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Source:Driving Mr. Sanderson, 21 November 2009 - Matt Hatch reporting

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Driving Brandon Sanderson, 21 November 2009Edit

Report by Matt Hatch (Tamyrlin of Theoryland)Edit

Before we get to the Discussion…

I have to say that this trip was a small twist of fate in my favor; in the last week or two (or something) Tor inserted a short signing stop in Clayton, California as it had elsewhere along the Tour. Clayton not being on the initial official list meant no Storm Leaders were assigned to help out at what turned out to be a frenetic eighty-minute stop at a small gathering of thirty or forty fans at this delightful independent bookstore. Knowing that I would be in town to help out, had a rental car at my disposal and that I had previous experience working on these stops as a Storm Leader in Utah with Brandon, Jason asked if I would be willing to go up to Clayton to help out before the San Jose signing. I told him I would do one better, I’d be happy to chauffeur Brandon from Half Moon Bay to Clayton and then on to San Jose, so we weren’t doubling the amount of cars we had going up (my concern was purely for the betterment of the environment…). To my delight, Tor accepted my offer. What a fantastic opportunity. I had a chance to speak to Brandon without all of the chaos that typically surrounds him especially over this last month (and with the ability to accidentally get lost in the process). We had a great time – much laughter and discussion surrounding everything but Wheel of Time theories.

After leaving Clayton, another twenty or thirty minutes passed in a variety of discussions left over from the first leg of our trip, and I came to the realization that if I was going to ask Brandon anything about WoT, it would have to be sometime during the remaining thirty minutes before we arrived in San Jose. So, what follows is our discussion, based heavily on a list of questions I brought with me, that Brandon kindly let me record. Many of these questions may not interest you, although I’m guessing you will enjoy the entire conversation as a whole.

The Discussion
Note: I made small edits to some of our comments, the “um” and “oh didn’t think of that” kind of stuff. Once or twice I removed a sentence or two where we meandered away from the questions to make it more easily understood. I try to indicate those moments with […], also I have added [comments] that came to mind as I transcribed this discussion.

Matt: I’m going to ask you a lot of questions about the Dark One and the Creator

Brandon: You are going to get a lot of RAFO’s on this, because Robert Jordan often stayed away from, and in the notes I get the sense, the direction to stay away from questions that couldn’t be answered from someone in the world. Does that make sense? When he would like to answer the question, somebody knew that, even if they were dead, somebody in world knew the answer. When you would ask him questions nobody knows the answers to except the Dark One or the Creator themselves, he did not answer very often and that is why you don’t know very much.

Matt: Ok, that is absolutely fair, so you probably will RAFO, I would say, 90% of these…

Matt: Did the Creator or does the Creator use the One Power to create?

Brandon: RAFO

Matt: Can it be said that the Pattern was created by and infused with the One Power.

Brandon: RAFO

Matt: I know you’ll RAFO this one but I’ll ask it anyway. Does the creator for a lack of a better word, weave the One Power?

Brandon: RAFO

Matt: Ok. I’ll jump off the Creator for the moment…

Brandon: How about this, I do know…Robert Jordan…there are answers to these things that you are wanting to know…

Matt: ...do you believe they ever will be discussed, like Encyclopedia type of things or do you believe…

Brandon: ...he did not want to leave explicit answers about a lot of these things. There will be hints. So, they are a double RAFO because they are the sort of things Robert Jordan did not like to answer and they could spoil things […] Double RAFO.

[Hah - I got a DRAFO]

Matt: Ok, so, what is then the nature of the Dark One’s relationship with the True Power? In other words, is the power…is he the Power or it is separate like the One Power?

