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Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#51 Copy

Moosehead

I'm pretty sure it's a case of me just forgetting that I read such a part, but where in the book does Shallan find out about Kaladin's abilities? I know once Adolin confronts Shallan for the first time about her powers, he then asks if she can fly like 'him (Kaladin)', and she just goes yeah, as if she knew for some time now about Kaladin's abilities.

It's such a small thing but it's been grinding away at me. I know Shallan revealed to Kaladin by summoning her Shardblade over his shoulder in the chasm, but how did Kaladin reveal himself to Shallan?

Brandon Sanderson

If you re-read that scene, I believe she's confused by the question about her being able to fly, as so far as she knows, Radiants don't fly. (She only knows about herself and Jasnah.) She finds out about Kaladin sometime around when most everyone else finds out about him, I believe. I'd have to look back specifically to see if I noted it, but by the end of that battle, everyone will be talking about it and so she will know.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#52 Copy

Questioner

So who do you think Shallan's favorite real world artist would be?

Brandon Sanderson

She is a classicist so-- I don't know-- Probably someone really, really classic like da Vinci or, you know, or even Michelangelo.

Questioner

Where they do interesting light studies...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, where they're looking right at the musculature and things like that. That would be my guess.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#55 Copy

Questioner

We're doing a piece of art for a friend that's a crossover between The Stormlight Archive and Harry Potter. How would you sort Dalinar, Kaladin, Jasnah, and Shallan...

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah's a Slytherin. Hands down, very easy.

Dalinar's would depend on which Dalinar you're talking about. Dalinar is probably going to be Gryffindor either way, would be my guess.

Shallan's a Ravenclaw, straight up.

Kaladin's tough. You could Hufflepuff Kaladin. You could totally Hufflepuff Kaladin. I think that works.

You got one of each in that case.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#56 Copy

Kogiopsis

Kind of along the same lines, I just want to confirm something. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?

Brandon Sanderson

It would-- The model I use are actually for the half-Hawaiian, half-Asians that are kind of common in Hawaii. That's the model I've used; I actually have one of their faces for Kaladin. So it would depend on what your perspective is, you might say-- some people might say Arab, but the model I'm using is kind of more Hawaiian/Asian mix is what you'd get. The only ones that would look Caucasian to you straight-up would probably be the Shin, though if you get someone who has Horneater blood-- The Horneaters might look-- they just-- they're gonna look like bizarre… redhead… things, but they might look Caucasian to you.

swamp-spirit

So would Shallan also be more towards that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shallan has lighter skin. But she still has the epicanthic fold, and so she maybe would look to you like a Caucasian/Asian mix? With red hair? So… Anyway, she would look fairly Caucasian.

swamp-spirit

I will attempt to send you excited fanart.

Kogiopsis

I've been picturing the Alethi as Indian, myself.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yeah. Yeah, yeah, like East India? That’s a pretty good picture on them. That would work very well.

Legion Release Party ()
#59 Copy

Stormlightning

Okay so, also in Oathbringer, did Wit really speak into Shallan's mind when she was confronting the Heart of the Revel--is that what happened??

Brandon Sanderson

Eh, RAFO.

Stormlightning

Can't you tell me if that's what he did? If that was him?

Brandon Sanderson

*teasing sound* Come on. I won't even tell you. You would have gotten similar RAFOs - that does not indicate any yes or no - about stuff in Mistborn that I eventually came around to.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#60 Copy

Rachael

When she [Shallan] Soulcasts, does she physically go?  Or does she just think?

Brandon Sanderson

She transitions into the Cognitive Realm… Yeah she transitions but she’s not a hundred percent there…

Rachael

Then does Jasnah’s… does she work the same way?

Brandon Sanderson

She goes completely over.  That’s one of the differences between their magics. Shallan could get there if she wanted to, she hasn’t so far completely transitioned.

Argent

Even during regular Soulcasting, for both of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh for regular Soulcasting Jasnah doesn’t either.

Argent

‘Cause we were talking about the scene with the ship and Shallan. So would an outside observer see her shift over or—

Brandon Sanderson

The outside observer would see weirdness happening for sure.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#62 Copy

Darkness (paraphrased)

Is there any Spiritual or Cognitive effect on the subject of Shallan's memory collecting?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well… …

Darkness (paraphrased)

Simply from taking the memory, not from the consequences of seeing the pictures or anything.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Right… no, I would say no, but there is a sliiiiight Spiritual Connection happening. So, so… but it doesn't really have an effect on the person.  I mean, you could say, you could make the argument that any slight Connection like that does have one. But I don't want you to read that much into it. So the answer is yes, with an asterisk of no.

