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  #81  
Old 10-31-2012, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sid View Post
So yeah, if anything I'll wait for the paperback to come out unless the ending is so mind blowingly fantastic that it was worth this mess to get there.
"This mess" being a prologue, two chapters, and excerpt. Oh, and the prologue was pretty good. Do try to keep some perspective, people. I'm sure Tor would leave to release the super-awesome section where Rand seals the Bore using Callandor (or whatever), featuring some of RJ's best writing since Moiraine's speech in TEOTW and largely unaltered by Brandon or any of the editors. Unfortunately, they can't, because that would BE A MASSIVE SPOILER. They have to release the first chapters, and by necessity, these are set-up.
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  #82  
Old 10-31-2012, 09:45 PM
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... You're implying the stuff released thus far isn't a mess? I guess I honestly don't know what to say to that.
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  #83  
Old 11-01-2012, 06:58 AM
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... You're implying the stuff released thus far isn't a mess? I guess I honestly don't know what to say to that.
I neither said nor implied that. Stop trying to put words in my mouth.
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  #84  
Old 11-01-2012, 10:21 AM
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Just to clarify, I guess I should have said 'the mess' rather than 'this mess'. If what's been released so far is any indication, there will be a whole lot more to slog through, unless for some reason they decided to promote AMoL with the worst parts of the book to whet people's appetites for the ending. I find that pretty doubtful, so I think it's a safe assumption that the powers that be either didn't realize that it's not good, or didn't care enough to fix it, and we can expect more of the same for a large portion of AMoL.
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  #85  
Old 11-01-2012, 05:25 PM
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But what's the point in complaining? Just to let off steam? I bitched really hard when the decision to split the books came because I thought it could change things. I thought then that BS didn't understand the series and why he needed to end it quickly. Tampering with what you don't understand, well of course it was a flop on the way. But later I hoped and prayed I would be wrong.

Brandon can't channel. He's no gleeman. And he's liable to cut off his foot with an arrow! There was never much hope for it unless you gave him time to understudy what RJ had done over the course of a lifetime. Maybe six months to understand channeling alone. How long for the great game? How to be a general, much less a great one?

Its done. All that's left now are edits. BS can't change much now and most of this criticism is years late to do the series any good. We can hope though, that the ending won't be too bad. Can you imagine Demandred being clobbered by Leane? Or even Sorilea with an angreal? Lets just hope.
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  #86  
Old 11-02-2012, 05:38 AM
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Can you imagine Demandred being clobbered by Leane? Or even Sorilea with an angreal?
Sorilea with a candlestick in the pantry.
  #87  
Old 11-02-2012, 03:12 PM
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Sorilea with a candlestick in the pantry.
Aiel don't have pantries Gonzo. Don't give BS any ideas.
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  #88  
Old 11-03-2012, 05:51 AM
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"Aviendha with a knife* in the pantry" has been one of the favorite answers to the Asmodean Mystery for quite a while. I suspect that BS heard about that, probably before he even started writing the last couple of books himself.

* Or sometimes another weapon.
  #89  
Old 11-03-2012, 03:23 PM
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I haven't read any of Brandon's work, besides what he has added to tWoT. As such, I have no idea how well Brandon manages his own characters and his own storylines when he has the primary vision of the project. However, I have seen him manage RJ's characters and storylines, and I'm unimpressed, but not shockingly so. I never expected Team WoT to find an exceptional writer to finish RJ's work; they are very few and far between, most stay away from the fantasy genre, and the ones who don't have their own high profile projects to complete. So I sifted through some of the surprisingly juvenile writing (at times) and was pleasantly surprised by some of the more competent writing (at times). I will say my biggest disappointment with Brandon isn't his failure to nail down character voices (which would have been impossible for him), or his contradictions and errors (which is the fault of the editing team; far too much material to expect a new author to know), but his lack of any apparent subtlety. RJ was a "show me, don't tell me" style of writer, and Brandon has all of his characters announcing their thoughts and feelings, motivations... everything. Terez explained it perfectly; RJ has his characters say clever, funny, and insightful things, while Brandon has his characters announce that what they're saying is clever, funny, or insightful. It is a remarkably unrefined writing style, and is the biggest issue I have with any of the books; it makes his characters seem 1-dimensional and completely unrealistic, which was a strength of RJ.

