Monday, November 29, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: two articles updated

By Linda

Two articles were updated with information from Towers of Midnight today: the Saidar Strength Ranking article, which has a few new entries, and the Number Symbolism essay, which has some fine new examples. New material is bolded.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: two articles updated

By Linda

Two articles were updated with information from Towers of Midnight today: the Asmodean essay, which has a new possible source from Ancient Greek mythology for the character which links Asmodean, Lanfear and Rand closely together, and The Composition and Politics of the Halls 998-1000 NE which now has the confirmed composition of the reunified Hall. As is customary, new material is in bold.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: one new and two updated articles

By Linda

Two games articles were updated with information from Towers of Midnight today: Foxes and Snakes and Sha'rah, the Fisher King and Their Equivalents. The additions aren't large, but they do add a new perspective on events - especially in the sha'rah article. New material is in bold.

The new article is on the inns visited in Towers of Midnight, and what a varied lot they are! The full list of inns in order of appearance in the books can be accessed here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: four articles updated.

By Linda

Four articles updated with information from Towers of Midnight today:

Dead, Captured and Missing Aes Sedai

Elaida's Embassy To Rand

Herbs and Other Medicines

Dice Games

The first two articles keep track of the scattered Aes Sedai. There are quite a few changes in the status of Aes Sedai captives and some deaths also. There are a couple of new examples of both herbs and dice games in Towers of Midnight. New material is in bold.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Post #18 of Wheel of Time Costume

By Linda

The costume style of Mayene and the Menagerie was added to the Wheel of Time Costume article today. It includes a fine painting of a lady dressed (undressed?) like Berelain.

Mayene is the start of Part 2 of the Costume article. WIth so many illustrations and entries the article was taking too long to load. For the full article from the beginning click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: two articles updated.

By Linda

The two articles updated with information from Towers of Midnight today are Names of the Shadow (completing the updates for the Shadow series) and Who Is Not A Darkfriend?.

Quite a few non-Darkfriends were added. New material is in bold.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: two more articles updated.

By Linda

Continuing on with the Shadowy theme, two articles were updated with information from Towers of Midnight today: Forsaken and their Deeds and Plans and The Shadow's Influence on the Black Tower.

Quite a bit of new material has been added, including some info on two uses of circles at the Black Tower. As is usual on the blog, new material is in bold.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight: two articles updated.

By Linda

Two articles were updated with information from Towers of Midnight today: The Black Ajah and Who is a Darkfriend?

The 'haul' is not as dramatically huge as last time: four new Black ajah and three new non-channelling Darkfriends were revealed, plus a couple of likely Darkfriends were confirmed. There are some more problematic Darkfriends this time. Finally I've found a few suspect characters who probably work for the Shadow...

Reference Library Updates after Towers of Midnight

By Linda

The first of the many Reference Library articles updated with information gleaned from Towers of Midnight will be posted tonight.

In the article indexes, I’ll mark which articles will be updated and also which ones have been updated. And that means that updated articles will of course have spoilers, so I’ll also put a spoiler warning at the beginning of an updated article. Within an article the new information will be in bold so you should be able to find it easily.

Considering how many articles require changes or additions, plus the fact that I have…ahem…other things I have to do, the whole updating process will take at least two months.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Towers of Midnight Signing: Barnes and Noble, Lincoln Triangle NYC.

This report by the Thirteenth Depository’s Old Salt contains spoilers in the questions, but not the answers.

First of all, some complaining. I was surprised at the choice of Lincoln Center B&N store as the venue for this signing. I personally would have held it at the B&N store on Union Square which has at least two and a half or three times the capacity for a signing as the Lincoln Center store. I think the evening would have gone smoother if there had been more room. As it was there was a huge amount of line standing, and many people were unable to attend the Q&A session and had to wait outside the small seating area of the Lincoln Center store. Last years signing for The Gathering Storm was a much more elaborate event, with raffles, trivia quizzes and the like, and a much bigger participation by Tor, yet it went much smoother because the signing hall was much bigger and everybody could fit in.

With that off my chest I can say I had a great time. Last year I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Storm Leader and was able to meet with all the principle players. Unfortunately, I also had to work the event, and was unable to relax as much as I was able to this time. Many of us former Storm Leaders got together for the signing and we had a great time discussing various theories, debating old and new WoT mysteries and generally reveling in our WoT nerdyness. We were all lucky enough to get inside the seating area, and in fact had front row seats for a nice question and answer session.

The full Team Jordan was there; Brandon Sanderson, Harriett McDougal, Maria Simmons and Alan Romanczuk. In addition Leigh Butler from the Tor site WoT read thru was in attendance. She wasn’t on the Q&A panel but did sign books. Both Brandon and Maria were wearing WoT themed articles. Brandon was sporting a nice black T shirt with the Blacksmiths’ puzzle chapter Icon, while Maria had on her signature RAFO hat and a nice dragon pin. Harriet started things off by reading from the Towers of Midnight prologue “Distinctions”, specifically Lan’s PoV at the start of the prologue. She did a great job and got good laughs with her reading of Lan’s obvious displeasure at Nynaeve’s “meddling”.

