Any hints at the thing hiding in the maps of Roshar?
The map of Roshar, what hints can I give you? The same thing is hiding in all of the maps of Roshar. All of the ones we have done so far have the same thing.
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Any hints at the thing hiding in the maps of Roshar?
The map of Roshar, what hints can I give you? The same thing is hiding in all of the maps of Roshar. All of the ones we have done so far have the same thing.
How do you pick names?
Each group is based on real world naming conventions, Alethi = near-palindromes + Semitic, Central Dominance = French, Emperor's Soul = Ancient Zoroastrian
During Adolin's exploration of Urithiru (right before he murders Sadeas) he comes across a painting
A fanciful picture with animals from mythology. He recognized a few from children's stories, like the enormous mink like creature with the mane of hair that burst out around and behind its head. What was it called again?
Let's answer Adolin's question. Is that a lion. Does this mean that normal animals once inhabited Roshar but became extinct or were forced to adapt after the arrival of Odium or the Highstorms. Or maybe these were artist illustrations from stories brought over to Roshar by worldhoppers? What do you think?
With shardpools being a thing and worldhoppers like Hoid being a thing as well it's entirely possible that people brought stories of the fauna of their world with them when they came to Roshar. After all, we know (via Word of Brandon) that the Horneater lakes are shardpools so they could have knowledge of lions via travelers, seeing them in the pools or some other way (worldsingers?)
Edit-- just noticed you mentioned worldhoppers. I think that's what it is, but it could also be stories from the original inhabitants if (big if) the original inhabitants came from elsewhere in the Cosmere.
Edit again -- They might have gone extinct after the arrival of Odium. If the rest of the world was akin to Shinovar prior to Odium then it's entirely possible for their to have been lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!).
Unless someone asks (or has asked) Brandon then I have no clue.
[Brandon]can you aid us in our questions?
No, it seems like you're asking the right ones.
I thought the spheres of different denominations were also different sizes.
Someone mentioned this, too. Now with a second person it seems to make even more sense. Was it mentioned in the books?
Garnet and ruby are still right next to each other in value, but with all the other differences... it's probably just enough information to differentiate them.
Huh. I'd always assumed that the glass portion of a sphere was the same size for each gem type, but I can't find solid proof one way or another in the books. It's clear that within a gem type the glass size is constant while gem size grows from chip to mark to broam, but otherwise? I'd have to do a careful reread to try and find any evidence one way or another, and it might not be there at all.
This seems like the kind of question [Brandon Sanderson] or [Ben McSweeney] can give a definitive answer to: would a diamond chip's glass be the same size as an emerald broam's?
[Peter Ahlstrom] ought to know for sure.
I want to say they're all the same size sphere, with larger or smaller gems? But now I'm blanking on what that sphere size is... like, about the size of a marble? Half-inch or so in diameter?
The spheres are all the same size, about as big around as a man's thumbnail. Only the gems inside the spheres differ in size.
From the moment you begin worldbuilding Roshar how long did it take you before it really resembled what we read in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance?
Resembled? I would say about a year. But I started worldbuilding it in 2001, if you read the version I wrote in 2002 you would say, "This feels like Roshar" but the spren weren't in it yet.
Where did you get the idea of a world ravaged by fierce storms?
The original seed of an idea was the storm of Jupiter, this massive persistent storm. Of course, that's a gas giant. The physics are very different. But I remember one day staring at a picture of Jupiter and thinking about a storm that circled the world that was massively powerful. That was one of those seeds that stuck in my brain. This sort of thing happened over months and years until that seed grew and developed and mixed with other things I was thinking of, and the result was Roshar.
The use of spren are a brilliant idea, what was the inspiration for these creatures?
In part, they stem from the underlying cosmology and overarching rules, the dictates of the magic systems of my shared universe. I was looking for a manifestation of that in Roshar. I also was searching for something that would give Roshar a different feel from things that I'd done before. I wanted this book and this series – and everything about it – to feel different from fantasy worlds in the past. I wanted it to be fantastical, but I wanted it to be unique. I wanted something that could consistently remind the reader, "Oh, I'm in a different place. Wow. Their emotions manifest visibly when they feel them strongly. This place is bizarre." That was one of the main inspirations. Looking in our world, one inspiration is certainly the Eastern concept in Shinto mythology of everything having a soul, every rock and river and tree having something living inside of it that is a manifestation of it. Since I was working with the idea of Platonic realms and the like, I spun that off into the spren.
