Reports from Post-A Crown of Swords Book Signings by Robert Jordan

After the release of A Crown of Swords, RJ did several book signings. These are summaries of what he said that were posted to rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan by people who went to the signings.


Charleston, South Carolina; 21 June, 1996

report by Brian Ritchie

I just got back from Charleston.  I got answers, kinda, to two big questions.

1.  RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing.
His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual
harassment and rape with comic undertones.  She liked it because it dealt
with very serious issues in a humorous way.  She seemed to think it would
be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for
women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

2.  The total number of people in a circle, when you have the maximum
number of women for each man, is always divisible by three.  RJ thought
that there was an error in the LoC glossary and that it had been fixed in
ACoS.  Some possibilities I thought of are:

M  W   T      W   T      W   T
0  13  13
1  26  27
2  37  39     34  36     43  45
3  48  51     42  45     51  54
4  56  60     50  54     56  60
5  61  66     58  63     61  66
6  66  72     66  72     66  72

He gave the following answers to questions from various people.

His opinion of newsgroup FAQ's he has read are so-so.  First, he gets
them from several groups he says.  Us and the alt group and ???  He says
the FAQ's are about 1/3 correct, 1/3 close but not quite and 1/3 wrong.
He feels that some things that are obvious to the casual reader have been
overanalysed and led to incorrect conclusions.  I don't know if he has
read the latest version of our FAQ and if it was better than the above

All the women are based in part on his wife.  Many women have been amazed
that he was not a woman using a male pen name because he writes women so
well.  He just wrote them as he thought women would be if men had destroyed
the world 3000 years ago.  Obviously, their roles would be much different
than they are in our society.  The women are not based on Southern women
in general, just his wife.

There will be a few more books, some, not a lot,
hopefully fewer than seven more.

He knows the final scene of the last book, all the major events he wants
to have happen and who will live and who will die.  When he starts a book,
he decides which of these events he wants to try to do and then writes it
so they happen.

He will tie up all the major plot lines, but will leave a lot of the minor
ones unresolved.  He finds it too unrealistic for a series to end with all
of life's problems solved.  Expect the series to end with the major
problems solved, but a lot of people will still have tumultuous lives
ahead of them.

The universe is driven by saidin and saidar working against each other.
They will not end up as the Light Power.

He may or may not give a Lan POV.  The POV is usually determined by the
slant he wants to give to the information.  Sometimes he plans for one
character to have the POV, but has to switch to another.

He made the Aiel look Irish because he thought it was kind of funny.  He
doesn't like the fact that hardened desert warriors are always described
as looking a certain way, so he used the opposite description.

He intentionally started the series out kind of Tolkienesque, so that
readers would feel like they already knew the land somewhat.  Then he
delibrately deviated from Tolkien so the readers would not know what to
expect.  He tried to avoid too much Arthurian and Celtic mythologic
references early on because they are so well known.

He talked a little about his next series, Shipwrecked.  It will be in a
different universe, and focuses ona group of shipwrecked people (surprise,
surprise).  They come from a land with many countries, but basically all
ruled by one religion that dominates everywhere.  The new place has three
powerful countries, but temples to hundreds of different gods and
goddesses.  It's going to talk a lot about culture shock I think.

He can be reached either by either email or snailmail through Tor in about
the same amount of time.  Tor prints out his emails and sends him the
hardcopies about every fortnight.  They also send his snailmail biweekly.
He does respond to them, but he gets backlogged at the end of writing a book.

Here is the rough time schedule for book eight.  The manuscript should be
turned in sometime in fall of 1997.  Expect it to go on sale in spring of
1998.  He worked 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 20 months, except for
a couple days for each Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few single
vacation days, to write ACoS.  PNH, his wife, and everyone he knows told
him he needs to slow down so he doesn't kill himself.  Thus, PNH gave him
18 months to do the manuscript.

His wife said he is the only author she allows to submit partial
manuscripts for editing.  She also does Morgan Llewelyn, the Bears and
David Drake among others.  She said she was starting to reduce the number
of authors she edits since she is overloaded.  She edited one of RJ's
books before they ever dated, so their professional relationship was
already established before they married.  She feels that mutual respect
for the other's work is what keeps the two relationships from interfering
with each other.

I think that's all that was said of any significance.  The rest was personal
info that I don't think is important here, and I'm not sure a lot of this
was either.  BTW, both Mr. and Mrs. RJ are very friendly, outgoing people
and were fun to talk with.

