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Luckers

Thisguy's Topic on Brandon's Work

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i understand the criticism that luckers and others feel about BS' writing, i just disagree with their conclusion. i think that he did an excellent job of finishing the story. i can go for a hundred and sometimes two hundred pages without something in the scene reminding me that it wasn't RJ who wrote it. i think that he carried all of the major scenes very well, and that it is unreasonable to expect or demand more from him. unfortunately RJ died before he could finish it, but i don't understand why some think that team jordan should have gotten a different author. I don't think that any author could have written books as scrutinised as these and not had small discrepencies show up in them. minor issues<good storytelling = good job

Edited by sumquy

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Look at that, I remembered my oooooold account password. I think that when I last posted several years ago, I was defending (to popular horror) the Seanchan as a society which is overly condemned (though obviously problematic), so I guess I am drawn to unpopular positions!

 

I logged back in here on a whim after reading the pre-release material, to re-engage a bit to while away the pre-release time and I was surprised by how down this forum seemed on the new books from what I remember. As I have actually really enjoyed watching BS continue to improve with every book he writes (contrast the first mistborn with some of his more recent stuff!) and enjoy his books in general, I had a couple of questions about criticism. Apologies for not wading in and finding them myself. My main question is whether or not we have simply moved past recognizing the ways that BS is much better writer than RJ, and instead are focusing on the ways in which he is clearly worse, which would explain some of the negativity.

 

To whit, would the local BS detractors (especially Luckers and Suttre) agree that Sanderson is (as a starting point)

--Better at the female voice, in general

--Considerably better at action sequences (tactically, in particular--as in small fights and battles)

--Excellent at pacing and at solving narrative problems (my biggest RJ beef)

--killing his darlings--nobody likes the circus as much as RJ does

 

even as he is worse at:

--rigid detail conformity (at least in this series, small continuity errors, small but noticable diction ones, Aiel in particular--remains to be seen with his own stuff)

--dry and subtle wit

--unreliable narrators (as in, writing them--this is really the key to Matt's character I have always thought--his humor is situation and dramatic--he says he is retreating while rushing into battle, etc.--but it is played totally straight and Matt never knows. Nynaeve is the other one, but BS does a better job with her (and RJ a worse job), so that is more of a wash).

--show don't tell

 

Because that is kind of the breakdown as I see it. What I really would have loved to see is a collaboration between the two authors, whereby RJ outlines, BS edits the outline (cutting, say, half), RJ writes the books, BS punches them up (is there a more under-appreciate skill than the punch-up guy?). Also BS get's first crack at Egwene (at least) and Perrin...maybe darth Rand.

 

At a certain point (if I am right), how frustrated or happy you are will depend on how much you value the first list or the second, I would think.

 

Random topic, I know. But hello to all you folks if you happen to remember me!

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Another solid post from Dom over at Theoryland. Great take on how screwed the structure and timeline are whilealso touching on all the filler Brandon has added in. Wish more people would go into detail when discussing likes/dislikes such as this. Yes I know it is long but it's worth it, thanks to Sid for bringing it to my attention...

 

Dom

I disagree with both your specific examples, those two scenes had their importance, and both likely came from RJ's outline (the symbolic association between Rand and apples goes back to the first chapter of EOTW. Tam grows fine apples, and turns them into the finest brandy (spirit of the apple) around. Tam's brandy has to be used with moderation, it can drive "sick and insane", however, used right, it makes you come back to your senses. Both the metaphors surfaced in the series. Mat and Rand once went crazy sick on Tam's brandy, and once RJ had the usually sensible Marin "taken by the dragon" and given a shot of brandy to return her to her unflappable self. In a sequence of LTT's youth memories, orchards appear again.

 

First, walking down the mountain and reaching Tar Valon going through the fields, seeing first hand the effects of his darkness, resonated strongly. It's with simple symbolism like this RJ added depth and mythologic relevance to a series that's hardly a deep psychological work. Show, don't tell. It's there, for the readers who care for such things, for the others it's Rand walking through fields, and that it reflects deep changes in Rand is not hammered on the head.

 

Tam and his orchard and brandy are the symbolic image for the character development that the difference between Rand and LTT was that this time he had been raised better. Beyond aspects such as mirroring the DO's powers and the "dragon is one with the land" etc., the scene in which Rand's mere presence makes apples grow and ripe "magically" is symbolic of his first step of his adulthood. Like Tam he can now grow apples and work to turn them into fine brandy. He's ready for fatherhood etc. It symbolized the epiphany and its success. This orchard was also meant to be a symbolic return to Rand's roots, which was parallelled for each character around the epiphany timeline: Egwene had gone back to being a serving girl, and was brought back to the Tinkers she met in EOTW, an encounter that had brought back her spririts and optimism. Mat was brought back to his trickster roots (the badger scene, and his tricking of the Finns) and Perrin realized he was at once king, leader husbdan and master-blacksmith.

 

As for the face-off between Rand and the Amyrlin, that was momenteous and long-planned (Elaida had foreseen it). The impact of the scene was diluted, I think, because this was probably supposed to be THE scene in which Rand relinquished his "earthly/political" power. He's no longer sees himself as some kind of Emperor above the rulers, he's the Champion of the Light at their side, their guide for the LB, not their king. Rand had understood that he couldn't be the dictator LTT had become in the WOS, in that scene he gave up all contention to be the leader of Aes Sedai (and Asha'man), acknowledged who Egwene was genuinely and voluntarily, and it was also a call for her to step up and fill the traditional political role the Amyrlin Seat.