In this world, assuming that [Roshar] is as old as it appears to be, wouldn't it be that the creatures that have gemhearts in them, as they die their body would rot away but leaving the gemstone? So wouldn't fossil beds exist with layers of gemstones in them from the passing of the ages?
Yeah, that's why-- yes.
That's how they mine them?
They do mine them. What you've got to remember is, in my opinion these things are going to collect in certain ways in certain places.
Densities and stuff.
Yeah. But yeah. Because there's no tectonic activity on Roshar, so.
Just the buildup of crem over time slowly covers things.
[joke about Birds=Chickens on Roshar]
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.
Is Roshar a spherical planet?
How much is a stone-weight on Roshar?
Uh... that is actually a question for Peter. I actually, often, will just write in brackets "this much," and he comes up with the weights and measures, because I can never be consistent in my first drafts. So, yeah, you ask Peter, he can get that for you. I do the same thing with spheres, right? I'm like, "This costs roughly 100 bucks in our world," and he'll go "All right, fine" and go look up all the things. I used to keep it all in the first book, but since then I just let him do it.
I thought Kaladin was dark skinned.
Most of the Alethi are darker skinned, and would not look Caucasian to us. But most cover artists (and readers) miss this fact.
It's not something I've been clear enough about to publishers when they commission art. My bad, not theirs.
How many more secret societies are on Roshar? What-- More of them?
There are a few but most of the ones you haven't found out about are either in countries you haven't gone to and spent much time with or they are offworld societies that are involved in Roshar. You know most of them.
How did you come up with the geography on Roshar?
The geography on Roshar was developed as a natural outgrowth of the highstorm, which was the first concept for Roshar, which was inspired by the storm of Jupiter, which was me wanting to tell a story about a world with a continual magical storm. And then I built the ecology and all of these things up from that. Roshar had to grow up--I had to find a mechanism by which stone was deposited by rain, because I felt that the constant weathering over that long of a time would leave no continents. So the crem was my kind of scientific-with-one-foot-in-magic hack on keeping the continent. So the continent does drift. They don't have plate tectonics. The continent actually moves as it gets weathered on the east and gets pushed that direction over millennia of time.
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.
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.
So if Kaladin's name is derived from Khaled, is it fair to assume that the Alethi language sounds similar to Arabic?
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.
What can't Peter do? He seems to be an expert on everything!
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.
Are the Tai-na from the Reshi Isles related to cremlings and other greatshells? How big do you think their gemhearts would be?
They are related, and their gemhearts are...well, I'll leave that to your imagination.
Do Rosharans store their gemstones in spheres in imitation or inspiration of the spheres in [Shadesmar]?
No, they don't. There is a relationship there, but that's not what caused it.
Roshar's moons, do they have special spren associated with them?
Shouldn't the rest of Roshar be more Earth-like, more Shinovar-like, kind of, with Cultivation on Roshar?
Um, you are mistakenly assuming that Cultivation means Earth-like flora and fauna. Roshar is very bountiful, and, um, like it's not a barren land. Um, Roshar is very, um...
It's thriving. Yeah, it just has a different ecology. Um, you're mistakenly assuming that our ecology is the only sort that can be bountiful.
I think wines in Stormlight are more similar to fermented juice than alcoholic beverages, the word wine is just the closest thing in English to whatever they are saying in Alethi.
I guess you're right. With all the storms, I don't think they can grow grapevines.
Just like the word 'chicken' seems to be used where we would use 'bird'. :)
This is correct; these are both several examples of linguistic broadening and semantic change in Vorin languages.
When and Alethi says "wine" they generally mean "alcohol." Though some of them are fermented juices, much of what they drink wouldn't seem like wine to you at all. Several that the Alethi lighteyes are fond of are akin to a harder liquor with an infusion. In others, the colorings are added for the same reason we add coloring to a cola--for convenience, feel, and tradition more than taste. A character in Book Three finds themselves in possession of some distilled Horneater liquor, and it's colorless.
In Sanderson's most recent lecture (50:25 in) to his BYU Writing Class, he mentions that Alethkar natives resemble Asians. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, especially since I always imagined the Shin as the "Asians" of that world.
It's a little more complicated than I might have made it seem. Alethkar natives other than the Shin have the epicanthic fold, but the Alethi wouldn't look strictly Asian to you--they'd look like a race that you can't define, as we don't have them on earth. I use half-Asian/half-arab or half-asian/half-Polynesian models as my guide some of the time, but Alethi are going to have a tanner skin than some of those.
