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General Reddit 2017 ()
#101 Copy

ebilutionist

Will we get a depiction of Dalinar, aside from the image in Unfettered II? I was slightly disappointed these [Oathbringer endpapers] are depictions of Heralds actually, although having said that, they are gorgeous!

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sure we'll get one eventually. But there's not one in this book.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#102 Copy

Blightsong

Who drew [the Oathbringer endpapers]? Are they in-world art?

Brandon Sanderson

These are in world paintings done by the Oilsworn, one of the people Shallan studied when practicing her art. The actual paintings were done by the Oilsworn's real-world counterpart, Dan Dos Santos, who did the cover of Warbreaker.

There are two more pieces in the back, done by someone else, which are also in-world art pieces. They're all part of a larger theme, and are equally gorgeous.

Phantine

I assume these are paintings of heralds, then?

Brandon Sanderson

These two [in the front of the book] are Ishar and Ash. The back two are Jezrien and Vedel.

ConvolutedBoy

Ash is so much more...shiny than I expected, but I guess that's Lightweaving for you. I love the space background too.

Brandon Sanderson

Remember, these are in-world artifacts. So this is how someone painted her from their imagination, based on lore. These are Rosharan versions of the paintings of the prophets along the top of the Sistine Chapel.

Miscellaneous 2017 ()
#103 Copy

Argent

None of the Alethi names seem to have a "ch" sound in them - except for Chana / Chanarach, the Herald. Do they have a sound and written symbol for it? And if not, would they use a different sound when saying or writing Chana's name ("sh" maybe?)?

Isaac Stewart

I could be wrong, but I think there is a symbol for "ch" in Alethi women's script.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#104 Copy

[Discussion of Nale, and the legality of his actions.]

Brandon Sanderson

He takes whatever steps he can to go through proper channels. He would argue that he's doing what /u/bonly says he is. But remember, he is insane, and his perception of the world is untrustworthy.

He would claim to be, in the context of this discussion, Lawful Neutral.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#105 Copy

Questioner

With the Heralds we know that there's only one left... one Herald that's still bound to the Oathpact--

Brandon Sanderson

OK, only one Herald was about, was abandoned-- You'll find out the mechanics of that in the next book.

Questioner

So are we going to see more of Taln...

Brandon Sanderson

You will see more of-- the Oathpact is not completely broken, the others are still bound to the Oathpact.

Questioner

Even though they kind of sort of said they were abandoning it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, so there's still connection there, so you'll find out more about all of this and how it works.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
#106 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Prelude

In classic Sanderson fashion, the beginning of this book was the part to see the biggest edits. I usually start a novel, write from beginning to end, then go back and play heavily with my beginning to better match the tone of the book.

Here, one of my big decisions was to choose between two prologues I had written out. One was with the Heralds, and set the stage for a much larger story—I liked the epic feel it gave, and the melancholy tone it set. The other was Szeth's attack on Kholinar. This was a great action sequence that set up some of the plots for the novel in a very good way, but had a steep learning curve.

I was very tempted to use both, which was what I eventually did. This wasn't an easy decision, however, as this book was already going to start with a very steep learning curve. Prelude→prologue→Cenn→Kaladin→Shallan would mean five thick chapters at the start of the book without any repeating settings or viewpoint characters.

This can sink a novel quickly. As it stands, this is the most difficult thing about The Way of Kingsas a novel. Many readers will feel at sea for a great deal of Part One because of the challenging worldbuilding, the narrative structure, and the fact that Kaladin's life just plain sucks.

It seems that my instincts were right. People who don't like the book often are losing interest in the middle of Part One. When I decided to use the prelude and the prologue together, I figured I was all in on the plan of a thick epic fantasy with a challenging learning curve. That decision doesn't seem to have destroyed my writing career yet.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#107 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

It's not every day you get you get to help save the world. Around here, it only happens about every six months.

I stood in the Apocalypse Guard command center. The screens displayed Erodan, a planet threatened with destruction by a passing asteroid. Today, the Guard would save that planet, and I got to be part of it.

"Emma," Commander Visco said, waving her cup toward me. "This coffee cup won't refill itself."

A very small part.

I seized the Commander's cup and hurried to the small kitchen beside the command station. As painful as it was to miss anything, particularly now that the asteroid was getting close to Erodan, I had a job to do. Commander Visco couldn't spare the time to fill her own cup. That's why you had interns like me.

