New York City CoT signing 7 January 2003 - report by David C. Funke
report posted at Dragonmount.com
Host: Our guest tonight has said that fantasy is a form of literature that remains very much alive because it touches something deep in people: their dreams.
Along the way to becoming the writer he is today, our guest graduated from The Citadel, earned a degree in physics, and became a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. He began his writing career, first with historical novels, [inaudible] sequels to the Conan the Barbarian series, through 10 volumes in the Wheel of Time series. The man who [inaudible] these works of fantasy is said to have first shown an interest in literature at the age of four, teaching himself to read, and then reading Mark Twain and another author with a fantastic imagination, Jules Verne. Tonight, our guest is here to talk about his latest volume in the Wheel of Time series, the 10th installment, Crossroads of Twilight. Please join me in welcoming Robert Jordan.
[THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, INCLUDING HOOTS, WHISTLES, AND POSSIBLY CATCALLS]
Robert Jordan: You must be like me, here to see the Justin Timberlake/Britney Spears reunion.
Robert Jordan: You people are all crazy!
Robert Jordan: [inaudible] Well, I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, so I think I will start off by giving you some pronunciations.
Audience: [LAUGHS, CHEERS]
Robert Jordan: [inaudible] …use pronunciations that I’m not quite sure where they came from. It’s Nynaeve Al’Meara and Siuan Sanche. Aiel, Aiel, not ale. Ale is a drink. Egwene al’Vere. That seems to be a fairly obvious one to me, but…it’s one I laboured over the most, because I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound. I used [inaudible] in the first draft spelled, 14 different spellings of her name…I thought it was obvious to even the most casual observer [slightly inaudible, but same phrase as he’s used with Asmodean] everyone will see this and know exactly how to pronounce this name…but I was wrong. [More like this] Mazrim Taim, Moridin, Moghedian, Semhirage (don’t forget her. If you forget her, she gets very upset), Ba’alzamon.
Robert Jordan: (The pronunciation of) Asmodean is quite correct.
Audience: Who killed him? [LAUGHS]
Robert Jordan: I no longer have to worry about that, because someone has actually deduced who killed him, using the evidence that was available 2 books ago, perhaps 3 books ago. And I’d said that that evidence should have been sufficient to tell us who killed Asmodean and so someone has posted it.
Robert Jordan: It’s out there. The evidence is there. [inaudible. Apparently, an audience member asked, “Was it Bela?”] Bela has an alibi. A shaky alibi, yeah. OK, I will take just a few questions, because then we’re gonna have to get all of you guys to here (point to table), to sign your books.
Audience: The question is, with Rand and LTT, do they have 1 soul or 2 souls in the body?
Robert Jordan: They have 1 soul with 2 personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I came hobbled together.
Audience: How did you know when you’d done enough world building to start? When did you decide it was a fully realized world?
Robert Jordan: I’ve never thought that. I’m still coming up with things as I go. As for when to start…flip a coin. I read a book on the history of salt. Because of a particular purpose, I thought it would be useful. Also, I used a good number of articles downloaded off the net. Historical uses, production of salt, every scrap I could find, and in the end I used about 6 words of it. I didn’t need it, I had it in my head. I could have brought the story to a salt-producing town, and I wouldn’t have had to go into many details, and you still would have known it was a salt town.
Audience: In The Dragon Reborn, how did the other sisters find Moraine in the Mountains of Mist?
Robert Jordan: She’d been putting out feelers. All she had to do in this case was make the first contact herself with an agent of her Ajah, and word would begin to spread. Things are already winding down, so she became a focal point. You might say that the communication networks realigned themselves.
Audience: If Rand is the reincarnation of LTT, why does he have no contact with personalities before LTT?
Robert Jordan: Read and find out. [Note from the Jasom, DM Admin: Ahh, the year's first "RAFO". I was wondering how long it would take.
Audience: How did Taim track Rand down for the battle of Dumai’s Wells?
Robert Jordan: That ones easy, son! C’mon. At that point, Taim was trying to find him like the devil. He knew pretty much what had happened from the beginning. Things were happening. The Aes Sedai disappeared from Cairhien. Perrin disappeared. Rand disappeared. Taim had an idea that something very bad was going on, and when you can Travel it becomes easier to start tracking out where did these Aes Sedai go and Bingo, we got something very bad going on down here, and I’m gonna come and tear the house down. It’s very easy.
Audience: Moraine. Is she coming back? [LAUGHS]
Robert Jordan: RAFO, RAFO.
Audience: When you first started, did you know how it was gonna turn out?
Robert Jordan: Yes I did, yes I did. But did I plan every single detail? No! I knew the last scene of the last book. It hasn’t changed in 18 years. I know where I’m headed. It’s been difficult to get as much story into any book that I thought I could. It’s why this has not been 5 books. I told Tom Doherty it would be, back when I got the idea: I don’t think it will be more than 5, at most 6. I know the major things, and I know them from the beginning, but how I get from A to Z, and the minor things that will happen along the way, I don’t plan in detail before. It’s much more organic that way. I think it would become very wooden if I planned every detail. Sometimes the main thing that happens is not a battle. Sometimes it’s that 2 people meet., and history changes. History changes because these 2 people met, and now the future will go a different way than if they did not meet. OK, one more question, then we’d better get to the signing.
Robert Jordan: You’re just gonna have to RAFO. I mean, if I told you guys everything that was gonna happen, you’d just read and go, “Oh yeah, I knew that. Oh, I knew that too. Man, he’s really lost it, hasn’t he?”
[On to the signing.]
[The following notes are from David Funke, who contributed this entire article.] When RJ signed my copies of WH and CoT, I asked him a question. Because of wording he uses when describing the Finn and their meeting with Mat, I thought that maybe Min’s viewings had some relation to them. RJ describes the Finn as looking, not at Mat, but at the air around Mat’s head. I thought this was similar to the way Min sees her viewings. Are they related, I asked him?
No, he said flatly.
Shucks, I said to his assistant. I was so sure! Then I wished him a pleasant book-signing tour, and he thanked me for it. RJ, if you read this, thank YOU! A note to all: At this particular signing, we were limited: He’d only sign two hardcover books per person, and no softcovers. He DID sign my friend’s hardcover copy of the Illustrated Guide, though.
I did this because over the past few weeks, I've been visiting Dragonmount almost daily. Also, I've examined a good portion of the WoTFAQ. I wanted to give something back to community, even something as small as this. I hope everyone enjoys this! And Thanks. You do a great job with Dragonmount.com.