The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA 15 November 2009Edit
Report by Freelancer
Ok, sorry it took so long, but here goes. (I wanted to watch the premiere of the new "The Prisoner")
First off, as Insectoid has already pointed out, we met. Sat in the crowd with he and his mom (an occasional poster here as well, I'll let her decide if she wants to identify herself). The sequence of events was as follows:
- Brandon told the story of his selection as the WoT-completing author.
- He read a few pages from the opening of the Prologue (which he also emphatically stated was all Jordan's material, much of it word-for-word).
- He described "The Materials", the variety of forms of notes, completed scenes, paragraphs, fragments, audio dictations, etc. that were collected by RJ's assistants after his passing and basically dumped in Brandon's lap. Daunting isn't in it.
- The signing. The proprietors of Mysterious Galaxy, (a small, very pleasant independent bookseller which specializes in Hard Sci-Fi and SFF) had everyone exit the store to prepare for the signing, as it required setting up two lines. Those who had already purchased a book, and been given a signing line number (Insectoid & Mom were #1 and #2, yours truly was #3) in one line, those who needed to purchase a book for signing in another. As most of you have read regarding other signing events, Brandon gives each person his complete attention for several minutes, having a sincere conversation, while personalizing his signatures. He accepted questions during this time, but limited to one or two per person. When I told him I had a list of questions from the TOR.COM Leigh Butler re-read crowd, he said he'd gladly work with me after the main signing line.
I would estimate 120-130 folks got between 1 and 5 books signed each. Several brought Warbreaker (myself included), Mistborn or Alcatraz books, and he signed anything of his that was brought, while limiting personalizations.
After the main signing line, he began signing store stock books, as well as doing additional personalizations for the Storm Leaders, who did a terrific job and enjoyed the time as much as any of us. Once he began this, he looked back at me and said, "Two more questions now, go ahead". Then periodically as he was working he'd take more.
During this activity, he was handed the store phone several times. It seems he found a moment in all of this to send a tweet, and folks following him on Twitter started calling in because he told them he'd be at the store about another 45 minutes. The first call came from Australia. He spoke like a long-time friend to each of the folks on the phone, and prepared personalizations for them to be delivered.
Once everything else settled down, and a few Storm Leaders who hadn't read TGS yet had gone, he took a bunch more of my questions. When the shop workers started looking at the clock, he said "Let's let these folks close up, I'll step outside with you for a few more minutes to ask the rest of your questions". We shook hands and he got into the car to take him back to his hotel about 75 minutes after the signing was supposed to end.
URL for Part I of report: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/10/the-wheel-of-time-the-gathering-storm-review-with-spoilers#74177
San Diego Signing Event, Part II
Something I don't believe that Brandon has previously said as clearly as he did to us today, or else has not been reported. Harriet made it clear to him that Robert Jordan greatly enjoyed the discussions which came up out of the books, that it was one of his great joys to know how much thought was inspired by his work. Because of this, quite a number of the times when Brandon answers a question with RAFO, it might not turn out to be something that will be written into the story, but giving an answer which would end theorizing and discussion wasn't something he wanted to do (yet). He really does wish to answer questions which won't spoil the future text of the story, but he also wants to honor this thinking of Jordan's.
So some questions will have a RAFO next to them, but with a + to indicate it might not really be a Read And Find Out situation.
The questions, in no particular order, and the answers Brandon gave:
Q. Did Verin have anything to do with the attack on Demira Sedai in Caemlyn?
A. RAFO+. Even though Verin's gone now, so much Verin discussion remains that it shouldn't be disturbed. (He took several seconds deciding to RAFO, if that means anything)
Q. Has Narishma fulfilled the prophecy regarding Callandor and "who draws it out shall follow after"?
Q. Will Elaida ever learn how badly she has misinterpreted her Foretellings?
A. RAFO+ (He smiled at this one, almost wanting to answer, and later reminded us that there are possible future outrigger stories, which he dared not spoil)
Q. Does Tam al'Thor have a romantic interest in his future, and if so, has he recently encountered the object of this interest?
