Nov 11 2009 4:35pm

The Wheel of Time: The Gathering Storm NYC Signing Report (The quick and dirty version)

Aka, How Leigh Was A Massive Idiot Who Almost Missed The Whole Thing.

Oh, yes. For I am a frickin’ GENIUS, you guys. A genius who apparently was absent the day they taught calendar reading, or numbers, or really I don’t know what the hell my problem was that I was convinced the NYC signing was on Tuesday, when in fact it so, so was not.

Apparently it is physically impossible for me to do anything without Drama becoming attached to it. I know, you’re all, like, gasping in shock over there. Y’all hush.

Many thanks to Storm Leader Ted, who called me at 5 PM or so Monday evening to ask if I was still planning on coming, considering we were all supposed to show up at 4 PM. Which everyone else except me did. Because they are not IDIOTS. He was also very nice and endured with great patience the resulting avalanche of self-flagellating profanities from my end once I realized what had happened. Oy. Sorry about that, man.

Long story short, sometimes the NYC Metro system does not completely suck, and I arrived at Tor’s offices only an hour and a half late. (ONLY.) I looked like complete crap and was flustered beyond belief, but I made it. Dot Lin (of Tor marketing awesomeness) may never stop laughing at me for the way I barreled in, but there you go. I probably deserve it.

Brandon, Harriet, Maria, and everyone else there were very nice about my tardiness, of course, and I caught the tail end of the chat/Q&A the Storm Leaders were having with them. Someone was taking notes, so presumably someone else will be able to tell you what questions were asked, for I was far too flummoxed at the time to retain anything, except that Brandon gave a shout-out to my boy Steven Cooper, whose Wheel of Time chronology has saved my FAQ-editing life on too many occasions to enumerate.

Well, that and Harriet joking that the paperback version of The Gathering Storm is going to have “‘HOLY SHIT!’ – Leigh Butler” as a blurb on the back. I grinned and told her I DOUBLE-DOG DARED her to do it. Somehow I really doubt Tor is really going to stick their tongue to this particular flagpole, of course, but it’s damn funny to think about.

Then we all tromped over to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square (well, most of us tromped; Harriet and Brandon took a car, as is right and proper), and the signing went off without a hitch, thanks to the lovely B&N staff (one of whom confided in us that they loved “geek-heavy” signings, because everyone is always so respectful and well-behaved; apparently they have horror stories about more “mainstream” author appearances), and also thanks to the Storm Leaders, who kept everything running like clockwork as far as I could tell. I do not include myself in their number because they did all the work, and thus deserve all the credit. You did awesome, guys.

Brandon’s introductory speech was lovely and moving, and Harriet’s reading (of the “Masema” scene in the Prologue) was great (and, incidentally, showed me that I’ve been pronouncing “Aybara” wrong this whole time). I got to meet a bunch of people I hadn’t met before from Team Jordan and/or Tor, and got to chat for a bit with the always congenial Tom Doherty, who (like just about everyone there including myself) was pleased as punch that not only had The Gathering Storm climbed to the top of the New York Times’ Bestseller List, but had knocked Dan Brown from the top spot in doing so. Dan frickin’ Brown, you guys. It ain’t just any book can do that, I’m here to tell you. Go WOT!

Brandon and Harriet and Maria were as gracious and lovely to everyone as you might expect, and while I sadly did not get a chance to get my own copy of the book signed (because, as I may have mentioned, I am a damn non-calendar-interpreting fool, and thus my copy was at home), I did get a moment to get on record with Brandon as to what my guess about the big clue he claims we all missed in Books 4-6 is about. (Apparently he said this somewhere, in an interview or something, but I don’t know where it came from; someone else asked him about it. Maybe someone can toss out a link and/or explanation in the comments?) I won’t tell you what my guess is, so as to properly retain bragging rights should I turn out to be correct. We Shall See.

And... that’s about it, really. I did say this would be quick and dirty. The short of it is, I had a great time, and I’m sure links to pictures and more coherent reports and such will appear in the comments. And thanks to everyone who came up and said they enjoyed the Re-read, that was seriously so cool.

Team Jordan: Y’all did good. Now just survive the rest of the tour, eh?