A pot was brewing on the counter inside the small kitchen. But just in case, I got a second one going in the other machine. Truth be told, I was a coffee-making genius. Everybody said so, and I took their word on it, because... seriously, why would you bother lying to the coffee girl? Granted, I had to take their word for it, as I didn't drink coffee. My skill was due to my secret weapon: I knew how to follow instructions. I flipped through pictures on my phone, finding the instructions. The other interns said they'd been making coffee for years and didn't need instructions... but they then seemed shocked when they tasted how great my brews were. Odd how it was, when you measured exactly and read by the manual, how things turned out better than when you did by instinct.

New batch brewing, I filled the commander's cup, then took the rest of the pot with me as I rushed back into the main room of the command center, which was occupied by some forty people. We weren't actually on Erodan, the endangered planet; our command center was on the space station Charleston, which was in orbit around Terra, my home planet. We used specialized technology to look through at Erodan and manage the operation there.

When most people think of the Apocalypse Guard, they imagine the Riggers and their fantastical powers. Most people forget that the Guard also includes hundreds of scientists, engineers, explorers... and office interns. A magnificent force united by a single goal: save planets from destruction.

I delivered the Commander's cup, glancing at the command center's large main screen, which had shifted to a view of the asteroid. One of the technicians had nicknamed it "Droppy." The people on Erodan called it "Calamity." That was a bad name by our metrics for various reasons. Droppy didn't look that dangerous to me; more majestic. A grand oblong chunk of space rock tumbling quietly in the void, trailing a brilliant line of debris. The Apocalypse Guard had been working to stop it for two years now, ever since first discovering Erodan and making contact. That had been long before I had joined them, but I had read all of the mission briefs. Well, the ones that interns had clearance for, anyway.

Commander Visco barked an order, checking on the Sapphire Riggers who were watching along the Erodan's eastern sea. Because of the Guard's actions, Droppy should miss the planet. But after that, the planet would pass through the debris of the asteroid's tail, and that would cause meteor showers, and some larger chunks of rock might prove dagneorus. The Sapphire Riggers would use their powers to stop any tsunamis.

As the screen switched, I jumped, remembering where I was. Step one of not getting fired, Emma. Do your freaking job. Coffee pot in hand, I turned toward the rows of people seated in cubbies beneath the main screen. These scientists and operators supported the Riggers, who were our field agents. Filling empty cups wasn't glorious work, but it was my work, and dang it, I was gonna do it well. If Erodan fell, it wouldn't be because our command team lacked proper caffeination.

The screen switched to another image of Droppy. From what I'd read, saving planets from asteroids was standard work for the Guard. They'd done it some six times now. I would have expected them to use nukes, or more dramatically, the Steel Riggers, who could shoot bolts of energy from their hands. Instead, the Guard had painted the asteroid bright white. That meant more sunlight bounced off Droppy, which, remarkably, had nudged it off its course. Two years later, it was barely going to miss Erodan.

My pot ran dry, so I went to fetch a new one. On my way back to the kitchen, I hesitantly stopped the room's Firelight Rigger, who sat in a command chair off by himself. The man wore a bright red headpiece, kind of like a futuristic crown, and a similar chestpiece under his loose jacket. I wiggled the coffee pot, but he just stared forward, fingers laced with the index fingers tapping. The air seemed to warm around him. Looking in other dimensions, I thought, shivering. Technically, Erodan wasn't simply another planet; it was an alternate dimension version of Terra. There were technically infinite dimensions, but most weren't stable. They were wild half-realities, full of oddities and bizarre visions. Erodan, however, was what we call a Stable Node, like Terra. Or Earth, the Hidden Node. Erodan was a real world, full of living people, civilizations, and cultures.

"Looking good," Commander Visco said as reports flashed on the main screen. She had a voice that tasted like fudge brownies. Oh, right, I kind of taste sounds sometimes, particularly peoples' voices. It's called synesthesia, and it's a totally cool thing that scientists find super interesting and not weird at all. I don't mention it to people very often. "Emerald Riggers," Commander Visco said, "Report."

I trotted away from the Firelight Rigger (who was, admittedly, very creepy) and started scanning for other people who needed coffee refills. The main screen turned to a shot of a line of Emerald Riggers floating up above Erodan's atmosphere, each surrounded by a protective green forcefield. They were spaced out, watching the asteroid from a safe distance, a line of sentinels between it and the planet. "Asteroid pass is looking clean, Commander," said Captain Choy, an Asian man. His face, shaded green from his forcefield, appeared in the corner of the main screen. His voice tasted like brown beef with onions. "How are the tides?"

"Sapphire Riggers report they are manageable," a scientist replied. "Everything is as projected."

"Doesn't even look like there's much debris in the tail," Choy said. "Emerald Riggers standing by."

