Tue
May 13 2014 12:00pm

Ask Leigh Butler All About The Wheel of Time!

We’ve reached the end of this epic journey through The Wheel of Time—it’s been an amazing five-plus years, and before we move on to the next phase of Leigh’s commentary on the series, we wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has contributed to the Reread with comments, questions, and encouragement along the way! From the folks who’ve been reading along since the very beginning to those of you who’ve caught up more recently—thanks so much for sharing your theories and opinions, your humor, and your own stories and experiences each week; we can’t imagine a more dedicated or passionate group of fans than the WoT regulars...

With that in mind, we’d like to throw open the floor to any questions you might have for Leigh about the Reread, The Wheel of Time, working with Team Jordan, or anything related (within reason) to these last five years of WoT-inspired conversation and commentary. Leigh has graciously agreed to read through and respond to as many of the on-topic questions as she’s able, so please post your questions in the comments here between now and 5 PM (EST) on Friday, May 16. Leigh’s responses to selected questions will be posted on Tuesday, May 20—in the meantime, have at it!

[Update: Comments are now closed—thanks to everyone who contributed questions; check back on Tuesday for Leigh's answers!]

42 comments
Mike I
1. MikeyRocks
Completely random question! do you read fan fictions on the Wheel of time? would you ever write a fan fiction on the wheel of time? I would love to read that.
Andrew Berenson
2. AndrewHB
Thanks for all your hard work. I have 2 questions.
1) Did you ever think this would be a 5 plus year effort?
2) How many desks did you go through for the re-read (when you banged your head on the desk for the character's actions/inactions)?

Thanks for reading my questions,
AndrewB
Charles Foster
3. FossMaNo1
It is well known that you HATED the Seanchan slavery issue (any time it came up in the reread I swear I could see the vein in the center of your forehead pulsing violently!). Why do you think this thread was never realy resolved by Team Jordan?
Bill Siegel
4. ubxs113
The gender politics aside *headdesk*, what was the most frustrating or difficult aspect of the reread?
Scott Sherris
5. ssherris
Do you forsee a Wheel of Time re-re-read in your future?

Oh, I was trying to be funny, but I read your "Final Post" and it's awesome that you're really doing it!
Noneo Yourbusiness
6. Longtimefan
When you were living in New York you got a really good deal on a leather jacket. If you were living in New York at the time you were working on the Re-Read would this be a related question you can answer? :)

I heard it is a really good story. :)
Bill Siegel
7. ubxs113
What are the big RAFO type questions left at the end of the series?
1. Nakomi?
2. Rand's new powers?
3. The rest of everything!?
El Fitcho
8. El Fitcho
I have a few questions, so answer as many or as few as you wish Leigh!

1. Which plot twist / development (in the entire series) most shocked or surprised you? (Mine was Rand accessing the True Power.)

2. Which mystery or prophecy fulfilment were you most desperate to find out? And let's limit this to ones that definitely got resolved. (Mine was the identity of the third man, ie Moridin.)

3. Which three entries in the forthcoming WoT Encyclopedia are you most looking forward to reading, and why?

4. What on earth do you suggest I read now that WoT is complete?! I've tried GRRM, Terry Brooks, Goodkind, Tad Williams, Abercrombie, but didn't really get on with any of them. Anything else you can suggest, aside from Brandon Sanderson (all of whose I've already devoured)?

Thanks Leigh. Looking forward to reading your post, regardless of whether or not you include my questions.
El Fitcho
9. BrazilianGirl
Hi Leigh

Thanks for the re-read and all Wheel of Time related posts.

1) Which parts of the series was the most dificult to write about? and the easiest? and most fun?
2) How do you feel to know that the Wheel of Time and the re-read have funs not just on the US but all over the world?
Chris Long
10. radynski
For me, one of the biggest disappointments of the series as a whole was the Seanchan culture. I assumed that because of how ingrained the issue of slavery was within their culture, that RJ would have something to "say" about that before the end. When we got to the end of the series with no resolution or movement on that issue whatsoever, I felt let down.

What do you think the "point" of including the Seanchan were? Why construct an antagonist like that and then do nothing about the larger issues that you've raised? Do you think it was a weakness in the series as a whole or am I making too much out of it?

