Our friends at Ta'veren Tees have plenty of goodies in store for the holiday season! They have lovingly crafted a Wheel of Time ornament that you can buy now. You can even get it for free with a $40+ purchase and a coupon code. For more information on how to take advantage of that offer, follow the ornament link I provided above. Starting on December 9th, you can also take part in their "The Twelve Tees of Christmas" sale. A different shirt will be on sale for each of the twelve days of the event. Keep an eye on the site to see when your favorite shirt is for sale!
So, I finally got myself a victim to interview again. To be honest, Jason Denzel turned out to be quite different from what I imagined. I thought he'd be aloof and cold, but he is so friendly and open with a great sense of humor. Other than sharing that experience, I say, read the interview and make up your own mind about him. Q: What do you do in Real Life to earn your crust? A: I have a full-time job with Cisco Systems located in San Jose, CA. I work in escalation support for one of their enterprise server products. This basically means I work with broken web servers every day...something I'm very familiar with due to Dragonmount's notorious server history. (sigh) I've been doing this job for about 10 years now, and enjoy it a lot. What's nice about it is that I've learned to find a very healthy balance with that work which allows me to do things like filmmaking and Dragonmount in the evenings and weekends. Q: You have a wife and two children, right? Why did your wife not let you call one Rand? A: Heh. Yes, I have two little boys, Aidan and Andrew, ages 6 and 3, respectively. They both have red hair from their mother's side. My wife Jennifer (not Jennifer Liang, as others have wondered before) told me outright that I could not name our kids Rand, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Luke, Leia, etc. And she wouldn't allow the name "Mat" with only one "t". I don't know why she didn't like those names. They're awesome. She hasn't read the books, so that must be why. ;-) I was, however, allowed to name our dog after a character....but only if it was the dog's middle name. So, our dog's full name is Lucy Min Denzel. Q: Have you started your children on the Wheel of Time, or if they are too young still, will you once they are old enough? A: They're still too young. When they get older I don't want to force it down their throats. But I suspect that they'll have an interest. Before he died, Robert Jordan even signed one of his advanced reading copies to Aidan, my older son. Q: What inspired you to start Dragonmount, and what can you tell us about its beginnings? A: The original idea for Dragonmount came about in 1998 when I was looking to talk to somebody about the books. I was away at college and really wanted to discuss theories and other aspects of the story with somebody. I looked around online but was unable to find a community that was very welcoming to newbies. So instead of giving up or forcing my way in, I decided to create my own. The original DM was pretty ugly, but I tried to create a warm atmosphere for people to enjoy. Another fun tidbit about the early site was that I used to play in a lot of online gaming clans. So, the idea for the "Organizations" (now called Social Groups) came from the concept of clans. I hoped that the Orgs would compete and have fun in different sorts of friendly competitions. That exists today, but they really took on a life of their own. Q: In what other ways have you been/are you involved in the Wheel of Time fan community? A: You mean other than LAUNCHING the largest fan community? Heh. In truth, I am involved in just about anything that has to do with the Wheel of Time. I've been to all the big conventions which feature the Wheel of Time. I was the Toastmaster for the 1st JordanCon in 2009, and I've been to Dragon*Con twice. I'm actively working and advising the film producers for the Eye of the World movie adaptation. There's SO MUCH going on there but I simply cannot talk about it....yet. The producers are very interested in what the fans think and want, and they largely look to me for that input and expertise. I talk to Brandon Sanderson on a regular basis about his progress on A Memory of Light, and sometimes look up obscure facts for him if Team Jordan is currently unavailable. (For instance, if he's writing at 2 AM, he knows he can send me a text message and ask for a page reference regarding Jak of the Shadows and I usually get back to him pretty quickly). Again, I can't say much about some of my contributions, but I'm proud of the fact that some small slivers of the Wheel of Time saga came in part from me. I give advice to Tor's art department on all the book covers, including the ebooks that came out last year. I've also worked with their editors and executives on discussing the book and how to market certain aspects of it. Along with Jenn Liang, we came up with the idea for the Storm Leaders and Tower Guards, and run those programs in conjunction with Tor. From what I understand, no other publisher has given fans an opportunity like that before. Q: How has the Wheel of Time influenced your life? A: That's a big question. Not a day goes by when I'm not working on the website, managing relationships with Tor, or Audible, or Amazon, or the Podcast team, taking orders from our online store, or just answering emails from fans. The Wheel of Time has challenged me to learn new skills, and improve my existing ones. Because of the Wheel of Time, I don't simply have a day job at a tech company. I have a side "hobby" which has allowed me to travel the country, make presentations to influential New York executives, create compelling films, and sit next to well-known authors at book signings. And, of course, I've met a ton of amazing people, including some of my dearest friends. Picking up that old copy of The Eye of the World was one of the smartest things I ever did. Q: Do you have any Wheel of Time related fan articles that you are proud to have, be it a tattoo or a special something from the Man himself? A: I own a ridiculous amount of WoT-related collectibles. I own signed 1st edition hardcovers for every book, all personalized by Robert Jordan, Harriet, and/or Brandon. I have an original manuscript page from The Eye of the World with Harriet's