Brandon: When people bored into his prison they were searching for a new source of power, they found him. Alright? Now, that leaves a strong implication that the True Power is the essence of the Dark One. The True Power when it is used rips apart the Pattern to rebuild it as it desires. The True Power is very destructive to the Pattern. It leaves scars on the Pattern. Robert Jordan said in an interview or maybe it was actually in the books, when you make a gateway with the True Power you are actually ripping a whole in the Pattern and going somewhere else. When you are using the True Power that is what you are doing, it is contrary to the Pattern. That is not a direct answer to your question but I think there are enough implications in there that certain things can be discussed.

[I realize now, after listening to Brandon’s answer that I was making an assumption about the One Power too, that it is separate from the Creator because of what we have been given in the books and the BWB, but I should have asked if instead the One Power is the essence of the Creator…]


Matt: Ok. So, obviously a channeler uses the True Power. We’ve discussed this before they weave the True Power just as they weave the One Power...

Brandon: ...they do and you don’t have to learn, and so that should tell you that the weaves are similar if not identical to the One Power. There are certain things the True Power can do that are different and it goes about things in different ways, but you don’t have to relearn everything.

Matt: So, I’m assuming you’ll RAFO this…does the Dark One weave the True Power?

Brandon: I will RAFO that.

Matt: Is the True Power used by any other creatures or beings within Parallel or Perpendicular worlds or other dimensions?

Brandon: Ok, see answering that actually gets us a begging the question because let’s step back, the question that people should be asking is does the Dark One exist in all of these Parallels…

Matt: ...ok, so yeah this is the question I’ll ask, you make a good point. Are there worlds and dimensions that exist outside of the Pattern?

Brandon: Ok, see that’s the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to answer it. [laughter] But that’s at the core of the question. I’m going to discuss it without giving you the answer. I like to do this because I think it frames the question without giving you too much information that I have that I don’t think is appropriate to share right now. Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons. Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the Ter’angreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate Universes? Do we have a multi-verse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities and do these worlds all exist or could exist, what is the difference. In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world or maybe not, maybe he makes it has he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that don’t really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that T’A’R is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the Finns is something different…

Matt: ...he called it a Parallel World…

Brandon: Yes, the Parallel World, that one and also the one Rand and Lanfear visited are persistent regardless of someone from this world visiting. Yet, many of those seem almost shadowy and reflections of the real world, some of them seem as real just strange when visiting them. What happens in these different world, that sort of thing, those were never questions that Robert Jordan answered…

Matt: ...the answers exist?

Brandon: The answers exist, but are there many parallel Patterns or is there one Pattern?

Matt: Yeah, that’s…are there many Wheels or just one Wheel?

Brandon: That’s not a question, I’m afraid, that I can answer because I don’t think it’s within the scope of the books and I don’t think that the characters…that there are people that could know. You will find Brown arguing all of these different things among themselves, and it’s not my place to step in and end the discussion.

Matt: Ok. This is a fun one that I don’t think I’ve heard before, can the Creator use the True Power?

Brandon: RAFO.

Matt: Can the Dark One use the One Power?

Brandon: RAFO

Matt: I figured I had to ask both. Are there any other sources of Powers either within the Pattern or outside of the Wheel? Are there any sources like…

Brandon: ...sources much like the One Power and True Power?

Matt: Right.

Brandon: I will have to RAFO that.


Matt: Ok. You mentioned that Mordeth was a man that had "power". You are reported as saying that his power was that "which he got by seeking out all of the evil things that weren’t related to the Shadow"…

Brandon: ...he was seeking things that were related to the Shadow. I think that that might be a misquote. He was looking into the power of the Shadow in order to defeat it, was his goal. He was looking into everything. He was looking into things that were not necessarily related to the Dark One as well. He was looking for everything that he could get…

Matt: ...previous to him arriving to Aridhol?

Brandon: ...Yeah...

Matt: ...before he went to the King and became the counselor, Mordeth was this guy that went around searching for Power?

