The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Salt Lake City, UT 2 November 2009Edit

Report by Tamyrlin (Matt Hatch)

Dinner with the Storm Leaders

Note to readers - I did not transcribe the entire hour long conversation. Instead, I picked what I thought were the most important plot related items.

Brandon summarizes why the next book will be a bit more chaotic than The Gathering Storm, which may make Towers of Midnight a longer book. The Gathering Storm feels focused, whereas the Towers of Midnight may not feel that way.

Brandon discusses Mistborn questions.

Brandon mentioned that Peter knows the secret.

Matt - Question: Did Robert Jordan leave a power to time comparison, as to how much time is burned back on a thread using balefire. Is there a calculation that says x amount of power will burn back x amount of time on a thread?

Brandon: M.A.F.O – Maria and Find Out. What he did leave, he left a lot of stuff, there is discussion of these things in the notes. I need to look and see if there is an actual equation. He was very focused on strength of the power and things like that. He has probably told you before, I think I’ve seen a copy of that on notes and things. He did leave scales on exactly how powerful each person is…

Matt - Question: The Choedan Kal, does it amplify your power? Is it a limited, for example, if I have a certain amount of power does it give me 10x what I have, or is it a certain amount of power I can access?

Brandon: One of the things I’ve been doing when I answer questions is that I’ve been saying that this is my understanding and putting an asterisk at the bottom that is a - I am speaking from my understanding and not from specific knowledge from the notes, meaning yes I am probably right but these are the questions I could be wrong on…this one my understanding is that it is a reservoir of power. It is not necessarily a magnification. A very weak person with a very powerful sa’angreal is very powerful. I’m pretty sure on that one, but I will add the asterisk just in case. If you send me an email, I can go back and look to make sure. But I’m reasonably sure on that one, the reasons being things that are talked about in the notes mixed with the way an’greal and sa’angreal worked previously in the books mixed with two specific things that he talked about in the notes when people using an’greal and sa’angreal after they become very weak or after they are weak.

Matt - Question: We know that in the Age of Legends that the Forsaken/Chosen, everyone agreed to stop using Balefire because of its effects on the Pattern. Is it unrealistic then to say that a great amount of power could burn someone’s thread back a year or six months. Is that an unrealistic thing to say that there is enough power available to either one or multiple people to burn somebody back that far?

Brandon: I see what you are getting at you are trying to figure out if killed Graendal with a whole lot of balefire would bring Asmodean back to life.

Matt: …like that could ever happen…

Brandon: That’s what you are digging for isn’t you?

Matt: Let’s say, if a Forsaken was responsible for killing another Forsaken.

Brandon: Uh huh

Matt: And said Forsaken was balefired….

Brandon: You are under the assumption…You are trying to figure out who killed Asmodean again. That’s what you are trying to do and I’m not going to get caught and let you know…

Matt: It’s a legit question…and I’m sure whatever is said at this table stays at this table…

Brandon: I’m sure, the leader of Theoryland and the guy taping this…

~much laughter~

Brandon: Let’s divorce it. Rand balefires Rahvin as hardcore as he could and Rand is one of the most powerful people to live and he got us, what have you determined, from the lightning killing Mat until balefire killed Rahvin, I’d guess fifteen minutes.

Matt: Well, he at least got us fifteen minutes. We don’t know how far back, we just know up to that moment.

Brandon: Well, we do know because if it had been too much further than that we would have noticed a lot of discrepancies in the Pattern from things he’d done…

Matt: Let’s say thirty minutes to an hour, at the most.

Brandon: Alright, thirty minutes to an hour. Okay, let’s say the Choedan Kal amplifies his abilities 100 fold…let’s say it’s a 100 times more powerful than Rand. That’s giving us, lets say he got an hour, we’ve got four days, from the most powerful, one of the most powerful sa’angreal ever created. I think it is unrealistic to assume you can get back a year, but that’s not saying it is impossible. I think that if you did that to the Pattern the ramifications would be so dramatic you’d see the Pattern unraveling hardcore at that point, it’s like balefiring an entire city. When I first read that guess I just laughed, I’m like guys c’mon lets run the math on this.

Matt: Like I said to Jennifer, it is my job at Theoryland to entertain these ideas.

Brandon: Yes it is, it is your job to entertain them. But in the terms of Mythbusters let’s go ahead and call that one “Busted” in the realistic world. I’ve got to give you at least something, so I’ll at least give you that…If it were possible to do things like that, we’d have the Dark One just going and balefiring you know Tam so Rand never gets picked up off the mountain….
Brandon: I think it is more loose guidelines than it is a formula.

