Ask Robin Hobb - Thursday, April 11th! discussion

Ask Robin!

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message 51: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (yesthisisrachel) | 2 comments I'd like to preface my questions by saying that I've read your RotE books more times than I can remember, and I frequently cite them as my favorite pieces of fantasy literature.

1. The Fool is an immensely complex character. Did you have everything about The Fool decided from the beginning, or did this character continue to develop over the course of the series, perhaps in ways that you did not expect at the onset?

2. When you wrote The Fool, was your intention to deliberately write a character who does not fall into the gender binary, or is this just part of the character's air of mystery?

3. Were there any winged Elderlings in ages past? Or is Thymara the first? If so, is this because these was a taboo against it that Sintara simply didn't remember from her ancestors?

4. I've always held a certain curiosity about the lands south of Jamaillia City: The Spice Islands, and beyond. They're mentioned occasionally, but do you ever think they might serve as a setting in a future novel?

Thank you so much for your time!

message 52: by April (new)

April Kelher | 7 comments There, I made my warning bigger and added more dots. Heed the warning people!

message 53: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (YLFE) | 1 comments Hello Robin! I have to tell you that you are my favorite fiction author. Thank you for your books, especially Fitz and Fool.

I have a couple short questions for you. :D Can you tell us anything about the White girl in the square during Assassin's Quest? Did she have a catalyst? That little flash always fascinated me, and I think about it still.

I have to echo everyone else: Fool broke my heart. Will we ever see him again in a book?

Lastly: what is your writing process like? Do you write everything sequentially? Is there any part of it that you tend to work out first?

Brenda ╰☆╮    (Brnda) | 7 comments FYI. If you click on "some html allowed"

it shows how to hide.

message 55: by April (new)

April Kelher | 7 comments Brenda ╰☆╮ wrote: "FYI. If you click on "some html allowed"

it shows how to hide."

Thank you Brenda! I fixed it! I've never posted on here before!

Brenda ╰☆╮    (Brnda) | 7 comments It's ok. I'm still afraid to post spoilers for fear it won't work.

message 57: by Zakh (new)

Zakh Question for Robin: Have you considered writing a sequel to Wizard of the Pigeons? That book was probably one of the more bizarre books I've read, but it was brilliant. :)

message 58: by Roxy (new)

Roxy | 1 comments I love this world from the very beginning, will we be able to visit again do you think, or do you have another world planned for our next excursion together?

message 59: by Paul (last edited Apr 05, 2013 06:08PM) (new)

Paul | 5 comments Thanks April, now I can forget I ever saw it! :D

Poop! I had better edit my post! lol

EDIT: Done, and trust me I will forget.
Stupid useless memory!

message 60: by Shannon (new)

Shannon | 1 comments I've read everything you've written so far, Robin and loved them all!

What is next after this series?

message 61: by Peter (new)

Peter | 1 comments Hey Robin. I've recently just finished reading every Robin Hobb book out and they are all now sitting comfortably side by side and taking up one entire shelf on my bookshelf. I am now eagerly getting ready to read all of your Megan Lindholm books!

Your books are amazing and give me an incredible amount of inspiration to keep writing my own book. Which bids me to ask you, what inspires you to keep writing? Especially if you ever face times when you no longer feel a desire to keep writing at all.

Also, I was wondering if you will ever step out of your Realm of the Elderlings again, like you did with the Soldier Son trilogy?

message 62: by Pedro (new)

Pedro Amaral | 2 comments I'm now about to finish my second reading of all World of Elderlings trilogies. And yet one thing puzzles me. Who is The Other at the Treasure Island (or The Other's Island)?? I've been questioning this thorough the Liveship and Tawny Man trilogies to no avail. At first I just took him for an Elderling, but this just doesn't fit. Please, Robin, can you shed some light on this issue?

message 63: by Donna (new)

Donna Gray | 1 comments I have read all the other books in the Dragon series and I can't wait to start the newest book. Robin enthralls me with her ability to create a fantasy world that you can see clearly through her words and believe. To say I loved them all is an understatement. I know this new book is supposed to be the last but I am praying that there will be another at least. It's hard to put those old friends away and I need the story to continue. I guess that is my question, and my request, all in one. Can there be more?

message 64: by Brad (new)

Brad Dickey | 4 comments Paul wrote: "edited
I haven't read that far please hide the bit about nighteyes and I'll pretend I never read it! lol"

Robin, I'm not Italian, and I've never met you! Lucky you.

