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Monday, December 10, 2007

An Interview with Terry Goodkind

Read Fantasy Book Critic’s REVIEW of “Confessor

Meeting Father Rahl: An Interview with Terry Goodkind
By: David Craddock

During college, I took a Young Adult Literature course in which I wrote a well-received paper about Harry Potter and its positive effects on both children and the world of literature as a whole. It was so well-received that, in addition to my instructor insisting on a reading in front of my peers, she made an effort to catch up with me after class had ended.

"A word, David," Dr. Sosnowski said, hustling up to me carrying a manila folder fit to burst. After adjusting her spectacles and catching her breath, she said, "What is your current major?"

"I'm currently studying Computer Science. I really like programming, and I'd like to—ouch!"

My interruption was due to a thick manila folder filled with term papers being bashed against my skull.

"Quit playing around with that stuff," she said, "and write. You're a writer. It's what you were meant to do." With that, she scuttled into an elevator and nodded briskly at me as the doors slid closed.

Even before that unique incident, I had felt driven to write. Assembling computer code that caused programs to cater to my every whim was fun, but when I was composing a story, or an essay, or an article, my skin, my very blood, began to tingle. Dr. Sosnowski's hands-on pep talk served as a wake-up call. I'd been a reader all my life, but I'd never considered it as a viable career option. After massaging my cranium, I went home, sat down, and got to work.

When one is driven to write, one is doubtlessly influenced by peers who share a love of the craft. Terry Goodkind is near the very top of my list. With fantastic action, riveting stories, and a character-driven narrative, Goodkind's Sword of Truth series has been used both as reading material, and as inspiration. When I received the opportunity to speak with Mr. Goodkind, I was able to realize a dream. Join me as I engage Terry in a discussion of his dream of being a novelist, realizing his ambition to finally write Confessor, and his objectivist philosophy:

Q: In past interviews, you've said that you felt "driven to write" Wizard's First Rule. When did you know that Wizard's First Rule was but the first in a series?

Terry Goodkind: I'm a born storyteller. My earliest memories are of telling myself stories. I lived with the characters from the stories in my head. When I was little I remember playing in the backyard, writing and directing plays for the other kids in the neighborhood. Just some simple kidnapping storylines or whatever. So I've always told myself stories. When I say I was "driven to write," it's not as if I felt overcome with the need to write Wizard's First Rule; I've always wanted to write.

When I started thinking about Wizard's First Rule, I eventually felt that the time had come to write it down on paper. Until then, I never wrote stories down. I have dyslexia, so written words have always been something that have given me difficulty, so I never bothered with them. I was perfectly content to keep the stories in my head and tell them to myself, and to this day that's exactly what I do: I tell myself the stories. Now I write them down, of course, but it's always been my dream to write novels, so when I decided it was time, I had this character in my head—Kahlan. I was finishing building our home in Maine, so I decided that was the time, and I was thinking about Kahlan during the entire time I finished the house, so after that, I started writing.

Q: It's good to hear that. I'm attempting to publish several novels myself, and while I spent plenty of time thinking about them, about the characters and what they'd experience, I didn't know that I was ready to write until I heard an internal alarm clock begin to beep.

Terry Goodkind: I think that's critical. I get letters from people all the time saying, "I'm 13 years old and I want to write a book and get it published. What's the secret? What do I do?" You can't explain to people that they're just not intellectually prepared to write a novel. A novel is a thing of incredible complexity. Human beings are genetically evolved to understand the most subtle clues from other human beings. The most fascinating thing in the world to us is other people, and because we are so hyper-connected to the way other people behave, and to the body language [signals] they give off, the meaning in their words that are different from what they may be saying, and their moods—all those kinds of things make writing about human beings the most difficult thing in the world.

As a consequence, these young people think that novels are a collection of explosions, creatures, and magical elements. They don't understand that that's not what they're writing about. They're not intellectually equipped to write that that age. Likewise, somebody who's 18, early 20s, they think, "Okay, now I'm going to write a book." They consequently submit it all the time, and it's continually rejected because it isn't good enough. It's the same thing as the 13 year old writing a book: it isn't good enough, and they don't understand that yet. When you get to be 20 you think you're grown up, but you're not. Your brain doesn't even stop developing until you're 24, 25, something like that. The intellectual aspects critical to worthwhile novels don't develop in a person that young.

If I would have tried to write a novel when I was 20 years old, it would have been a failure, just like all the other 20 year olds who can't get published. It takes a certain amount of living, and that doesn't mean traveling the world, going to war torn areas, and all that kind of stuff; it means watching how other people move, talk, think, and behave. You need to build up a reservoir of experience writing the sun go down so that when it comes time to write a romantic sunset scene, you know how to make that scene different with words as opposed to, say, an ominous sunset scene. The sun is going down in both scenes, but to pick the words for each scene that a human being will understand, and pick up on clues that signify that this is ominous, or romantic—those things take living, they take experience.

I wasn't ready to start writing until I was 45. When I wrote “Wizard's First Rule”, I was ready. That doesn't mean that everybody has to be 45. My point is that you have to be able to draw on a well of life experience, and someone who's 13, who's 18, they just don't have that experience. When someone says to me, "I want to write a book but I just can't figure out how to get it down on paper. What do I do?," it makes me want to pull my hair out. If you don't know what to do, then you're not a writer. By default, if you're asking me what to do, you can't do it. I didn't ask anybody what to do…I was simply driven to do it. A writer is a born writer: they're born to do it, they have this internal drive, and they're hungering to tell a story to themselves. That's what makes a true writer: a person who's burning to tell themselves this story.

From the very beginning and still to this day, I just love telling myself stories. I knew what the conclusion to the series [would be] from the very beginning. There are things, startling things that happen in “Confessor” that I've kept to myself for over a decade; I haven't told anybody: my agent, my editor, my wife—no one. Being a storyteller, the most fun is to tell someone a story, and I don't want to spoil it by giving away the punch line. I've kept incredible secrets of what's happened in the series to myself. When I write them, that's when they happen.

I just always wanted to do it, and I decided that I needed to get started. It's like when you decide you need to clean the house. [laughs] There's no one moment where it hits you, you just know you need to clean the house and at some point you just know you need to get started. In my mind, it was a continuing process that was ongoing. The actual sitting down and writing the story was no different than any other stage of preparing the story than any other stage of my life.

Q: Do you have a process you undergo when you prepare to write? For example, some authors have said that when they're not writing, they like to do a lot of reading.