Some Horneaters might look Caucasian to you--but then, most will not. They'll seem like something alien, and not all of them have light skin; they tend to walk a spectrum between pale and coppery. Reshi and Herdazians will look closest to something like an indigenous Bolivian.
Shin would look the closest to Caucasian to you, but again, they're not an Earth ethnicity. So you might not be able to place them either.
A lot of the fanart has done a good job with this, and if you search through it, it might help you get an idea.
How would an albino with red eyes be regarded on Roshar? Do they even exist there?
They would be deeply mistrusted. (Unfortunately.)
Just because Rosharans are racist, or is it a cultural carryover from fear of the Voidbringers?
How about the Iriali and Alethi mix we have going on with Adolin and Renarin? Where would this put them within the chibi figures? I have always had a hard time trying to figure out how they would look like due to their mix ethnicity. I have ideas... of course, but I'd be great to have confirmation.
They're gong to have lighter skin, but skin tone isn't something Alethi pay much attention to. Hair and eye color is what draws their attention. Dalinar and Kaladin will be darker than Adolin and Renarin, though none of them would look Caucasian to us. Of course, Caucasians have varied skin tone as well, so it's hard to say specifically what they'd look like. (As a note, Renarin/Adolin are a Riran/Alethi mix--not exactly Iriali/Alethi, as there's some slightly different genetics going on there.)
Oh I thought Riran and Iriali were the same... Where did I go wrong?
I can't say much without giving spoilers, but there are small differences.
Would be cool if you ever got the chance to sit down with a sketch artist to put out images of your visualization of how some of these characters look.
It would be fun, though I've done this (in a small way) with Ben McSweeny, who does a lot of art for my books. I have semi-official character sketches I use for my own descriptive purposes, but I don't consider them close enough in some ways to be canon, so we don't release them or put them in the books. That said, some of them might be floating around on the internet--I'm not sure.
One thing I wish I'd done was nudge Michael Whalen to push his Kaladin on the cover of Words of Radiance a little further to be a little more ethnically Alethi--as I think it would help people's visualizations of him. But the one we ended up with is already the third version of Kaladin he did for that painting, and each one was increasingly better--I felt bad pushing him further.
As a side note, I've always loved this fanart for Rock. I don't know if there's a more on-target picture of one of my characters out there:
So Roshar's also high-oxygen, which does some weird things. That's how we justify the crustaceans. Which does weird things to people as well, so.
I think a lot about the fact that [Brandon] decided that Roshar needed 10 evenly spaced gas giants in its system.
The spacing is not to scale...and the uninhabited planets are very hard to detect from Shadesmar.
Also few of these would be visible from Roshar. So...
How does the density of Roshar compare to the density of Earth?
Roshar's density? So, Roshar is less dense than Earth. As well as being a bit smaller. I mean, we're at .7 gravity, so you can run the numbers. I'm sure the people on here *nods at smartphone* will. And they'll figure that out.
Has anyone figured out what the secret in the map was, in Words of Radiance?
Yeah, they have. That it's modeled after the Julia Set. Which is meant to indicate that Roshar was designed specifically.
Did it happen through crem buildup?
Is the Earth-like biome in Shinovar a product solely of environmental factors (e.g. shelter from the highstorms), or is there a magical component as well?
On Roshar, the environment and magic are so intertwined, environmental factors ARE magical components.
Interesting, hadn't really thought of it this way, but much of the environment and its events depend on magic - highstorms, plant and animal life, crem and water deposits, and those are just off the top of my head. Was it this way before the Shards showed up, or is this a change they caused (intentionally or not)?
This will eventually be revealed.
How tall is Kaladin?
Kaladin I think is 6' 4"? But I'm not 100% sure how the equivalent-- Like he is 6' 4" to Rosharans, which may actually put him several inches taller to the 6' 4", like the feet on Roshar are not exactly the same as feet here.
Is there a reason, with 16 being such an important number, that there are only 10 orders of Radiants
That is relevant.
Am I going to have to read and find out?
Let's just say 10 is a number that is relevant to Roshar and its inhabitants.
And what's the significance of the number 10?
The significance is that it is very significant.
Will we find out by reading it?
Maybe, that's why you're getting a RAFO. Potentially.
There's a lot of divisions in the lighteyes. The lighteyes are basically...there's as many of them as there are darkeyes and the lower ranks of lighteyes are basically peasants, like you would look at them and say, but they're not quite, they're like Roman citizens, not all the Roman citizens were wealthy, things like this. And so all of them, their lives would be fairly familiar to you. The higher you go on the rankings, the less likely they are to care for their own children.