hand-written editorial notes on it. This page is framed and kept next to an original manuscript page from The Gathering Storm that Harriet also made comments on. The page from The Eye of the World shows Rand meeting Ba'alzamon for the first time in the dark palace with the fireplace. The page from The Gathering Storm shows Rand meeting Moridin in the same location. The tone of the scenes is the same, and most interestingly, the editorial comments from Harriet are the same! Both Robert Jordan and Brandon used the same language, and Harriet corrected them both in the same way. You can read more about this framed piece on my personal website. Q: What would you tell a new (or even slightly older) member who finds you up beyond their reach? I mean, you seem like a very down to earth person, and I can imagine how having people who look up to you all the time and might even find you a bit scary could prove to be strenuous. A: Just email me. I'm really not a scary guy. Actually, I'm probably "too nice". I love hearing from people. Even if you don't have a question but just want to say hi, feel free to drop me a line: Jason@dragonmount.com. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter (@jasondenzel). Q: Favorite nation? A: Malkier. Q: Favorite character? A: Rand. Q: Favorite Darkfriend? A: Demandred. Q: Ale or wine? A: Beer. Stout. Q: Egwene, Min, Aviendha, or Elayne? A: Ugh. Like I could decide! But that said...Min. Q: If you were a Warder in the Tower, which Aes Sedai would you bond? A: I'd weave a bond around the Amyrlin. Q: Anything else you would like to tell the visitors on Dragonmount? A: THANK YOU! Every single person who visits Dragonmount demonstrates how my efforts are worth it. I've put so many hours of my life into this website, and to the franchise in general, that it's impossible to track. Just knowing that people enjoy it and benefit from it makes a huge difference to me. It's why I keep doing it. I'd also like to encourage people to check out my personal site, JasonDenzel.com, along with my Facebook or Twitter (@jasondenzel) accounts. As WoT winds down, I'm finding myself more and more involved in developing my own fictional worlds and stories. I'm hoping to maybe one day publish a novel, and I certainly plan to release more fantasy-themed films.
Darrell K. Sweet, the artist who painted the U.S. book covers to fourteen Wheel of Time novels, has passed away. He was 77 years old. Mr. Sweet's artwork has graced the covers of hundreds of novels, magazines, and other mediums. An icon of the industry, Darrell became widely celebrated in the 1980's, into the 90's. His style and colorful renderings set the standard for the industry at the time. At the time of his passing, Mr. Sweet was actively working on the book cover for A Memory of Light, the final Wheel of Time novel. It remains unfinished, and it is currently unclear as to whether or not we will ever see it. On a personal note, the highest compliment I can give Mr. Sweet is that his artwork led me to read Robert Jordan's books. I was transfixed by the cover to The Dragon Reborn where Rand is reaching for Callandor. So captivated by this cover, I purchased the previous two novels just so that I would get a chance to read the third book with that great cover. It's quite possible that had it not been for that cover, I would never have read the series which has so heavily impacted my life. Thank you, Darrell, for inspiring me, and so many others. Other Links: Tor.com's tribute to Darrell K. Sweet Darrell K. Sweet's official website Discuss his passing on our forums Article in Locus magazine Article on File 770 Brandon Sanderson's Blog Article on A Dribble of Ink Here's most of Darrell K. Sweet's published Wheel of Time artwork. (Click each one to see it in our gallery) src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_1425.jpg' alt='The Eye Of The World' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_246972.jpg' alt='The Great Hunt' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_298959.jpg' alt='The Dragon Reborn' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_644007.jpg' alt='The Shadow Rising' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_134354.jpg' alt='The Fires Of Heaven' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_12382.jpg' alt='Lord Of Chaos' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_718837.jpg' alt='A Crown Of Swords' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_193996.jpg' alt='The Path Of Daggers' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_198465.jpg' alt='Winters Heart' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_74367.jpg' alt='Crossroads Of Twilight' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_250091.jpg' alt='Knife Of Dreams' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_832981.png' alt='The Gathering Storm' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_342879.jpeg' alt='Towers of Midnight.jpeg' width="400" border="1" /> src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_50363.jpg' alt='New Spring' width="400" border="1" /> And just for fun, here's one more image Darrell did for Dragon magazine years ago: src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/gallery/album_152/gallery_2_152_670694.jpg' alt='Perrin Aybarra: Dragon magazine print cover' width="400" border="1" />
Happy December, faithful readers! I hope the start of this month has been joyous rather than chaotic for you. In your opinion, what were the top five fantasy books of 2011? Visit our General Discussion forum and share your thoughts. Our thread on HBO's Game of Thrones is still going strong. If you want to join the hype, come to our TV Show & Sports Discussion forum. The Aiel Social Group's Wasteland Auction that I told you about two weeks ago has finally begun! Remember, you don't need points or money to play, but bring your honor. It's time to submit games for the Black Tower Social Group's December Shockwave Competition. You have until December 24th or so to submit games, then voting will commence. The Wolfkin Social Group is hosting a December Competition. Who can design the best snowflakes? The A Bit of Tea on the Dark Side role play is still continuing. Come catch up with the Black Ajah! The drawing to get your name into A Memory of Light recently closed. We'd like to thank everyone who participated.