To those saying he's not trying hard enough, I find that thought process highly unlikely. The WoT fan base is much larger than his own; he would be a fool not to attempt to complete the work as well as his ability provides. I don't think he's "not trying hard enough." I think what we're given is him trying very hard, take that as you will. In my opinion, he took on a project an order of magnitude above his writing ability (and who wouldn't? What a wonderful opportunity for a young writer), and is doing his best; I'm okay with that. I certainly won't buy his independent work, and his contribution doesn't hold up to the level of scrutiny that RJ's does (who wasn't an extraordinarily well-rounded writer by any stretch of the imagination, himself, but was an excellent story-teller), but I don't hold them to the same standard, much the same way I don't hold RJ to the standard of Twain or Orwell.

Honestly, I always thought the series would have been better suited to hire an anonymous ghost writer (of which there are plenty competent) with the ability to mimic writing styles. I would also have preferred to see them edit out the extraneous plotlines and focus on condensed plot material to finish in one book, or two if absolutely necessary.
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  #90  
Old 11-03-2012, 05:39 PM
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Zombie mentioned earlier the caricaturish nature of RJ's characters. This is something I have been talking for years, and Brandon even went so far as to disagree with me on that. But even RJ's caricatures are far more realistic characters than Brandon's stage actors. But I realize that all these little things that pull you out of the story are easier to ignore for some people. I found it difficult with TGS and TOM, but it's gotten to the 'impossible' point for me.
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  #91  
Old 11-03-2012, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Terez View Post
Zombie mentioned earlier the caricaturish nature of RJ's characters. This is something I have been talking for years, and Brandon even went so far as to disagree with me on that. But even RJ's caricatures are far more realistic characters than Brandon's stage actors. But I realize that all these little things that pull you out of the story are easier to ignore for some people. I found it difficult with TGS and TOM, but it's gotten to the 'impossible' point for me.
I'd reiterate that neither the staged characters nor the caricatures are constant. Moiraine, for instance, always seems to be unique, even as Novice Moiraine. Siuan, on the other hand, is often indistinguishable from Nynaeve, who reminds me for all the world of Granny Weatherwax (there may be an essay in that). That's how I was able to keep reading through COT and through parts of TOM (the plot has also carried it for me through TGS and TOM).

I had something else to say, but it's slipped my mind, so I'll just leave this here and either post or edit it in later if it comes back.
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Sa souvraya niende misain ye

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm,
wearer of a crown of swords, spinner out of fate.
Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time,
may learn the truth too late.

Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.

The one who Death has known
  #92  
Old 11-04-2012, 02:07 AM
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Ever since I first posted what I thought the problem was (and so glaring in Mat), I went back and did a full reread.


I can't state it any better than when I first wrote "seeing things through Mat's(whomever) eyes when in the past we would be an observer, and then be an observer when we should be seeing through Mat."

I think some of what we (those of us, those precious few) think is good writing in the case of Egwene\Perrin is because of the structure of the characters.

I think we have people like Moiraine and Mat (Rand at times), who I don't believe Brandon would write well, I think Pevera SHOULD be an AS like Moiraine. Like with Mat, there is a way you wish the world was, but practicalities dictate sometimes vastly different responses then what you'd wish. Mat doesn't want to be a General, sits and thinks about it and figures out the way hes doing things, etc. Perrin and Egwene are blunt and straight forward, made even more apparent to me by how much training, and help, Egwene soaked up to be the person she now is manipulating the hall etc.


Is it any surprise that the first real adventures of the group occur in a pairing of Eg + Perrin and Mat + Rand?


We all at first think that Moirane and Nynaeve is an opposite pairing, but is it really? More and more I think they're exactly the same, and think about the world in as close a way as they can be for the opposite places they grew up in.

Luckily I think BS got a pass on Rand because hes been Dark Rand for most of one book and heart! CAPTAIN PLANETTTTTT for the next book.

All of the books are in some sense about balance, and I think that the characters all have initial journeys with those who they can gain something from, and then they go on to find their balance such as in the example of Perrin and Faile "Where he was a blunt and leveled lance at charge, she was a subtle cavalry bow."



TLDR: I hope RJ wrote the Moiraine stuff.
  #93  
Old 11-04-2012, 10:00 AM
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Luckily I think BS got a pass on Rand because hes been Dark Rand for most of one book and heart! CAPTAIN PLANETTTTTT for the next book.

Yes, but wrongly timed. Plotwise, RJ said the forces of light were "on the ropes" as per KoD. But since then, Rand's actions and mannerisms have hardly been that of a leader of a side on the ropes. He's fixing things like a guy mending a spare, spare wheel. No urgency!