Stuttgart signing ()
#63 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Was Shallan's ability to draw intentional, just so you could have her draw all the maps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, basically that was the seed for her. I was inspired by people from history like Darwin who was a scientist and did drawings. That was part of the concept that made me put Shallan into the books. All those drawings are intended to give you a sense of immersion.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#65 Copy

Questioner

Considering Brandon likes MTG, this is probably something he has thought out haha.

Kaladin strikes me as someone with a very White personality and Blue powers.

Shallan's Blue.

Dalinar's White, but I feel like he was Red before.

Adolin has some Red, some White, and recently some Black I guess.

Lift is Red in personality and I guess Green at powers.

What else can you guys come up with?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... These are not bad, and it's always hard to figure out how to define by this system--honestly, I wouldn't trust my definitions, I'd have to go to MaRo or something.

I'd suspect that Shallan is red/blue instead of mono blue.

Lift is very green, not just in powers, but in personality. She's all about instinct, and doing what occurs to her in the moment.

As OP said, Kaladin is very white/blue. And Dalinar is red who became white. Navani is mono-blue. Szeth is black/white, and Taravangian probably mono-black. Eshonai is probably green.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#66 Copy

Darkness (paraphrased)

Was Ivory watching when Shallan was in Jasnah's bathing chamber and that whole swap thing kind of went down… what did he relay to Jasnah…?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Umm… he would've been there… but I don't have an answer for that, mostly because I haven't considered it.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#67 Copy

Kabsal

Huh. It seems a proto-Shallan did already exist as of this version [Way of Kings Prime]. I thought with the prologue's discussions of House Davar that Shallan would have been a more recent development.

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon sees Shinri and Shallan as entirely different people who have the same last name and are both Jasnah's ward. However, most of the other characters are the same people as they are in the published novel.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#68 Copy

Kythis

How did Pattern actually become a Shardblade even though he hadn't been fully pulled into the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

He had been pulled into the Physical Realm before when Shallan was younger, and she almost broke her bond.  And in so doing . . . 

Kythis

But he didn't go mad.

Brandon Sanderson

She didn't completely break the bond.  She didn't reject him completely.  But it was dangerous there for a while.  

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#71 Copy

vanahian

And for a friend of mine and her sanity... The Shalladin thing will be something or is all in her head? Stop her pain please :D.

Brandon Sanderson

Shallan has made her choice. I wouldn't expect that to change.

vanahian

And thanks for the answer in 11. My friend is crying but now she can go ahead with her life :)

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah...I do feel bad about that. If it's any comfort, tell her I think she'll eventually be very pleased it went this way. It might take a few more books, though.

Orem signing ()
#72 Copy

Questioner

What was your inspiration for Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

I had done several times, when I was designing characters in the cosmere, someone who kind of thought they were an awesome scholar but really wasn't. That's the kind of thing with Sarene and a little bit of the thing with Shallan. They're young people who haven't quite made it there yet, whose opinion of themselves is kind of beyond their actual skill level. Who would be, like, the scholar? Like, the ideal Rosharan societal scholar? And I built Jasnah out of that, and then took her in a way that would allow her to also be in conflict with that at the same time. Always a good source of writing a character.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#74 Copy

polaristar

Not sure about my favorite scene in OB, but one I'd like to see drawn is Shallan when she's in the midst of her "experiment" to find out what Shamespren look like after occupied Kholinar.

P.S Brandon was that scene inspired by an "fan-service comedic" moments in anime?

Brandon Sanderson

Not specifically, but perhaps unconsciously. I was simply looking for a way to make the conversation more interesting, and to remind readers that Shallan's way of seeing the world is not always...healthy.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#76 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So the reasons the fans...*inaudible* ...because I've found-- there's some authors I've read who allowed that to happen, and it seemed like it could compromise the integrity of the book. However, once in a while someone will ask a question, I'm like, "...yeah," right? Like someone asked about-- if Shallan might have some latent bi tendencies, right? And she'd been admiring women throughout the books. I'm like, "Yes, she probably does." Like that's something that was there that I hadn't vocalized, so that happens. And once in a while they ask me questions I'm just stumped on because I hadn't even considered it. In those cases I'll either say that or I'll just say, "RAFO, I need to think about it."

