Are the Tranquilline Halls part of any other culture outside of the Rosharan system?
No, they are not.
Found 324 entries in 0.361 seconds.
Are the Tranquilline Halls part of any other culture outside of the Rosharan system?
No, they are not.
On the topic of aluminum, will we hear soon about how Rosharans know how to soulcast it? Was it natural on the planet and the source was depleted? Or was it brought over at some point in history?
Those are excellent questions, and a RAFO, unfortunately.
Regarding Soulcasting, I have a question - why do people continue to use it post-Recreance? Would it not have been seen as a betrayal, given that the Radiants abandoned them? Why this Surge but not others? Was it simply the only Surge available and people would have kept using the others anyway? I guess it's a matter of practicality but given how devout Vorinism can be it does seem odd.
Good question. You'll notice that Soulcasters aren't the only fabrial that access a Surge, however. They're just the one most commonly used.
There are plenty of rationalizations. But it comes down to this: they are too useful to give up.
Ah yes, now that I think of it Navani's conjoined-gem fabrials seem to utilize Gravitation and perhaps the heating one uses Abrasion(?) to produce heat. Or are there others I did miss?
I was referencing a Regrowth fabrial, actually, which I believe has appeared several times.
Isn't the Regrowth fabrial incredibly rare? I was under the impression it disappeared with the Recreance and only Nin's reappearance brought it back. AFAIK, only a Radiant in Dalinar's vision and a Herald have actually used it so far.
Their rarity depends on the time period in question. But yes, I'd list them as incredibly rare.
How would food production be like without soulcasters? Has Alethkar, for example, grown far beyond what it could (population-wise) without them?
The food question is a great one. As far as the Alethi go, it's more a matter of concentration than raw food production. Shipping is SLOW in Alethkar. It's long, which makes getting between north and south difficult, and the rivers aren't as useful as they are on (say) Earth.
The warcamps, for example, would starve themselves out short order without soulcasters. Supply lines are just not an Alethi strength. Kholinar, while not as big as Scadrian population centers, is also large enough that it depends on soulcasters for some of its food. It could survive without them, though, with northern Alethi food production.
Really, warfare is where they've learned to extend themselves, and depend on the soulcasters. Remember, gemstones in them DO break, so you do still need a ready supply of emeralds. The larger, the better.
Very interesting on the food logistics of Alethkar - I never did quite imagine Kholinar was smaller than say, Elendel, but the technological progress there explains it.
Given how slow food transportation is, I would presume fresh food is a no-go. Are spices and preserved food selling well in Roshar, then? As for population centers, is Kholinar the largest around, or are other places a lot larger?
There's a reason that Herdazian food (which makes soulcast meat taste good) is popular these days.
Azimir is larger in population than Kholinar. Kholinar is big by Rosharan standards, but far smaller than an Earth population center (like London) at a comparable time. The warcamps had it beat by a lot--depending on how you view the warcamps. (As one city, or ten small ones.)
Does that just mean Herdazian food is incredibly spice-heavy, then? Also, why is Soulcast food bland? Is it due to the nature of the object (changing food to food makes it tastier than stone to food), or just because the Soulcaster lacks practice, like Jasnah did with strawberry jam?
Flavorful, rather than spicy. Most western food is already spicy. The Herdazians offer something a little different, and are pretty good with soulcast meat. The portability is also a bit of a revolution.
Soulcasting anything other than the basic Essence requires some innate knowledge and practice. People could learn to soulcast better food, but it would have to be a Radiant with control over the process. The soulcaster fabrials are far more rigid in what they can create.
As for soulcasting - now that is... interesting. So are Surgebinding fabrials more rigid in general? And what of an Honorblade when a non-Herald uses it?
A soulcaster is built to do a certain thing, and can do that certain thing well, but without as much flexibility. It is the difference between having a computer output a picture of a circle--following some inputs such as size and some changes to shape--and having an artist who can draw what you want.
At the risk of getting too technical, is there anything besides lack of knowledge preventing a soulcaster from turning some rocks into a bunch of plutonium and exploding?
I know you've got some rules attached to time bubbles to avoid those going nuclear so I wouldn't be surprised if there was something or another.
Well, Soulcasting isn't fission or fusion. It's a spiritual transformation process, not a physical one, and so you don't have to worry about some of these issues. There IS historical precedent of accidentally setting off fission reactions in the cosmere using the magic, but that was a different process. Soulcasting is actually pretty safe. (Well, on a grand scale.)
You could end up irradiating yourself, though, which wouldn't be very fun.
If you know what you were doing, making plutonium or uranium on Roshar wouldn't be difficult. The problem is more a matter of knowledge, and room for scientific exploration. They're unlikely to make atom bombs for the same reason they haven't made gunpowder. Once they figure out that some substances are important, they can learn to make them with Soulcasting (assuming they have Radiants) but some substances just don't occur naturally--so discovering them in the first place is difficult, and would require more modern scientific process.
Okay, just to clarify here (since I'm not sure how up you are on early nuke designs)
A big enough chunk of uranium or plutonium will explode regardless of whether it's in a bomb or not. Early bomb designs just slammed two smaller chunks together so they'd be one big chunk.
For plutonium 'big enough' is about 35 pounds in one place - a chunk somewhere between the size of baseball and volleyball.
If I understand properly, people can soulcast from the cognitive realm into the physical, which implies once we get into a more modern stormlight setting soulcasters will make nuclear submarines look like small potatoes.
Slamming two chunks together so they became one big chunk seems an understatement, from what I remember. I'm under the impression that you had to use a great deal of explosive force to ram them together in order to set off a viable fission reaction. Doesn't it have to be compressed somewhat in order to react with itself?
I'll admit, it's been a long time since I've looked at this, but I remember glancing it over, and deciding that you'd need more than just soulcasting to get it to happen. Though it's not outside of reason that a soulcaster could learn to create super-dense plutonium. The problem is one of understanding, however.