I filled a few more cups, moving down a row of operators wearing headsets. Each of these would be in contact with a specific Rigger. I didn't know most of them, though Billy, who was the last in the row, gave me a grin and held up his cup. "Thanks, Emma," he said, pulling off his headset. His voice tasted of mint asparagus. Yes, I know. Billy took a sip of coffee, and then handed me the headset. "Hold this."

"Um... sure."

Billy slipped off his chair. "I'll be back in a sec. Have to hit the restroom. Cover for me."

"Co- co- cover for you?" I just about dropped my coffee pot. "Billy, I'm not trained for this! Billy!"

"It's fine," he said.

"Where are the instructions?" Billy just left me there. He wasn't the only one getting up. Others would occasionally run to the restroom or something. A mission like this could take hours. But none of the others left an intern holding their headset!

I looked around in panic. An Indian man two seats over glanced at me, then shook his head, as if in disapproval. Right, right, cover for Billy. Step one, put on the headset. Step two... look like you know what you're doing? "Hello," I said into the device?"

"Hello, beautiful," a familiar voice said. "Glad Billy finally got your attention. Hovering up here is getting boring."

Lance. Emerald Rigger, and the reason I had gotten this internship in the first place. My boyfriend, a man I could have freaking strangled right then.

***

Lance's voice tasted like my favorite peanut cluster candy bar from home. A familiar, comfortable taste, sweet and salty at the same time. "Lance," I hissed, sitting down. "You're not supposed to be Billy's Rigger!"

"Billy and I got it swapped," Lance said. "If I'm going to spend hours flying up here in a bubble, I can at least have someone fun to talk to."

"You're doing important work," I said, hunkering down. What if the Commander noticed that I was shirking coffee duty to talk to my boyfriend? "Super heroic stuff."

"Boring," Lance said, then yawned audibly into the microphone. At twenty years old, Lance Stoddard was two years my senior, which had caused some consternation on the parts of our parents when we were in high school. He was the Apocalypse Guard's star rookie, having mastered the Emerald Rig after just one year of practice. He'd been on active duty every since, saving planets. That wasn't enough, of course, for Lance Freaking Stoddard. "They refused to put me on the dangerous missions," he said. "I had a chance to be on help of Zima five months ago, but they-" Do I have to listen to his again? "They pulled me for no reason! Now here I am, staring at a rock! Important work. The Hex were on Zima, Emma."

I shivered. The Hex. I wasn't allowed to read about our intervention on Zima. The reports were classified. But I did know we'd failed. The Hex had destroyed the planet. That made four planets so far they'd claimed in the eight years since they'd been discovered. People called them the most dangerous threat to the Knowns we'd ever encountered, a fact that I knew intimately well.

Lance sighed again, loudly. "You're so aggravating," I said, fishing in my pocket.

"You're getting out your phone, aren't you?"

"No I'm not," I said, getting out my phone.

"You're looking for that picture of me. The one you wrote instructions on."

"Don't be silly," I said, pulling up that exact picture."

"Well, if I'm supposed to be offended, I'm not. I think it's very cute, the way you talk. Very Idaho."

"I work for the Guard, now. I've become very cosmopolitan." I lowered my voice, thickening my real accent. "So stop teasin' me, Lance Stardard, you flipping idiot."

"I love the way that sounds! So pastoral!"

"Hush," I said. "You're from Idaho, too."

"I lived there for three years." Lance was originally from New York. He implied to others that he'd grown up in the important part, but I knew he'd lived in a town just as rural as Iona, Idaho. "I'm telling you", he said over the line, "I'm capable of more of this. The Pangaea mission will be even more boring. A flood? Scientists can solve that."

"I'm sure everyone we save on Pangaea will be comforted to know they were almost killed by a boring apocalyse."

On the screen Droppy drew closer and closer to Erodan. Sometimes, it was hard to remember that the screen was looking between dimensions, at another version of our world. Our history deviated from Erodan's some two thousand years ago, so they didn't seem very similar. Erodan's technology was stuck somewhere around the 1980s, and all the nations had different names from ours. They'd never heard of people like George Washington or Joan of Arc. Those people simply hadn't been born on Erodan. That was different from Earth, though, the Hidden Node. Apparently, that planet was so similar to Terra that there were alternate versions of most people living on it. Crazy. Fortunately, nobody could get to Earth these days, so it didn't really matter.

"You're supposed to be keeping me company."

"You're supposed to be staying focused. How long is Billy going to be gone, anyway?"

"Someway, when your internship is done, you'll be my operator. Then we can work as a team! Think of it. Me, risking my life on daring adventures. You, admiring how well I do it."

