AOL Chat June 1996 was an interactive interview with Robert Jordan by AOL.com on 27 June 1996. People from around the world asked Jordan questions and he responded to them.
OMNI Muse: We're glad to have you here! I've got lots and lots of questions, and I'd like to ask you to briefly tell us about Wheel of Time before we get started. :)
RobtJordan: It can't be done! Not briefly. This is Loial's country. :) I can't even do it in two or three pages. My advice is to read the books. :) And start with THE EYE OF THE WORLD, please. :) It works much better that way.
OMNI Muse: LOL! Okay, we have lots of fans out there, so let's get to the questions.
Shosh001: Mr. Jordan, you've outdone yourself with Crown of Swords. My question concerns the True Power. How is it distinguishable from the One Power?
RobtJordan: It's fairly self-evident from the book. What can be done with the True Power is very similar to what can be done with the One Power. Except that where the One Power is drawn from the True Source and is the force that drives the Wheel of Time and powers the universe, the so-called True Power is drawn from the Dark One. There are limits in the same ways there are limits to the One Power. It would be very long if I went into it too much, but some of those limits and costs of drawing on the Dark One are shown in CROWN OF SWORDS.
JJVORSmith: Can gateways be created at non-right angles to the ground? If not, why not? If yes, why haven't we seen them?
RobtJordan: They can be, and you haven't seen it because there's been no need to do it. And also some of the people who can make gateways don't know how to do it.
DaveB62: How do you explain Liah being in Shadar Logoth for so long?
RobtJordan: She became absorbed into the city. She was left there and she is, after all, a Aiel, one of the people better at surviving under harsh circumstances than anyone else in the world. And also her corruption by Shadar Logoth gave her *some* protection.
Rog in CT: Because the wheel of time contains the Dark one's prison, and the ages repeat with each revolution, then isn't humanity itself also imprisioned....unable to truly evole?
RobtJordan: No. :)
Ellisande: Cuendillar grows stronger when the One Power is directed into it, but can the One Power be drawn out of it, causing it to break?
RobtJordan: Read and find out! :) That's something I may or may not use in a future book, but it's information that I don't want you to have yet. And that's the reason why I say "Read and find out" when I say it. :)
Atmakeepr: Will we learn what happened to Jain Charin "Farstrider" after his disapearance?
Belsamar: OK. Let's see if this works. Hello, RJ. Just out of curiosity, do your predictions (Foretellings and Min's Viewings) have a well, Delphic quality by accident, or by choice ? And did you ever think of writing a copy of The Prophecies of the Dragon?
RobtJordan: There's very little in the books that's by accident--very little...and no, I've never thought of writing out the complete Prophecies of the Dragon. As already stated in a previous book, they would comprise a volume of some 300 to 400 pages.
Shosh001: Mr Jordan, can you tell us why Tor is sending you on tour for the Fallon series later this year, but not for A Crown of Swords?
RobtJordan: Well, it was a very short time between handing in A CROWN OF SWORDS and its publication, and in fact, they weren't really sure when I'd finish so they couldn't make arrangements in advance. There's a possibility that the Fallon tour may be extended to encompass some of what we call CROWN OF SWORDS territory.
JJVORSmith: My wife wonders why you left all the plot threads hanging at the end of the CoS. have felt that CoS is more like the middle of a book rather than a complete book by itself. Could you explain how you pace and structure your books in the WoT?
RobtJordan: Not inside the time we have for this interview! :) As with all of the books, there are some plot elements hanging and some resolved. In some, there are more plot elements tied up than others; some, fewer. It just depends on how the story line is running in that particular book.
Rog in CT: All of Min's viewing have come true except one.. does this mean she is no longer infallible?
RobtJordan: No, it doesn't. And actually, that's not quite true, that all of her viewings have come true but one.
LewsTher1: What was the process through which cuendillar was made?
RobtJordan: Entirely too complex for me to go into here. If there's anyone out there who can channel on the level of a Forsaken I would be happy to enter into a correspondence with them on the making of cuendillar. :)
CMore102: Since there are currently WOT card games and video games in the works, what other mediums will we see in the future? Comic Books? Films?
RobtJordan: I really don't know. I just take it as it comes. There will be a line of Wheel of Time fantasy clothing and jewelry. There's a company that wants to make WOT weapons--swords, etc. but nothing in the way of games that I can discuss.
AaronB20: Can you clarify who can tell when one is using the True Power?
RobtJordan: No one can tell if you're using the True Power except the Dark One, of course.