Imagine setting up a meeting with Egwene and taking a stroll through the countryside to get there, when he could have travelled or sent a messanger. Or he could even send nynaeve and you get nyn in the tower at the same time.

You don't need to be too clever to write most of that. Just write the plots, put them together, reread and then rewrite, tightening and compressing the plot and enriching it at the same time. And then do it again, and again!

I believe this is the way RJ did it, its simple but effective but time consuming. And you need to love what you're doing to get you through the tedium. But the results are usually worth it.

ETA: The urgency toward TLB has been lost. Even in TL, the dicussion has been somewhat muted compared with preTGS discussions.
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Last edited by greatwolf; 11-04-2012 at 10:06 AM.
  #94  
Old 11-04-2012, 02:41 PM
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Imagine setting up a meeting with Egwene and taking a stroll through the countryside to get there, when he could have travelled or sent a messanger. Or he could even send nynaeve and you get nyn in the tower at the same time.
On the flipside, Lews Therin Telamon lost because he rushed in. Rand now knows this and needs time to think things through. You can't rush that. And rushing other things prevents you from thinking. That part is definitely not a mistake, I think. That said, I wonder if team Jordan actually has a timeline of what Rand did during those thirty days.

A fortnight would've been more than enough, especially since two weeks in Randland is twenty days.
  #95  
Old 11-04-2012, 03:27 PM
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Yes, but wrongly timed. Plotwise, RJ said the forces of light were "on the ropes" as per KoD. But since then, Rand's actions and mannerisms have hardly been that of a leader of a side on the ropes. He's fixing things like a guy mending a spare, spare wheel. No urgency!

Imagine setting up a meeting with Egwene and taking a stroll through the countryside to get there, when he could have travelled or sent a messanger. Or he could even send nynaeve and you get nyn in the tower at the same time.
I disagree with both your specific examples, those two scenes had their importance, and both likely came from RJ's outline (the symbolic association between Rand and apples goes back to the first chapter of EOTW. Tam grows fine apples, and turns them into the finest brandy (spirit of the apple) around. Tam's brandy has to be used with moderation, it can drive "sick and insane", however, used right, it makes you come back to your senses. Both the metaphors surfaced in the series. Mat and Rand once went crazy sick on Tam's brandy, and once RJ had the usually sensible Marin "taken by the dragon" and given a shot of brandy to return her to her unflappable self. In a sequence of LTT's youth memories, orchards appear again.

First, walking down the mountain and reaching Tar Valon going through the fields, seeing first hand the effects of his darkness, resonated strongly. It's with simple symbolism like this RJ added depth and mythologic relevance to a series that's hardly a deep psychological work. Show, don't tell. It's there, for the readers who care for such things, for the others it's Rand walking through fields, and that it reflects deep changes in Rand is not hammered on the head.

Tam and his orchard and brandy are the symbolic image for the character development that the difference between Rand and LTT was that this time he had been raised better. Beyond aspects such as mirroring the DO's powers and the "dragon is one with the land" etc., the scene in which Rand's mere presence makes apples grow and ripe "magically" is symbolic of his first step of his adulthood. Like Tam he can now grow apples and work to turn them into fine brandy. He's ready for fatherhood etc. It symbolized the epiphany and its success. This orchard was also meant to be a symbolic return to Rand's roots, which was parallelled for each character around the epiphany timeline: Egwene had gone back to being a serving girl, and was brought back to the Tinkers she met in EOTW, an encounter that had brought back her spririts and optimism. Mat was brought back to his trickster roots (the badger scene, and his tricking of the Finns) and Perrin realized he was at once king, leader husbdan and master-blacksmith.

As for the face-off between Rand and the Amyrlin, that was momenteous and long-planned (Elaida had foreseen it). The impact of the scene was diluted, I think, because this was probably supposed to be THE scene in which Rand relinquished his "earthly/political" power. He's no longer sees himself as some kind of Emperor above the rulers, he's the Champion of the Light at their side, their guide for the LB, not their king. Rand had understood that he couldn't be the dictator LTT had become in the WOS, in that scene he gave up all contention to be the leader of Aes Sedai (and Asha'man), acknowledged who Egwene was genuinely and voluntarily, and it was also a call for her to step up and fill the traditional political role the Amyrlin Seat.

However, I fully agree Brandon largely "killed" the feeling of urgency, IMHO it just didn't happen by having scenes such as this.

