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Warbreaker Annotations ()
#202 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


Nightblood's name, by the way, is supposed to sound kind of like the names of the Returned. I played with various different ways for his powers to manifest. I liked the idea of him driving those who hold him to kill anyone nearby. It seemed to work with the concepts that have come before—a kind of unholy, sentient mix of Stormbringer and the One Ring.

The strangest thing about him is the idea that his form isn't that important. The sheath is like a binding for him, keeping his power contained. So drawing him out isn't like drawing a regular weapon, but rather an unleashing of a creature who has been kept chained.

Once that creature is unleashed, he becomes a weapon—even if he's unleashed only a little bit. The sheath itself turns into a weapon, twisting those around it. You don't need to stab someone with Nightblood to kill them; smashing them on the back with the sheath works just as well. It will crunch bones, but beyond that, merely touching them with the sheath when the smoke is leaking can be deadly.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#203 Copy


This actually came out of a panel today. You'd originally said that Nightblood is way more powerful than a regular Shardblade, but at the time that question was asked of you we didn' know about live Shardblades, we only knew about dead Shardblades. So is that still true, now that we know we have at least two--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh he is more powerful than a regular Shardblade. *groaning and laughter* that is 100% still true.


How does Nightblood compare to a more living Blade?

Brandon Sanderson

More living Blade? Hehe, you’re asking the same--


No I'm asking a different question. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Well, let's just RAFO that one.

Starsight Release Party ()
#204 Copy


Are you still planning on Death by Pizza after...

Brandon Sanderson

So Death by Pizza is now called Death without Pizza. It's actually called Songs of the Dead. I've been working on that with Peter Orullian who's a singer in a metal band. Some parts of it are really working, some parts aren't, so we're doing another draft. Basically, I did the outline and the world, he's writing the book. The first revision, there were some things that needed to be done in the first draft. So, we'll see how it goes. It's an experiment for both of us. Neither of us have co-written a book before.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#205 Copy

Questioner 1

So, it's been established when Syl transformed for Kaladin that a living Blade can become any weapon, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, based on the perception of the wielder.

Questioner 1

Right. So, why is it that there are only dead swords?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question that will be answered in the future.

Questioner 2

Could they make a lightsaber?

Brandon Sanderson

Could they make a lightsaber? W-- They could make metal weapons of a similar style to that, so no, we're not talking lightsabers because… Creating plasma is not something that we're looking at.


But like a bow, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

They could create, probably--Well, let's RAFO that one, I'll show you what's going to be happening.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#206 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Lightsong Meets Allmother

This was a tough scene to get right. The trick is, I knew by this point that I wanted Allmother to be one of those who disliked Lightsong. She thinks that he's a useless god, and she isn't one of those who saw hidden depth in him.

I also knew that I wanted to give a twist here by having Lightsong offer up his Commands and give himself a way out, so to speak. What he does here is rather honorable. He knows that Allmother is a clever woman and perhaps one of the only gods capable of going toe-to-toe with Blushweaver. By giving her his Commands, he does a good job of countering Blushweaver without having to resist her.

But he couldn't get away with it. He had to stay in the middle of it all, for the good of the story and for the good of him as a character. So the question became, "Why in the world would Allmother give him her Commands?"

The prophetic dreams came to my rescue a couple of times in this book. I know that they're cheating slightly, but since I've built them into the story, I might as well use them. Having her having dreamed of his arrival gives me the out for why she'd do something as crazy as give up her Commands. I think her visions, mixed with the knowledge that Calmseer trusted Lightsong, would be enough to push her over the edge.

Daily Dragon interview ()
#207 Copy

Daily Dragon

What other projects do you have planned or in the works?

Brandon Sanderson

My novella Legion just came out from Subterranean Press and I'll do a signing for it at the Missing Volume booth at noon on Saturday; it's a modern-day story about a guy who has something like schizophrenia, but he's a genius. He himself can't do anything special, but all of his hallucinations are experts in their respective fields. People come to him with problems they need solved, and he brings a few of his hallucinations along with him to help solve them.

In November I have another novella, The Emperor's Soul, coming from Tachyon Publications—it's more like my fantasy books, in a world where trained Forgers can change reality, and the main character has to Forge a new soul for the Emperor, who was left brain-dead in an attack.

Next summer I have two YA books coming out: The Rithmatist, which is about fighting with magical chalk drawings, and Steelheart, which takes place in a world where all the superheroes are evil; the main character is a boy who knows the weakness of the Emperor of Chicago and wants to hook up with a team of assassins to hunt him down.

Then my next book that will come out after those is the sequel to The Way of Kings, which I'm working on the outline of right now.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#209 Copy


Can Nightblood be considered a Splinter and does it function like a spren realmatically, are there distinct differences is what I'm asking.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is kind of his own strange thing. He's an attempt to use one magic to replicate something in another. He's closest to a spren, but kind of like a...robot spren, for lack of better words to use.


When you say that Nightblood is "an attempt to use one magic to replicate something in another," do you mean life in general, or are you referring to a specific effect in a specific magic system?

Brandon Sanderson

There are those involved who knew that Shardblades existed before they tried the Nightblood experiment.


So does this mean Vasher had knowledge of Shardblades before creating Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

It means what I wrote, and nothing more at this point. :)


Dude. That's the most tantalizing RAFO I've seen in awhile. Have other Shards made Shardblades besides Honor?

Brandon Sanderson



Is that why Vasher uses the word 'Investiture' instead of some personal term for it?

Brandon Sanderson

I could be wrong, but I think Vasher was the first one in any book I allowed to use cosmere-aware terms for speaking of things like the magics. (Investiture is one of these.)

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#210 Copy


If another Shard came to Scadrial, would that be enough to create a metal like atium, or...?

