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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Almost done with A Memory of Light (spoiler alert)


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As I posted before when I joined the forum recently, I started the series probably about 20 years ago, then life got in the way for several years (marriage, divorce, remarriage, fatherhood, a few new jobs, etc) and I stopped somewhere around Path of Daggers.  However, once I read that Brandon Sanderson had finished the series, I decided to tackle the series again, and I started off from the beginning early this year and have finally made it most of the way through A Memory of Light.  

 

I would also recommend the audiobooks if you get a chance - Michael Kramer and Kate Reading do a very good job, Kramer reading the male POVs and Reading the female POVs.  I've listened to some very good audiobooks before, but I enjoy having a woman read the female POVs  (it was a bit awkward hearing the gravel voiced, but otherwise excellent, octogenarian Roy Dotrice reading the sex scenes in A Song of Ice & Fire.)

 

A few observations:

1) I'm really enjoying the breakneck pace of the book, and just got through the part where Egwene died taking out M'Hael.  (Got a bit misty eyed when she died.) I'm a bit concerned about all the story lines being wrapped up in the last 15-20% of the book.

2) I can definitely tell the difference in writing styles - I've seen a few places where Sanderson slipped in more "modern" terms in the text than Jordan would have used. Just from glancing at the forums, I can tell some don't like Sanderson's style, but I think it's fine otherwise.  Not as enjoyable as Jordan, but I wonder if he had four books to finish up the series instead of three if he would have been able to do more?

3) Was Androl mentioned before the last three books at all?  I like his character, but it seems kind of odd to give him so much "screen time" the last three books after nary a mention before that where I can recall.  Seems a bit out of place.  Was he a Sanderson creation?

4) Why haven't more Aes Sedai & Asha'Men done what Androl did outside Cairhien - create a circle and opened a gateway to the lava inside Dragonmount?

 

 

 

 

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3. Androl existed, technically (recall "Genhald" from the scene in the prologue of Winter's Heart, where Toveine listens to the Asha'man reporting to Logain?) but he wasn't much more than a name, and Sanderson adopted him as his pet Asha'man character.

 

4. Third Age Aes Sedai are not exactly the masters of innovative thinking, and the Asha'man are all relatively new at what they're doing and still largely finding out what they can do with the Power. At least, I suppose that could be one way of rationalising it... *shrug*

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3. Androl existed, technically (recall "Genhald" from the scene in the prologue of Winter's Heart, where Toveine listens to the Asha'man reporting to Logain?) but he wasn't much more than a name, and Sanderson adopted him as his pet Asha'man character.

 

4. Third Age Aes Sedai are not exactly the masters of innovative thinking, and the Asha'man are all relatively new at what they're doing and still largely finding out what they can do with the Power. At least, I suppose that could be one way of rationalising it... *shrug*

 

Interesting - I figured that in the week they spent gathering at the Fields of Merrilor and setting up their defenses, Androl, Elayne, etc could have said, "Hey, remember that time we dumped lava over a bunch of trollocs and killed thousands of them?"

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Yeah, err, true enough, sorry. I find it hard to keep track of in which exact order some things happened, even after two read-throughs... Don't know if there was an actual reason for them now doing it again - dry terrain, risking setting the world around them on fire or something? - or whether Sanderson forgot about it, or whether it was just supposed to be a one-time-use miracle for "plot purposes".

Edited by NeverTame
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2) I can definitely tell the difference in writing styles - I've seen a few places where Sanderson slipped in more "modern" terms in the text than Jordan would have used. Just from glancing at the forums, I can tell some don't like Sanderson's style, but I think it's fine otherwise.  Not as enjoyable as Jordan, but I wonder if he had four books to finish up the series instead of three if he would have been able to do more?

No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

 

4) Why haven't more Aes Sedai & Asha'Men done what Androl did outside Cairhien - create a circle and opened a gateway to the lava inside Dragonmount?

Dragonmount only has a finite amount of lava - it was noted when it was used that it became less devastating with each use. Also, it's probably not a good idea to give that same idea to the rival enemy channelers, unless you're fine with having lava poured on your own troops (or maybe they open a Gateway to the bottom of the ocean and flood your back lines or something).

