Driving Mr. Sanderson - 17 April 2011 - report by TerezEdit
Here is the official version of the report. I linked to the original questioners in cases where questions were submitted, but all questions were paraphrased by me. Also, I contacted Maria and she was nice enough to fill in a few MAFO bits.You'll also note that she ignored a few, but keep in mind she's probably pocketing tidbits to add to the Encyclopedia, and maybe even the glossaries. I think she likes putting things directly into the canon better than she likes answering fan questions, and I can't say that's a bad idea.
Once again, Brandon was a most gracious subject and gave us some very nice things to play with. Peter was also gracious enough to record the convo and send it to me. My memory is pretty good when it comes to WoT stuff, but verbatim is much more fun.
Terez: Demandred mentions that the sleepweavers are used to train beginners in Tel'aran'rhiod. Can any channeler be trained to enter without a ter'angreal (eventually) or is a certain amount of Talent required? Brandon: (long silence) I believe…I’ll give you a percentage on these. If I say, “I believe”, it means, “this is my understanding, but, um…”
Terez: Right, the asterisk.
Brandon: There’s an asterisk on it. And most of my understanding is informed by the notes and what I’ve read, but I often get things mixed up. So, I’m going to say on a 75% surety, not everybody can be trained to enter without a ter’angreal eventually, and some talent is required, but there are some who can…there is a middle ground between, for instance, Egwene, and somebody who can’t at all.
Terez: Like Aran’gar, who obviously has hardly any talent at all, but she can get into people’s dreams.
Brandon: Yeah. So, there is a middle ground. But I don’t believe everybody can.
Terez: Have all of the Forsaken been trained to do this or do some of them have to use gateways to get there?
Brandon: In choosing the Forsaken – and this one is actually, um… I am quoting sources that you don’t have access to, but I do…
Brandon: In choosing the Forsaken, the Dark One was careful…um, the very nature of it led to people with great talent in many areas being chosen. They are extraordinary in many areas, and having talents that others do not have, beyond being powerful channelers.
Terez: We’re talking about the thirteen that were at Shayol Ghul…
Brandon: Yeah. …this is what led to them being at the top of the heap. That said, I do believe that, among the Forsaken, there are some who had to use gateways to get there…but the majority of the Forsaken are very talented in many areas.
Terez: (herid) When you said some Forsaken are Dreamers, you meant they have prophetic dreams, right? Or are they just Dreamwalkers?
Brandon: I did mean Dreamers. People have been trying to pin me down on that one.
Terez: Yeah, everybody has been like convinced that you were just confused…
Brandon: …that I was just confused. No. I meant Dreamers. I DID INDEED MEAN DREAMERS.
Terez: I know you did, but…just verifying.
Brandon: Yeah. And I’m like 95% on that one. We’ll put an asterisk on it. I actually sent Maria deeper into the notes, but I know at least one is, and I’m pretty sure one of each gender is.
Terez: (sleepinghour) If a dead Hero who can channel is called by the Horn, can they channel at the battle?
Brandon: Yes, they can.
Terez: (sleepinghour) Why did the female Choedan Kal melt at the cleansing but not the male one?
Brandon: I’m out on a limb on this one, so this one is basically Brandon assumptions without as much substantiation…The female one is….you know that male channelers tend to be a bit stronger. My understanding is that the female Choedan Kal…they weren’t built with equal power levels; they were built with power levels of equivalent [or respective power potential], and so the amount of power pulled through was almost enough to destroy the male, but was enough to destroy the female as I understand, but that one’s out on a limb.
Terez: It might possibly have something to do with the fact that Nynaeve is not at the top of the female strength level, but Rand is at the top.
Brandon: Both of them are kind of drops in the bucket compared to what the Choedan Kal can do. I honestly don’t think that was a factor. It is a valid theory, though, because in that case Rand is contributing more, and Nynaeve’s sa’angreal needs to contribute more, if that makes sense. And so…I mean, that could be valid, but the first one was my understanding, but I’m like way out on a limb on that one. I’m not sure on that one at all.
Terez: (sleepinghour) Is the weave used in the shawl testing a form of Compulsion?
Brandon: They’re definitely cousins. Whether they would consider it a form of Compulsion…to them, Compulsion is complete evil, so they will not view it at all like that...
Terez: Yeah, I thought that might be part of what Verin used to cobble together her own Compulsion weave.
Brandon: Yeah. They’re definitely cousins.
Terez: (sleepinghour) Do you know what the original use for the testing ter'angreal was?
Brandon: The notes do. I don’t have it off the top of my head.
Terez: (herid) How much time passed between Verin's meeting with Mat and her death?