I mean, you could have accomplished the same results with almost any kind of culture. I don't understand why the choice was made to stick that kind of slavery right in our face and then not address it at all.
B. Dowdle
11. Lancer
Hello! And Thanks again Leigh...Q1, could we see this series get the Game of Thrones treatment and see this as a series on HBO/Showtime?? Because a 2/3hr movie would not do this series justice. Q2, who would you cast as the Main people? Besides Sir Patrick Stewart as Tam. Q3, Will the encyclopedia in the works answer any of the unresolved Qs of the Story arcs?? Nakomi, Life after the Final Battle, The Sharans, etc.
El Fitcho
12. denari6
Lots of good questions above. I have only posted a few times but I did get a chance to meet you at the before last Jordancon. I will always treasure my RJ genuuuine trolloc horn cane. I just wanted to say I enjoyed your reread immensely. WoT and the rereaders will always be in my heart.

Questions...hmmm

What Ajah would you want to join?

At one point during your read of the series did you know you were going to finish it no matter what?

Did you have tears when Lan sheathed the sword in the end?

Having read all the dark disappointments of GRRM's series, are you more or less appreciative that even in the end we lost so very few main WoT people?

Thanks again!
Deana Whitney
13. Braid_Tug
@11 & @7, and similar questions:
Leigh will not have an answer to 1)Nakomi, 2) The pipe, and 3) the Seanchan after the fact.

Word of Brandon & Team Jordan: Nakomi & The pipe will never be answered. RJ wanted some mysteries left.

The Seanchan: he left too few notes on what was to happen in the Mat outriggers. So an official canon story will not happen.

Leigh has her opinions on all these, but Team Jordan has declared we will not get canon answers.

Now I need to think want to ask...
j p
14. sps49
Why do you think it never occurred to Demandred that Rand really wasn't on the battlefield because he was busy at Shayol Ghul (duh, Demmy, ya dummy)?
janet vaughn
15. geochic1
Thank you for putting so much time and energy into this re-read.
Oh the feels, the feels now what will I do on Tuesdays?

What is your greatest lesson/insight from reading all the books and posting them online??
Will you ever cover the big white book? Sorry dont have it with me to get excate name.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
16. Lisamarie
I am really going to miss you.

What have you gained from the re-read? Are there any parts of the books you look at differently now, after the re-read, analysis and commentary? Were there any comments that made you go "Woah..." and look at something in a new way/perspective?
El Fitcho
17. Danman33
@8 - My favourite fantasy authors are: Steven Erikson (cross GRRM with Jordan, one massive 10-book saga already out), Gene Wolfe (complicated but very rewarding), Terry Pratchett (humor) and Pat Rothfuss (only two books to read so far so save this one for the end). I've read every book by every one of these four.

I've read all of the authors you mentioned in your post and none of them have ever gotten me interested enough to buy the hardcover on release. Goodkind in particular is boring/repetative for me.
El Fitcho
18. Underbelly
As a mega-fan of both WOT and Fantasy, what do you think sets WOT apart from the rest of the Fantasy world(s) and what is the main aspect that has made it so endearing for so many (its characters, setting, intricacies, length, complexity, etc.)?
Ron Garrison
19. Man-0-Manetheran
OK, this is waaaay off in left field. As a daughter of the Big Easy, have you ever met Anne Rice? Do you enjoy her work?
Stefan Mitev
20. Bergmaniac
Who would you rather have for a friend - Elayne or Egwene?
El Fitcho
21. BookMonkey
I have a lot of friends who are big fantasy readers, but say they're turned off by the gender politics of WoT. I like how you've handled and discussed Jordan's sometimes... interesting handling of the differences between the genders in his world. Can you talk about that directly, and maybe offer some insight into how I can present the topic in a way that might let me share this wonderful series with them?
Dan Worcester
22. Azusa
As someone who still hasn't even finished the first book, I have to ask: How many hours/days will it probably take to read all fifteen books in the series?
El Fitcho
23. Missblake7
Ok- 2 questions-
1. Who and why did Cadsuane matter?
2. Seanchen empire? The point?
El Fitcho
24. Missblake7
Azusa- or anyone interested-
It took me about two months to read TEOTW to KOD. I also read all the re-reads and threads and had fun with all the wiki's.
Please call it what it was- total nerd out-
And-
I still hate Elayne
and love Lan and Nynaeve.
El Fitcho
25. TBGH
What piece of foreshadowing was most obvious in hindsight, but surprising in execution in the intial read through?
El Fitcho
26. Missblake7
Dear Leigh-
Thank you so much for this re-read. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon it and decided to read the whole series from scratch. I had read WOT from the beginning but over the years I lost some of the books, lent them or otherwise left them in various places. I also quit at "Winter's Heart"
My friend and I went on a used bookstore odyssey through various metro Detroit bookstores and I managed to get all of the missing books to complete the collection- all used which was my whole idea!
I really loved all the comments and depth; it added a lot of fun to a series that I think might be the last true high fantasy series before George RR Martin came along.
One of my favorite quotes was something like "what if someone tapped you on the shoulder and said you get to be the savior of the world... and you get to go crazy...)
So thank you very much!
El Fitcho
27. Missblake7
Who was the character you hated the most? The one that made you hiss...
Richard Hunt
28. WOTman
Did you have any pre-conceptions concerning this project before you started, as this is a re-read, so it was your second journey with the characters?