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2) I can definitely tell the difference in writing styles - I've seen a few places where Sanderson slipped in more "modern" terms in the text than Jordan would have used. Just from glancing at the forums, I can tell some don't like Sanderson's style, but I think it's fine otherwise.  Not as enjoyable as Jordan, but I wonder if he had four books to finish up the series instead of three if he would have been able to do more?

No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

 

4) Why haven't more Aes Sedai & Asha'Men done what Androl did outside Cairhien - create a circle and opened a gateway to the lava inside Dragonmount?

Dragonmount only has a finite amount of lava - it was noted when it was used that it became less devastating with each use. Also, it's probably not a good idea to give that same idea to the rival enemy channelers, unless you're fine with having lava poured on your own troops (or maybe they open a Gateway to the bottom of the ocean and flood your back lines or something).

 

I might disagree with that - I think they could have given us a bit more on Padan Fain in the previous two books - even if just a section of a chapter in each book.  Seems kind of odd to pull him out at the very end after he wasn't in the previous few books.  I thought they could have done a bit more with the Tinkers as well, instead of having them just show up and help behind the scenes, and maybe a few of them question their beliefs.  Whatever happened to the song they were looking for?  What about Valan Luca and his show?  Was Elaida mentioned at all after that one encounter with Tuon in Ebou Dar after she had become damane?  (was up late last night trying to finish the book, and just finished it now.)  Maybe a few more POVs from the battlefields?

Edited by NewJeffCT
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2) I can definitely tell the difference in writing styles - I've seen a few places where Sanderson slipped in more "modern" terms in the text than Jordan would have used. Just from glancing at the forums, I can tell some don't like Sanderson's style, but I think it's fine otherwise.  Not as enjoyable as Jordan, but I wonder if he had four books to finish up the series instead of three if he would have been able to do more?

No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

I might disagree with that - I think they could have given us a bit more on Padan Fain in the previous two books - even if just a section of a chapter in each book.  Seems kind of odd to pull him out at the very end after he wasn't in the previous few books.  I thought they could have done a bit more with the Tinkers as well, instead of having them just show up and help behind the scenes, and maybe a few of them question their beliefs.  Whatever happened to the song they were looking for?  What about Valan Luca and his show?  Was Elaida mentioned at all after that one encounter with Tuon in Ebou Dar after she had become damane?  (was up late last night trying to finish the book, and just finished it now.)  Maybe a few more POVs from the battlefields?

All of those points add to the length of a book, but they don't provide the basis for increasing the number of books. In terms of a books structure, telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, a few scenes with Fain adds nothing, same with the Tinkers. Remember that none of Brandon's books is in the top three for length (going by the figures Wikipedia has posted, and acknowledging that there isn't a lot between FoH's 354K and AMoL's 353K), so he could have added to the length of his three to simply add more scenes. Also, remember that Fain did appear in the prologue to ToM, which set up his later appearance in AMoL (although I do think the similarity with Brandon's own Mistborn trilogy is worth noting - in the second book he had a character missing from chunks of the story simply because he had nothing to do, but following negative feedback he changed in the third book and gave the character small update scenes even though he still had nothing to do for significant chunks of the book. Here, he repeats the same mistake as he did in Mistborn 2). As for the Tinkers and their song, it was confirmed in interviews what many fans had already suspected - the Song is not a thing, it's a belief that has become distorted over time. There is no magical song that will bring back the Age of Legends, and even if they did find the Songs of Growing they wouldn't consider them the Song. Adding in further scenes to close off a few character arcs and give some closure to things that were left out is fine, but these details don't add more books. Unless you write a sequel series about the adventures of Valan Luca or something, but that's not really WoT.

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2) I can definitely tell the difference in writing styles - I've seen a few places where Sanderson slipped in more "modern" terms in the text than Jordan would have used. Just from glancing at the forums, I can tell some don't like Sanderson's style, but I think it's fine otherwise.  Not as enjoyable as Jordan, but I wonder if he had four books to finish up the series instead of three if he would have been able to do more?

No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

I might disagree with that - I think they could have given us a bit more on Padan Fain in the previous two books - even if just a section of a chapter in each book.  Seems kind of odd to pull him out at the very end after he wasn't in the previous few books.  I thought they could have done a bit more with the Tinkers as well, instead of having them just show up and help behind the scenes, and maybe a few of them question their beliefs.  Whatever happened to the song they were looking for?  What about Valan Luca and his show?  Was Elaida mentioned at all after that one encounter with Tuon in Ebou Dar after she had become damane?  (was up late last night trying to finish the book, and just finished it now.)  Maybe a few more POVs from the battlefields?

