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Goodreads Fantasy Book Club, Questions and Answers from Brandon Sanderson, December 2010Edit
Jon wrote: "I was a bit shocked when I started reading ToM. The Prologue included a Graendal scene. I went to the Glossary to refresh my memory concerning that Forsaken and discovered a huge spoiler..."
Brandon: The glossary, remember, was begun as a tradition before there were internet wiki sites, and it's limited by size in what it can contain. I don't do the glossary; that's all on Team Jordan. Maria handles it.
As for why the big secret was included in the glossary, I've said before that Harriet made the decision where it would go. I actually did suggest it, though I later changed my mind and thought I would put it in somewhere else, but she said, "No, I love this idea of the glossary." The reason I think that we like the glossary location so much is because the instruction I received from Robert Jordan was just a Post-It note that had written on it, "This is right," attached to a sheet of paper that was an explanation, one of the many, printed off from the internet, talking about who killed Asmodean. That Post-It note saying "This is right" was all there was—I didn't know the how, the why, the circumstances, any more than you know. So we felt that rather than extrapolate all of that ourselves, the best thing to do, as frustrating as it might be, was to give you the information much in the same way that we got it, as simply a "This is the person." That still allows a bit of theorizing on how this person was involved in the event, whether it was by her hand directly, or whether a servant was involved, or that sort of thing. That allows for theorizing.
Dawn wrote: "After that, I kept expecting to see that information revealed somewhere in the actual book, but as far as I can tell it wasn't there! Will it be revisited in the last book, or was the glossary the way of answering that question?"
Brandon: The glossary was the way of answering that question. Though in the epilogue, I had originally included a more specific line that Harriet edited out and said, "No, I like the glossary entry. We'll let it stand." There's still a hint, but it was actually spelled out in that same sentence.
Dawn wrote: "Will we be learning any more about Shara in the last volume?"
Brandon: I will simply defer to what Robert Jordan on this. This is the story primarily of what we call the Westlands, or Randland (though he didn't use those terms). This is not the story of Shara or Seanchan. There will be no major action that takes place in those other realms. Interpret that as you will.
Amelia wrote: "Why is this book named "Towers of Midnight" when the only time those are mentioned are during the first chapter when the wind blows past them and also a mention in the glossary? I'm assuming they're going to be important in the next book. I think most people think these towers were the Towers of Genjei (sp?), so why the little twist in the title?"
Brandon: Most of Robert Jordan's titles had twists. There are some that were very straightforward—The Dragon Reborn; The Great Hunt. There are others that are simply things like Knife of Dreams, which comes from a line in a quote at the beginning of the book. The titles usually refer to something specific as well as something metaphorical. Towers of Midnight is the title I chose. There of course are the Towers of Midnight in Seanchan, and if you knew what those were for, and why they were there, it would illuminate the question a little bit more. But the title also refers to the towers that Egwene saw.
My working title for this book was The Three Towers, as a pun on the title of the second book of the Lord of the Rings. I was writing the second book of a trilogy of sorts here, and was dealing with the tower of Ghenjei, the White Tower, and the Black Tower. There was going to be a lot more Black Tower stuff in this book which has been moved to the next book, but when I was working on it, we had a lot of focus on those three towers. So the name just struck me. It felt like the right thing to do.
Carrie (Care) wrote: "I thought that maybe it had to do with Egwene's dream. She dreamt that there were 13 black towers raising up from the ground, one fell and then raised up again taller than the others. I thought this referred to the Forsaken. Maybe Brandon can clarify."
Brandon: RAFO. But I did mention that it is related to that vision.