Leigh Butler is a writer and blogger for, where she conducts, often punctually even, the Re-read of the Wheel of Time series, which is currently completed through Book Six, Lord of Chaos. She lives in New York City, which still makes her laugh on occasion.

Kurt Lorey
1. Shimrod
Well (kicking some stray pebbles around in the dirt), at least you got to go to a book signing...“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.”
Daniel Goss
2. Beren
So. Jealous. I kinda doubt TOR will ever schedule a signing in podunkville W Michigan, which makes me sad even though I understand. It's probably for the best. Insane badgering often offends.
Roger Powell
3. forkroot
Hey Leigh, love the visualization - you all flustered and all that. Been there, done that, more than a few times ... I call it my calendar oopsies.

We're looking forward to when you resume the re-read. Said it on the other thread, but since there's a LOT of comments there I'll say it here too:

Since you've taken a bit of break, what about resuming with New Spring now before you tackle ACoS? It would also be easier to ask commenters on a New Spring thread to avoid TGS-related spoilers.

What do you think?
Aye Aye Sedai
4. Aye Aye Sedai
ok inquiring minds want to know.......

is it EYE.bara or AIE.Bara or for the canadians on the Borderlands - eh.BARA


Wish I could have come down but was unable to take the jaunt down river.

Anyone interested in a TGS beer fest next tues or wed as I have to come down to the City for a trade show. Near javitz or Penn Station so I can still catch the train home???

Leigh - Does this mean that you missed something in your rereads? How? Will we have to redo books 4-6??? DId Brandon say he read them?

Also wondering if perhaps changes edits in the later editions perhaps clear up some things that are not clear in the original editions -- would be nice to have a list of errata from all the books and not just having it slipped in. Do you know if this has ever been collected at the WOT faq or dmount??

Note that these books cover Asmo and Lanfear as well as the Aiel waste and Rands rise in Power. As well as every other friggin' thread :)

Has any one ever dissected the Asmo chapter for hidden cypehers :)

5. Freelancer
Heya Leigh. Please don't look at the TGS Spoiler thread. Just. . . just don't. But we've been good!

So, I'm not a Storm Leader, but I'm a low number in the signing line for this coming Sunday's visit by Brandon. I'm taking suggestions for questions to ask, which I will prioritize and parse beforehand from the threads here. I hope youse guys didn't burn poor Brandon out, he's got two more weeks to go.

What I'm asking for right now is, where can I quickly find a synopsis of the Q&A from the NYC signing, so I don't waste time and effort on a repeat?

And let me second forkroot, though not in publication order, now would be a good time to get New Spring cracked for the re-read. But, youdaboss.

Happy Veteran's Day.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
@4 - Encyclopedia WOT has an errata list current as of a couple of years ago.

Re the books 4-6 issue - has to be something to do with Bela....
Antoni Ivanov
7. tonka
There is never gonna be signing over here for sure. Eastern Europe is not a popular destination :p

Is there anyway I can bribe you to tell us what is your suggestion about the 4-6 issue because I've go NO clue .
I got some ideas but all seem unlikely to be that.

And yeah, I agree , New Spring next would be nice.

You can find some of the Q&A here :HERE
Jeff Weston
9. JWezy
Thanks, Leigh, as always you make me laugh, just the way you tell a tale. Looking forward to the re-read re-starting.
Tess Laird
10. thewindrose
Leigh - next time say you were caught in a bubble of evil - this excuse works with team Jordan:) (Not so much for regular work)
"Holy Shit" - if that made it I might spend days laughing.

We are plugging away on the spoiler thread, but we really, really, really miss you.
Irene Gallo
11. Irene
Hey Leigh,

Sorry to have missed you at the Tor party. I tried to wave at the signing but you were a ways away. So, "Hi!" now.
James Jones
11. jamesedjones
Books 4-6? There was a lot to do with Finnland and the introduction of the Snakes & Foxes expert, Olver.
Aye Aye Sedai
12. Robert Edwin
I won’t tell you what my guess is, so as to properly retain bragging rights should I turn out to be correct.

Actually, isn't this backwards? If you want to have bragging rights about it later, you should confirm what your guess is now, before we find out what this clue is that we all missed. Otherwise, when it is finally revealed and you say "Yep, I was right, that was my guess all along", there is no way to confirm it since you never revealed it to the rest of us. But if you can link back to a specific blog entry where you "called it", then that will ensure your bragging rights. :)
Aye Aye Sedai
13. Paul C.
I loved the NYC signing. I was joking with those who were sitting near me in the front few rows (right side) that we need to have a 'spoiler' and a 'non-spoiler' section when Towers of Midnight comes out. We were all ready to talk about TGS but unable to do so without hushed whispers!