 

However, I fully agree Brandon largely "killed" the feeling of urgency, IMHO it just didn't happen by having scenes such as this.

 

RJ had inflicted COT us, then sped things up in KOD in order to get all his ducks exactly aligned for AMOL. In order to keep a promise about a deadline that should never have been promised in the first place, Brandon convinced Harriet he could shuffle all the ducks around and come up with a first book for the promise date. He made a big mistake, and it's my main grievance with his work on the series.

 

RJ had planned a sudden and no doubt shorter spiraling into darkness and stagnation, tying everything into one big and ever tightening knot. AMOL was to have a intensely frustrating first act, where we would have wanted to slap sense into the characters quite a few times. Rand was entering the realm of Graendal who had orders to drive him insane with frustration. He had Semirhage as prisoner, dealt with that frustratingly - the readers having in mind the errors of Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene with Moghedien. Etc.

 

That storyline wasn't bad, but it was too long for the spiraling effect RJ had in mind. Too many episodes, too many POV switches to Egwene's storyline, too many Aviendha chapters (RJ never felt the need to give her a full POV cycle, and she didn't need one in TGS. Typically, we would have seen her punished and avoiding Rand through other eyes (Min's Rand's), and later we'd finally get her POV explaining what it was about, and sending her to Rhuidean.)

 

Egwene's storyline was "worse". It's mostly RJ, Brandon told us, but it's also mostly first draft RJ, and RJ diluted and stretched to accomodate changes Brandon made to the various timelines. Brandon used so many episodes with Rand, and many of those required breaks and jumps, days became weeks and weeks became months. And for all that, he didn't manage to properly use Graendal and Aran'gar as background threat as RJ had set up in KOD. RJ's set up was that Graendal got orders from Moridin to drive Rand insane with frustration but that Graendal's ally Aran'gar was a false one, planning to interfere with Graendal's network of agents to get Rand killed. LTT memories expected Graendal-style schemes, but there was dangerous/unpredictable interference by Aran'gar... Nothing came out of that, Graendal's schemes to fulfill her mission from Moridin remained disappointingly undeveloped.

 

Brandon's "loose" Rand storyline pushed the meeting with Tuon way forward on the calendar, and thus Egwene's story had to follow this timeline as well if Brandon was to have his Seanchan attack in the book. RJ had made a hugely surprising compromise with his usual storytelling in KOD, with his "Egwene super chapter" that summarized well her captivity. Brandon wasted that by returning to step by step storytelling, which seriously undermined the effect of gloom and doom and lost of control. RJ had even tied his hands with Elaida's dinner by announcing its timeline, Brandon found a way around this by having two dinners (that's not speculative, he said he split the scene), the events happening with RJ during the sole dinner now happening much later at the second dinner. Again, this speaks of RJ planning a more succinct yet more exciting, dramatic and suspenseful Egwene arc. She had her first big moment in the first punishment scene, then she went to the dinner full of clever intentions and midway she lost control and failed, and Elaida got beserk, in front of Meidani, who reported this to the Sitters/BA hunters. Egwene ended up in a cell, unable to achieve anything anymore yet refusing to be rescued. Siuan's frustration was mounting fast, the KOD set up with Lelaine played out far more dramatically and urgently with Egwene in much bigger trouble. Meanwhile the envoys to the BT left, again with a feeling of doom as Pevara's arc had begun where it belonged chronologically, following on the epilogue scene in KOD. To add to frustration, Logain had been left in Tear by Rand, useless to anything.

 

Instead, Brandon turned this into a storyline advancing like a snail, with many gaps serving no dramatic purpose except accommodating a stretched out Rand storyline. And we got repetitive scenes of Egwene talking to sisters to fill it up - taking months to achieve slowly what she was to have weeks at most to do, before Elaida decided to execute her. And Brandon used mostly just the core events RJ had drafted, apparently not seeing fit to actually flesh out the absent side events RJ had no yet created, that he used to add to the core only in later drafts... Lelaine's blackmail of Siuan barely played out, the fact Lelaine (obviously) maneged to get included among the embassy all the women (but Siuan/Sheriam) she had identified as secretely oath sworn to Egwene wasn't even mentionned until the final events of the storyline, when Lelaine's scheming to replace Egwene was no longer relevant. What a dramatic flair... That was supposed to serve to show us Lelaine was moving for the Seat and fast, and had just deprived Egwene of all the pawns she could move from captivity on the rebel political board but Siuan and Sheriam... but the necessary reveal of Lelaine as the (new) Blue Ajah Head to increase one more notch her authority on Siuan/Sheriam was pushed.. to the Glossary. That should have left Egwene with only one solution, and it was to come clean to Romanda and make an alliance with her to forestall Lelaine, yet another thing there were seeds for in Romanda's KOD POV but that Brandon didn't use. Romanda would have been angry and reluctant, adding the dimension that she may or not go along, and if not there was now another woman scheming to remove Egwene.