RJ had inflicted COT us, then sped things up in KOD in order to get all his ducks exactly aligned for AMOL. In order to keep a promise about a deadline that should never have been promised in the first place, Brandon convinced Harriet he could shuffle all the ducks around and come up with a first book for the promise date. He made a big mistake, and it's my main grievance with his work on the series.

RJ had planned a sudden and no doubt shorter spiraling into darkness and stagnation, tying everything into one big and ever tightening knot. AMOL was to have a intensely frustrating first act, where we would have wanted to slap sense into the characters quite a few times. Rand was entering the realm of Graendal who had orders to drive him insane with frustration. He had Semirhage as prisoner, dealt with that frustratingly - the readers having in mind the errors of Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene with Moghedien. Etc.

That storyline wasn't bad, but it was too long for the spiraling effect RJ had in mind. Too many episodes, too many POV switches to Egwene's storyline, too many Aviendha chapters (RJ never felt the need to give her a full POV cycle, and she didn't need one in TGS. Typically, we would have seen her punished and avoiding Rand through other eyes (Min's Rand's), and later we'd finally get her POV explaining what it was about, and sending her to Rhuidean.)

Egwene's storyline was "worse". It's mostly RJ, Brandon told us, but it's also mostly first draft RJ, and RJ diluted and stretched to accomodate changes Brandon made to the various timelines. Brandon used so many episodes with Rand, and many of those required breaks and jumps, days became weeks and weeks became months. And for all that, he didn't manage to properly use Graendal and Aran'gar as background threat as RJ had set up in KOD. RJ's set up was that Graendal got orders from Moridin to drive Rand insane with frustration but that Graendal's ally Aran'gar was a false one, planning to interfere with Graendal's network of agents to get Rand killed. LTT memories expected Graendal-style schemes, but there was dangerous/unpredictable interference by Aran'gar... Nothing came out of that, Graendal's schemes to fulfill her mission from Moridin remained disappointingly undeveloped.

Brandon's "loose" Rand storyline pushed the meeting with Tuon way forward on the calendar, and thus Egwene's story had to follow this timeline as well if Brandon was to have his Seanchan attack in the book. RJ had made a hugely surprising compromise with his usual storytelling in KOD, with his "Egwene super chapter" that summarized well her captivity. Brandon wasted that by returning to step by step storytelling, which seriously undermined the effect of gloom and doom and lost of control. RJ had even tied his hands with Elaida's dinner by announcing its timeline, Brandon found a way around this by having two dinners (that's not speculative, he said he split the scene), the events happening with RJ during the sole dinner now happening much later at the second dinner. Again, this speaks of RJ planning a more succinct yet more exciting, dramatic and suspenseful Egwene arc. She had her first big moment in the first punishment scene, then she went to the dinner full of clever intentions and midway she lost control and failed, and Elaida got beserk, in front of Meidani, who reported this to the Sitters/BA hunters. Egwene ended up in a cell, unable to achieve anything anymore yet refusing to be rescued. Siuan's frustration was mounting fast, the KOD set up with Lelaine played out far more dramatically and urgently with Egwene in much bigger trouble. Meanwhile the envoys to the BT left, again with a feeling of doom as Pevara's arc had begun where it belonged chronologically, following on the epilogue scene in KOD. To add to frustration, Logain had been left in Tear by Rand, useless to anything.

Instead, Brandon turned this into a storyline advancing like a snail, with many gaps serving no dramatic purpose except accommodating a stretched out Rand storyline. And we got repetitive scenes of Egwene talking to sisters to fill it up - taking months to achieve slowly what she was to have weeks at most to do, before Elaida decided to execute her. And Brandon used mostly just the core events RJ had drafted, apparently not seeing fit to actually flesh out the absent side events RJ had no yet created, that he used to add to the core only in later drafts... Lelaine's blackmail of Siuan barely played out, the fact Lelaine (obviously) maneged to get included among the embassy all the women (but Siuan/Sheriam) she had identified as secretely oath sworn to Egwene wasn't even mentionned until the final events of the storyline, when Lelaine's scheming to replace Egwene was no longer relevant. What a dramatic flair... That was supposed to serve to show us Lelaine was moving for the Seat and fast, and had just deprived Egwene of all the pawns she could move from captivity on the rebel political board but Siuan and Sheriam... but the necessary reveal of Lelaine as the (new) Blue Ajah Head to increase one more notch her authority on Siuan/Sheriam was pushed.. to the Glossary. That should have left Egwene with only one solution, and it was to come clean to Romanda and make an alliance with her to forestall Lelaine, yet another thing there were seeds for in Romanda's KOD POV but that Brandon didn't use. Romanda would have been angry and reluctant, adding the dimension that she may or not go along, and if not there was now another woman scheming to remove Egwene.