OMNI Muse: Folks, I'm getting some questions about how to contact Robert. You can send e-mail to his publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll forward it to him. Please do *not* send your manuscripts. :) You can also reach Tor by snail mail at Tor Books, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010, and if someone sends e-mail to me via Tor, please include a snail-mail address, because I don't send e-mail back (I'm not set up for it). :)
Ellisande: Will you be doing any book signings in New England?
RobtJordan: As for book signings in New England...I don't know. That's entirely up to Tor. I go where I'm sent, pretty much.
Rog in CT: There is a mystery man who helps Rand in the last chapter of ACoS, my question is this: a new character, or have we seen him elsewhere?
RobtJordan: Well, we've certainly seen him earlier in CROWN OF SWORDS. Otherwise, read and find out. :)
Firifly: Considering that WoT is such a success, after you have finished this series, can we look forward to anything more coming from this world, past or future?
RobtJordan: Not unless I think of something that I particularly want to write, a story I very much want to tell. At the moment, I plan to do another fantasy novel in another universe. I'm working on that already in the back of my head and have been for a couple of years.
Spind1e: What did Rand see in the sky in the alternate world in The Great Hunt? (Shadowspawn don't use sho-wings, and Forsaken don't need them.)
RobtJordan: Read and find out. :)
AaronB20: Did your interaction with fans lead you to make certain things previously hidden obvious in this book?
RobtJordan: No, not interaction with fans. There are always things that are going to become more obvious as the story goes along. I certainly don't intend to keep everything hidden until the very last. There won't be any Perry Mason revelation scene where all the characters sit down and say, "This is what happened and this is why it happened." :)
Gaul Aiel: Will the next book take as long as Crown of Swords to be released?
RobtJordan: Probably... RobtJordan : I am due to deliver it in the fall of next year which means it will come out probably in the spring of the year following that. I decided writing the books more slowly was better than falling over dead. :)
Scandium2: How much longer do you anticipate the series will go on? I have heard 10, but is anything definite yet?
RobtJordan: It will be at least 10 books, yes. There will be some more books, not too many, and please God, not so many as I've already written. I am, in truth, writing as fast as I can. I want to maintain the pace of the story until I reach the final scene, which has been in my head since before I started writing THE EYE OF THE WORLD.
Seraph23: First off, I'd like to say thanks Mr. jordan for providing my family and I countless hours of reading enjoyment, and I'd like to ask you something about the Aiel, well, who are they?
RobtJordan: You're welcome. And they are the descendants of the pacifists who were in service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends. If on the other hand, you mean the source of the culture...in my mind, they contain some elements of the Apache, some of the Zulu, some of the Bedouin, and some elements of my own including that I rather liked the fact of making the desert dwellers blue-eyed and fair instead of the usual dark-eyed, dark-complected desert people.
BHeins1: According to several of AOL's members in our discussion forum, you stated at a Balticon conference that Verin Sedai had never held the Oath Rod, or had circumvented the Oaths. I was wondering if that was true, and if so, has Cadsuane also done so?
RobtJordan: No, I did *not* say that Verin had never held the Oath Rod. Cadsuane has also held the Oath Rod.
OMNI Muse: I was at Balticon and I was quite impressed by your GoH speech and your commitment to literacy.
RobtJordan: Thank you, Muse! :)
Sarpeshka: Mr. Jordan, how do you come up with names for characters in your stories?
RobtJordan: I have a huge list of names. Whenever I see an interesting name I jot it down. I almost never use the name as it is, though. I change it.
StuuuuBush: Was Mat right about the "snakelike" guy being a Gholam, and if so, are we to assume that the bad guys are going to have as much trouble stopping one as the good guys?
RobtJordan: I guess he was right. Because after all, his source for the information was Birgitte, who has some memories of the War of the Power. And yes, if a gholam decided to turn against one of the Forsaken, the Forsaken would certainly have as much difficulty in stopping the attack as any other person would. They were, after all, created for the sole purpose of assassinating Aes Sedai.
SCLaCore: Which of the books is he most satisfied with?
RobtJordan: I couldn't really say. I try to make each book better than the preceding book and frankly, once I have written a book, I stop thinking about it. My mind is focused on the next book, to the extent, actually, that when I came back from turning in COS, though I intended to take a short vacation, I found myself sitting at the computer and working on the next book.
Scotty1489: Are any of the characters based on real people?
RobtJordan: No, not really, except that all of the women have something of my wife in them.
OMNI Muse: Robert, we're getting questions about cover art. Do you get to choose the artist? The theme?