Either way, the signing was great. There were a lot of cool people there and I got to meet Brandon, Harriet, Maria, Tom Doherty and Leigh (who at least by the signing didn't give ANY impression that she rushed over late to the TOR offices beforehand).
Maiane Bakroeva
14. Isilel

What would be the point of a NS re-read without TGS spoilers? I personally itch to apply the new info to previous events and see how it changes my perception.
Aye Aye Sedai
15. Paul C
If you want to have bragging rights about it later, you should confirm what your guess is now, before we find out what this clue is that we all missed.

Well if Brandon remembers that she said it and was right, he could always back her up on it.

Anyway, I still think its something related to the tinkers and possibly the song. But I'm not by any means certain.
Aye Aye Sedai
16. WinespringBrother
Like I said, Leigh, glad to be of help :D As for the books being signed, now ya have to go to JordanCon!

@ 5 I am working on the write up yet, since I have a few hours of recordings to transcribe and make sense of. I will be happy to provide a rough recap though, since Brandon did provide some interesting tidbits. As for questions, I had many that I didn't get a chance to ask Brandon and Co. at the signing due to too much Storm Leadery stuff to do, so maybe I will post them here at a later time.
Roger Powell
17. forkroot
What would be the point of a NS re-read without TGS spoilers? I personally itch to apply the new info to previous events and see how it changes my perception.
Well I wouldn't have any problem with TGS spoilers, but I seem to recall that Leigh was talking about a spoiler moratorium on the rereads (at least for a while) in deference to those who hadn't finished TGS yet.

I guess if Leigh waits two more weeks to resume, the point would be moot. But if she were to start maybe Monday (hint, hint) she might feel that we should stay TGS spoiler-free for a little while longer.
Leigh Butler
18. leighdb
"Aybara": I've always pronounced it "EYE-bara", as in "aye aye sedai", in fact, but Harriet pronounced it with a long "a", to rhyme with "hay". Curses!

My guess: It's not backwards, because *Brandon* knows what my guess is.

The Re-read: Still in Crazyland over here, guys. As of right now, it's going to be at least another two weeks before it resumes. I'll let you know if that changes.

And no, we won't be starting with New Spring, because I'm sticking with publication order. NS will fall between COT and KOD, therefore.
Maiane Bakroeva
19. Isilel
Well, if the re-reads are clearly labelled to contain TGS spoilers before the cut-off, what would be the problem? People who didn't read it yet and want to avoid spoilers would know to stay away.

I guess that I am not seeing why there should be any moratorium...
Lannis .
20. Lannis
Oh, Leigh, we love you and your inept calendar skills...! We'll keep ya, calendar warts and all!

@ Freelancer: If it's not already on your questions for Brandon list, can you include: will we ever hear who killed Asmodean, concretely? I mean, now that Grandael's dead and all, we'll never be hearing another POV from the most likely suspect... so...?

Question for Leigh et al... can this post be spoilerific, too, or are we going to keep it all over at the other post? I can understand both answers... one is post is specifically for spoilers, and yet, this one is shiny and new and doesn't involve wading through 1600+ posts (good gawd, it may be past 1700 by now... eep!)
21. Freelancer

Thank you. I'll keep an eye out, as well as watching for the Storm Leader's post on Dragonmount.


Well, you just sealed the fate of a guaranteed 2,500 comment thread if it's two more weeks. May need asbestos goggles to even open the TGS Spoiler post by then.


Already on top of my list: "Given that we're to understand that Asmodean's killer will be revealed, does Graendal's demise acquit her as a suspect?" If that gets a RAFO, it's her, and we'll have to wait and see whose POV spills it.

And yes, it's over 1,700. I can't say anything about that, as I'm probably responsible for 65 of them myself. ::stare::
Dorothy Johnston
22. CloudMist
Reading these comments has just given me a new guess as to what the "small detail" in books 4-6 could be. What if the Snakes and Foxes gameboard is an actual map of the Tower of Ghenjei?
Thomas Keith
23. insectoid
Nice report, Leigh! We miss you.

