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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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A look at Robert Jordan's Notes


Jason

We all know that Brandon Sanderson completed The Wheel of Time based off of Robert Jordan's notes. We know that those notes were so extensive that Harriet McDougal, RJ's wife and editor, claimed there were easily more words in the notes than words in all the books.  Many of those notes, along with many original items from Robert Jordan's office were donated to The College of Charleston Special Collections department. An entire blog exists to showcase some of the items in that collection. From their website:  

The collection includes early and edited manuscripts of the Wheel of Time series and manuscripts from his other works – including his work on the Conan the Barbarian series and the Michael Fallon novels about a fictional Lowcountry family during the American Revolution. The collection also includes swords and scabbards, video interviews, an early Apple computer loaded with 4,000 pages of his notes, and first editions of his works in dozens of languages.

 Recently, our good friend Terez had the opportunity to explore these archives. In particular, she had the opportunity to read many of Robert Jordan's detailed notes and early outlines for the series.  While she's unable to share everything she saw (out of respect to the College, and to Harriet), she was able to give us a peek at several exciting things.  Here's what Terez had to say: 

In 2012, Harriet donated RJ's papers to the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston, where archivist Joshua Minor has since been processing the collection. Marie Curie and I have been planning a trip to the library for over a year, and we decided to make it happen after JordanCon this year. We started work yesterday, and there was much more interesting material than we expected, though I was told Maria Simons [Harriet's assistant] has yet to hand over many files, some of which are probably material intended for the Encyclopedia. With the exception of certain restricted files, the collection is publicly accessible, but the number of things appropriate to post online is limited according to copyright and Fair Use standards. I tweeted out a bad photograph the day before yesterday of the page below (Mss 0197, fox 4, folder 2), and I am told it has made the rounds, so Jason asked if I would post a clear copy here. It appears to be the first page of RJ's 6-book pitch to Tom Doherty--or perhaps the last stage of that pitch--along with another file in the same folder which is a more detailed, 2-part outline of The Eye of the World. Both documents were probably written no earlier than 1984, no later than 1988, and closer to the former. It is clear from other bits in the notes found in that same folder that RJ eventually opted to have Rand fight Ba'alzamon (believing he was the Dark One) rather than having him attempt to confront the Dark One directly in the beginning of the story, and fail.

 Here's a look at that page from Robert Jordan's notes. (Click to enlargeMss0197box4folder2.png

Here's the text from the page:

Rand will flee his fate at first, but flight will only bring him into further conflict with Sha’tan and the Forsaken. Reluctantly convinced that he is indeed the Dragon, he will attempt to act the part, only to discover that many (including the Aes Sedai) believe he is another false Dragon, and that some humans, both knowingly and unknowingly, are serving Sha’tan. Nevertheless he will attempt to unite the people to oppose Sha’tan’s minions, to unite them by force if necessary.

Wielding power far beyond that any human has ever handled before he attempts to destroy Sha’tan, and fails disastrously. Once again he is driven into flight. And Sha’Tan has at last been freed totally from his prison, bringing greater misery and strife to the world than ever before. Hopeless now, Rand sets out to fight Sha’tan and the Forsaken as best he can alone, yet now he finds that allies come to him unbidden, almost by accident, it seems. It is now that he realizes why he failed to unite humanity. By attempting to force humankind to oppose evil he was attempting to circumvent the free will that the Creator had made a central part of all humans.

In a final confrontation Rand binds Sha’tan away from the world once more. Some of those who support him want him to destroy Sha’tan, but he knows now that to attempt to do so would be disastrous even if he succeeded, which he does not believe he can. Evil – which Sha’tan is, just as the Creator is good – cannot be destroyed any more that can Good. Evil must be opposed by people who chose

The title of the document is "Notes on Books Two Through Six." As Terez mentions above, this document was written well before the publication of The Eye of The World. Back then, Robert Jordan had been given a six book deal from Tor, so this outline was his vision for the entire series at the time.  Note that the last paragraph closely resembles the ideas used by Brandon in the final books. 

There are other many interesting tidbits found through these archives. Rand was originally named Ryhs. Elayne was originally named Elyn. Galad was originally going to turn to the Dark One. Morgase was going to be Rand's lover for a time. 

To read a little bit more about what Terez found at the archive, visit this link from Theoryland.

If we're able to post more photos or information like this, then we'll do so. In the meantime, tell us what you think, and be sure to visit the resources above. 

A Wheel of Time Encyclopedia is currently being developed by Team Jordan. Much of the information from Robert Jordan's notes will be included in it. No release day has been announced, but the common expectation is that it will be completed this year, and possibly be released in early 2015. Dragonmount will have more information as it becomes available.

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It's just an earlier version of the spelling. Many of the character and place names are different in the early outlines, and many plot points were adapted and changed.

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Wow! That was incredibly interesting and a great insight into RJ's planning of the series. I had to chuckle at the bit about Sha'tan breaking out of his prison completely, apparently do early in the story. One of my frustrations from the series was that this was perpetually teased on the back of almost every book, but it didnt happen until the very end of AMoL!

 

I could happily read his notes for days. Please share more if you are able.

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Galad turning to the dark one would have made him much more interesting.

 

I think that would have been too unbelievable, given how much we see from his POV.  If RJ had intended this all along, though, I'm sure we wouldn't have seen so much from him.

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I find amusing the bit about Morgase being his lover for a time. I just hope in that version of the story he didn't hook with Elayne because that would have been SO-WEIRD xD

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That last paragraph s quite intriguing. It pretty much means that the battle between Rand and the Dark One makes enormous sense, and is what I felt all along in the series. But imagine if the Dark One had come out that quickly!!!! Much more intriguing, I think!! But in saying that, love the series as it is. Fingers crossed it wins a Hugo!!

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I am curious, might the restricted material be for the Matt novels or a trilogy/series after the Last Battle, going into the next Age ??? Brandon is a bit busy to write them, though a whole bunch of Star Wars EU writers suddenly need some work (lets take the good ones and leave the rubbish ones to the Aiel)...

Any word on these books, I have been away from the forum for quite a while...

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Yes, Team Jordan and Brandon have both said no other novels within The Wheel of a Time will be written. The only other thing we can expect is an Encycolpedia, which Team Jordan currently working on.

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Thats really too bad that we will not see any more novels set in TWOT universe, other than TWOT encyclapedia! I know Harriet has said that this is probably not gonna happen, though there is so much more to write and read about in TWOT story! Besides that Harriet and maybe Brandon Sanderson or whoever wrote the new novels could make money off the stories! I would love to read a new story about all the old characters struggling against the seanchan, and any other stories such as outrigger novels set within TWOT story! I know Harriet and Brandon are against that happening, and so are a number of fans. Still, I had to put my thoughts out there! Wishing everybody a hopefully cool summer!!

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