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Thisguy's Topic on Brandon's Work


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I'm going to take the "on the fence" position. While I really hate reading a thread theory and being blind sided by a critique on Brandons work it is for the most part justified.I just wish those wanting to post something critical of Brandon leave it in "critical of X" threads. Or at least try and make them exclusively in those type of threads Being 13 books in, I want to see the end of this series and all the plots, for the most part wrapped up. I'm willing to take a dip in quality to see this end. From the beginning I told myself that this will not be the same writing you are used to, and having zero experience with Sandersons work has kept the bar low for me.Another thing that helps me is knowing that RJ and Brandon are quite different,both as writers and in life experiences. One grew up in the American South and the other in the midWest of America.One has seen war and the other does battle on field of Magic: The Gathering. All of this for me, helps makes sense of some of Brandons creative choices.

 

The only character that has successfully taken me out of the story is Mat. I could barely make it through his chapters in TGS when I read it the FIRST time and when I did a re read I skipped all but the Hinderstrap chapters. I thought Brandon improved in ToM but Mat was still off to me. Despite my mixed feelings on the chapter 11 release I still hold out hope for Mat in AMoL. Everyone else has been within the sphere of toleration for me, and while some of the dialogue has been rough I've enjoyed the last two books immensely. Specially the transformation of Rand and Perrin.

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Anyway, no one should be surprised that complaints on a forum outnumber praise: more people prefer to pick out the things they don't like than what they do. Particularly when there's a change. If you look at RJ's own work, people complained about mistakes or offputting parts in his books well before BS took over - its just the way hardcore readers react. The things that jar them and make them forget that they are enmeshed in a world are the things that they make note of and talk about. Don't take it too seriously.

I think it might also be more interesting to talk about what we don't care for, and to hash out why we feel this way. I may not post much, but I'm an avid reader of this board, and I skip past posts that don't consist of much more than "yay! Loved it!" Where we disagree tends to be the interesting part. For example, when someone holds the same theory I do, I tend to just nod my head and read on. When someone presents a theory I disagree with, I examine my own thoughts, refute or rebut, and occasionally even change my mind.

 

As far as Brandon's style, I'll say honestly that the little things don't bother me. Not because they're not there, but because I read *so quickly*, I tend to miss them the first time through. Then I come on the boards, read others' opinions, and think over what they've said. I think "oh, yes, Aviendha simply saying Rand *was* a bit odd."

 

(This does not apply to "dreamshard." I gave my Kindle a funny look, because that is SUCH a Brandon word. If RJ coined it, I'll laugh at the delicious irony of that, but on first blush, that took me right out. Not much does.)

 

NB: See how it might be more interesting to discuss the possible origin and meaning behind "dreamshard" that it would be to, say, discuss my opinion about any other part of the prologue that I enjoyed?

 

Edited for spelling.

Edited by arianrose
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Re-readers don't really make publishers or authors any money, because they don't buy the books twice.

 

I've probably bought between 30 and 40 WoT books, all for me, and I've talked to many other "re-readers" who've done the same. The books fall apart when you read them too much. I've bought Crown of Swords four times. One of the times was because I dropped it in the bathtub.

 

I also don't buy the argument that 99% of the readership are happy and that B.S. is trying to please them. Most people who aren't obsessed enough to post on forums probably aren't obsessed enough to go to book signings or e-mail him. The fanbase he's hearing from is people who are getting books signed in person. People in person are much less likely to state explicitly to him how they feel about the negative things, and they're also meeting him right after the book comes out, so they still have post-release euphoria (that sounded bad). My brothers keep buying the books because they've invested so much time reading the previous books and want to know the ending. Not because they think B.S. is doing a great job.

Edited by Deadsy
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I think, from having read many of the threads containing criticism over the last few years, that the fans who are complaining about all of the criticisms, are getting fed up that people are criticising Brandon's work every time something is released, and doing so about every little thing.