Brandon: Yeah, he wanted to defeat the Dark One and he felt that he could find other ways to do it […] He originally was good. He did not…he wasn’t this terrible person to begin with but he was looking to defeat the Dark One, to find a way to defeat the Shadow. And he looked into a lot of things he shouldn’t have looked into. There are evils that are not necessarily directly related to the Dark One, though everything evil kind of has…just as there are goods that are not related necessarily to the One Power…we are talking much as Perrin runs with wolves. This is a thing older than…there are other evils things that are old in a similar way…

Matt: ...is the assumption then that he found one of these?

Brandon: He did.

Matt: He found one or multiple?

Brandon: He found many things of darkness. There is one in specific that is driving him but he knew too much. He found things he should not have gotten into and that is what turned him into…when he got there he was already corrupt. He still thought he was doing a good work. He still thought we are going to raise this Kingdom up and it is going to become this bastion against the Shadow, but he was already by then corrupted.

[Hah - Maybe I should have asked if Mordeth was under the influence of the Finns...or at the very least if they were one of the powers he found in his quest... ]

Matt: Is this same corrupting influence what corrupts everyone through the dagger itself?

Brandon: Yeah. Through him. yes. And even through his presence.

Matt: I heard you answer a question last night, which sounded interesting. Someone asked about Padan Fain and Elaida.

Brandon: A lot of people don’t remember that they met.

Matt: So, his influence, how long for example…wasn’t Egwene exposed to Padan Fain? Are there still effects that Egwene has on people because of him?

Brandon: Remember the idea that people have, generally, a choice. There are ways to turn people to the Shadow against their will, but when that happens the person is no longer the person. What is happening with Padan Fain is, naturally tendencies can be exacerbated or they can be fought off...

Matt: ...so Elaida’s paranoia fed that? With someone like Egwene she might have fought it off, so it’s not going to be…

Brandon: ...right. exactly, or someone like Rand who continues to fight it off. He has become very paranoid. And the wound in his side, certainly someone could make the connection that that might have an influence. I won’t say for certain but…

Matt: ...so, the suggestion is not only does he have the taint, which is negatively influencing him, or influencing him in such ways that might bring on paranoia, there is this accentuation of it because of Fain…

Brandon: ...this corruption…I mean that wound and the dagger…

Matt: ...that is another source…

Brandon: ...Mat managed to fight it off pretty much completely, well not completely, but we don’t see Mat running around paranoid anymore…Elaida gave it something to feed upon and it was very very small and subtle with Elaida but certainly that was an influence.

Matt: Ok. Is Mordeth’s power, this evil power, comparable to the One Power and True Power? Is it a power that can be woven?

Brandon: No, it’s more something along the lines of Perrin’s wolf power, something more natural, you couldn’t weave Mordeth.

Matt: Ok, so it’s more of a natural…

Brandon: ...it’s more of a natural, though it is unnatural. It’s an unnatural natural thing…

Matt: ...because Jordan was really particular about…he tried to have a logic-based system as it pertained to the One Power. Is this power more supernatural in sense than it is based on physics?

Brandon: Let’s say more instinctual, alright?


Matt: Ok…which brings up the following questions about the Wheel and its relationship to souls, talents, abilities and channeling. Is the Wheel responsible for giving or weaving in Talents and Abilities to a particular life, or are they like channeling, attached to the soul?

Brandon: That’s an excellent question. I’m going to have to RAFO that…it’s actually more of a MAFO. What’s your asking is would someone who is reborn into the Pattern will have the same talents again?

Matt: Right. Or does…the Wheel, we obviously know it is very capable of affecting the Pattern, so the question is does it give and take when it comes to abilities and talents it needs?

Brandon: Yeah, right, I will have to MAFO that.

Matt: Ok, so can the Wheel give an individual life the ability to channel, if the soul does not come to that life with an inborn ability to learn or a spark? Can the Wheel give them that?

Brandon: Again, I will have to MAFO this whole thing. I will have to go and look. I don’t know if someone is necessarily always born with the ability to channel, if they are in every Age...