Brandon Sanderson

If another Shard just came to visit, probably not.


If they brought a spren or--

Brandon Sanderson

If they came and completely Invested the world, then things might start happening. But there's some special circumstances, remember. Ruin and Preservation created that planet. Specifically. And so there's some goofy things that happened because of that. For instance Roshar was not made by Honor, Cultivation, or Odium. That's one of the big differences about what's going on there.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#211 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher Explains the Different Kinds of BioChromatic Entities

This is a scene I'd been waiting to write for almost the entire book. Not just because I wanted to get into the scientific rules for Awakening, but because I wanted to pull a good reversal for Vasher. When he begins talking like this, I hope that the reader responds like Vivenna: Who is this guy?

A lot of readers, my editor included, resisted the term BioChroma. They wanted me to simply use Breath, as they thought BioChroma was just too scientific sounding. I like this concept, however. I want people to read the book and think it sounds scientific. My novels, my magic systems, have a kind of "hard magic" sense to them. I want there to be an edge of science to them, a feeling that people are studying them and trying to learn about them using the scientific method.

Vasher's explanations here are dead on. He's got a lot of good information, and he has a handle on what he doesn't understand. That alone should be a big clue about who he is. The fact that he never has to trim his beard is another one.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#212 Copy


Do Shards need to be based on the same planet to create the interactions that made Feruchemy possible?

If the Parshendi are not originally from Odium and are referred to as the Ancient Ones by spren, then would that make the original Parshendi, bonded to the Splinters that existed before Honor and Cultivation arrived, the Dawnsingers?

Brandon Sanderson


Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
#214 Copy


Do all three Metallic Arts still exist after the events of the book? Are Allomancy and Hemalurgy slightly degenerated now that Ruin and Preservation are dead, or does Allomancy still draw upon Preservation's power (just held with Sazed now)?

Brandon Sanderson

Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy all work as they once did. However, now they are more directly affected by the presence or absence of the mists, which will slowly return to the world but not be of the extent they once were. (The mists are now an extent of Sazed's power, and where they roam, he is better able to influence things. There will also be two kinds of mists.) Note that in the future, Feruchemy powers will start to fracture and split, creating Feruchemical "Mistings."

Yes, this means that in the future series, it will be possible for a person to have one Allomantic power and one Feruchemical power. It will create for some very interesting mixing of powers.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#216 Copy

Darkness (paraphrased)

Did the person Sigzil tried to kill actually die, and then afterward become not dead?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

We'll RAFO that, mostly because I intend to dig into Sigzil's past more.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Ok so you're probably going to RAFO who it was?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah… mmhmm… but we do get a Sigzil viewpoint in this next book so…

Darkness (paraphrased)

Good! I like Sigzil.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#219 Copy


My question is not really a question, it's more of a theory. How Odium keeps the Fused around is more if he has them tied to his essence, so it's like he's essentially fishing them out of the Spiritual Realm and since their minds are left behind in the Cognitive Realm and their minds are *inaudible* damaged, because their spirits are separated and it just pulls them back.

I'm 100% convinced Nightblood did kill the thunderclast, because Nightblood consumes all investiture, that's something I asked you back at Barnes and Noble a couple years ago, during Christmas and you said your soul is investiture. So my thought is, that thunderclast isn't coming back any time soon.

Brandon Sanderson

You are correct on that one.


When I saw that, my thought was, "Yep, It's dead." Other people were like, "I don't know, will it come back?" Nope.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll tell you this. They have not run into something like this before, and there will be ramifications of what happened there.


That is fun to know.

Brandon Sanderson

If you are used to death having no consequence, and suddenly your friend vanishes forever...


Yeah I, know I already thought of that. They're going to fight over Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson


17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#224 Copy


We're aware by now of eight of the sixteen Shards (Devotion, Dominion, Ruin, Preservation, Endowment, Honor, Odium and Cultivation) and seven of the ten core Shardworlds (the Dragonsteel world, Roshar, Scadrial, Nalthis, Sel, the White Sand world and The Silence Divine world). Given that you now how we love to obsessively speculate based on only the tiniest of information, and also given that it seems an endless source of amusement to you that we do, would you perhaps like to tease us with a smidgen of information about one of the remaining eight Shards or the three remaining Shardworlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. If I give you this, what will you speculate on in the future? :) I hate to do this, but I'm going to RAFO that one for now. Sorry.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#225 Copy


Could you tell us the name of one of the Shards we have not yet seen?

Brandon Sanderson

I cannot. I'm sorry. I get asked that enough that they'd all be done. If I gave you one, I get asked at the next con, and all of them would be gone. Plus, I sometimes tweak them before I canonize them. The actual word I'm going to use. The intent usually stays the same but I tweak which word I'm going to use.


I meant the actual name. Like, how Honor was Tanavast.

Brandon Sanderson

No...I won't do that either. But I will give you a RAFO card!

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#226 Copy


In Elantris, so, if the people are dead they don't have any pulse, right? 

Brandon Sanderson

They do not have a pulse.


So, wouldn't all the blood just go straight to their legs?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I worked out a few things on this. In order to make what I was doing work I didn’t want to zombify them too much, and so I would give them like a blood pump, like a pulse of the heart, very softly, like every couple of minutes or something like that, and remember they’re being sustained directly by the magic so I was able to fudge some of the stuff. There’s some other things that would happen, like the gas would cause them to expand and... I didn’t want to do that, I didn’t want them to go all the way to zombie, and so I made some basic metabolic processes happen, but more magically caused than physically.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#227 Copy


Does anyone understand what [Brandon] means in saying that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, whereas living ones can?

It seems like it's been a while since I've read WoR, and I can't make out how the original scene demonstrates this? Is he talking about Kaladin's soul or Szeth's?