 

Criticism is valid - it is the way in which readers interact with the text on a personal level. However, I do think that there are objective and subjective criticisms, and what is ticking people off is that there are some people who present both of these types of criticism as gospel. In my opinion, a very good way of evaluating criticisms made in these last three books would be to think about the criticism you are about to point out, and decide that if Robert Jordan had written the exact same thing in the exact same way, would you have voiced the criticism.

 

For example: Nynaeve being able to travel near to the Black Tower is an example of a likely objective error, as none of the Sisters or Ashaman there can travel because of the dreamspike - so yes, an error. This is perfectly valid criticism, and had RJ written it, someone would probably have pointed it out to him (and he probably would have had a reason for it).

 

Another example: I have come across people complaining about aspects of the writing, such as, Aviehdha calling Rand simply that, and not using his last name, or, an extra sentence in a paragraph that someone felt was unnecessary. These, to me, are subjective criticisms, especially the extra sentence. Had Robert Jordan written the exact same thing, I highly doubt that anyone would make such comments, but, because it wasn't Robert Jordan, and there is a ton of Brandon criticism happening, it seems that people almost jump on the bandwagon, and feel it is ok to pick out little details like this and present it as "Brandon doesn't care," or "Brandon just washed his hands of it."

 

Character tone and voicing is a bit of a grey area, since we can assume RJ would have the character tone stay the same had he written them.

 

Pointing out that there are tonnes of typos (as in ToM), should not be placed at Brandon's feet, as, the timeline was (as far as I know) not completely his call, and, editors are responsible for picking these things out.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Brandon had wanted to wash his hands of the series - after having worked on this for four years, and, after seeming to be very concerned about the reception and getting it right for the fans, to have them turn on him like rabid wolves and point out many nitpicky details, that should not be detrimental to the enjoyment of the novels - I certinainly could sympathise with it.

 

And really, I think that's what it comes down to - a gaping plot hole could cause someone to not enjoy a book, but "there's an extra sentence!" or "there's so many typos" or "this character sounds a bit off" - none of this should really stop you from enjoying the book - and if it does, perhaps you had better find something else to do. Fantasy novels are for enjoyment. Most novels in fact, are written because the author has something to say or a story to tell that he wants other people to enjoy. They are not works of art that are meant to be hung on a wall and admired because the technique is great. Very few people sit at home and think "I'm looking forward to the next Wheel of Time book because I want to see some great writing technique."

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Anyway, no one should be surprised that complaints on a forum outnumber praise: more people prefer to pick out the things they don't like than what they do. Particularly when there's a change. If you look at RJ's own work, people complained about mistakes or offputting parts in his books well before BS took over - its just the way hardcore readers react. The things that jar them and make them forget that they are enmeshed in a world are the things that they make note of and talk about. Don't take it too seriously.

I think it might also be more interesting to talk about what we don't care for, and to hash out why we feel this way. I may not post much, but I'm an avid reader of this board, and I skip past posts that don't consist of much more than "yay! Loved it!" Where we disagree tends to be the interesting part. For example, when someone holds the same theory I do, I tend to just nod my head and read on. When someone presents a theory I disagree with, I examine my own thoughts, refute or rebut, and occasionally even change my mind.

 

As far as Brandon's style, I'll say honestly that the little things don't bother me. Not because they're not there, but because I read *so quickly*, I tend to miss them the first time through. Then I come on the boards, read others' opinions, and think over what they've said. I think "oh, yes, Aviendha simply saying Rand *was* a bit odd."

 

(This does not apply to "dreamshard." I gave my Kindle a funny look, because that is SUCH a Brandon word. If RJ coined it, I'll laugh at the delicious irony of that, but on first blush, that took me right out. Not much does.)

 

NB: See how it might be more interesting to discuss the possible origin and meaning behind "dreamshard" that it would be to, say, discuss my opinion about any other part of the prologue that I enjoyed?

 

Edited for spelling.

I understand what you're saying about comments like "I love it" being banal. However, some of my favorite topics here have been the ones that point out what I DO like about the books. The mythology, language, history and folklore of our world (also the literature) that has been used by RJ to create his world. Especially, when you put it in the perspective that we are just living in an age of the turning of the wheel.