Would you do anything different, or do you just let it flow as you are experiencing the feelings. Or perhaps better yet; what was your work flow to bring this to the fans?
Jesse Nyhan
29. Evermore
Purely for curiosities sake but do you know what the word count of the entire Reread was? I imagine there's at least a couple of fair sized novels in there.

When I read through the series the whole gender politics thing went blissfully over my head. I tend to prefer that social commentary is kept out my books so I didn't really notice it. When you read the Wheel of Time did stuff like the gender politics thing jump out at you or do you keep an eye out for the author making real world commentary?

I'll echo some of the other posters and ask for any fantasy series recomendations pretty please? Prefferably with more then a few books already released? With Eriksons Malazan Book of the Fallen having finished and now The Wheel of Time I'm a little lost. I've read a lot of fantasy series like Martins and Sandersons among others but I'm stuck in waiting for the new novels to be released hell for the most part.
El Fitcho
30. Shadow killer
Hi Leigh,

First off I want to say thank you for the work you have done on this, I looked forward to every Tuesday when a new Re-Read would be released. The WOT became my family book club and we would read and re-read all of the books and talk about them. I can honestly say that no series of books have impacted my life in the same way as the WOT. As I finished AMOL I was so happy to finally read the ending after so many years; but the thought occurred to me that with the end of the WOT I may never find a series that resonates so powerfully with me again.

Is there another book or series of books that has impacted you in a similar way as the WOT and what was it that resonated so strongly with you?

Thank you,
Shadow Killer
El Fitcho
31. Shadow Killer
One series I recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed was a sci-fi series by Stephen R. Donaldson called The Gap Cycle. The Gap Cycle is loosly based on Wagner's Ring Cycle and has similar themes. The first book was ok, but I really enjoyed how the story and characters developed. Although this is not a fantasy series, Donaldson is best known for his Thomas Covanent books which fall under epic fantasy.
Rob Munnelly
32. RobMRobM
Leigh -
What is your favorite book in the series?
Favorite individual chapter?
Your theory of where Morgase learned familiarity with the speech of the Two Rivers in EOTW.
Ryan Jackson
33. KakitaOCU
Leigh, would you consider doing a re-read of some of L.E. Modesitt Jr's Work? Recluce could keep you busy for a good long while, but the Corean Chronicles and especially the Spell Song Cycle would be very interesting to see through your eyes. Given your support and efforts towards female equality Mr. Modesitt's takes on the situation seem right up your ally.
El Fitcho
34. Bonnnie
Dear Auntie Leigh,

Congratulations on completing the massive project that we affectionately like to call the WOT Reread! You really put in the effort on the whole thing and I wanted to be sure and thank you personally for taking on the project and keeping it so damn real week after week. While I have not always agreed with your posts here, I fully concede that they always gave me material to ponder over, whether I needed a good ponder or not! One thing that I want to bring up at this point is your state of mind at the time and how it affected your personal relationship with KOD upon it's release. I am truly sorry that life was so busy throwing you so many curve balls at that time because I think it ended up costing you a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment that you should have experienced while reading said volume. In short, Auntie, you got robbed and that was way not fair and it makes me very mad that it went down like that! For me, KOD was the one book in the series that gave me a real feeling of satisfaction and sense of resolution as some serious comeuppance got dealt around in a few major story arcs. I got a whole lot more of that feeling from KOD than I even got from AMOL! I'm just so sad that you had to miss that! So anyway, the question I have for you is what book in the series gave you the most satisfying sense of handrubbing glee upon finishing? Thank you again, Auntie Leigh!

P.S. I named my only child, my daughter, after you.