 

In the meantime, more and more Sitters and important sisters came to visit Egwene in her cell, Elaida was spiraling like Rand into darkness and insanity. Visits would have included Meidani (with a variant of the contact between Egwene and BA hunters, coming to investigate the dinner incident and what exactly Elaida had done as that suggested that after all Elaida might be BA...) and Alviarin (RJ had her go to Silviana as a plot device to bring her in contact with Egwene... Brandon wasted that), perhaps even an intriguing visit by Danelle - providing the important "oh shit, She really is Mesaana. What is she up to now?" factor. Instead we got a slow-mo and boring Lelaine half-hearted plot that didn't provide its desired effect, envoys gone forever without anyone too worried, a misplaced Pevara storyline diluted by having skipped a book after the KOD epilogue scene, Romanda (revealed as level-headed, skeptical but essentially loyal and genuinely concerned with the future of the Tower by her KOD POV) simply went back to pre-POV personality, and barely appeared. The rest of the rebel AS but Siuan simply vanished from the plot. Egwene had the Head of the Black Ajah and a nasty Forsaken near her, and yet that whole threat was completely pushed under the carpet, as the threat set up by Alviarin closing on the BA hunt and motivated by the DO's Hand in person was discarded, the last nail in the coffin of credibility... Alviarin spending well over a month after Talene vanished without dealing with the Sitters she identified as controlling Talene? No way.

 

All this because Brandon didn't manage to write a tight enough Rand storyline, delaying the meeting at Falme and thus forcing Egwene's story to finish a few weeks later that that, in time for the Seanchan attack. That also created another problem... the natural dramatic spot for Aviendha's Rhuidean vision #2 was right before Rand meets Tuon, when the odds of a real "Peace of the Dragon" was real and imminent. Brandon instead have Aviendha an arc and delayed her departure... because she couldn't return until Merrilor.

 

So TGS completely messed the alignment of RJ's ducks, and was made even heavier by including completely useless Perrin/Mat "prequels" of Brandon's invention.

 

It's pretty clear Jordan's first Mat scene is the one in the bar in Caemlyn. Surprise... Mat's already there, and he's got a mysterious letter, and still has not met Elayne, then the gholam attacks.

 

Then as the plot progressed, we learned Verin provided travelling and the letter is from her, and Mat has made promises about it to her. Intriguing, very intriguing.

 

Then Mat finally met Elayne and put the dragon scheme in motion. He dealt with the gholam, met Brigitte and then he was ready to leave for Ghenji.

 

It was... an ultra compact storyline, one in which we had the explanation for why Mat wouldn't leave Caemlyn until a certain date, and yet one in which RJ could simply make ellipses as nothing happened.. Mat was just...waiting. Rand was falling in darkness and seemed to desperately need Moiraine, Egwene was in a cell and perhaps about to be executed and yet Mat was just... waiting. The effect of frustration could be increased by delaying the reveal about his promise to Verin, leaving us with little to figure out why Mat was taking his time like this... There was a whole "Verin has delayed Mat for X days with a letter when it's becoming urgent he does some things... Why, oh why.. Shit.. she's not BA, is she?" factor playable in there. But no... again we got a stretched out storyline because Brandon had to live with his TGS timelines on the one hand, and because he had to get a book out of two storylines Jordan had set up to be fairly short and packing a punch in frustration and a feeling of block and stalling...

 

As it was the same with Perrin... RJ had set things up in KOD so his Asha'man could not provide travelling for weeks... just long enough to delay him until he moved to Andor. He even expedited the Masema stuff in the prologue, leaving only Galad to deal with... Perrin was stuck with over 100,000 refugees, bumped into the WC, got himself embroiled in the whole trial affair. RJ worked chronologically, so this was the opening of AMOL (thus the prologue scenes...). A first group of chapters to set things up, a return with a few more chapters later, then the resolution.

 

I'm sure the notion of dreamspike #2 and bringing Graendal in this storyline is Brandon's inventions, again to match the timelines and to expand Perrin's story to book length. Slayer was probably sent originally because of Masema's failure, to kill Perrin. Perrin sped up his training with Hopper to deal with that. Eventually that brought him in pursuit of Slayer to Tar Valon, where he bumped on Egwene's battle with BA/Mesaana, who striked not weeks after the WT reunification but on the night of Rand's epiphany. Then Perrin felt the call of the wolves on DM, witnessed the epiphany. He went back, the knot broke at the trial, he made his Hammer, fought and reached Andor. Shortish, efficient to frustrate but not over stretched and full of redundant chapters, advancing like a snail...

 

That's another casualty of a book split Brandon improvised, before finishing a first draft of the whole thing, put it all together as a book and analyzed it, worked to balance it out, spot where this needed tighening, what was missing etc.

 

He painted himself in a corner with TGS and paid for it with TOM which is an astoundingly bad novel (full of good episodes if too many, it's as a whole it's a disaster), with a structure worthy of an amateur attempting his first novel. The BT completely out of place (and chronology), characters forced to appear in two story lines several weeks apart, and out of order... Land artificially forced to advance like paralyzed snail with a procrastination syndrome, Aviendha forced to go spend weeks "meditating in the desert" after she got an urgent, terrible vision for the Aiel.. and when she finally returns it appears her "mediation" didn't do much to deepen and clear her view of things... Terrible storytelling, way below Brandon's standards.

