspect in that arc is the first scene. In part because it has the tone of the dictations, and in part because it includes mentions of Alviarin that act like teaser but that Brandon didn't pick up in the story line afterward. It's easier to explain as an overlook than as something Brandon created then forgot about.

My guess is that RJ focused on the main arc/Egwene, and he didn't flesh out further what was to happen with the BA/Alviarin, and Brandon chose not show any of that on screen. There was probably a reason why Alviarin was late, but Brandon didn't know what it was and left it at that.

IMO, that scene was found originally in the prologue and might have included the disastrous dinner too. A teaser. Egwene was so far ahead in time I seriously doubt RJ intended to go to her section until he had advanced Perrin and Rand closer. Only then Egwene chapters would have started, and Mat's/Elayne's. Giving us the mirror of the capture of Semirhage from the sul'dam's POV is classic RJ (LOC vs. ACOS etc.). Having an ellipse after that scene to make Rand jump several weeks later to the time of Elayne's victory and Elaida's dinner, that was very un-RJ like.It was a bit ackward, because it let Tuon "stew" for nothing in Ebou Dar. Those days between Semirhage's capture and the meeting in Falme were to be Rand's stay in Ebou Dar, leaving Tuon, Tylee etc. reach Ebou Dar, and her KOD epilogue scene. That's when the Egwene and Mat story lines roughly started in the timeline.

finnssss
12-20-2012, 06:49 PM
Another huge suspect in that arc is the first scene. In part because it has the tone of the dictations, and in part because it includes mentions of Alviarin that act like teaser but that Brandon didn't pick up in the story line afterward. It's easier to explain as an overlook than as something Brandon created then forgot about.

My guess is that RJ focused on the main arc/Egwene, and he didn't flesh out further what was to happen with the BA/Alviarin, and Brandon chose not show any of that on screen. There was probably a reason why Alviarin was late, but Brandon didn't know what it was and left it at that.

IMO, that scene was found originally in the prologue and might have included the disastrous dinner too. A teaser. Egwene was so far ahead in time I seriously doubt RJ intended to go to her section until he had advanced Perrin and Rand closer. Only then Egwene chapters would have started, and Mat's/Elayne's. Giving us the mirror of the capture of Semirhage from the sul'dam's POV is classic RJ (LOC vs. ACOS etc.). Having an ellipse after that scene to make Rand jump several weeks later to the time of Elayne's victory and Elaida's dinner, that was very un-RJ like.It was a bit ackward, because it let Tuon "stew" for nothing in Ebou Dar. Those days between Semirhage's capture and the meeting in Falme were to be Rand's stay in Ebou Dar, leaving Tuon, Tylee etc. reach Ebou Dar, and her KOD epilogue scene. That's when the Egwene and Mat story lines roughly started in the timeline.

BS has said publicly that he didn't want Mat and Perrin being overshadowed by what was going on with Rand and Egwene in tGS.

GonzoTheGreat
12-21-2012, 04:21 AM
Can I assume that BS wrote all the "Elayne gets captured" scenes in the entire series, or wouldn't that be fair?

Dom
12-21-2012, 01:05 PM
BS has said publicly that he didn't want Mat and Perrin being overshadowed by what was going on with Rand and Egwene in tGS.


It's not so much about Brandon as to what RJ had in mind when he wanted to keep it as one book.

Saying he didn't want to overshadow Perrin-Mat is putting a good face on things, when going with Rand-Egwene is a last minute compromise he came up with, not what he planned for originally. Brandon also said the split itself was a compromise, that he didn't have the clout to keep it to one book bt that RJ was right to have wanted to keep it as a 2000-page book.

For having read all the scenes once in something close to chronological order (and by the way if Brandon goes forward with his idea of reworking things a little to have an ebook version I'll sure be happy), I didn't feel Mat or Perrin were "overshadowed". On the contrary, some obvious parallels to the story lines of either Egwene and Rand are far more obvious that way than when TGS and TOM are read as published. Missing elements strenghtening the story of Rand or Egwene fall in place. Perrin's story comes out far more strongly as an epiphany about himself and his nature echoing Rand's and offers a third perspective on leadership, the gholam makes a fairly good concrete monster from the far past to echo the darkness of Rand, and the whole Ghenjei episode mirrors Egwene's labyrinthine struggle caught between the snakes (BA) and the foxes (Elaida and the Reds) really quite well.

