Bittersweet. That word seemed to be the common answer from Team Jordan as they talked about the completion of A Memory of Light. After 23 years since the first publishing of The Eye of the World in 1990, the long journey has come to a completion. Harriet McDougal, widow of the late Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson, who has completed the last three books of the series with the help of notes, were joined by the other two members of Team Jordan, Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk. While Harriet continued to edit the series as Brandon wrote it, Maria worked on continuity, and Alan worked on the great battles and commanders. The entire team was present for the Q&A and signing, and answered a number of questions for those present.
Truly, it was bittersweet, listening to Harriet reading the first paragraph of Chapter One in AMOL...or TEotW. That first paragraph, which has stayed with us for a generation, elicited silence from the entire crowd as they simply sat, watched, and listened. It was truly emotional, hearing those words.
Ta'veren Tees was on site, selling T-shirts, playing cards, posters, and giving away Wheel of Time and Dragon temporary tattoos. Across from them, the last three books of the series were for sale from Barnes & Noble. The entire event was hosted by the College of Charleston Addlestone Library. While most of the action was downstairs, Wheel of Timers flocked to all three levels to look down from the balcony at the Q&A and signing below. Special Collections for the College had a number of displays available, containing other works by Robert Jordan, the books in various languages, and even first draft copies of The Eye of the World, along with pencil markings.
Hunter Wentworth showed parts of his documentary on the life of Robert Jordan, The Wit of the Staircase, while also recording over three hours of video to help complete the work. Karen Campbell spoke about the Waygate Foundation, which brings together fantasy and science fiction authors and fans to help on global philanthropic endeavors. Jennifer Liang spoke about the upcoming JordanCon in Atlanta, which Brandon Sanderson will be attending this year. The theme is Tar VaCon.
Seventeen questions were asked at the Q&A from fans, eliciting a number of responses and laughter from the crowd. The entire event was a spoiler free zone, making it safe for anyone reading this report to continue reading and enjoying all of the Questions and Answers listed below. Around three hundred people participated in the signing, and the Team signed for almost three hours, including taking photos and personalizing books. Backpacks and paperback copies of The Way of Kings were given away to the crowd, along with some bumper stickers and iPhone covers.
Given that the doors to the library opened at 10:00 and the event didn't start until 3:00, the library was filled with fans reading their new copy of AMoL or just chit chatting with other fans. New friends were made, along with making plans for JordanCon. It was rather exciting and people enjoyed getting to hang out with other fans. All in all, it was a wonderfully successful event that went smoothly.
Each of the Memory Keepers wanted to share a few thoughts on what they loved the most about the day:
"Getting to listen to Harriet read [the first paragraph from the EotW/AMoL]" -Brandie
"Getting to see Team Jordan" -Suzanne
"Talking with Harriet [while she was signing books]" -Billie Jo
"The fan girl freakout" -Megan
"Meeting Christine [He was the serious one of the group]" -Perry
"Being the flapper... err...flapping for Brandon and Harriet..." -Kate
"Giving them a gift from the Wolfkin Social Group" -Christine
Jennifer Liang and Ta'veren Tees also had an exciting day, and shared their best moments:
"Brandon writing in my AMoL" -Jenn
"Selling the Loial shirts" -Kiley from Ta'veren Tees
Even Team Jordan had a little something to say to all of Dragonmount!
"My Love, Hugs, and Kisses" -Harriet
"Hi, Dragonmount!" -Maria
"Extra Extra! Read all about it! We love you guys! Thanks for your support over all the years." -Alan
All in all, everyone was very happy! If you are interested in more pictures from the event, you can find them here in the Gallery. Listed below are all of the Questions (and Answers) from the signing.
Thanks everyone that attended and made our day awesome!
Signed, Christine - Memory Keeper and Wolfkin SGL
Q1 : What happened to the fourth boy from the Two Rivers?
- Harriet: Jim originally had good plans for him later on, but when convinced to eliminate him, he realized how easy it was to kill off that story line.
Q2: How does it feel now that you are done with the series?
- Brandon: Bittersweet. Has been reading the series longer than he has had some friends!
- Harriet: It was truly done well.
- Maria: Bittersweet. And wow!
- Alan: Brain Dead.
Q3: Writing Life: How did you sell Elantris?
- Brandon: It was hard, but it gets easier as you go. An editor can see in one page who has been training for years on their writing. You have to practice for years, and have good writing habits. For example, I was working on book 13 when I sold book 6. Just learn, adapt, and network.
Q4: How should a writer get their work in with an editor?
- Harriet: Turn off the mad pleasure of creation, and turn on the rational brain.
Q5: To Alan : Which of the great captains do you identify with?
- Alan : Bela (lots of laughter from everyone). They are all really great.
Q6: What is the official land name? Is there anything?
- Harriet: Nope.
- Maria: No real need.
Q7: Will you be continuing the comic books?
- Harriet: Yes!
Q8: What do you like most and least working on the novels?
- Brandon: Liked Perrin, and misses writing some of the PoVs. Had to constantly research things to make certain it was accurate, but won't miss fulfilling everything that was foreshadowed...lots of the foreshadowing will be mentioned in the encyclopedia in a year and a half.
- Harriet: Two years.
Q9: How many volumes will there be for the encyclopedia?
- Harriet: One, but it will be fat, and hoping for a disk.
Q10: Do pregnancies that occur in the dream world carry over?
- Maria: If injuries carry over, then why not?
Q11: Did Charleston have a lot of influence on the Ogier?
- Harriet: The Two Rivers? Ogier Street?
- Maria: Actually, it was later revealed that Ogier was a subconscious thing, as Jim wanted something close to the term "ogre".
- Harriet: And, Jim grew up in a small town, much the same as the Two Rivers in their treatment of strangers.
Q12: Will the encyclopedia include only facts, or also speculations?
- Maria: Everything will be things already known, or else more notes on the characters. And a few other goodies, like the Aes Sedai power scale.
Q13: Why is the Last Battle chapter so long?
- Brandon: It is two hundred pages, and takes place for almost 24 hours, but the goal was for the reader to feel as exhausted after as the characters themselves did.
- Fan: It worked!
Q14: Will more prequels happen?
- Harriet: No. One prequel is enough.
Q15: Any of the characters you got caught into?
- Brandon: Yes, so lots of trimming and pruning, and had to write some others back in.
Q16: Seems like RJ was a King Arthur fan? Names seem so familiar.
- Harriet: It was consciously done.
Q17: Do we find out who killed Asmodean?
- Brandon: *laughs* It is in the ToM glossary.
Interested in more random video? Check Christine's Blog http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/blog/183/entry-1821-charleston-amol-video/