 

The way Brandon split the material totally undermined what RJ had in mind, with the four main stories becoming dark and bugged down together, piling up to great effect on the reader, the Shadow advancing and the Light totally stuck, in the ropes. Perrin's story and Mat's story, told after the reader knew the "knot" was split open by Rand's epiphany lost much interest and purpose. The whole thing read as "they're making time before Merrilor". That Moiraine might be needed in relation to Rand's darkness stopped working as the red herring it was intended to be (to hide the fact Mat's not coming to Merrilor either, possibly). Aviendha's vision stopped making much sense.. it's not even a plan of Rand to impose a peace on everyone anymore, it was a "darkening Rand" plan from KOD Cadsuane had warned him seemed unwise and would be very impopular (a set up for Aviendha's vision right before Rand met Tuon). Having the epiphany happen in TGS was bad enough (ideally the book wouldn't have been split, but the next best thing to stay closer to the intended dramatic effect was to end it on the Seanchan attack and Rand vanishing from Tear...) , but Brandon made it worse by opening TOM with the announcement of Merrilor and in a month. Again that was done to match the timelines Brandon had desynchronized, and to leave room for pretty useless (and even detrimental) Egwene episodes.

 

RJ's midbook, prior to Merrilor was to pack one hell of a punch. The built up frustration lead to an explosion...The Shadow invaded the Borderlands, Rand vanished after nearly killing his father...Egwene, just released, paid for Rand's failure at Falme and got attacked by the Seanchan, Perrin was about to face a stupid trial and wouldn't be there for Rand (another red herring, but foreshadowed), Mat destroyed the gholam and left for Ghenji, the expedition made bleaker by Birgitte's last minute revelation she found no way out and died in there. Egwene reunited the Tower, destroyed the BA but Mesaana remained and would strike soon.Then the avalanche... Mat in Ghenji, Elayne rising to the Sun Throne, Rand's epiphany, Egwene defeating Mesaana, Perrin witnessing Rand and forging his Hammer, fought to save Galad and his Asha'man able to channel again left for Andor.

 

A few chapters earlier, we were heading for a wall, the Light finished as the LB started, and suddenly we landed in a wholly different book. Time had run out, Rand was fully aware of the Light's weakeness and determined to put an end to dithering. He left himself but a few days to fix what urgently needed fixing... starting by a visit to Egwene, then the Bordermen, a brief visit to AD, a face to face with Logain to put him officially at the head of the Asha'man, stepping down as their "figurehead" who hardly had been the leader he should have been to them.

 

But painted in his corner, Brandon needed Rand to give Egwene a whole month to do what she had the resources to do in a week. A mere week before he broke the seals. The month is another thing that ended up diluting the little that was left of the feeling of urgency and the drama. Rand feels pulled to the break the seals and move for SG and yet he goes and gives Egwene a month before Merrilor. That's a month of useless side events with Bloodknives and scenes that suddenly turned a side player RJ used sparingly into a main player (Gawyn, of course), a month of Tuon doing nothing, a month of Rand doing not much (leading readers to now expect several crucial things have happened in the interim with Rand, or with Logain. Newsflash: there will be none.) A month for Egwene to take her time for meetings, a month for filler material like Nynaeve's test (it's not important, the important event was Elayne managing to dither. It's a set up for the soon to happen clash between Elayne and the WT. It's part of the Manetheren variant surrounding Elayne... the Band, her city in flames, her armies far from home, her planning actions aimed at the rescue of her people... the Hall, playing Testuan's role, will countermand Egwene's orders to send the armies to Andor. For the crisis to play out, I suspect it's important Elayne is not yet raised and Oath bound, that she can deny the Hall authority since they don't consider her AS yet. Denied by her allies (Rand, Egwene, Aviendha won't help except with rescue/evacuation) Elayne's going to unwittingly make an alliance with the sole ruler offering to help her fight the Shadow around Caemlyn: Roedran of Murandy. His price: Elayne will come with her armies, her new miraculous weapons, her channelers should Murandy face a Seanchan attack. Elayne will enter this pact secure in her belief the Seanchan are being dealt with by Mat and they won't attack Murandy, let alone during the LB... but Demandred will make very sure this attack comes. He will provoke an invasion by attacking the armies at his borders, and Fortuona might give him his battle, seing this as a virtually risk-less practice campaign to train her troops and generals to use the new found Travelling ability before she moves for bigger preys.... Demandred loves his proxy wars.. but he won't foresee what's coming for him, and the Band and Elayne : the Prince of Ravens. Following a "running gag", either Mat will save Elayne's ass, or it's the time she will save his. It's Mat who will bring Elayne "back into the fold".