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. Well, you come up with the fundamentals of a magic... *brief interruption* ...then some questions can be easily answered. If you know, okay-- how-- Like with Elantris the fact that they could do it in any medium. They could chisel it. They could do all of these things to get the-- if they want to get it drawn in the air, says that, you know,... *inaudible*. And so if you have the fundamentals and they are consistent, you can extrapolate. And the fans should be able to extrapolate too.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#77 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, a couple of things here. First off, I'll take any knocks I get--and try to do better. I'm not an expert on mental health, and though I do my best, I'm going to get things wrong. I'm going to risk defending myself here--and hopefully not dig myself deeper--as I at least explain my thought process, and why I built Shallan the way I did.

However, one of the rules of thumb I go by is this: individual experience can defy the standard, if I understand that is what I'm doing. Like how Stephen Leeds is not trying to accurately portray schizophrenia, Shallan is not trying to accurately portray dissociative identity disorder (if a scholarly consensus on such a thing even exists. I haven't glanced through the DSM5 to see what it says.)

In Legion, I have an easy out. I say, point blank, "He doesn't fit the diagnosis--he's not a schizophrenic, or if he is, he's a very weird one." I don't have the benefit of a modern psychology voice in the Stormlight books to hang a lantern on this, but my intention is the same. What Shallan has is related to her individual interaction with the world, her past, and the magic.

Is this Hollywood MPD? I'm not convinced. Hollywood MPD (with DSM4 backing it up, I believe) tends to involve things like a person feeling like they're possessed, and completely out of control. The different identities don't remember what others did. It's a very werewolf type thing. You wake up, and learn that another version of you took over your body and went out and committed crimes or whatever.

Shallan is coping with her pain in (best I've been able to do) a very realistic way, by boxing off and retreating and putting on a mask of humor and false "everything is okay" attitudes. But she has magical abilities that nobody in this world has, including the ability to put on masks that change the way everyone perceives her. She's playing roles as she puts them on, but I make it very clear (with deliberate slip-ups of self-reference in the prose) that it's always Shallan in there, and she's specifically playing this role because it lets her ignore the things she doesn't want to face.

She's losing control of what is real and what isn't--partially because she can't decide who she wants to be, who she should be, and what the world wants her to be. But it's not like other personalities are creeping in from a fractured psyche. She's hiding behind masks, and creates each role for herself to act in an attempt to solve a perceived shortcoming in herself. She literally sketched out Veil and thought, "Yup, I'm going to become that person now." Because Veil would have never been tricked into caring about her father; she would have been too wise for that.

I feel it's as close as I can get to realism, while the same time acknowledging that as a fantasy author, one of my primary goals is to explore the human interaction with the supernatural. The "What ifs" of magic. What if a person who had suffered a great deal of abuse as a child COULD create a mask for themselves, changing themselves into someone stronger (or more street-smart who wouldn't have been betrayed that way. Would they do it, and hide behind that mask? What would that do to them and the world around them?

DID is indeed controversial, but I really like this portrayal. Not of a disease, but of who this character is. And I've had had enough positive responses from people who feel their own psychology is similar that I'm confident a non-insignificant number of people out there identify with what she's doing in the same way people with depression identify with Kaladin.

Fantasy Faction interview ()
#78 Copy

Fantasy Faction

In The Way of Kings, when Shallan zones out and draws a picture of a dead noble at a dinner table, was she drawing her own father after she killed him with her Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh, good question! You will want to read Words of Radiance, where her flashbacks may indeed involve this scene that she drew.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#79 Copy

Questioner

How was Shallan able to bond with Pattern before she was broken?

Brandon Sanderson

She was open to him even before she went through a lot of that turmoil

Questioner

I thought everybody had to be broken in order to--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, that's their philosophy in-world. But I'm not going to say whether it's correct or wrong. I will imply that there are other means as well.

Paris signing ()
#81 Copy

Demiandre (paraphrased)

I wondered about Shallan's eidetic memory, and about the possibility of trapping a spren. Could a bonded spren be trapped inside a gemstone and trapped in a safe? If so, would something else - not Investiture related - fill the "crack in the soul"? Could that be linked to her memory or her need to draw before Lightweaving?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

In and about, he answered that what Shallan does isn't out of the ordinary, and it is possible to trap a bonded spren inside a gemstone.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#83 Copy

Questioner

There's a lot of situations where people hear voices or see visions, stuff like that. What would be the effect, if somebody had something like mental condition like schizophrenia or multiple personality? Because you talk about-- Because a lot of the magic is about their will, you know?