In the meantime, more and more Sitters and important sisters came to visit Egwene in her cell, Elaida was spiraling like Rand into darkness and insanity. Visits would have included Meidani (with a variant of the contact between Egwene and BA hunters, coming to investigate the dinner incident and what exactly Elaida had done as that suggested that after all Elaida might be BA...) and Alviarin (RJ had her go to Silviana as a plot device to bring her in contact with Egwene... Brandon wasted that), perhaps even an intriguing visit by Danelle - providing the important "oh shit, She really is Mesaana. What is she up to now?" factor. Instead we got a slow-mo and boring Lelaine half-hearted plot that didn't provide its desired effect, envoys gone forever without anyone too worried, a misplaced Pevara storyline diluted by having skipped a book after the KOD epilogue scene, Romanda (revealed as level-headed, skeptical but essentially loyal and genuinely concerned with the future of the Tower by her KOD POV) simply went back to pre-POV personality, and barely appeared. The rest of the rebel AS but Siuan simply vanished from the plot. Egwene had the Head of the Black Ajah and a nasty Forsaken near her, and yet that whole threat was completely pushed under the carpet, as the threat set up by Alviarin closing on the BA hunt and motivated by the DO's Hand in person was discarded, the last nail in the coffin of credibility... Alviarin spending well over a month after Talene vanished without dealing with the Sitters she identified as controlling Talene? No way.

All this because Brandon didn't manage to write a tight enough Rand storyline, delaying the meeting at Falme and thus forcing Egwene's story to finish a few weeks later that that, in time for the Seanchan attack. That also created another problem... the natural dramatic spot for Aviendha's Rhuidean vision #2 was right before Rand meets Tuon, when the odds of a real "Peace of the Dragon" was real and imminent. Brandon instead have Aviendha an arc and delayed her departure... because she couldn't return until Merrilor.

So TGS completely messed the alignment of RJ's ducks, and was made even heavier by including completely useless Perrin/Mat "prequels" of Brandon's invention.

It's pretty clear Jordan's first Mat scene is the one in the bar in Caemlyn. Surprise... Mat's already there, and he's got a mysterious letter, and still has not met Elayne, then the gholam attacks.

Then as the plot progressed, we learned Verin provided travelling and the letter is from her, and Mat has made promises about it to her. Intriguing, very intriguing.

Then Mat finally met Elayne and put the dragon scheme in motion. He dealt with the gholam, met Brigitte and then he was ready to leave for Ghenji.

It was... an ultra compact storyline, one in which we had the explanation for why Mat wouldn't leave Caemlyn until a certain date, and yet one in which RJ could simply make ellipses as nothing happened.. Mat was just...waiting. Rand was falling in darkness and seemed to desperately need Moiraine, Egwene was in a cell and perhaps about to be executed and yet Mat was just... waiting. The effect of frustration could be increased by delaying the reveal about his promise to Verin, leaving us with little to figure out why Mat was taking his time like this... There was a whole "Verin has delayed Mat for X days with a letter when it's becoming urgent he does some things... Why, oh why.. Shit.. she's not BA, is she?" factor playable in there. But no... again we got a stretched out storyline because Brandon had to live with his TGS timelines on the one hand, and because he had to get a book out of two storylines Jordan had set up to be fairly short and packing a punch in frustration and a feeling of block and stalling...

As it was the same with Perrin... RJ had set things up in KOD so his Asha'man could not provide travelling for weeks... just long enough to delay him until he moved to Andor. He even expedited the Masema stuff in the prologue, leaving only Galad to deal with... Perrin was stuck with over 100,000 refugees, bumped into the WC, got himself embroiled in the whole trial affair. RJ worked chronologically, so this was the opening of AMOL (thus the prologue scenes...). A first group of chapters to set things up, a return with a few more chapters later, then the resolution.