You'll see a very young child in the next book and I think at least one baby. But it's not a baby of relevance to any of the main characters.
Is there anything that I should have asked that I didn’t?
Probably not… Do you know if anyone has figured out the hidden things in the map of Roshar?
Commentary: We discussed the pattern 15 code for a bit. I’m glad it’s been solved! He said that it wouldn’t be earth shattering, but it would be cool to know. And boy, it was!
Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--
--the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?
Yes, there is.
And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?
Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--
Yes. Like Hoid.
--and all of this stuff. I would say one of the things is that Roshar is a little bit easier to get to than some of the others, but it's not that it has been breached there so much as it's a little bit easier to get to.
Yes, I'm assuming it has something to do with the Cognitive Realm but then objects going through the Cognitive Realm is kind of tripping me.
Hehe… *long pause* There are places in the Cognitive Realm that are somewhat nexus-like, like you're talking about. Yes there are places like that. ...So Roshar might actually be the easiest place to get to in the cosmere, like from planet to planet. Sel is probably the hardest, right now. For a long time Taldain was very hard, but not anymore.
As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium
Roshar predates the Shattering. I've spoken of this before, haven't I?
Maybe somewhere before, and obviously most planets existed before the shattering (Planets are pretty old) but I don't think you've ever mentioned Roshar (the continent) being specifically grown by Adonalsium.
Is this a normal thing that Adonalsium did or was Roshar special to him in some way?
A quick search reveals that you have mentioned that Roshar was named Roshar before the Shattering but nothing mentioned about it being grown by Adonalsium. It makes sense though, that shape is obviously not natural.
There are many things that are unique about Roshar, but it wasn't the only world created in this way.
Does this [map of Roshar] look like a storm to anyone else?
I was searching for something that at once felt organic, but would hint at a pattern. (Much like cymatic patterns, as referenced in the first book.) Fractals and mathematical functions became my go-to place to hunt, as I like the blend of structure and spontaneity they can sometimes exhibit. The slice of the Julia Set was the one that stuck with me as feeling perfect for Roshar. As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium, you now know the seed that was used in-world to create it.
The fact that it looked like a swirling cloud is part of this all--but also part of the connection between natural patterns and the underlying math, which is a primary theme of the Stormlight books. So yes, it SHOULD look like a storm--but for deeper reasons than you might assume.
I asked Isaac recently, but he suggested you might be the right person for this - do you have a specific equation for the Julia set you used to generate Roshar? I know it resembles a few easily Google-able images of (shadows of slices of) Julia sets, but I was curious if had specific numbers here.
I don't have any numbers I could give you. Sorry. I might be able to find them, if I looked, but it would take more time than I'd like.
So, filter that the Shard's power-- Investiture, I guess? Is it that-- So on Roshar, does it count as three Shards stacked on top of each other, next to each other, that's forming different magic systems.
It definitely is influencing it. But, not-- perhaps not as much as you might think. I mean, it is, though.
Honestly? I just, these days, say "It kind of looks something like this" and he [Isaac Stewart] reads the book and finds any references I've made and comes up with something. I can trust him to the point that I don't have to worry too much about it. On some I'll give him a shape. On Roshar I gave him the shape, and said "It's like this" and then I split things up. Because that one shape was very important to me. But like Mistborn I'm like "It looks kind of like this. Go for it."
Oh yeah I sent an MS Paint thing.
Are the character’s ages given in Stormlight Archive Rosharan years, or Earth years?
They’re Rosharan years. So, people are actually, it’s a little bit off from our, our world, a Rosharan year is 500 days, but the hour, the days are a little shorter, anyway they end being like when, when S- when Kaladin’s age is mentioned, in our world, he’d be a few years older.
Where do gemstones come from?
Gemstones on Roshar are mostly coming from gemhearts. And, I remembered to stick in some mentions of this in Oathbringer, 'cause a lot of people have been asking about this. It's not something-- like, the daily ranching of animals for their gemhearts is not something that we bring up a lot, but there is some limited mining operations on Roshar as well, you've just gotta get through the crem.
Why can only women read in [The] Stormlight Archive?
Immediately after the Recreance an old book was used to argue for the idea that only men should be picking up the blades and plate, fighting was a masculine art. Over a period of 20 or so years this became established and some women used the same argument to take back some power by taking literacy for themselves as a feminine art.
Do Rosharans just refer to all birds as chickens and is that a translation error from the Shin? Or do the Shin call them all chickens too?
No, the Shin do not call them all chickens but Rosharans, outside of Shinovar, call them all chickens.