You may remember us reporting on The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel here. As mentioned before, the story will unfold over several graphic novel volumes. Volume 2 will be released on June 19, 2012. Even though the second volume will not be released for several months, Tor Books has kindly allowed us to give you a sneak peek at the cover art and two sample pages from the graphic novel. We would like to thank them for their generosity. You can find the cover art to the side of this article. Here are the two sample pages: Enjoy!
Hey there! So, the last time that I told you a little about our boards here on Dragonmount, it was all about the Social Groups. Now we're going to have a look at the Role Playing Groups. The first stop you should make if you wish to join a Role Playing Group or if you're looking for more information is the Welcome Inn. It contains stickied threads with information that is vital to your possible journey as a Role Player. If you want to RP without the need to write up a whole biography for your character, you can use the Turnings of the Wheel: Revolution One board for that. Your other option is to join a group and write a biography, which then has to be approved. You can begin writing after jumping through all the necessary hoops. The different groups that you can join include the Band of the Red Hand, where you can join Mat's legendary fighting force and live the raucous life of a soldier. Then there's the Black Tower, where the Taint shall sing through the blood in your veins, or its opposite, the White Tower, at which you can fulfill your calling as an Aes Sedai. If you have ever wanted to live in the twisted mind of a Darkfriend, then the Congress of the Shadow is the perfect place for you. If you'd like to join those fighting the Shadow, there's always the Children of the Light or the Warders. Have you ever admired the senses of a wolf? Well, head over to the Wolfkin and give being one of them a go. Last, but not least, we have the Freelanders. Here you can be whatever you wish, be it Ogier, Aiel, Noble, or just some pickpocket finding their way. Yes, there are some boards I haven't gotten to yet, but we're there now. The last lot of boards are the places where you actually role play. The board you play on is determined by where your plot happens. We have from the North to the South, and major places like the Farm for the Kin and the Citadel for the Children of the Light. Now that NaNoWriMo is over, you need an outlet for your creative juices. So, why don't you give role playing a chance? Also, if you don't want to miss the chance for your name to appear in A Memory of Light, get hopping and have a look at the JordanCon website. The competition ends today!
Since October, JordanCon, Inc. has been offering Wheel of Time fans a final opportunity to become a named character in the series. Fans who donate $10 will have their names entered into a drawing to be included in the final installment, A Memory of Light. The final number of names that will be drawn is determined by Brandon Sanderson as dictated by the needs of the story. The fundraiser is set to end on Thursday, Dec. 1st. So far, the fundraiser has raised nearly $35,000. While most of the money raised will go towards offsetting JordanCon's operating costs for the next several years, ten percent is being donated to JordanCon's official charity, the Mayo Clinc's amyloidosis research fund. JordanCon is a fantasy literature convention founded in honor of the late author, Robert Jordan. Jordan was the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time series. JordanCon features four tracks of simultaneous programming, a Dealers Hall, and charity events benefiting the Mayo Clinic. Past guests have included Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, David Wong, Jana G. Oliver, David B. Coe, and Eugie Foster. New to JordanCon this year will be the Art Show featuring art from a variety of fantasy and sci fi artists. Guests this year will include author Mary Robinette Kowal, artist Sam Weber, and Toastmaster Melissa Craib Dombrowski.