Brandon then opened up a short twenty minute Q&A session. I was studiously taking notes, and missed some parts of some of the questions but I got most of the answers, primarily because many were a one word answer…RAFO.

The first question was: “Do we see Verin anywhere in Towers of Midnight?” (here after referred to as ToM) Brandon laughed and said “I know what you are trying to do here” At which point the audience broke up. He went on to say “I’m pretty sure what you are trying to find out is the identity of Nakomi” much audience laughter again. Well the answer is “RAFO”. He went on to say that we would learn nothing more about Nakomi until A Memory of Light.

I then asked my question, given to me by my good friend Deadsy, who wanted to know if Rand still recited his List since his epiphany. Answer?---You guessed it---RAFO. Brandon went on to say that since we see so little of Rand onscreen in ToM, that he didn’t want to give away any of his inner feelings.

Then there was a question about the red veiled Aiel in the epilogue. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the full question, which I think was regarding their origin, but in any event the answer was RAFO.

The next question was “Do we see any effects of a 13 by 13 turning in ToM?” again the question was RAFO. Brandon then started to laugh and said “You are all batting 1000, I can’t answer that because it will seriously hint at things that happen in AMoL, and I don’t want to spoil if for you. Personally, I think he was channeling RJ at that point.

The next question was “Can Rand still channel the True Power since his epiphany?” answer: RAFO.

There was then a question about Mat and the Old Tongue in ToM. The questioner wanted to know why there wasn’t a specific “voice” as there had been in the older books. The answer basically came down to “In the older books Mat’s speaking of the Old Tongue was unconscious. However he is now conscious of when he is speaking it and the difference between the two has to be shown somehow. Brandon went on to say that all fantasy is actually a translation, and that as an author he is constantly aware of this. At first everything will seem odd but eventually it all gets smoothed out. Alan chimed in and said that the Old Tongue is highly idiomatic and fluid and what seems to be this Germanic Voice or some other actually isn’t because it is so idiomatic that one word may mean something here, but not the same thing somewhere else.

Then a question about Fain in the prologue. The questioner was worried that Fain seemed to be too much like Tolkien’s Gollum. Brandon’s answer was that he initially wrote Fain a lot saner but Harriet said “Oh no, Fain is MUCH crazier than this” So Brandon re-wrote him. Brandon went on to say that “yes, we realize this problem” and reassured us that there would be nothing like Gollum’s fate in AMoL.

There was then an interesting question about the writing process. “Do you find writing to RJ’s outline hard?” Brandon responded by saying that it was a lot more natural than he thought it would be. Primarily because they both outlined in a similar manner. He went on to explain that his process was to start off with an important scene, get that right and then go back and fill in the details and process that made the scene natural and necessary. RJ’s outlines were very similar, clearly delineate the important scenes and then go back and fill in the necessary details.
He went on to say that he was blessed with complete creative control, subject of course to the input of the rest of Team Jordan.

The next question was “Why do Mat, Perrin and Rand all stop the color swirls?”. Brandon said it was just their personalities. They were concentrating on what they each had to do and didn’t want to be distracted by the others. He went on to say “and there are times when they really don’t want to see what’s going on!” This was an obvious reference to the time Mat saw Rand and Min together in an intimate setting. It got a big laugh from all of us.

A question was asked if the outline for AMoL was done, partly done or not really started yet. Brandon thought for a minute and said that it’s partly done. He went on to say that he needs to completely reread the entire series again before he finishes the outline. He described the process with team Jordan as finishing a bit of the outline and then discussing it with TJ, sometimes he will throw out stuff that he knows are just brainstorming stuff, but the ideas will get kicked around and sometimes rejected outright, sometimes given back to him for more work and sometimes TJ will go “you know, this actually works quite well.” But he stressed that there is a lot of give and take in the creation of the outline.

Maria was asked ‘Can there be woman Ta’veren?” The answer was yes there can be, it was just that Ta’veren are rare and we just haven’t seen any.

Unfortunately that was the end of the time we had for Q&A, Brandon introduced some people in the audience, his wife Emily, the author Charlene Harris, his editor Moshe, (sp?) and Tom Doherty, the guiding hand behind Tor. They all got big hands, but Tom got a rousing round of applause and cheers. Last year as a Storm Leader, I got a chance to talk to Tom and found him not only an astute business man, highly knowledgeable of his field; but also imminently approachable and a great sense of humor.

We all then lined up to get our books signed. During my time at the table I asked two final questions:

“Are the red veiled Aiel a creation of Fain?” answer “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to RAFO all questions about the red veils” (As an aside I have hear of them described as “the scary teeth Aiel” which I think is a much better name!)

