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The Way of Kings Book Tour, Border's, Oak Brook, IL 9 September 2010Edit
Report by Marie Curie
This is a signing report from The Way of Kings tour last fall that I never got around to posting. There were other questions asked at this signing, but the ones listed below were the only questions that were WoT related (other than some pestering of Brandon about The Great Hunt, which was on-going at the time). And there's nothing really plot-related here, though there is a comment about the mistaken impression that Brandon had about the Tar Valon bridges. And there's some stuff that might go into a new interview database category about Brandon and writing...
Question: about Talmanes' character and sense of humor and how Brandon has written him.
Brandon: But that's how I was reading him, and perhaps other people read him differently. And my particular biases on the character were manifest. Does that make sense? That's how I've always seen him.
But, one thing that I have to warn Wheel of Time readers... In me you get some interesting things writing the Wheel of Time book. What you get, which I hope is an advantage is someone who has read the books through multiple times, who's read Eye of the World nine times, who is a very deep, big fan of the series. But what you're also getting hand-in-hand with that is someone who starting reading the Wheel of Time when he was fourteen… and on occasion has used his line edit privileges not for good.
Like, there are certain things that are embedded in my imagination that I have not realized until working on these books that I was wrong all along, one of which you may notice in The Gathering Storm was the length of the bridges into Tar Valon. Which, I had a conception of them, and I didn't look it up because I'm like, 'oh, I know what that looks like,' and so I started describing it and nobody called me on it, and then it comes out and fans are like, 'these are like a mile long, you can't really see the other side, you know, in the way you described it.' And I looked at it and then I read the Big White Book, I'm like, "Holy crap, these bridges are a mile long!" That's enormous! That's not how I imagined it at all. But that's how it is if you look at the maps.
These are some of these things where if I even had an inkling that it would be wrong, I would have questioned it. And in other cases, you'll get things like Talmanes, where I have always been reading him a certain way. And in my head, I'm like, this guy is way… you know, Mat's just not noticing the smirk that this man has in his eyes. That's how I've always read him, and so when I write him that comes out. Is that how Robert Jordan intended it? Well, I'll leave you to decide whether he had the line, 'he actually has a smirk inside,' or if it's just all along me reading him this way that makes me write him that way.
But does that give you some examples of understanding? This is one of the things, the issues we kind of slightly have to deal with me writing the Wheel of Time books is, you know, you can get some advantages. Mat, and Rand, and Perrin, and Egwene...these are my high school friends. I feel like I know these better than I know most of the friends I know in my life right now because I've known these people longer. Really, I mean, you know. You get that, and so hopefully their voices are very close to what Robert Jordan was writing them as, but you also get the preconceptions.
Question: about Mat's use of 'saidared it' in TGS.
Brandon: You're assuming that I did that and not Robert Jordan.
Audience: I read it and just laughed and laughed for about ten minutes after that...
Brandon: And you can't tell I'm a student of linguistics? Took several upper level linguistic classes. And I've always loved how language shifts over time, and how the changes happen.
Audience: Like 'google' as a verb now?
Brandon: Yes, like google as a verb. This is because there is human nature to start making shortcuts in language. And it tends to happen when people such as Mat are taking shortcuts, as they usually do. And so, that sentence can be read from the linguistics side as this is actually naturally what might start to happen unless someone starts enforcing a certain aspect of the language, or you can read it as Mat being Mat.
Question: The Seanchan? How does their drawl sound?
Brandon: Robert Jordan actually answered how the Seanchan are supposed to sound. They are actually Texans. Really, he actually said that. He came out and said in an interview they have a Texan drawl. I don't know, you know we're used to hearing Texan accents, or deep Texan accents, and so they're just natural to us. But perhaps someone who never has before would have problems. Like, I've been in other countries before where someone who's not native to the language - slightly different example but again, linguistics fascinate me - not native to the language who's learned to speak English listening to British English speakers will have a huge amount of trouble understanding American English speakers or vice versa. I was once in Korea and there was an extremely fluent Korean speaker of English that we were talking to, and someone came over as a friend who had a Boston accent which is very soft, you know, I don't even hear it. And the Korean could not understand him. He just could not understand a single word, just with that slight addition of an accent. So if you're not familiar with an accent it can actually play havoc with your ears. Sometime when you're not expecting it, try it, I guess, you have to find someone who's fresh out of Australia, or even better Tasmania because they actually tend to have thicker accents. And get a fresh Tasmanian right over, not having been over here long enough for the accent to weaken, and try and speak with them. You will have an eye-opening experience.
URL for report: http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5108