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Dragon*Con - Third Q&A September 4, 2005 - report by TamyrlinEdit
posted on Theoryland message boards
(Robert and Harriet introduce themselves)
(Skipped first question, what are you doing when you aren't doing wot track stuff at Dragon Con)
Question: As a feminist, one part, the Children of the Light get my goat, make me angry. What are the Children of the Light in the story for? (paraphrased)
Jordan: The Children of the Light are all of those people who say I know the truth, my truth is the only truth, you must believe my truth, you must believe my truth, if you refuse to believe my truth I will kill you. I wanted them in there because there are always people like that in any world, and they have a tendency to organize and start killing people that don't believe what they believe, so it is really their similitude. I don't think there can be a world without the haters. Haters exist.
(Skipped question about what is it like to edit these books, to Harriet. Harriet enjoys editing the books, and even she asks him why he can't include her favorite character, etc. Jordan contributed to the answer, he discussed how he considers the books as one story.)
(Skipped question, by Tamyrlin (the guy writing this transcript), to Harriet, sort of a joke about something previously mentioned by Jordan in another Q&A about male and female relationships. Harriet went on to say that RJ was the perfect man. To which RJ responded that he is in fact the greatest embodiment of what women want in men, Jordan calls himself gullible, he says he believes anything women tell him, although he does mention he knows he is gullible in this way, so he is suspect of what women tell him. He then goes on to give a short piece of advice on how to make women happy. Rule #1 Make her laugh, Rule #2 Put the toilet seat down.)
WinespringBrother: Can you describe the relationship between the Aelfinn and Eelfinn?
Isabel: When Mat had the dagger, and Verin and Moiraine thought he would contaminate other people with the evil of Shadar Logoth, and they would contaminate other people. Fain does seem to be influencing without contaminating people. Is it as dangerous as it seems, could also normal people become evil and would they also contaminate other people?
Jordan: No. Fain can contaminate people because he has the dagger, it is the dagger. What Verin and Moiraine thought was incorrect. They were extending it too far. It is the one of things you may have noted in the books. Aes Sedai often believe they know more than they know. In fact, a lot of people belive they know more than they actually know. It is one of the themes I have running through the books, whatever you think you know, some of it is almost certainly wrong. It may even be the most crucial bit that is wrong, but even when you are aware that some of your information may be wrong you still have to go ahead and make a decision. You cannot stop, you cannot afford the luxury of saying, well I don't know everything and something I know may be wrong, so I am not going to do anything, I am going to sit here and wait and see if I can find out some more, because that only leads to sitting still forever.
Question: At the end of The Great Hunt when Rand and Ishamael were fighting in the air above Falme, they appeared in the sky over many places and my question is whether this is something done by the One Power or something down by the Creator, how did they appear in the sky?
Jordan: An effect of the Wheel, really. It wasn't the Creator. The Wheel is more than a simple mechanism. Remember the Wheel can spit out ta'veren, can spit out Heroes as a self correcting device because the Pattern is drifting from what it is supposed to be. We are not talking about something as simple as a spinning wheel at all, we are talking something more along the lines of the most complex computer you could possibly imagine. There were at that time, two, there were false dragons that had a chance to create a lot of disruption. By the appearance in the sky at that battle, not just in Falme but in other places, those false dragons were taken off the board because there was only room now for one, for one Dragon.
Question Part 1: In the Wheel of Time there is focus on events occurring again and again throughout history. Is it just history which is circular, or is it time itself which is in a loop?
Jordan: If you think of history being in a loop, then time must be in a loop. The Greeks were the first, as far as we know, to think of time being linear which allows for change. Almost every other culture prior to them had believed in circular time, if time is a wheel there is no possibility of change. Whatever I change now, whatever injustices I correct, the wheel will inevitably return, the inequities will return, there is no possibility for change, therefore there is not impetus to change. So time and history are in a loop in this world, a large enough loop..ah...it is really quite immense.
Question Part 2: So, the sun will never go nova, will never die?
Jordan: In this universe, no.
Question Part 1: How did your background in physics influence how you structured the world of the Wheel of Time?