All of those points add to the length of a book, but they don't provide the basis for increasing the number of books. In terms of a books structure, telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, a few scenes with Fain adds nothing, same with the Tinkers. Remember that none of Brandon's books is in the top three for length (going by the figures Wikipedia has posted, and acknowledging that there isn't a lot between FoH's 354K and AMoL's 353K), so he could have added to the length of his three to simply add more scenes. Also, remember that Fain did appear in the prologue to ToM, which set up his later appearance in AMoL (although I do think the similarity with Brandon's own Mistborn trilogy is worth noting - in the second book he had a character missing from chunks of the story simply because he had nothing to do, but following negative feedback he changed in the third book and gave the character small update scenes even though he still had nothing to do for significant chunks of the book. Here, he repeats the same mistake as he did in Mistborn 2). As for the Tinkers and their song, it was confirmed in interviews what many fans had already suspected - the Song is not a thing, it's a belief that has become distorted over time. There is no magical song that will bring back the Age of Legends, and even if they did find the Songs of Growing they wouldn't consider them the Song. Adding in further scenes to close off a few character arcs and give some closure to things that were left out is fine, but these details don't add more books. Unless you write a sequel series about the adventures of Valan Luca or something, but that's not really WoT.

 

Either way, an extra 50-100 pages per book, or maybe just an extra 150-200 pages in the last book would have been nice to wrap things up a bit more neatly.  I'm sure I could come up with more loose ends given time as well.  (Like, Alivia being stronger than Nynaeve and Lanfear, but her only role in the Last Battle was to follow Cadsuane around and later arrange for Rand to get some money and a horse...you'd think uber-general Mat would have been able to utilize her to counter Demandred and Taim better?)

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No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

  

 

I would add that this is pure opinion which is not shared by most in the WoT community and not really backed-up beyond a desire to criticize the last three books.  Considering the level of plot progression from ACoS through coT, there was plenty of plot left to sustain four books.  In fact, saying that there was not enough is really an odd position to take given the history of the series.  I would suggests doing a re-read of the series so that you can see what I mean.  I am not saying that four books would have been a good idea, but it was certainly possible. 

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No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.

  

 

I would add that this is pure opinion which is not shared by most in the WoT community and not really backed-up beyond a desire to criticize the last three books.  Considering the level of plot progression from ACoS through coT, there was plenty of plot left to sustain four books.  In fact, saying that there was not enough is really an odd position to take given the history of the series.  I would suggests doing a re-read of the series so that you can see what I mean.  I am not saying that four books would have been a good idea, but it was certainly possible. 

 

Thanks - I realize there are places to go beyond where the story ended - Rand and his future and what happens with Avi, Min and Elayne, Mat and Tuon, Perrin and Faile, the rise of the Two Rivers, the Seanchan, rebuilding Andor and the Borderlands, the future of the Aiel, etc  (there's probably fan fiction on these things already...)

 

But, I think you understood my point of things happening before and during the last battle could have been more extensive as well, IMHO.

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I would add that this is pure opinion which is not shared by most in the WoT community and not really backed-up beyond a desire to criticize the last three books.

Well it certainly has been a popular opinion both here and at Theoryland. Many posters have given quite detailed takes around the filler and bloat in ToM and AMoL. The split caused a number of structural issues that created a need for artifical inflation and Brandon is on record discussing this. Further Mr Ares has always been realistic in his analysis of both RJ and BS. The desire to criticize claim doesn't really fit.

 

Considering the level of plot progression from ACoS through coT, there was plenty of plot left to sustain four books.

Except there is little point in comparing plot progression, in a "set up" period during the mid-late portion of the series with the ending, when all the threads are coming to their conclusion. As has been stated many times it's apples and oranges.

Edited by Suttree
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So the only one that thought one more book were the authors and Mr Ares? Well, reading the books, wtf do they know :)

 

RJ wanted an ambiguous ending to WoT (insofar as what his characters do after), he's said that a few times. There's more story in the world, but the extent of it and how coherent of a story is there isn't known (the IoH "trilogy"), and certainly isn't meant to be part of WoT.