Brandon: Oh boy, you’re fishing for Nakomi!
Terez: No, actually I’m not; somebody else submitted that question.
Brandon: Okay. I would have to have the timeline in front of me.
Terez: Yeah. I think they asked because there are certain contradictions in the timeline and that’s why…
Brandon: Oh yeah. There’s a mistake in Mat’s timeline.
Terez: And that was in TGS, right?
Brandon: No, there’s a mistake in TOM. Mat sees sunshine when he shouldn’t, or vice-versa. The reason for that being, Mat’s timeline was the big one we were playing with, and we were moving him through the book to different places to decide where various things were appropriate, and where we settled on, both Alan and Bob Kluttz – who are really detailed timeline people – both stamped this timeline and said ‘There are no flaws in this except there is an error in TGS’, which we have now changed. But we let a typo creep through – that one was more of a typo because we moved a scene from some place to some place else – and so there is a cloud typo. It is recorded on Twitter – I don’t know if you saw it – where someone pointed it out to me and I said ‘We will get that changed.’ Maria now is aware of it.
Terez: If it was recently then I didn’t get it, because I’m behind.
Brandon: Okay. But Bob Kluttz does have an official timeline…he was one of the beta readers. The betas have all kind of come out now. I didn’t want people being jealous of them before the book came out, but…
Terez: Too late. I already knew about Linda. And I was jealous.
Brandon: Yeah. I went to Bob because Bob is a master of timeline – one of them; there are many out there – and Bob’s job was to keep me honest on the timeline, and he did a really fantastic job, but we did miss one typo at least.
Terez: (herid) Does Shaidar Haran channel the True Power? Can he teach weaves?
Brandon: I’m going to RAFO Shaidar Haran for now.
Terez: Totally understandable. And predictable. But I asked anyway.
Terez: (herid) What exactly did Graendal see when Aran'gar put Compulsion on Ramshalan?
Brandon: She doesn’t see it. We talked about this in editing when we were looking at it. It’s Graendal’s viewpoint; she’s summarizing; she doesn’t actually see it. We actually didn’t change it, because I just thought that was, ‘That’s what’s going on; it’s in her viewpoint; she doesn’t see the weaves.’ So, that isn’t an error. Maybe it’s not the clearest writing around, but I felt it was sufficiently clear when I looked at the passage. It got flagged by Maria.
Maria: Actually, we did ask for this to be changed for e- and future editions. It should now read "Aran'gar shrugged, but focused as if laying down a thick and complex Compulsion on the unfortunate Ramshalan's mind." The answer is the same, though, really; she saw nothing.
Terez: (herid) Did Alviarin kill Carlinya?
Brandon: I’m answering too many of these; I’m going to RAFO that one.
Terez: What did Cadsuane use to blackmail Flinn, Narishma, and Manfor?
Brandon: RAFO. ... That one’s mostly a MAFO. I’ll be honest. That’s a question I should have looked at.
Terez: Yeah, I figured it was; I was hoping actually to catch Maria on that one. That was from Wetlander from tor.com.
Brandon: Oh, was it? Hi Wetlander! That’s one I should know. I’m pretty sure it’s in there somewhere. That’s one I should have looked up, but I’ve just never looked it up. So…
Terez: Will we learn about the information exchange between Graendal and Mesaana?
Brandon: Considering what’s happened to Mesaana, I’m going to say that’s unlikely. No, that depends on what you mean by ‘learn of’. If you wiggle it out of us, then perhaps some day.
Terez: Have Egwene's dreams concerning Gawyn all been fulfilled?
Brandon: Which one are they asking about?
Terez: This is my question.
Brandon: Because it was a Min vision, about holding her life…
Terez: No, no…I know the difference. I’m thinking mostly of the fork in the road that Gawyn comes to in Egwene’s dream, and down one road they marry, and down the other they don’t…
Brandon: Okay, yes. That has been fulfilled. That fork in the road was the same decision that Min saw. Those were parallel [prophecies]. And that prophecy did get fulfilled…and the meaning of that is…there is no hidden meaning, no ‘Surprise, that wasn’t really it!’ You saw it: if Gawyn had not returned when he did, Egwene would have died.
Terez: Is the area of a dreamspike adjustable?
Brandon: The area it covers? Yes, it is.
Brandon: That’s a good question.
Terez: Thank you.
Terez: Has Moridin/Ishamael been collecting angreal for 3500 years or only recently?
Brandon: I would say more than collecting - 'keeping tabs on'.
Terez: Will we ever learn what went wrong when Narishma went to fetch Callandor?
Brandon: Um…perhaps. (Terez laughs.) Was that one of yours?
Terez: Yes, that was.