RobtJordan: I choose the them...the theme, that is, and I give the cover art a general idea of the scene that I want. But then it's worked between him and the art department in NY. I do have some input and I have managed to get a few things changed to some degree. Rand, for instance, in the earlier books, was shown as no more than 5-10 or 5-11, and he is about 6-5, in my eyes.
Rog in CT: Rand recovered verly quickly from his dual healing.. is this because of the way men heal or because of the warder bond or both?
RobtJordan: Partly the warder bond and partly the kind of healing that was used on him. It should be obvious that Damer Filnn has discovered the same method of healing that Nynaeve uses and of course, he still is not completely Healed, remember.
Question: What is going to happen with Elayne, Min, Rand and Avhi in their relationship? Will they all get along?
RobtJordan: Read and find out! (he chuckled richly)
Argive000: Mr. Jordan, I want to inform you that a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame has just completed a thesis on the rebirth of philosophy in literature centered around your wheel of time series
RobtJordan: That's very nice to know. I've had several people send my copies of their master's theses and other undergraduate theses, comparing me to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It's enough to swell my head. Luckily, my wife takes care of that little problem. ;)
BIG TX MA: Mr. Jordan, will we find out more about the Snakes and Foxes in future books?
RobtJordan: Read and find out!
OMNI Muse: Folks, Robert is going to be able to stay with us until 11pm ET tonight! Thanks for the wonderful questions!
Anastin B: Good evening Mr. Jordan. I was wondering if you were plaining on doing, or letting someone do, a companion book for the Wheel of Time?
RobtJordan: There is an illustrated guide to the world of the Wheel of Time in the works. It is planned to have 64 color illustrations and 80,000 words or so of text and it will include a good bit of information that I did not intend to put in the books. There will be a map of the entire world in the illustrated guide. I don't have an estimated publication date at this time.
PaidonF: Does using the Oath Rod shorten ones lifespan?
RobtJordan: Read and find out. :) You guys have to know by now that I like to leave you hanging if I can!
BHeins1: I was just wondering if you have read the FAQ compiled by many of your fans. If so, how would you evaluate it's accuracy?
RobtJordan: It's been about a year since someone's sent me a copy of the FAQ. At that time, the proportions were running pretty much the same as the early ones I'd seen: about a third are right, a third are almost right, and the rest are blue sky. In fact, there have been some arguments over things I'd thought I'd made clear. (Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Bela knows!)
Nature102: On the discussion boards in the SF/F area, one of the hottest topics of debate is the queston of who killed Asmodean. Can you shed any light on the subject?
RobtJordan: Yes... but I won't. ;) Read and find out!
Scotty1489: Is our earth a future or past turn of the wheel?
RobtJordan: Both. The characters in the books are the source of many of our myths and legends and we are the source of many of theirs. You can look two ways along a wheel.
Shosh001: How do you explain the longevity of the Kin?
RobtJordan: Read and find out! :) The clues are there.
JJVORSmith: There's been some question about how the Aiel sustain their vast numbers east and west of the Dragron wall. How can millions of Aiel live on grubs in the Waste and why don't they scavenge the land clean in Illian, Cairehen, and Caemlyn?
RobtJordan: They can live in the same ways that the Bedouin manage to live in a desert where you or I would die, and the Apache did so. They make very efficient use of what they find. And if they stay in one place for too long in too great a number they would indeed strip the land bare. But there certainly aren't millions of them in Illian.
Dragon9150: What happens to Birgitte if the Horn of Valere is sounded again?
RobtJordan: Read and find out, my children, read and find out. :)
Crypticis: have you ever thought of writing the Travels of Jain Farstrider?
OMNI Muse: Folks, I have hundreds of questions still in the queue, but our time with Robert is almost up.
MHAJEK13: Any chance of producing a "what has happened already" update, either in the next book or maybe as a seperate piece?
RobtJordan: Well, let's see, it would probably take--if I made it as short as I could--three volumes. I don't really think so. :) I'm afraid you're just going to have to read the books. Sorry about that.
OMNI Muse: Thanks so much for being here with us tonight, Robert!
RobtJordan: Thanks for having me! I enjoyed it! It was a pleasure!
OMNI Muse: The log of this conference will be available for download tomorrow afternoon at Keyword: OMNI > File Libraries (in the scrollbox) > Conference Log Library.
OMNI Muse: Robert will be joining our hosts OMNIFlame and OMNI Siren for a few minutes over in the OMNI SF/Fantasy room where the discussion of the Wheel of Time series will continue. We hope to see you there!
Copyright 1996 America Online, Inc.