Calichniye, my cunning companions of Dragonmount! Welcome to another weekly installment of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's wild ride of a theory blog! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week, for those who celebrate it. For those who don't, I hope you found some other reason to stuff your belly (it's never hard for me to find a reason to do so). I'm sure everyone is anxious for me to continue with the second part of last week's blog...(crickets chirping), but I have one quick announcement: This week, I'll be venturing forth on a cruise with my newlywed wife, and as such, there's a good chance you might not see a blog from me for the following week. Fear not, though, for I will bounce back again completely relaxed and rejuvenated and should have oodles of new theories for you to masticate upon. And now, for our weekly disclaimer (does anyone actually read these?): WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!! This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! "It Works in Theory" is a high velocity, roller coaster-type ride that includes sudden brief stops in hyperbole and sharp turns away from reason. Please secure all loose belongings and keep all attached and unattached limbs and body parts inside the blog at all times during the ride. Don't sway the cabin or rock the boat, that's my job. Due to the nature of the ride, guests with back and/or neck problems, expectant mothers, any who have recently had experimental non-FDA approved surgery, or anyone without an open mind or a sense of humor should not ride this blog. As this is the second part of a two-part entry, I'll go ahead and review what we covered in last week's blog: The Gray Tower. It seems obvious to me that the White Tower and the Black Tower will not exist in the same way after both of their impending altercations. Many signs point to a joint organization being formed, a "Gray Tower," which would combine both of their forces and allow men and women to work together again using the One Power to help their world flourish after Tarmon Gai'don. This week, I'm going to cover exactly how that might occur. It seems like it might be a tall order after all, since the current leader of the Black Tower is an evil maniac, and the leader of the White Tower is somewhat biased regarding the sanity of male channelers. So, who would help these two groups come together to resolve their differences and work together? Why, who else but the Dragon Reborn himself, Rand al'Thor? Back in A Crown of Swords, Elaida a'Roihan had a Foretelling that seemed to assure her of her own control of the White Tower. She ended up drastically misinterpreting the Foretelling, but let's take another look at that vision of the future and see if we can glean more of what it really meant. The White Tower ended up becoming whole again, only it was under Egwene as Amyrlin, not Elaida. The Black Tower section is part of why I think some kind of calamity will ensue there, which will cause the Asha'man to have to find a new home. The part in the middle, about Rand facing the Amyrlin Seat and knowing her anger, is what really interests me. Some suggest that this in fact has already happened, when Rand visited the White Tower in Towers of Midnight. After all, Egwene wasn't exactly happy to hear about Rand's plan to break the seals on the Dark One's prison. However, I don't think this to be the case, as she wasn't nearly as angry as she was awestruck by Rand; she sensed the profound change inside him. There's also another reason I don't think Rand has "known her anger"...yet. So, in one of Egwene's Dreams, she sees Rand taking a woman's seat, and that woman being very upset with him. Could this mysterious woman in fact be the same woman whose anger Rand would be "gettin schooled" in from Elaida's Foretelling? In the Wheel of Time FAQ, they bring up the possibility that this has occured already as well. It's possible that this happened when Rand briefly sat on the Lion Throne after securing the rule of Andor later in the same book as the Dream. Morgase would be considered the rightful owner at the time, and she did become pretty upset with the thought of Rand taking her throne. Another possibility mentioned is that the chair is the Crystal Throne, but at this point I find this to be highly unlikely; I just don't think there's enough time in the series for Rand to visit the continent of Seanchan and rob it from Tuon. So, this dream of Egwene's could be a possible foreshadowing of Rand sitting in the Amyrlin Seat's seat itself, which would cause her to be extremely upset, of course. There's one more piece of evidence that I wanted to cover, and it's a little less solid, but together with the other pieces, it does make the picture slightly clearer. This quote is taken from the Jendai Prophecies. Many might look at the footwashing part mainly as flavor text that would mainly indicate Aes Sedai serving him, but keep in mind the odd ritual carried out during the ceremony of raising someone to the Amyrlin Seat: First of all, let me state that the undressing portion of the ritual is extremely odd and is probably an example of why some have been heard to complain about a possible sexist feel to the series. Moving past that, though, you'll see the part of the ritual I was referring to before. If an Amyrlin is being raised and every Sitter doesn't stand for her, the would-be Amyrlin must go to every one of the Sitters and wash their feet, asking them to let her serve. This seems a little different than the scenario described in prophecy, but let's not forget that several rituals and traditions have changed greatly over the years. The Oath Rod itself, which is used to swear Aes Sedai in after achieving the Shawl, was used as a way of punishing criminals back in the Age of Legends. So, it could be that the ritual became skewed over time and ended up having the Amyrlin doing the footwashing, when