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Another example: I have come across people complaining about aspects of the writing, such as, Aviehdha calling Rand simply that, and not using his last name, or, an extra sentence in a paragraph that someone felt was unnecessary. These, to me, are subjective criticisms, especially the extra sentence. Had Robert Jordan written the exact same thing, I highly doubt that anyone would make such comments, but, because it wasn't Robert Jordan

 

The problem with this being you are referencing these as if they are isolated incidents. Neither on their own would be all that bad. But when you add up all the numerous little details that were wrong in TGS and ToM the quality suffers greatly and it is hard to immerse yourself in the world. Even more so with the extra sentence...all alone meh I could live with but you need to look at Brandon's blunt hand, his habit of not trusting the audience along with a need to announce the intentions of every character it becomes big...and yes it is lazy writing. Robert Jordan would not have written the same thing, that goes without saying.

 

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Brandon had wanted to wash his hands of the series - after having worked on this for four years, and, after seeming to be very concerned about the reception and getting it right for the fans, to have them turn on him like rabid wolves and point out many nitpicky details, that should not be detrimental to the enjoyment of the novels - I certinainly could sympathise with it.

 

:rolleyes: Hyperbole much. I know for a fact many of the fans who offered criticism(that is far from nitpicky) did so because of how much they care for the series and want to see Brandon succeed. He was given an unbelievable amount of leeway after TGS and it took numerous dissapointments for the sentiment to change. Also are you seriously suggesting it would be ok for an auhthor to cash it in because his work wasn't well received by the fans. Come one mate...seriously?

 

They are not works of art that are meant to be hung on a wall and admired because the technique is great. Very few people sit at home and think "I'm looking forward to the next Wheel of Time book because I want to see some great writing technique."

 

This is what it comes down to. Some people just care about plot gratification and the writing isn't a big deal. That is fine and there is plenty of fantasy out there to scratch that itch. Thank God for author's like Bakker however who aspire to something more.

Edited by Suttree
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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

 

The beta-readers for one and yet for some odd reason he announced he was done before they even saw the book. He didn't even use those extra months in the process we were all so excited about with AMoL to make the work better. It's the last book in the WoT, do all you can to polish things up and get it right.

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

 

The beta-readers for one and yet for some odd reason he announced he was done before they even saw the book. He didn't even use those extra months in the process we were all so excited about with AMoL to make the work better. It's the last book in the WoT, do all you can to polish things up and get it right.

I agree. Everything needed to polish it up should have been done. To be quite honest, I think RJ did far more work than most writers working with a publishing house do. Why? Because, there are mistakes through all of the books, and some are the same through all of the books. I don't understand why an editor wouldn't say to BS - "Dude, that line looks like you're saying Talmanes (or whoever said it) wants to have sex with his soldiers. It needs to be changed." I don't get it.

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

I dont think it's a matter of personal preference on most of the issues though. Some issues, yes - but others definitely not. If he gave some beta readers a selection of material to read over and 70% of them said they liked it while the remaining 30% said they didn't...well then he may not listen to the 30%. HOWEVER...if the 30% said "hey we didnt like it because you forgot Avi doesn't uses Rands last name in front of others yet, you got blood and bloody ashes wrong, Mat's humor sounds far too forced and he comes off as a clown as compared to other books, etc." then it is entirely possible he would go back through the books (if he cared enough) and see that those are valid and legitimate criticisms that he can agree with even if only a minority spotted them.

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

 

The beta-readers for one and yet for some odd reason he announced he was done before they even saw the book. He didn't even use those extra months in the process we were all so excited about with AMoL to make the work better. It's the last book in the WoT, do all you can to polish things up and get it right.

 

Wait you mean there actually WERE beta readers and the concept of beta readers wasn't something that you and others wished existed????

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

 

The beta-readers for one and yet for some odd reason he announced he was done before they even saw the book. He didn't even use those extra months in the process we were all so excited about with AMoL to make the work better. It's the last book in the WoT, do all you can to polish things up and get it right.

 

Wait you mean there actually WERE beta readers and the concept of beta readers wasn't something that you and others wished existed????