Am I the only one that thinks he looks like an older Bayle Domon?

This could lead to some interesting speculations.  From his web site picture,
I'd say Novak might be related.

RJ seems to actually like the DKS covers.  However, he disliked the cover
of one of his books that someone brought. (I believe it was the UK version
of TGH.)  It was mostly light blue and lavender/purple.  He disliked the
artwork, not just the color scheme.

The short reign of Colavaere was not a reference to Jane Grey.

RJ has a lot of notes about the series although he doesn't have an
outline.  He guesstimates he has about twice as many pages of notes as
manuscript pages.

ACoS only covered a week because a lot of important things needed to
happen in a very short time span.  The development of the heroes
characters is some of the important events he wanted to accomplish.
Brian Ritchie

Durham, North Carolina; 4 August, 1996

report by Robyn "Hawk" Goldstein

Yeah, I know it wasn't heavily advertised - I just found out about it by
dumb luck.  It seems that when Barnes and Nobles rounds up the usual
suspects to advertise to, it doesn't really include more than their
newsletter, and the local News & Disturber.

RJ read from the same chapter that he did at Balticon - except this time
he read the entire chapter, rather than just the part where Mat gets
jumped upon by Tylin.

He was remarkably patient with the amount of people there, and even
remembered me from Balticon.  I suspect it has something to do with him
signing my books "To Hawk" than anything else.

Pam - here's something new for the FAQ.  I asked him exactly why the pool
of untainted saidin was needed at the Eye of the World.  He kindof gave
me a RAFO.  RJ said that he has an idea of what he wants that to have
been for, but he's not sure he's going to use it, so he didn't want to
give me infomation and then change his mind later.  So all our guesses
are correct at the moment!

Other than that, it was a remarkably quiet signing.  Bob Gibson brought
all his books, and was attempting to get his friend Russ, another friend
of their's, and me to help him get them signed.  I declined, as I had
already passed off one of my books to Russ to get signed.


Vancouver, British Columbia; 24 August, 1996.

report by Lara Beaton

Rob Watson, Greebs and I went to the Jordan signing yesterday. After
badgering him with tons of questions, we got the following

     Randland size: Randland is approximately 4500 miles across.
Seanchan is as big as Randland, the Aiel Waste, and Shara all put
together (a single empire the size of North and South America).

     How Verin could determine the Ogier had no mind inside a
stedding: We're going to find out something in the next few books
about people without souls and characteristcs of them. (he started out
saying that we're going to find out something significant about Verin,
then stopped).

     Ogier: Were not genetically engineered. (blew Greebs' looney
Longing-taint theory away).

     Slayer: Can't channel. (blew my looney Moridin theory away). He
has certain "gifts" granted to him by the DO, but can't channel either
the  OP or the TP. Cross Slayer off the list of possible Moridin
candidates. (damn, there goes my section of the FAQ :-(

     Everyone in SL killed each other. (blows away the MS is the souls
of the people of SL theory).

     Mashadar occurred after everyone in SL was dead.

     Machin Shin eats the souls _and_ memories of the people it

     He wouldn't answer the question about the nine-horse hitch. (said
he'd have to marry me if he told me. I'm kinda disappointed we didn't
get a RAFO.) We figure it's his version of "figs and mice".

     Ishy/Moridin/SH - RAFO.

     Ageless look and OR - RAFO. (I thought Greebs was going to
explode when he didn't answer that one directly.)

     Bela is the Nae'blis.

     The next book isn't going to come out until 1998 because RJ is "a
sadistic SOB" (his words, not mine).

     Greebs and I came up with a few more questions to ask at the
signing  in Victoria on sunday, so he'll be posting some more findings

     Stuff I found out after the signing -

     Greebs likes girly drinks.

     I can't play pool to save my life.

Lara Beaton
Disclaimers are for wussies.

Victoria, British Columbia; 25 August, 1996

report by Greebs, aka "Wilson Christopher H C"

     Well...Sunday afternoon in Victoria saw RJ risking life and
 wallet speeding past the photo radar on the Pat. Bay Highway.
 That's right...not even the Creator himself can catch the 10
 o'clock ferry from Vancouver.  Lara never showed up(she must
 have overslept).

ObTrix: Silly Lara...hibernation is for bears!