"You, tripping over your enthusiasm," I said. "Me, saving your heinie at the last minute, like in physics class, and in chemistry class, and in calculus class." I smiled. I did like Lance. He was like a big, barking Labrador. A little loud, maybe a little full of himself, but sweet at the same time.

"Admit it," he said, "You're glad I suggested that you apply."

"Suggested? You practically forced me into it."

"All I did was give you a list of instructions for submitting an application!" His candy-bar voice sounded intentionally innocent.

I sighed. It wasn't that I had minded getting out of Iona. But, well... Riggers gave me the shivers. It's just hard to explain. Our lives had seemed planned out, simply. But then Lance, instead of taking the football scholarship, had applied for the Guard. And he'd gotten in! And then when I graduated two years later, he nagged me until I applied. He pulled some strings, and I was really good at following instructions. So three months later, here I was, serving coffee to the Apocalypse Guard itself. Eh... when Lance let me do my job.

"Do you ever wonder," I said over the line, "why we have to do this in the first place?"

"Talk?" Lance said.

"No, save planets."

"You'd rather just let 'em be destroyed?"

"No," I said, "not that. I mean, have you wondered why? We found like, what, forty different stable nodes?"

"Yeah, something like that."

"And Erodan will be our twentieth intervention," I said. "So, like, half of all the planets we discover need to be saved from some imminent catastrophe. None have their own Apocalypse Guard or their own Riggers."

"Eh, some people from other planets do have weird powers. Jank is from Triveria; he can make things dry by touching them. He doesn't need a rig or anything."

"That's beside the point. Why, Lance? Why are so many planets facing life-ending threats?"

The Guard had a great track record. Of its twenty interventions so far, only six had failed. Four of those to the Hex, but that was still six entire planets we'd lost. with, in most cases, only a small percentage of people escaping to other dimensions.

"Best not to think about stuff like that, Emma," Lance said.

"I wish we had more answers," I said. "It..." I trailed off. A number on my monitor was flashing. The monitor had all kinds of readouts and things I didn't understand, since this wasn't my freaking job.

"Just a sec," Lance said. "Something's happening." That number on my screen, I thought. It's Lance's heartbeat. It skyrocketed. Feeling a growing panic, I looked up to the large main screen, which showed Droppy in all its glory. It seemed to be wobbling in a different way than before. Though the control center, scientists and operators hushed. Commander Visco looked up from her tablet at the back of the room, lowering her coffee mug from her lips. The asteroid wobbled once more, then started breaking into smaller chunks.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#110 Copy

Questioner

Do you ever have crazy ideas that are too crazy?

Brandon Sanderson

This happens all the time.

Greatness is often born of brashness. Of a reckless, bull-headed intent to do something everyone tells you is stupid. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you can't articulate in brief, because distillation ruins the very performance. Reduce a symphony to three notes, and it will seem pedestrian. Some ideas take to summary with ease. For others, explaining them is like trying to help someone climb Mount Everest after they say, "I'd like to take the quick route, please."

As a writer, you grow accustomed to saying, "It will work when I write it." You get use to saying, "I can do this, even if everyone tells me I can't." Becoming a writer in the first place is often done in defiance of rational good sense.

And sometimes, you're wrong. You try to prove that the idea works, you OWN it…and it's just not working. You're convinced it's your skill, and not the idea. If you could just figure it out…

This happened several times on The Wheel of Time. River of Souls, the famous deleted sequence from Demandred's viewpoint, is one of these. Perrin's excursion into the Ways in book 14 (also cut) is another. Early on, I pitched Perrin deciding to follow the Way of the Leaf to the team–but I wasn't actually serious on that one. More, I was in a brainstorming session with Team Jordan, and throwing out things that could possibly fulfill Perrin's arc in an unexpected way.

The 10th anniversary of Elantris has some deleted scenes, and the annotations talk about how in that book, I originally decided to have Hrathen turn out to be of a different nationality (secretly) as a twist at the end. The man who was doing all these terrible things was from Arelon all along!

That was stupid. It undermined much of his arc. It was a twist to just have another twist–in a book that already had plenty. Early reactions from Alpha readers helped me see this.

Lately, I've been trying to do some things with backstory and "cosmology" for the Stephen Leeds (aka Legion) stories, and Peter's not sold. We'll see if this turns into a "it will work when I write it" or a "That's a twist you don't need, Brandon."

General Reddit 2017 ()
#111 Copy

[on the subject of Rosharan spheres]

sinsmi

Fishtank beads aren't spheres, they're ovoids. They aren't flat on any sides, they're just oval-based.

This is a sphere that's flat on one side. Otherwise, the side of the sphere being flattened (since it's specifically only one side) would be pushed out to the sides, and it wouldn't end up being very circular at all.