Peter Ahlstrom

I don't understand it myself, except that two Orders can use Regrowth. But that might not be what Brandon is talking about.

Ben McSweeney AMA ()
#228 Copy


Who, in your opinion, writes the best fantasy today?

Ben McSweeney

Until recently, I would have said Terry Pratchett, without hesitation. People mistake his books for mere comic fantasy, but that man had as sharp a wit as any Algonquin and more heart than a Care Bear Stare. He knew how to turn a phrase like a tango turns the hips. On more that one occasion, no exaggeration, that goofy old bearded bastard actually made me cry.

To reach out and touch another human through time and space and make them actually feel something... that's good writing.

But he's moved on, and there's plenty of great authors at their height today, so let's stick to the contemporary.

For pure liquid prose, probably Rothfuss.

For interesting concepts, I'm digging Guy Gavriel Kay. China Mieville is great as well.

For action, I'm pretty into my man Brandon. Butcher does a good job with that also. Larry Corriea knows how to write a rocking fight.

Joe Abercrombie is the first author I've read who took those boring battle maps with the arrows and blocks and made them into a gripping, visceral saga of honor and commitment and betrayal and vindication.

Dan Abraham is the man who made a story about a rogue banker into one of the best epics since Ice met Fire. That right there is a Copperfield-level trick.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#229 Copy


Sja-anat tries to convince Shallan she is not her enemy and tells her, "Ask my son." Is the son that she's referring to, is that Pattern?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Sja-anat is referring to--I'll try not to give too many spoilers on this--if you look through the books for a spren that does not seem to belong to Honor or Cultivation, but is bonding a Radiant, that is where you want to look for Sja-anat's influence.


Is it Glys?

Brandon Sanderson


Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#230 Copy


Have any other Shards--if the Shards were split, for some reason, to I guess protect, why is it that some of them clumped together, like Ruin and Preservation, and Honor and Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson

Some are more naturally like that, but at the same time they also had personalities driving them, and it’s mostly the personalities.


Friends would have gotten together in the same place kinda sorta?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, or business associates how are “We can do something cool together”. Before Odium just hunted them done and y’know… But the personalities are driving most of that.

General Reddit 2020 ()
#231 Copy


Has he hinted at how long of a time gap it's going to be [between the two Stormlight arcs]? Are there going to be the same characters in each sequence?

Brandon Sanderson

Time gap is around ten years, and the back five will largely include the same characters, but the focus will be more on the Heralds.


Is this a minor spoiler? I was under the impression Moash was going to attempt and kill them all. Or if only the king of the Heralds needed to die. Its possible I misunderstood that part.

Brandon Sanderson

Dead people can still be main focuses of books in Stormlight because of the way I do the flashbacks.

This isn't a promise that they do die, or that they live. Only a note that me announcing someone gets a flashback book isn't an indication they live to that book. Only that they have some interesting events in their past that I intend to delve into.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#232 Copy


Kaladin kind of went back on his Oaths in the second book, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He started down that path.


How could Shallan or Lightweavers go back on the Truths they make? And did Shallan do any of that in Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the Cryptics-- remember, how the spren is viewing this is very important. The Cryptics have an interesting relationship with truth. Harder to break your Oaths in that direction with a Cryptic. Harder to move forward, also, if you're not facing some of these things and interacting with them in the right way. But, while I can conceive a world that it could happen, it'd be really hard to for a Lightweaver to do some of the stuff. Particularly the ones close to Honor, you're gonna end up with more trouble along those lines, let's say.


So then, what happened with the Lightweavers during the Recreance? Did they break their Oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

They did break their Oaths. I mean, breaking your Oaths as in "walking away from the first Oath" will still do it, regardless of what Order you are. You can actively say, "I am breaking my Oaths and walking away." Anyone has that option. But you also are holding the life of a spren in your hand.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#233 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The two woman loaded up their single pack animal. A short creature that looked kind of like a camel, but was more the size of a llama. It eyed me lazily, chewing quietly on its cud. After their packs and bed rolls were tied in place, Echo placed a curious item on top. A long tube, wrapped in cloth. It was almost five feet long. A map tube? If so, those maps would be the size of walls. Once that was done, the camp cleaned, Echo looked me over with a critical eye. I looked down at my ripped slacks. Though my flats were sensible business shoes, they weren't intended for extended hikes. She dug in her pack and came out with an extra pair of boots and a pair of trousers. "Uh," I said, taking the trousers and looking them over. Echo was lean and athletic, and I was... not. She noted my hesitance and said something that sounded like agreement, but I did try on the boots. It took several pair of socks to make them fit, but the end result was better than the flats. I didn't much look the part of a heroic Apocalypse Guard member - my jacket was too big, my business slacks ripped, and poorly matched by a pair of hiking boots. But it wasn't like I needed to appear in any company photos. "I'm good," I told them. "Let's go." Echo looked towards the last thing on the ground, near the center of camp. The shadow rig. Right. I considered putting it on, but was instantly reminded of that melting world where everything became paint. Let's pass on that for now, I thought, packing away the rig beside where Echo had put the trousers. After that, we started walking.

Emma's Instructions for hiking. One, wear comfortable shoes, so when your feet hurt anyway, you can at least feel like you tried. Two, remember tons of bug spray, so you smell like a vat of cleaning liquid. Bonus points if it makes the dirt stick to your skin while walking. If you can, wear a backpack filled with things that you won't end up using, but which will somehow always manage to arrange inside so they can poke you in the gizzard. Four, return to your sweet air conditioned, bug free, shower containing home, renewed and reminded how nice it is not to be a caveman.

