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#SandersonChat Twitter Q&A with Audible.com ()
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Discar

How big is the Roshar supercontinent?

Brandon Sanderson

[Peter Ahlstrom] or [Isaac Stewart], can give you a specific on that, if you need one. I don't have the scale map handy.

Isaac Stewart

Roughly 4000 miles East to West.

Peter Ahlstrom

I can't remember if that is right, per my globe.

Isaac Stewart

True. Things might've changed since the globe experiment.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

I've noticed that in both Elantris and Roshar there are specific shapes to the cities and in both instances there are chasms. Is there a connection between the two worlds?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Oooo:) Yes there is definitely a connection there. As you know all of these worlds are part of a universe and my magic systems share basic rules. So you'll see similarities.

Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

And the chasms?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*smiles mischievously*

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Leiyan

Can you tell me which is the most massive moon [of Roshar]? Not the biggest, but the most massive moon.

Brandon Sanderson

I think the biggest is the most massive. All three moons are much closer than our moon is.

Leiyan

Yes, I gathered that. And so is that Nomon?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Leiyan

How big is Nomon on the night sky, compared to our moon?

Brandon Sanderson

Larger than our moon, but not dominating of the sky.

[Interruption]

I do believe Nomon is, I told Peter, bigger. But he had to run the actual calculations, so he may come back and say, "No Brandon, that's not possible." But I believe it is bigger than our moon in the sky. You're supposed to be able to see moderately well by Nomon.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Does Roshar have plate tectonics?

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar does not have plate tectonics, good question.

Questioner

Well when I met you in Orem, I was asking about frequencies. And you said it was more the shape of the plate-- The frequency. We've got no plate tectonics, we've got people who like to sing.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. Now the weird thing that we would have is with the crem, we have to do some weird geology gymnastics, because Roshar is moving...

Roshar, the continent of Roshar, it's moving, right? As it gets weathered and things like this. Making Roshar actually work requires some really interesting scientific gymnastics. But one of them is I just didn't think plate tectonics, or even volcanoes and things, is just not something that is going to work on Roshar the way that I built it. So I just stayed away from all of that.  It's a pangaea.

Questioners

Is the pangaea built up of crem?

Brandon Sanderson

 It's a pangaea built up of crem.

Rubix

Over a long time--

Brandon Sanderson

Well no, because it was created at first.

Bystander

And then crem was on top of it?

Brandon Sanderson

...The whole idea that this is a fractal-- The whole point of that is, somebody built this. Somebody built this using mathematics that you know. They said "Oh. Boom. Bing!" and grew themselves a continent.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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[on the subject of Rosharan spheres]

sinsmi

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

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

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

Brandon Sanderson

No, your image is close to what I imagined.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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TimAnEnchanter

How is homosexuality regarded across the cosmere?

I know one member of Bridge 4, though I forget who, is gay, but I'm asking more in the sense of legality, societal view, etc.

Barleyjuicer

It would probably depend on the planet and culture involved. Roshar has many varied cultures and probably has multiple different acceptance levels. Scadrial is much more progressive and really only has two cultures so it's more likely that most if not all of the world accepts it. Maybe this is something you could ask [Brandon] at a signing or during an AMA.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this varies widely based on the planet, and even culture, TimAnEnchanter.

Roshar, for instance, has a lot of different perspectives on homosexuality. In Iri, the more religious segment (who believe that life is about new experiences) would approve, while the more rigid modern, secular society has outlawed it.

In Azir, you'd find something like existed in middle-ages India. (Some societies there had this curious system where a gay man would be given "social reassignment" so that he was treated like a woman, dressed like one, and had relations with men--even if he wasn't actually transsexual.)

Vorin culture is concerned with oaths. Extra-marital sexuality is strictly forbidden, but homosexuality is regarded the same by most as heterosexual relationships. If the proper oaths are spoken, then the Almighty approves. (This usually means marriage, but there are certain official forms of other relationships that would allow it also.)

There are actually a couple of scenes in Book Three talking about it, for those who are interested, as the family and romantic relationships of the bridgemen are becoming a larger part of the story. (Still a small part, I should note, for space limitations.)

On Scadrial, it's going to fall between Pathian lines (each individual decides for themselves) and Survivorist lines (you follow church hierarchy, which forbids it.)