 

Yes, I believe Jason Denzel & Jennifer Liang are two. I argued for hours on this site that the delay for AMoL was positive and that this would be Brandon's best work because they were actually making a change to ensure the quality was better. Pretty surprised and disappointed back when Brandon announced he was done considering how much of the process there still was to go and there wasn't much feedback yet. Why not use all the time alloted?

 

Edit: thisguy does have a point about Team Jordan doing a better job as well.

Edited by Suttree
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I think, from having read many of the threads containing criticism over the last few years, that the fans who are complaining about all of the criticisms, are getting fed up that people are criticising Brandon's work every time something is released, and doing so about every little thing.

 

Criticism is valid - it is the way in which readers interact with the text on a personal level. However, I do think that there are objective and subjective criticisms, and what is ticking people off is that there are some people who present both of these types of criticism as gospel. In my opinion, a very good way of evaluating criticisms made in these last three books would be to think about the criticism you are about to point out, and decide that if Robert Jordan had written the exact same thing in the exact same way, would you have voiced the criticism.

 

For example: Nynaeve being able to travel near to the Black Tower is an example of a likely objective error, as none of the Sisters or Ashaman there can travel because of the dreamspike - so yes, an error. This is perfectly valid criticism, and had RJ written it, someone would probably have pointed it out to him (and he probably would have had a reason for it).

 

Another example: I have come across people complaining about aspects of the writing, such as, Aviehdha calling Rand simply that, and not using his last name, or, an extra sentence in a paragraph that someone felt was unnecessary. These, to me, are subjective criticisms, especially the extra sentence. Had Robert Jordan written the exact same thing, I highly doubt that anyone would make such comments, but, because it wasn't Robert Jordan, and there is a ton of Brandon criticism happening, it seems that people almost jump on the bandwagon, and feel it is ok to pick out little details like this and present it as "Brandon doesn't care," or "Brandon just washed his hands of it."

 

Character tone and voicing is a bit of a grey area, since we can assume RJ would have the character tone stay the same had he written them.

 

Pointing out that there are tonnes of typos (as in ToM), should not be placed at Brandon's feet, as, the timeline was (as far as I know) not completely his call, and, editors are responsible for picking these things out.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Brandon had wanted to wash his hands of the series - after having worked on this for four years, and, after seeming to be very concerned about the reception and getting it right for the fans, to have them turn on him like rabid wolves and point out many nitpicky details, that should not be detrimental to the enjoyment of the novels - I certinainly could sympathise with it.

 

And really, I think that's what it comes down to - a gaping plot hole could cause someone to not enjoy a book, but "there's an extra sentence!" or "there's so many typos" or "this character sounds a bit off" - none of this should really stop you from enjoying the book - and if it does, perhaps you had better find something else to do. Fantasy novels are for enjoyment. Most novels in fact, are written because the author has something to say or a story to tell that he wants other people to enjoy. They are not works of art that are meant to be hung on a wall and admired because the technique is great. Very few people sit at home and think "I'm looking forward to the next Wheel of Time book because I want to see some great writing technique."

 

I love this post so much. Both these forums and the readers experience of the books themselves would be so much better off with a brighter point of view like this.

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Who should have BS listened to, though? There are obviously people who like the work he's done in general, those who haven't in general, those who like this part but not that part, etc.

 

So, who should he have listened to? My guess is, he'd still end up upsetting someone or some group, either way.

 

The beta-readers for one and yet for some odd reason he announced he was done before they even saw the book. He didn't even use those extra months in the process we were all so excited about with AMoL to make the work better. It's the last book in the WoT, do all you can to polish things up and get it right.

 

Wait you mean there actually WERE beta readers and the concept of beta readers wasn't something that you and others wished existed????

 

Yes, I believe Jason Denzel & Jennifer Liang are two. I argued for hours on this site that the delay for AMoL was positive and that this would be Brandon's best work because they were actually making a change to ensure the quality was better. Pretty surprised and disappointed back when Brandon announced he was done considering how much of the process there still was to go and there wasn't much feedback yet. Why not use all the time alloted?

