Here is an old audio clip of Robert Jordan speaking to a crowd of fans at a signing in Toronto, during the 2003 tour of Crossroads of Twilight. Though relatively short, this clip is amazing to hear. Mr. Jordan obviously had a flair when speaking to a group, and his humor really gets the gathered fans going. The audio quality is not the sharpest, but the transcript—compiled by three fans, Rose Kraftick, Michael Seefeldt, and Canute Peterson—is posted as well.
Writers are certainly fascinating creatures, and of no one is this more true than tonight’s author Robert Jordan. Born James Oliver Rigney, Jr. He has a degree in physics, is a veteran of the Vietnam War, is a history buff, has written dance and theater criticism, and he collects pipes. The website didn’t specify which kind. I’m going to assume it’s the ubiquitous pipe.
He began his writing career with historical, with historical fantasy sagas using the pseudonym Reagan O’Neal and he’s since written under a number of pseudonyms including the one we’re all interested in tonight, Robert Jordan.
As Robert Jordan our esteemed guest. Sorry. As Robert Jordan, our esteemed guest is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling fantasy series The Wheel of Time, which began in 1990 with the publication of The Eye of the World. Since then he has published nine novels in the series, including the just published Crossroads of Twilight.
Typically accorded the same respect as J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan’s writing has been described as distinguished, finely-tuned, definitive, intelligent, lyrical, panoramic, vivid, intricate, and compelling. Please give a warm welcome to Robert Jordan.
What kind of pipes, my dear? The usual kind of pipes. Three inch, four inch, six inch, PVC, elbow joints, you know, that sort of thing. No, the pipes or that, uh, soon to be illegal substance tobacco. I’m a packrat. I collect pipes, and (unintelligible), and paintings, and walking sticks, and antique swords, and antique daggers, and ah, just about every other bloody thing that I could think to take a liking to, so as I said, a packrat.
Now, I’m not going to speak very long because I will quickly bore you and I hate the sight of a crowd going to sleep. I will begin by answering a few questions that you haven’t asked yet. But you will. You will, my dears, if I let you come down here, without answering them, half of you will ask these questions.
So I will answer.
The woman’s name is Nigh-neeve (Nynaeve). It’s Egg-wayn (Egwene). Not Egg-ween, and NOT Egg-weenie. Eggwayn. Sigh-deen (saidin). Sigh-dahr (saidar). Shawn-chahn (Seanchan). Tell-ahrahn-ree-odd (tel’aran’rhiod) Kigh-ree-ehn (Cairhien) Ah-vee-end-uh (Aviendha) Figh-eel (Faile) Eyes Suhd-eye (Aes Sedai) Swan San chey (Siuan Sanche). Okay? Okay.
Now, hmm. Who killed Asmodean? Someone has deduced exactly who killed Asmodean, using the evidence that I have presented in the books. Well the surprise is in Crossroads of Twilight, it’s there. This shows it can be done. I have not told that person that they presented me with a correct deduction. I insist that it is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer and besides, I enjoy watching you squirm. How I delight.
Oh, let’s see now. When is the next book coming out? Without any equivocation whatsoever, I swear to you, on my mother’s grave, and my mother is dead, so she has a grave upon which I can swear, and I do swear upon my mother’s grave that the next book will be on the shelves, in stores, very slightly after I finish writing it. And you can take that to the bank.
Now, oh yes, how many books are there going to be? Now that’s a complicated question. Because you see, the fact is, I knew the last scene of the last book about 1984. I could’ve written it then. I knew where I was going before I started writing The Eye of the World. I started writing The Eye of the World thinking I was going to write five or perhaps six, where I was telling everybody they were novels but I knew I was writing five or six parts of a novel, and taking a little bit of a chance doing it. But, uh, problem was that I was over optimistic about how much of the story I could fit in any one volume. So, I remember the announcement that Tor Books had issued a fourth volume of The Wheel of Time Trilogy, well we’ve now gotten to the tenth volume of The Wheel of Time trilogy, and there are going to be at least two more books. I cannot finish it in fewer than two, I’m not certain that I can actually finish it in two because I know exactly what has to happen between now and that last scene. Those of you who think you know what has to happen, don’t be too sure, because I mean to resolve the major plotlines, I mean to resolve some of the minor plotlines, but I intend to leave other minor plotlines hanging.
I’ve always hated reaching the end of a book or trilogy – happens most often in fantasy, but it does happen other places – you reach the end of a trilogy and all of the major characters’ problems are solved, all of the minor characters’ problems are solved, all of the city’s problems are solved, all of the nation’s problems are solved, all of the world’s problems are solved and there isn’t any juice left in any of it. It’s squeezed dry and I for one find myself wanting to put it on a shelf, set a bell jar over it to keep the dust off.
Well, I’m going to give you an ending that has minor plotlines simply abandoned in mid-course, so that you have it in your head the story is over but the world is still out there kicking. The peoples’ stories haven’t ended, just this one. And I’m going to do something meaner than that. In the last scene of the last book, I am going to set a hook, and the unwary among you will say “Ah, he’s setting us up for the sequels,” but I’m not. That hook is going to be exactly the same thing. The major characters will have completed this story, but their lives won’t be over. They have a lot of life left to live. I just don’t intend to write about it, that’s all.
Now, ah, I think I’ve answered most of the frequently asked questions, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to slip over there, and then sit down, and then somebody, I hope to God, is going to arrange you in some order and file you up here for me to sign books.
Edited by Mashiara Sedai