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Mierinx

About River of Souls

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At first, I wasn't so sure whether I wanted to read the story or not as I thought I would feel letdown -again-. I'm one of those who feel disappointed with the last books of the series.

The other day, I decided to read the story to see whether my feelings regarding the book are the same.

So spoilers ahead from the end of the series and the River of Souls.

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We knew Demandred was in Shara, and we knew some of what he'd been up to. I wanted to show a glimpse of this. p.283

We barely knew Demandred was in Shara, and we basically knew nothing of what he'd been up to. Robert Jordan made it clear that nothing major would happen in Shara in the book as a narrative, but this intention of Sanderson feels out of place.

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My goal was to show a different side of one of the Forsaken. p. 283

Yea, considering the other Forsaken, each and every one of them deserve a story of their own. Also, considering the earlier theories regarding Mazrim and Demandred, maybe he needed more focus in the narrative. Hope we could know when the Taim/Demandred idea changed and he turned into Bao. 

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I wanted to present him symphatetically, at least as sympathetically as a man like him could be presented. It would be at the end of the sequence that the reader realized Bao was indeed Demandred... p.283

After finishing the series, we already know who Bao was. Many people still feel awkward about Shara and Bao. It was too abrupt; nothing mentioned even slightly in the narrative and in the most important book in the series, "this" happens.

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The sequence accomplished this goals -but it did so too well. p.283

Holy moly. It didnt do so anything at all. How can it create a different world in 4-5 pages? We don't know how he got there; what he did to get to the position he was then. We catch glimpses into the past, it's just flashback so we don't feel out of place. That's really weird.

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My biggest worry in cutting these sequences was that Demandred's arrival later in the book would feel abrupt. However, test readers didn't feel this way - Demandred as a character had been a proverbial gun on the mantel long enough that everyone was waiting for him to show up. p.284

Yes, his sudden apperance out of nowhere felt really awkward. The rest of the Forsaken came with a warning, we saw their world, caught a glimpse into their reasoning, personality, character and actions/motives. I was expecting Demandred to be someone we already knew in the book. A big turn of events so to speak. We all expected a huge impact on the events when Demandred showed up but this feels so out of place. If we had known something about Bao not in Book 8 (as Sanderson wrote) but in Book 12 at least, his appearance would make me feel less irritated. 

I'm glad that I've read this piece because it reminded me of how beautiful the series had been for me all those years ago. At the same time, I remembered the disappointment of how the series unfolded at the end. 

There's nothing but to wait for the Unfettered III to see what'll happen next. 

 

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3 hours ago, Mierinx said:

I'm one of those who feel disappointed with the last books of the series

Perhaps this isn't the correct thread to ask this question, but I am going to throw caution to this wind and do it! I have noticed their seems to be a somewhat small, but vocal part of the WoT fans that seem to dislike (or at least feel disapointed by) the final three books of the series. Do you think that the main reason of this is for the following reason. 1) The value of prose over plot developmen. I feel like Brandons writing style is kind of plain and doesn't have the flourishes of other writers. Robert Jordan is also a little more subtle about certain scenes. 2) The decline and fall of Matt Cauthon. From what I understand a lot of people feel that despite Brandons best efforts he failed to really understand and portray this character.

To be perfectly transparent I gave up on this series on Crossroads of the Twilight. I will not go into the reasons why for fear of further derailing this thread. I am just basing this upon what I know about both authors and what I've heard.

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I haven't read River of Souls, but I have seen it discussed some here and there, and I've got some slightly different impressions of some of Brandon's statements that you're quoting. It mostly stems from the fact that the selection wasn't written as a followup sequence, it was originally supposed to be chapters in AMoL.