However, I've been a fan since the Assassins books. Until recently I owned them all in hardbacks. I decided that was way to much to move and went electronic. :(

Did you originally intend to tie the Assassins and the Dragon's/Liveships into the same world? I know some authors prefer to branch out and not get pegged down to one box. But I'd love to give some love to you for filling out the world we have adored and enjoyed so much and sticking with it as much as you have!

I love your style, your books have a distinctive flavor to the layout and how they read. They synch very well with how I think, so I am at home reading your books. My favorite authors, in no specific order are you, Melanie Rawn's sunrunner books, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Peter Brett. I find you guys really came out in increments and carried the Genre when it was starting to die out.

Love ya in a non stalking way,


message 65: by Julie (new)

Julie | 2 comments Hi Robin, I love re reading your books, for me it's like visiting old friends, the stories are all so well written and every character has a depth to them that helps your readers to connect with them.
Which of your characters do you find the most compelling ? And which one, if any of them, would you say has the most of your own characteristics ?
My favourite characters will always be Fitz and the Fool, thank you

message 66: by Paul (new)

Paul | 5 comments "I've recently just finished reading every Robin Hobb book out and they are all now sitting comfortably side by side and taking up one entire shelf on my bookshelf. I am now eagerly getting ready to read all of your Megan Lindholm books!"

Have read The Inheritance. A collection of short stories by Megan and Robin
Would heartily recommend it. There are some tie-ins to the world of Wild Rains etc so worth reading for those alone to add to the canon.

Megan's stories I found to be thoroughly enjoyable
I think I will ask Robin, sorry, Megan if she wants my cat Smudge.
She sleeps when I am awake, and wakes me up when I am asleep. She may well be the 50th dead cat on the road at this rate! lol

message 67: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Very excited about this group! I know you are a Washington state resident, Robin, (as am I!) and I've always wondered if you got any of your inspiration for the beautifully described scenery in your books from any local areas?

message 68: by Jack (new)

Jack Hi Robin! I am late coming to your fiction. I read my first novel by you this past summer, Assassin's Apprentice. It was the sword pick for Sword and Laser. I really am enjoying your series.

My question is, if Pat Rothfuss asked you to do an episode of Storyboard with him, would you? You come up a lot when they are talking about people who 'do it right'. It would be really fantastic to hear some of your processes.

Thank you for making yourself available!

message 69: by Zoe (new)

Zoe | 1 comments Hi, this is Zoe. I'm from Alaska, so you had me hooked the minute I saw the map of the Six Duchies! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, I love your books.

I was most intrigued by the idea of the White Prophets and their Catalysts and was wondering if we'll ever see some stories from other eras (I kind of wanted to know what happened to Wild-eye, or even Prilkop).

Also, how do you go about constructing such three-dimensional characters? Do you start out a story with the characters already in mind? And finally, will we ever see the Fool again?

Thanks again,

message 70: by Davis (new)

Davis (davissandefur) | 1 comments All I can say is I'm a huge fan. I got around to rereading the original Farseer Trilogy last month and I found myself wondering why I had taken so long. I'm going to be reading the others soon, and hope they're just as well. My question is if you're going to reveal any more about the magics of the world. Specifically the Wit (beast bonding interests me more than the Skill), but also the others (I think divination/scrying is mentioned?). Thank you, and best of luck on all your future writings!

message 71: by Wolfen (new)

Wolfen McKoy | 2 comments Hello, Robin. :D

I must say that I haven't had the chance to read most of your books yet(between catching up on The Wheel of Time, the Mistborn trilogy, and A Song of Ice and Fire), but I definitely plan to. By chance, I happened to pick up a copy of City of Dragons, and I'm quite sure that I'm hooked. The first thing that struck me was how real your depictions of dragons, and dragon combat were.