Terry Goodkind: Everybody is unique. From what I have been able to gather in terms of how other writers function, I don't operate anything like them. I can't even remember the last time I read a novel. I rarely read novels, partially because I have dyslexia; it takes me a long time to read. I'm a very slow reader, and I like to pay attention to words. Every word has a meaning, and I detest people who skim because they miss the essence of what the writer is saying, they miss all the little clues that give the characters their humanity.

With “Confessor”, people are already saying, "Hey, I bought the book last night and I'm already done with it!" Well, no, you're not. You flipped the pages, you didn't read it. In “Confessor”, I deliberately wrote certain things that people are going to be missed by people who skim. For example, the wizard's rule: if you skim that book, you're going to miss it. I did that on purpose, because it just ticks me off when people say, "I read the book in three minutes, it was great!" They didn't read the book.

Every word that I write is critical. I will sometimes spend half a day on one paragraph because I'm trying to get the exact right words that convey the exact, proper connotations of what the human beings are thinking, doing, whatever. Every single word I consciously intend to be there; they're not accidental. To skim and just kind of hit a few words in every paragraph, you miss all the work that I put in to make those characters humans. So when I read, I read the same way: pay attention to all the words so you understand what the writer intended. Yes, for me it's partially the dyslexia, but I also want to pay close attention.

I remember when I was in a high school creative writing class. The problem I had in school with reading was, they made you read fast. They timed you. Then you had to take a test on the highlights of what happened, and I hated that because it didn't get the essence of what the writer was talking about. You got the facts, but you didn't get the humanity. The creative writing teacher I had at the time opened my eyes to the possibility that I could be a writer. She said, "I don't care how long it takes you to read this, I want to know what you think about what the author had to say." That's always been attitude: when I read, I pay attention to what the author is saying, and that means reading the book, not skimming it.

I don't have time to read a lot of books because writing is just such a long process for me; like I said, it might take me half a day to get a paragraph done properly. I'm writing 15 hours a day, seven days a week, so I don't have time to read other material. Also, I don't read other novels because I don't like to be distracted by how other authors do things. I find it a huge negative to read other novels; it puts things in your head of how they described things, of how they created a story, how they worked a theme, all of those things. I want my work to be totally original. I read nonfiction things because I always want to learn something new.

Some people want to write in boxers, some people want to write in a tuxedo. I don't think it makes any difference. It's their drive to write that makes them a writer.

Q: What was it like to write “Confessor”, knowing that it was the last book in the Sword of Truth series?

Terry Goodkind: I didn't have time for any emotions because the schedule was so incredibly tight. I just didn't have time to ponder anything, I only had time to be in the world, in the book with the characters, writing their story. “Confessor” is a book that I've been waiting over a decade to write. I simply had to get it done. My publisher gave me a schedule for the book that was well outside my comfort zone, so I was writing “Confessor” on the ragged edge. I wrote the last 80 pages in one sitting, total stream of consciousness. I never re-read it, I just sent it off to the publisher. What you read in “Confessor”, the last 80 pages of the book, is what came up on my computer in one sitting, no editing, nothing. That's a decade worth of planning and just writing it out. It's raw Goodkind [laughs].

Q: Now that the Sword of Truth has concluded, where do you see your work taking you? Perhaps more adventures in the Sword of Truth universe, or something entirely new...?

Terry Goodkind: When you finish “Confessor”, you'll understand better what I'm saying, but the Sword of Truth series is, in essence, a prelude to what comes next. It's a prologue to all the things in my head. There are stories that branch out from this point into all sorts of directions. There are many things I would like to write. I would like to write more about this universe that I've created; it's fun being there every day. On the other hand, I get incredibly frustrated by the realities of the marketplace when you're labeled as a fantasy writer; it's very debilitating for your career, because everything you do is judged on that scale.

I'm not writing about fantasy. And you recognize that! You recognize that I'm dealing with larger issues and the things that are central to all people. I want to write to an audience that includes all people, and fantasy limits that due to its mechanics: the mechanics of where it's placed in bookstores; the mechanics of the covers; the mechanics of the word 'fantasy' on a book; all of those things [make it more difficult to] reach a broader audience. I would like to write contemporary novels. The stories I'm telling are not fantasy-driven, they're character-driven, and the characters I want to write about could be set in any world. I'd like to address a broader audience.

However, I also like writing about this universe, the Sword of Truth, and I may write many more books [within it].

Q: You've often said that your books serve as the missing link between our world and the world of myth. What exactly do you mean?

Terry Goodkind: Until you read “Confessor”, you won't know what I'm talking about in terms of that statement. Stories are something that have always been instrumental to human beings. When cavemen sat around a fire, I'm sure they told stories. Stories have always been the way people have passed their knowledge and their culture on to other people. It's the way they describe their understanding of their world and their existence. Stories are central to the human experience, and help us understand how we fit into the world.

At the same time, a story is a representation of the author's values. When you share those values, when you have the same values as the author, you're reading a story and seeing your values which may be difficult to understand in daily life because they take place over such a long range. When a reader sees those values realized in a story, it energizes him into believing in himself and understanding that yes, he can be the best person he can be, he can achieve goals and overcome difficulties. The reader sees someone else do those things in a story and gives him hope, courage, the strength to struggle on.

There are parts of stories, the parts that contain myth, that have always fascinated me. How did myth get into the storytelling tradition? The Sword of Truth series is my explanation of one way that myth became part of our world. When you read “Confessor”, you will understand where myth came from. It's a mind-blowing concept, and I just think it's the coolest thing ever. I don't know if anyone has ever done anything like this before. When you read “Confessor”, you understand the larger meaning of what I've been doing. Like I said, I never tell anybody what I'm up to, I just keep working and telling myself stories.

There are things that have happened throughout the series that have all been working toward the final book, the conclusion of “Confessor”. It's kind of like foreshadowing: you don't realize it until later, but those things are all there for a reason. When you get to “Confessor”, all of those elements that have been in the back of your mind all the way are suddenly brought to the forefront, that “Confessor” is the keystone of this entire series. And you see the series in an entirely new light. All the books that you liked before, you realize the part they played in a large context, not just in Richard's life and in his struggle with the Imperial Order, but his whole world, and our whole world, and how they fit together. I just think it's the coolest thing ever. It's a jaw-dropping experience to see what happens, and I think it's something that is really going to be a delight for readers.

In that way, I guess I can understand why people skim, because some stories are so exciting, you just have to know what happens next, you just can't wait to know and you have to go as fast as you can because you want to know what happens. I think “Confessor” is a book that people will want to go back and read again, because after they've satisfied their overwhelming, all-consuming, burning ambition to know the outcome, they'll want to go back and re-experience all of the details. It's a really fun ride.