Brandon: I didn’t answer it, but I didn’t RAFO it.
Terez: Yeah. It’s all good.
Terez: Is the sky clear above Alanna or only the harem? (Brandon, who was reading from my list of questions, refused to say 'harem' and said ‘THE THREE WOMEN’ before I cut him off with my uproarious laughter.)
Brandon: Was that yours?
Terez: Why is that offensive?
Brandon: What’s that?
Terez: They are a harem.
Terez: They are!
Brandon: Noooo! Harem…I don’t know if it really does imply…but a harem implies women who sit around and do nothing…
Terez: This is true.
Brandon: …until the man, um, wishes…
Terez: It’s an affectionate name for them.
Brandon: Yes. But I have seen that um, that phrase before, and…yes. Is the sky clear above Alanna? I’m going to RAFO Alanna. Alanna’s got an interesting thread still, so…
Terez: Will we learn anything else about the Black Ajah oaths?
Terez: I mean, you can tell us now.
Brandon: Well, you’re phrasing these questions in such a way that…
Terez: I know, I know. I was trying to be…
Brandon: You’re being nice. No, I appreciate that. I’m not complaining that you’re phrasing these in a way…um, I think that there is a decent chance that those could go in the encyclopedia.
Terez: When did Lan first become a blademaster?
Brandon: (reading) When did Lan (LAHN) first become…oh, Lan (rhymes with pan), sorry. I hear all these names at JordanCon, and half of them pronounce them one way, and half of them the other way, and I end up getting bad habits.
Terez: Yeah. I don’t care.
Brandon: Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.
Terez: So is it Lahn or Lan?
Brandon: It’s Lan.
Terez: Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.
Brandon: As far as I know – someone could correct me – it’s Lan, but Lan was one of those ones that – I believe – some major source had wrong. I could be completely wrong on this. I know Tar Valon (Tar va-LAHN), one major source had wrong, meaning an audiobook reader, or an original typo in one of the glossaries, or something, which really itched at Jim as I understand because he really wanted it to be Tar va-LAHN and not Tar VA-lun. So...when did Lan first become a blademaster? Well...between New Spring and The Eye of the World.
Terez: (laughs) Okay.
Brandon: Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...
Terez: Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...
Brandon: Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.
Terez: Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.
Maria: Okay, the notes say that Lan became a blademaster before he turned 20, which would have been before New Spring. My thoughts on this are that Lan got his sword at an early age, and worked really hard with it, and was judged a blademaster by 5 blademasters sometime pretty early on. It's not mentioned specifically that I can find in NS, but it makes sense to me.
Terez: Will the fat man turn up again?
Brandon: Um...I hope you're not talking about me.
Terez: Um...(cracks up) [This made me laugh mostly because I had just noticed that Brandon seems to have shed quite a few pounds, no doubt because his wife occasionally reminds him that he owes it to his fans to stay in shape.]
Brandon: I hope you're talking about the angreal! Um...I've always had an affection for that little fat man angreal.
Terez: (pause) That's a good answer.
Terez: Who killed Barthanes?
Brandon: I'll RAFO that one, because I've answered a whole bunch. Some of these...I need to leave questions for people, and...you know...
Terez: Oh come on, it's not like...you know, there will always be questions.
Brandon: There will always be questions. I don't want to look like a pushover. Jim wasn't a pushover, and I'm kind of a pushover.
Terez: I don't know. You answered most of Matt's questions, on his drive.
Brandon: Yeah, I know...I know I did. Wait, are you trying to guilt-trip me now, that I answered Matt's?
Terez: No, no. (Peter is laughing in the back seat.)
Brandon: At least this time I knew what I was getting into. With Matt, that was my first Theoryland ambush.
Terez: Oh really?
Brandon: My first real one - my first real big one. So I guess I now need to have Emma drive me somewhere. And then I'll have completed the...who else is big on Theoryland. The one who was on the...the...
Brandon: Is his name Ted?
Brandon: Yeah! Right, WinespringBrother, and who else? Frenzy. Yeah.
Terez: She was there last year.
Brandon: The tor.com people aren't Theorylanders, are they? Like Wetlander and Freelancer...
Terez: No, I just know all of them because I hang out there sometimes...
Brandon: Yeah, you hang out there...
Terez: Thanks to Peter. He sent me that way.
Peter: Did I?
Terez: Yeah, you did. When you pointed out [Freelancer's] signing report that was there.
Terez: Yeah, that was the first time I went there, and I've been hanging out there ever since.
Brandon: See, now you're getting into these little specific ones, that I'm...
Terez: I mean, you know...answer what you feel like. I was just collecting questions from everybody, so there's not really any pattern to it.
