I'm concerned that that bloodthirsty sword is off on his own again.
He, ah, he is, he is in dangerous hands right now, let's just say that.
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I'm concerned that that bloodthirsty sword is off on his own again.
He, ah, he is, he is in dangerous hands right now, let's just say that.
Could only Lift see Szeth's afterimages?
Anyone sufficiently Invested can see them. Connection to the Cognitive Realm helps, too
So at the end of Words of Radiance Szeth gets Nightblood. But Nightblood on Nalthis will suck your Breath until you die.
So how can Szeth-- like presumably it takes whatever Roshar's form of Investiture is.
So how-- but wouldn't it kill Szeth?
So that's-- First off let's make-- let's mention this: no spoiler questions. That spoils the end of Words of Radiance.
Oh, I'm sorry.
You're okay, but let's avoid spoiler questions. That one will specifically be answered in the next book. So you don't have to worry about that as much. That is a read and find out. That one-- but it's a read and find out that's very obviously the answer is coming.
Would Szeth still have been chosen to be a skybreaker if Nalan'Elin had known that Szeth was willing to kill Adolin "on his own time" unlawfully without being compelled by his oathstone? Or did Nalan'Elin know about that and still think he'd be a good fit?
Nobody is perfect, and Nale knows this--but he has worse days than others. It's not so much the law, as willingness to follow a personal code, that Nale is most interested in. He's also more harsh with people once they join the order than before.
So, he wouldn't have loved it, but it wouldn't have stopped him from offering.
What were you dissatisfied with in WoR?
It's twofold. Spoilers follow, obviously.
In the original draft, none of the alpha readers felt that I had 'sold' Jasnah dying to them, and were all like, "Ha. Nice try. No body. She's alive.' So I kicked the assassination scene up a notch, until betas were like, "Stormfather! Jasnah just died!"
That was a mistake, I now believe. (Though this didn't get changed, and won't get changed.) Sometimes, I over-emphasize to myself the importance of surprises and twists. The book is fine if readers suspect Jasnah is still alive--actually, I think it's stronger, because it is more satisfying to be right in that situation, and doesn't detract from Szeth's miraculous survival at the end.
I knew this soon after I'd released the book, but decided it was just too extensive a change to try tweaking.
The other one I did tweak. In the battle at the end between Kaladin and Szeth, I'd toyed with letting the storm take Szeth--him essentially committing suicide--as opposed to him spreading his hands and letting Kaladin kill him. I felt that after the oath Kaladin had just sworn, stabbing a docile opponent unwilling to fight back just didn't jive. This I tweaked, changing the paperback from the hardcover, which has produced mixed results.
Most people agree the change is better, but they also say they'd rather not have the hardcover and paperback have different accounts in it, and would rather I just stick to what we put in the hardcover. It was interesting to try, to see what the response would be like, but it seems that the better option all around is to just wait until I'm certain I don't want to revert any of the revisions or tweak anything new.
Did Szeth require training in the lashes that were granted by his Honorblade?
Szeth refers to Nightblood as sword-nimi. What is the -nimi ending?
It is an honorific.
And why does he call it "sword", and not by its name?
It has not told him its name.
How are Shallan's Lightweavings related to the screams that Szeth hears?
In that they are slightly attached to the Spiritual Realm.
Szeth-son-son-Vallano, is that name common, in Shin, or is that something that...
Usually it's, if you only have one son, usually it's... Yeah, the son-son was because he was not considered worthy enough to be worthy of his father.
So is he related to Vallano?
Yeah, it's the grandson.
In The Stormlight Archive, do we ever find out how the Assassin in White, how he gets the sword?
Yes, that should be next book.
And does it intertwine any more with Warbreaker?
Oh... that you're gonna have to wait a little while for. You're talking about Nightblood. I thought you were talking about the Honorblade. Next book will explain how he got the Honorblade. How he ends up with Nightblood, really how Nightblood got onto the planet, is gonna take a little while. I will work it in. But it's gonna take a while.