 

Read as Brandon wrote them it's not as obvious, but a very good exercise is to read TGS/TOM in parallel, the chapters in chunks, more in the style of the late-series, and following more or less the chronology. It's extremely apparent when one does this how slow and bloated and full of misplaced and redundant scenes TGS and TOM are. It's better than reading TGS and TOM in succession (TOM as it stands is barely readable, IMO) but it's still very clunky - but at least you see better there was the first 2/3 of a very good WOT book in there, just one needing a lot of streamlining, cuts and polishing to become great. And the sad thing is that Brandon's novels are a fair indication he's capable of having achieved that, but the price would have been to have the guts to delay release of the first volume until Brandon was done drafting AMOL at least until Merrilor, and could look at the whole, trim the fat, optimize everything, and then decide how best to publish it, as one huge book or two volumes, with a few months apart if necessary for publishing considerations. It would not have solved other problems, but it would have solved what's the essential one for me: a very bad call on how to divide the material, sacrificing storytelling to meet an artificial self-imposed deadline. The mess wasn't so apparent with TGS, which stood well as one book, or did until TOM brought to light what the full story was really supposed to have been.

Edited by Suttree

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Just to add something for clarity here.

There's a 10 minute Afterword that comes with the tGS Audio book of a Q&A with BS at release which there is also a video of here:

!

 

Should clear much of the nonsense that RJ could of done it, or more importantly, been allowed to do it in 2 or even 1 book. (starts at about the 6 minute mark)

Edited by Finnssss

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Just to add something for clarity here.

There's a 10 minute Afterword that comes with the tGS Audio book of a Q&A with BS at release which there is also a video of here:

!

 

Should clear much of the nonsense that RJ could of done it, or more importantly, been allowed to do it in 2 or even 1 book. (starts at about the 6 minute mark)

 

I understand you have strong feelings but no need to attempt to discredit one viewpoint by calling it "nonsense" especially considering you are giving us no new info here. It could have been done in two volumes say TFoH size. Many people both here and at TL(Dom etc) have been writing detailed posts showing their reasoning and highlighting the filler(which I have yet to see morethan a couple people even attempt to dispute from an opposing view). Those type of posts deserve far more than the offhanded dismissal above.

Edited by Suttree

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So far Brandon has done a terrific job. WoT is a such a long and epic series, you cannot expect any author to come in and replace Jordan and all the fans to love it. AMOL, we will have to RAFO.

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Just to add something for clarity here.

There's a 10 minute Afterword that comes with the tGS Audio book of a Q&A with BS at release which there is also a video of here:

!

 

Should clear much of the nonsense that RJ could of done it, or more importantly, been allowed to do it in 2 or even 1 book. (starts at about the 6 minute mark)

 

I understand you have strong feelings but no need to attempt to discredit one viewpoint by calling it "nonsense" especially considering you are giving us no new info here. It could have been done in two volumes say TFoH size. Many people both here and at TL(Dom etc) have been writing detailed posts showing their reasoning and highlighting the filler(which I have yet to see morethan a couple people even attempt to dispute from an opposing view). Those type of posts deserve far more than the offhanded dismissal above.

 

tFoH was about 350k

tGS was about 300k

Tom was about 325k

aMoL is est to be about 360k

 

I find it very hard to believe that 25%-30% of the material could have been removed to get it the size that is being suggested.

Furthermore, these predictions are being made when less than 70% of the total material has even been released yet.

 

Now, if the number being presented was closer to around a much more reasonable 10% cut...even that would still leave it around 900k and a choice of 3 300K books or 2 massive 450k books and certainly not any where close to the tFoH 350k that is being suggested. Especially considering that not everyone agrees that the material being cited for cut was unneeded or bad.

 

It's not even that I am in total disagreement either. The thing that weighs much more heavily on me and what is really annoying me about it all, is the way it's being presented as a sky is falling kinda thing despite...

 

A) The series was supposed to be a trilogy in the first place...13 books later....

and..

B) IMO there is an even better and more supported argument that aPoD, WH and Cot could of been knocked down to 2 books and that was RJ writting them. So BS is far from the only author in this series that might be guilty of including more than is nessassary.

 

I see absolutely no credible evidence to support the notion that RJ would of been able to cut it back so much. Maybe RJ doesn't include certain scenes that BS did but at the same time, I completely believe that the material left would of been longer if written by RJ. So it would of balanced out in the end.

A fact IMO, that has been conviently ignored in most of these "we could cut 30% and only have 2 350k books" predictions..

Edited by Finnssss

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As far as I recall the estimates ranged from 750-900k. Keep in mind that was at a time where they were still spinning damage control from the split as well.

 

As an aside don't think I've ever seen anyone disagree with the fact that RJ should have cut some of those books. To me it comes down to the direction he was heading with KoD and where we were in the story arc. One also has to distinguish between long winded and filler.

Edited by Suttree

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As far as I recall the estimates ranged from 750-900k. Keep in mind that was at a time where they were still spinning damage control from the split as well.

 

BS was quoted that RJ had it oulined at about 900k.

 

As an aside don't think I've ever seen anyone disagree with the fact that RJ should have cut some of those books. To me it comes down to the direction he was heading with KoD and where we were in the story arc. One also has to distinguish between long winded and filler.

 

Just like one has to distinguish between extreme exaggeration and refusal to admit there's anything wrong at all.

 

There's middle ground here(and where I think I am to be honest) but as long as one side is adopting, what imo, is an extremeist view. It doesn't give the other side much choice but to also adopt an equally extremeist view to the opposite.

 

I am no more going to agree with the people saying it could be cut to the size of 2 tFoH's than I am that nothing could or should have been cut.

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As far as I recall the estimates ranged from 750-900k. Keep in mind that was at a time where they were still spinning damage control from the split as well.