Matt Question: I don’t think Jordan ever, maybe somebody asked, in his notes does he ever say what the treaties were between the finns and the people with whom they made them. Are those treaties actually written down somewhere?
Brandon: Um – I think that you may see some of this in the encyclopedia. How is that for a Robert Jordan answer for you. The encyclopedia is coming. [Stuff about the Big White Book]. It is actually going to be an encyclopedia…Harriet, Maria and Alan are working on that. Memory of Light comes first so they have to keep dividing their time. My guess would be 2012, but if we’re really on the ball, I would think releasing it the same year of the last volume would be a smart thing to do…Peter will you take a note to let Maria know that I told them that that might happen so she is not blind sided by it. She and Harriet will have to decide if that goes in if anything regarding that goes in. The original treaty between the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and mankind. Just remind me to talk to Harriet to talk to Maria about it.

Matt: Are the treaties different?

Brandon: Different from what?

Matt: There are two treaties…(hard to hear what I ask next, but I’m clarifying Snakes and Foxes).

Brandon: They are similar, how about that. They are similar enough that they could be considered functionally identical but there are little differences.

About the Upcoming Epic Magic Battle Between Brandon and Jason Denzel

See, I’m expecting…the reason why I’m doing it like I’m doing it. I’m giving myself a handicap. I’m not going to draw back into my stock of super cards like I could do. I’m only going to use the cards I’ve been given. It’s the natural, smaller pool. I’m expecting him to go and build the uber super deck. He can reach to any cards he wants and build the perfect deck…he’s going to need the fans to tell him what to make and then to make it…I don’t feel sorry for Jason at all. He’s going to come at me with some uber deck perfected by fans at tournaments…oh he’s good at getting sympathy, but I’m going to expose him for what he is…

SLC Signing Questions

Okay - not sure if I will get around to it tonight, but there is plenty to be discussed, not the least of all an answer to questions about balefire, Finns, Graendal, etc.

Although, here are two that I don't think got recorded --

I asked: Was the taint influential in the creation/development/existence of the voice of Lews Therin in Rand's head?

Brandon answered that the taint was influential, but not the only factor. He referenced Semirhage, that of course we can't believe the Forsaken always, but yes, that the taint was an influence in the the voice. That we have to accept that in fact, in a way, Rand is going insane (as in as the books progress).

I asked, in essence, are One Power and True Power balefire the same?

He answered that the True Power is another source of power, that Aes Sedai were researching another source, like a different form of battery, to power their weaves and that in for balefire, what it does is essentially the same between both power sources, but that it has different affects on the individual using the power source (this appeared to be a reference to what True Power does to its user).

WISH I HAD THESE ON TAPE, so I had the exact wording of question and answer...but I'm sure he'll answer them on the record again, because he believed he was on the record, but ustream was messed up at that moment.


Q&A and Signing Questions - SLC Transcription Finished

Note, I did not transcribe all of the Q&A questions. There were many repeats from many other signings and tours, etc.

Questions from Q&A and Signing - SLC

Question: How do you and Robert Jordan’s widow feel while working on Robert Jordan’s legacy?

Answer: I would say there is a healthy amount of reverence going on. It’s a solemn experience working with these notes. In her case it’s her husband’s legacy. In my case it is my hero’s legacy. And so, we’ve been very careful and very solemn. It has been an amazing experience for me, indescribable really. It’s like walking being the first one to walk into Davinci’s workshop after he had walked out of it and left everything there. That’s what I am. I am walking into the master’s workshop and I get to see everything before even the dust is settled. As a writer and someone who has loved these books that’s surreal and awe inspiring and daunting at the same time. And there are so many weird emotions going on connected to this that it is actually hard to explain, but yeah reverence. It’s a reverent sort of thing to work on this book.

~Skipped question about A Memory of Light titling and explanation~

Question: Robert Jordan uses a great deal of mythology and lore in his books.