A. RAFO+ (With a similar comment to the Elaida question above, a Tam-centered story is outlined)
Q. Were the references to Galad, both from Rand's technicolor scrying of Perrin and Tam's mention, intentionally left in place as teasers, or an accidental artifact of the book division?
Q. Has Cadsuane met Min's vision regarding the lesson she must teach Rand and the Asha'man, which they won't like one bit?
A. Part of it. (That strongly suggests that the "laughter and tears" connection is valid)
Q. Has Graendal's death in any way acquitted her as a suspect in Asmodean's death?
A. (short pause) No. (longer pause) For that matter, I'm not saying definitively that she's dead. (I followed up on this, describing my logic regarding Ramshalan, and got a strong nod, but no more words)
Q. Is Rand's access to the True Power via his link with Moridin, created at Shadar Logoth?
A. No one may channel the True Power without the Dark One's permission, and Rand doesn't have that.
Q. Did Ishamael have a hand in how the Seanchan prophecies have come to differ from those of the westlands?
Q. Is Tuon's new name, Fortuona, an intentional play on the Latin Fortuna? Many see this as a semantic trick for calling her Lady Luck, which fits being Mat's wife.
A. Good question, and I'm going to allow you to say yes, as I don't think anything of that nature was done without a purpose, but it was Jim's (Robert Jordan) choice, which Maria dug out for me when I realized I needed to create a new name for her upon ascending as Empress. (Hah! All you naysayers who bagged on Brandon for this, saying Jordan would never have chosen such a goofy name)
Q. Mr. Jordan stated that the Seanchan only know how to make one kind of ter'angreal. Then there are the Bloodknives' rings. Is this a departure from Jordan's notes, or a discrepancy in a past answer?
A. Neither. The Seanchan only know how to make a'dam.
Q. It has been noted that Sulin is incorrectly referred to in a scene with Rand's group in Arad Doman. Who should have been named in the text there?
Q. Was the Compulsion which Elza told Semirhage about, Verin's work from after Dumai's Wells, and was it Shaidar Haran who told her about it and to ask Semirhage to remove it?
Q. How did Elza defeat the wards on Cadsuane's plain wooden box?
A. Elza had been given knowledge of several rarely known weaves, and in other ways made into a tool of Shaidar Haran. Not all of it was pleasant for her.
Q. Is the ter'angreal which Aviendha identifies as related to holes, and requiring a song to activate, the Talisman of Growing for the Ways?
A. (Huge grin) RAFO.
Q. Some commenters (AMW) have noted a seeming discrepancy regarding Egwene's accounting for captured, missing, dead, and present sisters. Is this true, and can it be explained?
Q. This was asked at a previous event, and you had to check with Maria regarding whether you should RAFO of give an answer. When Carridin recognized Mat in Ebou Dar, did that trigger some method by which Sammael showed up, like a pager, or was it coincidence?
A. Haven't heard yet from Maria on this one, so it is still a MAFO (Maria and find out)
Q. Did you enjoy Tam calling Cadsuane a bully?
A. (Broad smile) Immensely! She needed to hear it.
Q. Will there be reciprocity for Cadsuane's treatment of Semirhage?
A. If I have anything to say about it.
Ok, folks, that's about it. One other tidbit, Brandon said that there are no scenes in TGS that he invented. Some scenes were from very rough outlines, some in detailed outlines, and some completely finished, but he did not think up scenes at all. He said that there was much creative work for him to do, and there were scenes that he altered in order to blend in with those before/after. He said that Harriet told him that Jim often wrote a dozen or more drafts of a scene before letting anyone else read it, so he didn't have to presume that every word among the notes and outlines was exactly how Jordan would have ended up wanting it, which allowed Brandon the freedom to do what he believed best for the book as a whole. He did quite well indeed.
A thank you to Patrick and Mike at Mysterious Galaxy for their patient and pleasant natures. It was a very long day for them, and I for one appreciate how well they managed everything.
This is already a wall of text, so the questions will follow. I just wanted everyone to know how personable and engaging Brandon was to everyone with whom he came in contact. Never once did he give the impression that he wished he weren't there, or that he was burned out by this tour, and he thanked everyone for being faithful readers.
URL for Part II of report: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/10/the-wheel-of-time-the-gathering-storm-review-with-spoilers#74180