Washington, DC CoT signing 23 January 2003 - report by Zeynep Dilli

report from rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan

This is a good place to put in my own report, I guess. Sorry for the delay.

I was there around 11:30 for the signing that was supposed to start around 12:30. There were about 15 people in the bookstore's cafe by then; but by the time 12:30 rolled around there was a sizable line, which stayed full until the end. There were about 50 people in the line almost constantly from 12:30 to 13:30.

I situated myself behind the table and didn't get in the line; John Nowacki and his friends graciously accepted to get my books signed for their second time in the line. Thanks again.

As soon as he came in, he answered some "FAQs" in a loud voice down the line: He gave the correct pronounciations for Nynaeve, Egwene, Seanchan etc.; touched the Question That Won't Die as "someone figured it out correctly using evidence prior to Winter's Heart"; said "There will be at least _two_ more books. I hope two. I apologize for that" and repeated the usual "I knew the last scene since..."; said that the next book would be coming out as soon as possible after he finishes writing it, and laid down the ground rule for picture-taking: "Men must keep their clothes on. I never try to tell women what to do, but men must keep their clothes on."

Here's a compilation of questions asked, some of which were from RASFWR-J through me or John.

On Thu, 23 Jan 2003, John Nowacki declared:
--How much time elapsed between the last chapter of COT and the epilogue? He thought for a second before giving an RAFO and adding it was not that much, certainly not months.
What he said.

On Thu, 23 Jan 2003, John Nowacki declared:
-- Without the TP to contrast it with, did people in the AOL refer to the One Power and True Source, or simply the Power and the Source? The names would have been the same, he said, since "One Power" was meant to signify that saidin and saidar are two halves of the same thing and not different things entirely.

What he said.

On Thu, 23 Jan 2003, John Nowacki declared:
--Some kid asked him something about material on the Internet, and he mentioned Wotmania,,, and something else. If he said anything about rasfwrj, I didn't hear it.

He didn't, and I paused and decided against mentioning the FAQ there. He mentioned because the people from the site were next in line to the kid and they called out.

On Thu, 23 Jan 2003, John Nowacki declared:
--Someone asked for a little more description about the sa'sara -- as in how does he envision one doing it -- which he thought was hilarious. He said she was the first person who'd asked him about it and apart from saying it would be like something a non-tourist might see in Cairo or Istanbul, he said it wouldn't be "boring" like a stripper act in the U.S. He seemed to really get a kick out of this question.

What he said. That was fun.

--Someone else said something about his health and got a lengthy recitation of Jordan's blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and so on.

At his last physical: cholestrol 197, his doctor not worried about his triglodytes (sp?), blood pressure 105/62, resting pulse 68, and he performed exceedingly well in the stress test. He was a little irritated at the question, I think. Can't guess why. Someone else asked if people ever sent him vitamins etc. Nope.

--Someone asked him how "knuckling [one's] forehead" was done.

He described as a way of touching your cap, as it were, same with
"tugging [one's] forelocks"---the way he lifted his head to demonstrate both movements, thumb down and palm slightly down and out, a person's knuckles do naturally touch the forehead. "It's how you greet(ed) a superior in military."

--"Was Rand and Ishamael physically in the sky at Falme?"

"No, but they could be _seen there_, like a mirage. They could be seen in other places as well [other false Dragons' falls]." He didn't say _where_ they were, T'A'R or some other plane. Wherever, as far as I'm concerned.

--Yes, he's got e-mail. No, he isn't giving it out.

--His favourite character?

First he gave the standard answer of "whoever I'm writing at the moment"; then the conversation moved to his esteem for the characters, however, and that gave interesting things away. "Lan embodies the ideal I aspired to be. Perrin.. was me while I was growing up, but I also behaved a lot like Mat. Harriet says I'm like Loial."

(Slightly after that, Harriet, who'd been browsing the bookstore, came to stand beside me and we struck up a conversation. She is a wonderful lady. While on the subject of how unpleasant it is to be dragged from city to city and hotel to hotel rather than being snug in your own home, she did repeat the Loial comment about her husband, independently.)

--Someone asked what he felt about the Superbowl. The answer, essentially, was "I don't care."

--A WoT movie?

"I don't know. If you know Peter Jackson or Spielberg, you can always ask them to give me a call..." No objections to a movie as long as the people coming to him with an offer have _both_ the means and the knowledge to pull it off. That might be a tougher preposition than even LotR, in my opinion, due to sheer length and number of characters involved.

--Ever had threats from fans?

Not really, but at one signing a biker gang showed up, mentioned rumors about his "failing" health, and threatened to desecrate his grave if he died before finishing the series. Heh.

--Will he do a European tour?

I guess his answer applies to a possible Canadian signing as well: If the publisher in $COUNTRY invites him and pays for the journey. The person who asked the question specifically inquired after Belgium. He hasn't had any leads that way from France or Belgium yet, but he mentioned a Hungarian tour is coming up since the publisher there contacted him.

On a slightly related note, and I guess I'm the one that cares most, a Turkish publisher has finally contacted him for a translation. Fantasy translation is a new thing in Turkey, although sci-fi have been translated for years----we got LotR in Turkish only in 1998, forex---and we'll see how good the translation will turn out to be.

--I asked about the Seanchan divorce ceremony, wondering if it was anything like the old Islamic ceremony---i.e. just declaring that you are divorced.

He answered that it's more intricate than that. He went into the details about why the marriage ceremony is as it is (as Egeanin explains it in CoT, nothing new), and said that the divorce required more than just declaring it.

--I also asked about what sorts of music he hears in his mind's ear, as it were, while he's writing about the different musical styles in Randland.

Forex, the Tinker music is (obviously) gypsy music, tziganes and similar. Thom chanting the tales is quite like troubadour music of the Middle Ages in continental Europe. As for others---dance music, general folk---he mentioned Irish folk music (gigs and reels, I guess, and ballads), Appalacchian Hill music, and bluegrass.

I don't quite know where that last comes from, but oh well.

Overall, it was fun.

Zeynep Dilli

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