 

BS was quoted that RJ had it oulined at about 900k.

 

As an aside don't think I've ever seen anyone disagree with the fact that RJ should have cut some of those books. To me it comes down to the direction he was heading with KoD and where we were in the story arc. One also has to distinguish between long winded and filler.

 

Just like one has to distinguish between extreme exaggeration and refusal to admit there's anything wrong at all.

 

There's middle ground here(and where I think I am to be honest) but as long as one side is adopting, what imo, is an extremeist view. It doesn't give the other side much choice but to also adopt an equally extremeist view to the opposite.

 

I am no more going to agree with the people saying it could be cut to the size of 2 tFoH's than I am that nothing could or should have been cut.

 

The difference being one side has consistently explained their reasoning in detailed posts while the other has mainly railed against fellow posters(not including you in that). Also for the record based on TGS an ToM I believe 20% could have been cut without breaking a sweat.

Edited by Suttree

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The difference being one side has consistently explained their reasoning in detailed posts while the other has mainly railed against fellow posters(not including you in that). Also for the record based on TGS an ToM I believe 20% could have been cut without breaking a sweat.

 

You realise that cutting 20% from ToM and tGS would only be 12.5% of the total material ;)

And it's doubtful that you will find 20% to cut from aMoL considering that the last what, 15-20% is all RJ's ending. I think you will be hard pressed to find 10% of aMoL cuttable, leaving you at about 15-16% of the total material.

 

At the end of the day(after aMoL is released) if you wanted to argue 15% total, I could at least see where you're coming from but the 30% that is being suggested...no, sorry, that's is indeed nonsense IMO.

Edited by Finnssss

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The difference being one side has consistently explained their reasoning in detailed posts while the other has mainly railed against fellow posters(not including you in that). Also for the record based on TGS an ToM I believe 20% could have been cut without breaking a sweat.

 

You realise that cutting 20% from ToM and tGS would only be 12.5% of the total material ;)

And it's doubtful that you will find 20% to cut from aMoL considering that the last what, 15-20% is all RJ's ending. I think you will be hard pressed to find 10% of aMoL cuttable, leaving you at about 15-16% of the total material.

 

At the end of the day(after aMoL is released) if you wanted to argue 15% total, I could at least see where you're coming from but the 30% that is being suggested...no, sorry, that's is indeed nonsense IMO.

 

Why I said without "breaking a sweat". No but seriously the real thing too look at here is there are numerous people that you know well from the forums(and in turn know they have studied the material as much as anyone) and they are seeing the same issues on this topic. Now we can quibble over the exact amount that could be cut but at the end of the day the base issue remains. Further it is exasperated by the lack of polished prose. I firmly believe most people would be more willing to put up with some of these problems if the quality had stayed at a certain level instead of being so uneven.

Edited by Suttree

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Ok, it's easy then. What's in the first 5 Egwene TGS chapters we have to keep? (That may be less than 10% by word count, but there's plenty more to add to the list.) FYI tSR was 400k words, albeit the longest book.

 

This isn't to say that there isn't plenty to be cut/trimmed in RJ's 11.5 books either :)

 

Anyway, not entirely convinced by Dom's argument, but would certainly have preferred to read that story instead. Would post at TL, but my account was eaten in 2002 and the mods there hate me.

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Just jumped in and read the last page about what could be cut and what not. In my current reread, I think there are nearly 20 chapters covering the day of the cleansing of saidin. The last chapter of WH and so far the first 16 chapters of CoT are all covering events on that day.

 

My initial reaction to Chapter 2 Audio was that it could have achieved its purpose in half its length. For example, Aviendha's visit to Elayne's tent could have been as simple as a "memory" during her meeting with Rand, one paragraph. But that's just me!

Edited by Theodril

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I tried to explain the series to my roomate, I told him 50% of the books were descriptions of that. Any of the books could be cut down by 20% with a huge cut of "I seen her and wished I knew as much about women as Mat or Perrin".

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Just jumped in and read the last page about what could be cut and what not. In my current reread, I think there are nearly 20 chapters covering the day of the cleansing of saidin. The last chapter of WH and so far the first 16 chapters of CoT are all covering events on that day.

 

My initial reaction to Chapter 2 Audio was that it could have achieved its purpose in half its length. For example, Aviendha's visit to Elayne's tent could have been as simple as a "memory" during her meeting with Rand, one paragraph. But that's just me!

I was curious about this, and it turns out there are 15 or 16 (depending on what day chapter 28 started) total chapters that include events from the day of the Cleansing, including the one where it was detailed in WH 35. Of the 14 in CoT, eight actually mention the cleansing, five of which are Elayne's chapters, who as a channeler can feel it from beginning to end. Otherwise there's one Faile chapter where the Shaido WO's notice it, one Mat chapter and one Perrin chapter, both of whom can see images of Rand for the first time.