Q: One aspect of your series that was given center stage in “Confessor” was the game of Ja'La. What was your inspiration in the creation of this brutal sport?

Terry Goodkind: Well, that's a very difficult question because of the word inspiration. That's not the way I write. I write from broad concepts and I think up a story to fit the concept that I'm trying to illustrate. For example, if you want to illustrate the concept of individual liberty, it's too broad of a concept to just say, "Freedom is good, slavery is bad." That has no emotional impact. You need to tell a story that gets that emotion across. That's what “Faith of the Fallen” was. It was a story derived to illustrate that broad theme, so what I'm doing is illustrating a broad theme.

Ja'La was a very conscious, deliberate goal on my part to get across certain things about the characters. I wanted to illustrate how, in a society that is repressive and mindless, and values mediocrity above all else, and values no one excelling, an enforced equality where no one is allowed to be better than anyone else, where no one is allowed to do their best—I wanted to illustrate how people find outlets for their desire for excellence. Ja'La is that outlet for people, to see someone rise up and do better. It's done in a controlled context within that society so that it gives a release that diverts people's attention from their own life, from their own desire to rise up and do better. It's like a pressure release valve on a pressure cooker that keeps the society from exploding.

At the same time, within that game, the emperor [Jagang] has his own ego invested, and the interplay in all of those things is what I wanted to show. When someone comes along who isn't going to play by the rules, who's going to lay down the law even though he's a prisoner and not allowed to have his own freedom—the freedom comes through in the way he behaves. I wanted to show that even in that kind of situation, an individual can accomplish something on their own even though they're restricted in many ways. The Ja'La games served a lot of different purposes.

Q: Does Ja'La reflect any personal views you have of sports in general?

Terry Goodkind: Human beings are driven to succeed. Sports are, in a sense, a very simplified story of overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. For example, young people need to be able to practice life, they need to be able to practice challenges and accomplishing things, and how to overcome difficulties. In a hunting society, they might have been taught how to shoot a bow and arrow, and they learn to hunt by those activities. Sitting around campfires and passing on stories about great hunts was a way of passing on experience.

In the society we have now, stories help by being part of that function. Because of the deterioration in modern literature, as well as things like T.V. and movies, those values are relegated to a bin. The destruction of values leaves young people no outlet for how to learn about life, to learn about overcoming challenges. As a consequence, they turn away from reading because it doesn't fulfill that basic human need. They turn to things like video games. In video games, you create your own story. You're the young hunter, or maybe you're going on a quest, and you're overcoming obstacles and difficulties in order to achieve success.

Society has stripped away so much of the challenge of life. Everybody's got forced self-worth, and you can't hand people self-worth; self-worth is earned. In stories, and in movies, in school, in T.V., you're handed self-worth. They teach that as a human being, it's your right to have self-worth. As a consequence, people don't know what it's like to achieve self-worth, so they turn to things like video games to learn the accomplishment of overcoming difficulty and succeeding. Games are the same kind of thing. Watching games allow you to participate in sharing the mental challenge of, what's the next play, how are we going to get by these guys to score a point?

It's all part of life. It's about learning to strategize, learning to analyze, to figure out and perceive the plan, a cause and effect. So much of all of those things are taken away in life, so people turn to sports. It's just like the Old World in the Sword of Truth series. There's no way for people to experience those things except through sports. In societies that are stripped of values, they turn to things like sports because it's the only place where they can see values exercised, even if those values are simplistic.

Q: The cover art for most of your novels is extraordinary. How did you come to work with Keith Parkinson?

Terry Goodkind: I got Keith Parkinson because I was so disgusted, angry, and infuriated with the original cover of “Wizard's First Rule” that I almost quit writing for public consumption. I was livid. The cover on “Wizard's First Rule” did not represent in any way what I was writing about. It represented a juvenile, immature vision that reflected nothing about the book. It was complete deception by the publisher, trying to fool people into thinking that I was writing for adolescent males. I was absolutely livid, and I just about tore up my contract and said, "That's it, I'm not writing anymore books." My editor said, "If you don't like this, then who do you like?" I said, "Keith Parkinson."

Keith did the cover of “Stone of Tears”, but he couldn't do the cover of “Blood of the Fold”, so we were back to the idiotic covers. After that, Keith did all the covers. Throughout the series, my goal has been to steer the covers away from traditional fantasy covers because I'm not writing fantasy. I'm accidentally published by a fantasy publisher so I get thrown in with that genre, but my books are no more fantasy than a detective novel is a "gun book." What makes me nuts about the fantasy genre is that, unlike any other genre, people become obsessed and focused on irrelevant things. For example, in a detective novel, if a detective has a Snub Nose 38, no one asks him questions like "Can we know more about the Snub Nose 38?" or "Have you ever thought of doing some kind of special story just about the Snub Nose 38?" It's a distraction.

To me, fantasy is no more important than the romance, the intrigue, the political maneuvering, historical fiction elements—all the other kinds of things in other books. I like those elements, and I enjoy writing them, but they're just elements in telling a human story. I don't believe fantasy is valid unless it's used to illustrate other important themes. Magic in and of itself is no more interesting than a rock laying on the side of the road.

The cover of fantasy art tends to illustrate those themes of those authors who are writing those kinds of books. I'm not one of them, and I don't want to be seen as one of them. From the beginning, my goal has been to steer the cover art away from those representational images. Keith became a really good friend, and he would do covers before I even wrote the books. I was describing to him what a cover needed to look like, and then as an artist, I could convey to him very accurately what I wanted him to paint. He and I got along very well and had a great time designing covers. My goal was to pull out of Keith something more noble than the typical red dragon.

For example, with “Faith of the Fallen”, I need you to paint a painting that illustrated the nobility of the human spirit. He said, "Oh, gee, don't give me anything too hard, Terry!" [laughs] My goal has always been to write above that kind of representational art. Even with covers like “Temple of the Winds” where you see a guy [on the cover] holding a sword; that, to me, is a really cool piece of art, I love it—but as a cover, I don't like it, because it turns off vast amounts of readers. You automatically disqualify the book for consideration by much of the public. And these are people who love these types of books, but the art doesn't convey to them that they like it.

I've gotten most of my readers by word of mouth. My typical reader, probably 80-90 percent of my readers, don't read fantasy. I'm the only "fantasy" author they read, otherwise for them it's general fiction. They recognize that the books aren't fantasy books, they're books about people, they're character-driven. My goal has always been to change the cover art in a way that represents the spirit of what the book is about. With Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor, those are the first books that are truly my vision of what I want the covers to be. I've finally achieved the kind of covers that I want, that give you a hint of the mystery, romance, intrigue, and even a little bit of the fantasy elements in the book, but at the same time, it illustrates how the books are meant for all people, for all people who just like stories.