Don't even get me started on Bavadin's religions.

fbstj

What reasons do Survivorists use to rationalize heterosexuality? Thank you so much for these tidbits it's really interesting to hear more about this stuff from you. It would be great to see some of this canonized, maybe in an interlude, or random background discussion somewhere. Thank you again for your books! Also very interested in hearing why secular Iriali have decided to 'regress' on that.

Brandon Sanderson

Survivorism calls it unnatural, and not conducive to the survival of the species. More than that, though, Survivorism has become very conservative and slow to change. What early thinkers had to say is regarded very strictly in the religion. Back during the early days of the new era, repopulating the basin was of prime concern, and this became a big part of what led to moral codes in Survivorism.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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gingermancer

How are the main characters like with regards to homosexuality? I imagine the likes of Sazed wouldn't care, but it'd be interesting to see how much of a deviant the characters we've come to know are, when compared to their world's societies.

Brandon Sanderson

Again, you're going to see a wide variety of attitudes and impressions here. Some are very deviant from society, while others are good expressions of it.

One thing I do downplay in the books is how often characters are terribly biased. Basically all the protagonists in the Stormlight books are, for example, HORRIBLE racists. I bring it up now and then to make sure the text, at least, knows this fact--but it's also something that, if I did with a dose more realism, would be very offputting. So I try to walk a line where it's an ugly thing that rears its head now and then, but it is still possible to like the characters, acknowledging they are products of a very different society from our own.

Views on homosexuality are the same. You'll see, for instance, that Sigzil has a problem with Drehy in Bridge Four. Similarly, some characters have more progressive views than their society, as I think would be realistic for the types of people they are. So you don't see as much from the text as there might otherwise be. Ranette's relationship is not quite as accepted in Scadrian society as Wax and Marasi's viewpoints would lead you to believe, for example.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Did a lot of the life on land from Roshar come from the sea? Because they all have shells. Or is that just the highstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

That’s just the highstorms. Good question actually.  I mean I would say that evolutionary, certain traits that vanished on Earth did not vanish on Roshar because of the highstorms. But also things evolved independently similar attributes because of the storms. So it's a yes and a no.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Shagomir

Here's the best I can do at what each of the dahns includes, without spoilers. Stuff in italics is unconfirmed but is reasonable to guess based on the information we have from the books and Brandon.

  • 1st Dahn: The King and the King's direct heir.
  • 2nd Dahn: Highprinces, their direct heirs, and the King's direct heir*.
  • 3rd Dahn: Generals?, Highlords, and the non-inheriting children of 1st and 2nd dahn lighteyes.
  • 4th Dahn: Battalionlords, Citylords, Shardbearers, and other mid-ranked nobles.
  • 5th Dahn: Companylords?, along with lower-ranked nobles.
  • 6th Dahn: Captainlords, along with the lowest-ranked nobles and landholders?
  • 7th Dahn: Lower-ranking landless officers, along with higher-ranking (or very wealthy) landless lighteyes?
  • 8th Dahn: Soldiers, along with high-ranking (or moderately wealthy) landless lighteyes?
  • 9th Dahn: Landless lighteyes with some wealth, like merchants and master craftsmen.
  • 10th Dahn: "Tenners", essentially any lighteyes who has to work for a living.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm very impressed by this list. You did a great job. Note that only the king is first Dahn under the Alethi system, however. His heir is second, until crowned. Sixth Dahn, as you've identified, is the "landed" cutoff--if you have land, even a little, you're at least Sixth Dahn.

If you were of a specific dahn (say, seventh) but were elevated by something unusual (say, you got appointed to an appointment that would raise you above this) your children will often be elevated to a rank just beneath you. So, for instance, if a tenner got a shard, he'd immediately be elevated to fourth, and his family would likely be elevated to fifth.

The only thing I'd offer a warning on is that sometimes, people shortcut "Captainlord" to just "Captain" which drives Peter crazy, and so it can be hard to pick out rank from title.

Oudeis16

That's interesting... so, is the dahn system new since Alethkar was unified? Or was it modified once they got a king? Or was it always this way, and there just used to not be someone at the 1st Dahn?

Brandon Sanderson

Kings existed in other places, and had existed in Alethkar before. (Dahn is a Vorin cultural ideal, not just Alethi.) So the system is not new, but for many years, the Alethi refused to accept a king. (Following the division of the kingdom among the Sunmaker's sons.)