 

Now, people might think this is excessive reference to a single day, but I would argue that this day was among the most important days of the third age, probably the most important day to that point in 3rd age history, and it included an event that could be felt by pretty much every channeler in the world. Also it begins the phenomenon of actually seeing the other ta'veren instead of just colors when they think of each other. It would be pretty unrealistic to have people not mention something of that magnitude. It was important that the people around Rand were the ones we get to see first, for obvious reasons. The far reaching effects of it beg for other storylines to be brought up to speed immediately after that. Actually, most of the chapters that take place on that day aren't just a bunch of people sitting around reacting to the cleansing, though. It's mentioned at the end of the last of three Mat chapters, the end of the last of four Perrin chapters, and somewhere in the middle of Faile's. The biggest problem with the whole thing is that it includes the five Elayne chapters, which are considered by many the most frustrating section of any of the first eleven books. Not only do they not advance her plot a whole heck of a lot when readers are yearning for it, but they irritate due to the fact that we've already had three different PoV's of non-channelers seeing channelers react to the cleansing, and then you get a huge block of story from someone that is bonded to Rand, wants to help him, but is told that going to him would be a disaster. So yes, it's going to be in her thoughts a lot. If there was a way that those chapters could have happened the next day instead, so she could just think about what Avi told her and remember the previous day's oddities, it probably would have been a lot more bearable.

 

RJ has said before that if he could have done it over again, he'd have changed some of the structure of Crossroads of Twilight. It was definitely the weakest offering from him in the series. Things could definitely have been trimmed, but not cut completely. He got the ball rolling again with KoD, thankfully, as many threads were tied up and we were primed for the beginning of the end.

 

The problem with the books after KoD is that they wanted to 'hit a home run' with the first book, TGS. It ended on a high note, sure, with Rand's epiphany, and we all thought 'Wow, that's pretty good. Can't wait to see more.' But then with the next book you realize just how out of whack the timeline is. So much was sacrificed for Rand and Egwene to have their moments in TGS to hit that home run, and afterwards not very much makes sense. It might have been better if they caught everyone up to Rand/Egwene before they had the 'apples first' and 'the amyrlin's anger', but Rand ended up having 5 chapters and Egwene 6 before Perrin and the wolves witnessed Rand's epiphany from T'A'R. Then five of the next 6 of Perrin's chapters also have Egwene PoV's, and they somehow catch up to each other in the last two, even though Egwene had a 6 chapter head start on him. The structure of ToM is maddening. You don't have any sense of what's happening when, and people still can't figure out where the black tower is even with two mentions in the AMoL material.

 

RJ hit a big home run at the cleansing by having Rand's group get a day ahead of the others and then bit the bullet to get everyone caught up, giving us some of the weaker sections of his story, but it got things stabilized and ready to move forward. Brandon hit his home run by having Rand/Egwene jump about a week or two (or who knows how long, really) ahead of other principle characters, and then didn't bother to get everyone else up to speed after the WT Seanchan Attack/Veins of Gold before going on with Rand and Egwene again, so everything is convoluted. But even had he caught everyone up, like Dom mentions, the urgency of the other storylines is very much diminished since we already know Rand is on the correct path, even though he isn't yet during their scenes. It's just really disappointing.

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I agree with Sid about the cleansing scene - in none of the pov chapters was it just about the cleansing (other than the people present at the time) and I think it worked as a timeline mark in the story, plus it was a huge event that every channeler in Randland would notice. And there are structural issues with ToM, which seem to be repeated in Chapter 2 (which I still haven't managed to listen to all the way through due to shoddy internet connection), but it doesn't make a lot of sense to have the BT storyline interspersed with FoM as the two timelines are so out of sync, nor did their seem to be any storyline overlap for the split to make sense (as I said haven't listened to most of the Avi bit, so I may be wrong). It would have been really good if the BT could have been moved back to ToM.

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A) The series was supposed to be a trilogy in the first place...13 books later....

 

I know Brandon said that in the video you linked to, but RJ himself denied that.

 

HF: The number of projected volumes has gradually grown as the story has progressed...

 

Jordan: Well, in a way yes, in a way no. When I went to my publisher in the first place, I said, "This is at least three or four books. It could be five or six. I don't know." I knew it was going to be long, but I didn't know how long it was going to be. I'm always optimistic about how much story I can cram into a certain number of pages. So we did a six-book contract. At first people were saying this would be a trilogy, and I'd say "No, no, no." But people kept saying that. And by the time the fourth book came out, people admitted that it wasn't going to be a trilogy. It's going to be more than eight books. I'm a lot closer to the end than to the beginning; there's not anywhere near the same number of books to come. But I refuse to suggest even a number now.

Edited by sleepinghour

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I think by these standards, this series could have been accomplished in 2 books if you cut out talk of dresses, baths, angry badgers, dicing, descriptions of sea folk ships, Tylin, maybe if the land just had one prophecy vs. 3+...

 

And conversely, if RJ was still with us, I think today we'd be anticipating a last book delivery date of somewhere between 2020-2025 and probably book 18.

 

And, also, to paraphase some of the emotions I've read,

 

"I want these books to be an exact replica of RJ's work and style. But it needs to be non-stop action packed. Any deviant scenes which feel like filler, and are released for free, will be regarded poorly."

 

...

 

I'm someone who found KoD, WH, and PoD to be somewhat dragging....while loving tGS and LoC. I've fallen asleep many times finding myself in a quagmire of irrelevant detail among RJ's work.

 

The masterpiece was already established for me. Nothing can take away from that. Now I simply want to see the original vision completed. I've equally shaken my head at RJ's rambling style and BS' "off-tone" chapters. Both have written scenes that have titillated me or put me into a stupor.