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No. Structurally, there wasn't enough to even sustain three books. Whatever other problems there may have been, running out of pages was never one of them.  

 

I would add that this is pure opinion which is not shared by most in the WoT community and not really backed-up beyond a desire to criticize the last three books.  Considering the level of plot progression from ACoS through coT, there was plenty of plot left to sustain four books.  In fact, saying that there was not enough is really an odd position to take given the history of the series.  I would suggests doing a re-read of the series so that you can see what I mean.  I am not saying that four books would have been a good idea, but it was certainly possible. 

A good many in the WoT community acknowledge the structural problems with the last three books an agree with RJ's assessment that one book would have been better. It could be that two or more books could have been produced without the same structural problems, but the books we got were problematic. Even if my views were unique and everyone else disagreed, that wouldn't make them right and me wrong. It is not "pure opinion" to suggest that one book would have virtues that two or three ended up lacking, it is opinion backed up by reasoning - the opinion worth most. My "desire" to criticise the series stems from me being a fan of it - I wanted these last three books to be good. Parts of them were. Parts of them were not. Further, highlighting the most structurally flawed of RJ's books to support your argument seems somewhat misguided. ACoS concludes the Sammael and Bowl of Winds plotlines begun in LoC (ACoS is also, chronologically the shortest book), the use of the BoW sits uneasily in PoD (justified on the grounds of the fallout from its use being seen in the battle later in the book, but it requires the opening chapters conclude one plotline before Elayne and Nynaeve start a new one), PoD and WH are almost two halves of the same book, CoT was a structural experiment that didn't pan out. Also, at this point the various storylines had only limited interaction, while Brandon had to preside over the arcs drawing together. More books was possible, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea. The strongest period of the series (the first five to six books) was the strongest structurally, while the most heavily criticised books (8, 10, 13-14) all had significant structural issues. That's not the entirety of the problem, but it is telling.

 

So the only one that thought one more book were the authors and Mr Ares? Well, reading the books, wtf do they know :)

 

RJ wanted an ambiguous ending to WoT (insofar as what his characters do after), he's said that a few times. There's more story in the world, but the extent of it and how coherent of a story is there isn't known (the IoH "trilogy"), and certainly isn't meant to be part of WoT.

Actually, Infinity of Heaven was a project unrelated to WoT - the prequels and "outriggers" (sequel or semi-sequel would be more accurate - outrigger implies more a story going on alongside the main one. A full novel about Demandred in Shara would be an outrigger, Mat, Perrin and Tuon ten years down the line is a sequel. I wish we weren't stuck with such an inaccurate term, and would hazard that when RJ initially mentioned outriggers he was considering something other than the proposed sequels (although it was not beyond him to use words wrong at times)) were separate projects.

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Well it certainly has been a popular opinion both here and at Theoryland. Many posters have given quite detailed takes around the filler and bloat in ToM and AMoL

 

It actually seems like the same 5 or 6 posters making those arguments, and all of the "many" people still appear to represent an extremely small minority of the fanbase.  Which is fine, but my opinion is that those individuals are trying to very hard to find something that isn't quite there.  I have yet to see an argument that I would actually consider particularly "well-reasoned" from anyone here at DM on that stance.   Again, I think you should probably re-read the series to get a better handle on it.

 

 

A good many in the WoT community acknowledge the structural problems with the last three books an agree with RJ's assessment that one book would have been better. It could be that two or more books could have been produced without the same structural problems, but the books we got were problematic.

 

Really?  What does "a good many" mean?  Please be more specific.  Also, RJ originally believed he could complete his saga in six books, so it might be wise to take his thoughts about finishing the series "in one book" with a truckload of salt.

 

 

 it is opinion backed up by reasoning - the opinion worth most.

 

Then maybe you should attempt to better explain your reasoning.