/u/mistborn, please lmk if I'm misunderstanding it, because I'm genuinely curious now.

Brandon Sanderson

No, your image is close to what I imagined.

Miscellaneous 2017 ()
#113 Copy

Argent

Are all the constellations symbolic in nature? If so, can you fill in any gaps in my understanding of them (or expand on them, point out cool things I may have missed, etc)? I've got:

  • Roshar - Shardbearer (or maybe Herald). Pretty obvious, considering how dominant those are.
  • Nalthis - someone exhaling or giving Breath. Again, straightforward.
  • Threnody - a grieving woman? Because Threnody, like the other inner planets in the Threnodite system, all bear names related to grieving, mourning, that kind of stuff.

Isaac Stewart

All correct so far.

Argent

Taldain - a tree? Because of the importance of water on the world?

Isaac Stewart

A one tree. This is a symbolic reference to the Shard that resides on that world. The Coppermind says this: "Khriss writes that Bavadin supports a policy of strict isolationism for Taldain."

Argent

First of the Sun - a sailor? Because of how the natives live, traveling between the isles?

Isaac Stewart

A fisherman, actually. He's throwing his net out among the stars.

Argent

Sel - the lamp makes a lot more sense now, thanks! I don't think anyone had pointed out that Sel is inside the flame, not the lamp - but the lamp is so much dominant in the image, it was easy to focus on it :)

Isaac Stewart

Just repeating what I mentioned before in case I ever make this into a blog post. Sel's constellation is symbolic (as is the constellation Threnody is found in). As for the lamp, notice that Sel is not exactly part of the lamp. It's part of the flame. How does Aon Dor work? An Elantrian creates an opening for it to pour through and affect the world. Think of the flame as a symbol for the Dor. Does that make sense?

Argent

Scadrial - why is it absent? And is it really absent, or there but just not labeled (for whatever reason)?

Isaac Stewart

Scadrial's there. It's just part of the constellation I've been calling the Giver. Some worlds are closer together than others, so there wasn't room to give each world its own constellation.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#115 Copy

Questioner

Why didn't Dalinar get the powers of a Stoneward when he bonded Taln's [Honorblade]?

Brandon Sanderson

Some readers have already figured this out, so I don't think I'm engaging in too large a spoiler to dig into this one here.

There are several oddities going on here. The most important one relevant to this question is the Blade in question. If you compare the descriptions of the sword described in the epilogue of The Way of Kings to the one that traveled with the madman (allegedly Taln, the Herald) to the Shattered Plains, you'll find they are different.

The one that the characters obtained in Words of Radiance is NOT an Honorblade. It's an ordinary Shardblade (as ordinary as one of those can be called.) I'm not going to say specifically what happened to the Blade Taln arrived with at Kholinar, but I will say that it IS a different weapon from the one in Words of Radiance.

The other issue here is the somewhat lesser question of whether this character is actually Taln, the Herald, or not. Some characters in-world don't believe that it is, though his viewpoint in Words of Radiance strongly implies otherwise. This isn't specifically relevant to the conversation for reasons I'll talk about below--but it is tangentially related. Because in the cosmere, Intent is important to many of the types of magic. It's theoretically possible to hold an Honorblade and not realize what its powers are, and therefore be unable to access them.

As an aside, this character was actually the primary protagonist of the version of The Way of Kings I wrote in 2002. A man who woke up, with lingering memories of madness, and claimed to be a Herald when nobody believed him--as he couldn't manifest any powers, seemed to have lost his sword, and lore said the Heralds weren't coming back anyway.

When I wrote the new version of The Way of Kings in 2009 or so, one goal was to focus the storyline. I'd included so many characters in the 2002 version that none of them progressed very far in their arcs, creating a strong setting and interesting characters--but a bad book. During the new version, I decided that this character would be moved to the later books, and I'd explore him there.

In the 2002 version, the text was very dodgy on whether or not Taln was a Herald. Confronting the fact that he might be crazy was a major arc and theme of the book--however, as I've worked on the new version, I've realized that it would be dangerous to be too vague on this. Stringing people along with the question for a book or two is one thing, waiting until book six or eight to do a character's arc, and leaving the question of whether they're a Herald or not all that time, seemed unfair.

So the text is going to be making manifest fairly quickly who this person is. You'll have confirmations long before we dig into his viewpoint in the later books.

So, a recap:

1) The swords WERE swapped somehow.

2) Someone could hold an Honorblade and not realize they had access to powers.