Answer: My answer is, I’m doing my darndest. One thing I love and always have loved about the Wheel of Time is Robert Jordan’s use of mythology. He doesn’t use mythology in kind of almost, how should I say, the bubble gum pop version of it that you see in some other fantasy works. There is a depth and a reality to his mythology that has always amazed me. One of the greatest concepts is what he says in that first paragraph: an Age long past, an Age yet to come. I didn’t get these things the first read through, I was a fifteen-year-old kid I didn’t know what’s going on. I didn’t notice the first time I was reading it that Buzz Aldren and the Cold War are referenced as mythological events in the Eye of the World. […] I love how he’s used mythology as his history and just how Mat in particular but a lot of them are founding myths that become our mythology. I don’t know if you guys have read up on Odin and Locke. Go read up on the mythology of Odin and Locke. They were actually thought to be one person in all of the original myths. See the things attributed to them, including things like ravens and the spear of Odin and things like thi. And then see what Mat is doing. The idea is that Mat is actually founding these myths and by the time our Age comes we remember Mat but we have all of this other mythology associated with him and we’ve forgotten that he was even known as Mat. That’s just genius So, I’m doing my best to continue that. It would be very easy to over do it in fan sort of a way. I have to be very careful to not put a reference to something like that in every chapter just because it’s fun. But if you search through The Gathering Storm you should be able to find a few things that are happening. Particularly, I don’t want to give any hints, but the things happening in Hinderstap were intended as things that through a lot of mythology later on become myths in our time. There are references to writers from our world being referenced in The Gathering Storm among books people are studying.

Question: Are you studying up on military tactics?

Answer: Yes, Harriet has sent me multiple large volumes of military tactics which she said Robert Jordan had been using and that I should reference, even specific battles, historical battles that he had talked about as references for battles. The answer is yes, I have a lot of reading to do, specifically for the last battle.

Question: How do you think working on these books will influence your future books?
Answer: That’s a good question…It has had a couple of effects. One thing, partially Harriet’s pushing me on concrete details has helped me a lot. Harriet is very good at that as an editor. She is one of the best editors in the field. I don’t know if you guys are familiar and aware of Harriet’s history. Editors don’t get a lot of fame, it all kind of goes to the authors but she was the first person Tom Daugherty hired when he founded Tor, she was his Editorial Director which means she was in charge of all of the editorial side. She edited some of the greatest books in the field over the last thirty years. She edited Ender’s Game for instance. If you have ever read that book, that was brought to us through the efforts of Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s wife, before she even met him (rest of the answer cut off).

~Missed a few questions when the video feed cut~

Question: Which characters did you find the easiest to write and which ones did you find were the hardest to write?

Answer: Easy and hard? I would say the most natural ones for me to write were Rand and Egwene. I’m not sure why. Perrin was very natural for me as well. The Two Rivers folk, the kids from Two Rivers that I’ve grown up with as my friends from high school that just feel like my buddies and think kind of…well Rand doesn’t think like I do anymore but you know what I mean. The hardest single person to write was Aviendha because Aiel are so odd and they think so strangely and getting her right I actually had to throw away two chapters. I wrote one from her perspective threw it away. Wrote another one, it wasn’t right, sent it to Charleston and said what am I doing wrong and they are like you are doing it wrong and I said I know, what am I doing wrong and Harriet gave me some pointers I tossed that one and wrote a third one and that is when it started to work. Tuon was not terribly easy either, but I had a little more practice by the time I wrote Tuon and so I got her on the first try but it was after a lot of research. So, there you go, Aviendha, hard to write, she’s crazy. She would say that she isn’t because she would say she acts the most normal of everyone.

~skipped question of how he keeps track of all of the characters and plots…it’s a very involved answer~
Note: Brandon said that he wrote seventeen drafts of The Gathering Storm trying to get it right.

Question: Slayer, is he going to be in the thirteen or fourteenth book?

Answer: He has a role to play in both, you will see him in both, probably. Unless you know he dies in the thirteenth, because he very well might. So, he has a role to play, yet.
~skipped a few repetitive questions…Padan Fain will show up at some point in the next two books~

Question: Are you going to discuss Moiraine in the future?

Answer: Way to give me a great out. Moiraine will be mentioned in future books. […] In future books there will certainly be references. Her name will at least be mentioned, at the very least in the Appendix. In fact, I think in The Gathering Storm the entire letter to Thom is in the Appendix.

Questions During the Signing

The first two questions I wrote down from memory, because the recording was not functional at the time.

Question: Was the taint influential in the creation/development/existence of the voice of Lews Therin in Rand's head?

Brandon answered that the taint was influential, but not the only factor. He referenced Semirhage, that of course we can't believe the Forsaken always, but yes, that the taint was an influence in the the voice. That we have to accept that in fact, in a way, Rand is going insane (as in as the books progress).