“In the prologue, while Fain is walking along, he is cutting his thumb on the dagger and the drops of blood give rise to the mist that eventually turns the Trollocs into the undead. Is his blood a necessary ingredient of that process?” Brandon thought for a minute and then said “I have to say no. Fain’s blood is not a necessary (and he stressed the word necessary) ingredient in the process.

I then grabbed my books, coat and other stuff, said goodbye to my fellow Storm Leaders and got on the subway for my long ride home, thinking about what a fun night I had.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Post #17 of Wheel of Time Costume

By Linda

The costume style of Malkier was added to the Wheel of Time Costume article today. Malkier is noted for its custom surrounding hair and for the ki'sain, the dot women paint on their foreheads.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Article Released about Verin

By Linda

As I posted a couple of days ago, I have written a completely new article on Verin and her reporting of her espionage activities. It's now published in the Thirteenth Depository Reference Library ahead of the Towers of Midnight updates of older library articles.

Warning: Even the title contains major Towers of Midnight spoilers.

The article concludes with a real world parallel to Verin I researched some years ago but have not written up until now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Milestone for the Thirteenth Depository

By Linda

I’m delighted to announce that today the Thirteenth Depository passed one million page views! When Dominic and I started the blog less than 20 months ago neither of us thought that we’d reach this mark so soon or that the blog would be so successful. Thanks to all who have visited the blog. I’m very grateful to all our readers and hope you have enjoyed our writings.


In the next day or so I’ll post the first library article containing information from Towers of Midnight. It won’t be an update of an existing essay, but an absolutely brand new article. After that, I will update the Reference Library articles for Towers of Midnight. I estimate that about forty articles require updating, about the same number as for The Gathering Storm. They will probably be interspersed with the odd Wheel of Time Costume instalment.

The posting pace will probably be a little slower during this period to give me time to work up new material. And maybe to do a few other things. :) I’ve been making three posts per week for a year now without a break and was making one or two a week before that. This pace prevents me from researching and writing any new longer essays.

Once the updating process is over, I will resume the read-through where I left off: at the start of The Gathering Storm and will probably analyse the book chapter by chapter. Once every so often I’ll ring the changes with a new theory (four are in the pipeline) or an analysis of a minor character.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post #16 of Wheel of Time Costume

By Linda

The costume style of Kandor was added to the Wheel of Time Costume article today. The country women's costume is similar to the national costume of Albania, while the noblewomen are swanning around in Regency dresses. Kandori men dress in the Ottoman Turk style but their beards are more Elizabethan or Anglo-saxon.

This article is getting rather large and might be downloading too slowly for some. I am thinking of putting the remainder of the entries (M-Z) in a second article linked to the first.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Review of Towers of Midnight

By Linda

The Wheel of Time series is drawing to an end and, true to its name and philosophy, the Pattern in the story is turning full circle. Events, objects and characters in early books (including New Spring) resurface to play their part in Towers of Midnight.

The book contains events and reunions that have been anticipated for years, but also new and surprising events. Some things resolve as expected, others are complete surprises. There are new mysteries, big mysteries that seem to indicate the huge changes people will undergo before the end.

Towers of Midnight is faster paced than The Gathering Storm. Part of the speed comes from the greater number of plotlines with things happening.

As he did in The Gathering Storm, Sanderson continues to move the POVs move back and forth. Egwene and Rand are ahead in the timeline, and Mat and Perrin catch up. Both Mat and Perrin play prominent and superb roles in Towers of Midnight, but Egwene and Rand have far from minor parts. I have seen that some readers are planning on finding Moiraine’s rescue chapter and reading it first. This is a mistake in my opinion since they will miss out on all the buildup to what is the climax of Mat’s subthread. Mat’s character and humour is done better in Towers of Midnight than in The Gathering Storm. Lan’s thoughts are in character but his speech doesn’t sound quite right. Other characters are very well done.

Few characters still living of which we have previously had two or more POVs are absent, and one of those is referred to in the opening extract. On the whole, we see more of the Forsaken than in previous books, and the Dark One shows that he is literally the boss from Hell.

Some well-known theories are proven right, wholly or in part, others die the final death. Unexpectedly, considering there is only one more book to go, new theories are born. I have at least four. :)

Now that both The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight are written, we can look at them as a whole. And they are a whole. I think Sanderson made two great books out of the huge mass of threads at the end of Knife of Dreams. He chose to separate the strands and concentrate on two, Egwene and Rand, in one book and then advance and dovetail the other threads into Egwene’s and Rand’s threads in the second book. Reading both prologues, I can see how they would knit together – how POVs in one prologue mirror POVs in the other. This would be more obvious had they been all one. However, had the story advanced in a linear fashion over two books with all the threads going at once, like in books 8-9 or 10-11, there was the risk that the first of the two volumes was weaker. So it was a good decision.

Is Towers of Midnight one of the best books in the series? I still think that The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos are the best of all. But it’s a level below, and appropriately it resolves so many unanswered questions from those three books and leaves us right on the edge of time, the edge of everything. One can feel the acceleration into the abyss.

I loved it, it was such fun.