3) This character may or may not actually be a Herald--but the text is going to make the answer clear, and I'm not trying to trick you.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#116 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

For those who don't know it is Dalinar's book. Each story, each novel in The Stormlight Archive delves into one of the main characters' backstories and catches you up how they got to their first chapters in the first book. So the first book was Kaladin, second book's Shallan, third book's Dalinar. Right now, fourth book is Eshonai, fifth book is Szeth. I could end up switching those two. But that's kind of how that works. And then, for those who don't know, The Stormlight Archive-- at the end of book five there will come to a conclusion, though it's not the main conclusion, it's the end of the arc. We will leave Roshar for a while while I write a few more books, and when we come back Roshar in-world will have passed about fifteen years. And then we will do the back five characters as I call them-- their backstories. So that's Lift, Jasnah, Taln, Renarin, and Ash-- yeah, Ash. There's two Heralds among that group, so you can kind of guess what those flashbacks will deal with, in the back five. The main characters of the first five, who survive, will still be a big part of those back five. So it's not a separate series, but I do consider it two separate arcs. We need to pass some time for some various reasons.

Warsaw signing ()
#118 Copy

Questioner

What is the current plan for the Stormlight Archive *inaudible* what we do *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Oh, that's one of those hard ones.

Questioner

Can you tell us where we - that the Queen's arc, in the question of *inaudible*? Not that I wouldn't read the section on the Herald--

Brandon Sanderson

Nah, that's fine. Nonono, it'll have an arc. The first five are about Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Szeth, and Eshonai in an arc, and then the back five will be about Jasnah, Taln with *inaudible* and stuff like this. So, I mean, some of the same characters from the first five will be characters and still have viewpoints and things, but it's kind of a shift in focus.

Boskone 54 ()
#119 Copy

Steeldancer

The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Shardblades [pretty sure he means Honorblades here] were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Steeldancer

Like Vin and Elend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Steeldancer

The second part of the question is, what would happen if they were directly powered by Honor and they were holding Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

General Reddit 2017 ()
#120 Copy

Snote85

Is Nohadon a herald. There are tons and tons of little things that make me think this. Like the KR have the Way of Kings to base their views and policies on. Which, as was stated, was written by him. In Dalinar's vision of Nohadon, he says things about surgebindings and implies the man he's speaking to is a leader of an order, like he himself is. We know, from the WoR (In world) excerpts, that all the orders were lead by the heralds, after a time anyway. That's my reasoning, not that you need it, if it's true or not true. I just thought I might clarify why I came to that conclusion.

Brandon Sanderson

Nohadon is not a Herald, but I can see what lead you to think otherwise. Let's just say that even among kings and surgebinders, he was someone special.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#121 Copy

Bradtholomew

What is the origin of the name Kaladin?

My wife and I recently had our first child and that's what we named him. Just curious if there's any story behind the name.

Brandon Sanderson

I use Arabic in some of the creation of Alethi names, and Kaled (or Khaled) was the root I started playing with to come up with a new name for Kaladin, as I didn't like the one I'd used in 2002. I'd already designed Kalak after this, the Herald, and wanted a common name version of this.

When I arrived at Kaladin, it sounded right to me--likely because of the similarity to Paladin, as others noted below.

Dragonsandman

So if Kaladin's name is derived from Khaled, is it fair to assume that the Alethi language sounds similar to Arabic?

Brandon Sanderson

Alethi has some Hebrew to it too. I used Semitic language roots for the Dawnchant, which had a huge influence on Rosharan languages. While there are a few oddballs rules, and some linguistics that stand on their own, both major language groups on Roshar (the Azish family and the Vorin family) would probably sound very Arabic to you.

For example, the Alethi Kh is a voiceless velar fricative. The Azish kk or q sound is a voiceless uvular, sometimes stop, sometimes an affricate. Sometimes a uvular ejective.

No, I can't make those sounds on demand. Peter can, though. It's helpful to have a linguist on my team.

Shin is its own language, as is Iriali.

BeskarKomrk

What can't Peter do? He seems to be an expert on everything!

Brandon Sanderson

He is amazing. But, in this case, he was a linguistics major in college. So there's a little extra amazingness from him in these areas.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Snote85

Have the Highstorms always existed on Roshar? The excerpt that talks about how one of the Bondsmiths had resigned himself to fight the Voidbringers but woke up and had a new idea, one that had to do with the nature of the Heralds themselves. Then, inside the Oathgate, we see "mythical creatures" like lions and such. It would make sense that the world might have been different when the KR were last around. So much so, that if the Highstorms "Opposite" is the Everstorm and it was made by followers of Odium, then the Highstorm would have been made by followers of Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

Highstorms did predate the arrival of Honor and Cultivation on Roshar, but it has evolved much during the thousands of years since that event. It was not created by followers of Honor, but there is more to this story that you'll find out as the series progresses.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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flying_shadow

How would an albino with red eyes be regarded on Roshar? Do they even exist there?