Brandon Sanderson

Schizophrenia in the cosmere is going to-- So, anytime you're seeing the future, and things like that, you're kinda glimpsing into the Spiritual Realm. That's why it happens so often, because the magic systems are the way they work, are coming down from the Spiritual Realm. Schizophrenia will make you more open to that, so you are more likely to actually see the future. But you won't be able to tell it from the things your mind is making up, which is gonna be really dangerous.

Questioner

So, what if you had, like, one personality wanna do one thing, and another one trying to do something else, would it cancel each other out?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. I mean, we're going a little that direction with Shallan, anyway. You'll see.

Firefight Miami signing ()
#85 Copy

Questioner

I can't really remember very well, but I think only Kaladin really says Radiant Oaths in the books, at least. So, for Shallan to have as many powers as she does, has she already said one of the ideals, and we just don't know?

Brandon Sanderson

...You have her glyph whisper one. And you have seen Dalinar say one. So, most of them say them. Shallan's Order, they admit truths. Their Oaths are a very different sort of thing.

Questioner

'Cause I know, I did read that, but I was wondering-- it said somewhere else that all the Knights Radiant have to say the First Ideal.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they do have to do that.

Questioner

So, she has said that.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, she has said that. That is somewhere in her past.

Questioner

Which, presumably, we'll find out about some other point in time?

Brandon Sanderson

Possibly. I think that can be inferred.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
#87 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Three

Shallan

I chose to use Shallan as my other main character in Part One, rather than Dalinar, because I felt her sequence better offset Kaladin's. He was going to some very dark places, and her sequence is a little lighter.

She is the only "new" main character in this book. Kaladin (under a different name) was in Way of Kings Prime, and Dalinar was there virtually unchanged from how he is now. The character in Shallan's place, however, never panned out. That left me with work to do in order to replace Jasnah's ward.

Shallan grew out of my desire to have an artist character to do the sketches in the book. Those were things I'd wanted to do forever, but hadn't had the means to accomplish when writing the first version of the book. I now had the contacts and resources to do these drawings, like from the sketchbook of a natural historian such as Darwin.

One of the things that interests me about scientists in earlier eras is how broad their knowledge base was. You really could just be a "scientist" and that would mean that you had studied everything. Now, we need to specialize more, and our foundations seem to be less and less generalized. A physicist may not pay attention to sociology at all.

Classical scholars were different. You were expected to know languages, natural science, physical science, and theology all as if they were really one study. Shallan is my stab at writing someone like this.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#88 Copy

kari-no-sugata

Shallan... in Oathbringer... she meets Adolin, and he's staring into her eyes. And she thinks that he can see that when she's Shallan again. So, my question is, is she correct? And if so, how did Adolin see that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's not a magical thing. She shifts even when she's kind of being herself-- When she becomes different people, even if she's not completely Lightweaving herself, she shifts.

kari-no-sugata

Is it visible?

Brandon Sanderson

It is visible.

kari-no-sugata

So he's looking very closely.

Brandon Sanderson

And he wouldn't be able to point out that he had seen that. But it's intuitive, and he's learned to recognize that.

kari-no-sugata

...In her final scene, she seems like she kind of summons her personas-- as if she's fully in control, and they're not coming by themselves anymore, is that correct?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

kari-no-sugata

So, they still come and go as they want?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she's much more in control, but still has a way to go.

kari-no-sugata

Would Wit basically approve of what she's done?

Brandon Sanderson

He would give her a "that's a step forward, but you're not there yet."

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#89 Copy

Questioner

My first question is about Shallan and whether what she does with her drawings and the deserters in Words of Radiance, kind of changing them, is at all similar to what Shai does in The Emperor's Soul?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, that's a good question. There are similarities, but only so much that The Emperor's Soul is cosmere and is relying on the same foundation of magic. But good question. Are you getting at me saying you've seen somebody do it before?

Questioner

I talked to Alice.

Brandon Sanderson

So you have seen what she does before, but that is not what I was pointing at. It's someth-- No one is going to expect it.