As an aspiring author, and dragon fanatic, what advice would you impart? Also, I would like to welcome you to Reddit.

message 72: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1 comments Just want to say, Robin, you are up there with Dunnett in my favorite authors category. When I meet someone who needs a book recommendation, The Assassin's Apprentice series is first on my list! Some of the best stories with characters I fell in love with. I have to go back and visit them every couple of years. I did NOT meet you in Italy, however I drive through Tacoma to visit my mother severL times a year, and I always think of you. ;-). Thank you for Fitz and the Fool. They are dear to me.

message 73: by Chris (new)

Chris Marcus | 2 comments Hi Robin / All. I'm Chris from UK. Loved all the ROtE series, and Fitz & Nighteyes were a wonderful pair. So sad what happened as others say. Having just finished Blood of Dragons I wondered if there was any more books in the Soldier Son world? Or is the trilogy all we get? Thanks Chris

message 74: by Liesbeth (last edited Apr 06, 2013 12:37AM) (new)

Liesbeth | 1 comments Hi Robin Hobb,
I'm from the Netherlands and I've got ALL your books. My question: Is Blood of Dragons the last book in this series, or will there be other rain wild books. Will any of the other characters of all the previous books return to us in some future book?

message 75: by Jess (new)

Jess (MC-3PO) | 1 comments So many questions. Pardon me if I ask questions that have already been asked; it's just so much to scan.

My name is Jess, and I'm a devoted fan. I was actually privileged enough to meet you once at a book signing at the University Bookstore in Seattle, and I'm actually a nearby neighbor of yours (I'm from Kirkland). Your work inspires me!

Will you ever be returning to Gernia and the other lands of the Soldier Son Trilogy? I know the majority of folk prefer The Realm of the Elderlings, and while I count myself among them, I was also a great fan of Nevarre's world.

Both the Wit and the Skill seem conspicuously absent in The Realm of the Elderlings outside of the Six Duchies. The Skill is indicated to occur primarily where Outisland and Six Duchies lines mix, so I suppose this makes sense (and the way in which dragons communicate sort of abuts it), but the Wit seems to occur in outside folk, as well (like Burrich's family). Is there a reason for this? Did you just feel like perhaps you'd already walked that road with Fitz? Or am I mixing it up and the speech of dragons is more akin to the Wit (or perhaps neither magic)?

I've heard George R.R. Martin is a great admirer of yours. Is the feeling mutual? I've seen it written that he's cited you as his favorite modern fantasy author, though I don't know the provenance of that quote.

message 76: by Michael (new)

Michael (Gandy93) | 1 comments Hello!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it but I've read only 6 books of yours (The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man). They were great!

I have two questions. Do you have or plan to have any other books that contain or are closely related (i.e. their descendants/ancestors/etc) to the characters in those trilogies? Possibly sequels? *puppy eyes*

What reading order for your other books do you recommend me (considering what I've read so far)?

Thanks and have a nice day!

message 77: by Paul (new)

Paul | 5 comments Hi Robin
Soldier's Son Trilogy.

How big an influence, if any was Carlos Castaneda on the magic in the series? Or did you research Shamanism in general?
Have to say that I wanted to slap Nevare at times, but couldn't. Not because he was only a fictional character that existed in my imagination, but because as usual you crafted him into a context that made much of his actions understandable.

Many thanks for the worlds you create

message 78: by Nikhil (new)

Nikhil Jain (njnikhil) | 1 comments Hello all! As you might have realized by now, I love fantasy and Robin, of course. It so happens that most of the time it isn't the plot that captures my attention, rather the story that goes on between the characters.

Regarding that, I have a little excerpt from the Farseer trilogy that had a profound impact on my emotions.