Brandon Sanderson

They would be deeply mistrusted. (Unfortunately.)

Mathota

Just because Rosharans are racist, or is it a cultural carryover from fear of the Voidbringers?

Peter Ahlstrom

Probably both.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Telen

How would a Desolation look like on another Shardworld? Would it look different or just more or less similar?

Brandon Sanderson

The term "Desolation" isn't really a cosmere-wide term. It's a Rosharan word for a specific type of event that happens there--and so I have no context for what it would mean no other worlds.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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faragorn

You mentioned in a signing that all the heralds are insane. My question is about how they got that way.

Were they insane at the moment they gave up their swords? Was it more from being tortured?

Or, was it a direct consequence of giving up the oathpact?

A third possibility is that being alive for millenia tends to crack you up. Do they even sleep? Not sleeping would really do it.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid. We have heralds as main viewpoint characters. I'll let the narrative do the explaining on these questions.

emailanimal

Brandon, what is the rough timeline for us to learn more about the Oathpact? Is this something that will come out when the Heralds become flashback characters in the back five books, or will there be more information in the earlier books?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Have we seen cameos of Heralds on other Shardworlds?

Brandon Sanderson

The Heralds are tied to the system by the magic that permeates them. They could not leave.

Questioner

I thought I saw someone but I guess not.

Brandon Sanderson

It’s part of the magic. Some would call them Cognitive Shadows, right? Whether they are or not. "Cognitive Shadow" is a very ambiguous term in the cosmere. It means, basically your soul-- It's the same thing with petrification, right? Investiture replaced your soul, and permeated your soul, and your soul continues to exist, but... you are usually Invested with something, that's tied, and you're basically like pure Investiture then. You're tied to the thing you're Connected to. Most of the things that you're gonna see with that, travelling is going to be very difficult, unless you know how to do it. You have seen people do it.

Questioner

Who?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher... You have seen people do it. But anyone who's got-- yeah.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Some of the few Shards Rayse Splintered included Ambition, I believe, Dominion, and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

And those were all way back, in the history. So, we know that the Shards' personalities overrides the Vessel's personality over time?

Brandon Sanderson

Strongly influence, and depending on the individual, override.

Argent

Okay. So did Rayse choose those Shards because--

Brandon Sanderson

He went after Ambition first, but didn't find Ambition until after going after Devotion and Dominion. But Ambition was number one on his hit list.

Argent

Was it because of the Shard or because of the Vessel? Like did he hate the person?

Brandon Sanderson

In this case it was the Shard, primarily, that drove him--

Argent

Oh, he was maybe afraid the Shard would grow too powerful and take over--

Brandon Sanderson

He was afraid that this Shard that would rival him. And so he's like "This one is number one on the hit list. We're taking down Ambition." But then he got trapped in the Rosharan system.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Argent

I do have a follow-up on the map? All of the constellations-- Or most of the constellations seem fairly straightforward. The one containing Roshar has a Shardbearer or Herald…

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, mmhmm. There are a couple--

Argent

Yet Sel gets a lamp?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel gets a lamp, yes.

Argent

Why?

Brandon Sanderson

Ask Isaac about that, he came up with the symbolism. And I like all the symbolism. But I would go to him about the symbolism of that. Ask him to write an essay for my website about it, because he has really cool-- Cause again, cause I said to him, "I want a star map" and I wasn't gonna put constellations on it, right? Just, the one in the back cover that doesn't have constellations, that's what I asked for and he came back and said "I did a constellation map with these things, what do you think?" and I'm like "that’s cool! Can you explain these to me?" so I'm just gonna let Isaac go with that, he chose it, he chose the perspective and the point of view, so it's his map, and he's canon on that.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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Questioner 1

Are we gonna hear what happened after the Heralds gave up their oath and *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

You will-- you will see more of that.

Questioner 2

Is there uh-- is there gonna be more side characters like Taln? Where they kind of like *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Um, Taln and Ash--two of the Heralds--are main characters in the second five books, so that's where you're going to see *inaudible*. 

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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CCQ

I just read Edgedancer. I was just wondering... Did Ishar deceive Nalan on purpose or was he just wrong-- he had wrong information?

Brandon Sanderson

All the Heralds are insane.

CCQ

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

It manifests in different ways. Do not trust anything any Herald says. Ever.

CCQ

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Nale trusts Ishar too much.