After “Temple of the Winds”, I got contractual cover control. Keith and I designed the Chainfire template of how those [three] books looks. When you see Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor, you're seeing my pure vision, unadulterated by what anyone else thinks it should be. Keith and I designed everything down to the smallest detail.

Q: As popular as your books are, you've never won any awards, though you have been nominated several times. How does that make you feel? I get the feeling that you don't even care about awards.

Terry Goodkind: This is the first time I've ever heard that I've been nominated for any award. I don't know what I've been nominated for, I'm...I'm completely unaware! I've heard of the Hugo Award...I don't know any other kinds. I could care less about awards. My award is a reader opening their wallet and giving up their hard-earned money to read my stories, and more than that, giving up their time. As I said, time is mankind's greatest value. It's the only thing you really have. When a reader gives up a part of their life to allow me to tell them a story, they're giving me something precious. That's my award. Doing my best to satisfy myself, and ultimately my readers—that's the only award I care about.

Q: What are your thoughts on Sam Raimi converting Wizard's First Rule into a television series?

Terry Goodkind: Sam Raimi is a person who believes in heroes. His Spider-Man movies are obviously about a heroic person who's rising up to challenges. Sam was instrumental in making that movie about a real person. He understood that [Spider-Man] is about a real individual who had to rise to challenges and be heroic. He strongly believes in the sacredness in heroes for all of us, for kids and adults alike. That's something that really drew him to Wizard's First Rule: he loves the characters; he loves the heroic aspects of [the story]. The reason he wants it done for T.V. is because he says that if he were to do it as a two hour movie, it would ruin the story. He has so much respect for the story that the last thing in the world he wants to do is ruin it; he wants to do a television format.

Right now he's working on who [the audience] it's going to be for and what format will it take, whether it's going to be an hour [per week] miniseries. He's in the early planning stages, and he wants me to be intimately involved in all aspects of it—more involved than I have time to be! He's told me he wants this to be true to my vision, because if I love it, my fans will love it, and if my readers love it, the general audience will love it. He thinks my involvement [in the project] is integral to its success, and he wants me to be there for every stage of it—and I plan to be.

He's just one of the nicest people I've ever met, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with him. He's the first person whom I've encountered that I had enough respect for, and who I thought could do the job, that really excited me.

Q: Did your surgery in 2006 affect your writing?

Terry Goodkind: The short answer is: no. I had a defect in a major artery that supplies blood to my heart, and it would have killed me within a couple of weeks. They had to bypass that defect, which was like a kink in a garden hose. They used an artery from my chest, and it was successful. They said I have no heart disease or anything like that, and in fact the surgeon said it was a pleasure to operate on someone who was healthy for a change. [laughs] It was just one of those things that, had I not been as healthy as I was, it would have killed me. The defect was in what they call the widow artery. It's the artery that, when you have a heart attack, you can't be recovered, so I was fortunate in that they were able to fix it in time. Having open heart surgery was no fun, but all it did was reinforce everything that I believe.

My wife is the most important thing to me, and she was my guardian angel. I knew she was right there standing over me, watching over things, and so I knew that I could be put to sleep and she would take care of everything, and would be there for me. When you open your eyes and the people you love are there to smile at you and say "Hi," that's what matters. The other stuff is all fun, but the important things are the values I write about. It didn't change my values, it just proved to me that those simple things such as the people around you who you care about, and who care about you—that's all that really matters. That's the joy of life.

Q: It's such a rare and beautiful thing to have that, to have a real connection with another human being.

Terry Goodkind: Yeah, and that's one of the things that's been so important to me throughout the whole series: to write about a caring relationship in which the people are very real. They're realistic about each other, how they can get angry at each other over something, but it doesn't mean they don't love one another. Even when they're angry, they maintain their respect. They may be angry at the situation, at what someone did, but they don't hate the other person. Love is still the basis of their relationship. I wanted to show how beautiful connection can be.

There are so many people that think, "I'll be with this person for a while, and if we don't like each other, we'll part," and they mistake momentary pleasure for human joy. In so doing, they make a trade in which they end up being the loser. They sacrifice a part of their life that they'll never get back for an experience that is ultimately not worthwhile.

Q: I'd like to talk to you about your personal philosophy: objectivism. What led you to become an objectivist?

Terry Goodkind: Ayn Rand is the inventor of the objectivist philosophy. I consider her the greatest thinker since Aristotle. She made advances in the world of philosophy that no one since Aristotle has made. Her thinking on concept formation is truly groundbreaking and explains so much about philosophy that's never been explained before. I'm much more fascinated by her non-objective writing on philosophy than on her fiction. Her fiction is kind of a way to popularize her ideas, to put them in a story form, like I was talking about, how sitting around a campfire, you passed around your tribe's philosophy to the younger generation.

Her books like Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology are just incredibly ground-breaking, profound works on understanding how the human mind works. Objectivism is her philosophy, and it's always been my philosophy, too, but when I discovered Ayn Rand, she was able to put things into concepts that made them easier for me to integrate my own thinking.

Ayn Rand said, 'My philosophy, in essence is the concept of Man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.' Reality, A=A, is necessary to the pursuit of life. When you're designing an airplane, you have to use the facts of reality to make the airplane fly. You can't decide, "I wish if I designed a wing this other way, it would keep the plane aloft." Your wishes aren't going to be fulfilled, and reality will bite you when you try to fly the airplane. So to achieve happiness in your life, to achieve your goals, you must use the true nature of reality. It was Francis Bacon [English philosopher] who said, "Nature to be commanded must first be obeyed." You have to be able to use truth to achieve your goals. You're not going to ever achieve them by hoping that success will come to you; you need to use reality to accomplish goals.

I'm an objectivist, and I have a lot of objectivist thinking through Richard [Rahl]. I'm not trying to teach objectivism in books; these [the Sword of Truth books] are just fun stories. The main characters are Richard and Kahlan. They think like I do because they're my heroes. They are people I admire and look up to, and I have them reflect the kind of thinking that, to me, is heroic thinking. So while I use objectivist principles in the stories I'm telling, that's not my purpose. My purpose is to tell a fun story, not to be a philosophy teacher.

Q: Actually, it was your views expressed primarily through Richard, Kahlan, and Nicci that persuaded me to look further into the philosophy of objectivism.

Terry Goodkind: I'm glad to hear that. You cannot separate philosophy from art. Every brushstroke, every word, every piece of clay that you sculpt, is driven by your philosophy. If you have a philosophy of mankind as decrepit and evil, you have medieval art, where you show mankind as this ulcerous, ineffectual creature. When you view mankind as noble and heroic, you have reached [art]. The philosophy of a culture as a whole drives art, and an artist individually drives what he does.

