Brandon Sanderson on Robert Jordan Creating a Foundational Model for Writing Epic Fantasy

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, who wrote and completed the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan’s passing, sat down with Tor Books recently as part of a larger recollection on Jordan’s work. (Wheel of Time TV showrunner Rafe Judkins similarly chimed in here.)

Check out the video below.

In the video, Sanderson talks about his experience writing The Wheel of Time as well as Jordan’s influence on Sanderson’s generation of fantasy writers.

I often call myself “Tolkien’s grandchild” because I feel like the generation that Robert Jordan was working [within] was taking the ideas and lessons that Tolkien taught them in creating Lord of the Rings and applying them–really for the first time–in their own epic fantasies. And I didn’t grow up reading Tolkien, I grew up reading Robert Jordan! […] Really the foundational story that I used as a model for learning how to write epic fantasy was The Wheel of Time.

Sanderson continues on by discussing an unexpected stumbling block that he encountered before finalizing The Way of Kings: writing multiple viewpoints. Jordan would end up directly challenging Sanderson to master that aspect of the craft when it came time to tackle The Gathering Storm, the first volume in The Wheel of Time’s concluding trilogy. To be writing it was clearly an honor for Sanderson, but it was also akin to being thrown “in the deep end”, and the juxtaposition sounds fascinating, especially in light of Sanderson’s current work on the complex Stormlight Archive saga.

Jordan’s own initial fantasy work–Warrior of the Altaii–will soon hit shelves from Tor Books. (The world map certainly looks familiar!) It will be interesting to see the parallels between Jordan and Sanderson’s influences, along with their growth as writers, even when separated by a generation.

Cover to Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan


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