Jordan: Largely it was to make things realistic, as realistic as I can. Background in physics and engineering; I also tried to structure channeling as if it were a science or technology. No eye of Newton, hair of dog. There are real limits, there are rules, there are technological structures to channeling which I think are fairly obvious to anyone who looks at it. That was the major influence. Plus making sure that I see that everything is real. Well if I bring about a blacksmith, well I don't know anything about blacksmithing, but I was able to get some nineteenth century books on blacksmithing, and once I had written the scenes I sent them to a women I met that was a blacksmith and Ferrier, and she said you need to do this and you need to do that, but otherwise it is okay.
Harriet: This woman, was at the time the only woman blacksmith on the high council of American smithing. She made a lot of the stuff at Billy Graham's in North Carolina, but she wrote wonderful comments back and said, if you want Perrin to ever have children, you must have a leather apron, which was among her other good bits.
Question Part 2: I was interested in how the physics like with the Mirror Worlds, the world of If?
Jordan: The Mirror Worlds of course come right out of physics, and the possibility of (mumble) universes and all of the rest of it. But frankly while I don't follow the literature, I haven't for a number of years, I occasionally get stuck on panels with physicists and I am supposed to discuss physics which I am twenty five years out of date. But I find that I can hold my own, although I do not have a doctorate or did I ever intend to get one, I went to work instead. I can hold my own with the PhDs in physics when they are talking theoretical physics if I stop talking physics, at least from my point of view, and start talking theology and this troubles me.
(Skipped question about how he can do what others can't he talks about being picked up by a woman, when he was very young, during which his face plunges into her cleavage and she ruffles his hair, and called him precocious from which moment he was fascinated with, a life long fascination of women. He said that in his family every last man is strong, because the women in his family kill and eat the weak ones).
Question: Mr Jordan, if you could, I would like to know who built the Tower of Ghenjei. If you can't tell us that, is there any kind of detail you can share without compromising the future?
Jordan: I am sorry this is a RAFO.
Question: Yesterday, you said something about Nynaeve that made it sound as if she doesn't have the spark, does she have the spark?
Jordan: Yes, she has the spark. The question seemed to me to be about the difference between the people born with the spark and those that aren't. Even people who are born with the spark are going to start channeling whether they want to or not. But Nynaeve did it through a conscious effort, really. It wasnt just happenstance that she began channeling at that point, she had a need to channel. Uhm, the same thing that who happen later to Rand, by the way. Often the thing, that as I believe has been point out, often the thing that pulls someone that has the spark into their first channeling is a perceived need, when they channel without knowing they channel, not realizing what they had done, quite often. The, the people who are not born with the spark, can they channel unconsciously, can they, that is someone who can learn but doesn't have the spark, can they channel unconsciously? No. For them, they must have a teacher to guide them, or make a conscious effort, which is unlikely to succeed, but might.
Question: I guess most of your Aelfinn and Eelfinn questions are RAFO, but could you tell us why it was they didn't consider Mat's silver dagger to be a weapon, silver is really iron?
Jordan: Why the Finns didn't consider the dagger to be a weapon?
Jordan: No, I am going to have to RAFO that one, it is going to give away too much.
WinespringBrother: How did Bashere and his army manage to track Taim hundreds of miles?
Jordan: Because a man like Mazrim Taim leaves a trail, even when he is trying to travel quietly, traveling quietly is not in his character.
(Skipped question to Harriet about how Jordan may have tricked her in the past, as he has done to his readers about where he was going with something or another. She focuses on two incidents when he tricked her with the books. She makes a point out of the Sword in the Stone coming to her after having read the entire book, she didn't make the connection to Arthurian legend until she was writing the flap cover. )
Isabel Part 1: Will Nynaeve be able to make cuendillar?
Jordan: I doubt it, it is as much talent as it is strength. And I dont think she has that talent.
Isabel Part 2: And can men make cuendillar?
Jordan: Yes. But they wont use the same weaves the women use, so they will have to figure out how to do it themselves unless they can get it from one of the male Forsaken, if he happens to know it. It is an oddity that Moghedien even knew how to do this, its just her fascination with things that are valuable.
Question: Regarding the One Power, in a universal sense, like your physics background, is it more of a force like gravity would be, weak electromagnetic and stronger electromagnetic or is it something more of on a quantum level. Is it on a quantum level in your universe or is it a macro power?