When Brandon said:

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We knew Demandred was in Shara, and we knew some of what he'd been up to. I wanted to show a glimpse of this. p.283

I don't think "We" is "Readers who have completed AMoL." But that it means "Brandon and Harriet and assistants," the people with access to RJ's notes, during the AMoL writing process. RJ did switch plans from Taimandred to Shara, but he didn't leave a ton of details beyond Demandred showing up with the Sharans. So, when Brandon says stuff like:

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I wanted to present him symphatetically, at least as sympathetically as a man like him could be presented. It would be at the end of the sequence that the reader realized Bao was indeed Demandred... p.283

That's obviously impractical for the way the sequence was actually published. That was why he wrote it in the first place, though - to put it in the book, pull a switch on you by tricking you into rooting for one of the Forsaken. They weren't flashbacks for after we'd seen the Demandred reveal - they were going to lead up to it. But, reading the sequence after finishing the series, of course that's not the effect you'll get.

In regards to the lack of foreshadowing in TGS and ToM, Brandon has addressed that on Reddit. He does acknowledge that he could have done it better, but mentions how the decision to split the book came after he'd written basically everything that would go in TGS.

If you're wondering about specific details of when RJ switched away from Taimandred, this post at Theoryland may be enlightening to you: https://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=8767

Short version: notes for Book 6 clearly indicate Taimandred, but by Book 10, he'd begun to publicly denounce the theory. Some of the Dragonmount/Theoryland/Thirteenth Depository folks have access to a good chunk of the notes; they're not allowed to share it publicly, but they do present findings every year at a panel at JordanCon. (I'm definitely more of a Cosmere fan than a WoT fan, but that panel was hands-down my favorite panel at the con.) If you're on any of those sites, Terez or Tamyrlin might have more of an idea on exactly when Shara appeared in the notes.

The last thing to keep an eye out for in Unfettered III is that this new sequence was not only cut, the final book was reworked around its absence. Whereas River of Souls doesn't contradict anything in AMoL (it could have all happened offscreen), the Ways sequence is non-canon, and it's going to conflict with the events of the published book. (Or at least how things happened in this turning of the Wheel.) You may still think it worth reading, but just make sure you know it's not an actual continuation.

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It would have been nice if there was more foreshadowing about Bao. The Aiel trade with Sharans, don't they? They should have heard news or rumors about a new leader taking over the country. Rand and other powerful male channelers should have sensed mysterious flares of saidin, way on the other side of the Waste, when Bao was using Sakarnen. Maybe a population of escaped slaves washes up in the south and shares crazy-sounding stories about the Wyld. Something!

As it is, you're right, the whole Sharan army pops out of nowhere with a complex mythos behind it.

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The issue with Demandred is, that while Sammael was considered by the other Forsaken to actually avoid Rand and the Last Battle all together, Demandred they knew would do what he actually did; stay away right until the battle begins, then pick the strongest Light controlled area to smash. Interestingly, Rand knew that Demandred would command the Shadow's battlefield, and that he was the most likely culprit to hit Caemlyn. He also knew that Demandred would reveal himself the way he did, which is why he tried to take command directly. He wanted to draw him out and end him in one big battle, then go to Shayol Ghul.

 

As for the Taim change, it is the existence of both Cadsuane, and the need for Moiraine to be removed for a set time, that most likely meant that the change happened, in my opinion. Because Demandred would have been caught as easily as Cadsuane caught Semirhage, if he was in disguise, in exactly the same way she did.

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I heard the Taim change was made because too many people figured out who Demandred was which may or may not be the actual reason. We hear a rumor of of some conflict in Shara and a Sharan in Tear in KoD but Brandon couldn't go back in time and drop more hints or anything in books 7-11. You should therefore place blame elsewhere since I think Dem and shara were always going to feel like they came out of nowhere.

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Does anyone know which Unfettered Anthology this appears in?  I assume it isn't 1, because Brandon isn't listed as an author.  It may be 2, which he is or it may be 3 which list he and Robert Jordan as contributors.  

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nevermind. I found it.  It is in the first one.  However, on Audible, Brandon isn't listed as an author.

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