Robert Jordan

October 19, 1998

Moderator: Good evening, Robert Jordan, and welcome to the Auditorium! The questions have been pouring in nonstop all day. Before we begin, do you have any opening comments for your online audience?
It's great to have the book done, guys. Hi!
John Meyer from Plano, TX: Mr. Jordan, I first wanted to say thank you for such a great series. My question is how long has this story and or series been running around in your head, and do you feel you have the ending picked out?
I started thinking about what would turn into the Wheel of Time more than 15 years ago, and the first thing that I thought of that was really solid was the last scene of the last book. I could have written that 15 years ago, and if I had, it would differ from what I would write today only in the words. What happens would be exactly the same. So, I've known where I'm going from the start.
Mark Ferguson from Edmonton, Alberta: First, I'd like to thank you for your incredible Wheel of Time series. It's given me incredible reading enjoyment as well as given me the opportunity to build Wheel of Time areas on an online Internet game, a MUD [Multiple User Domain]. My question is when was the transition period between the Old Tongue and the New Tongue? I assumed it was after the Breaking, but many of Mat's memories still have the Old Tongue in them, and they were long after. When was the change, and what caused it?
I have gone into this in some depth in other places, but basically after the Breaking, the primary language was still what is called the Old Tongue. In the period between the Breaking and the Trolloc Wars, what would become the language spoken today began to develop as a common or vulgar tongue. During the period between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years, that vulgar tongue supplanted the Old Tongue as the usual or everyday mode of speech, and the Old Tongue regressed to being more and more something of scholars. At the time of Artur Hawkwing, anyone who was educated, whether noble or commoner, could speak and write the Old Tongue, but in everyday life, most people used something very much like what is spoken today. And it was the simple swamp.
Altanar from Milltown, IN: Do you plan on writing any more books after the Wheel of Time that are set in the Randland Universe?
Not at this time, I do not. I have plans for another set of books, but not in the same universe. If a really terrific notion occurs to me for a set of stories that I would like to write, then I would go back to the universe of the Wheel of Time, but otherwise, I won't.
Caesar from Texas: Who exactly schedules your book tours? I have noticed the tours usually take you to a lot of large eastern and western U.S. cities. Does Tor know that, indeed, you do have fans in the Southwest?
I think they do, but I am a simple scrivener. I go where I am sent. I am told, "Go thou, and sign!" and I go thou and sign!
Andrew Wooster from Pomona College: Do you feel that the fantasy genre of literature has any importance in society, and if so, what is its importance?
Well, I think it has too many levels of importance to go into all of them here, but the one that is very clear to me is the human need for myth. We have tried to scrape away, carve away, all the myths in our lives, but we do have that need. It can be demonstrated as simply as by looking at the rise of urban legends. Humans have a deep need for myth, and fantasy literature helps to provide that, I think. Or at least to provide an outlet for that need.
Gretchen from NY: When is the next book coming out? Just kidding! How easy/hard was it to write "New Spring"? Is another short story from the Wheel of Time possible? Or likely? Offhand, what character or background plotline would you most like to explore as you did in "New Spring"?
The answer is it will be in the stores tomorrow! I don't really know whether another short story is possible. "New Spring" took longer than I thought it would to write, and was more difficult to do, in part because I had to leave out a few things I wanted to put in. It was beginning to turn into a 100,000-word short story. If I do write another novella or short, I don't know what area I might look at.
Nansen from Ithaca, NY: Hi, Mr. Jordan! I love your books! I have both the hardcover and paperback editions of all the Wheel of Time books. Can you please tell us why the cover to the paperback edition of A CROWN OF SWORDS is different from the hardcover? Thanks!
I'm afraid that was purely a marketing decision. Tor Books felt that there were stores and outlets that would not accept a fantasy cover. And they seemed to have been right.
Enarra from Ontario: Why did you decide to remove (for the time being, I assume) the character of Moiraine? Was it completely plot-driven, or was it actually a way of reworking her character?