Divided the stories of Perrin and Mat are totally overshadowed by TGS anyway, even more so because Brandon chose to keep the post-epiphany stuff ongoing in parallel. Brandon tried to turn this into a race to Merrilor for Perrin-Mat to compensate the fact their stories had a much narrower impact on things pre-Merrilor, but personally I think he wasn't all that successful.

In hindsight, I wonder if it might not have worked better if Brandon had stopped TGS with Rand vanishing from Tear as cliffhanger while letting Egwene win the Tower as a more positive climax, returning to them in TOM only when Perrin and Mat caught up to that timeline. The big disadvantage is that for Rand it works better to follow immediately with the Ebou Dar days and the epiphany. For the ensemble of the story, though, it's such a turning point it overshadows much of the rest once it happens.

There's really no perfect compromise, RJ himself was convinced he had to fit the remainder of the story in one book one way or another or it wouldn't be as strong an ending as he envisioned.

Brandon sort of proved he was right. He made a mistake similar to the error of RJ with the Cleansing. The end of WH is spectacular but totally overshadowed the developments in the first half of COT (the average reader no longer wanted to know what happened prior to the Cleansing, he wanted to know what happens after and where Rand goes from there), and RJ was unable to fit in COT the climax section which became KOD, leaving COT like a first half of a WOT book, not delivering on the second half, always more "exciting". COT worked with the more patient/involved readers, but frustrated the far more numerous average readers.

Probably not to end up with a similar problem in his finale, he had Tuon/Mat/Elayne and Egwene go further in the timeline during KOD, so he could focus on Rand/Perrin at the start of AMOL before interweaving the others and bring all four to the epiphany climax then launch TG proper. Brandon undid what RJ set up by the end of KOD to have Egwene and Rand follow one another in TGS. Then he slowed down/spread Perrin because he needed him as core for TOM. Doing things that way, he ended up needing weeks so Egwene dealt with Mesaana, and a very long break between the epiphany and Merrilor. That's a fairly small compromise compared to the rest, but it contributes to the dilution of drama. Rand post epiphany feels strongly pulled to break the seals and launch TG because "we can't wait anymore", but at the same time he goes and gives a full month before the gathering. It's given half the readers a strong conviction Rand must have accomplished tons and tons of things off-screen during that time because why wait so long otherwise, but give or take a few things Brandon chose to keep from us for now (similar to Egwene's research), it's probably a wrong impression. By the end of TOM, Rand had not contacted Tuon, still thinks he must do something for Lan, he sends Naeff to the BT right before going to Merrilor. Etc.

The compromise that made most sense was to keep all the pre-Merrilor stuff to one book, and it's what Brandon was aiming for, but deadlines interfered with his plans. He would also have preferred, he said so, to keep drafting Perrin/Mat until Merrilor before considering how best to divide the material, but he presented to Harriet an alternative that would let them publish a book on time using what he had finished, and she made the final decision.

Of course it's a matter of tastes and perspectives. Tons of readers, a majority it seems, found TOM satisfying because it provided more than its share of adventures/events, not burdened by the feeling of wrongness of the global structure as my type of readers were.

metaphor
12-21-2012, 05:04 PM
ZOMG they are adorable. That is probably disturbing. It should be disturbing! Why isn’t this disturbing? STOP BEING SO CUTE DAMMIT YOU’RE CONFUSING ME

I really hope this is about a trolloc mom and her myrddraal baby.

Terez
12-22-2012, 07:08 AM
Was reading back through this thread and wanted to comment on something else.

If Elayne has no choice to fall back to Cairhien at some point, and Thom remain in her entourage, and he needs rumors and such, he's got his old and dear friend Zera.
She is one I have discussed (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=192965) before. She is the only person who knows for sure that Thom killed Galldrian, the reason why the Sun Throne was vacated in the first place, and that thematic resonance is why I still hope Moiraine will rule Cairhien. (If anyone wants to discuss that theory, please resurrect the thread I linked instead of using this one.)

Linda
12-23-2012, 11:24 PM
I received the published book Wednesday and do intend to write a review. I haven't been either granted permission to write a review or denied one either.

Work was been very heavy this month, including the death last week of a longtime colleague from cancer. That and an essay I'm trying to finish has slowed me down.

Peter Ahstrom's comment on Dragonmount openly wondering if I'm writing a review, since due to the above he hasn't heard my intentions regarding a review, shows that I am allowed, for those who doubt. I can be trusted not to spoil the book without warning. Hopefully I will have something useful to say despite self-imposed non-spoiler limitations.