 

Edit: thisguy does have a point about Team Jordan doing a better job as well.

Hey, thank you, Sutt. Wanna hug it out and have a beer? ;)

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Hey, thank you, Sutt. Wanna hug it out and have a beer? ;)

 

Ha...few more hours until I'm done with work. Going straight for a Lagunitas after that. Cheers.

Edited by Suttree
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Out of curiosity, were Beta readers used on the first two books Brandon wrote???

 

Yes, and according to Brandon, Jason even warned him that Mat was off. So apparently they were told about that before TGS was even released.

 

One of the big dangers in doing what I'm doing is turning the characters into parodies of themselves, exactly as you stated. This is kind of the 'uncanny valley' of working in someone else's world. If you get them close, but still wrong, it can feel worse than if you'd been more off.

 

Jason from Dragonmount, in the early reads, was the first one to warn me that Mat was "off." I was surprised, as I felt I'd gotten him down. However, in going back to Mr. Jordan's writing and delving into it, I realized I'd missed large parts of what made Mat into Mat--the tension between what he says and does, the constant little quips in narrative (which tend to be more clever than the actual things he says out loud), the complaining that isn't really complaining. I didn't understand Mat. I tried so hard to make him funny, I wrote the HIM out of him. (I feel Peter Jackson did some of this with Gilmli in the LotR films.)

 

So I'd say I was specifically motivated rather than it happening naturally. I should mention, however, that the sequences RJ worked on for Mat all ended up in TofM and AMoL, not in TGS. Some of what you are noticing isn't me, but the master himself.

Edited by sleepinghour
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Out of curiosity, were Beta readers used on the first two books Brandon wrote???

 

Yes, and according to Brandon, Jason even warned him that Mat was off. So apparently they were told about that before TGS was even released

 

One of the big dangers in doing what I'm doing is turning the characters into parodies of themselves, exactly as you stated. This is kind of the 'uncanny valley' of working in someone else's world. If you get them close, but still wrong, it can feel worse than if you'd been more off.

 

Jason from Dragonmount, in the early reads, was the first one to warn me that Mat was "off." I was surprised, as I felt I'd gotten him down. However, in going back to Mr. Jordan's writing and delving into it, I realized I'd missed large parts of what made Mat into Mat--the tension between what he says and does, the constant little quips in narrative (which tend to be more clever than the actual things he says out loud), the complaining that isn't really complaining. I didn't understand Mat. I tried so hard to make him funny, I wrote the HIM out of him. (I feel Peter Jackson did some of this with Gilmli in the LotR films.)

 

So I'd say I was specifically motivated rather than it happening naturally. I should mention, however, that the sequences RJ worked on for Mat all ended up in TofM and AMoL, not in TGS. Some of what you are noticing isn't me, but the master himself.

That's really interesting. All of it. Thank you, man.

I wonder if he just couldn't write the humor.

 

As for the Gimli comment - I felt the way about Gimli in the movies like people feel about Mat in the latter books. Grrrrrrrr......

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Every time a chapter or bit is released, it's straight criticism here. And, that's after I've seen some of you say that he wasn't given the time needed to write these books.

 

Yes, it is. Or rather, no it isn't, not straight criticism--but yes, the criticism is indeed heavy. This is not without cause, nor without consideration.

 

There is a fact here that I will simply state: I know far more of what Brandon has gone through than you. I know about problems he faced that you have no idea of, and have sympathised with him over them. I've met the man, talked with him, called him out on things even, and been called out in turn. I by no means claim to be in his inner circle, and there are those who could make the same point to me that I'm making to you--but do not presume to act as if I am inconsiderate of the difficulties Brandon has faced. I am; beyond anything you'd guess at.

 

And yes, despite all that, I continue to hold the position that I do. Think on that.

As a long, long time lurker, that only pops up after something new is released for a week or so to read what others are saying, and rarely throw in my own comment,

I have been amazed at how harsh the criticism has been at times. Maybe the regulars on this forum have become desensitized to it, but it really is some of the worst bashing of an author I have seen on a "fansite".

 

Let me head this off with saying I was a much, much more regular poster on Wotmania many, many, many years ago.