If you believe in heroic individuals, you write about heroic individuals. If you think that life is purposeless and meaningless, you write stories like that—and your books are meaningless and pointless, and miserable. That's the problem: too many authors are selected to be published who believe that life is meaningless and miserable, and we have too many miserable, meaningless forms of entertainment out there. That's why people are turning away from reading and turning instead to things where they don't have to endure that kind of misery—sports and video games. [laughs]

Q: While I do enjoy video games, it has always saddened me that the arrival of a new game, or a new movie, or some sort of new-fangled form of entertainment causes consumers to line up around city blocks in anticipation, but literature no longer has that effect, at least not in comparison to other mediums.

Terry Goodkind: Absolutely, I completely agree. I don't think that it's a good thing, and I don't think that it's necessarily worthwhile, I'm just trying to explain that it's [sports and video games] the last vestige of winning and losing that [people] are allowed to engage in. In life, everything is tried to be made into a zero sum game, like playing soccer, where a tie can be a goal of the game, or maybe a game where no one is allowed to win because someone would feel bad. It's too bad that people are driven to those things, it's too bad that people can't find [victory] in other things; they're driven to movies, and T.V., and sports.

Q: Back on the subject of objectivism, I've always had some difficulty in fully understanding it, because it seems riddled with contradictions, something I don't believe can exist. Objectivism states that I have the right to pursue my own happiness, but not at the expense of someone else's; that also works vice versa.

Yet it seems that in any given scenario, someone's happiness will always be sacrificed for another person's.

Terry Goodkind: You have no right to anyone else's life. So, you have no right, for example, to rob someone. That's their life, you have no right to, say, kill them. If you choose to sacrifice, if you see someone drowning in a river and you decide to jump in and try to save them at the risk of your own life, that's perfectly fine—but you shouldn't be required to sacrifice yourself. 'Required sacrifice' is another term for 'slavery'. When you're required to sacrifice for others, that's saying that your life has no value except to serve others. Who's deciding whose life is worth more than yours? That's the state, or religion, and they're saying that you have no value as an individual; your only value is to sacrifice yourself [for the greater good].

Q: So if I see you drowning in a river, I can choose to jump in and try to save you, but I don't have to?

Terry Goodkind: Yes, exactly.

Q: But that's where I grow confused. If I choose not to save you, aren't I sacrificing your happiness for mine?

Terry Goodkind: Well, the person has no obligation to sacrifice or risk their life [to save someone]. It's not their responsibility to save you. If you volunteer for a search and rescue duty, and that's your job, then you've taken on that responsibility. But as an individual just walking along, you could lose your life jumping into the river. You don't have to sacrifice your life to save someone else's.

But, these thought experiments are kind of distracting questions. These situations will never happen in your life for the most part. What people [religion and state] try to do is, they try to take those examples and say "You should help another person" and then they bring that down to the real issue of what they want: for you to sacrifice your life for other people, sometimes in other ways [than death]. For example, some people want you to give up your income to give to other people who don't have the ability or desire to, and that's the real practical application: collectivism. With a collectivist sort of mentality—I don't believe in that.

Q: But is it considered a sacrifice of someone's happiness if I allow them to die?

Terry Goodkind: You're not sacrificing their happiness if they drown, because you're not the one who threw them in the river. If you are the one who threw them in the river, then yeah [you sacrificed their happiness]. People are dying all over the world every day, all the time. It's not your job to save them. By not jumping into the river, you're not causing [them to die].

You have to make a judgment on your own abilities. If you can jump into the river and you're a really good swimmer, then you're going to feel more of an obligation to [try to save them]. But if you're afraid of the water, it's going to be a true, sincere risk to your life...why should you sacrifice your life to save this person? You're not the one who threw them into the water. You're not obligated to give your life away to save that person.

Q: So it does all come down to choice. Even if I'm a very capable swimmer but don't want to risk dying, that's okay?

Terry Goodkind: Yes. See, you're getting into really esoteric areas of philosophy, and the problem is, collectivists use those arguments to take you off track. They use extreme examples that are never going to happen in your life to cause you, on a daily basis, to sacrifice your own happiness, your future, because of some example that's concocted. The real question is, are you, on a daily basis, going to sacrifice your happiness, your existence, for other people? And why are those other people more important than you?

This is the only life you're going to have. Every moment that goes by, you're never going to have back again. When you sacrifice part of your life, you're exchanging it for something. For example, if you give your time to you children, it's because you value your children. You've chosen to give that time to something that brings value to your life, that brings a reward to your existence. If you like ice cream and you decide to sacrifice your time to drive to an ice cream shop, it's because the value of that ice cream is worthwhile to you. You've made a trade: part of your existence toward something you value.

The successful pursuit of values is essential to the continuation of life. In your life, the values you pursue enable you to continue to exist. The value of a job so that you can have money to have shelter, clothes, and food... those are necessary for your survival. If someone says to you, "We're taking away the money you've earned to give to someone else," they are taking a value away from you that threatens your survival, because that [the money] is what you have given part of your life to achieve in order to continue your existence. Another person has no right to say, "We're going to sacrifice you so that this other person can live." Why is this other person's life more valuable than yours? Who are they to decide what happens to your existence?

There's no such thing as "the common good". It's not "common", it's about individuals. Every action, every sacrifice is imposed, is on the behalf of other individuals. You don't have the right to demand that another person sacrifice their existence. Where are you going to draw the line? Once you give the authority of your existence over to a church, or a government, or a state, you've given them the authority to divvy up your life. They can say, "He can afford to give up 10 percent of what I earn to help other people." If you want to, fine, but why should that be imposed upon you by someone else? Don't forget, that person can decide tomorrow to say, "Your continued existence is detrimental to other people's existence. You're harming the environment, you're using too many resources—were going to have you put to death."

Nothing and no one has the right to take your life. Intellectual property is also a part of the value you have created. All of the effort you put into creating a living belongs to you; it doesn't belong to anyone else, and there's nothing that can change that. That's the problem: certain people are driven by the hatred of mankind. Human beings are the only species that can hate their own existence. There are people who are driven by hatred. It comes from indoctrination in the form of religion that might tell you to blow yourself up so you can kill other people, it comes from misunderstanding the purpose of your own existence. What happens is, philosophy becomes corrupted by people treating philosophy like a smorgasbord. They say, "Well, I believe this part, but I also believe this." You can't go to a philosophical smorgasbord and pick out what you want; reality is what it is.