Just like it's totally possible that we, with our current technology, could figure out some huge breakthrough in science allowing FTL or other incredible discoveries. But we don't have the understanding to pull it off yet.
In a modern setting, however, a lot of these complaints go out the window. Let's just say that this isn't the only reason a modern society that can instantly transmute one substance to another is potentially a very interesting place.
You're totally right that everyone currently uses an 'implosion' style compression design. It's a lot more bang for your buck, and you need less radioactive material to work with. They're also a lot safer, because just sitting around they're well below critical mass - without the power-boosting tricks they basically can't go off.
The old "nobody uses these anymore" designs were 'Gun-Type'. Very simple - shoot a uranium bullet into the center of a uranium ring (or vice versa). Inefficient as heck (the Hiroshima bomb only fissioned 1.4% of its uranium), but also super simple to put together.
Despite being simple to build, gun-types were also super unsafe relative to modern implosion devices (among other worries, dropping a gun-type device into the ocean could potentially set it off because of how neutrons react with water). Also, getting the timing perfect on the fissile 'bullet' was a problem, so practically speaking it could only be done with uranium.
After WWII, the only use the US ever had for gun-types was in bunker busters and nuclear artillery (because of course that was a good idea).
Darn, that post turned out longer than I expected it to.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to see you make something really cool out of a post-scarcity transmutropolis setting (especially since the liespren would be in charge of nuclear treaties), and also my roommate just pointed out all the laying out of nuclear bomb details is pointless if they could just make antimatter instead. D'oh.
This is useful information for me, but my gut says that Rosharans couldn't get this working with their current tech level. That said, the REAL issue (as you mentioned in your original question) is knowledge, not feasibility. They'd have to know how to make the right kind of Uranium or Plutonium--and would need to be able to get this across to a soulcaster in a way that works, then THEY would need to get this across to spren. Cross that hurdle, and I suppose it's not at all implausible to imagine Alethi during Dalinar's era with nukes. I suspect the right kind of fabrial could make a trigger device to match ring and bullet at the right time. Depends on how quickly it needs to be going, though.
Not to be too obvious about being a geology dork, but if you can make clear quartz easily with soulcasting as we've seen, and you can also make radioactive materials, wouldn't it be trivial to make smokestone since defects from irradiation are what make quartz black?
Making unstable plutonium or the like is theoretically possible, but not something that Rosharans are aware they could do.
Emerald and Heliodor are basically the same thing, chemically, but are very different substances on Roshar--with different soulcasting properties. Same goes for quartz and smokestone.
Is there any significance to some of the gems being forms of aluminum oxide?
Not really, I'm afraid. I tried to work it in, and decided I was stretching.
We know that the Passions are a religion or a set of superstitions from Thaylenah. But what are the "Passions" exactly? Are they a group of Gods who represent various kinds of "Passion" worshipped by the Thaylen people? If not, are those "Passions" simply a set of ideals believed by the Thaylen people? Are there any connections between Thaylen Passions and Alethi Thrill?
The Passions could be called a religion, but there are those among the Thaylens (and to a lesser extent, other peoples) who would argue that it's more a philosophy. Or a companion religion. Much like Shinto and/or Confucianism co-exist in some places with Buddhism.
However, there is not formalized theology, despite various thinkers and gurus expressing their thoughts on the matter. The central idea is that Passion equates to Action, and the cosmic belief that wanting something draws it to you. This idea is reinforced by the spren, obviously.
Ah, so basically some people treat it as a fundamental way of life, and some people just treat it as The Secret?
Yes, you can see it as a Rosharan version of the Law of Attraction, though some people have taken it further into a more religious fundamental.
In Words of Radiance, Shallan draws a picture of someone destroying a statue. If attentive, could that person have been aware of being "observed" at the time?
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. I need more detail of what you're trying to get at here.
I think he's asking if Shalash(???) could have (or did) felt Shallan observing her.
Looking at it again, I realize I'm asking for more clarity than they'd be able to provide. I do understand the question, but at the same time, my answers can can confirm or deny things that are (sometimes false) assumptions underpinning questions. So when we get into something like this, that has to do with mechanics I haven't explained very well yet, I get very hesitant about answering.
So...I'll probably just RAFO this one. For now. Though look for a scene involving Syl where something similar happens, as they are related.
I was being more vague than necessary, specifically to avoid a "you're making assumptions" RAFO. I'll go ahead and detail my thinking then and let you respond as much or as little as you like. I recognize that I'm poking at mechanisms we don't understand yet, so RAFO is pretty likely.
I am working under the belief that Shallan's depiction of Ash is accurate and (likely) immediate. She could have visualized the scene in several ways: by having some portion of her aspect or of Pattern's travel there, by some connection-at-a-distance mechanism, or by "word-of-mouth" relay via (e.g.) spren.
As we've seen elsewhere, savvy and/or powerful people (like I assume the heralds to be) are able to notice when an aspect of someone pops up looking at them. Similarly, they could possibly notice a remote observer through the connection. In both cases, I presume that the degree to which the observer is present determines how noticable the event is. In contrast, the passive reporting through intermediaries in the third option would probably not trigger the sense of being watched. So my question boils down to whether Shallan is projecting part of herself, part of Pattern, or doing something else entirely. And in the back of my mind I'm wondering how much manipulation (or aggression) could take place at the other end of the connection.
If I understand correctly which scene you are referring to, where Kal was noticed, then you are saying that the two events share a mechanism which answers the original question, but still leaves me wondering about what is being projected across Roshar. (That you reference Syl is interesting.)
Here is a follow-up question, hoping that I haven't already talked myself into a corner or out of an answer: The clairvoyant drawings occur at a particularly verdant lait, with plenty of growth/death/circle-of-life happening. In a mechanistic sense, did this location help enable the clairvoyance?
I'll have to RAFO this, as I don't want to get into the mechanics right now.
Shallan's comment in Words of Radiance that she's "five foot six inches" jerks me out of the story every time, particularly because I'm used to the metric system. I understand in my head how Sanderson is translating for the readers whatever Rosharan measures she actually used...but it's still jarring whenever I actually come across it while reading.