I'm sure the notion of dreamspike #2 and bringing Graendal in this storyline is Brandon's inventions, again to match the timelines and to expand Perrin's story to book length. Slayer was probably sent originally because of Masema's failure, to kill Perrin. Perrin sped up his training with Hopper to deal with that. Eventually that brought him in pursuit of Slayer to Tar Valon, where he bumped on Egwene's battle with BA/Mesaana, who striked not weeks after the WT reunification but on the night of Rand's epiphany. Then Perrin felt the call of the wolves on DM, witnessed the epiphany. He went back, the knot broke at the trial, he made his Hammer, fought and reached Andor. Shortish, efficient to frustrate but not over stretched and full of redundant chapters, advancing like a snail...

That's another casualty of a book split Brandon improvised, before finishing a first draft of the whole thing, put it all together as a book and analyzed it, worked to balance it out, spot where this needed tighening, what was missing etc.

He painted himself in a corner with TGS and paid for it with TOM which is an astoundingly bad novel (full of good episodes if too many, it's as a whole it's a disaster), with a structure worthy of an amateur attempting his first novel. The BT completely out of place (and chronology), characters forced to appear in two story lines several weeks apart, and out of order... Land artificially forced to advance like paralyzed snail with a procrastination syndrome, Aviendha forced to go spend weeks "meditating in the desert" after she got an urgent, terrible vision for the Aiel.. and when she finally returns it appears her "mediation" didn't do much to deepen and clear her view of things... Terrible storytelling, way below Brandon's standards.

The way Brandon split the material totally undermined what RJ had in mind, with the four main stories becoming dark and bugged down together, piling up to great effect on the reader, the Shadow advancing and the Light totally stuck, in the ropes. Perrin's story and Mat's story, told after the reader knew the "knot" was split open by Rand's epiphany lost much interest and purpose. The whole thing read as "they're making time before Merrilor". That Moiraine might be needed in relation to Rand's darkness stopped working as the red herring it was intended to be (to hide the fact Mat's not coming to Merrilor either, possibly). Aviendha's vision stopped making much sense.. it's not even a plan of Rand to impose a peace on everyone anymore, it was a "darkening Rand" plan from KOD Cadsuane had warned him seemed unwise and would be very impopular (a set up for Aviendha's vision right before Rand met Tuon). Having the epiphany happen in TGS was bad enough (ideally the book wouldn't have been split, but the next best thing to stay closer to the intended dramatic effect was to end it on the Seanchan attack and Rand vanishing from Tear...) , but Brandon made it worse by opening TOM with the announcement of Merrilor and in a month. Again that was done to match the timelines Brandon had desynchronized, and to leave room for pretty useless (and even detrimental) Egwene episodes.

RJ's midbook, prior to Merrilor was to pack one hell of a punch. The built up frustration lead to an explosion...The Shadow invaded the Borderlands, Rand vanished after nearly killing his father...Egwene, just released, paid for Rand's failure at Falme and got attacked by the Seanchan, Perrin was about to face a stupid trial and wouldn't be there for Rand (another red herring, but foreshadowed), Mat destroyed the gholam and left for Ghenji, the expedition made bleaker by Birgitte's last minute revelation she found no way out and died in there. Egwene reunited the Tower, destroyed the BA but Mesaana remained and would strike soon.Then the avalanche... Mat in Ghenji, Elayne rising to the Sun Throne, Rand's epiphany, Egwene defeating Mesaana, Perrin witnessing Rand and forging his Hammer, fought to save Galad and his Asha'man able to channel again left for Andor.

A few chapters earlier, we were heading for a wall, the Light finished as the LB started, and suddenly we landed in a wholly different book. Time had run out, Rand was fully aware of the Light's weakeness and determined to put an end to dithering. He left himself but a few days to fix what urgently needed fixing... starting by a visit to Egwene, then the Bordermen, a brief visit to AD, a face to face with Logain to put him officially at the head of the Asha'man, stepping down as their "figurehead" who hardly had been the leader he should have been to them.