Plot-driven. I know what is supposed to happen with these people, and I'm sorry I can't tell you more. I'll have to say, "Read and find out.
Neil Anderson from Bermuda: The Wheel of Time is the first series that I have been following where the development of the story line coincides with a vast amount of fan discussion on the World Wide Web and elsewhere. Given that you have stated you know how the story ends -- all the major plotlines but not every single incident -- do you ever find yourself taking into account the speculation about certain plotlines that occurs on some of the bulletin boards and newsgroups because it either requires clarification or suggests to you a better way of resolving some plot element?
No, I very seldom see any of the speculation. Occasionally someone will send me printouts of things that have been posted on the web sites. The last time I saw anything like that was about a year ago. I think three times I've been sent a copy of the FAQ, and while the comments in the FAQ have changed, at least in some places, I still have the same comment myself: About a third of the speculation there is right, about a third is almost right -- it's sort of in the right direction, but they're not quite going in the direction I am -- and the remaining third is totally blue sky. but I won't tell anybody which third is which. Read and find out... I know where it's going, and I really just don't take the time to get into the web sites.
Phoenix from Chico, CA: Mr. Jordan: First, congratulations on your new book. I'm absolutely dying to read it, and I'm sure it will be as awesome as the rest. My question regards THE EYE OF THE WORLD: Near the end of the book Rand hears a voice that vibrates his skull with its intensity. Was that the Creator talking to him? I believe the voice even said, "I will take no part..."
Read and find out. Ain't I a stinker?
Cantrell from Brown University: How much of a framework do you have for the next book following the publication of one? Do you have a good idea exactly where you will pick up or does it take time to let things settle and pick up after a complete withdrawal from the work for a while?
I have a fair notion of where I intend to pick up. And I generally have a good idea of a number of things that are going to be in the book for the simple reason that every time that I sit down and list the things that I intend to put into any given book, it always turns out to be more than I can put into that book. So, there are always things leftover that I wanted to do in the preceding book. And they go into the current book.
David Berkowitz from Chicago: We know that people who can channel can mask the fact that they can channel. Is it possible for a person to make it appear as if she/he is less powerful than she/he really is?
Read and find out...
Shawn from What are the chances of seeing any adaptations either film or television of any characters from Wheel of Time?
I really don't know. I occasionally have gotten approaches in the past, but the books are all so long and involved that I think it would take a 16-hour movie to do any one of the books. We'll see what happens
Dianna from Toronto: With all the characters and plotlines, how do you keep track?
I'm a genius? I just do it. I really couldn't say how. I keep it in my head, with the exception of notes on countries, cultures, that sort of thing, but the story is all in my head. It doesn't seem to be particularly difficult to hold it all.
Ramo from Montreal, Canada: First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr. Jordan, for doing this. I have been reading (and rereading) the Wheel of Time for some time now. I am amazed by the number and complexity of characters you have created for this world. Now my question is can we assume that most of the characters that we read about in one book and then disappear in the other books will make a comeback at some point? I am thinking about Elyas and Domon, among others.
Some of them will. Read and find out!
Joey from Arizona: Mr. Jordan, my favorite character is Mat, and I was wondering, do you find it ironic that a Hero of the Wheel, who does not know that he is a Hero of the Wheel, blew the Horn of Valere? Also, were did you get the idea for Mat?
Oh, Mat is a lot of guys. Mat is Coyote and Trickster and a lot of other characters out of myth and legend. He's the reluctant hero, he's a lot of things. He's the bad boy on the Harley. He's a lot of legends.
Aaron E. Austin from Vermillion, South Dakota: When will THE PATH OF DAGGERS be in stores?
THE PATH OF DAGGEERS will be in stores on October 20th -- mere hours from now! Even as we speak, the book is being stacked, I have no doubt, on the shelves of stores all over the country! So, if you go to your bookstore tomorrow, I am certain you won't be disappointed.