Jordan: I think you are going to have to think of it as being on a quantum level.
Question: It seems to me that Rand has a half brother, and I was wondering if any of the characters knew and if it mattered?
(Skipped question to Harriet about a subject of questions she is surprised fans aren't asking about. She jokes that we aren't asking about Bela. She says she can't think of anything we don't ask about.)
Question: I was wondering, can you talk about how your lead character would have not one but three true loves, and how does your wife feel about that?
Jordan: Um, when I was much younger, before I met Harriet, I had two girlfriends simultaneously, who arranged my dating schedule between them, who was going to date me on which night. They chipped in together to buy me birthday presents Christmas presents. You know, they just sort of shared me between them, you know. And they had been friends before, and I am not quite sure whether or not they made the decision they were both going to date me or not, on their own, before they first met me, it just came about. But I figured if I could manage two, surely Rand could manage three. Besides there are mythological reasons to have these three women involved with him. As far as my view on this, with Harriet, I have many more than three women, there are so many facets to her personality she quite often makes me dizzy, I am quite satisfied there. About how she feels about this, I suspect you want her answer, I seem to remember her saying to me, you do remember this is fantasy right? And I think it was an accident she was holding a carving knife to me throat, just coincidence, but I am not sure.
Harriet: In four short words, I am not for it. Four and a half words.
Question: We have seen the organizing capability of Mat and Perrin's father in law. And one of the most difficult things that your characters have to overcome is not knowing about what is going on. May we expect to see Mat organize an intelligence service any time soon?
Jordan: Read and Find Out.
Question: This is a question about The Great Hunt. When Mat and Perrin found out Rand could channel, Mat related a story to him he heard from a merchant guard in the Two Rivers about a male channeler who woke up and found his entire village smashed right around him except for the bed he was sleeping in. So, with regards to multiple personalities that a channeler can get like in Rand's case, is it possible for one of them to take over when the channeler falls asleep?
Jordan: Well, you're...I can answer that question, but I realize in answering that question I am going to have to RAFO you, because I can't answer your question without telling you some stuff I don't want to tell you yet, sorry.
Tamyrlin: This is in reference to a previous question I asked you about Parallel Worlds and Mirror Worlds, today I believe, and you mentioned they are different. And the question I had about Portal Stones was do Portal Stones lead to Parallel Worlds, Mirror Worlds, or both?
Jordan: They lead to Mirror Worlds, the Portal Stones can take you to Mirror Worlds, not to Parallels, which are separate.
(Skipped question about the quality of writers in North Carolina and The Citadel. They some how get into a discussion about dead mules, and how no one ever sees a dead mule, and how southern literature is supposed to contain dead mules. Jordan has ridden a mule, by the way.)
WinespringBrother Part 1: Do the Forsaken get reports from rats and ravens?
Jordan: Eventually. Not from every rat or every raven, but eventually.
WinespringBrother Part 2: Is there any way to distinguish one that is the eyes and ears of the Dark One?
Question: Going back to mythology and the way that you reference everything from the western European triple goddess through Arthur to the oriental warrior ethos and everything in between. I was wondering if you could speak to way drew you to any of those particular aspects that you synthesized into this universe, and was this kind of synthesis something you deliberately set out to do?
Jordan: Yes, I found them all interesting, is what directed me to them. There are many books which are based upon one myth or perhaps I should say one country's myths. There are many Arthurian novels, there are many novels based on one continent or another, one nation or another. A few, I dont know too many based on Chinese or Japanese mythologies, but there are some. It seemed to me within the borders of the United States, I could find representatives of almost every culture of the world, not just one or two, I could find perhaps communities, and given that, it seemed to me a truly American fantasy would be based on the myths of every possible culture that could be included, so I went gathering. As I say, I was fascinated by many of these myths beforehand, but, myths and legends, and I went hunting for what I could use.
(Skipped pronunciation question, I will never say TaEEM!)
Question: Do males with the spark also become wilders with blocks then?
