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Cincinnati Post-ACOS Signing--12 October, 1996; report by Mike Lawson.Edit
Someone asked Jordan about the 'gars, and mentioned that he'd seen theories that Lanfear was one of the 'gars. I was expecting a RAFO, but RJ gave the guy a disgusted look, and said that "No, Osan'gar and Aran'gar are Aginor and Balthamel." The guy said, "You're confirming this, and not hinting about it?" RJ replied (I'm paraphrasing here), "I'm confirming. After all, it's pretty obvious in the books that it's those two. After all, that's what Aginor thought was so funny; Balthamel, the lecher, was stuck in a female body." Jordan then went on to give the standard disclaimer that a lot of the stuff is already in the books, and reasonably intelligent people should be able to figure a lot of this out. His job, he said, was to make sure you're still guessing about some stuff at the end of the story.
It's fairly safe to say that this was RJ's version of thwacking the guy with a clue stick...
Also, another note concerning the pre-Bore AoL...
RJ had mentioned (in response to another question) that what the characters believe does not make it so (Moir's statements were used as an example), so I asked whether the pre-Bore AoL was the Utopia that the characters believed it to be. His reply is paraphrased below:
Compared to their current world, it certainly would be a utopia. However, that doesn't mean that it wasn't perfect. Of course, outbreaks of diseases were kept to a minimum, but it and other disasters of that ilk still occurred. Evil still existed, as well.
The Forsaken, for example, weren't exactly a stellar bunch to begin with. Semirhage, for example, was a sadist. (I'll skip his description of what a sadist is.) She went into her profession (the equivalent of a surgeon) because it provided an outlet for her sadism. (He then cited some studies that showed that there were more people with sadist tendencies in the medical profession, and surgeons in particular, to support his point.) Aginor (whom he said after some prompting had several elements of the classic mad scientist type) was a biological scientist who never considered the consequences of his actions. Aginor would say, "I wonder what would happen if I took the ebola virus and altered it to be an airborne virus." He'd go ahead and do just that, all without realizing he'd be creating a potentially unstoppable plague. All Aginor would reply to that was, "Hmm. Interesting." (He then mentioned Aginor's creation of the Trollocs, their defects, "It was strong, big, tough to kill, and......stupid.", and that it was the birth of the first Myrddral that saved the Trollocs from being a complete failure.)
Even back in the AoL, regular, ordinary folks could do some pretty nasty things. He then cited a study about a small town of ordinary Germans in WW2 who did some pretty horrific things (I believe he was referring to the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners").
(Another note: Someone brought up the perpetual "Who killed Asmodean??" question, and Jordan paused, thought a second, shook his head, and said, "I'm going to have to say RAFO. All the clues are there, and all it takes is any reasonably intelligent person to....")
Michael Lawson | "To strive, to seek, to find, and Product Development Engineer - SDRC | not to yield. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | -Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The following portion is only found in the rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan report from Mike Lawson:
(Jordan had also mentioned Asmodean, and the fact that Asmodean was a child prodigy who in adulthood could never equal or come to grips with what he did as a child. He always felt that if he could live just a little bit longer, he could surpass what musical feats he performed in the past.)
There were about 30-40 of us there who attended the signing, but I don't know who (if any) regularly read the froup. So, unless someone else can independently confirm my description of the replies, I guess it's really only on my word that this is standing on...
(I don't suppose Ryan came down from OSU for the signing, did he??)