Measuring by foot was extremely common in our world. Many European countries had their own standard foot. It just makes sense that humans would measure by feet.
The Vorin foot probably has 10 inches.
Could someone Feruchemically storing connection in an Aonic nation become an Elantrian?
It's a little tougher than that, but it would be a start. And for some people, it would be enough.
Is it tougher because of some inherent difficultly with the selection process of Elantrians? Or because of something to do with using connection?
I'm getting a few too many 17th Shard style questions on the thread. I'm going to start curtailing them, as waking up to an hour' or two's worth of detailed cosmere questions each day is going to seriously impact my ability to actually write. So I'm going to liberally apply RAFO from here out.
So RAFO. :)
When you say Scadrial has an earth similar year, are you referring to the time it takes the planet to go around the sun? Or the year as people on the planet would measure it (e.g. Vin is fifteen years old when her brother leaves her)? Are these the same thing?
While I'm here, a selection of related questions for you if you have the time:
I mentioned in another post that I'll wait a bit to give you exact numbers, because I want to make sure Peter has run all the right calculations. But yes, changing the orbit had an effect on things--though official calendars didn't need to change, as they'd been used since before the original shift happened anyway. When we talk about 'Years' in the Final Empire, it's original (pre LR) orbit anyway. I knew I was going to go back to them later in the series, and when characters were actually aware of things like the calendar, it would be close to earth standard.
Though, since you mention it, all numbers mentioned in their respective series are in-world numbers. This makes things tricky, as Rosharan years (with the five hundred days) are blatant enough to start the average reader wondering about these things.
Mostly, Roshar is the big one (not in actual deviation--I think a Roshar year is only 1.1 Earth years--but in how the scope and terminology of the novel will make people start to notice and ask questions.) Other planets have deviations from Earth, but it's not as noticeable. We'll give specific numbers eventually. I promise.
You have stated that each Knights Radiant Order gets their own unique ability, for lack of a better word, due to the combination of their Surges. For instance, you have stated this ability for the Windrunners is strength of squires. My question - is this due to the Nahel bond, or just inherent in the Surges combining. Would a non-Radiant get these abilities from the Honorblades, or would they be out of luck due to no Nahel bond?
Good question! The unique abilities have more to do with the powers interacting, same as how Twinborn will often manifest some odd side effects of the powers interacting. But there are limitations. For example, Jezrien didn't actually have any squires, as none of the Heralds did.
In The Way of Kings, Chapter 54: Gibletish, Dalinar has a brief conversation with Brightlord Hatham, one of his ardents, and a few other people. During the conversation the ardent uses the word "soil" in a way most Rosharans wouldn’t. After the conversation he tells Dalinar of "our goodwill toward you" and that "we will speak with you again." The odd use of the word "soil" combined with what could be a vague reference to the ardent’s associated with a group other than the ardentia has led some of us to believe he might be a worldhopper. Plus, we know Nazh is around in the area, or will arrive soon. Is there truth to this idea, or are we overthinking this?
Alethi use the word "soil" on occasion in their language to mean "dirtied" or similar. It's a holdover from an earlier time. But they don't associate it with the ground, and if you see it used instead of stone like in this quote, it should indeed raise an eyebrow.
Sooo... I mean, my eyebrow was already raised. :D Let's not bait the RAFO too hard, and drop the worldhopper part - is there more to this particular ardent than meets the eye? :)
Wait, hold up. How can "soil" be a holdover from an earlier time if Roshar was always a rocky place? Or did you mean that it's one of those words that carried over from Yolish, or whatever other language people spoke before they migrated to Roshar (like "hound")?
It is similar to hound, which is one of the ones that Hoid pointed out as an oddity. But people did not migrate from Yolen to Roshar. Roshar was inhabited before the shattering of Adonalsium.
Hmm. I am rusty on my Roshar history, I'll have to review what we know the topic. I know Roshar existed before the Shattering, and it was presumably populated, but I didn't think there had been humans there. They don't feel native. I've been working under the assumption that the Parshendi were native (maybe), but the humans came from somewhere - the Tranquiline Halls myths also kind of support that.
Or have I missed something?
Technically, what I said doesn't actually contradict anything you just said. But just to be extra safe: RAFO. I have to keep a FEW secrets safe from you people to come out in the books. :)
Just finished a trip to Zion and Bryce National Parks; did those parks and the surrounding area influence the Shattered Plains? Really felt like I should be looking for gemstones and watching out for chasmfiends while cayoneering.
Yes, they were a big influence. In college, one of my roommates (Micah Demoux, for whom I named Captain Demoux) was a photographer, and he took me on many nature photography trips in southern Utah. Roshar is a direct outgrowth of this.
How does one become an Herald? And is there any way for a someone else to take up the mantle of a Herald?
You know, I seem to recall that one of your original pitches for The Way of Kings was that it's the story of a man on whom the fate of the world lies, except unlike the Dragon Reborn, who goes slowly mad, this guy is already mad. I always assumed (or maybe you'd said it explicitly?) that this was Taln (the original Herald). Has that characterization changed? Or am I remembering something that never happened?
If I said something like that, I was talking about Taln.
The plan to have each book focused on one order is still on, right? Does that mean Book 3 will focus on the Bondsmiths or the Skybreakers depending on whether Dalinar or Szeth are the flashback focus? And what about the book focused on Ash, since she was the Herald of Shallan's order? Am I right in assuming that book will focus on the Dustbringers?
Is each book in this series a focus on a particular character? Did I read that somewhere?
Each one has a flashback sequence dedicated to a certain character, and a plot that has something to do with the flashback sequence. I do this to help differentiate them, and we sometimes call it "their" book--but that's a little of a misnomer, as the main plot may not revolve around the flashback sequence. It will simply relate to it.
Ah right. It was Kaladin then Shallan, next is Dalinar? Or is it Szeth?