P.P.S. Not really. My daughter was five when I first discovered WOT so I couldn't have named her after you. However, I kind of like thinking that it is all like that anyway! My daughter, Sara Leigh.
Claire de Trafford
35. Booksnhorses
Thanks for your enthusiasm and love for the books over the course of the re-read Leigh, it helped me to keep on with the series. Too much sprawl over the books as a whole losing track of what seemed to be key plots I think, so my question for you is what on earth was the point of Rand having three loves?
El Fitcho
36. ageless
I have followed your re-read since the beginning even though I never really commented. The discussions brought out a lot of detail and connections I missed in my reading. Thanks to all of you. This series was wonderful because of all the minor characters who were written with great detail. You felt as if you knew them all. So which ones of the minor characters did you really like and really hate? Were there any you felt like were a bit like you?
El Fitcho
37. Sad Its Over
Have you ever read about misogyny in medical research on animals?
A recent article in Nature (link) highlights an area I never would have thought to see any gender issues in. And yes, this totally isn't very WOT related but I think its definately WOT reread related, because you know. . . Bella? Or something. . .

Anyways, given that its the end of the reread, I want to thank you for being a influence on how I view the world - you've very much helped to open my eyes to see gender issues are far more pervasive than I'd ever noticed before. People often complained, and sure it got repetative sometimes - but doggonit its super relevant - so thanks for being willing to buck both the critics but also being willing to buck "the rules" of how much its ok to write about one thing!
El Fitcho
38. TamyrRRRR
First of all, thanks for taking over of the WoTFAQ. Even though I only posted once or twice to rasfwrj, I read almost every post after a new book was released and I always looked forward to the new and improved FAQ which was released after a while. Secondly, thanks for starting, and more importantly, finishing the WoT reread here.

So, on to some more or less important questions:
* I'm kind of curious if you still keep in touch with some of the regulars from rasfwrj?

* How much time do you typically spend on writing one of the reread posts?

* I'm very impressed that you managed to hold to a very strict update schedule. Did you manage to keep ahead of the schedule, writing a couple of posts at once or did you write most posts at the last moment?

* What is the most valuable thing you have learned while writing the reread?

* Are you considering another reread, or will you start another kind of project thanks to your involvment in the reread?
El Fitcho
39. königr
Thank you again for everything, Leigh.

I have found that I have a lot of issues trying to explain what WoT is to Muggles. If some random person who knew nothing about the series asked you about it, what would you say? How do you encapsulate it? How do you summarize it in a relatively cogent blurb (no word limits, just what is reasonable)? What themes does it address, what symbols and motifs does it employ? Basically, if you were writing the SparkNotes overview or advertizing of the series as a whole, how would you do so?

What are the best and worst aspects of the series, in your judgment?
During the Rereread, will you provide personal anecdotes about what certain passages conjure up when you read them (beyond just the content of the story itself)? Will you read the respective post and its comments and comment on that? Where will we find the new Rereread posts?

Do you have any traditions for when you finish one of your favourite books (including a WoT book)? I do, and it depends on the series.
What are your thoughts on a movie or television series for WoT? Not so much "will it happen?" as "what does that topic even bring to mind for you?". What would be the best format (as a whole or book-wise), as far as filmed products go? What would you like to see have done with it? Who would you cast if you could? Where would it be filmed for various regions/places? And, if it were actually happening and your help were requested, would you lend your services?

What was the process of making and finishing the Reread like? When did you feel like you would never finish? When did you freak out? When were you determined to succeed? (It seems to me that you inspired the reread blog series and style on Tor; is it true?)
Rich Bennett
40. Neuralnet
I would like to submit four questions for you to mull over?
1) why does WoT as series deserve to win a Hugo award... what do you think was especially groundbreaking or important about it and/or what has it done better than other series of the last 20 years in your opinion
2) what is your favorite made of awesome moment in the series
3) what was your biggest dissapointment to the ending...
4) biggest surpirse in the series... i.e. what crazy theory that you thought would never be true, turned out to be true (could be from the middle books, doesnt have to be specific for the ending)
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
What is the single biggest headdesk-inducing moment in the series? (No doubt it will involve Gawyn but which one in particular?)
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
Can you pick a familiar name for the new re-read out of the options discussed on the final post thread or some other worthy alternative? Thanks. I'm now leaning towards The Re-Read Reborn but there are other worthy candidates as well.
This page is closed for comments.