 So all alone (Rob didn't show up either), I stood in the huge
 line(Way huger than in Vancouver).  The line conversation sucked
 and the wait grew longer as we were told that RJ would be late.
 Finally at 1:20 I saw a familliar face walk throught the door
 and head straight for the back room.  RJ emerged some minutes
 later sans hat and stick and took his place at the signing table.

   Soon ('cause I got there so early) it was my turn to confront
 the Great L^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Creator and attemp to wrest answers from

        Greebs:  Hi...umm...could you sign this one to Greebs?

        RJ:  How do you sp...Do you have a brother in Vancouver?

        Greebs:, that was me [tries to explain]

        RJ:  [Look of disgust evident on his face] I see.

        Greebs:  [Thinking he better get to the questions fast]
                Umm, we were wondering if you had to take someone
                down into the PoD to make them into a Grey Man,
                you know, 'cause it seems so similar to mind
                trapping someone.

        RJ: least that's the way I've always thought of
            it.  It's not easy to remove someone's soul.

        Greebs:  Cool.  We [Notice that I'm trying to create the
                impression that there is more than just me there
                ...saftey in nubers etc.] were also wondering
                about the size of the big is Caemlyn
                for instance?

        RJ:  [Thinking]  Let's see...Well Tar Valon is 500,000
            people and cities like Caemlyn and Tear are around
            300,000 or so.  I've envisioned a seventeenth century
            society and you've got to remeber that for those times
            300,000 would be huge.  [I'm noddin and trying to look
            intelligent]  Some Asian cities of that period had
            populations near one million but nothing in Europe
            was even close.

        Greebs:  Yeah...What about the linguistic similarity of
                the Old Tongue and the New Tongue?  It seems
                there is remarkably little drift in the Seanchan

        RJ:  [Either on purpose or by accident misunderstands my
            question and gives the standard "Well you must understand
            that I've translated the New Tongue into English"

 At this point the Bolen guy shoos me away.  I lurk for a while
 but peopple are asking spedly questions [should have printed the
 FAQ].  I did learn that in addition to the Card game and computer
 game and clothing line there will be a line of museum quality
 replica weapons.  Someone asked excitedly about the SCA and
 RJ said that these would be real weapons since he didn't like
 play war [which is understandable].  Then I left.


Dunwoody, Georgia; 9 October, 1996

report by Erica Sadun

29 October Signing at Perimeter Media Play, Dunwoody, GA.
Upcoming News?
   he will be GoH at the BYU Convention: "Life, Universe & Everything"

Tell us about the blight:

   Blight: you can not enter it from TAR because it is apart from
   NORMAL UNIVERSE and can not be touched.  The Blight is not part of
   the normal universe.

Have any Aes Sedai ever been refused admittance to any Ajah?

  No. (see below)

What do members of the White Ajah actually do on a day-to-day basis?

  Think.  Study philosphy.

What are the actual requirements for being raised to the shawl?


Who was the one who is no more?  The innkeeper or the guy on the barrel?

  *an amused look* RAFO
Is the innkeeper an ex-Aes Sedai?


Once and for all end the ageless look thing. Is it obvious that it is
tied to the oath rod?


Who killed Asmodean? (Right.  Like he'll tell us).  Anyway ask if the
clues to figure it out are all included up to TFOH.
  RAFO.  All clues are included up to TFOH.

Will Gawyn get a brain transplant?

   *evil look* (laugh)

Was Else always Lanfear?

   No.  Else did exist as a separate human but was played by Lanfear
   after Else was expelled.

New dreadlords?  Via TP? What are limits of TP?  When did we see it
used before?
  Access to the TP is a matter of wanting it and the dark one
  letting you.  NOT black cords.  In Prologue to EotW we saw
  TP to heal insanity.  The OP can not be used to heal insanity.
  TP used at SG will fry you instantly.

How dangerous and how ambitious is Faile?
  Exceedingly dangerous, not particularly ambitious.  Perin is due
  his due as lord of the two rivers.  She has been raised as a noble
  with noblesse oblige.    Perrin has been pushed into lording and she
  doesn't like him ducking out of what she sees as his obligations.
  She doesn't understand why he doesn't understand this in his blood
  like she does in hers.
Is "Ogier" from to sing Ogier?

   No. Its to sound like Ogre but not be exactly the same.  Name of
   family in charleston.
Ask what the deal is with Nyn being able to hold half the power
as ten sisters with a sa'angreal but not being able to handle two
pussy little BA by herself.

   Some people have shielding talents.