What people do is, they ascribe values to things. A tree is a value to human beings for a variety of reasons: because it makes oxygen, because you can turn it into a piano, because you can burn it in the fireplace to keep warm. So a tree has value to a human being, but a tree does not have value intrinsically, in the absence of human beings. You can't ascribe values to things that are nonhuman. You can't say that a rock in and of itself, without human beings has value. Value for what? It has a value if a human being needs a rock to build a foundation for a house, but it can't have a value independent of mankind.

Nature cannot have a value independent of mankind, and this is what the environmental movement has become: a religion. They've ascribed value to nature absent mankind. They've ascribed value to nature, and so what happens is, whatever you do to harm nature, people say, "You've harmed this good thing, that makes mankind bad." They're using that line of philosophy to hate mankind, because mankind is detrimental to nature. They've turned nature into a religion, making into something that is holy without reality. If nature has value, it's for how mankind can use it. It's incumbent upon human beings to respect nature for their own rational self-interests.

For example, poisoning a river is bad not because it hurts nature, because nature has no value in and of itself. It's bad because it [poisoning the river] hurts mankind. You poison the river and other people are going to get poisoned, and then you're infringing on their right to exist. You want clean air because you need clean air to breathe, to leave longer. Respect for the environment meant should be based on mankind's [needs].

That's in part what I'm writing about [in the Sword of Truth series]: the struggle between humans who are driven by a love of life, and people driven by a hatred of life. Sure, there are bad things about life, but that's the purpose of struggling: to change those things, to make them better. That's what I've tried to show through the books: that you can be better, you can rise up and live a life, but there are people who are mindlessly devoted to hatred, to the destruction of life, and they use any excuse to justify their own hatred, and that's all it is: hatred for their own existence, for their own inability to live their own life. The things they come up with, like sacrificing for the greater good, are just ways of lowering the standard of everyone's life.

Q: In addition to objectivism, faith is another theme in your books. The Imperial Order uses faith as an excuse to rape, pillage, and murder. They don't care what happens in the mortal world because, according to them, eternal rewards await them in the afterlife.

Do you view faith as the antithesis of reason? Because there are religious people who use their faith for good, and then there are those who fly planes into buildings.

Terry Goodkind: Faith is merely the excuse for force. Faith cannot be supported by reality, it has to be supported by force. Faith is the precursor to force. You start out with some lovely story, and when people don't believe it, you end up having to kill them. You kill the people who refuse to believe so that you can ensure the continuation of the faith.

If someone has faith that every star they see in the night sky is the soul of some saint, they can believe that, that can be their faith, and they don't have to go out and kill someone to make them believe it. But if you want to force other people to believe that, you can try to coerce them into believing it, try to force them into believing it. If your faith is strong enough and you feel that your credibility relies on forcing people to believe that [your faith], then you end up with a mass inquisition. It depends on the individual's need to believe in that faith. The more they need to have that faith be real to them, the more they need to have others believe it.

For example, take the need for people to help others, to contribute some of their income to help the welfare of other Americans. That's their faith, so they create the income tax system. If you're not willing to go along with their faith and go along with the greater good, then they come with guns and take you to jail. They are willing to force to enforce that faith. So, Americans are, in essence, sacrificing part of their life into slavery to others. That faith is enforced by guns and jails. We're not willingly giving them part of our income; people don't like paying taxes, and justifiably so, because they're sacrificing part of their life to other people. It's this concept of sacrificing for the greater good, and that faith is being enforced by a government who has guns and jails.

You can happily pay your taxes and say "There's no force involved, I'm paying my taxes." But you better believe that if you don't, they'll be happy to come and take [your tax money] from you.

Q: So you consider that to be like tithing in a church? Being instructed to donate a certain percentage of your income, for example?

Terry Goodkind: Right, and if you don't do it, then you become increasingly urged to do it, either through lectures or having people turn away from you and regard you as stingy, having people talk behind your back and how you're not doing your part. There are so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways that faith is enforced. The church that believes that you should tithe may never actually come and take it from you at gunpoint like the government will, but they have their own ways of enforcing their faith—like telling you you're going to burn in hell [laughs].

Q: Given your philosophical views, what is your opinion on the War on Terror?

Terry Goodkind: There is no such thing as a "War on Terror." This is another example of philosophy corrupting action. You can't have a war on a name. "Hate crime" is another one of those things: either it's a crime, or it's not. Either someone is doing something wrong, or they're not. We're not having a war on terror, we're having a war on Islamic fundamentalism. We're afraid to name the enemy, and in [that fear], we give them strength. When you can't name the enemy, you've already lost. When you're afraid to see who it is you're fighting, you've already lost.

Take, for example, what we're doing in Iraq. The basic thing we're trying to do is enforce democracy. Democracy is a free-floating concept. There's no goodness [inherent] in democracy. Gang rape is democracy in action. Why should we enforce democracy? Why should we have Americans die so [Iraq] can elect a government who wants to kill us? It's stupid. Force should be used by a government just like it should be used by an individual: to prevent someone else from harm. That's the only valid, moral, ethical purpose of force: to protect your life. If somebody's trying to protect you, you should protect your life.

We have Americans dying over there to enforce democracy so that [Iraq] can vote to kill us. It's absurd. There's nothing holy about democracy. The sidetrack of adopting slogans like "making the world safe for democracy"... it's a free-floating concept; there's nothing good [inherent in] democracy. Democracy can be good if it's supported by other ethical values; justice, for example, and not hurting other people. But we're not enforcing a moral form of democracy; we're just supporting the idea of democracy in general, and there's nothing more about democracy in and of itself.

The war on terror is merely theatrics to convince the American people that something is being done. All you have to do is go to an airport to see how philosophy has caused a breakdown in effective action. Airport security is pure theatrics to convince people that something is being done, and it ignores the reality of the nature of the threat. We have [security] people searching obvious non-threats because they don't want to be seen as profiling. When you're looking for a burglar, and the burglar is two-foot-ten, and you put out an APB for that burglar, that's not profiling, it's a description of the subject. The authorities should know who they're fighting.

When you say you're fighting terror, there's no such thing as "terror" as an enemy. You're doing gang rape on 80 year-old Swedish grandmothers because you're afraid to say that the enemy are Middle Eastern men. This distraction, this forced equality, is ignoring of reality. Philosophy is at the cause of this because they're ignoring reality in order to adapt meaningless principles. The philosophy is going to get us all killed.