CCQ

Okay, but so did he do it on purpose, or...?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... So "on purpose" is a difficult thing when you're referring to someone with the psychology that Ishar has.

CCQ

Did he know what it was-- that it was a lie?

Brandon Sanderson

*sighs* Alright, I'll RAFO that until I get to him, but the answer is kind of a yes and a no. Okay? So there is part of him that knows and there is part of him that doesn't want to believe it. And yet the things he's been doing lately in Roshar are done because he knows what's coming.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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CCQ

You said that Ryshadium experience sentience through a spren. But I just didn't understand how that's possible. Most of them are through tension, gravitation, *inaudible*... nothing Cognitive.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, yes. So all-- so non-sapient creatures that get Invested in don't gain powers until they gain *inaudible*.

CCQ

How does that fit into the larger picture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, how does that fit? It's mostly-- you can start seeing that-- things that forces are adapting to the Roshar ecology. Does that make sense? Because a lot of Rosharan-- other creatures-- have bonds with spren. Very common. And so--

CCQ

I know. I noticed the chasmfiend *inaudible*, whatever you want to call it.  I don't know how that works.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You'll see the next book kind of explores it a little bit. But yes... but yeah. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There was a point when the Heralds didn't need to draw Stormlight from gems, although the Stormlight-in-gems predates Honor's arrival.

There was a following conversation about this topic, about how a lot of the elements were there before Honor arrived, but he co-opted them. So, Stormlight were there, but there are big differences now.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

Her name, Lift, is it literally like 'lift', the sound, or is it translated from Rosharan, like the word lift?

Brandon Sanderson

It is translated from Rosharan.

Questioner

Is it a nickname?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I'll RAFO that. But that is actually, it's whatever in Rosharan...not in Rosh...in Reshi, whatever in Reshi...and Reshi is the Iriali language family, so...

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is it possible to reliably deduce what a Shardworld's Cognitive realm will look like if we knew a lot about its Physical realm? For example, mists in Scadrial, spheres in Roshar etc.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it works in odd ways. So it may not work in the logical way that you think.

Herald (paraphrased)

Why spheres on Roshar? Something related to the highstorms makes more sense, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is a reason for them being spheres. RAFO

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is there more significance to the 10 other planets around the Rosharan star system and them being gaseous? We know that Roshar's moons have unnatural orbits; so there seems to be some astronomical manipulation in the system.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is significance of 16 in cosmere and 10 in Rosharan system.

Herald (paraphrased)

The outer 10 gas giants in the Rosharan system suggest a tie to the number 10 that predates the arrival of the current Shards. Is the prominent numerology we see around the cosmere an inherent property of the planets, rather than the Shards who invest them?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Big RAFO.

Herald (paraphrased)

Would Ashyn/Braize share the 10-centric numerology of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes 10-centric is for the entire Rosharan planetary system...wait Braize is 9-centric.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is Vax present (lurking) in any of the star systems explained in Arcanum Unbounded? Personally I think there will be more star systems that would be discovered in the future and Vax might be part of them. Comment?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO for Vax. Yes, there might be more stars. The picture on the cover is the sight observed from one particular place.

Herald (paraphrased)

Silverlight?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO. Let's just say that there are more planetary systems present in the existing star chart itself that you don't know yet.

Herald (paraphrased)

Is Yolen present in the dragon constellation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

What would have happened if Kelsier hasn't taken Preservation or later Sazed hasn't taken Ruin and Preservation powers? Would the earth have been destroyed due to so much raw power much before the actual destruction due to Ruin's actions?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. Bad things would have happened.

Herald (paraphrased)

Like Sel?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Not going to answer that. Just bad things would have happened.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Iceblade44

So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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[joke about Birds=Chickens on Roshar]

Brandon Sanderson

See also: Eastern Rosharans using the word "Wine" for a variety of types of alcohol, when only rare imports from Shinovar actually come from a grape, and naming animals things like "hound" when they only vaguely resemble a creature from Shinovar. (Or the term silk, which is harvested from plants that float in the ocean. Or using the word 'cremling' for any kind of small crustacean or insect, which is a linguistic expansion of the word over the centuries, when there used to be two distinct terms for them.)

Vorin languages, in particular, lend themselves to this kind of simplification of terms.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Questioner

On the Roshar system diagram, each planet had the sigil of a certain Radiant. I was wondering why you did that

Brandon Sanderson

We're using Roshar itself as a frame of reference, and that is how people on Roshar have named the planets. And they can't see them all, I don't believe, but the naming convention sticks.

Questioner

And thats why you added the sigils?

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm. I don't think they've discovered them all on-planet, but since other people off-planet know about them... and in the old days, they knew about them all.