Matt: ...there is a quote I brought that we asked at DragonCon, Jordan said: “I dont think I have said if you are born with the spark you would have the have the spark again. I have said if you were born with the ability to channel, to learn or with the spark, you will, when your soul is born again, you will have the ability again, whether with the spark or without….” So, in essence he said it’s inherent you have the ability. Whether or not you Spark or you can learn it that depends on the life.

Brandon: My instinct knowing how Jim wrote and knowing the parallels in the notes would be that he would parallel the other talents along the same lines. A wolf brother then would always have the ability to become a wolf brother and other things along those lines. I’m going off of instinct so that is an asterisked answer. I can MAFO that and look it up and we can see what we can find, but he did like to parallel a lot of these things...

Matt: ...ok, so at the end of that answer he said this…we were asking a specific question about stilling and burning out…he said, “And neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime”. In other words…

Brandon: ...that is consistent...

Matt: …it doesn’t affect your souls ability, your soul’s connection. So stilling and burning out do not affect the ability to channel, which seems to be integral to the soul as it pertains to a new life. That being said, Aran'gar and Osan'gar, they were transmigrated and we see that they can channel in their new bodies, which makes sense because the ability comes with the soul…

Brandon: ...and because of that if you were male before and reborn (in a female body)…you are channeling the wrong power…

Matt: ...exactly…he was transmigrated into a different body, but still channeling the same power the soul inherits. So considering Jordan's statement about stilling and burning out not affecting the channeling ability of the new life of a soul, is the same for the new life of a soul transmigrated?

Brandon: I’m going to say that transmigrated…if you were burned out and transmigrated you would still be burned out, is my guess.

Matt: Is that a MAFO question? Or…

Brandon: ...that is my guess and you can MAFO it if you want to send it to me, but that is a “I’m pretty sure” answer.

Matt: You saw where we were going…

Brandon: ...yes, I see where you are going…

Matt: ...I had to do the build up to it because it all comes down to that one question for a couple of things.

Brandon: This one question you are going to ask next?

Matt: I’m not going to ask it…

Brandon: ...oh, the one you asked…

Matt: ...yeah, I guess I asked a piece of it last night…

Brandon: ...when it comes to this certain character that you are talking about, there is a whole thing where Maria and I exchanged a bunch of emails about this. She had managed to pull some things out of the notes that I had not seen, which is interesting, because I was going off of something else. I did not think that Cyndane should be nearly as powerful as she was put in the books as being, so I had been under the belief that the Dark One was pulling shenanigans…

Matt: ...like a little, in essence, let’s say what the Forsaken Lanfear did to Asmodean, you thought maybe the Dark One was doing some similar…shielding…

Brandon: …or the other way around…here is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away…

Matt: ...that is a question…let’s jump to that question, there have been some theories that talk about Lanfear…

Brandon: ...let’s back up and say I was wrong. I was interpreting the notes a certain way. Maria was able to pull something out that I had not seen that made it clear that I had misinterpreted and that that is not the case, Cyndane is not under any shenanigans. What you see is what you get.

Matt: Cyndane and her alter ego have never been under any shenanigans?

Brandon: I’m not going to say never been under any shenanigans, but when you see her creating a gateway she is legitimately powerful enough to do it, which I did not believe that she was. Does that make sense? This is all digging into my read of the notes versus and Maria’s read of the notes and Maria was right. She was able to provide information to me that I had not seen which is nice because it was stuff that was very pertinent for what I am working on right now. It would have come out eventually when I would have sent her the scenes I’m working on, but it came out earlier, which is nice. Once I found out what was going on it all made perfect sense.

Matt: So, we will understand then in the next book or so why there is a decrease in power but not a significant decrease?

Brandon: Yes.


Matt: Ok, so that being said there are some theories out there that in the Age of Legends, at one point, Lanfear might have… Brandon: ...let’s just say I have not said that Lanfear and Cyndane are the same person…

Matt: ...Oh, absolutely, I’m jumping to this other Forsaken that we are talking about…

Brandon: …this other completely different person…Uh huh…

Matt: …so Lanfear, the theory goes, that maybe she was accentuated from a beauty and/or power perspective by going to the Finnland previously…

Brandon: ...ok…

Matt: ...would the Finns have the ability to accentuate someone’s beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?