Does that sword have a character arc, because it feels--
The sword is important and relevant to multiple series.
It's getting better.
He has learned some things in the intervening years. He learns real slowly.
If this is all but a guaranteed RAFO question, but, does the fact that the honorblades needing ten heart beats to appear have to do with Szeth's perception on shardblades needing ten heartbeats (like Shallan's case). Or does it have to do with some more innate rule of nature.
It is a RAFO.
If Nightblood uses Breath, and Szeth has Nightblood, how would it use-- would it feed off of Stormlight?
It can feed off of Stormlight, but Szeth can't draw in Stormlight right now.
So Szeth better not draw that sword, for a while at least.
He's asking if a larkin is capable of pushing Stormlight into someone as well as drawing it out.
Ahhh, that's an excellent question. They actually feed on Investiture. Like some other people and things that you've seen. *laughter*
So is that a yes or no?
That is more of a no than a yes. *laughter*
So that's highly unlikely that that's how Szeth was resurrected.
That is correct... You did see how Szeth came back foreshadowed earlier in the books. So if you watch for it, the means by which that happens is in there.
How early? *laughter*
How do you pronounce Szeth's name?
Just the Z?
Yeah. There's a little bit of s...
So, he says something more close to Saze-d. But Kelsier says Say-zed. And people just kind of go with what Kelsier does. I say Say-zed also.
Was Szeth's resurrection done with Rosharan Investiture or that from Nalthis?
Will we see more of Szeth’s backstory, including how he became a Truthless?
That, you will have to wait for his flashback sequences in a future book. Each character gets a set of flashback sequences. I'm not going to promise that the characters live to the book where their flashback sequences are. You might have a character die and then get their flashbacks the next book to get more information on them. This will be Shallan's flashback, then the next book will be Szeth's flashback, then Eshonai, then Dalinar.
Hi Brandon! I wanted to talk about the revised ending of Words of Radiance.
So, it looks like Kaladin won't be actually delivering the killing blow to Szeth any more. I think that Kaladin was entirely justified in doing this, since it was a fight to the death, and Kaladin was protecting not only Dalinar but his entire squad below. Kaladin even seems surprised when he lands the blow, expecting Szeth to block it like he had been doing the entire fight. The killing was not done in vengeance or with malice, unlike what Adolin does later. Having the storm kill Szeth seems like an anti-climatic way to end the scene, since it takes away Szeth's decision to die by the sword, and means we no longer have an example of why the spren Shardblades don't immediately kill people.
I woud be fine having him do it, though I think killing a foe who has given up was against this thematic plot. But what pushed me over the edge to change was the sense that I was pulling too many fast ones on the reader with people coming back to life. I wanted it clear to readers that Szeth was not dead, so this scene wasn't a fake out, which would weaken Jasnah's arrival later.
Um, Mr. Sanderson, I don't mean to be disrespectful as you probably have the scene better in your head than I do but how is a man without Stormlight falling from a very large hight, while in the middle of two Highstorms coliding and throwing entire platoos in the air expected to survive? Maybe I don't have the right persective on this given that I saw both Jasnah (the body disapearing is just as much a give away as it never being shown in my book) and Syl (Pattern outright said Sprens can be revived) coming but unless you severly change the fight scene I don't see how being stabbed actually matters for Szeth survival chances.
The idea is that the reader didn't see him die, so there's a psychological trigger--one that says "Ah, I didn't see a body. He's probably not dead."
Yes, Szeth totally died from that fall--just as the young man that Lift revived had died from what he suffered. We know that Stormlight can fix the body and bring back the dead, so long as very little time has passed.
The import of the tweak to me is allowing some question in the reader's mind, so that the return is not a betrayal.
That is a lot more understandable. Having too many reveals at the end could be problematic. I agree that Jasnah coming back felt like pulling a fast one right at the end. However, I think the suprise of Szeth coming back was really well done, especially with the reveal of Nin (Nale, Nalan? This dude is so old he has three names!) at the very end with his special sword friend. I feel like that was the real zinger that should have closed the book.
