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More Reports from Comic*Con July 14-17, 2005Edit
Posted by: Bob on Friday, July 22nd, 2005
posted at Dragonmount.com
Robert Jordan had a solo panel session last Friday at Comic*Con in San Diego. He gave his standard preamble for about fifteen minutes then answered questions from fans for over an hour. Here are some highlights:
Book 12 will be the end. He will finish the story in one more book even if it takes 1500 pages hardcover.
The full editorial review of Knife of Dreams resulted in the addition of exactly one sentence. Q: Will we be able to tell which one? A: No. I'm good!
Any updates on a Wheel of Time movie? He's currently meeting with Red Eagle Entertainment. There is no script yet. As of now Red Eagle has the option on The Eye of the World.
Countries - all are bits and pieces of others. None is a direct translation of a specific country.
Blademasters vary by style - The most famous Japanese sword fighter developed his form in the Philippines fighting what he considered the deadliest fighters in the world, Spanish fighting with rapier and dagger.
Randland maps - He insists it was not inspired by the Middle Earth map. He wrote The Eye of the World with no illustrations but Tom Doherty insisted on a map. RJ sketched out his mental image, placing the nations where he envisaged them. He sent the sketch to a friend, John M. Ford, who did the black and white map from The Eye of the World. Tom Canty did the color version used for the endpapers. A similar story for the city maps - when really needed, he did a rough sketch and passed it on to another friend, Ellisa Mitchell.
Thoughts on his magic system. In physical strength men have the advantage so he wanted to design a system where women could have the advantage. This led to the concept of saidin and saidar and of the taint limiting men.
What about the Legend/GT Interactive computer game? There are no future plans. Their first pass was a clone of their previous games. RJ said that won't work, it needs to do this and that. They said their current engine couldn't do what he wanted so they were going they way they wanted. He pointed to the clause in his contract giving him creative control and handed them back their advance check! After that, they went back and developed a whole new engine to do what he wanted. They were delighted with the final product and were planning more, but they were bought out by another company that went a different direction and that was that.
Again a question about his health. He recently had a complete physical. His blood pressure and cholesterol are ridiculously low - he's in exceptional health. Anecdote - at a signing a couple of Hell's Angels told him he better not die before he finishes or they'll desecrate his grave!
He wrote his Conan books about the man as a late teen, early twenties, because that was one of the few parts of his life where there was a gap in previous books and because he wanted to explore Conan's relationships with women. If you've read any of RJ's Conan books, Conan is as clueless and frustrated about understanding women as Rand, Perrin and Mat!
Crossroads of Twilight was kinda slow. Was that the calm before the storm? Emphatic yes. "You'll be sweatin' before you finish Knife of Dreams."
Character names - they come from all sorts of places. Some come from historical and mythological references, e.g., Rand al'Thor comes partly from Arthur and Thor. Artur Hawkwing is also from Arthur. Nynaeve is also a direct mythological name if you know the right version of the right myth. Other names are tweaks of foreign names he's seen that piqued his interest. Cool moment from the book signing. An artist brought in a drawing of a Maiden of the Spear and asked RJ to name her! He thought for a few moments, then wrote "Ahrmin" on the print.
If the world turned upside down and you joined an Ajah which one would it be? Emphatic answer - Red! There's no way he could handle having a Warder!
Will he write any stories about the Age of Legends? No. He's been over that ground as much as necessary. More would be redundant and he wants to explore different worlds.
Someone remarked from Cheyenne Raiders how much they resemble the Aiel. The Cheyenne were originally farmers in eastern central North America. They were attacked again and again by more ferocious tribes from the east and pushed farther and farther west. They eventually lost the art of farming and became nomads. In a tribal council they decided to become warriors and defend themselves and they eventually became the finest light cavalry in the world - a pacifist society forced by circumstance to become warriors. The Aiel also include facets of Apache, Zulu, Bedouin and Japanese.
There is some confusion in the books about the relative strengths of the Forsaken. Can you rank order them? No. The confusion is intentional. The only information on their strengths is rumor and story held over from the Age of Legends and personal opinions of the Forsaken themselves, hardly an unbiased source! The hierarchy of the Forsaken is complex and fluid, not reflecting any direct measure of strength. Also, remember that different channelers have different Talents.
In The Great Hunt prologue, do you know who all the Darkfriends are and are there clues for us? He knows who some of them are. Others are generic. For the identified ones there are clues for us only for a scant handful.
Why do you seize saidin but surrender to saidar? Men's and women's brains are physically different so it makes sense that handling the One Power should be different for them. Seizing saidin is like surfing the mountain slopes amid in a firestorm. Opening oneself to saidar is much like judo.
Why does Rand get three girlfriends? When RJ was young, for a while he had two girlfriends who shared him and even managed who got to date him when. He figures if he can have two, then the savior of the world can have three!
Does he believe in magic? No way no how. He is a pragmatist and realist. He also thinks current quantum mechanics is becoming more theology than science.
Will everything eventually be resolved? All major threads will be resolved. Many of the secondary and tertiary threads will be resolved. He will leave holes because he wants to leave a world alive and kicking, not stored dust free under a bell jar. As late as the final scene he will leave a medium sized "hook" that will have us thinking, "he's going to do a sequel!" but it's not going to happen.
His next series with be Infinity of Heaven. It will be tighter and smaller in scope than the Wheel of Time. He's currently thinking it will be two sets of trilogies. The main culture will be similar to the Seanchan be even more hierarchical.
Museum Replicas - Ellisa Mitchell did the design for several different swords as well as Perrin's axe, Mat's ashandarei and Padan Fain's dagger. Nancy Roth did the design for the Aes Sedai ring. Museum Replicas manufactured some, but they have now discontinued the whole line.
Why are there so many dominant and powerful women, almost matriarchies, in the Wheel of Time? After the Breaking, men were viewed as destroyers. Also, almost all the male leadership of the world were Aes Sedai who were now dead. Add to that the dominant political force in the world for three thousand years being the all female White Tower. It's a natural consequence for women to be more dominant than not in the rest of the world. A side note - he brought up the story thread where he introduced a misogynist (Agni Neres, the boat captain on the trip from Samara to Salidar). Instead of being angered by his attitudes, Elayne and Nynaeve are puzzled and can't understand him at all.
How did he start writing? He loved books from an early age and planned to be a writer when he was eight or ten. Later he realized that most authors can't actually make a living on writing alone so he went with his second love, science and mathematics. At age thirty he wrecked his knee and almost died from complications. During his recuperation he decided life's too short to settle for second best and he's been writing ever since.