Free @21: I predict 3000! Unless Pablo decides to cap it and give us another thread. ;)
j p
24. sps49
Graendal people, y'all need to stop grasping at straws, okay? :)

I can wait. If ToM contains Adventures in 'Finnland, I am sure Lanfear>Cyndane will be present. She has always been my only suspect, and I hope a resolution will happen.

By the way, is anyone else here attending a SF area signing?
John Skotnik
25. ShooneSprings
I was thinking it had something to do with Jain Farstrider/Noal Charin thing, but we don't meet him till book 7 (ACOS).

Take a look at this re-read of Winter's Heart if you don't know what I'm talking about:

Note: I didn't catch this until reading the linked re-read.
Aye Aye Sedai
26. kab1
Leigh- thanks for the recap. Just so you know, I am completely calendar illiterate myself, so you're not the only one. Just the other week, I received a similar "are you coming?" phone call myself due to a calendar whoops!

@Free- thanks so much for offering to ask questions. I'm going to head over to DM and see the SL reports and what has been already asked and answered. Then maybe I'll have a good enough question to ask. Hopefully can get it done by Sunday (just got a new job!).

Books 4-6, huh? I wonder what everyone missed. I'll have to think on it.
27. MasterAlThor
Where do we find out about where Team Jordan will be to sign books?

Do they have a listing somewhere?
Aye Aye Sedai
28. Alea_iacta_est
When I heard there was something hidden in books 4-6, the first thing I thought of was the little fat man angreal.
Don't know why that would be important in any way, but Rand finds it at the beginning of 4, and loses it at the end of 6. It's the only thing I could think of that is in books 4, 5, and 6, and none of the others.
craig thrift
29. gagecreedlives
So Leigh is that a regular calendar 2 weeks or a Leigh Butler calendar 2 weeks?

Not rushing you of course just curious
Lannis .
30. Lannis
Hmm... 4, 5, & 6, eh? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking the mass exodus of the Aiel... into the Waste at 4, out near the end of 5, with more following and setting up camp in Cairhien shortly after...

Just a musing, I'm not really going anywhere with it... though if we pool our collective memories of all things books 4-6, perhaps we'll hit on it? Worth a try...

Free @ 21: yeah, you said it much classier than I did...

Oh, and about the twitchy posting fingers... I'll never tell. ;)
Aye Aye Sedai
31. Aye Aye Sedai
21. Freelancer - I'll bet $20 that this specific question will be a RAFO as he was already asked if enough BF on G could bring back A, and he refused to discuss. - see Dmount summary on questions.

I'd ask if he could answer this - Based on RJ's hand written note on who killed Asmo - is there enough info currently in the books to identify the who, why and the where of Asmos death (and if this is different than being in the pantry with Col. Mustard. with the candlestick).

- Have all characters who are important to the story/plotlines been given "screentime" to date (even if we may not recognize the character) or are their significant introductions to still occur?

- Has Cadsuane already taught her lesson or is there something still for her to teach (ie perhaps we are wrong about the laughter and smiles).
Aye Aye Sedai
33. Ghenjei
Leigh, nice to meet you at the signing. As I said, a lot of us fans appreciate the awesome distraction that your re-read is during the otherwise cavalcade of the mundane that is the workday. Also, I can't believe you did the FAQ for free! Real labor of love.

In general: It was a great event. Where else would you get to meet people as awesome as Brandon (who is a surprisingly normal dude), Harriet (who edited Ender's Game!! holy s$!#!!! how cool is that?!?), and Tom Doherty (the god of sf/fantasy publishing)?

Fantastic theory discussion in the lines and fun to see the diverse group of people the WOT brings together. B&N did a superb job (though no copies of Warbreaker for sale, boo).

Also, I won a nifty EoTW poster in the raffle. SWEET!
34. MasterAlThor
So like what are the chances of Team Jordan coming...oh I don't know say 63 miles north of Detroit? Hmmm? Could that be a possibility?

I mean we could drawn in the Canadian crowd. It's just a stones throw from Sarnia, Ont.

Come on...I'll have my wife bake something. You don't know, but I am married to Betty flamin Crocker.