Phillip from Indianapolis, IN: Why has Rand not made any attempt to reach or communicate with Tam? Is he trying to remain isolated from his former life?
Remember that Rand believes that the more interest he shows in his family, and in any of the people of the two rivers, the more he makes them a target. If his enemies believe that they hurt Rand by hurting Tam or hurting the two rivers, then they will, so Rand has set himself on a course of pretending to have forgotten his past. Pretending to have grown beyond his rude country beginnings. He thinks he has to make his enemies believe that the two rivers no longer mean anything to him. And the same for Tam.
Ransom Hawk from Milwaukie, OR: It has been alleged that you've said we already have enough information to determine who killed Asmodean. However, this is still a mystery to most of your readers. Will there be more clues, or perhaps an all-out revelation of the answer to this whodunit?
Read and find out...more is coming. Read and find out.
John Simms from Riverside: Any idea about a title for book 9?
No. I have to do a little writing before the title becomes clear to me. I don't start off with a title. That always comes to me at some point during the writing. Something that seems to fit the specific book.
Ramo from Montreal, Canada: Hello, Mr. Jordan. I have enjoyed reading the Wheel of Time series since the beginning. Now through out your books, we learn more and more about the fascinating relationship existing between a Warder and his Aes Sedai. We learn that even thought the Warder gains some abilities, he is not on equal footing with his Aes Sedai, who can even control to a certain degree his mind. Now, would you care telling us your personal views on "warderhood," and if such a thing was possible would you be willing to be a Warder?
Not on your life.
Stormy Conner from Texas: I would first like to say thank you for writing this wonderful series; it has been a pleasure reading the series and becoming familiar with your characters. My question, I believe, has been answered in the books but I want to clarify it in case I have been reading too much into it. Is the gift the Aes Sedai get from the bonding the ability to take or drain energy from their Warder for their own use? I believe this was stated in "A New Spring" [sic] at the end, but I didn't know if it was a literal statement or figurative. Thank you for your time.
That is one of the gifts. She can draw as much strength as she needs -- as a matter of fact, she could take it all. In other words, she could kill him.
AOL_VBT_Tav from Indianapolis: The TOR page says that THE PATH OF DAGGERS will go into how the Asha'man are going insane. Could you possibly elaborate or give us some insight (things to note when reading) for those of us that can't wait a few days?
Well, you don't have to wait a few days...all you have to wait is a few hours! And, no, I'm not going to give you any special insights. You may have come across an acronym -- RAFO. Need I say more?
Tempest from Do you feel that the cover for THE PATH OF DAGGERS is accurate or inaccurate of the things inside, considering some of the past work?
I think it's much more accurate than most of the previous covers.
Lyle from Fostoria, Michigan: Mr. Jordan, thank you for such wonderful reading! I look forward to reading the new novel. My question is will there be a book similar to THE SILMARILLION about the Wheel of Time Universe?
It's quite possible, but we'll see what happens. It's still a few years in the future, after all.
Josh from Preston, CT: Hello, Mr. Jordan. I find the magic system in the series so complex and fascinating. Could you tell us if it is something you worked out before you started writing the series, or did you just add things in as you went along?
I had the basis of it before I began writing, and a good part of how it fit together. Other parts were added in when I realized that there was a question to be answered -- something that I had to decide here and now, how this worked. But I have now quite a large file describing the one power and how it works, and the things that can be done with it and the things that can't be done, and the exceptions to the rules and all that. It would probably be 300 pages if I printed it out, maybe a little more, but I never have. It's just a computer file at the moment.
Solluman from What are the major points of evidence about the identity of the Daughter of the Nine Moons? Will she have a role in the next book?
It's possible. And I'm not going to give anybody any clues or hints -- you guys ought to know me better than that by now!
Jim from Atlanta, GA: Please, please, please! End it here! Who killed Asmodean? C'mon! Just tell us, and then we will never bother you again! (If you say "read and find out" you will have full responsibility for my suicide and/or damaged psyche.)
If I take responsibility, can I get photographs.