I was a little underwhelmed with Jasnah coming back, not because I dislike her, but because I thought she was well and truly dead. She died so early in the book that I was completely accepting of her death by the end, and her coming back in a 'gotcha' moment felt a little hollow. Perhaps this could have happened about a hundred pages into the next book? I don't know the entire story like you do, of course, but as a reader it felt like Szeth and his rebirth should have been the final closing image.
This all came about, if you're curious, during the detailed plotting of the second book. Originally, the outline did not call for Jasnah to leave, but I was having real trouble getting Shallan into a place--emotionally and experience-wise--where she could do the things she needed to do while Jasnah was around. I determined that Jasnah needed to pull a Gandalf, and let her ward alone for a while, and I'm glad I did it--the book is much, much stronger for it. However, the side effects of the last-minute change in the plot required Jasnah's reappearance, which sent a few waves through the book. (Szeth's death and survival being the main one.)
First, I have a message from my older brother
He says, "just tell him that Szeth is the man, and he expects a bloody revenge story, where he whoops off all the heads of all the Shin guys who still have honorblades
Tell him that Szeth is anticipating that too.
Szeth, can he or will he use both a spren Shardblade and Nightblood at the same time?
He will be using Nightblood, the rest is a RAFO
I read online, something about one of your original drafts, [I think it was about] Gavilar, and it was where he was blind?
Yeah that was actually Taravangian, in the oldest version. One of the very first things I wrote was that, though Taravangian had a different name then, and was very different. Szeth has stayed the same through all the revisions. Kaladin has changed wildly, and almost everybody has changed dramatically, except Szeth is the same person. Him and Dalinar are the same.
Will we be seeing Szeth training the Radiants in the future?
So... Szeth will be sharing some tips, but I don't know that you'll see him training. He starts the next book in jail, so... yeah...
What was Szeth's reasoning for following Dalinar? From what saw he's only met Dalinar once or twice and wasn't aware he is a Bondsmith.
It wasn't about being a Bondsmith. It was partially about how everyone reacted to Dalinar and partially... Let's see if I can explain this.
Was it, like, 'cause in--
Well, part of it was that. Definitely part of it was what he had seen and things like this. Part of it was how everyone, like-- he knew about Dalinar, right? He had fought Kaladin a couple of times. My own justification for it when I was writing this, 'cause I actually did think about this one, like, Dalinar has a magnetism to him. And Dalinar has a reputation. And Dalinar lived up to the reputation, and Szeth was just looking for something-- The reputation was in some ways more important than the man. For instance, there's a chance in that same situation that Szeth would have followed Amaram. Right? Fortunately he made a better choice than that but-- Anyway.
You're thinking about a similar feeling of the honor because obviously Dalinar is really honorable toward the end and then he's got the same, Szeth's got the same--
Yes. Yes, but at the same time that gives a little bit too much credit to Szeth, to be perfectly honest.
Is Szeth immortal now since his...change in WoR? (From a "doesn't age physically" meaning of the word, not invincible)
RAFO, I'm afraid.
Does Szeth's connection to the Honorblade allow him to maintain a warrior's fitness as a normal person would need to?
Uh…. Noooo… I'm gonna say he… he… no. I'll just say that.
Are the quartz and iron in Szeth's oathstone specific to Szeth's in particular, or to oathstones in general?
I'll RAFO that.
Szeth Son-Son. When did his name change from Son to Son-Son.
When he was made Truthless.
Do we know the time of when he was made Truthless? How long has he been Truthless since the [Prologue]?
I know, but I'm not confident enough, because I rely on Karen so much to fact check my numbers.
Is it like a couple of years or a lot of years. Recent?
I would say recent, but that's also subjective and relative.
Because if he's lived a thousand years, then a hundred years could...
Yes, but he hasn't lived a thousand years.
So, he's lived about thirty years...