In World War II, in Japan, there were no deaths of Americans by insurgence, and the reason [for that] is because America, at that time, had the courage to crush those who were enforcing evil ideas. We may have had to kill a lot of people, but it was the only way to crush those evil ideas. And because we crushed those evil ideas, an entire culture in Japan grew up to create a great, noble, free people who have become an engine of freedom and an engine of economy in the world.

You either crush evil or you don't. If you allow evil to co-exist with you, it's only going to grow. We're allowing evil to grow. We're too timid to attack evil, and make no mistake: the Islamic world wants to kill us, and sooner or later, an atomic bomb is going to go off in the United States because we don't even have the courage to name the enemy.

Q: You make an excellent point. I've always believed that we're attacking a word, a phrase, more than anything or anyone else.

Terry Goodkind: Yes, exactly. It's this philosophy that they've adapted from a derivative of Kantian philosophy, and this is what's taught at a lot of our universities. The basic premise is that we can't know reality, because every person sees the world through their own eyes, and they're ill-equipped to discern reality. What you see is different than what I see, and our eyes are what tell us what's real. Because we each see things differently, none of us are able to judge what's real and what's not real, and because we can't tell what's real, we can't know what reality is, and [if that's the case] it means that we can't know right from wrong, and that means that none of us can judge what's right and what's wrong.

Therefore, all culture is morally equivalent, because we're [none of us] equipped to judge right and wrong. Moral equivalency is the root cause of guys standing at airline gates, date raping Swedish grandmothers. No culture is better or worse than the other culture; all beliefs are equal, and that's not true. That's a failure to recognize the nature of reality. In World War II, we realized that the Nazis and the Japanese were devoted at evil ideas that were aimed at the destruction of mankind, and we crushed those evil ideas so that they couldn't come here and kill us.

Today, we're unwilling to crush those people who want to kill us, and by using [phrases like] "War on Terror", it's our way of saying, "Well, we can't name the enemy because all cultures are equal," so we can't say "It's Islamic fundamentalism that wants to kill us" because all cultures are morally equivalent. It's that derivative of Kantian philosophy that causes people to hold those beliefs, and those beliefs will eventually result in our destruction. People can't survive if they can't recognize evil.

If we can't name the enemy, how are we going to fight them? We end up frisking people at the airport and missing the real threat, because all that is, is a show for the American public so that they think that something is being done. Meanwhile, real terrorists know how to get around those things; they know how to get jobs as baggage handlers, and get onto the planes and plant bombs, and all these other things. We're diverting attention from the real problem by coming up with all these theatrics. What they're trying to do is criminalize individuals rather than name the philosophies that are responsible for those beliefs.

In a way, the Sword of Truth series has been my way of railing against the stupidity of which way the world is going. In the great sweep of history, mankind goes between nobility and darkness. You see the nobility of the Greek civilization, the renaissance—those kinds of time periods where great motivations of mankind are put toward the betterment of mankind. And then you see other points in history, such as the Dark Age, where mankind slid into a perverse thinking. I view the world in those great arcs of history, and the great movement of that pendulum between nobility and darkness—and I see the world today on the decline into darkness. I believe we're on the brink of another dark age. The Sword of Truth series is a wake-up call for people to pay attention to what's going on.

I don't know if those great movements of history can be halted. I think that the war on terror is just one minor indication of the many, many corrupt ways of thinking that are leading us into this next Dark Age.

Q: Mr. Goodkind, thank you so much for this interview. You really inspire me, both as a writer and as a human being. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.

Terry Goodkind: Thank you. I've always felt that, for me, writing novels is my noblest ambition; it's what I've always wanted to do. It's a fun thing, to tell stories that inspire people in so many different ways and on so many different levels. Every book has a theme, and the theme of the Sword of Truth series is, your life is your own; rise up and live it. That I inspire people to do that, to me, is the most gratifying thing because I touch people's lives.

That's how valuable stories are: you can touch lives, you can make connections, and...what a cool job, to be able to do something that wakes people up and hopefully helps them make their own lives happier. What could be better than that?

27 comments:

Peta said...

Great interview! I really enjoyed reading it.

Paul said...

Thank you for this article, and thank you for taking the time and effort to post a notice of it at Terry's forums.

Reading Terry's books is great, but learning more about the Author and the drive behind his writing is, in some ways, better.

Myshkin said...

Wow! That was AWESOME! Gang raping Swedish grandmothers!! Tairy really knows how to paint a vivid picture. And he's so eloquent!

Calibandar said...

I'm mostly struck by what a gigantic suck-up the interviewer is. Amazing.

Eddie said...

... I will say this: Goodkind never ceases to amaze me.

Wish I could say that was a compliment.

David Craddock said...

I'm sorry you feel that way, Calibandar. I was forthcoming in saying that Terry was and is one of my literary heroes, and I don't see anything wrong with that.

Still, I hope you enjoyed the interview.

Anonymous said...

Great interview!!!
Dave you did a stellar job. What you have done is to bring out a substantial amount of insight into the mind of one of the great writers of our time. Goodkind's personal ethics, morals views and insights show through in your interview. You gave us a glimpse into the inner workings of Goodkind’s and how his personal philosophy translates effectively to the world today. Clearly you show us a man of great values and concern for his fellow man…as well as in his works, but you have given readers a new view into his mind and how his thoughts and philosophy work, not to mention how they are applicable in this world today.

I hope you do more interviews with the man!

Anonymous said...

what a disgusting piece of text...Goodkind is a hypocrite. He believes that opponents of objectivism used "extreme examples" debase the theory. He then goes ahead and does the same. "Your continued existence is detrimental to other people's existence. You're harming the environment, you're using too many resources—were going to have you put to death." Yeah, because this is in no way extreme and unrealistic example. Goodkind also believes that America did Japan some favor in WW2 by "crush those evil ideas." Thats from a American perspective. Japan might have that
said that American consumerism is evil. Over and over again Goodkind displays the noble american spirit that have the U.S hated in the Islamic world. It is not because of envy of riches that the Islamic world hates the U.S (Countries like Iran are rich in oil and wealthy in their own regard)it is america's invasion of Iraq. Goodkind (although is a talented wrtiter) is one close minded individual.

Anonymous said...

Come on. You can not make judgements that easy without the awareness of what poor conditions ppl struggle to live in MiddleEast countries. The world is not composed of black and white or evils and goods.What the writer says about the MiddleEast is what he wants to believe; i mean "1st rule".
No human can tolerate the deaths of more than a million of innocents in Iraq.?So, 'seeing from the out of the box' is the key to understand such issues in the world. Thanks for novels..

Someone from Turkey

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Anonymous said...

The man has a lot of stupid, simplistic, binary opinions.