Ask how it was that Moggy got to SG intstantly...was it the DO
using his twisty powers or was it a function of being all a dream.

   It was a dream.  Moggy, by the way, used to be an investments
   counciler until the FTC got on her case.

Ask about the three white black aes sedai in Liandrin's group when
there should only be two.
Joiya Byir (killed at Tear)
Rianna Andormeran
Falion Bhoda

   Complete surprise.  Really?  Mutter mutter.  Have to check that out.

And for fun ask whether Ogier can be friends of the dark

   *strange look* RAFO.
Could a 2nd person have "needed" the bowl and found it?

   Maybe.  Didn't think of it.
Could they have "needed" the box enclosing the bowl?

   Probably not.  They wouldn't be able to convince themselves to need it.
What happens when two people balefire each other simultaneously?

  *disgusted look* A lot of confusion.

Ask about the Blight.  If it is not reflected in T'A'R, why does the
GLotD have so much power over T'A'R, the Wheel and reincarnation?

   see above.

Also, what was going on in Aelfland when Mat went round and round
and round the same location?  Were they travelling in time?

   not travelling in time.  the physical laws of nature differ.
   Mentioning the DO here is bad luck.  In Aelfland, it is 
   *REALLY* bad.   You can not go to Aelfland in TAR (similar to
How do you get your ideas?

   I opened the closet one day and found three young women, diaphonously
   clad who had made themselves at home.  They had hung up needle point
   embroidery and otherwise furnished the closet.  I had a discipline
   stick available and beat them.  Now, every day, they hand me a 
   list of ten ideas.
Have you been arrested for muse abuse?

    They refuse to testify.
Tell us about those seafolk rituals during the wedding...

    How old are you?
Over the age of consent.

    You're too young!

Are the Aiel already a Remnant?

    *smile* RAFO.     

Why doesn't Egwene just "travel" her troops to Tar Valon?

    She needs the time to be in control.  Otherwise she'd
    just be a puppet to others needs.

When Birgitte says she remembers a tale of a female
Warder after being bonded to Elayne, does she remember


You might also want to ask him about the sexual preferences
of Galina, Bain and Chiad. :-)

   *chuckle* RAFO.

This is similar to Greeb's question, but from a slightly different
angle:  How much stronger do you have to be to forcibly shield someone
else who is already holding the OP?  Is it different for men than for
women, or for heterosexual shielding?  If the answer is only a little
stronger, then ask him how come Ny couldn't shield Elayne in aCoS,
Chapter 21 (Swovan Night)?  Also, how much weaker can you be and still
be able to hold a shield on someone, Berowin excepted?

    He did not use a "real scale" for OP stuff.  You just have to
    be stronger.  Mostly handwaving.  consider the kin.  The woman
    who is very weak but has a real talent for shielding.  

"Are shocklances guns, or an energy discharge weapon?"
   energy discharge weapons.

"Do you have a name for book 8 yet, if so what?" [Don't know if this has
already been answered]

"Is channeling ability strictly, or partly geneticaly based?"

   partially. Worked it a bit with some friends but just left
   it mostly hanging.

"Have we seen Osan'gar anywhere else since his first appearance?" (No doubt

"Can weaves be inverted in a way that prevents them being detected even
while they are being woven, ie so you could draw and weave with Saidin, and
noone would detect it, or can the weaves only be hidden after they have
been tied off?"

   no answer.  Stupid woman and "how do you get your ideas" question.

Is Thom Elayne and Gawyn's real father?

  no. absolutely no. no question about it. no. no. no. Thom is exactly
  who he says he is.

How many crescent moons are on Mat's funky new ring?

  you guess.

Is Dashiva Osan'gar?


Why doesn't somebody just BF the DO?

   the quantity necessary would destroy the world.

What are those black threads on the male Forsaken?


Can an Accepted be raised to AS and not choose an Ajah?  What
happens if they are raised ask for acceptance and are refused.

   This never happens.  They are chosen in advance and vetted.
What are the requirements for being raised from accepted to AS

    Ability to channel under extreme stress.
How are the Ajah's funded?

    Too complex to answer.  Join funding and contributions
    from ajahs to full tower. 