This one is Dalinar most likely. Then (probably) Eshonai, then Szeth. Unless I swap those two.
Back five are Lift, Renarin, Ash, Taln, Jasnah. Not necessarily in that order. (Though that is the planned order right now.)
I do have to give my standard disclaimer. Someone getting a flashback sequence does not indicate they survive until that book. I'm fully willing to flashback to a character who died in an earlier volume. So that isn't as much of a spoiler as it seems.
And Taln is defined as "The man who thinks of himself as the Herald Taln, and whose viewpoint we got briefly in Words of Radiance."
Stormlight feels very different to me on so many levels. You've got the interludes where we get to get a lot of worldbuilding, we get to see more of the planet than just one place. But there is also this sense that a lot of your books we're experiencing the aftermath of something. And in Stormlight that something is coming. How is this affecting the way that you are building your world for us?
So, this one's going get you a story, okay? So here's the story... So, alright, darkest time in my writing career, okay? Was when I was writing books 11 and 12 unpublished. I was getting rejection letters, and they were rejection letters for things like Elantris and Dragonsteel, which I was really confident in. Elantris, Dragonsteel, and White Sand were the good books during the era of unpublished Brandon.
White Sand by the way, is out as a graphic novel now. You can also read the prose version by emailing me through my website form, we just send it out for free, so you can compare it to the graphic novel. And by the way, Dragonsteel, you're like "Oh, Hoid's origin story", we'll do that eventually. The Shattered Plains started in Dragonsteel, and I pulled them out, and I pulled Dalinar out, and a bunch of stuff, when I built Stormlight. And so it's really a schizophrenic book now-- Schizeophrenic is the wrong term, but half of it was what became Stormlight, and half of it is Hoid's origin story. So, the half that is Hoid's origin story will eventually get a book.
Anyway, darkest point-- I'm not selling anything, everybody is telling me like "Your books are too long". This is the number one thing I'm getting from rejections, "Your books are too long, and your books are not market friendly, in that the worlds are too weird". I'm getting this-- You gotta remember this is-- I love George but this is right after George got huge, and George introduced gritty, low magic, earth-like fantasy as kind of "the thing" that was big. And his books were large too, I don't know why people kept telling me mine were too big, but they wanted gritty and they wanted low magic and they wanted earth-like. So I was getting rejection after rejection on these things. What people were buying were things like Joe Abercrombie's stuff, which is great, Joe's a great writer. But you know, short things that gave people a similar feel to George RR Martin, but you know, but were low magic, kind of earth-like medieval societies. Basically shorter versions of George is basically what they wanted. So I actually would go to cons and they would be like "Have you read the beginning of Game of Thrones? Write something like that" and so finally against better advice, I sat down and said "alright I'll try something like that". And you guys do not want to read Brandon Sanderson trying to be George RR Martin. *laughter* It was embarrassing, and so I wrote these books, each something different.
And I like trying to do something different, I'm not sad I tried to do something different, but at the end I was like "I can't do this, these books are crap". The worst books I wrote were the two that were like books 11 and 12. Like I shouldn't be getting worse as a writer, the more books I write. And so I was in a funk and I finally just said, "You know what? Screw it, I'm gonna write the biggest, baddest, most awesome book that I can!" They say they're too [long], this is gonna be twice as long! They say that worlds are too weird, I'm gonna do the weirdest world that I've always wanted to do. I'm gonna write the type of fantasy book that nobody's writing that I wish they would write. And I'm gonna break all these rules that say 'Oh don't do flashbacks'. Screw you, I'm gonna put flashbacks in every book! They say 'Don't do prologues', screw you, I'm doing three prologues!" *laughter* It really does, because Way of Kings starts with the Heralds. Prologue. Then it goes to Szeth. Prologue. And then it goes to the viewpoint of the guy in Kaladin's squad. Also a prologue. And then it jumps like eight months and then we start the story. I did all the stuff they told me not to do because I just wanted to make the biggest, most coolest and baddest epic I could-- bad in a good term.
And I finished this book, which was basically flipping the bird to the entire publishing industry, right? And that-- Within a month of finishing that is when Moshe, who I told you is bipolar, got manic and read through his backlist of books that people had sent him, including one I'd sent him two years earlier, which was Elantris. He'd never looked at it, he read it in a night, he called me manic, and said "I wanna buy your book!". And actually what happened is, he called me and I'd moved since then, and gotten a new phone number. We used to have landlines back then, I know. I had a cellphone by the time he called me but before I had my landline number on it, and I'd actually--this is gonna date me--my first email address was AOL. I was like "Free email." And then I realized AOL-- I wont speak ill of-- Yes I will. AOL sucked. *laughter* And so I'm like "Well I need to get my own email address", so I went and got one, but that meant the email had changed. And I sent to anyone who actively had one of my books on submission like "This is my new contact info", but he'd had it for two years. I figured I was never seeing it-- If you were on the last panel, I mentioned that I sent things into Tor and they vanished, and I never got rejections-- I never got rejected from Tor, I sent them four books, they're still just sitting there somewhere I'm sure. But, so I finished this big beast of a book, right, and then I sell Elantris, and I'm like "Great, now I don't know what to do". So my editor is like "Oh what are you working on now, I want to see that too", so I sent him Way of Kings, and I still remember when he called me, he was like "Uhh... Well this isn't the sort of thing that new authors usually publish. Can we split it?" and I said "No, you split the book and it's a really bad book, 'cause you have all the buildup but none of the payoff". And he's like "Ughhh", and I said "That's alright, I've got this idea for Mistborn", I pitched him Mistborn. "I'll do Way of Kings later", there were some things I wanted to fix about it, it actually needed something, and I didn't know what that something was yet, and I didn't learn it until working on The Wheel of Time, but that's a different story.