originally they were the ones getting their feet washed. A funny little footnote to this theory is the fact that Rand, being Lews Therin reborn, might even have an odd sort of claim to the Amyrlin Seat. After all, Lews Therin was the Amyrlin himself before he committed the most extreme version of hari-kari ever, and for all we know the laws of that time might not have made the Seat automatically pass to someone else upon the Amyrlin's death. In that case, Rand would simply state that he already was the Amyrlin, and proceed to start barking out orders like General George S. Patton, foregoing the whole footwashing business altogether. So, what would cause Rand to do such a thing? Is it the Two Rivers young prankster side of him coming back out for a moment, stealing Egwene's chair for a second just to upset her? I doubt it, but I'm sure plenty of fans of the series wouldn't mind Egwene being brought down a peg or two (judging from the forums, Egwene appears to be an extremely polarizing figure). More than likely, the disaster that will befall the White Tower will end up being placed at Egwene's feet, since she has taken a large percentage of the defensive forces of the White Tower with her to the Fields of Merrilor in an attempt to convince Rand not to break the seals. It goes without saying (which is why I'm typing it) that the fall of Tar Valon would be a huge loss for the forces of Light, not to mention that several important items are being safeguarded there. Should the attack be comprised solely of Seanchan troops, then Tuon would have a powerful edge in negotiations between the two (Rand would likely end up buying the Horn off her with another trinket that would be immensely valuable to her, but that's a story for a future blog). Should the Horn end up being stolen by the forces of the Dark, it would be a very bleak day for Rand and friends indeed. Rand obviously would be very upset at Egwene for committing such a grievous transgression, and combined with the fact that Egwene would more than likely oppose the idea of Asha'man joining the ranks of the White Tower, it might be enough to make him so upset that he temporarily commandeers the Seat in order to help force the Aes Sedai to accept their new peers. Don't forget about the Dream that I quoted in part 1 of this entry, in which Egwene saw the window across from the Amyrlin Seat that had the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai (The Dragon's Fang mixed with the Flame of Tar Valon, making a yin-yang like symbol); this symbol is said to be the symbol under which the Dragon Reborn conquers. Egwene has been dreaming of an important confronation with Rand for some time, and instead of it being over the breaking of the Seals like most of us believe, it could in fact be a confrontation over the leadership of the new "Gray Tower" itself. I have two more things to mention before I go. First, I'll ask you to please be nice when adding comments for this week's blog. As I mentioned before, Egwene can be a particularly polarizing figure, and if you have certain strong feelings about her, just try your best to keep it respectful. Second, I want to remind you that the JordanCon fundraiser is ending on December 1st. Go here if you would like to participate. With that, I bid you adieu for a couple weeks, and I'll send everyone warm, happy thoughts from the Bahamas!
I hope that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday had a wonderful time and aren't feeling distressed about overindulging in delicious food. Those who have cherished The Wheel of Time for years have assuredly experienced a myriad of emotions while reading. We may have chucked the books across the room in frustration or cheered with triumphant glee. The fans in our General Wheel of Time Discussion forum would like to know about the moments that made you laugh out loud. Which scenes tickled your funny bone? If you are a fan of George R.R. Martin, you know that the waiting time between books can be long. A thread in our General Discussion forum poses an interesting question: Do you think Martin's slower writing pace will affect book sales of other authors? It's rare to find a thread so popular that it has been actively posted in for years, but you need look no farther than the Band of the Red Hand Social Group's Music Game for an example. Come check out the fun! The Shayol Ghul Social Group is playing a rousing game of Truth or Dare. What crazy antics are they up to now? Those role players must have caught on that I am drawn to the stories with the juiciest titles. A new role play called Secrets has already sparked my curiosity. If you're in a Seanchan mood, check out the role play entitled The Test is Never Wrong and the A'dam Doesn't Lie. It follows the same characters we met in From Human to Property a few weeks ago. If you go here and download issue 300 of The Drink Tank, look for article #273. Our very own Jennifer Liang has written about how we can try to get Robert Jordan a posthumous Hugo Award. For more news like this, check us out on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