35. Freelancer
Wait. Harriet edited Ender's Game? Holy Smokes! I love that book. I just re-read the main four, and have decided to finally pick up the Shadow series. Amazing. I sure wish she or any of the TOR folks would come to sunny San Diego this weekend (really bad weather today, though. . . 71 and moderately overcast. Uhh, that's 22 and soft for you Continental folks). Still, no complaints as long as Brandon is here.

Aye Aye Sedai,

I'll take that under advisement. Though the way you say that question was framed, it couldn't be answered without definitively stating that Graendal did or did not kill Asmodean. I may still try my wording, which only asks if her death drops her as a suspect. He must RAFO if the answer would be no, but he could answer yes without giving away who killed him. We'll see, I may or may not try it.

It is likely that Brandon will only take non-TGS-spoilerific questions until the end of the session, given the likely crowd of folks who haven't read yet. So I'll have to hang out (probably pick up the new sixth volume of the Hitchhiker's trilogy and read some of it). Insectoid, you planning to stick around there for Q&A? There's a Starbucks only about 12 spans away.
Thomas Keith
36. insectoid
Free @35: We're staying for the Q&A, yes. Wouldn't miss it. ;)
Maiane Bakroeva
37. Isilel
Leigh - don't let the Crazyland get to you! Or you'll run the risk of becoming Dark...

The question I'd like to get an answer to is: was the burning out of Martine Jumata (the last known ter'angreal researcher in WT) an accident or was it a BA hit?

Jordan did say in some Q@A that the Blacks had it relatively easy when they needed to conceal a murder of a fellow channeler, because "everybody knows" that experimentation with the One Power is dangerous and could kill.
And burning out + memory loss (natural or Compulsion?) would amount to death from their POV.
38. Freelancer
I'm just guessing here but I imagine you are refering to Martine Janata, aka Setalle Anan (98% certain). An obscure question, I can promise it won't be in the top of my stack, but I'll include it if possible.

This brings up another thought; I absolutely will not ask any questions about random character oddities being due to Compulsion. Someone else can run that rabbit trail.
Maiane Bakroeva
39. Isilel
you are refering to Martine Janata, aka Setalle Anan (98% certain)

Yes, her. I wonder if she was removed because she was on to something important.

Oh, and another one - how do Seanchan avoid accepting sparkers whose spark didn't yet manifest for sul'dam training? From description, the test for damane is just one sensing an already manifested spark. But test for sul'dam is if a girl wearing the a'dam bracelet can make a damane react. So, what prevents mix-ups from happening? Because something does or it would have been a general knowledge among sul'dam that some of them can turn into a damane overnight.

And they don't wait until sul'dam candidates are over 21 either - Tuon herself is a year away from the limit of spark manifestation (12-21 for women).
40. mattyh
@39 isilel

my understanding of sparkers, who become 'wilders' is that they can be sensed by experienced channelers before the spark manifests. for instance, when moiraine first met egwene in the two rivers, she knew that egwene would channel eventually, and elaida detected the same kind of spark in elayne.

i think damane are all the ones who have the spark, and can be recognised by experienced sul'dam/damane, regardless of having already begun channeling or not. i suspect they're very thorough with their testing.

the sul'dam are women who can be taught to channel, but won't ever touch the true source on their own without training.
Maiane Bakroeva
41. Isilel
Mattyh @40:

Moiraine, per her own words in TEoTW, could sense Egwene because she was very close to her manifestation.

The test for channeling potential also reveals the spark, whether it has already come out or not, both in men and in women. I.e. Taim knew that Narishma had a spark that didn't yet manifest when he was recruited for BT.

But Seanchan don't know the test for channeling potential _and_ they check all women in the requisite age bracket every year, as per Egeanin's POV in TSR. I.e. they can only detect the spark that has already manifested or was close enough to it that damane could sense it.
Samantha Brandt
42. Talia
I was at this event, though I missed the beginning part due to train schedules. Good times! Everyone seemed exceptionally nice.

And yeah, listening to people around me in the line speculating on plot points was entertaining. A couple of the Storm Leader fellows were surveying the queued people about how many times we'd read the series (I had to shamefully admit only once, and not even entirely - I'm two books behind! Well, three now), our favorite characters and who we thought had killed Asmodeus. That spurred a lot of interesting debate :)
Aye Aye Sedai
43. Kaffis
I attended the Dayton signing last night at Books and Co. I apologize in advance for the long post.

