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San Jose signing - 10 November 2000 - report by Brandon DowneyEdit
I was fortune enough to attend the Robert Jordan book signing at the Barnes and Nobles in San Jose near where I live in California, and I
figured everyone might be interested to hear what it was like.
RJ was scheduled to appear at 7pm, so, my (much more dedicated friend who drove 7 hours from LA) went down to get in line around 3pm. Shortly after he arrived, he called to warn me, "The guy next to me says that last year, the line wrapped around the building!" So, I took the
afternoon off work and headed down to ye olde book store.
I got there around 4, and about 7 people were in line. Surprisingly, only three of us had read Winter's Heart, so we went off into the onsite coffee shop, and had a few hours of hard core Jordan discussion. We went back and forth on a lot of the issues in Winter's Heart: Demandred (we really _wanted_ to be convinced that the evidence was inconclusive -- IMHO, RJ is a huge, deceptive tease otherwise), the possibilities for
Slayer as Asmodean's killer (Sure, he really looks like it now -- but did we really have enough evidence to guess it was him pre-LOC?), whether Sammael is alive, whether he's directing the slayer, if Moridin was just sending the Forsaken off to "pay the butcher's bill" rather than actually stopping Rand, if Olver was Gaidal (this never dies!), and if a Well explained Verin's delving in the stedding.
Naturally, all this rampant Jordanism led into what questions we would ask Jordan. I had brought a notebook, and wrote down a few of my favorites:
-How many more of your books will feature nude women slapping each other? Is there any possibility they will be illustrated?
-Is it now crystal clear who Asmodean's killer is? [I know what poor luck Asmodean questions have -- but I figured a quasi-indirect one might get by].
-What can you tell us specifically about the compulsion used by Aes Sedai in the warder bond? What effect, if any, does channeling have on preventing this? Is it sufficient to just be holding saidar/saidin to avoid this effect?
-Is Machin Shin a result of the dark one's taint on saidin being used in the creation of the Ways, or a result of some portion of the corruption of Shadar Logoth creeping into the Ways via the Waygate there? Or is it something completely orthogonal to both these powers, merely being a parasite that showed up once the place began to grow dim.
-Were POD and WH originally meant to be one book? Why was the book jacket changed?
-What does the title dragon mean, historically speaking? Was there some deeper significance to LTT being named that, or was it because dragons have always been historically badasses?
-What happens to an Aes Sedai's warder bond if she enters a stedding? Can she still detect it? What if I tie off a weave, and enter a
stedding? If the weave vanishes, will it reappaear when I leave? If it won't reappear, why can't shielded/tied channelers such as Asmodean or Liandrin simply enter a stedding to have their shield dissolved?
So, naturally, my friend and I didn't have time to ask all these questions, but it was quite an event. RJ rolled in at almost exactly 7, and by that time, the line really did stretch all throughout the store and outside! RJ nuts of all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of hotness were there, and we were having a good time jeering at the girl in front of us who thought that whoever helped out Rand in Shadar Logoth was a GOOD guy.
Then, they brought Jordan out, and we all started hopping up and down excitedly. (Well, not ALL of us.. but the ones that are worth speaking of. Heh.) Jordan looks a bit like someone's grandfather, except witty, and if your grandfather happened to be a retired badass. He had his cane, ring, and glasses, and a charming, witty style of speaking. This may just be fandom talking, but he seemed like someone you'd genuinely want to spend an idle evening with, shooting the breeze.
So, being near the beginning of the line, we only had to wait while some fetching young female types had their picture made with RJ (Mmm..
lechery). After that, my friend got to ask his question, which was the one about Machin Shin and the Ways:
RJ answered:> "Machin Shin is a function of the DO's taint on the male side of the force.. er.. source" [we all chuckled, and he mentioned how much he'd been traveling. :)]
The corruption on Shadar Logoth is a result of an evil specifically designed to combat the DO's taint. This is why Rand experiences a resonance while channeling in Shadar Logoth -- the DO's taint is reacing to the corruption of Shadar Logoth.
Then, I asked my question, which concerned the warder bond and the stedding:
RJ> No, of course not. An Aes Sedai would still be able to detect her warder in the stedding.
Then, I asked about going into the stedding with a weave of illusion tied on you:
RJ> The weave would go away, and would not come back when you left.
Then, of course, I asked: "Why couldn't Asmodean, or Lanfear, or someone else with a tied off shield go into a stedding and get themselves freed?"
RJ> No. That's different.
So, that's a confusing set of answers. Why is it that when shielded, the bond to your warder can become faint enough that you don't notice it,
whereas in the stedding it's just fine? Why is it that weaves that don't depend on you drawing the one power don't work, but wells do? And, why do shields (which are a species of a weave) that are tied off not subject to this constraint?
I had a dinner date, so I didn't stay around for much longer, but I did get to hear RJ talk about his reading habits (he reads about 2-3 hours a day, and doesn't watch much TV at all.) Another guy behind me asked if he felt he was giving the books the level of detail he wanted (and RJ said yes), then he asked about the one sentence Lan/Toran fight.
RJ said that he had tried writing that scene several ways, but none of the split POV's worked (and have we even had a Lan POV, outside of "A New Spring"?) seemed to work out. I chimed in, "Yeah, and Lan is enough of a badass to ice some punk in one sentence", and RJ said, "Yes, Lan is very, very good at what he does."
Unfortunately, I had to run after that. I had a great time though, and felt I was among kindred spirits when surrounded by the RJ fan-o-rama
that was the book signing.
I hope my answers proved helpful to someone out there, as we continue sifting through the series in search of just one more nugget of detail.