People always assume that I'm inexperienced at outdoorsy stuff, just because I tend to throw things at them when they suggest camping. Truth is, I'm very experienced with camping. I spent countless nights with my family, huddled up in the cold by a barely working fire, listening to Father tell stories of when he was a kid in Iona. Shockingly, it had been even more rural back then! Nowadays, we have a stoplight. It's practically cosmopolitan! So yes, I've done lots of camping, and hiking, and canoeing, and backpacking, and skiing. I kind of like that one, but don't tell anyone. Truth is, there's not a lot to do in Iona that doesn't involve pretending to be a caveman. Back when I was little, and apparently brain dead, we kids would spend two entire weeks every summer up at Scoresby's Ranch without even running water, let alone wifi. In my later years, my family and I had even kind of come to a truce on the matter. I pretended to look forward to our yearly camping trip, and they pretended not to notice the phone I always brought along. Or the sets of instructions I may or may not have posted relating to the experience. None of this meant I was prepared for the extended hike through the wilderness with Echo and <Whisprien>, but at least I knew how unprepared I was. I could spot the warning signs of a blister forming, and do something about it. I knew how to pace myself, and how to let others know when I needed a break. These two were obviously experienced survivalists, so even <Whisprien>'s endurance put mine to shame. I tried not to focus on my embarrassment at that, instead studying the landscape. Strangely, it didn't look that much different from Idaho. Mostly filled with scrub grasses and weeds. More of those were brown then back home for some reason, but they seemed healthy anyway. It was a lot more humid than home was, and less dusty. There was real dirt here, not just powdery dried clay and Iona topsoil, also known as rocks. And then there was the sky. Any time I was feeling a sense of familiarity with the hike, I caught a shimmer on the ground, or a shadow passing overhead. Then I'd look up, and my brain would break anew. There was a freaking ocean in the sky. Despite the distance, I could see ripples and waves from passing wind. The things that moved within it were mostly just shadows, but I got a sense of darting schools - not just noble leviathans. Were there sharks? Sky-sharks? The idea made me smile. My adopted brother would have found that incredible; I'd have to tell him. If I survived. Don't be like that, I thought, you'll get out of this. Look, nobody has even tried to kill you all morning.

We stopped for lunch, and they gave me more guard rations while they ate something that looked like beef jerky. Nearby, a strange herd of animals passed through the brush. How to explain them? They were big, almost as tall as a person. And covered in armor that almost looked like a football helmet. Seriously, they had this ball of a body, and a little flat head stuck out the front, with a stumpy tail and flat beak. I'd have called them dinosaurs, except for the face. I was pretty sure they were mammals, like, prehistoric armadillo turtles. Echo didn't seem concerned about them, so I just perched nervously on top of my fallen log and watched them wander by, then felt stupid. I'd faced the <Hex>! I could face an armadillo or two, even if they did seem to be on the wrong side of a radioactive spill.

Echo was obviously a practical woman. She didn't smile often, but it wasn't that she was stern. Maybe just straightforward? Compass in hand, she calmly picked our heading after each break. She would occasionally try to draw her daughter into conversation. <Whisprien> resisted these. The thin girl trudged along in her rugged backpack, eyes down. I never heard her speak in anythingbut  a whisper, and her attitude seemed to be more then your average "sullen tween resents life" sort of thing. But who knows? Maybe she just really hated camping. 

Echo would periodically seek a tree or something to climb so she could check to make sure we weren't being followed. Her voice was always upbeat when she came down, and I could sense a lingering concern from her. She was very worried about those soldiers. One of them had a rig, I thought again. It didn't take a math degree to notice that a lot of things weren't adding up. Part of the secret perhaps lay stowed away in that camel-llama's pack. I walked up beside the animal, who walked placidly beside <Whisprien>, and placed my fingers on the partition that held the shadow rig. I had the distinct sensation of blending realities, of the grass around me melting into colors, like a wet watercolor painting left in the rain. I snatched my hand back. <Whisprien> looked away, and grumbled something, falling back in the line. A short time later, I caught her glaring at my back, eyes narrowed. 

When the sun finally settled beyond the envelope of water, I was exhausted. But it was more a wholesome exhaustion kind of exhaustion than I felt yesterday. It was the exhaustion of having been forced to weed an entire potato field. 

Echo chose a camp that looked like it had been used by other weary travelers. A forested nook beside a weathered section of rock. I heard water gurgling somewhere nearby, which seemed like a good sign that I might actually get to take a bath. Echo unpacked the camel-llama, then grabbed her large water jug and moved off towards the sound of the stream. When she returned with a filled jug, I held out my canteen eagerly, but she shook her head and gestured towards the fire pit. "You have to boil the water first?" I asked, "Probably a good idea."

Fortunately I'd been immunized from all the local viruses, both from here, and from a host of other planets that the Guard was working with. That was standard procedure. I wasn't certain how the Guard prevented themselves from carrying diseases to the worlds they worked on. I hoped I wasn't the latent carrier of, like, smallpox or something. Accidentally harboring the advent of an all-consuming pestilence would be super embarrassing.

<Whisprien> started working on the fire, and she gave me a glance that distinctly seemed to say "Isn't there anything useful you can do?" So I powered up my phone for today's ration of power and snapped a picture of her for my blog. I snuggled back against a comfortable looking log (it wasn't) and ate up a little of my batteries working on some instructions, hoping the whole time my distress beacon would bring a response from those looking for me. No such luck.