Brandon: Yes, but it might involve third party ter’angreal, Angreal, this sort of thing…

Matt: ...so, they don’t have power to affect the soul’s capability of increasing its total channeling?

Brandon: Certainly not permanently, as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their ability…

Matt: …from a beauty perspective can they affect the outer body of some individual?

Brandon: I would say that, yes they can, but they may have to be using some type of ter’angreal or…

Matt: …some item of power?

Brandon: Some item of power, something like that…of which they have great stores…

[what???]

Matt: ...Really…heh, so the obvious question, where did the Finns get great stores of ter’angreal, angreal, and is that part of the Pact they made.?

Brandon: RAFO…but if you just think about it, we don’t even have to go to the notes for this if you think about it logically, we know of them providing certain items of power to certain individuals that they were able to match very nicely with certain requests very easily. If you run the statistics on that its either a huge coincidence or they have very many to choose from.

Matt: So, how many Finns are there?

Brandon: RAFO. I’m going to RAFO a lot of Finn stuff just so you know.



Matt: Ok, we’ll move on from there. Were male channelers across Randland able to feel Rand's use of the male Choedan Kal when he destroyed it atop Dragonmount?

Brandon: I would certainly think they would have been able to, consistent with what has happened before.

Matt: But did they know that it was destroyed? Is that what they felt, or was it just the use of?

Brandon: I do not believe the destruction of a Sa’angreal would be the type of event that you would be able to notice. It is not consistent with what we have seen before.

Matt: Jordan talked about Pattern Level Events, or in other words "Effects of the Wheel". This question was asked of him at DragonCon 05. We wanted to know how Rand showed up in the sky above Falme with Ishamael. Theories… [the recording cut off here so Brandon’s answer to my question was lost. I will paraphrase it generally. I asked him if Rand’s access to the infinite lives while on Dragonmount at the end of TGS, was the Wheel getting involved directly. He replied as follows according to my memory that there was a Pattern Level Event there, but it wasn’t specifically the Wheel giving Rand access to memories his previous lives. Brandon asked for some clarification about how Jordan explained his answer at DragonCon. We were rushed and I could not give him that direct quote, so I was unable to ask more specifically if Rand was seeing the soul’s history of lives lived, or if more generically the Wheel displayed to his mind a series of previous generic lives, like it displayed Rand and Ishamael in the sky above Falme. He did speak briefly about the Wheel not physically “touching” Rand and/or Ishamael, which seemed to be suggestive of his initial response that it didn’t “touch” Rand’s mind to give him access to his own memories. Once again, a more detailed discussion of this subject is worthwhile, especially one recorded.]



Matt: There was some confusion about Rand and the DO’s permission, so for clarification’s sake, did Rand have the DO’s permission to use the True Power?

Brandon: I have not answered that. If anyone says that I have, I have not. What I have said specifically is, this is recording: generally one must have the DO’s permission to use the True Power. Semirhage believed that the DO had betrayed her by letting Rand use it. […] It is good that you have asked this so I can make sure on the record that is the answer I have given.
---


That's all we had time for (and I think I may have detected a sign of relief as we arrived in San Jose), although to those of you that sent in questions I did my best to have others during the San Jose Q&A ask your questions, many of which were RAFO'd.

By the way, you'll be seeing the red R.A.F.O card going around now - I had to get one so I asked a question I knew he'd RAFO concerning Cyndane and Transmigration. I'll post what the card says on the back, although I'd be surprised if no one has done so already.

Thank you Brandon for humoring my fan freakishness and for being such a great person - Teri and I plan to include your creative suggestions to that story about the faxes from now on when we tell it to friends and family.


URL for report: http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2714

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