Terez
12-24-2012, 02:00 AM
Yay! Can you badger Matt to do one too?

Daekyras
12-24-2012, 02:59 AM
....leaving COT like a first half of a WOT book, not delivering on the second half, always more "exciting". COT worked with the more patient/involved readers, but frustrated the far more numerous average readers.

This is the most arrogant(or deluded) statement i've read on here since i've been back on a more regular basis. (and that is an achievement considering the presence of bot dav, felixpax and weiramon ;))

This website, the beloved theoryland, is populated by people who refer to themselves as ''hcff''. This is not the home of the ''average''.

A quick peruse of previous threads, in particular the ''roll call'' threads suggests that a sizable majority of people dislike COT.

For someone to suggest that it works for a more ''involved'' reader is to detract from everyone for whom it is a chore to read through and strikes me as the opinion of someone who would be blind to faults in the writing.

However, from reading Doms other posts on this site i have found him to be quite critical and often detracting about the books and writing so maybe i'm just grumpy at being called average!!

suttree
12-24-2012, 11:51 AM
However, from reading Doms other posts on this site i have found him to be quite critical and often detracting about the books and writing so maybe i'm just grumpy at being called average!!

Sounds about right. ;)

Tedman
12-25-2012, 12:46 AM
As long as we all agree that the Nadir is PoD.

Terez
12-25-2012, 09:08 AM
We don't.

GonzoTheGreat
12-25-2012, 09:16 AM
What is in the nadir and what is in the zenith all depends on where on Earth you are, after all ...

Dom
12-25-2012, 04:13 PM
This is the most arrogant(or deluded) statement i've read on here since i've been back on a more regular basis. (and that is an achievement considering the presence of bot dav, felixpax and weiramon ;))

This website, the beloved theoryland, is populated by people who refer to themselves as ''hcff''. This is not the home of the ''average''.

A quick peruse of previous threads, in particular the ''roll call'' threads suggests that a sizable majority of people dislike COT.

For someone to suggest that it works for a more ''involved'' reader is to detract from everyone for whom it is a chore to read through and strikes me as the opinion of someone who would be blind to faults in the writing.

However, from reading Doms other posts on this site i have found him to be quite critical and often detracting about the books and writing so maybe i'm just grumpy at being called average!!

Oh please, the average reader is nowhere near any WOT MB.

I even had in my mind someone specific, a neighbour of mine who read each book once until COT that made her give up (until the last book came out, she said at the time). That's what the average reader of WOT do: read the series once.

Linda
12-26-2012, 05:22 AM
Yay! Can you badger Matt to do one too?

Well I'll try. But I have to do mine first for it to be effective. :)

Peter Ahlstrom
12-26-2012, 01:31 PM
Pat got a copy after all. He wasn't on the reviewer list Tor sent me, so I assumed he wasn't getting one.

My memories of events back in October 2010 gave a more formal spin to things, but checking my old emails, my memory is faulty. Tor never formally said back then that they wouldn't send Pat a copy. Also, Justin was the publicist at the time, and he has since left Tor to go work for Amazon, so the current publicist wouldn't necessarily be aware of what went on then.

I should also say that when review copies started going out, I had totally forgotten about Pat's October 19th, 2010 post until someone else mentioned it. And that I now have reason to believe the crap Pat caught for that post was undeserved.

kcf
12-26-2012, 02:43 PM
Today, I'm diving into my review of AMOL. Damn, the tears are back again. Anyway...I doubt I'll finish, and I'll definately re-write, but this is a review unlike any I've done before.

And, I've also started an full-out spoiler reaction list. It will ruin the book for any who haven't read it. I'll post it on the 8th as well. Not something I've ever done before, but it sort of fits this time.

MPry
12-26-2012, 08:28 PM
Wow kcf. Tears due the "end of the road ", or the story itself? Both?

Personally i am really cringing thinking that this is it .....the final wait for the final book *shudders*

dfchang813
12-29-2012, 09:47 AM
I got it early,read it.

You will weep epic tears of epicness.

Olver_is_a_Forsaken
12-29-2012, 05:01 PM
I got it early,read it.

You will weep epic tears of epicness.

Were you sent a copy or did you find it somewhere? If so, please share where!

dfchang813
12-29-2012, 05:42 PM
Were you sent a copy or did you find it somewhere? If so, please share where!

I used financial means at my disposal to secure a copy which makes publicizing the store a non-starter.

Sorry . . . :(