Some time ago I posted some of the questions that I would like to ask
Robert Jordan during his visit to the Netherlands, between 4 and 8
April. And now Dylan Verheul <n...@dyve.net> wrote :
> So, did you ask any? Did you get any answers? Anyone?
In the meantime I noticed Aan'allein's fantastic reports as mentioned in
his "Robert Jordan visiting the Netherlands: links to reports" post --
wish I had seen those earlier, they're great! Anyway, since I had
already written most of this post I'll send it anyway, there might be
one or two things that Aan'allein didn't mention yet. First a report,
then some of the more interesting (IMHO) questions and answers below.
I got to meet mr. Jordan three times. His first interview session in
bookstore De Kler in Leiden was well organised, there were about 80 to
90 people there, and RJ seemed more interested and open with his answers
than on the later occassions I attended. The bookstore interviewer
asked him all the usual questions, but it was nice to hear the familiar
answers from the master himself. Oh, and I too heard him say that
Harriet knows the ending ("she's my wife, she has ways to get things out
On Friday, RJ and Terry Pratchett were interviewed by RJ's Dutch
translators, Jo Thomas and Johan-Martijn Flaton, at the Donner bookstore
in Rotterdam. Apparently his Dutch translators are the only translators
who actually get in touch with him about details, and I think the Dutch
translations for the WoT books are quite good and close to the English
text. The bad news is of course that now the translators have met the
creator, the Dutch translation for _WH_ (which was supposed to be
released in April) has been pushed back until July. I do wonder what
details they did overlook...
Anyway, I was looking forward to this interview. And the questions were
original, but unfortunately Terry Pratchett had a way of not answering
them, going on and on for hours until nobody knew where he was going
anymore, and then RJ would pick up on something Pratchett had said which
would be interesting, but miles away from the original question. I had
hoped to get an answer about his idea of translations (the question to
Pratchett was something like "Are you afraid of translations, that
things or names or ideas get lost in process?"), but even Pratchett
himself never even got close to answering that. Oh well. It was an
interesting interview still, about the creative process of writing, how
details grow to become important later in the story, how he created the
world for WoT, why he doesn't read fan fiction, things like that. It
was crowded, I think over 200 people were there, and it turned out that
about three quarter of them wanted a Pratchett signature, so the queue
for RJ was much smaller and even allowed me to go back twice.
Finally I saw him on Sunday at the second day of the Elf Fantasy Fair,
where Dutch fantasy writer W.J. Maryson and the audience interviewed
him. By this time RJ seemed quite tired, and he actually said so in
reply to one of the more original questions ("What question do you think
we _should_ ask you about the books that we don't?"); we (the readers in
general) manage to ask everything and more than he could ever dream of -
he compared it to the Calvin & Hobs strip: "I've just been assaulted
with snowballs all the way from the sidewalk, and when I manage to reach
the door, a voice calls out to me 'Hey, come out here and help us make
some more snowballs!'"
And to close the official part of his visit to the Netherlands, on
Sunday evening there was the on-line chat at the Dromen and Demonen
website. The transcript of this chat can be found at
Now, here are some of the more interesting questions and answers.
-- Some FAQ's: RJ gave some pronounciations (I wondered how many of the
Dutch readers were interested in that - the names do come out quite
different if you're used to read and think of them in Dutch), he
announced that Sammael is dead, and so is Asmodean, and it should be
clear who killed Asmo but he's putting in some more clues to help us
found out who did it. And at least three more books.
-- He explained a bit more about the cleansing of the taint, but enough
has been said about that here already I'd think.
-- I liked the explanation of how the different turnings of the Wheel
of Time create similar but very different tapestries for the same age -
but the Dragon Reborn will always be a male soul (that was the
question), just like Birgitte will always be a female soul.
-- There was a question about a movie, for which we got the story about
the NBC options that had passed, but now, with the _Lord of the Rings_
movies coming up, there might be renewed interest - the actual books
would require a miniseries, but for example _New Spring_ could turn into
a movie. (In later sessions he didn't mention this again though).
-- I asked how he comes up with names for all of his characters, and he
gave a nice explanation, with some examples as well - like Nynaeve is
directly from the Arthur myths, Rand Al'Thor is from Arthur (and from
Thor), as is Artur Hawkwing, Merlin became Thom Merrilin and Amyrlin...
He keeps a list of names he sees everywhere, in myths, street signs,
news papers, or things he misreads that might be nice for a name.
-- My question whether Logain knows Cadsuane (one of my main questions,
a bit refrased) got a RAFO, of course, and my question when Logain did
arrive at the Black Tower got a quite confused answer. He said Logain
had been there for quite a while now, but he would have to look it up in
his chronology to find the exact period - not half a year, but some
months. Which seems strange to me, since Logain only escaped from the
Aes Sedai about two months before he captures Toveine (unless my
timeline is completely off). So no real answer here. BTW, does anybody
know what happened to Steven Cooper's "Chronology of the Wheel" website?
I can't seem to find it at the old location anymore.
-- I also asked him whether Tam Al'Thor knows that Rand is the Dragon
Reborn, and whether we'll see Tam again. He said that Tam has a
suspicion from what Perrin told him, but he doesn't know for sure yet.
And instead of RAFO he actually said we might not see Tam again, he's a
nice guy but only a minor character and he doesn't really play a role
anymore. Sigh. I would have liked to see him again... But then again,
RJ might change his mind after all.
-- The question why there wasn't gunpowder in 'Randland' got the simple
"Because nobody's thought of the use of fireworks as a weapon, and there
are only a handful of people who know of the power of gunpowder - only
if you've ever witnessed a chapterhouse explosion you might start to
think in that direction."
-- And finally, RJ mentioned that cleavage is the best thing since the
invention of cheese in answer to the (probably ironic) question if there
will be more talk of cleavage in the next books. According to RJ it's
one of the first things people notice, it's the way men look at women,
and women think of it in the same way. That's why he uses it as well.
Well, that's about it. There might be some other things but I think
they can all be found in Aan'allein's pages (I keep mentioning them, I'm
just so happy I found them). RJ said he enjoyed his first visit to the
Netherlands, and I'm looking forward to seeing some Dutch influences in
the next book...