I'll insert my summation of the event here, since it seems the most related spot for it. I was only taking loose notes, and I'm not very fast at it, so very little of this will be direct quotes. I tried to pay more attention to wording when it sounded like an Aes Sedai trying to bend the First Oath.

The event started with the introduction of Brandon. He talked for about 20 minutes about how he started writing, and how he was first introduced to the Wheel of Time. He was a teenager, and was always drawn to "big books" because of their high page-to-dollar ratio. Big books weren't always good, but if they were, they didn't end as quickly, was his reasoning. He had the chance to meet RJ once at a convention, but chickened out. Sanderson never saw him closer than from across the room. Talked a little about his own works, and refusing to shop them around to anybody after Tor made the first offer he received from a publisher. Told about the day Harriet called him to ask him to finish WOT; she'd read the blog post he wrote in memory of RJ after his death.

After that, he did a short reading consisting of the first few pages of the prologue, with the Borderland farmer watching the unnatural storm. Apparently, it was the first time he'd read that scene out loud (to an audience?).

He took about 15 minutes of audience questions next. I'll summarize the questions and answers.

Q: "Were you surprised at who killed Asmodean? Are the clues there? Had you figured it out?"
A: He knows (he said with a taunting laugh). It was one of the first things he sought out in the notes. He doesn't agree with RJ's standard answer that it's obvious, though acknowledges that enough of the clues are there because somebody (or more than one somebodies) have definitely figured it out. When he found out, he described the feeling as an "Ah, so *they* are right!" sensation. He *will* reveal it before the series is done.

Q: "Will you be involved in the comics?"
A: Maria (RJ & Harriet's assistant) is the liason, there. Brandon's got his plate full. She's great for it, anyways, because she's the continuity guru. He gets asked if he'll be involved with the movies (status: In the scripting stage. The option has been exercised by Universal.), and she'll probably be the liason there, too. They plan to do one movie per book, from what he understands.

Q: "Will there be a Wheel of Time MMO?"
A: Brandon doesn't know. Red Eagle has the video game rights, and are planning on using them for something, but he doesn't know exactly what at this point.

Q : "You mentioned earlier that the first day you spent on the internet was devoted to discussing WOT on Usenet. Which group?"
A: r.a.sf.w.r-j. He also checked out the r.a.sf.w.tolkien group, but they were mean to him.

Q: "How has working on WOT changed your writing?"
A: Harriet has forced him to be more precise. He referenced the prologue scene he read, and noted that in his first submission, he just said "a rocking chair." Harriet shot back with, "What was it made of?" She makes him be more specific, but not necessarily longer. It's taught him to juggle multiple viewpoints and plotlines better. He lavished some praise on Harriet at this point, slipping in the same mention he made in NYC (apparently) that she edited Ender's Game. He says that one of the first books that got picked up was meant to be his foray into fantasy epic. Tom Doherty liked it, but Brandon asked to hold off on it, because he didn't feel ready yet. He hadn't even written a sequel, yet, all his stuff had been standalones. So he wrote Mistborn, instead. He feels that after he's ready for epics, now, and so after he finishes WOT he'll return and revise and improve that one .

Q: "LTT and Rand -- same person, or not?"
A: Straight-up reiteration of RJ's "same soul" answer. In fact, Brandon referenced that that's how RJ always answered that question, and that he'd continue to do so.

Q: Referencing the story about chickening out on his opportunity to talk to RJ at the convention, "If you could talk to RJ now, what would you say/ask?"
A: "Your books made me want to be a writer." Brandon says that that's always something that he takes heart from, and it's what he wishes to express to RJ.

Proceed to signing. I was a late number, and the front seats were packed for a while. I had a few questions I wanted to ask, but I took an opportunity after maybe 40 people had gone up, to move to the front row and listen to some of the questions. I couldn't hear perfectly, but a few general gists.

Q: "Who's your favorite character?"
A: It changes. At various times in the series and in his life, he's liked Rand, Mat, Perrin, Elayne, Egwene, and a few others I didn't pick up on hearing.

Bunch of questions on Sanderson's other works, which I have yet to read, so I didn't retain much of anything.