"You are young," he said softly. "And lovely. So full of spirit. You deserve better."
"Burrich. Do you love me?" A simple question, timidly asked.
He folded his work-scarred hands in his lap. "Yes." He gripped his hands together. To stop their trembling?
Molly's smile broke forth like the sun from a cloud. "Then you shall marry me. And afterward, if you wish, I shall stand before the Witness Stones. And I will admit to all that I was with you before we were wed. And I will show them the child."
He finally lifted his eyes' to hers. His look was incredulous. "You'd marry me? As I am? Old? Poor? Scarred?"
"You are none of those things to me. To me, you are the man I love."
He shook his head. Her answer had only baffled him more. "And after what you just said about bad luck? You would stand before a Witness Stone and lie?"
She smiled a different sort of smile at him. One I had not seen in a long time. One that broke my heart. "It need not be a lie," she pointed out quietly.
His nostrils flared like a stallion's as he surged to his feet. The breath he drew swelled his chest.
"Wait," she commanded him softly, and he did. She licked her thumb and forefinger. She swiftly pinched out all but one candle. Then she crossed the darkened room to his arms.
I fled.
"Oh, my boy. I am so sorry."


I have to say, sometimes it still twists my heart. I guess, that is the time I convinced myself that only a woman can penetrate emotions with such an intensity.

Keep writing, Robin, we love you!

message 79: by 5ngela (new)

5ngela Nice to meet you all. Just want to say that I love Farseer trilogy and Golden Fool trilogy. Sad and tragic story but beautiful nonetheless. Thank you for the great work

message 80: by Mel (new)

Mel (MelMariah) | 1 comments I'd just like to say, Robin, It's amazing how well you can compose short stories. You create a whole world in a few pages and i'm always disappointed there's never more.

message 81: by Jax (new)

Jax Leck | 1 comments Will Fitzchivalry ever return. I really miss him.

message 82: by Joy (new)

Joy | 1 comments A fan from downunder. Are there any plans to visit Australia? Also on average does it take to write such wonderful stories from start to finish ie a published novel.

message 83: by Manni (new)

Manni | 2 comments Hi!
I am a fan from Estonia! Where they are still in the process of translating the Farseer Trilogy. Yes, the third book is yet to come...
So I moved to read them in English like all the other of your fans here had to do.
Just the other day, I discovered that another of my friends is also a fan! Had a lovely time discussing your books (she is a little worried that she won't be able to read all the books because her english is not so good).
It' just that... would you ever consider meeting with fans around this part of the world too? Eastern Europe, I mean. Baltic states.
What would you say to fans who, most likely, have to wait another ten years (thats about the time the first book got translated) to read the next first book in from another of your series and still be loyal fans?
Thank you,
waiting for the Q&A

message 84: by Mette (new)

Mette (metteius) | 1 comments Hi!
I'm a huge fan of the whole Elderling world; it really is one of the best worlds I've ever been a part of as a reader.
I am yet to read Blood of Dragons, but my question is: Is this it for the Elderling world? Will there be more books or do you feel like this is as much as you should tell?

Thank you!

message 85: by Chantel (new)

Chantel | 1 comments Hi, I'm another loyal fan from Australia. I have a million questions to ask, most of which are mentioned here, but I won't because it is all a bit overwhelming.

I just wanted to say how much I loved every single moment of every single RotE trilogy. The general consensus here seems to be that Fitz and the Fool were the most "beloved" characters but my favourite was Nighteyes. I cried so many times throughout the books and after I finished each trilogy I was in a daze for days. I miss all the characters which is probably why I've read all the books a million times.

message 86: by Sendrien (new)

Sendrien | 1 comments Greetings from a devoted fan in Canada who adores your work!

Robin, I've always had the sense that Fitz' narrative "voice" in the Tawny Man Trilogy was far older and wiser than the one he used in the Farseer Trilogy. Whether or not this was intentional, or merely the result of the passage of time in between these two trilogies, I'm curious to know if you think that an author can convincingly write "older" than his or her own experiences? For instance, could you have written Tawny Man as you did, without the years that passed since Farseer?

message 87: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn | 1 comments I read Assassin's Apprentice in April of 1996. The next month I read Royal Assassin. I had to wait a year for Assassin's Quest and have waited patiently for each following title. How much pressure do you have to write a novel every year?
Also, I thought you were a guy for at least a year. Was this uncertainty about gender intentional?

