||Thus Spake The Creator
of the WoT
Quote from RJ: There are
a number of themes that run through the series. There's
the good old basic struggle between good and evil, with
an emphasis on the difficulty in recognizing what is god
and what is evil. There's also the difficulty in deciding
how far you can go in fighting evil. I like to think of
it as a scale. At one end you hold purely to your own
ideals no matter what the cost, with the result that
possibly evil wins. At the other end, you do anything and
everything to win, with the result that maybe it doesn't
make much difference whether you've won or evil has won.
There has to be some sort of balance found in the middle,
and it's very difficult to find.
Another recurring theme is lack of information, and the
mutability of information. No one knows everything.
Everyone has to operate on incomplete knowledge, and
quite often they know they are operating on incomplete
knowledge, but they still have to make decisions. The
reader quite often knows that the reason why a character
is doing something is totally erroneous, but it's still
the best information that the character in the book has.
I like to explore the changeability of knowledge, the way
that, in the beginning, charactes see things in one way,
and as they grow and learn more, we and they find out
that what they knew as the truth wasn't necessarily the
whole truth. Sometimes it's hardly the truth at all. When
Rand and the rest first met Moiraine, they saw her as an
Aes Sedai, and they thought of her as being practically
omnipotent. It's only as they go along that they begin to
find out that the Aes Sedai have limits. In the beginning
everyone says the White Tower makes thrones dance and
kings and queens play at their command, but the
characters begin to find out that, yes, the White Tower
has certainly manipulated a lot of thrones, but it's
hardly all-powerful. Characters learn more about the
truth as time goes on, and sometimes found out that what
they knew before was only the first layer of the onion.
That's a major theme, really, in the whole series, that
changeability - the way something starts out seeming to
be one simple thing, and slowly it is revealed to have a
number of very complex layers.
But for all the grand events and great hoop-la and whoop-de-do
going on, the things that really interest me more than
anything else are the characters themselves. How they
change. How they don't change. How they relate to each
other. The people fascinate me. And, of course, there are
things happening that major characters sometimes don't
even see, and the reader sometimes does. There's a lot
going on beneath the surface that major characters don't
realize, despite the fact that they do see a lot of what
seems very furious activity.
Q: Of the many themes that occur throughout your
books, which do you consider the most important?
A: I think that's for the reader t decide. I like to put
things out there and let the readers absorb them as they
will. One of the things that has happened that I rather
enjoyed was listening to some people talk as they waited
for me to sign books... they were discussing the books,
then change dthe subject, and, without meaning to, were
discussing what I consider one o f the subjects of the
books..that was very gratifying.
A recurring motif in the Wheel of Time series is the
differences between men and women. Why did you decide to
make this such an important feature in your writings, and
why do you take such a bipolar view on gender?
became fascinated with women at the age of three. It's a
long story -- too long to go into here. But I quickly
realized that for everything that was the same about men
and women, there seemed to be at least two or three
things that were different. Once I had decided that I
wanted to use the One Power in the way that I was using
it -- that is, divided into a male half and a female half
-- it became obvious to me that the differences between
men and women themselves should also play a part.
Q: Some people have
found so much depth to your books, that they've claimed
you've attempted to start a new philisophical movement,
or even a new religion, with the Wheel of Time. What have
you set out to do with the Wheel of Time?
A: I'm not trying to
create a philosophy, I'm not trying to create a religion.
If people think that, they're missing the point.
What I'm primarily
trying to do is tell a story. If I get to ask you a few
questions along the way, that's good. And if I don't get
to ask you a few questions, that's good also. If there
are any messages it's that everybody has to struggle
against evil, as opposed to good. Because you can't
depend on a few heroes to take care of it. If you depend
on heroes, evil's gonna win. Also, how it's not easy to
tell the difference between bad and good sometimes.
Sometimes you think a course of action is the right thing
to do. And if you do it and a few million people starve
to death somewhere, was it really the right thing to do?
Unintended consequences too: every action you take will
have at least two results that you never intended and one
of them will be a result that you really didn't want. You
have to contend with that under all circumstances. You
can never figure out all consequences of what you do, and
you can't stop them because of that. I'm fascinated by
Q: What do you hope readers will gain from reading
A: I do hope that people will occasionally think about
"the right thing to do," about right behavior
and wrong, after reading one of my books. I certainly
don't try to tell them what right behavior is, only to
make them think and consider. But mainly, I just want to
tell a story. In this case about ordinary people pushed
into extraordinary events and forced to grow and change
whether they want to or not, sometimes in ways they never
expected and certainly wouldn't have picked out given a
choice. I am a storyteller, after all, and the job of a
storyteller is to entertain. Anything else is icing on
Q: What would happen if the Dark One was victorious?
And why can the Dark One act on the world but it seems
the Creator cannot?
A: Read and find out. It's a good question, and an
important theme -- but read and find out.
Q: What do you want readers to see in your books?
A: A good story
Do you have an underlying purpose with your
books? Something other than to entertain?
Of course. You always like to write about things, talking
about things. The primary goal is always for it to be a
good story, to entertain, but at the same time, it would
be very nice if youre able to make people think
about certain things, in my case the whole notion of
right and wrong, good and evil. There is a popular view
today, that, right and wrong are simply two sides of a
coin. Dependant, looking in the mirror in different
angles. It all depends. It comes from the modern
misinterpretation of situational ethics. Today there are
no ethical rules, there are no ethical standards. Dues
are all because they hold the law. Fact is, there is
right, there is wrong. Sometimes it is hard to
tell the difference, sometimes its very easy to
tell the difference. Sometimes you study very closely for
what is the right thing to do here, and you still make
the wrong choice. But even if its hard to find the
difference, even if you realize later that you made the
wrong choice, its worth the effort to try. I have
some basic rules in my life. I try not to cause
harm, to anyone, unintentionally. I try not to
give offense to anyone, unintentionally. There are many
people who offend, not because its intentional
necessarily, but because they cant be bothered not
to. There are many people who cause harm, because the cant
be bothered not to. I dont mean that they go around
beating people in the streets, necessarily, but, they harm
people, in many various ways. Simply because they cant
be bothered not to. The other people arent really real,
real to them, no, theyre the only ones that are
real. And everybody else is no more than a chequer on a
board. And Id like my readers to be more than that.
Reports from signings
The major theme he tried to put forward in the WoT
books he saw as the nature of information: "Information
changes, over time, distance and perception. Only way to
see the truth is to oneself experience the event, but
even then every person percieves it differently".
Knowledge and information has an inherent mutability. The
example he brought up was Birgitte's _living_ of the
history, apart from reading it, and the very different
views it brought.
Raina's Hold / Thus Spake The Creator - Index