 

 

Further, highlighting the most structurally flawed of RJ's books to support your argument seems somewhat misguided. ACoS concludes the Sammael and Bowl of Winds plotlines begun in LoC (ACoS is also, chronologically the shortest book), the use of the BoW sits uneasily in PoD (justified on the grounds of the fallout from its use being seen in the battle later in the book, but it requires the opening chapters conclude one plotline before Elayne and Nynaeve start a new one), PoD and WH are almost two halves of the same book, CoT was a structural experiment that didn't pan out

 

I think you've missed the point, as you keep trying to sidetrack the main points that NewJeffCT was making by incessantly talking about the structure of the last books.  I was discussing the amount of plot progression in the last three books compared to books 7-10.  The "structure" of the last three books is only related to extent that this was how BS and TJ decided to organize the balance of the plot. The plot could have been progressed with other structures, but there were absolutely enough main plot points to sustain three or even four books if that how they decided to proceed.  The structure could have been better, I agree, but again, that's not the point.  You really should read the series of retrospectives that BS has posted on the writing process for the last three books.  I think it would be enlightening for you to get more in the mind of an actual writer who is making these types of decisions instead of armchair quarterbacking it.

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  I was discussing the amount of plot progression in the last three books compared to books 7-10. 

 

And as has been pointed out to you that's an apples and oranges comparison.

 

It actually seems like the same 5 or 6 posters making those arguments, and all of the "many" people still appear to represent an extremely small minority of the fanbase.  Which is fine, but my opinion is that those individuals are trying to very hard to find something that isn't quite there.  I have yet to see an argument that I would actually consider particularly "well-reasoned" from anyone here at DM on that stance.   Again, I think you should probably re-read the series to get a better handle on it.

 

So if we assume you aren't an old handle come back under a new guise, it means you're new here and it might behoove you to spend a bit more time going through old posts to see what has already been discussed. Also spend some time figuring out who posters are, telling someone like Mr Ares they should "re-read" the series is laughable.

 

As for what BS has posted, people here are very familiar with the process(and some of us have seen detailed glimpses of what went on behind the scenes). Brandon is on record saying he thinks RJ could have done it in one. Again it's easy to see the artificial inflation due to the split, which Brandon has admitted to, and even easier to see what could have been cut. Space was not used all that wisely.

Edited by Suttree
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And as has been pointed out to you that's an apples and oranges comparison.

 

LOL.  Just stating it does not make it so.

 

 

 Brandon is on record saying he thinks RJ could have done it in one

 

Well, then I suppose I respectfully disagree with Brandon.  In any event, I think he simply being kind to RJ.  Again, given that RJ once thought he could finish his series in six books, I am confident that if RJ had really started to delve into putting the final pieces together, he and Harriet would have realized more than one book was needed to do it right.

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And as has been pointed out to you that's an apples and oranges comparison.

 

LOL.  Just stating it does not make it so.

 

Perhaps you care to explain why the plot progression at a time in the series when threads are being set up and introduced would be the same as the resolution? As Mat's recently said:

 

 

He means apples and oranges in terms of the natural progression of an overreaching narrative as it goes through the phases & goings on applicable to middle acts(apples), versus material & attributes that are demonstrative of final acts(oranges).

 

Thereby to compare the intrinsic properties of middle books, versus those of the tail end of the series, is to compare apples & oranges; two fundamentally different things.

 

It's not about anyone "stating" something, it's basic narrative strucutre.

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One part's easy: look up the actual how many books are left quotes, and you'll see where you're wrong DanFVLaw.

 

Obviously RJ could have written as many more books as he felt like, it was his story to do with whatever he wanted (well maybe he had a you can't have flying saucers come down clause in his contracts). BS/TJ wanted to work with as much as his material as possible, probably to the detriment (although ridiculously early draft RJ is still probably better than what BS would do a lot of the time--judging by BS' WoT work only).

 

Post-KoD, there's a few things to wrap up: the Towers, Perrin, rescue Moiraine. Rand and Logain's KoD parts are aimed at TG, and while that could span multiple books, RJ would happily skip cool scenes that didn't hit the story points he wanted (whether character or plot growth). The end was probably always going to be something along the lines of find the piece we're missing and do X at whatever cost and then it's ride off into the sunset (whether this is the best possible to be done with the story thus far is arguable).