I was real hard on the Mat chapters on Brandon's first attempt. But I also think he made up for the lousy Mat with some outstanding writing on other characters.

I get to read the end of a Wheel of Time, maybe with flaws, but its not like RJ didnt have PLENTY of those himself.

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Yes, I believe Jason Denzel & Jennifer Liang are two. I argued for hours on this site that the delay for AMoL was positive and that this would be Brandon's best work because they were actually making a change to ensure the quality was better. Pretty surprised and disappointed back when Brandon announced he was done considering how much of the process there still was to go and there wasn't much feedback yet. Why not use all the time alloted?

 

Edit: thisguy does have a point about Team Jordan doing a better job as well.

 

Wow. I am actually astounded. My distaste for his work methods, work ethics, and personal sense of pride in his work has now reverted to actually disliking the guy on a personal level. He basically did "take the money and run" if what you said is true.

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Out of curiosity, were Beta readers used on the first two books Brandon wrote???

 

Yes, and according to Brandon, Jason even warned him that Mat was off. So apparently they were told about that before TGS was even released

 

One of the big dangers in doing what I'm doing is turning the characters into parodies of themselves, exactly as you stated. This is kind of the 'uncanny valley' of working in someone else's world. If you get them close, but still wrong, it can feel worse than if you'd been more off.

 

Jason from Dragonmount, in the early reads, was the first one to warn me that Mat was "off." I was surprised, as I felt I'd gotten him down. However, in going back to Mr. Jordan's writing and delving into it, I realized I'd missed large parts of what made Mat into Mat--the tension between what he says and does, the constant little quips in narrative (which tend to be more clever than the actual things he says out loud), the complaining that isn't really complaining. I didn't understand Mat. I tried so hard to make him funny, I wrote the HIM out of him. (I feel Peter Jackson did some of this with Gilmli in the LotR films.)

 

So I'd say I was specifically motivated rather than it happening naturally. I should mention, however, that the sequences RJ worked on for Mat all ended up in TofM and AMoL, not in TGS. Some of what you are noticing isn't me, but the master himself.

 

Thanks for that sleeping, was trying to remember this quote. This is one of the things I was talking about earlier when I say Brandon's progression stalled out and I believe the praise he references from the casual fans about Mat hurt. It is crazy that we see the exact same issues he himself raises in the quote above stand out in the latest Mat chapter that was just released." I didn't understand Mat. I tried so hard to make him funny, I wrote the HIM out of him". Couldn't have put it better myself.

 

He basically did "take the money and run" if what you said is true.

 

Oh it's true but I still think what you say above is going over board and isn't really fair. The issue is complex and I'm sure there are two sides to the story. I would like to get clarity on why he made the decision to step away with so much left to do however.

Edited by Suttree
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It isn't actually part of the culture, it is just that Aiel don't have surnames so to her Rand al'Thor is just like Aviendah. If she managed to get in her head while hanging out with Elayne that surnames are equivalent to clan/sept/society it is entirely possible that she would drop back to just using first names.

Jordan wasn't consistent on this. Aviendha called the Supergirls by first names only right from the start. Look at TSR or TFOH, she does it all the time. Bain did it too when she met Egwene and Elayne for the first time in TDR.

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Yes, I believe Jason Denzel & Jennifer Liang are two. I argued for hours on this site that the delay for AMoL was positive and that this would be Brandon's best work because they were actually making a change to ensure the quality was better. Pretty surprised and disappointed back when Brandon announced he was done considering how much of the process there still was to go and there wasn't much feedback yet. Why not use all the time alloted?

 

Edit: thisguy does have a point about Team Jordan doing a better job as well.

 

Wow. I am actually astounded. My distaste for his work methods, work ethics, and personal sense of pride in his work has now reverted to actually disliking the guy on a personal level. He basically did "take the money and run" if what you said is true.

 

Since you don't actually know the guy personally that's a bit ridiculous. Find me one person that's met the man that doesn't go on and on about what a nice guy he is. Let's leave the personal slander crap out of this. It's this type of thing that really galls me.

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