message 88: by Maxine (new)

Maxine | 1 comments Hi Robin, I'm a huge fan of your work. It seems like most women who write fantasy these days write paranormal romances or urban fantasies. As one of the very few women who write high fantasy and one of its best writers, do you feel that being a woman has given you a different take on the genre? I guess what I'm wondering about is the compassion and empathy you show to the outsiders in your stories. I'm especially thinking here of Soldier Son which I loved.

message 89: by Donna (new)

Donna | 1 comments Hello Robin,

I just wanted to say hello and thank you. :)

message 90: by Cornelia (new)

Cornelia | 1 comments Hi Robin,

I've been a fan for many years and have read the Farseer trilogy, the Liveship Traders trilogy, the Tawny Man trilogy and the Soldier Son trilogy.

What intrigues me is how you can write as a man. How can you put yourself into the shoes of a man so convincingly? If I wanted to imagine the motivations, thoughts and actions of male character, how would I go about it?

Much thanks :)

message 91: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (Ignoble) | 1 comments Hey all. I'm Kyle. Robin Hobb has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time! So I hope she picks one of my questions! I have a couple! It was the way her writing evokes such strong emotions in me that made me want to be a writer! I want to make people feel something with the written word like that too! ^_^ Nice to meet you all!

message 92: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (mellaf) | 1 comments I have a couple of questions Robin. My first is a little critical, but I mean this is the best way. I want to know how/where/why The Soldier Son trilogy fits into your writing? I read the series as I was going through all of your Hobb books and I have to say I didn't particularly like or understand the universe and the magic system. Everything else I have thoroughly enjoyed. I can't wait to get my hands on Blood of Dragons!

My second question is probably a little easier to answer. What do you enjoy reading? I would imagine that reading fantasy can be a little difficult. Who have you enjoyed? What universe do you like? That sort of thing.

I work in a bookshop and will admit to being a bit of a "pusher" of your books. Slowly but surely building up your South African fan base!

Thanks for doing this!

message 93: by Jerry (new)

Jerry | 8 comments April wrote: "Hi Robin! This is so exciting! I'm a fan from Montana, so it's unlikely that I'll ever get to meet you but you never know!
My question(s) concerns Nighteyes...**Spoiler alert for The Tawny Man seri..."

That was just about the most beautiful passage in all her books.

message 94: by Jerry (new)

Jerry | 8 comments Pedro wrote: "I'm now about to finish my second reading of all World of Elderlings trilogies. And yet one thing puzzles me. Who is The Other at the Treasure Island (or The Other's Island)?? I've been questioning..."

You know what happens to human children when they're around dragons. The other, abominations, are what sometimes happens to dragon children when they hang around humans. It is only very briefly mentioned.

message 95: by April (last edited Apr 06, 2013 08:04PM) (new)

April Kelher | 7 comments Jerry wrote: That was just about the most beautiful passage in all her books.

My favorite passage of all time out of her books is when the Fool is talking to Fitz in Royal Assassin on page 302 (Or during chapter 15, "Secrets"). I loved it so much I printed it out on a bookmark for myself and read it all the time!

"...And then! And then, when certain ones were born, ones marked so clearly that history must recall them, they are called to step forward, to find their places in that future history. And they might further be exhorted to examine that place, that juncture of a hundred threads, and say, these threads, here, these are the ones I shall tweak, and in the tweaking, I shall change the tapestry, I shall warp the weft, alter the color of what is to come. I shall change the destiny of the world."

He was mocking me. I was certain of it now. "Once, in perhaps a thousand years, there may come a man capable of making such a great change I the world. A powerful King, perhaps, or a philosopher, shaping the thoughts of thousands. But you and I, Fool? We are pawns. Ciphers."

He shook his head pityingly. "This, more than anything else, is what I have never understood about your people. You can roll dice, and understand that the whole game may hinge on one turn of a die. You can deal out cards, and say that all a man's fortune for the night may turn upon one hand. But a man's whole life, you sniff at, and say, what, this naught of a human, this fisherman, this carpenter, this thief, this cook, why, what can they do in the great wide world? And so you putter and you sputter your lives away, like candles burning in a draft."