Question: In essence, are One Power and True Power balefire the same?
He answered that the True Power is another source of power, that Aes Sedai were researching another source, like a different form of battery, to power their weaves and that in for balefire, what it does is essentially the same between both power sources, but that it has different affects on the individual using the power source (this appeared to be a reference to what True Power does to its user).

Question: Was Ishamael partially, or was he responsible for the initiation of the three oaths. Was he a part of what brought them about?

Answer: That’s a MAFO. Type that one out. That’s a MAFO.

Question: Perrin is chasing Slayer in T’A’R, does Slayer actually disappear into the Tower of Ghenjei or does he disappear from the Dream.

Answer: That’s actually something I wondered and I asked and that’s a RAFO. Both Slayer and the Tower of Ghenjei are things that are reserved for the Towers of Midnight.

Question: Do the Finns care whether or not the Dark One wins?

Answer: RAFO.

Question: Why do the Aiel revere and protect blacksmiths?

Answer: It has a lot to do with the fact that without the blacksmiths there can be no warriors. The blacksmiths are the ones who make the spears and who keep them going. But, in a way the blacksmiths are among those who sacrifice being able to go and fight themselves so that others can and that’s kind of a holy calling to the Aiel. There is also a lot of spirituality to it related to where they live, being in the desolate wasteland and the whole concept of being forged. […] There is a spiritual aspect to a blacksmith forging something because of the place that they live. Those are the two of the main reasons. It’s cultural which means there is going to be more than one reason that it is deeply ingrained, but those are two big ones that roll of the top that are in the notes.

Question: We know that the Karaethon Cycle and the Essanik Cycle are different. Is that because there were different contributors to each, or some other reason (like tampering by Ishy)? Which is more correct?

Answer: The Essanik cycle had only in Seanchan and there were different contributors. Which is more correct? I’m not going to say which is more correct. There has been tampering…

Follow-up Question: In both?

Answer: People are not perfect, alright? Let’s just say that and there are lots of forces at work. The Essanik cycle, they have tried to preserve it as perfectly as they can. If the Outriggers ever get written there will be more information about what the Essanik cycle is. It is had only in Seanchan. It was given by damane in Seanchan, so nobody knows about it on the main continent.

Question: Is the Court of Nine Moons something that moves with the Empress. In other words, wherever the Empress is holding court is that the Court of Nine Moons?

Answer: I think that would be subject of debate, depending on what…I think that if the Empress were to declare herself on a different continent she would expect that it would and I think there would be those that would argue with her and wouldn’t expect that it would. Does that make sense? So, my answer would be that it would move with the Empress, but there are those that would disagree with me and with the Empress, may she live forever.

Question: There is a character in the book that appears to die on page 574...

Answer: ~reads page~…there is a woman that actually dies here…(couldn't decipher for certain if this was a statement or a moving question/comment)

Question: Did this character actually die?

Answer: Let’s go on record with this, I am not going to say until after Towers of Midnight, but I will…they are looking for a “toast” comment, and I am not going to give the “toast” comment yet. The scene that I’m talking about, there will be things related to it in the next book, so I don’t want to say yet. Corner me after Towers of Midnight and I will give you a definitive answer, but Towers of Midnight may in itself give a definitive answer.

Question: Is it an assumption that we haven’t seen the last of these individuals right here (I was pointing at the Seanchan assassins)?

Answer: There were five sent. We know one is dead. The other four, they may have lived or died through the assault, it was pretty chaotic, but they are expert warriors with ter’angreal focused on letting them hide.

Question: How long does that effect last? Days?

Answer: That affect can be stretched if they take it off, for several weeks. It is going to kill them eventually. If they are wearing it straight, it’s not going to last long, a matter of days, but if they take it off they can hide for a matter of weeks. So, there are four unaccounted for, who have orders to kill as many Aes Sedai as they can.

Question: You had a quote that we all talked about just recently, that there is a small detail with this secret thing. There were two quotes we put together where you told somebody from Chicago where you say this detail first comes out between books 4-6. Is that verified?

Answer: It’s been going for a long time. Somewhere in four and six the first hints of it are mentioned.

Question: But that’s not the only time it’s ever mentioned?

Answer: It’s not the only time it’s ever mentioned. It is…hints about this hidden thing appear in pretty much…in several of the books. It first, somewhere in one of those three is the beginning of where it shows up. The first hint that you get. […] I mean, it’s a small thing that means something large, that sort of thing…and you guys are very good at finding things and I’m not going to say whether you hit it or not.

URL for report:


Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.