Szeth-son-son-Vallano is one of my favorite characters and I was wondering how-- He's so complex, right, which is why I love him. What was your inspiration for him, and how did you get all those amazing layers of--
What was my inspiration for Szeth? Boy. Talking about my inspiration for characters is one of the hardest things that I do because, while I plan my settings a lot and I plan my outlines a lot, I do not plan my characters in the same way. I actually discovery-write my characters and this is something I do very intentionally because I feel like if I plan the character too much, I plan the life out of them basically. So when I have a plot I basically cast a bunch of people in it. I'll write a chapter with someone in it and I'll throw it away, and I'll a chapter with a different personality, and I'll do that until somebody clicks with that plot. Once I know who they are I'll usually rebuild the outline to fit them, kind of the character has veto power over the plot that I've designed for them. But I just keep casting people in the roles, and with Szeth I think it was the whole idea of when I was building Roshar and I'm like, alright, I know there's going to be a place where there aren't any rocks, the rest of the world is all about this kind of stone sensibility to it so what if it's reversed, what if these people worship stone. What if stone were holy. And so I kind of built out of that, it was his religious ideals that came first.
How do you pronounce Jasnah?
I say Jasnah. But you may say whatever you want.
And then is it Szeth?
The "s" is more silent than the "z" but it is sort of sub-vocalized. Szeth.
Why isn’t the next book about Szeth? He’s my favorite character and he only had /four/ chapters in the first book.
I know. Szeth-- The next book's not about Szeth because I didn't feel his backstory matched what was going on with this book well enough. I felt it matched Dalinar's.
Is Szeth in the third book?
Szeth will appear in the third book yes.
More than the other ones I hope?
Does the sword corrupt him?
You'll have to see. *laughter* Where you're really going to get a lot of Szeth is Book 5. But you will see.
Moving on to Words of Radiance, as we were entering typo fixes for the paperback of this book, I made changes to a few lines near the end. This isn't anywhere near as extensive as the changes in Elantris, but once again I figure I should be up-front about what I did and why I did it.
This part is going to have some spoilers for the book, so if you haven't read it, please stop right here. I'll put a number of blank lines here to prevent accidental spoilers. Scroll down if you've finished the book.
So, in Words of Radiance, I think the scene I worked on the longest both in my head and on the page was the final confrontation between Kaladin and Szeth.
There was something I wanted to do, and took a stab at it in the text, then backed off because I couldn't make it work. It was important to me that Kaladin refuse to kill Szeth at the end. Kaladin is about protection, not vengeance, and once he realized that Szeth really just wanted to be killed, I wanted Kaladin to hesitate.
It didn't end up working, and I moved on to a new version and submitted it. But this itched at me, and by the time the book was released, I felt I'd made the wrong choice for that scene. So I've taken this chance to roll it back to the previous idea, and written it in a new way, which I like much better.
The events are the same, except for that moment. Szeth is now killed by the storm instead of by Kaladin, which I think is more thematically appropriate.
The question this raises is about Szeth being stabbed by a Shardblade, then being resuscitated. I'm sad to lose this sequence, as it's an important plot point for the series that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can. I'm going to have to work this into a later book, though I think it's something we can sacrifice here for the stronger scene of character for Kaladin and Szeth.
Is the sword given to Szeth at the end of the book [Words of Radiance] related to Nightblood from Warbreaker?
It's the same sword.
Szeth is unlikely to ever get as high a word count in the main plot as the other characters. Even in the book that is his Kaladin will likely have a larger wordcount. But in the Szeth book, he'll have more than he had in the previous books--so by comparison, he'll have a ton.
The next book, Szeth, will he be the primary character?
I'm probably going to do him as [Stormlight] Five. Eshonai is [Stormlight] Four.
Szeth a lot of the time throughout Words of Radiance is referring to the fact that he's hearing his victims screaming in his head. Is that actually just his conscience screaming at him or has he possibly already bonded to a spren in some way, that is displeased with his actions?
That is not his spren, good question... It is not the spren—it is not a spren that is for one of the orders.
Okay, but it is related to—
I didn't say that. I just said it is not a spren—it is not a Blade. It is not one of those.