 

Now show me how this Age is actually different than all the last. Make it come to life for me, and I will be happy :)

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"I want these books to be an exact replica of RJ's work and style. But it needs to be non-stop action packed. Any deviant scenes which feel like filler, and are released for free, will be regarded poorly."

 

I see the attempt at humor but it is quite missing the point of course. If you actually have taken the time to read through issues people have you will see that no one expects him to do as good as RJ. Further I see no one complaining about lack of action(you do realize that's not what filler means correct?) this isn't some hack n slash novel. Lastly if you think the pre release material was all written well, there really is no need to continue the discussion. They were regarded poorly for the most part because the quality of writing was a step backward from ToM even, which quite obviously is cause for alarm as even Team Jordan admits they didn't get that one right.

Edited by Suttree

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The problem with the books after KoD is that they wanted to 'hit a home run' with the first book, TGS. It ended on a high note, sure, with Rand's epiphany, and we all thought 'Wow, that's pretty good. Can't wait to see more.' But then with the next book you realize just how out of whack the timeline is. So much was sacrificed for Rand and Egwene to have their moments in TGS to hit that home run, and afterwards not very much makes sense. It might have been better if they caught everyone up to Rand/Egwene before they had the 'apples first' and 'the amyrlin's anger', but Rand ended up having 5 chapters and Egwene 6 before Perrin and the wolves witnessed Rand's epiphany from T'A'R. Then five of the next 6 of Perrin's chapters also have Egwene PoV's, and they somehow catch up to each other in the last two, even though Egwene had a 6 chapter head start on him. The structure of ToM is maddening. You don't have any sense of what's happening when, and people still can't figure out where the black tower is even with two mentions in the AMoL material.

 

I think this is actually one of the largest problems I had with ToM, though I hadn't realized it until you articulated it. TGS ended with a bang - an eloquent statement of redemption on two fronts. We were pumped; it was obviously the end of times; the Last Battle was here.

 

Except, in ToM, it wasn't. We piddled around doing other things, trying to catch up on what everyone else was doing. That momentum that was gathered during VoG was squandered, as we coasted back to a more leisurely pace. I can completely understand that this is in large part because of the split. I regret, however, the decision to split the material for AMoL thematically, as opposed to chronologically. I would much rather have had a slow but powerful build to a final climax than have that climax lose its power by being split in three.

 

That's largely my problem with the released portions of AMoL as well. Aviendha sneaking around? Androl and Pevara getting into a philosophical argument about the fate of the Red Ajah? Aren't we beyond that by now? The small folk are all heading to the Last Battle; our heroes are converging. Isn't it time to be bringing out the really big narrative guns?

 

Edit: As I reread Sutt's post ahead of mine, I feel compelled that it's not action I strictly speak of here, but the sense of foreboding, of impending doom, of *cough* the calm before the storm that is largely missing due to the structuring of the three novels.

Edited by arianrose

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Sanderson and Tor simply couldn't afford to structure TGS differently. It had to end with a bang and with some of the major storylines completed, otherwise too many fans, who were already getting tired of the slow pace and what they saw as nothing major happening, and who had doubts over the new author taking over, would've given up on the series. Another setup book was simply not an option IMO.

 

BTW, the last time I felt any real urgency in this series was in TDR. Then Jordan went another way and never looked back.

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Suttree - It was a joke of a paraphase ,which you acknowledge, and then you parse it? It was deliberately over the top man - but your replying to it as a serious commentary is a good reflection of the mindset I was (gently) mocking.

 

If you don't see anyone complaining about the lack of action (and by action I mean every scene must have major forward movement in the storyline - i.e. plot action) - then you haven't been reading the same threads I have.

 

People don't expect it to be as good as RJ, but then measure against RJ. They also don't step back and realize how much of RJ's quirks they no longer deal with in comparison.

 

I liked MOST of Chapter One. Chapter Two rang poorly with me, but it was in an audio format so who knows - and it was loose connective tissue. Mat's chapter I thought was decently written - parts that were stupid, parts that jarred, but overall gave a nice big step to his plotline in terms of where he's at, what he's doing, and what his emotional state/mission is right now.

 

I thought the prologue was pretty darn good even though it didn't read like RJ's style to me.

 

So yeah, I'm mixed. But then again, there is a reason this stuff is released early. As long as the core content is solid, I htink we'll all survive :)

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People don't expect it to be as good as RJ, but then measure against RJ. They also don't step back and realize how much of RJ's quirks they no longer deal with in comparison.

 

This is quite simply not true. It's never been about being as good as RJ, it's about being as good as Brandon can be and that is what people have an issue with. From that last Dom post for instance...

 

"And the sad thing is that Brandon's novels are a fair indication he's capable of having achieved that,"

 

As for RJ's quirks those have been discussed and critiqued for years and years here and at TL. Everyone is very much aware of them. Around CoT the mood on these sights was at least as (if not more) negative than what we are currently seeing. This is quite simply where we are with the release of new materials. Obviously those are going to be the current topic. You have been around long enough to remember those old RJ discussions. Again I think it comes down to how much each individual values polished prose. If something is written well and immersive there is a group that will be more willing to overlook quirks.

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