But you're asking why is Stormlight so different. Well Stormlight is a series like of my heart. This is the book that I wrote when nothing else mattered, and I thought I might never get published and I just wanted to do what I felt that the genre needed that nobody was doing, right? And so I felt like fantasy needed to be pushed a little further in its worldbuilding, and so I did that. I felt like-- There just a lot going on. The interludes were kind of my solution to the problem Robert Jordan and George RR Martin were having, which, they're fantastic writers, I was able to learn from them. And Robert Jordan, I think one of the problems he had was that he fell in love with the side characters, and then these side characters took over the story to an extent that then it was hard to manage. I'm not bashing on Robert Jordan, he talked about this, he talked about book 10 and how being a parallel novel was a mistake. I could learn from his mistakes, it doesn't make me a better writer, what it means is I can learn from what they did. And I said "Okay, I'm going to put pressure valves in my book, I'm gonna put a short story collection in each novel where I get to write about side characters, and those who wan to skip them can skip them, and those who don't can read them", and I'll just make sure that I contain them in these short stories, these interludes, and that lets me do what I want but also lets the book keep its focus. So I'm doing a lot of things with these books that were like my love letter to the epic fantasy genre, and so I'm enthusiastic that you actually all like it and are willing to read them. *applause*
The Herald of War at the end of Way of Kings-- I assume he had an Honorblade with him?
Okay... So when Dalinar had the sword that he gave up...
...for the Stormfather it actually cried, which it typically happens if there's spren in the sword, which means that was not an Honorblade, correct?
Yes, and if you look they're described differently!
Which means somebody else has the sword, correct?
The sword was switched out!
Probably by Wit. I'm not going to ask you for spoilers, but...
Wit does not have the sword.
But... I can't-- I dunno if I've told people whether or not he at one point had the sword... But he does not have the sword now.
He disabused me of my little theory about a herald. He said the shalebark gardener working in the night when Dalinar and Navani walk by was just a gardener. He was purposefully trying to show "regular" Alethi alongside the more prominent soldiers and leaders.
You said earlier... putting back splinters. Was the Oath breaking part of that?
Oath breaking? Oh, the Oathpact. The abandoning of the Oathpact we will talk a lot more about in the future, so I'm gonna RAFO that for now.
I've been recently introduced to you as an author, and I heard "lighteyed" and "darkeyed." What is that?
So, in The Stormlight Archive, their ethnic divisions in one of the cultures is by eye color. It traces back to when there was an ancient magic that eye color was related to, and in the modern culture, if you have lighteyes (like you), that's nobility. If you have Darkeyes (like you), you are not noble, you are... you know. So, instead of dividing by skin color or by nationality, they are much more interested in eye color. But that's only one of the cultures, that's a big important one.
I want to know if Taravangian, the Ghostbloods, Amaram, is there any kind of like connecting... are they working together or anything like that?
Taravangian, so the Diagram, the Ghostbloods, is that the two you mentioned? Amaram is Sons of Honor; Amaram and Gavilar are Sons of Honor. These are three different groups who are aware of what is happening and have different philosophies on how to deal with what is coming. They have opposed views, for example, the Sons of Honor are trying to bring back Voidbringers because they believe it will return the heralds as well. Where as the diagram has his plan... y'know, I wont give them away. Some of the are hinted at, you can read. He talks about it, but you can see what he's doing. The Ghostbloods, they have not talked about their motives very much. They have different motives. The Sons of Honor are the easiest to figure out and they are also the most wrong, right. If you read what Taravangian says you can probably see what the Diagram is trying to do.
I was wondering if the Tranquiline halls, if that's in the spiritual, the physical, or the Cognitive?
So... that's a big fat RAFO, because that's actually a false dilemma, there are other options than those three. One of which just being that it is a mythological piece from their theology and not an actual location.
So it's not an actual place?
That's a fourth option for the three, does that makes sense? So its a bigger RAFO even than that, it's a RAFO in that I'm not going to confirm that its one of those three. Good question.
You have, like you said, thousands of years of history--mostly I'm talking about Stormlight Archives--you have, you know, Radiants have done this, and Heralds have done this, you have in some ways figured out what happened and what's going to happen with that stuff. And you have a, at least I think, friend/author Patrick Rothfuss who also has kind of this mythos of stuff that happened many, many years ago, have you guys ever talked to make sure you're not going to do the same cool thing?
You know we-- *laughter* Good question. No I haven't ever asked him about that. We haven't spent a lot of time-- Like the only thing I ever remember talking to Pat with-- about world-building wise was magic and his magic and things like that. I was really interested in sympathetic magic also, Warbreaker has an element to it. I really liked how he did his sympathetic magic in Kingkiller. But when I get together with Pat I try not to ask the questions that I know the fans are asking him a lot, I try to be somebody who's a colleague that we can talk about other sorts of things to give him a break from that. I never ask him when the next book will be out *laughter* That's your job not mine. I ask him how his kid is, and I ask him how has it been working with DAW lately, are there any frustrations for you in the business, and that sort of stuff. The stuff he can't talk with other people about. He can talk about his kids but he can't really talk about publisher stuff with a lot of other people.
Much like in The Wheel of Time where there are false Dragons, are there people on Roshar who are pretending to be Heralds that are not?
Are there people on Roshar who are-- There are definitely lots of people who have claimed to be Heralds who were not.
You said "have." The question was, are there?
I'm sure there are people around who've-- *laughter* I'm sure you can go to any city in the United States and find someone who claims to be Jesus, right? So yes! Absolutely!
*reading a personalization request* Could a Rosharan be--
Hemalurgically spiked with a gem or fabrial?
*presumably writes RAFO in book*
*exasperated "ugh" sound*
The man speaking with Nale in the Words of Radiance prologue--the one talking about Ash getting worse--which is he: a Herald or a Squire?
Um… He is not a Squire.
Is it normal for people to become Connected to an area after being there for a bit, like with Kel and wherever he was when he found the Ire, or is something special going on?
It is normal for a cognitive shadow to get stuck to places, because they exist through investiture it is normal for them to get tied to an area. Kelsier was still in Scadrial when he found the Ire. This happened with Odium and the two shards on Roshar, Preservation to Ruin, and the Heralds.