About halfway through my allotted half hour, I brought up the map and had Echo point out out current location. She noted a very small distance traveled. Crap on a stick. (I got that one from one of my Iona friends.) Was that really the only progress we'd made? How were we going to reach the Guard outpost in three days? It didn't seem possible. Particularly because we were going the wrong direction. "Echo, isn't that the wrong way?" I tapped the map, then tried to make myself understood by pointing. The outpost was north of where we started, but we'd been walking west. I suppose I could've told that from the sun, if I'd thought about it. Echo said something in her language, then pointed at something on my map. Not a town or an outpost, but a little spot of brown. It was hard to tell what it was on the two dimensional map, only barely touched on topographical features. "Okay...." I said, "I guess I'll trust you know what you're doing." She nodded and went back to working on the fire, which was crackling nicely and boiling our water. She could be leading me into a trap, of course. Perhaps she hadn't saved me out of goodwill, but to gain a potential hostage against the Guard. But it wasn't like I could do anything about that. I'd be laughably ineffective at trying to sneak off. Echo would track me down with little effort, assuming I wasn't immediately devoured by some prehistoric carnivorous elk or something.

I moved to sit on a rock that looked somewhat comfortable (it wasn't) and continued working on my blog, trying not to think too hard about how sore I was going to be from. A harsh whisper hissed from behind me. I jumped, and turned to see <Whisprien> standing behind my seat. She pointed at my screen and hissed something angry. I glanced at what I had been working on. The picture of <Whisprien> I had taken with some handy instructions about living in the wilderness. I switched off the phone, but <Whisprien> reached for it. I barely kept it out of her reach, worried she'd shatter the screen. "Okay, okay," I said, "Sorry, no pictures. I'll delete it, chill!" I tried to do so, but <Whisprien> kept hissing at me and reaching for the phone. The scuffle drew Echo, who barked a question. Finally <Whisprien> backed off, and I reluctantly showed her mother the screen. Echo just nodded. Again, it didn't seem like she was unfamiliar with technology. She didn't demand I delete the photo or anything, but she did pull her daughter over and have her help make what appeared to be an evening soup. Great job Emma, I thought, I apparently needed a set of instructions on not being a giant idiot.

"Hey," I said, walking over to Echo, "is it alright if I go take a bath?" I pantomimed swimming, and washing my hair, then pointed to the water. "Is it safe?" Echo said something, then dug from her pack an old-timey bar of soap and a hairbrush, which she handed to me. I nodded in thanks, then made my way over to the small river. It was more muddy then I'd hoped, but I supposed I couldn't expect something out in the middle of these plains to look like a Grand Teton Mountain spring. I made sure I had line of sight to the other two, just in case, then I stood there, holding the bar of soap, uncertain. Was this a good idea? Taking a bath in the middle of the wilderness on a foreign world, while potentially being chased by mercenaries? I was basically guaranteed to be attacked by, like, a dinosaur or something the moment I stripped down. But what was I gonna do? Go the entire way without ever washing off? I was still bloodied and smudged with ash from the explosion, not to mention caked with sweat. Perhaps taking a bath was tempting fate, but this way if a dinosaur did eat me, at least I'd taste like soap. Truth was, it actually felt empowering to take that bath, like this was my choice. Getting clean was something I wanted, and I wasn't going to let myself be too scared to accomplish it.

That said, I did still watch my surroundings with keen attention as I quickly bathed in the cold water. Unfortunately, once finished, I was left with the same dirty clothing I had taken off. Lance's jacket, my incredibly wrinkled blouse, and the torn slacks. Quite the inspiring uniform. Still, I felt a ton better as I put it all back on. Echo offered me some thread as I rejoined them, and I thankfully started working on sewing up the rips along my leg.

The stew was kinda good. And I turned in feeling kinda clean, kinda full, and kinda not in extreme danger. I woke up the following morning to shouting. Echo called me in her native tongue, and I shook awake, then scrambled to my feet. "What?" I said, "Dinosaurs? It's dinosaurs, isn't it?" I paused. "Do you have dinosaurs here?"

Echo gestured toward the sky. Morning at dawn, and through the branches above, I could see an enormous disturbance in the waters, like ripples of a dropped boulder, only moving inward in a ring. The center of that shrinking ring of waves looked like it was just above our position. Great. I had been starting to feel ignored.

Chapter 13

"The flood can't be happening already!" I shouted as I scrambled back into camp, "We're supposed to have weeks before the apocalypse!"

Echo shouted something back as she grabbed the llama-camel's harness and towed it after her through the trees. <Whisprien> had climbed on its back. "Wait," I called after them. I waved toward the bedrolls and boiling water, "Our stuff! What about..." I trailed off as <Whisprien> looked toward me from the camel's back. The girl's face was still blank of emotion, but her eyes were glowing. They had a ghostly cast to them, pupils melded into the white, shining forth like something bright was behind them. It reminded my of the floodlight eyes of the <Hex>. I stumbled to a stop, gaping, until Echo sent the animal and the girl on ahead, then looked back to me, waving urgently. Above, the sky darkened. The sun faded behind the ocean, as if growing suddenly distant, or as if the water were somehow growing deeper up there, thicker. Echo shouted something at me that sounded a little like "Run", so I ran. I grabbed the shadow rig from inside my bedroll, and left everything else, dashing after the two of them. Once I was past the tree, Echo fell into place beside me. The llama-camel ran on ahead with a loping gait. <Whisprien> clung to it's back.

I wasn't in nearly as good shape as Echo, nor was I, shockingly, a camel. But I made a pretty good showing for myself, and didn't lag behind too much. At least, not until I glanced over my shoulder. The sky rippled, and then broke. Water crashed downwards, the front edge fuzzing, like mist. The enormous column of water seemed to drop in slow motion because of the distance. It wasn't as nearby as I first assumed. Man, it was big. A ring of water the size of a small village just dumping billions of gallons of water down from the sky. I stopped in place, jaw dropping, staring until Echo grabbed my arm and towed me away. What good would it do to flee? We were three little specks before an ocean of destruction. We couldn't outrun the end of the world.