Then I got my turn at the signing. Right before me, there was a couple with two children. The older one, who looked 2 or 3, apparently liked one of his books (Knights of something?) as bedtime stories. She brought him a box of Mac & Cheese, which Brandon declared was his favorite. Very sweet, and Brandon's good with kids.

I started off by telling Brandon "Good job." I really liked this book. I also told him that the scene where Mat was planning his entry into the town after Dorlan was the most hilarious scene in the series, and that "Elaborate aliases and backstories" (which he began quoting along with me after the first word) was easily the best comedic relief I've seen and quite memorable. Finally, I told him that Talmanes really came to life under his pen, to which Brandon responded, "I always read him that way. I called up Harriet and said, 'What if I do this?' And she said, 'It's good, but doesn't fit with what Mat's observed before. Mat would know.' and I said, 'No, he wouldn't! That's the beauty of it!'"

Then, I asked 2 questions. I had a third, but he went into enough detail in his reaction to my Talmanes comment that I felt like I was holding up the line.

Q: Obviously, all the words in TGS are yours. How much of the plot was your doing, and how much was outlined (and how detailed) in the notes?
A: Harriet actually gave me complete creative control. She said that if something needs to change to work, it can. RJ's notes were very specific on Rand, but there wasn't much on Egwene.
Follow-up Q: And Verin?
A: Very explicit. When I read that, it was definitely an "Oh, wow" moment. I had to step back and process for a minute.

Q: Have we seen the last of Gaidal Cain's screentime? Will we find out which, if any, current 3rd Age characters become newly bound to the Wheel and the Horn?
A: Re: Gaidal, RAFO. He mentioned that yes, he's been spun out into the Pattern, and is thus an infant, but who knows if he's since died and will show up again with the Horn? Re: new Bound to the Wheel characters, RAFO. He's not sure how much of where characters end up will make it into the books proper, but RJ was very detailed about how characters end up, and BS hopes, after WOT is done, to publish a book collecting and organizing the notes themselves. Such a book would have all this info for sure.

Overall, I found Brandon really fun. He was really a mixture of fan and author, where RJ was always the creator. When RJ said "RAFO," he enjoyed it, and loved making us anticipate things. Brandon, when he says RAFO, really has this sense of "I wish I could tell you, but it's GOOD, you'll love it." He was an engaging story teller, had a good sense of humor, and was really a joy to listen to.
Dan Schwartz
44. Adrock25
Leigh, in New York we call it a Subway :)
Aye Aye Sedai
45. .benja
The Re-read: Still in Crazyland over here, guys. As of right now, it's going to be at least another two weeks before it resumes. I'll let you know if that changes.

*looks dejected* No! No! Noooo! I know that story. I've been there.

This week you tell us, two more weeks. Next week you tell us, two more weeks. Week after that, it's still two weeks. And the week after that, you tell us, ok, just one more week, I don't care if Tor has to print new calendars to make it true, one more week and you'll get your re-read.

And then it'll still be three weeks before we get our crunchy opinionated fix!
Aye Aye Sedai
46. Artur al Yorks
Olver is Gaidal Cain!
It was pretty obvious as long ago as his arrival in Salidar. Near certain now his hero status is already foretold.
Guillaume Bergeron
47. Nightbaron
Olver is not Gaidal Cain, as confirmed by Robert Jordan himself many years ago.
Maggie M
48. Eswana
Oh Leigh it's good to hear from you! I empathize with lack of calendaring skills-- this happens to everyone at some point. It was totally a bubble of evil.

As others have, yeah, don't look at the TGS spoiler thread. Though to our credit it's over 1800 now and *most* (ahem) of those are actually related to the subject matter. Not sure how much longer it will last before we lapse into twitching, but for now there's some darn good discussing to be had.

I've been looking in vain for an image of the back of tGS's cover so I could photoshop in your two word review, per Harriet's jest. Alas, I can't find one. I'm sure it exits somewhere, so people- get on that! Maybe there will be a special edition released which contain such an awesome summation? I'd totally buy one.