Is the current year number (1174) just a Vorin convention, or is everyone on Roshar using the same calendar?
It is a Vorin convention, but the Vorin convention has been adopted by a lot of cultures.
Just like our Gregorian?
Yeah. But there are different numbering conventions.
Since your books are "translations" from another language and "Hierocracy" is a foreign word in English, is it also a foreign word in the original language?
No, but good question.
With the ten Silver Kingdoms, what were actually their roles and what kingdoms did they correspond to? Can you say that, or-?
Well, what do you mean by correspond?
Did the ten Silver Kingdoms each have a job like Alethela was the kingdom of War?
They would all consider themselves specialized but it wasn't official like that. It was more like their own philosophy and how they view themselves. And I wouldn't align them straight up with orders of Knights Radiant or anything like that.
I wasn't saying that, I was saying, maybe different job or it was like--
They all did kind of have different roles but its not like they had any-- you know, Thaylenah is your navy, right? Its not necessarily that it's-- if that makes sense, but Alethela has like the view of itself, it had a very distinctive view of itself.
Okay, so it wasn't like each one actually had a different role?
No, they were not quite, quite, organized enough for that.
This is just a little thing I thought of that is kinda neat. Symmetry on Roshar is seen as holy, but the letter H can be used in place of another consonant without "spoiling" the symmetry.
Is this because of the spelling of the name Honor? If the H is a stand-in for the R, it makes the name symmetrical.
Where is the "h" thing mentioned?
I am copying this from somewhere else, but apparently WoR chapter 47. (I guess i tagged the post wrong, but it's just barely a spoiler anyway.)
""Bajerden? Nohadon? Must people have so many names?" "One is honorific," Shallan said. His original name wasn't considered symmetrical enough. Well, I guess it wasn't really symmetrical at all, so the ardents gave him a new one centuries ago." "But ... the new one isn't symmetrical either." "The 'h' sound can be for any letter," Shallan said absently. "We write it as the symmetrical letter, to make the word balance, but add a diacritical mark to indicate it sounds like an h so the word is easier to say." "That - One can't just pretend that a word is symmetrical when it isn't!" Shallan ignored his sputtering [...]"
Is this similar to the many interpretations of the spelling and pronunciation of YHWH?
Hebrew, among a few other languages, is an inspiration for some languages in the cosmere. (One of them is Alethi.) That said, in this case it's more like how in some Asian countries, they would give honorific names to famous scholars or rulers after they pass away.
Have Rosharan mathematics advanced far enough to know Julia sets?
Yes, they know Julia sets. Some of the mathematics are farther along at this time than ours, some are behind. Kinda like abstractionalism is a centuries-old art style on Roshar, calculus was discovered way earlier.
I have a question about Roshar. Um, how big is this exactly?
Um, I can get you that if you write to me, because I--I just have to go to the maps.
There's a lot of like--physical description *audio skips* And the different races and cool descriptions for like the cultures and stuff. I was wonder if there's like a reason for that in the world?
Oh, yeah, well there's a couple reasons, for instance-- You know, ask me after you've read the third book, and then I can give you some spoilerific sort of stuff, that's-- that comes out in the third book-- I can stand upon it. Um, but yeah I can also-- we can also give you the distance. I think they have it on the 17th Shard. Isaac-- we didn't put the map of actual scale in it, just because we-- I dunno why, I just decided not. But we have it. I let Isaac and Peter kind of nail that down. I say, "This distance is about this far." So they figure out what the rest of it is. But the planet Roshar is smaller than Earth.
Yeah. And the continent--I mean, but it's one supercontinent, and so it's fairly big, but--
I mean, you can travel across it on a storm.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh-huh.
Does the plague on the Purelake has anything to do with the fact that the magic fish form symbiotic bonds with spren?
No, worldhoppers brought a disease to Roshar that they didn't have before. It's the common cold. Rosharans' Investiture makes it so they're usually a healthy bunch so something like the cold is kind of frightening. "It's a plague of the sniffles."
Another person asked about the plague in the Purelake.
Turns out, that was a pathogen introduced by worldhoppers. People on Roshar normally have greater health than elsewhere in the cosmere because they are more Invested (Stormlight and all that). This plague was what we call… the common cold.
Do people celebrate their birthdays on Roshar, because Kaladin doesn't seem to care?
Yeah, there are celebrations like birthdays and others as well, but I can't put everything in the books. Some people care more, some - like Kaladin - less.
Was just the continent of Roshar created by Adonalsium or was the whole system created?
Whole system was created.