Rosharans already have an ansible. (reported by Kurkistan)
Spanreeds are, basically, evidence that FTL is possible in the Cosmere. It's not the only example too. (reported by Blightsong)
And then the curse Kelek’s Breath, is that a clue as to the origin of some of the Heralds?
Erm… Explain why you think it might be.
Uh, well, Warbreaker. The use of Breath… It seems like they have similar strength to somebody who has extra Endowment. So I’m wondering if they come from-- I can’t remember the name..
The Heralds-- You’re wondering if the Heralds come from Nalthis?
The Heralds do not come from Nalthis, but that is an excellent question.
Have we met Jezrien yet, in the books?
Have we met the king of the Heralds in the books yet?
Uh, yes you have.
And it's not Zahel.
No. I-- Fans have picked out who he is. It-- he's moderately obvious. So the-- so he's not supposed to be a big secret. But I will pop him out a little bit more in the third book, so if you don't want to get spoilers you can wait til then.
Are all of the Heralds still alive?
The Oathpact has not been broken, so yes.
So for most of your planets do you just assume that gravity is 9.8 m/s, and do you have a reason for that, or--
It just depends on the planet. Like Roshar… it's 0.7 Earth gravity on Roshar.
Yeah, otherwise they couldn't lift those bridges, and you couldn't have the-- Even with the help of the spren, you couldn't have the giant beasties. So it's a high-oxygen, low-gravity environment. So fire acts a little differently on Roshar than it does on other planets. People are taller, like if you put a Rosharan next to someone else the low-gravity would have had that effect.
Oh, I didn't even know that.
Generally you should assume when I'm using numbers they're in-world numbers. So, for instance, a Rosharan foot is actually larger than a foot in another-- Stuff like that. I have to do some jockeying of these things to not be completely off-putting and confusing to people who are not expecting-- to the casual reader, but like days. A Rosharan year is 500 days, but they're twenty hour days, I made an hour basically our hour just to keep it from being too crazy for people. But that means when it says Kaladin's 18 he's really actually like 20 years old and a little over, or something like that, I forget the numbers. Everyone's a little bit older than they sound but it works just for the average reader.
We've got Kaladin's name meaning, do we have Shallan's?
Shallan is-- Her name comes from Shalash, the herald, so it's kind of like naming somebody Christian in a lot of ways. Or naming someone Michael, though Michael has a meaning. Shalash does too but it's so old-- Like-- Yes, it will have a meaning but really what you need to know is "she is named after the Herald Shalash", right? But I'm sure we can dig out what the meaning is because it does have a meaning... I mean Kaladin's has a meaning even though he's named after Kalak.
Are there any black people in Scadrial? Or any other races? I couldn't find an answer online, but the descriptions in the book all seem like white/European people.
The Terris had a lot more skin color diversity than the people of the central dominance. A large number of those preserved had darker skin, so in the W&W era, you are starting to see skin color become associated with them. During the Final Empire, skin color was basically ignored.
Note that for even people in the Elendel Basin, darker skin won't get nearly as dark as what you will find on Roshar or Taldain.
EDIT: Now that I'm on my computer instead of my tablet, I can dig into this a little more. What other posters have been saying is true--the region of the Final Empire we see in the first trilogy is very small, and the Final Empire itself isn't terribly big. There's not a lot of racial diversity at all.
That said, the Terris are a distinct ethnic group. I carefully didn't describe people in the original books with regard to a lot of racially identifying features. One of the Lord Ruler's goals over the years was to stamp these things out, to create a single unified people. While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers. In addition, it was important that the Terris be diverse enough that, while some looked Terris from just a glance, with others, you could meet them and (for obvious reasons that are spoilers) not know they were actually Terris.
That isn't to say they aren't there--they actually are. Elend and Straff would have a bit of an accent, and Cett a fairly strong one. Sazed would look racially distinct from Vin.
As we get further from the Final Empire, we see these things becoming more of a marker. The Terris work to preserve their cultural heritage, and this distinctiveness highlights other aspects about them, including the dark skin that many of them brought through the end of the world. The next trilogy (1980's era) is planned to star a Terriswoman right now, and she would likely resemble someone ethnically black to many of us on Earth.
How far off your impression of Sazed was I in imagining him looking like Teferi from MTG?
I often give him a Teferi-like-look in my own head, but in actuality his skin tone is probably more akin to someone like Keegan-Michael Key.
>While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers.
How did the 'skaa/noble' class genetic tinkering work out, anyway? Did the leadership of every nation just wake up the next morning and find themselves taller, more intelligent, and less fertile?
Most genetic differences between skaa and noble were exaggerated, even fabricated, by noble culture as justification for their perceived superiority. Height differences due to nutrition, 'intelligence' due to education and societal expectations, fertility due to common factors in urbanization. The LR did try some minor tinkering, to be played out over time through genetics, but in the end these changes weren't very successful.
This is actually good to know. I've seen your other responses to similar questions, where the inference was that there was indeed a significant difference.
The main changes were for dealing with the atmosphere, correct? And they were reverted by Sazed/Harmony?
There were also some general hardiness changes for the skaa and some fertility changes, but as I said, by the time of the books those were basically gone. And yes, Sazed reverted the ones designed to help survival in the ash.
Do other Shards have [intents?] like Honor with the Heralds and [Odium] with the Unmade?
Do others have things like that?
Yes, there are other things like that.
Did Kaladin’s name come from anywhere in particular?
No. I'm sure the word paladin was in the back of my head, but it's not like he shares much with like an actual paladin. His name was Merin in the initial version and it was-- it didn't work, he wasn't a Merin and all the fans-- all the readers were like "this name just doesn't work" so I spent years hunting for the right name for him, and that's the one I ended up with. It's really based-- it's Kalak, which is the Storm-- not really the Stormfather but people y'know. Most of the names you'll find are based off one of the Heralds in some way. So he's KALA + DIN, Kalak and din is a suffix.