"Not all men are destined for greatness," I reminded him.

"Are you sure, Fitz? Are you sure? What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbor, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today?"

"This is philosophy, Fool. I have never had time to study such things."

"No, Fitz, this is life. And no one has time not to think of such things. Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart's beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?"

message 96: by Karen (new)

Karen | 1 comments Hi Robin, I'm Karen from Tacoma. I'm dying to read The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, but I can't seem to make myself read paper books anymore. Will this be released in Kindle format?


message 97: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay (lindsattack) | 1 comments Hi Robin, I'm Lindsay from Arizona. I remember stumbling upon Assassin's Apprentice at a bookstore when I was looking for something new to read, (I find that you either discover amazing books that way...or quite the opposite. Yours was most definitely the former!). I was so depressed when it ended; I didn't want that to be the last I'd read of Fitz. Somehow through my tears and dismay I found my way to my computer, and there I discovered The Tawny Man series! So needless to say I've read those six, and I plan on reading The Liveship Traders and your new series as soon as I can.

Here are my questions:

Do you find that when you write about one character for so many books that it's hard to move on from them? Is it hard to create someone new when you still have the previous character in your head? Or is it refreshing to start over?

Thank you for creating a story that I absolutely love, and that I recommend to as many people as I can. :)

message 98: by Robin, Author of Blood of Dragons (new)

Robin Hobb | 138 comments Mod
Kenny wrote: "Wow! Robin Hobb. Robin I'm a big fan, and your Farseer Trilogy is phenomenal. However, I have to say that your Assassin's Apprentice is one of my favorite books of all time. Not just science fictio..."

1] In your work, does your protagonist pretty much reflect your own view of the world and how it operates?
Hi! This is a really excellent question. The answer is I truly hope not! The protagonist, or any character is a story, has to have a world view that is a product of that character's world. If they shared my world view, then they'd be one hundred percent a product of this world, and completely out of place in a fantasy world. I strive very deliberately to make the attitudes of my characters appropriate to who they are and where they are. So I do not share all of Fitz's or Kennit's or Alise's opinions!

2] As a writer of fantasy, I would like to ask what particular fantasy "animal" (i.e. winged horses, walking trees, dragons, griffins, etc.) do you find fascinating and why is that so?
I think I've gone through so many different favorites at different times in my life. When I was growing up, unsurprisingly, unicorns and winged horses were the best thing I could imagine. Then centaurs. Dryads and water nymphs. Dragons and sea serpents. As to why, I'm not sure there's a clear answer. I think it's like having a favorite color. It just is.

message 99: by Brenn (new)

Brenn (Traylantha) | 1 comments Hi Robin! Thank you so much for taking time to do this!

First of all, I am in complete awe at how you craft your plotlines. Things that started in Assassins Apprentice I expect to see unfurl a bit in the new book, as some of your threads link through the entire series. How do you manage these without dropping a single thread? And how do you decide how much or how little to show?

The second isn't so much a question, but a note of appreciation. My brother lives with dyslexia as well, but his talents lay in things to do with his hands. I'd go so far as say he's a master carpenter, really. I guess I just want to say thank you for being a great role model?

Lastly, I've been listening to the Audiobook version of Apprentice this week, and the "fat suffices" scene had me giggling more than when I read it. I hope you got to hear outtakes of that!

message 100: by Tasfeen (new)

Tasfeen Wire | 1 comments Hi Robin! I'm from Sydney, Australia, and I've read every book in The Farseer Trilogy, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man, Soldier Son and Rain Wild Chronicles (except Blood of Dragons).

I don't want to take up too much of your time, so I'll limit my million questions to two.

How do you manage to keep track of the worlds you've created?


Does the Gernia have any connection to Jamaillia, Six Duchies, Chalced etc. etc.?

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Ask Robin Hobb - Thursday, April 11th!

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Dragon Keeper (other topics)
Dragon Haven (other topics)
City of Dragons (other topics)
Blood of Dragons (other topics)