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DragonCon 2019 ()
#54 Copy

Questioner

Could the Assassin in White assassinate Prof from the Reckoners?

Brandon Sanderson

Could he? Yeah, he could. Depends on what- which place in the books you would put him. But I would lay odds on Szeth in that one, in almost every situation. *laughter* Now, the thing is, it depends also on how familiar he is with Prof's powers, how much he's acting like an assassin, right? Which is what he's generally going to try to do, but... you know, Gavilar got a lot of warning. So, if Prof got a lot of warning... the more warning Prof has, the worse it looks for Szeth. But the further in the series Szeth goes - if you pick him from a different book--the more likely it is he's going to win.

'Cause he gets a hold of something very important. *laughter*

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#58 Copy

R.E. (paraphrased)

Does Vasher have a different way of getting access to Stormlight than everyone else? Given that he has no spren, no honorblade and he isn't a squire?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. He can use Stormlight to stay alive, but it doesn't let him Surgebind.

R.E. (paraphrased)

Could Szeth get access to this method?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes

R.E. (paraphrased)

And use it to fuel Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes he could.

R.E. (paraphrased)

Can you tell me what that method is?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*smiles*

General Reddit 2017 ()
#61 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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#63 Copy

Ray745

During the final fight between Szeth and Kaladin, Szeth seems far too surprised when Kaladin follows him out past the stormwall.

Kaladin exploded out of the stormwall, surrounded by windspren that spiraled away in a pattern of light. He shouted, driving his spear toward Szeth, who parried hastily, his eyes wide. "Impossible!"

And before that you make a point of mentioning all the windspren streaming around Kaladin as he's flying. A popular theory about Shardplate is that it's made up out of "cousin" spren. Obviously that is a RAFO question, but I wanted to ask if Szeth was surprised for any reason other than Kaladin just following him out of the storm? My theory is Szeth saw the beginnings of a vague suit of Shardplate forming around Kaladin. I know you won't answer that directly, but I was hoping to see your face when I asked it haha. Do you have any comment on that theory?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth was surprised for more reasons than just Kaladin following him out. He is realizing that the Radiants are returning, and that his exile was unearned.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#64 Copy

Ray745

Is Lift the only one who is able to see the afterimage around Szeth when he moves? And would she have seen that afterimage around him before he was brought back to life by Nalan?

Brandon Sanderson

Lift is seeing that Szeth's soul isn't quite attached to his body any longer. She is not the only one that can see it, but her special physiology is certainly helping her see it.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#65 Copy

Questioner

What’s your most terrifying character, and why is it Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Nightblood is pretty terrifying… You know, an object created to destroy evil but doesn’t know what it is?

Questioner

When you brought it back...I had <to like shut the book> a little bit and like, scary.

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted you to think that Nightblood in the hands of Szeth should be one of the most terrifying things that you have ever contemplated.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
#66 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Lashings

I'll be referencing the original draft of The Way of Kings (AKA Way of Kings Prime), written in 2002, as I feel it will probably be fun for readers to see how the book evolved over time. Every other book of mine you've read was conceived and executed over a relatively short period. The Way of Kings is different—it had a lot of evolving to do before hitting the state it's in now.

One of those evolutions was the magic. Mistborn had one of my best magic systems to date. In Way of Kings Prime (written before Mistborn) we only had two types of magic: Shardblades and Soulcasting. Shardblades were great, but not really magic. Soulcasting didn't work so well. [Assistant Peter's note: There was also something called Windrunning, but it was completely different from the version we know now.]

Mistborn really upped the ante in terms of magic in my books, and I wanted The Way of Kings to have a more dynamic, interesting magic system. That is one factor in why I waited so long to release it.

I finally worked out Lashings while on tour for The Well of Ascension. (That was the tour I went on following the call from Harriet, asking if I was interested in finishing The Wheel of Time.) What I liked about the Lashings system was the visual power and the means of manipulating gravity and pressure in interesting visual and creative ways. I had already built into the sensibilities of the world the idea that there were ten fundamental forces I had based on the idea of fundamental forces in our world's physics. It all fit together nicely.