But painted in his corner, Brandon needed Rand to give Egwene a whole month to do what she had the resources to do in a week. A mere week before he broke the seals. The month is another thing that ended up diluting the little that was left of the feeling of urgency and the drama. Rand feels pulled to the break the seals and move for SG and yet he goes and gives Egwene a month before Merrilor. That's a month of useless side events with Bloodknives and scenes that suddenly turned a side player RJ used sparingly into a main player (Gawyn, of course), a month of Tuon doing nothing, a month of Rand doing not much (leading readers to now expect several crucial things have happened in the interim with Rand, or with Logain. Newsflash: there will be none.) A month for Egwene to take her time for meetings, a month for filler material like Nynaeve's test (it's not important, the important event was Elayne managing to dither. It's a set up for the soon to happen clash between Elayne and the WT. It's part of the Manetheren variant surrounding Elayne... the Band, her city in flames, her armies far from home, her planning actions aimed at the rescue of her people... the Hall, playing Testuan's role, will countermand Egwene's orders to send the armies to Andor. For the crisis to play out, I suspect it's important Elayne is not yet raised and Oath bound, that she can deny the Hall authority since they don't consider her AS yet. Denied by her allies (Rand, Egwene, Aviendha won't help except with rescue/evacuation) Elayne's going to unwittingly make an alliance with the sole ruler offering to help her fight the Shadow around Caemlyn: Roedran of Murandy. His price: Elayne will come with her armies, her new miraculous weapons, her channelers should Murandy face a Seanchan attack. Elayne will enter this pact secure in her belief the Seanchan are being dealt with by Mat and they won't attack Murandy, let alone during the LB... but Demandred will make very sure this attack comes. He will provoke an invasion by attacking the armies at his borders, and Fortuona might give him his battle, seing this as a virtually risk-less practice campaign to train her troops and generals to use the new found Travelling ability before she moves for bigger preys.... Demandred loves his proxy wars.. but he won't foresee what's coming for him, and the Band and Elayne : the Prince of Ravens. Following a "running gag", either Mat will save Elayne's ass, or it's the time she will save his. It's Mat who will bring Elayne "back into the fold".

Read as Brandon wrote them it's not as obvious, but a very good exercise is to read TGS/TOM in parallel, the chapters in chunks, more in the style of the late-series, and following more or less the chronology. It's extremely apparent when one does this how slow and bloated and full of misplaced and redundant scenes TGS and TOM are. It's better than reading TGS and TOM in succession (TOM as it stands is barely readable, IMO) but it's still very clunky - but at least you see better there was the first 2/3 of a very good WOT book in there, just one needing a lot of streamlining, cuts and polishing to become great. And the sad thing is that Brandon's novels are a fair indication he's capable of having achieved that, but the price would have been to have the guts to delay release of the first volume until Brandon was done drafting AMOL at least until Merrilor, and could look at the whole, trim the fat, optimize everything, and then decide how best to publish it, as one huge book or two volumes, with a few months apart if necessary for publishing considerations. It would not have solved other problems, but it would have solved what's the essential one for me: a very bad call on how to divide the material, sacrificing storytelling to meet an artificial self-imposed deadline. The mess wasn't so apparent with TGS, which stood well as one book, or did until TOM brought to light what the full story was really supposed to have been.

Last edited by Dom; 11-04-2012 at 03:59 PM.
  #96  
Old 11-04-2012, 04:57 PM
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So, Dom, what you're saying is everything good was RJ and everything bad was Brandon?

That doesn't actually work - I remembered my second point as mentioned above. Apart from a few times here and there where it's been mentioned, or where it's blindingly obvious, we do not who wrote what, let alone how it was structured or intended to be structured. All of the best scenes might have been written by Brandon. Bear in mind, RJ was deathly ill when he was writing AMOL. His illness will have affected his writing ability - I recall reading about George Orwell writing 1984 and not realising until he sat down to write how much his illness actually affected his work, so I don't doubt a physical illness like RJ's would have had the same effect.

To address a couple of specific points: Mat just appearing in the inn would not have made sense and been most unlike RJ in the WOT series. It's clear another scene was needed there, one that according to your theory hadn't been written yet. That was Brandon's job - to write the bits that weren't yet written. There was an entire team of editors and assistants to arrange the novel, including the woman closest to RJ.

Second specific point: the structure you suggest, with a sudden spiral downwards into the Shadow, would not have worked from a story point of view. It would have looked like the most horrible deus ex machina. Prior to the events of the end of KOD and TGS, the light was winning; saidin had been cleansed, the Blight was retreating, and the Forsaken were ever diminishing. To go from that to the sudden failures of crops, rotting of food, disjointed seasons (for the third time as... farce again?) would have been incredibly jarring. A more gradual descent into darkness was necessary to build up the final moves in this long game - the exact same reasons there are few Rand POVs in TOM.