Let's say some kid ended up with Szeth's Oathstone and tried to pull an Aladdin by destroying it and freeing him.
Szeth doesn't seem like he'd actually let himself be freed, but with the Oathstone destroyed, what does he do next (designate a new rock?)
Use the pieces and try to glue them back together, I'd say. If you actually completely destroyed it, it kind of depends. He might transfer the devotion to the object used to destroy it, or he might try to get another one assigned to him by his homeland--though he would have trouble convincing himself to go back.
*inaudible, but referring to the RAFO cards*
Oh, yeah. You want a RAFO card? You gotta ask me a hard question. Come up with a question.
So what's next for Szeth-son-son-Vallano?
Uh, okay, yeah, take [inaudible due to laughter, presumably Brandon was indicating that he could take a card].
Does Szeth ever get to figure out Nightblood's name, or does he just always call Nightblood, "Sword-nimi?"
That's a RAFO too!
How is it that Szeth is so comfortable up in Urithiru, being out there and everyone else is weirded out by it?
He is a weird dude.
He said, "I was reading through *inaudible* Szeth section he mentioned that 'we are all that remains'. Is he saying that the Shin are the lost Order? The one that didn't abandon the oaths? Of course the section *inaudible* alternatives-- *interrupted*
What they are doing is-- Szeth is saying, "We are all that remains that remembers what happened before." [...] And they may be-- they may not remember accurately. But they consider themselves the only ones who know. Does that make sense? [...] It is not reference to the Orders.
This will probably be RAFO'd, but: is Szeth bound to a spren?
No. He's not. Haha, I didn't RAFO that.
What would a Cognitive Shadow see if they saw Szeth?
If they saw Szeth? They're going to see his soul kinda trailing along behind him. It's gonna be really freaky to them.
If I held Szeth's Oathstone, smashed it up into a fine powder then snorted it, would Szeth still follow my direction?
Yes, probably, but be warned that you're not dealing with someone terrible stable. You could push Szeth over the edge with things like this, and then you could end up in a very bad situation.
Szeth has trained with all ten surges, is he going to also help train new Radiants?
That is something you can expect has been an advantage to them in the intervening time, so yes.
At the end of Oathbringer, it seems that many (including myself) felt that Szeth's return and sudden alignment with the protagonists went over a little too easily. Are they accepting of him now? Why the sudden change of heart? Are there going to be trust issues in the future?
Uh, yeah. Obviously crazy men who shift allegiances quickly, after murdering the king and starting a war, aren't exactly the sort you leave home to babysit your kids.
Will we see more of Szeth in book 3?
Szeth has 6 chapters in the third book, mostly in the last part. You'll be reading along and be like, "Where's Szeth?" But that's just where I could fit him in.
Was there ever a time when you had intended to kill off a character, but changed your mind because you liked them too much?
Hmm... I'm trying to think of whether or not this happened. I do believe that Adolin died in the original draft of The Way of Kings, which I wrote in 2002. he had a much smaller role in that book, and it played out very differently. When I did the newer version, which I rewrote from scratch, Adolin evolved much differently.
For those who don't know, he wasn't intended to have as large a role in the plot--but I ran into a problem during writing. Dalinar was feeling inconsistent as a character. I wanted to present him as strong and confident, but at the same time had him troubled by worries that he was insane from visions he was seeing.
This worked in outline form, but when I actually wrote, it seemed like he spent WAY too much time standing around worrying that he was crazy. So I expanded Adolin's character, providing a contrast. Dalinar, confident (to an extent) he was seeing something real--and his son, who worried his father was going insane.
Through this development, and giving Adolin more time on the page, he became a much more rounded character.
Another instance of this was Spook from the Mistborn series, who grew to have a much larger role than I'd originally intended.
There's another in this category--but it could include spoilers for an upcoming book. I'll talk about it eventually.
ETA: Szeth originally died permanently in the end of Words of Radiance. I also changed my mind to let Amaram live in the scene with the poison dart. Adolin killed off Sadeas instead.