Only me from Texas: I realize books take a long time to write, but why did it take 2.5 years to write this and then leave out Mat? Will the next book take as long?
I hope the next book will not take as long. "New Spring" took several months to write, and I also spent several months working on the illustrated guide. So those, between the two of them, took a lot more time than I thought it was going to. That delayed this book considerably.
Matt from Chicago: Mr. Jordan, how did you go about coming up with the story line of Wheel of Time? Did you think about it over several years or did you have a set time frame in which you had to develop it? Any advice for someone trying to write fantasy?
My advice to someone trying to write fantasy is, go see a psychiatrist. As far as how I developed it, I certainly didn't have a deadline set. Many years ago, more than 15, not as many as 20, certain ideas started poking around in my head, rubbing against one another, and this slowly became what is the Wheel of Time. I really don't know that I could explain it any better than that. At least not if I don't go on for hours. For that matter, if I go on for hours, I'm not sure I can explain it any better than that.
John from Front Royal, Virginia: Mr. Jordan, were either of the Aes Sedai seen at Rhuidean in THE SHADOW RISING Deindre, the Aes Sedai from the beginning of the Breaking? Is Deindre responsible for foretelling the entire Prophecies of the Dragon? Thank you for taking time to respond to our questions this evening.
No, she wasn't, and you're welcome.
The Man from Ganymede from WoTism: How far in advance did you plan the later novels like LORD OF CHAOS and A CROWN OF SWORDS? Did you know the series would be this long when you started?
I did not know the series would be this long in the beginning. When I first went to my publisher, I told him, I know the beginning, and I know the ending, and I know what I want to happen in-between, but I'm not sure I know how long it will take me to get from the beginning to the end. Now, don't laugh, but I said to him, "It's going to be at least three or four books, and it might be as many as five or six."
Julia from How many books long do you think the Wheel of Time series will end up being? Do you have any idea how long it will take to finish writing the series?
I'm not really clear. When I finished A CROWN OF SWORDS, I said it would take me at least three books more to finish. Now that I have completed THE PATH OF DAGGERS, it looks like it will take me at least three more book s to finish. Believe me, guys, I'm trying as hard as I can to get there as fast as I can.
DS from Was the Dark Prophecy in THE GREAT HUNT (Now the Great Lord comes...) a real prophecy, or was it a taunt?
Read and find out.
Alex Daskas from Cleveland, Texas: Hi, Mr. Jordan. I'm rereading the Wheel of Time series over, so I can work myself up for PATH OF DAGGERS. My question: Who is the Daughter of the Nine Moons?
Oh... Oh... Oh! Does the phrase RAFO seem familiar to you at all? Take heart, all will be revealed eventually! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
D. from New Mexico: What do you think the chances are that perhaps by the end of the series, the Dark Lord will face Rand? Would there be an actual, awesome battle? I just liked to say, Mr. Jordan, you rock.
Well, thank you very much, I try! And as far as the other, read and find out. If I tell you guys everything up front, you're going to say, "Jeez, there's no reason to read the book, we know it already!"
Jim Ciarrocchi from Des Moines, IA: Who offed Asmodean?
Read and find out, guys.
Caleyna Sedai from Astoria, OR: Is it possible for an Ogier to be bonded as a Warder? I am not asking if it will happen, just if it is physically possible. We know that Ogier can be fierce warriors, so that shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps the bond could somehow reduce the longing? An Ogier would make the perfect Warder for a Brown, if the bond were possible.
Such a bond would be possible, but an Ogier would find it a very strange thing to be asked to do. I can't think of an Ogier on this side of the Aryth Ocean who would be willing to accept.
Moderator: Thank you for joining us tonight, Robert Jordan. Before you go do you have any last words for your online audience?
Thank you guys for coming. I'm sorry I couldn't get to everyone's question, but there were a lot of questions -- a lot! Thanks again, I enjoyed it, guys.
Seven Spokes: A Wheel of Time Chronology

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