The evening began with the amusing sight of Brandon Sanderson piling various items of furniture on top of one another to create a home-made lectern for his laptop. Following a brief aside on the difference between a lectern and a podium (and how this plays into the editorial process), Brandon read from a novella he’s recently written. Apparently, he started it on the flight back to the US the last time he came to the UK. He couldn’t work on the Wheel of Time since he was awaiting the outcome of some research on the notes. He went on to explain that Robert Jordan left a pile of notes roughly half Brandon’s height that his two researchers dip into when Brandon needs an answer to one of his questions. This is normally quick, but it can take several months to come up with a fully researched answer. The reading lasted about eight minutes and seemed to be from the beginning of the novella. I won’t spoil the concept, but it’s clever and deeply silly. The evening then moved to a Q&A. Questions and answers are paraphrased from my notes and memory, so they won’t be absolutely word-for-word, but they shouldn’t be much different from the original conversation. I’ve included all the questions, not just the Wheel-related ones. Q: Can you give any advice to fantasy writers on creating magic systems? A: The most important thing about a magic system is what it can’t do, not what it can. The limitations of a magic system are commonly what drives the plot in a fantasy novel. One novel I’m working on involves a magic system where individually, people don’t have enough magic to do anything major. However, you can give your magic to someone else, and if you can get around 50 people’s magic, then you can do something interesting. But giving away your magic makes your world that bit darker. In such a world, it doesn’t actually matter then what the magic does; it’s more about whether you choose to sell yours or try and get someone else’s. The second point is to consider how the magic system interacts with the setting. How does it affect the economics, social structures, and religious make-up of the world? For example, in the Wheel of Time, the clear gender difference in the magic--men go mad and women don’t--has affected the whole pattern of gender relations in the world in ways that can seem very bizarre to us. It’s also important to give magic a visual or sensory component. It’s tempting to have all the magic played out in the minds of the mages, but this can be boring to read. Q: How does compounding work in Mistborn? A: I can explain this better in person because I know things that the characters in the book don’t. So, they haven’t worked a lot of this out. All the magic systems in my work are linked because the books all take place in the same universe. In Elantris, magic works by drawing symbols in the air. What actually happens is that when they draw a symbol, energy passes through it from another place (which is my get-out for the laws of thermodynamics) and the effect of that energy is moderated by the symbol. In one case it may become light, in another it may become fire. In Mistborn, the metals have a similar effect. The magic is not coming from the metal (even if some characters think it is). It is being drawn from the same place and moderated by the metal. In the case of Feruchemy, no energy is being drawn from this other place. So, you spend a week sick and store up the ability to heal. It’s a balanced system, basically obeying the laws of thermodynamics. So, while it’s not real, it’s still rational. In compounding, when you have the power of both Allomancy and Feruchemy, you draw power from the other place through the metal and it recognizes the power that is already stored--"Oh, this is healing, I know how to do that”--and so you get the power of Feruchemy but boosted by energy from the other place. This is how the Lord Ruler achieved immortality. Q (my question): In Towers of Midnight in Egwene’s confrontation with Mesaana, how was Egwene able to override the a’dam when Moghedien had so spectacularly failed to do so earlier? A: Brandon accused me of being a Theorylander then thought for a bit. He explained that, while the answer might not give anything away, he was loath to go into detail in case it could be used to work out other things yet to come. So, regretfully, he gave it a RAFO. Q: Having worked on Robert Jordan’s world, is there any other world you would like to write for? A: When I was 18, I would have said David Eddings, but that’s not true now. He’s wonderful at the right age, but I no longer want to write in his world. I would have said Star Wars but the prequels left a bit of a sour taste. If George Lucas said to me, "Do you want to re-write those prequels for me?" I’d definitely say yes, but that’s not going to happen! Q: Is there anything earlier in the Wheel of Time that you would want to change? A: No. There are things I would have done differently if it were mine, but that’s not the same thing. I don’t approach the Wheel of Time as wanting to fix it. Instead, I think about how I can do it justice. There are clear differences in some areas and I have to deal with that. For example, Robert Jordan's and my action sequences are very different. That’s because he had been in Vietnam and had actually been shot at, whereas all my experience comes from action movies. Also, I treat magic a little differently, so sometimes that carries over into the text. Q: Your writing style in the Wheel of Time is very close to Robert Jordan's but is much less so in your other books. Are you frustrated by having to write in Jordan's style? A: Not at all. But I have to change some things as I go to make it work my way. I have complete creative freedom, so I don’t find it constraining. I write what I need and then Harriet checks it. If I can get it past her then I know it’s right. Besides, constraint can be really useful for a writer as it fuels creativity. If you have a dry patch (as all writers do) then a really odd writing task, like having to write about sentient vegetables taking over the world, can push you in new directions. So, I have been creative in the Wheel of Time and I have put some audacious things in there. But Robert Jordan was already an audacious author. For example, cleansing the Taint before the end of the series was an audacious piece of writing. So, I have freedom, but if something is in the notes, we always try to include it. The only time we don’t is if he wrote about something that happens to a character in one part of the notes, then contradicted it elsewhere. In that case, we have to make a decision. Also, sometimes the notes say a character will do something, but I can find no way to get them where they are supposed to be to do it. In that case, we sometimes