As sappy as this sounds, spending close to three weeks without Leigh's patented snarkiness was making me sad. So I'm thrilled you're back in the blogosphere, however briefly. We eagerly await your return from hiatus!
Aye Aye Sedai
49. abergman
So, has anyone dug up Sanderson's old posts on rasfwr-j yet?
Harry Burger
50. Lightbringer
Leigh -

I was there and hoping to meet the woman behind the snark, but if they announced you or pointed you out, somehow that completely got past me. That's odd, because I was specifically listening for it. *sad face*

And I also found out I was pronoucing all the names wrong in my head - Aybara, Faile, Masema. The guy I was next to was chatting about the audiobooks - I might get some of those now since there are some names I'm not even sure how to pronounce at all in there.
Francesco Paonessa
51. ErrantKnave
@43 Kaffis

Thanks for that transcript. With no Canadian tour dates, I'm taking what I can get.

I wouldn't have guessed that RJ was explicit about Rand and Verin. And the book of RJ's notes is a fantastic idea!
Maiane Bakroeva
52. Isilel
Thanks, Kaffis.

Oh, and BTW a potential signing question - how do people learn to weave the opposite half of OP when leading a mixed circle? Do they suddenly see the weaves of the opposite half? Does everybody in a mixed circle see them? Does it take longer to learn the opposite weaves (it should)?
Leigh Butler
53. leighdb
Lightbringer @ 50:

Well, I wasn't really part of the event or anything, I was just there for, like, local color. Or something. Sorry to have missed you though!
54. Freelancer
Ok, I'm making a short trip into Leigh's report here because Brandon will be at a local signing tomorrow, and I'm taking a list of questions with me.

So, any last minute submissions will be reviewed and prioritized with the stack being generated out of the Leigh's TGS spoiler thread.

Leigh, we drilled through the 2,000 comment mark, and I think we've discovered a new form of the Power. It should finally allow women and. . .

wait. . .

oh no---
Leigh Butler
55. leighdb
Hey guys, if you want to see some really nice pictures from the NYC signing, go here.
Lindy Brown
56. lbrown
Hey, Leigh, thanks for those photos! It was really cool seeing you and Harriet and some others from Team Jordan and seeing what you guys looked like.

I only knew what Brandon looked like before. Now I know what Harriet, Tom and Maria and you look like, too!

I'm going to the book signing in Portland on Thursday! I am so excited! Harriett won't be there :(, though.
Sara H
57. LadyBelaine
Grrr.... curses!!!

I work literally down the block from that B&N.

I completely forgot about this!

I even had my kesiera already to go and I had a tee-shirt I made up with my stripes :(

Aye Aye Sedai
58. Kaffis
@Errant Knave 51: For the parts that were specific, I'm going to wax slightly spoileriffic. Please refer to post #2111 in the spoiler-laden review thread for part of my reply (even though I haven't been reading it to this point) so as not to taint this section.

Okay, back? Good. Conversely, that Egwene was where Brandon had a lot of free reign surprised me. That felt very much like it smoothly flowed from her previous situation, and developed in a very natural progression, and the character development outlined by her actions, reactions, and events seemed to be very true to Jordan's intentions. It's very much a credit to Brandon Sanderson, in my mind, that I was surprised that the Egwene plotline *wasn't* heavily influenced by detailed notes (comparatively, at least, I suppose). And I hope he took my expression of surprise when he said that as the compliment it should convey.

@Isalel 52: That's a very good question. The impression I've gotten from reading the few examples of mixed sex circles is that the opposite gender power isn't seen, but rather felt, much like when weaves are directed at you, you can't see them, but can be trained to instinctually sever them, and feel that you cutting weaves are as you do. My imagination, at least, is that the different threads have a sort of "texture" if you will, that allow for identification of Fire, Spirit, Air, et al. as you handle them, even though you can't see them. It is indeed curious that 3rd Age channellers seem to be reasonably proficient at handling basic weaves when we know that the method of the weaving is different for each half; sucking up heat vs. dispersing it, for instance. Perhaps the people we've generally seen doing so (mostly, to date, Asha'man/Aes Sedai warder bond pairs) have discussed some of the differences off-screen, much like Egwene and Elayne with Rand in TSR? There may even be some intuitive guessing going on. It's definitely a question I'd like to see a response to. Probably one that will get some good elaboration rather than a RAFO, too.
Francesco Paonessa
59. ErrantKnave
@Kaffis 58

I read your comments in reverse order, but I'm all caught up now. Thanks for the reply!

@Leighdb 55

Aww... You are conspicuously absent from the Storm Leader group pic.

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