Still, Echo seemed determined. I started running again, but I was built to deliver coffee and the occasional sarcastic quip, not run across the freaking wilderness. Pain seared up my side. I slowed, gasping. A violent crash suddenly washed over us, an engulfing sound that made the very air vibrate. Holy heck. How much water had to fall before it hit the ground with the sound of a bomb going off. Echo looked back at the sound and hesitated in front of me, as if torn between protecting me and running after her daughter. She lingered, urging me on, and I did my best. "What," I said, panting for breath, "What's the use?" Sweat streamed down my face. Echo gestured in front of her, then made a raising motion with her hands. High ground, I thought, She's saying we need to get to high ground. And considering it, the direction we were running did seem to have a gentle slope to it. It wasn't like we were running for the mountains or anything, but maybe this would be enough? If this really is the end though, the high ground won't matter. Most of the planet will end up submerged.

Still, I broke into a weak jog. Ahead, I saw our goal: a rise in the grasslands, a kind of ridge, like a long low hill. <Whisprien> had stopped there with the camel-llama. A cracking sound behind along with the low roar of rushing water made me glance over my shoulder. Water flooded between the trees of our camp, first slow, then in a rush that ripped away branches. Another surge of muddy water engulfed the entire stand, shattering the trees.

I forced myself forward, practically crawling the rest of the way up the hilltop. Water flooded the plain we crossed. It looked deceptively lethargic, like seeping tar, until you focused on something like an individual sapling. On the smaller scale, your mind could comprehend that this was an enormous river, rushing with might and power, pushing debris before it.

I reached the top and collapsed beside <Whisprien>. The waters came, and I realized, I'd just let them swallow me, if it came to that. I couldn't move another step. Blessedly, the rise was high enough. The front of the wave turned aside and fled the other direction. In the distance, the spout of water from the heavens slowed to a mist, then to rain, and finally stopped altogether. This wasn't the end of the world, not yet. More like a warning shot. I lay on the rough grass, listening to the sound of the water growing below. I already felt sweaty and dirty again - so much for my bath. Of course, if I wanted another one, it didn't look like I'd lack for water.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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[questions being asked on behalf of Alyx, a.k.a. FeatherWriter] About Renarin's Surgebinding. Are [his visions] influenced by Voidbinding instead of Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.


And then if they are influenced by Odium the way that Dalinar's are influenced by Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. I'm not going to talk about stuff like that! I have dropped some very blatant hints, and that is enough for me right now.


I asked pretty much the same thing last time, and you pointed me to a certain page. Can I tell her what the page was?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are certain things going on with him that I feel are very blatant. I think he [Argent] is going to point them out to you.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#235 Copy


If the spren turn into any weapon how come all the dead spren are Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question.


Read And Find Out?

Brandon Sanderson

It is a Read And Find Out.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#237 Copy


Do the spren that we know of as the Cryptics exist before Honor and Cultivation came to Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, good question! No. Cryptics would be one of the forms of spren that were a later creation. Creation is the wrong term, but yeah. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

Later development? Evolution?

Brandon Sanderson

All of the sapient spren are later developments. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

Are they evolved from the earlier spren?


Evolution doesn't work the same way on the spren, right? The spren were created more than evolved, I would say.

Billy Todd, Moderator

Maybe cultivated?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, cultivated. *'aughter*

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson


I had trouble deciding on the dedication for this book. I know a lot of awesome people who deserve the honor. My mother got the dedication of my first one–that was easy–but it was much more difficult to decide who got to go next.

I eventually decided on Beth Sanderson, my Paternal Grandmother. Both of my grandmothers are awesome people. I decided to use Beth for this one because she is one of the only fantasy fans in my immediate family. (The other being my little sister Lauren.)

I still remember Grandma Beth talking about the sf/f books that she'd read, trying to get me to read them. She taught junior high English, and I think she must have been great at the job. She is just truly a fun-loving person, always smiling despite the physical hardships she's gone through lately.

In addition, she's a little screwy–in a good way. Everyone says I must have inherited my strangeness from her.

So, this book is for you, grandma!

General Reddit 2017 ()
#239 Copy


Is the bond between an Elantrian and Arelon similar to that of a Knight Radiant and it's spren. You've said that zombie Elantrians are similar to dead spren, so I was wondering get if there was a bigger connection there.

Thank you for your time!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a similar relationship.


Is there a similar Ideal system? Are Elantrians transformed because of their character? Maybe their closeness to the culture of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, now you're getting into RAFO territory. Let's just say that you don't have to have a seon to be made an Elantrian, but in the vast majority of cases, you need a spren to be a Knight Radiant. So there are some differences.


Last question, does this have anything to do with the personification of culture, as spren are personifications of forces and emotions.

Again, thank you for your time, it's always nice to get a response from you on Reddit.

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#240 Copy


First of all, it seems that when Returned give their blessing that requires their life, to do so is to give up all of their BioChroma. Well, there was a time where Vivenna can't sense Vasher because he was a drab. Since that would mean he put all of his BioChroma somewhere and is SPOILER one of the Returned, why isn't he dead?

Also, it seems as if only the royal family has the ability to change their hair color. However, when Vasher kills Denth, his hair flashes through a ton of colors before he dies. What are his ties to the family? Is there something I missed? Will there be another book explaining this?

Brandon Sanderson

I did mention these things in the annotations, as has been pointed out, but boy--it's been a while. I don't remember what I wrote in the annotations and what I didn't.