Is Moiraine's E&E network independent of the Blue or does it
overlap.  How do they report - i.e. does Moraine have someone who
collects messages for her?

    all E&E networks overlap a little, but hers was pretty

Do all Darkfriends have the equivalent of the black threads seen in
Tel'aran'rhiod attached to Ishy and Asmodean.  (I have a theory that
Fades may use these threads to travel on, you could ask about that)

    fades:  travel where light and darkness meet.  (handwaving).
What age # was the age of legends. 

    the age before the third age.  The breaking of the world brought
    on the third age.  The trolloc and hundred years wars were only
    punctuations in  local history.
Info re: Ajahs?

    In the illustrated guide will be information revealed about how they
    came about that affects the books not at all.
Can you use the TP in the Stedding? You must be a stone cold fanatic to *want*
    to use the TP.  Moggy is terrified of it.  Avoids it.  
If TP were used on you, would there be negative effects wrt the DO?

    RAFO. of course, if you die, the answer is obvious.
What is Fain?

    Mordeth + person. Mordeth is a human-made evil.  The black wind
    gets along with Mordeth because of professional courtesy.
    Fain is anti-forsaken as well as anti-Rand.  He has a lot
    of skills and abilities outside of channelling. He can not channel.

Is this the "Another Power"?

   *laugh* I don't know.
If you die, will Piers Anthony finish the series?

     No.  No one will finish the series.  The hard disks will
     be reformatted 4x in successions.

RJ said specifically:

	* no channeling necessary to become dreadlord
	* TP independent of OP

-- Erica

Cincinnati, Ohio; 12 October, 1996

report by Mike Lawson

Someone asked Jordan about the 'gars, and mentioned that he'd seen theories
that Lanfear was one of the 'gars.  I was expecting a RAFO, but RJ gave
the guy a disgusted look, and said that "No, Osan'gar and Aran'gar are
Aginor and Balthamel."  The guy said, "You're confirming this, and not
hinting about it?"  RJ replied (I'm paraphrasing here), "I'm confirming.
After all, it's pretty obvious in the books that it's those two.  After all,
that's what Aginor thought was so funny; Balthamel, the lecher, was stuck
in a female body."  Jordan then went on to give the standard disclaimer that
a lot of the stuff is already in the books, and reasonably intelligent
people should be able to figure a lot of this out.  His job, he said, was
to make sure you're still guessing about some stuff at the end of the story.

It's fairly safe to say that this was RJ's version of thwacking the guy with
a clue stick...

Also, another note concerning the pre-Bore AoL...

RJ had mentioned (in response to another question) that what the characters
believe does not make it so (Moir's statements were used as an example), so
I asked whether the pre-Bore AoL was the Utopia that the characters believed
it to be.  His reply is paraphrased below:

Compared to their current world, it certainly would be a utopia.  However,
that doesn't mean that it wasn't perfect.  Of course, outbreaks of diseases
were kept to a minimum, but it and other disasters of that ilk still
occurred.  Evil still existed, as well.

The Forsaken, for example, weren't exactly a stellar bunch to begin with.
Semirhage, for example, was a sadist.  (I'll skip his description of what a
sadist is.)  She went into her profession (the equivalent of a surgeon)
because it provided an outlet for her sadism.  (He then cited some studies
that showed that there were more people with sadist tendencies in the medical
profession, and surgeons in particular, to support his point.)  Aginor
(whom he said after some prompting had several elements of the classic
mad scientist type) was a biological scientist who never considered the
consequences of his actions.  Aginor would say, "I wonder what would happen
if I took the ebola virus and altered it to be an airborne virus."  He'd
go ahead and do just that, all without realizing he'd be creating a
potentially unstoppable plague.  All Aginor would reply to that was, "Hmm.
Interesting."  (He then mentioned Aginor's creation of the Trollocs, their
defects, "It was strong, big, tough to kill, and......stupid.", and that
it was the birth of the first Myrddral that saved the Trollocs from being
a complete failure.)

Even back in the AoL, regular, ordinary folks could do some pretty nasty
things.  He then cited a study about a small town of ordinary Germans in
WW2 who did some pretty horrific things (I believe he was referring to
the book "Hitler's Willing Executioners").

(Another note:  Someone brought up the perpetual "Who killed Asmodean??"
question, and Jordan paused, thought a second, shook his head, and said, "I'm
going to have to say RAFO.  All the clues are there, and all it takes is
any reasonably intelligent person to....")

 Michael Lawson                      | "To strive, to seek, to find, and 
 Product Development Engineer - SDRC |  not to yield."
 e-mail:       |            -Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Reports from Post-ACOS Book Signings by Robert Jordan / HTML formatting by P. Korda /