have another character do it instead, but I can talk more about then when A Memory of Light is out. Q: A lot of your work deals with stereotypes. Can you tell us more about that? A: It’s true, but I always make sure that it isn’t just about the stereotype. It’s a fun thing to challenge some of the classic fantasy models, but that shouldn’t take over the writing as that can really undermine a writer. Piers Anthony was an example where the puns were fun but eventually came to undermine the series. I like having non-stereotypical professions and I enjoyed challenging age perceptions in Way of Kings. Having a romance between a man in his 50s and a woman in her late 40s is unusual in fantasy, where it’s all about the young man falling in love. Q: Does the Oath Rod limit Aes Sedai age by using their life force to power the Oaths? A: I’m 85% sure on this and you’ll have to ask Maria for confirmation, but no, the effect is not caused by draining the Aes Sedai’s life force. I’m not going to tell you what is causing the effect. Q: Were Ruin and Preservation two shards or one? A: They were two shards. Harmony is considered a shard, although it’s really two, in the same way that a king of two countries would still be considered a king. Q: Do you miss characters when you “write them out”? A: Nice euphemism. I miss writing for them but it doesn’t shock me because I generally planned it that way, so I have time to prepare. I don’t see myself as killing them. Instead, I allow them to take risks and pay the price for those risks. Mostly, I know well in advance what will happen to a character. Just occasionally, though, the plot will suddenly take me to the point when something has to happen, then I have to go back and re-write the outline. I don’t sit there and think, “Now who won’t they expect me to kill," although I suspect some other authors might do that. (General laughter ensued at that point.) That was the end of the Q&A. It was followed by a signing in which people got to ask their own questions. Obviously, I didn’t hear all the answers, so I only have the two I asked. Q: You’ve said previously that when you were a young man you identified with Rand over the other boys, but now you’re older, you identify more with the older characters. Do you think when you are 80 you will identify with Cadsuane? A: Maybe with Thom Merrilin. I think I would need to be the full 300 to completely identify with Cadsuane. Q: Why did Grady and Neald stop tying off gateways? A: They found that it didn’t work as well as they originally thought. Tied-off gateways behaved in strange ways; they were inefficient, ineffective, and unpredictable. There was also a considerable continuing cost to maintaining even a tied-off gateway. I can’t remember exactly when the change happened, but I think it was Jordan who made it. You can armchair this and see that he had to create a reason why they didn’t just tie off gateways all the time. If they could do that, then they would just have gateways everywhere and that would be that. So, he had to have an in-book reason to explain an out-of-book issue.
This Friday may be known as Black Friday to most, but for us, it's Black Ajah Friday! Our friends at Ta'veren Tees would like to celebrate with you by having a "Black Ajah Friday Sale" this Friday, November 25th. For the entire duration of the day, every shirt will be 20% off! This is an incredibly generous offer, so definitely take advantage of this great opportunity, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Vandui', my vigorous visitors of Dragonmount! Welcome to yet another weekly installment of "It Works in Theory," the world-famous Wheel of Time focused theory blog that resides on Dragonmount. I only say world-famous, by the way, because some friends of mine recently doubted the popularity of my blog, and I figured that if I start hyping it more, then eventually it might actually become world-famous. So, get out and start spreading the word! But first, go ahead and read my disclaimer (and the rest of my blog, I suppose): WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!! This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! As always, take whatever I say with a grain of salt. After all, even though some of my ideas might seem completely spot on, other ideas used to be very popular as well and turned out to be completely false. The earth used to be thought of as flat, then it was the center of the universe and brontosauruses had two brains, and then there was intelligent life in the universe (obviously, we know that last one is completely ridiculous). Anything you see written down in black and white can't be taken for complete truth, and the world is all shades of gray anyway. However, if you read something in other colors, you can take that straight to the bank. Okay, where shall we begin? Well, let me first say that some parts of what I speculate about today will more than likely not be any huge revelations, but some of the stuff that takes me there is somewhat interesting. I'm going to be partially discussing the fates of the two Towers today (no, not those two, Tolkien fans), the Black and the White. I'll be frank at this point: I think it's fairly evident that both Towers will not exist in the same environment or fashion that they did before. The Seanchan will be invading the White Tower soon in force and with the aid of Traveling, and the Black Tower has already been Foretold to be "rent in blood and fire" by Elaida in A Crown of Swords. So, what does this mean for the fate of Randland as a whole, with the Last Battle looming and in the wake of Tarmon Gai'don? Well, let's first take a look at a couple of quotes: In this case, you can actually just ignore all the text, and instead pay close attention to the parts I bolded. Those are meant to be the cities in the Fourth Age that the quotes are taken from. Incidentally, you can find a great essay that covers all of the