 

I think everyone gets too hung up on novel structure, yes you want some structure. We're at book 12 here, and no one is recommending reading a particular book as a stand-alone (and I think shoehorning in a structure that wasn't there was one of the biggest problems with tGS) :)

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Well it certainly has been a popular opinion both here and at Theoryland. Many posters have given quite detailed takes around the filler and bloat in ToM and AMoL

 

It actually seems like the same 5 or 6 posters making those arguments, and all of the "many" people still appear to represent an extremely small minority of the fanbase.  Which is fine, but my opinion is that those individuals are trying to very hard to find something that isn't quite there.  I have yet to see an argument that I would actually consider particularly "well-reasoned" from anyone here at DM on that stance.   Again, I think you should probably re-read the series to get a better handle on it.

 

Do you have an argument at all? What are the flaws in the reasoning shown by others? All you offer are empty words.

 

A good many in the WoT community acknowledge the structural problems with the last three books an agree with RJ's assessment that one book would have been better. It could be that two or more books could have been produced without the same structural problems, but the books we got were problematic.

 

Really?  What does "a good many" mean?  Please be more specific.

 

Why? An exact number doesn't really matter, because it doesn't make a difference. The view would be no less valid were it unique to one person, if that person could back it up. I can and have highlighted structural flaws, therefore providing at least some backing to my opinion, and qualified my opinion with the second quoted sentence.

Also, RJ originally believed he could complete his saga in six books, so it might be wise to take his thoughts about finishing the series "in one book" with a truckload of salt.

Not exactly true. RJ initially pitched a trilogy, signed a contract for six, and had to revise his initial estimates fairly early, but for most of the duration of the series he refused to give hard numbers on how many books were left. It's all qualified: probably, hopefully, at least. His saying prior to the publication of KoD that he would write one more - and being confident enough in that assessment that he had them include on the book that it was the penultimate volume - is atypical. That atypical response is surely worthy of some degree of consideration - why is he offering such a different view now to what he was offering before? To attempt to dismiss it out of hand is unwarranted.

 

it is opinion backed up by reasoning - the opinion worth most.

 

Then maybe you should attempt to better explain your reasoning.

 

Why? I have provided backing for my view, more extensively elsewhere than here (but it is also off topic for this thread, and I was attempting to limit the derailment, given the mods' preference for such discussion to be limited to specific threads. I felt answering the initial question was warranted, but didn't want this to take over). You have not. Currently, your opinion is trash. It is you who needs to explain.

 

Further, highlighting the most structurally flawed of RJ's books to support your argument seems somewhat misguided. ACoS concludes the Sammael and Bowl of Winds plotlines begun in LoC (ACoS is also, chronologically the shortest book), the use of the BoW sits uneasily in PoD (justified on the grounds of the fallout from its use being seen in the battle later in the book, but it requires the opening chapters conclude one plotline before Elayne and Nynaeve start a new one), PoD and WH are almost two halves of the same book, CoT was a structural experiment that didn't pan out

 

I think you've missed the point, as you keep trying to sidetrack the main points that NewJeffCT was making by incessantly talking about the structure of the last books.

 

No, I understood the initial point perfectly. Simply adding more scenes is material for a longer book, more books requires structural changes. Given the structural flaws of the books, given the statements from both authors about the possibility and desirability of a single book, making more books seems a bad idea (and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so how about you put up or shut up?). The initial question was "could Brandon have done more with more books", to which I answered no, because he struggled to fill three books and could have made his books longer. Adding more ending scenes, giving more closure to characters, expanding on certain details - these are all things that could bulk out a book, but do not in themselves provide meat for a new book. Any and all of the things NewJeffCT wanted to see could have been added to AMoL as is, without adding a fifteenth book.

I was discussing the amount of plot progression in the last three books compared to books 7-10.

Which is not relevant to the discussion. I think you might have missed the point, perhaps?

The "structure" of the last three books is only related to extent that this was how BS and TJ decided to organize the balance of the plot. The plot could have been progressed with other structures, but there were absolutely enough main plot points to sustain three or even four books if that how they decided to proceed.  The structure could have been better, I agree, but again, that's not the point.  You really should read the series of retrospectives that BS has posted on the writing process for the last three books.  I think it would be enlightening for you to get more in the mind of an actual writer who is making these types of decisions instead of armchair quarterbacking it.

Yes, things could have been structured differently, but given the pulling together of plot threads, given the series was building towards a climax, there were only limited options. Would you care to give a breakdown of a possible plot structure for a four book conclusion? Or a two or three book one that lacks the problems of the existing conclusion?

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