Terez: (Callandor) Who ordered the attack on Demira Eriff in LOC?
Brandon: I'm going to RAFO that one.
Terez: Was Moridin in his own dream when Rand visited him in TGS? If so, did he pull the boys into his own dreams in TEOTW, or did he invade and control theirs?
Brandon: I believe Moridin was...okay, in TGS, he was in his own dream. He at least believes he was in his own dream, and he is usually right on things like that. And in TEOTW, he...I believe it was their dreams that he was controlling. But...
Terez: That's difficult to do.
Brandon: That's very difficult to do....so I could be wrong on that. It's easier to pull someone into your own dreams, but it's easier to influence multiple dreams from the outside. So...does that make sense?
Brandon: So, since he's doing it to all three of them, that makes me believe he was actually controlling their dreams. I'm pretty sure on that one, Terez. [Cut discussion of the pronunciation of Terez.] I could be wrong...but my understanding of the mechanics is that since they're all dreaming the same thing, that it's external, much as a lot of the Forsaken have been not warding their dreams through the early parts of the books, and causing people to dream lots of weird things, and share dreams. Ishamael was doing that intentionally...doing something similar. Does that make sense?
Terez: Right, and it also has to do with his ability to find ta'veren.
Terez: Can Shayol Ghul be reached in Tel'aran'rhiod?
Brandon: I'm actually going to RAFO that. And that's actually not one I'm RAFO'ing...I'm RAFO'ing that for very good reasons. Not just out-of-hand RAFO'ing.
Terez: (Callandor) What happened to the twelve Aes Sedai Siuan sent to recapture Taim? Their troops?
Brandon: That's a great question. RAFO. That's a good question to be asking, though.
Terez: When Perrin and Egwene saw Rand in Tel'aran'rhiod in TDR, had he been pulled there by someone?
Brandon: (pause) I'm a little bit out on a limb on this one, but I don't believe he was. We have seen places where Rand manifests in Tel'aran'rhiod when he's in the real world, and this is something that happens with Rand that we haven't seen with other people...
Terez: Are you talking about like when...
Brandon: Well, there's the Perrin sequence, for one...
Terez: Right, and when Ishamael visits him in TGH...
Terez: Right. Cool.
Brandon: So, I believe Rand has got something a little unique going on there...
Terez: Oh, okay. That's interesting.
Brandon: ...but, I'm a little on a limb on that one.
Terez: Does Mashadar eat the memories of people it kills?
Brandon: I've always thought it does, but I haven't actually looked it up.
Terez: Yeah, RJ said that Machin Shin does, but he never did comment on Mashadar.
Brandon: Really? Okay. Well, I believe it does.
Terez: Does one typically (emphasized in the list he was reading) have to visit Shayol Ghul to be granted permission to use the True Power?
Brandon: Um...(pause) Yes. I see what you're fishing for there.
Terez: Well, I mean...obviously. I didn't think I would slip that one past you.
Terez: There seems to be a difference between Ishamael's big black cord and the wires which represent the protection from the taint. Is that intentional?
Brandon: I believe that it is. But that one's more like 50-50...no, I'm like 65% sure.
Terez: How does Demandred compare in strength to Moridin and Aginor? Sammael?
Brandon: Um...I have to have the list in front of me for that one.
Brandon: Sorry, Terez.
Terez: That's okay.
Brandon: I really want to just post that for people, because so many people ask about it...
Terez: Right, they're like really obsessed with it at rafo.com....
Brandon: Yeah, they're very obsessed with it, and the thing is, a lot of them are really close, and so it's a matter of a few points on Jim's scale...
Terez: Yeah, I figured, like what you were saying earlier about how they were Chosen because their talents...
Terez: ...obviously they're all within...
Brandon: ...yeah. They're all awesome. And so, you know, you couldn't be a Forsaken simply for being awesome in the Power. It's like you had to be awesome at the Power, and be awesome at other stuff.
Terez: Well, I mean...that's what they said about Balthamel, that that was the only reason he was one of them, was that he was so strong...
Terez: But, you know, obviously there was something else going on there...
Brandon: Yeah. [I think he was already looking at the next (last) question at this point because we were nearing the airport terminal.]
Terez: (herid) If Taim already knew how to ignore heat, why did he shave his beard?
Terez: (Because of the way he read it.) That's not my question.
Brandon: I have no idea. Terez: (laughs) I didn't figure you would.
Brandon: That's a pretty random question. I don't even think that's in the notes; I'll be honest with you....that's really not the sort of thing Jim put in his notes, so I'm guessing...I can MAFO that one, if you want to ask Maria, but I really don't know.
Maria: I don't know either.
URL for Theoryland report: http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5427