Fourth Age "prophecies" on our WOTFAQ by visiting this link. Does anything about their names look a little peculiar to you? Try breaking them down a bit. Taralan. Great Arvalon. Seems like both cities borrow part of their name from Tar Valon, the city in which the White Tower sits. This could be just a coincidence, but does it really seem like Robert Jordan would have had that much trouble coming up with names that sound a little more different than that? I think this could be a subtle hint as to what might end up happening with the White Tower. The theme of sociological roles of gender has played a heavy part in the series, showing what might happen in a society where the power has shifted so greatly in favor of women. I'm not trying to make this a sexist grouping of thoughts by any means, by the way, but it's fairly obvious that things were better in the Age of Legends when men and women worked together to create absolute marvels. The Choedan Kal is just one of the incredible items they were able to create, and overall, society seemed to be flourishing during that time. Once the Breaking of the World occurred, however, the power shifted greatly in favor of women because of the general distrust of many towards men who could channel. Unfortunately, the Aes Sedai over the past few thousand years have only succeeded in making this division and imbalance worse. Not only have they heightened the sexist attitudes throughout their society, but by creating separate Ajahs within themselves, they have prevented themselves from being more efficient in aiding the people of Randland. All this has helped create the perception many have when reading the books that the Aes Sedai are all a group of bickering old politicians, or worse. Personally, I find them to be a charming bunch of little old ladies who just so happen to have a few more tricks up their sleeves than most. On the other hand, besides the fact that it is being controlled by a maniac in Mazrim Taim, the Black Tower is suffering because of its lack of checks and balances. It could benefit from the stricter bureaucratic nature of the White Tower. Unfortunately, I'm not really sure if it will have the chance to gain more stability since there will most likely be some kind of climactic confrontation in the last book. Knowing how well the Asha'man are trained in destructive weaves, I don't expect to see much of the Tower standing in the aftermath. In fact, I see kind of a funny comparison that can be made between the White and Black Towers and the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States. The White Tower members are the elephantic Republicans, with their conservative policies and traditions. The Black Tower members are the burro-like Democrats, being a little more idealistic in nature, but lacking the organization to hold themselves together well enough. So, what does this have to do with Taralan and Great Arvalon? Well, both the Aes Sedai and the Asha'man will need a new home once both of theirs are damaged. Doesn't it make sense for them to learn to coexist once again, build a new tower that they can share together, and work together once again in helping to aid the people of their land? Not a White Tower or a Black Tower, but instead a "Gray" Tower. If you say the name of one of the Fourth Age cities, it even seems to be some subtle foreshadowing of this society. Great Arvalon, Great Arvalon...Gray Tar Valon? I imagine the new Tower will be built on the site the White Tower sits right now. The two cities I mentioned seem derived from Tar Valon, so it might be that the island of Tar Valon gets split in two in some kind of catastrophe, which would explain why two cities become founded with such a similar name. It could even be that they aren't both cities, but one has sprouted off the other. Perhaps the Gray Tower even gets its name because of the fact that the walls of the White Tower themselves might become stained with said catastrophe, be it an attack from Seanchan or Shadowspawn, or even an eruption of Dragonmount. Either way, the new Gray Tower would hopefully represent more of a university and learning center instead of the political entity that the White Tower represents. It would strive for advancement of society as a whole, instead of seeking to manipulate the nations of Randland to achieve its own ulterior goals. There is already a hint of Asha'man and Aes Sedai working together, which we see when Egwene visits Tel'aran'rhiod to meet with several allies: The window Egwene is referring to is the one that was constructed to hide the eyesore of a huge hole that was blown into the wall during the Seanchan attack. When it was built, however, it contained only the Flame of Tar Valon and didn't include the Dragon's Fang symbol like it did in her dream. At the Thirteenth Depository, there is a page that examines and discusses all of Egwene's Dreams, and it suggests that this is a symbol for how the world will eventually respect Asha'man on the same level as Aes Sedai. What if this vision should be taken more literally, however? Perhaps the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai will be brought back once again and restored as the proper symbol that will unite both men and women once again. They will be united again, not just in channeling the One Power, but in wielding power and influence in general so as to help recreate the proper balance that existed in the Age of Legends. Now, if only we can get some true gender equality in our own world, then we'd really be on the right track to utopia! Like I said, this might have not been some huge eye-opening revelation for some of you. Luckily, however, I decided to play some of my cards close to the chest this week and make this topic a two-parter. I can hear some of you groaning already! Don't worry, I'll make sure to make it worth the wait. Until next week, my fellow fans of fantasy, when we will cover "The Amyrlin's Anger".