All Returned are, in a way, "related" to the royal family in their Investiture. (The magic they hold.) Vasher has some specific and powerful control over his own powers, which I didn't go into much in the book. But if you delve into the annotations, you'll get more.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#242 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Straff Survives

Straff is, indeed, alive. A lot of alpha readers were surprised to read this scene because they figured he was dead after the last one. I, however, have a few more things for him to do–plus, you can't kill a villain in a fade out like that without some good confirmation. It's just not dignified.

Oh, and of course, he needs to be alive so that he can pull his armies back and let the koloss attack.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Clubs, then Tindwyl in the Keep

Finally we get the Sazed scene. This is my favorite in the chapter, and it's a chapter filled with a lot of scenes I really like. Allrianne may make me chuckle, but Sazed MEANS something. Showing off the cost of Feruchemy like this made for some interesting worldbuilding, and having Sazed interact with Tindwyl and Clubs gave us some character.

Sazed is beginning to feel troubled by what he's done and what is happening around him, but he's not the type to show it yet–even in his thoughts. However, the fact that he preaches a religion to Clubs (the first time he's done that to anyone in a while) shows that he's stretching, trying to figure out who he is and find his place in this mess. He figures that with the fall of Luthadel, he'll probably end up dead–and so he wants to know who he is before that happens.

Which is also why he finally seeks out Tindwyl to confront her. The scene where he brings back his senses while holding her is one of the great moments that you can have as a fantasy novelists that those realistic writers just can't have.

Two little behind the scenes thoughts on this section. First, Clubs mentions that the latest messenger to visit Straff was executed. If you guessed that this was because Straff himself is now awake, you guessed right!

Also, the religion Sazed preaches here is one I decided to spin off into its own book, focusing Warbreaker around it. They aren't the same planet, but I wanted to do more about a religion that worships art, and that was one of the initial motivations for Warbreaker's setting.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Tries to get to Luthadel in Time

These scenes involving Vin running toward Luthadel formed one of the pivotal sequences for me during the plotting of the story. Unlike most focal scenes like this I write, however, I'm not completely satisfied with these. Not because I don't like the sequence; I think the writing in the scenes turned out very well. However, I do wonder if the tension behind them works.

You see, with the finished product in hand, the plot sequence I worked out feels just a tad contrived to me. It's hard to avoid this in novels; if you plot out as much ahead of time as I do, then often you end up with contrived sequences because they ARE contrived. You designed them to work a certain way. In these areas, however, the "smoke and mirrors" I often mention comes into play. How good is the author at hiding his hand on the work? How easy is it for the reader to feel what the characters feel, rather than being drawn into playing the game of the metastory.

If the smoke and mirrors work, then you'll feel anxiety here. Is Vin going to arrive on time? Will she get there and find her friends dead? Will she even be able to do anything if she arrives on time?

However, if the smoke and mirrors fail, the reader will feel manipulated by the fact that I sent Vin away, only to have her turn around and come back a few chapters later. The reader will think "Of course she's going to make it. That's what this sequence is all about."

Often, I'm pleased with how the plotting keeps my readers feeling that anxiety. But in this sequence, I think the author's hand shows a little more than usual. Could just be my critical eye inspecting my own work, but I see it. Hopefully, you can read and appreciate the sequence for the emotions the characters feel, rather than the slight awkwardness of the plotting.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Clubs and Dockson die

And, speaking of Breeze, here we have Clubs's death scene, as seen by Breeze. So, in truth, Spook was prophetic when he said that Clubs had said good bye to him for good.

The simple truth is that felt I had too many characters in the books. I couldn't flesh them all out, and I really needed to get rid of a few. Clubs was, unfortunately, one of the casualties.

Of course, I didn't just kill him because I had too many characters cluttering the story. That was one of many reasons. I knew that I couldn't go through a siege without losing a few characters. It just wasn't realistic. The characters had dreaded this conflict too much, and they knew it was going to be dangerous–probably deadly–when the invasion came. I often say that I feel I can't protect my characters from the decisions they make. I did write in a little more power to some of Clubs' scenes in the book once it was certain that he would die here. The interactions between him and Sazed and him and Breeze in this novel were there partially because I knew he was going to die, and I wanted to give him some chances to participate in the story before going.

Dockson was the other one I decided to kill. In the initial draft, the scene with him dying ended with a koloss killing him from behind, without him looking at it.

My alpha readers complained profusely about this. So, at the request mainly of my friend Skar, I let Dockson grab a sword and charge before dying. Another send-off for Dockson is the comment he makes, noting that if the crew done things differently, turning on the nobility as he had wanted to in book one, he and the others would have been no better than beasts. It's his way of acknowledging that they'd done the right thing, and is a little bit of a redemption for him. He'd tried very hard to work with the noblemen, to make up for the atrocities he committed during younger years.

The final reason that I knew Dockson and Clubs had to die was because I wanted to REALLY make you think that Sazed was going to die too. If everything is working right in these chapters, you'll be sitting there, knowing that Vin is going to arrive in time. Yet, you'll question, you'll worry, and you'll begin to fret. You'll see Clubs drop, then Dockson die, in rapid succession. Then we come to Sazed, and he falls, out of metals, out of hope.

That's when I bring Vin in.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

This was the first novel I wrote knowing for certain that it would be published. That was an odd experience for me, after having written some thirteen novels without ever knowing if I'd make it as a novelist or not.

So, in a way, this is my celebration novel. And, as part of that celebration, I wanted to include cameo nods to some of the people who helped me over the years. We get to see characters named after my friends and alpha readers, the people who encouraged me to keep trying to get published–my first fans, in a sense.

So, a lot of the names of side characters come from friends. Stace Blanches, mentioned in the last chapter, is Stacy Whitman, an editor at Wizards of the Coast. House Tekiel was named after Krista Olson, a friend and former writing group member. (Her brother Ben is my former roommate.) Ahlstrom square was named after my friend Peter Ahlstrom, who is an editor over at Tokyopop. There are over a dozen of these in the book–I can't mention them all.