Anyway, Szeth (named Jek in the first version of the book) was a more ordinary assassin in the original. He didn't have powers beyond being a really, really good killer.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#67 Copy

Questioner

So Truthless are kind of pretty rare, right, in the Shin society?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So how did they come by the [Honorblades] that Szeth's got?

Brandon Sanderson

They, historically, kept all of them.

Auestioner

Oh, ok. I wondered if that was the case. Interesting. Does that have anything to do with why they think stone is sacred?

Brandon Sanderson

You will find out more about that as time progresses.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#68 Copy

Amerikoni

I only yesterday found out you changed the ending for the way of kings. So here is my question. I've only read the first version where Kaladin kills Szeth. When Szeth gets killed now, it's by the storm. What is it that specifically kills him since he can normally just evade the storm or even be healed by stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! So, the idea here is that Szeth has given up, and wants to die. I wanted the storm to kill him, then, as opposed to Kaladin. What kills him is losing control in the storm, and being slammed into the ground.

The bigger change here was actually my desire to leave it at least partially clear that he's not dead, in order to avoid the 'fake out' ending. Having him be dead and reborn was important, but I felt in the first stab I erred on the side of pulling a fast one on the reader.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#70 Copy

Blightsong

Is anything magical going on with the screams Szeth hears?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhh, Szeth's screams. Uhhm, I'm trying to decide how to answer this. It is not, see here's the thing. What we would call magical may not be considered magical in the Cosmere, but it depends on your definition of magic. Would Szeth if he were on our planet and have done those things would he hear those screams, probably not, but would someone else in the Cosmere who had gone through what he had gone through hear those screams, yes.

Blightsong

So it has to do with the spiritual realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yea, mhmm, yea.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#71 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Someday... once I'm sure everything that it would spoil has been released, I will release [Way of Kings Prime] so you can read it. You can probably see that, if you read Stormlight, a chunk of the book belonging to Taln moved to Szeth, instead, who was a character in the first book but had a slightly different plot. Eventually, we will get to the whole story, though.

Firefight Miami signing ()
#72 Copy

Questioner

Assassin in White. He's still working for the bad guys, right? Because he doesn't have a spren attached to his sword? *pause* You don't know?

Brandon Sanderson

I know. "Bad guys" is an interesting definition in the cosmere. Right now... he is directly under the influence of the Skybreakers. Who were an Order of Knights Radiant.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#73 Copy

unknown

Was Vallano, Szeth's grandfather, also a Truthless? And if not, what did he do to disgrace the Shin?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Vallano was not Truthless.

Szeth was a very respected member of his society, once. There are clues to what happened in his story, but you won't hear it in full until he gets his book. (Which will include his flashbacks.)

Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
#74 Copy

Jay

Do Szeth and Kaladin both belong to the same order of knights radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth isn't actually in an order of Knights Radiant. Something different is happening with Szeth that people have already begun to guess. And Kaladin isn't yet a Knight Radiant, but the powers he uses are those of the Windrunners, one of the orders of the Knights Radiant. Szeth is using the same power set. So your phrasing is accurate to that extent.

Skyward release party ()
#77 Copy

JoyBlu

Szeth, when he writes when Gavilar dies, what language was that written in?

Brandon Sanderson

That was written in Alethi.

JoyBlu

Where did Szeth learn Alethi?

Brandon Sanderson

He has been living among them for a long time, and Alethi was also part of his training.

MisCon 2018 ()
#79 Copy

Glamdring804

Szeth has an afterglow because his soul is lagging behind his body slightly.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Glamdring804

So if he was moving fast enough, could a Shardblade pass through his physical body and not cut the soul?

Brandon Sanderson

Ummm, that sounds like the sort of thing-- I'm going to say, the soul is more stretchy, so I don't think that's possible. But you could do some weird things where you're cutting the soul and not the body.

Legion Release Party ()
#81 Copy

Questioner

Are we just going to see Szeth kill a lot of people in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth has some better influences than he's had in a long while. He did have some good influences early on. But it's been a long time since he has had as good influences as he now has. I wouldn't count Nightblood as one of those. But at the same time, he's had worse influences than Nightblood.