We do have a meaning for it though. Can I tell them the meaning?
Ehhh, have we canonized it?
We have canonized it, and we have told people before.
It means "Born unto Eternity".
...I mean, it means that in the same way that names mean something, like my name means-- But when they're naming him that they aren't thinking that. What they are doing is picking one of the Heralds and making a name out of it. But my name technically means "Dweller by the Beacon", but really what it means is "He was the son of Alexander".
Have we-- I think you mentioned in a previous signing that we'd already met one member of every Order of the Knights Radiant.
Yes, I think you have.
My question is, have we met two Edgedancers? And is one of the Dustbringers a viewpoint character?
One of the Dustbringers is eventually a point-of-view character.
Haven't been yet?
No, not yet, I don't think. But it depends if you count the Heralds as members of their order.
Oh, see I would, because they're kind of heads of their Order. If you don't count them you have not met some from every Order.
Have we met someone from the Dustbringers?
Well-- Dustbringers are really complicated. Really complicated. So that's the weird one. Okay? So let's shelve that one. You'll see why it's really weird later on.
As I was developing the Cosmere, I knew I wanted a few threads to span the entire mega-sequence, which was going to cover thousands of years. For this reason, I built into the outline a couple of "core" series.
One of these is the Stormlight Archive, where we have the Heralds who span ages, and which I eventually decided to break into two distinct arcs. Other series touch on the idea of long-standing characters. Dragonsteel, for example, will be kind of a bookend series. We'll get novels on Hoid's origins, then jump all the way to the end and get novels from his viewpoint late in the entire Cosmere sequence.
With Mistborn, I wanted to do something different. For aesthetic reasons, I wanted a fantasy world that changed, that grew updated and modernized. One of my personal mandates as a lover of the epic fantasy genre is to try to take what has been done before and push the stories in directions I think the genre hasn't looked at often enough.
I pitched Mistorn as a series of trilogies, which many of you probably already know. Each series was to cover a different era in the world (Scadrial), and each was to be about different characters—starting with an epic fantasy trilogy, expanding eventually into a space opera science fiction series. The magic would be the common thread here, rather than specific characters.
There was a greater purpose to this, more than just wanting a fantasy world that modernized. The point was to actually show the passage of time in the universe, and to make you, the reader, feel the weight of that passage.
Some of the Cosmere characters, like Hoid, are functionally immortal—in that, at least, they don't age and are rather difficult to kill. I felt that when readers approached a grand epic where none of the characters changed, the experience would be lacking something. I could tell you things were changing, but if there were always the same characters, it wouldn't feel like the universe was aging.
I think you get this problem already in some big epic series. (More on that below.) Here, I wanted the Cosmere to evoke a sense of moving through eras. There will be some continuing threads. (A few characters from Mistborn will be weaved through the entire thing.) However, to make this all work, I decided I needed to do something daring—I needed to reboot the Mistborn world periodically with new characters and new settings.
So how does Shadows of Self fit into this entire framework? Well, The Alloy of Law was (kind of) an accident. It wasn't planned to be part of the original sequence of Mistborn sub-series, but it's also an excellent example of why you shouldn't feel too married to an outline.
As I was working on Stormlight, I realized that it was going to be a long time (perhaps ten years) between The Hero of Ages and my ability to get back to the Mistborn world to do the first of the "second" series. I sat down to write a short story as a means of offering a stop-gap, but was disappointed with it.
That's when I took a step back and asked myself how I really wanted to approach all of this. What I decided upon was that I wanted a new Mistborn series that acted as a counterpoint to Stormlight. Something for Mistborn fans that pulled out some of the core concepts of the series (Allomantic action, heist stories) and mashed them with another genre—as opposed to epic fantasy—to produce something that would be faster-paced than Stormlight, and also tighter in focus.
That way, I could alternate big epics and tight, action character stories. I could keep Mistborn alive in people's minds while I labored on Stormlight.
The Alloy of Law was the result, an experiment in a second-era Mistborn series between the first two planned trilogies. The first book wasn't truly accidental, then, nor did it come from a short story. (I've seen both reported, and have tacitly perpetuated the idea, as it's easier than explaining the entire process.) I chose early 20th century because it's a time period I find fascinating, and was intrigued by the idea of the little-city lawman pulled into big-city politics.
Alloy wasn't an accident, but it was an experiment. I wasn't certain how readers would respond to not only a soft reboot like this, but also one that changed tone (from epic to focused). Was it too much?
The results have been fantastic, I'm happy to report. The Alloy of Law is consistently the bestselling book in my backlists, barring the original trilogy or Stormlight books. Fan reaction in person was enthusiastic.
So I sat down and plotted a proper trilogy with Wax and Wayne. That trilogy starts with Shadows of Self. It connects to The Alloy of Law directly, but is more intentional in where it is taking the characters, pointed toward a three-book arc.
You can see why this is sometimes hard to explain. What is Shadows of Self? It's the start of a trilogy within a series that comes after a one-off with the same characters that was in turn a sequel to an original trilogy with different characters.
What made you decide to split Stormlight into two arcs?
A bunch of things. I'd say the primary one is that when I tried to write the Way of Kings in 2002, the first version of it, the book failed. I finished the whole book, but it failed and the primary reason for that was because I had too many viewpoints doing too man things in too many places and the reader wasn't able to follow it and it didn't give a satisfying arc to anybody because there was like a little piece of a story instead of a complete story, so I spent many years trying to figure out why it wasn't working and one of the things i came up with that i should take some of the characters and tell their stories and then take some of the others and tell their stories later.
That natural division became very obvious to me when I was re-outlining the series using this idea. That I could do a Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan type thing and then save the Herald's viewpoints for the second half, does that makes sense. So that will... it should feel very natural. It should be some changes that indicate separate series but same... anyways, I'm please with how the outline looks.
I almost have a little bit of trouble understanding the difference between the Lighteyed and the darker...How did you come up with it?