Unfortunately, Brandon will get all the blame and RJ all the credit. That's the way it will be, and he knew it was to some extent a thankless task when he took it on. But I don't believe RJ had anything close to a finished novel that would have worked on any level before he died, and I don't believe it was a simple matter to put together what was left with a few extra scenes to glue it all. I think we are living in the best of all possible worlds, and - as much as we all wish RJ had lived - we will get the best possible AMOL.
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  #97  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Aulis Vaara View Post
On the flipside, Lews Therin Telamon lost because he rushed in. Rand now knows this and needs time to think things through. You can't rush that. And rushing other things prevents you from thinking. That part is definitely not a mistake, I think. That said, I wonder if team Jordan actually has a timeline of what Rand did during those thirty days.

A fortnight would've been more than enough, especially since two weeks in Randland is twenty days.
LT didnt rush in. He led the forces of the Light in a 10 year war and made a last-ditch effort to prevent their complete collapse when he had no other options remaining. His plan did work...just at a great cost. He basically punted the ball 3500 years into the future for Rand to finish.
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  #98  
Old 11-04-2012, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael View Post
Prior to the events of the end of KOD and TGS, the light was winning; saidin had been cleansed, the Blight was retreating, and the Forsaken were ever diminishing.
Not to be nitpicky, but you're going to have to do one hell of a lot more convincing if you want to describe the situation at the end of Knife of Dreams as "the Light winning". If anything, the Light had managed to slow the descent.

That's all I really wanted to say about this, I guess. Now, back to your previously scheduled discussion (which I find fascinating, by the way).
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:31 AM
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Literary critique?

How about we discus the fact neither Brandon or RJ were able to make the Forsaken anything but comical.
RJ did a great job on their backstory. When they were first introduced, for a few books, we were actually terrified of them. Then...

A handful were killed by untrained, weak channellers, without killing anyone or doing any real damage.

One captured in a place where she had 100s of years of training in...

One THOUGHT to death by a half trained girl.

Another broken by a mere spanking? One who was supposedly an EXPERT on psychology and breaking people and shaming her was enough to hurt her? Really...

And HOW many people did they kill in this Age? A handful of no names and unimportant people. The entire cast of main characters are still alive (a little worse for the wear, but alive). Even the one person who was "dead" is now alive again. Im not even worried for TG because we all know everyone will make it through a-okay.

Rand is going to die, but will come back to life and be okay.

Matt has a "future book shield" on him.

Faile isn't pregnant so its incredibly doubtful Perrin will die (if she were I could see him dying then his son taking up his mantle, but as is he is probably safe)

Egwene will live to rule the AS

Nynaeve and Lan will probably live and rule happily ever after in the now Blight free Malkier after TG

Aviendha will live because she has to have her children.

Min will probably live and live happily ever after in whatever hole in the wall place that Rand goes to after TG. She is really the "true" love of Rand, it seems like the other two are just part of the love triangle for political reasons (that the Wheel decided, not them).

Elayne is really the only one in danger of dying. I really am expecting her to die either in childbirth or right afterwards, I mean this has been foreshadowed so obviously and frequently...

EDIT:
Oh and Lolial lives to write his book.

and I guess Thom and Moriane are up in the air, but the way this series is going, after the work it took to put them two together, its doubtful one of them will die. Its either both or neither, and I am leaning towards neither.

Last edited by Cortar; 11-05-2012 at 03:34 AM.
  #100  
Old 11-05-2012, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael View Post
Second specific point: the structure you suggest, with a sudden spiral downwards into the Shadow, would not have worked from a story point of view. It would have looked like the most horrible deus ex machina. Prior to the events of the end of KOD and TGS, the light was winning; saidin had been cleansed, the Blight was retreating, and the Forsaken were ever diminishing. To go from that to the sudden failures of crops, rotting of food, disjointed seasons (for the third time as... farce again?) would have been incredibly jarring. A more gradual descent into darkness was necessary to build up the final moves in this long game - the exact same reasons there are few Rand POVs in TOM.
The Forsaken do not actually matter. They have one purpose, and one purpose only: to keep the forces of the Light busy while the DO is making his own preparations for his actual escape. And in that, they've been quite good. Sure, some of them fell by the way. Do you truly think the DO cried about that, the way that Rand mourned Moiraine?

The retreat of the Blight may have been an attempt to sucker in the Borderlanders. If they'd taken advantage of it and send major forces north, then the Blight could have returned to its former position and those armies (and civilians, maybe) would have been left stranded in hostile territory.
Or it may be that the Blight is something like the EOTW for the DO: a storage place for Dark Power, from which he can draw strength in a hurry to do other things. If that's the case, then the retreat of the Blight would actually be why the DO could do all those other disruptive things.
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