I do, however, want to point out Charlie–or, as he's called in the book, Lord Entrone. I've never actually met Charlie, but he's hung out on the timewastersguide message board for the last three or four years. He was my first British reader. I figured I'd commemorate that by having his dead body get dumped over a wall by Kelsier.

Spook is actually based directly on someone I know, but I'll get to that later.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#248 Copy


Dalinar insists that honorable men would not fight their allies, when Adolin wishes to spar. Would the knights radiant spar one another, or would they generally agree with dalinars point of view?

Brandon Sanderson

Some would agree but many would disagree. Do note there is a difference between sparring and prize fighting or dueling.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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As you (probably) know/remember, I'm really interested in the early parts of your creation process. The ideas basically. What was the first idea that created Zahel in WoK prime? What came first, Zahel or Nightblood and what were they like originally? Was it through them that you came up with the idea of worldhoppers or did you just want another worldhopper to appear to show that Hoid wasn't the only one?

Brandon Sanderson

The idea was actually writing Kaladin's swordmaster in TWOK Prime. By then, worldhoppers were already quite well established. (I'd written Elantris in 99, along with Dragonsteel to be a prequel to the entire cycle. That was followed by White Sand and Aether of Night in 2000 or so--and Aether has the first on-screen appearance of a Shard.)

Kings Prime was 2002-2003, and I wanted Kaladin's swordmaster Vasher to have an interesting backstory. That was the origin of the idea for a worldhopper who was very interested in Shardblades. From there, wanting to do a sympathetic magic, and (years later) my editor suggesting a world more "colorful" drove me to try out Warbreaker itself.

Here is his first appearance in TWOK Prime. Note, none of the names are changed in this, so you get Kaladin and Adolin's original names, among others.

After a few moments, one of the monks noticed him watching. The man paused, regarding Merin with the eyes of a warrior. "Shouldn't you be practicing with the other lords, traveler?"

Merin shrugged. "I don't really fit in with them, holy one."

"Your clothing says that you should," the monk said, nodding to Merin's fine seasilk outfit.

Merin grimaced.

The monk raised an eyebrow questioningly. He was an older man, perhaps the same age as Merin's father, and had a strong build beneath his monk's clothing. He was almost completely bald, save for a bit of hair on the sides of his head, and even that was beginning to gray.

"It's nothing, holy one," Merin said. "I'm just a little bit tired of hearing about clothing."

"Maybe this will take your mind off of it," the monk said, tossing him a practice sword. "And don't call me ‘holy one.'"

Merin caught the sword, looking down at it blankly. Then he yelped in surprise, dropping his Shardblade and raising the practice sword awkwardly as the monk stepped forward in a dueling stance. Merin wasn't certain how to respond--all of his training in the army had focused on working within his squad, using his shield to protect his companions and his spear to harry the opponent. He'd rarely been forced to fight solitarily.

The monk came in with a few testing swings, and Merin tried his best to mimic the man's stance. He knew enough not to engage the first few blows--they were meant to throw Merin off-balance and leave him open for a strike. He retreated across the cool sand, shuffling backward and trying not to fall for the monk's feints. Even still, the man's first serious strike took Merin completely by surprise. The blow took Merin on the shoulder--it was delivered lightly, but it stung anyway.

"Your instincts are good," the monk said, returning to his stance. "But your swordsmanship is atrocious."

"That's kind of why I'm here," Merin said, trying another stance. This time he managed to dodge the first blow, though the backhand caught him on the thigh. He grunted in pain.

"Your Blade is unbonded," the monk said. "And you resist moving to the sides, as if you expect there to be someone standing beside you. You were a spearman?"

"Yes," Merin said.

The monk stepped back, lowering his blade and resting the tip in the sand. "You must have done something incredibly brave to earn yourself a Blade, little spearman."

"Either that, or I was just lucky," Merin replied.

The monk smiled, then nodded toward the center of the courtyard. "Your friend is looking for you."

Merin turned to see Aredor waving for him. Merin nodded thankfully to the monk and returned the practice sword, then picked up his Shardblade and jogged across the sands toward Aredor. Standing with Dalenar's son was a group of elderly, important-looking monks.

"Merin," Aredor began, "these are the monastery masters. Each of them is an expert at several dueling forms, and they'll be able to train you in the one that fits you best. Masters Bendahkha and Lhanan are currently accepting new students. You can train with either one of them, though you'll need to pay the standard hundred-ishmark tribute to the monastery out of your monthly stipend."

Merin regarded the two monks Aredor had indicated. Both looked very distinguished, almost uncomfortably so. They regarded Merin with the lofty expressions of men who had spent their entire lives practicing their art, and who had risen to the highest of their talents. They stood like kings in their monasteries--not condescending, but daunting nonetheless.

Merin glanced to the side, a sudden impression taking him. "Holy ones, I am honored by your offer, but I feel a little overwhelmed. Could you tell me, is the monk I just sparred with accepting students at the moment?"

The masters frowned. "You mean Vasher?" one of them asked. "Why do you wish to train with him?"

"I. . .I'm not certain," Merin confessed.


Is the payment to a devotary while training under an ardent still canonical? And given that Vasher had a reputation for being a bad duelist in Warbreaker, exactly how good is he with a blade? Is it just a case of Nalthian swordmasters being better or did Vasher learn from his experiences?

Brandon Sanderson

It's been a while.

And Vasher isn't as bad as the text implies.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#250 Copy


Have all the spikes been collected? You have a bunch of dead Inquisitors, you've got the koloss at the end of Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Have they all been collected?


Or are they just lying around, or did they--

Brandon Sanderson

There are some that have been lost.