I wanted to have some kind of racism in the books that was removed from the racism we have in our world, so I could talk about it in a more isolated way related to the books; and so, having it based on eye color made sense because the Voidbringers have these glowing red eyes and the Heralds have these bright eyes. So, this idea of eye color being related to your level of nobility, which is not true, but it entered the culture and became the form of racism and prejudice that they use.
It's National Novel Writing Month. Do you have any advice for amateur writers jumping into this endeavor?
Yeah, NaNoWriMo. I did this for many years before I got published. I was already writing, my friends were all doing it, so I'm like, "Yeah, I'll keep going and, then I won't tell you guys my word count because then you'll feel bad." *laughter* We always had, like, a race board posted on a website, that just posted what the daily count was supposed to be. I often doubled it. So, I was like this even back then. I would say, for you, to-- Number one, don't let the word count goal intimidate you. If you don't get 50,000-- the whole goal is just to get you out of your writing comfort zone. So, for you, 25,000 is where you're going, and you actually still do that, that's fine. 50,000 isn't a novel anyway, they just say it is. I mean it is technically a novel, but I mean, how many novels are 50,000 words? There's not very many. A lot of middle grade is around 50,000 words. I would just go for it. The other thing is, have a daily habit of when you're going to write, and try to make that sacrosanct and get into this habit of, I'm writing for these two hours. And kind of unplug during those two hours and write during those two hours. Worry less about what your word count is you're hitting. Do try to not self-edit. That's the biggest thing that's gonna to help you. If you're not going back and revising and revising and revising, and you're pushing forward-- the goal is to teach yourself to finish something and to push forward and turn off your internal editor.
In The Stormlight Archive, Damnation is a physical planet, or place, to my understanding. The Tranquiline Halls seems a little less tangible, is it a physical place and will we see it?
So, Damnation and the Tranquiline Halls, are they physical places? In Rosharan mythology they are places, much like heaven and hell are places. Tranquiline Halls is-- and so they believe that they do exist, but they're not sure if they exist on this plane or the next plane, or things like that. And that's all I'm going to say about it.
Do you think illustrations in books are going to become more common in the future? Sanderson seems to be enjoying exploring the idea of using them as part of his writing process and as another way for the reader to interact with the work (particularly with Elantris and Rithmatist).
Gosh, I sure hope so. I'm a huge fan of illustration, and I think when it's done well that it really adds value.
I just picked up the George Martin collection of his Hedge Knight shorts, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, which has 160 beautiful pen illustrations by Gary Gianni. And I love the huge, hardbound Kaluta-illustrated of A Princess of Mars that came out last year.
Beyond that, I'm a huge fan of what Brandon's been doing with specifically illustrating in-world documents. We don't really do "scene illustrations" in Stormlight, and we only do spot illustrations in terms of the chapter icons. Some of those are more contextually descriptive, like Lift's pile of food (which is doing double-duty by being both thematic of her power and hinting a little at Rosharan food typs. Lots of gourds, shelled meats, berries and seed-breads) or the straightforward picture of Adolin's Plate, but for the most part we're pretty careful about making every illustration also serve as an artifact.
A page of Shallan's represents a page in her collection. A map of a location is a map on someone's table. An image of Alethi fashions is part of a regular delivery of correspondence that Adolin recieves because that's how damn rich he is.
Not every book would benefit from that sort of supporting content, but some might. I'm reading Jim Butcher's magical airship adventure The Aeronaut's Windlass and enjoying it, but I could really go for a series of illustrations on just how these ships are meant to look. He gives a pretty good description of one of the main vessels... 190-some pages into the novel, after a couple action scenes involving that ship, and I'm still kinda unsure of what the other ships look like.
Lastly, given that there's plenty of precedent for books that are well-suited to be adapted for other media, it's not a bad idea to establish aspects of the property as the author intends while he's still got some input. Once it gets licensed, that opportunity is often reduced or lost.
Anything you can tell us about santhids?
They're one of a few Rosharan animals with a degree of sentience. It's easier on Roshar for this to happen.
Because of Cultivation?
Also, santhids aren't based on anything in particular on Earth.
It seems to be more apparent that different abilities are granted depending on the design of one's Spiritweb. Is the design of a Spiritweb, and the abilities it grants, limited to a specific Shardworld or are the designs universal across the cosmere? For example could someone from Roshar go to Scadrial and have Hemalurgy done on them and have it work?
Yeah, yeah, some of the magics are more regionally-locked than others. Hemalurgy will work on any planet. But, for instance, you'll notice that Elantrians have trouble even going to the next nation over. There's a specific reason for that. Most of the magics transcend location.
My question, in regards to Dragonsteel, is: Is there a possibility that somebody with the ability of microkinesis can see the spiritweb and alter it according to their will?
This is, this is totally possible. But you have to remember this is pre-Shattering of Adonalsium. Dragonsteel is the story of the Shattering of Adonalsium... the whole book is before, the whole series... So there are lots of things going on there that are-- like you will-- yeah. But it’s not canon yet.
The man that gives Nightblood to Szeth at the end of Words of Radiance, I don't understand who he is.
...Oh Nale, oh you mean Nale. Nale's one of the Heralds.
But I thought that those guys left? At the be-- In the prequel, at the beginning of The Way of Kings.
They abandoned their swords and went about the world, but did not return to the place where they were supposed to go, which was off-world.
So they just die?
They did not die.
So they're all still out there? Somewhere in the cosmere?
It can be assumed that they are all still out there unless some of them died since then. It was 4,000 years ago.
But the one guy that stayed, went crazy because--
The one guy they abandoned was left in their version of hell, and the rest of them were supposed to return and didn't.
Every time they die they're supposed to go back. Or every time the war is over. You are asking good questions, they're questions that will make more sense as the book progresses.
Are Renarin's visions compulsive or involuntary?
Renarin's visions are-- have an element of that to them... So I'll ask you a question in return.
How do Rosharans view seeing the future?
Oh yeah, very bad. Of Odium.
Yep. They sure do.