Jordan: It depends, a woman born with the spark, that doesn't get trained, she may become a wilder, she may or may not have a block, but quite often do. A man born with a spark, is probably much more likely to go up and become a false dragon, frankly, but uh, at least before the Black Tower opened up for business. But there are blocks among the men as well. We had one of the characters, one of the men who was one of the first Asha'man, one of the first to come to the black tower and is since deceased. He would not believe that what he channeled at, that he could affect anything he could not see. Thus he limited the range, he could not thus make a lightning bolt that hit on the other side of the hill because he could not see.
[Tape ended] Other side, Jordan discussed the Isle of Madmen, that blocks in men were one of the reason the isle/continent still remains.
Question: While reading the whole series of books, I find myself seeing some aspects of Mat, Rand, and Perrin. I was wondering as you were creating these characters, what parts of yourself did you see in these three characters and then what parts of yourself does your wife see in these characters that you have created?
Jordan: Well, I dont know, as I like to point out, Lan was the guy I grew up wanting to emulate. Mat is the side of me that at fourteen was passing myself off at twenty and picking up college girls in bars on North Market St. Perrin is the side of me who knew I was bigger than kids of my own age, so I did not have a fight with any single person, there were some times where kids of my own age decided since I was too big to fight one on one, it was quite alright to come at me with five or six together, but the only fights I had one on one until I got into the army, were with kids who were three to six years older than I was, because I was going to hurt the other guys, I was afraid of kids of my own age, I would walk away from a fight with kid of my own age because I was bigger than he was, I was going to hurt him, there was that out of me in Perrin. And in Rand, I don't know, I don't know what there is of Rand in me, except that I always felt like an outsider, even when I was an insider, I felt like an outsider.
(Skipped question: Asked Harriet how often she was RAFOd, never she says, but she says she doesn't want to get it from him, she wants to read it, and so he says he doesn't tell her, because it would affect what she does as an editor. Harriet says she knows the general gist of the final scene of the last book in the series. Jordan jokes about RAFOing Harriet regarding the meal he wanted for dinner, RAFO.)
Question: Can you make music using just the One Power?
Jordan: Yes, you could.
Question: With regards to healing stilling vs. being burned out. There are a lot of theories online that you can heal stilling but you cannot heal being burnt out. Is that true?
Jordan: Read and Find Out.
Camel: I know a lot of questions have been asked and I was wondering if either of you knew of a question we haven't asked that you think we should have asked already, and what would that be?
Jordan: You really think I am going to be that easy. I mean I am gullible, but that's with women, Jack!
Question: The relationship between Rand and his adopted father, I enjoyed it very much in the first book. And I wondered if it was a deliberate choice to keep them separated over most of the series so far?
Jordan: Yes, a deliberate choice, yes.
Question: You have said, you are going to keep the series to twelve books. Since we are on eleven, what comes after book twelve, what do you plan to do after that?
Jordan: At some point I will do the two prequel novels that I talked about, the two other prequel novels, besides New Spring. But, primarily I will give Harriet a small hand on a project she has signed a contract for, she's gonna do an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time which will have all of the characters, all of the terms, all of the invented words, and roughly and a roughly eight hundred fifty to nine hundred vocabulary in the old tongue. What I will be starting with is a trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which will be a different universe, different world, different set of rules, different cultures. One culture that you meet eventually will be as close to being inside the Seanchan empire as you can come but this culture is even more stratified both vertically and horizontally than the Seanchan empire, much more like ancient Japan truly was, or really like medieval Japan truly was. It's funny I talked about book I'm gonna call Shipwrecked, some of you may have heard of that. Shipwrecked is actually the second volume of the Infinity of Heaven trilogy, because I realized I needed more of the setup and as I did more of the setup I realized I had another novel here. It could not be the first part of the novel to do that, it had to be this was a novel in itself. So in these things I had thought ten or twelve years ago, would be a trilogy, has become two trilogies, but I intend to try and hold it to that very tightly.
Question: I guess I have two questions after hearing that. One is, are we going to see a full version of the prophecies of the Dragon in the encyclopedia?
Jordan: No, the prophecies would be a volume in themselves, and I dont think I am going to go into that. I will admit I have not written out a complete set of the prophecies. I have the prophecies written out that I needed, but not the others.
Question: Can a person who cannot channel the One Power, can they use the true source of the Dark One?
Question: Before it became public knowledge that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, did Tam al'Thor know or suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn or could channel?
Jordan: No, Tam had no inkling of this.