The world got nuance, son.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Reid_(terrorist)

HEY LOOK A MIDDLE EASTERN- oh wait, hang on, no, he's Anglo-Jamaican.

Anna said...

Mr. Craddock, thank you! I was just introduced to the Sword of Truth series, and quickly got hooked. I'm currently reading Temple of the Winds, and can't wait to get through the rest! I stumbled upon your interview while trying to find information on Mr. Goodkind's religious viewpoints, because so many snippets from the books led me to believe he had a very interesting philosophical side. Looks like I was right! I'd never heard of Objectivism before, however, the concept is interesting. I definitely am not 100% on board with all of Mr. Goodkind's viewpoints, but much of what he spoke about was interesting and thought provoking. Thank you for making this interview available! If you ever have the chance to chat with him again, I would be very interested in reading the outcome!

addamstark said...

What amazes me is Goodkind takes himself so seriously, like he's trying to hold himself up to the level of Great American Authors like Faulkner and Fitzgerald. All he does is write blatant 1:1 rip-offs of Robert Jordan novels with smatterings of his skewed view of Ayn Rand's crazy "philosophy."

The opinions he expresses are so absurd, so out there, so ridiculous I don't see how he has any fans at all.

Capt. Danneskjold said...

Stunning job David. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. I am an Objectivist and have become a huge fan of Terry's ever since I read Wizard's First Rule. It was the first book I read after finishing Atlas Shrugged :) Which I would recommend to you and anyone who enjoys the underlying philosophy in The Sword Of Truth Series!

This interview was really eye opening and was a great way to see and understand the inner workings of Goodkind's brain.

suzi said...

Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics...... nice job keep it up !!
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Greg Noe said...

I plan on starting the Sword of Truth series very soon, so reading this interview was great timing for me! Especially interesting since I read a lot of Ayn Rand last year, I'm really excited to start this series now. Thanks for the great interview, it was a really interesting read. He definitely has opinions on things, doesn't he?

Anonymous said...

First off i would like to say thank you for posting this interview, as it was a very interesting read. But i was very stunned by Terry's philosophical views on many of the subjects brought up. I mean, on the one hand i agree with his views on forced self-worth, and the peoples belief they have a right to happyness. but i found his views on the 'war on terror' to be nothing but plain and simple american thinking. and i lost alot of respect for him after reading this. And also im 19 and am trying to write a novel, and although i understand what he is saying about life experience at this age his view on that subject almost made me feel like i had no hope of success. anyhoo thank you again for an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Objectivism.... has some interesting ideas but ultimately sounds like a load of shit to me. It's a bit full of contradictions. Like Ok, it's bad when religions kill people to get people to agree with their ideas, but when American's kill 'dem evil Japanese in war it's all noble and good because we were killing evil ideas.

Kay...

Diuter said...

That was a great interview, thank you.
Most of Terry's ideas are great but I am really disturbed by his opinions on ww2 and the Iraq invasion.

I think he need to turn off the TV a little and search for information elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I am going to publish a great book by 21 just to spite you, you Objectivist clown.

Jill said...

Objectivism = Reason, logic, belief in the noble potential of mankind, not hurting others unless it's to defend yourself or someone innocent (if you choose to do so), the belief that individual happiness and fulfillment placed first does more to help society than forcing everyone down to the lowest common denominator, etc. What's so hard to understand and accept about that? And btw annonymous, TG thinks people killing for religion is bad bc they kill people who are not harming others, just people who think differently. Americans fought the Japanese because they were threatening innocent people in the US and elsewhere. If you can't recognize a difference between the two then you aren't thinking logically. I'm not saying everything the US does is right, bc it's not (for example bombing Japanese civilians) but if someone is threatening you, there is nothing wrong with defending yourself. (Which btw, does not equal killing innocent American civilians just bc of the actions or cultural norms of some Americans, as in the case of radical Islamics). Objectivism is great bc it is based on logic and justice, and because it works.

Jill said...

One more thing, when the interviewer asks about having the choice to save the drowning man, I have two opinions. One: While you're not obligated to save the man for any reason, if you're a decent person you would feel the desire to help and would if you were capable. "Do unto others...." The point is you do it bc you choose to do the right thing, not bc you have to. If you had to do it, then there's no value to your actions bc it wouldn't be a choice. Two: I'm glad TG explained that by not savimg the man you are not choosing your happiness and taking his away. It's not your fault he's in the river, thus you did not do anything to hurt him. Etc. Anyway, not saving the man if you are capable of it would probably just be a detrimate to your own long term happiness more than anything. (If you are a decent person, of course). Logic rules the day again.

Anonymous said...

Goodkind doesn't read books, or so he says.At least that explains why his writings are mediocre at best.God,the man is so self absorbed.All he has done is to blatantly plagiarise ideas from Robert Jordan and Ayn Rand.Ok,maybe "plagiarise" is a strong word,but stil...

Liz Narayan said...

I really thank you for this interview! I'm doing a research project on Mr. Goodkind and this just gave me loads of help getting answers from him personally thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Though I found the interview itself interesting, I cannot say that I would get along with Goodkind, period. Ever. I am American and have friends who are Muslim and also some who are from the Middle East. If he had done some real READING he would know that it's only a small percentage who believe in that thing and it's extremism even by many Islamic standards. Guess what? Not all terrorists are Middle Eastern, and not all people who are Middle Eastern are terrorists. Ever heard of domestic terrorism? Yeah, Americans have got their share of extremists. He shows a lack of good sources and critical thinking. By the way, all you who think all Americans are like this, you're acting just like Goodkind, by putting a stereotype on the actions of a few. I'm American and I found a lot of things he said absolutely disgusting.
Also, he comes across as incredibly vain. He thinks his books are absolutely amazing, an incredible story. The way he described them reminded me of a gushing fan. An author really should be more objective about their work and more humble on how they describe it.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard anybody talk about what was talked about in this interview. I had never thought about anything like this, because so far I haven't had any reason too. My goal has always been to become a writer, and Terry Goodkind is one of the people I most look up to. I started reading Sword of Truth in 2011 and am reading the most recent now and it has been one of the few series that I have not been able to put down--not only because I love the story line, characters and theme, but because it has so many concepts within it that most people don't understand, don't try to understand. Terry Goodkind opened a whole new world of thought for me, and I can't say that about many authors. Thank you for doing this interview, it is really cool to read about the perspective of different people, and honestly made me want to re-read the whole series to look for things that I may have missed.

Noah McCarty said...

Goodkind asserts that the "non-rational" use extreme examples to support their philosophies, while in the same interview states Islamic fundamentalists will detonate an atomic bomb inside the U.S. I wonder if he even knows what he's saying.

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