Oudeis16

Oooooooh... fascinating. So, this implies that before Gavilar unified Alethkar, King Taravangian and the King of Jah Keved would both have been First Dahn, while the highest-ranked ten people in Alethkar were only Second Dahn. Interesting. In the interests of adding a few more names to the list of "known people of the First Dahn" on the Coppermind, would you be willing to confirm if King Taravangian (let's say at the start of the Way of Kings to avoid spoilers) was First Dahn?

Brandon Sanderson

Traditionally, the monarchs of city-states (like Kharbranth, Bavland, and at some points Silnasen) do not claim the first dahn. There have been leaders of New Natanan who have, same with Herdaz. Depends on how much they want to aggravate the Alethi.

Unification era, there'd be two people of the first dahn: The queen of Thaylenah and the king of Jah Keved. Non-vorin monarchs in the west would be treated like first dahn, sometimes, depending on the situation.

Oudeis16

Did we know that Thaylenah is currently ruled by a Queen, or is this a small tidbit you have just given us?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not, honestly. Queen Fen. You'll get to meet her soon. Note that Thaylenah is kind of a plutocracy, with merchant councils holding a lot of power, which changes its dynamic a little when compared to Alethi or Jah Keved.

Shagomir

I see you may have sneakily included an explanation for the 4th/5th dahn thing I noticed in a certain father-daughter duo. I promise not to read too much into it....

Brandon Sanderson

Note that getting a Shardblade isn't the only reason someone could be elevated, and isn't the only reason why children might not be the same dahn as their parent. Most of it has to do with titles, and who inherits, and that sort of thing. The answer is probably more boring than you're hoping.

xland44

Not sure if this is entering RAFO territory, but are highprince candidates (that is, people who can be elevated to highprince status if the post is empty) only people from the 3rd dahn? Or can a 4th dahn also be elevated to highprince, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

Highprince is a tricky one, as the definition of "highprince" is a person who can convince others to call him by the title. I guess that's the same for all of them, but as highprinces tend to be near the top of the pecking order, it's more about military than anything else.

Gavilar was 4th dahn before becoming highprince, for example. His branch of the Kholin family wasn't considered a prime contender for the highprince throne--until he took it for himself.

Enasor

His branch of the Kholin family? Does this imply there are other branches of the Kholin family? Meaning, there are other Kholins elsewhere?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, not as many as there once were...

uchoo786

So if I'm understanding this correctly, before Gavilar's branch of the Kholin family started their conquest of Alethkar they conquered Kholinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup. (There's some minor mention of this in Book Three, I believe.)

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Kogiopsis

Kind of along the same lines, I just want to confirm something. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?

Brandon Sanderson

It would-- The model I use are actually for the half-Hawaiian, half-Asians that are kind of common in Hawaii. That's the model I've used; I actually have one of their faces for Kaladin. So it would depend on what your perspective is, you might say-- some people might say Arab, but the model I'm using is kind of more Hawaiian/Asian mix is what you'd get. The only ones that would look Caucasian to you straight-up would probably be the Shin, though if you get someone who has Horneater blood-- The Horneaters might look-- they just-- they're gonna look like bizarre… redhead… things, but they might look Caucasian to you.

swamp-spirit

So would Shallan also be more towards that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shallan has lighter skin. But she still has the epicanthic fold, and so she maybe would look to you like a Caucasian/Asian mix? With red hair? So… Anyway, she would look fairly Caucasian.

swamp-spirit

I will attempt to send you excited fanart.

Kogiopsis

I've been picturing the Alethi as Indian, myself.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yeah. Yeah, yeah, like East India? That’s a pretty good picture on them. That would work very well.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Argent

The "God Surges" you mentioned recently, are they a part of the Way of Kings frontsheet?

Brandon Sanderson

All I said regarding this was to tell a fan that it was possible to make an analogy between the god metals on Scadrial and certain powers on Roshar. However, these are not a codified part of the magic system.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Nazrax

Are seasons on Roshar truly unpredictable, or have the storm wardens just not figured out how to predict them yet?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, if you consider the planet to be a closed system, then nothing about the natural processes are TRULY unpredictable.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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KalynaAnne

Lift has lots of pancakes and you only describe six of them. I was wondering if you could tell me of any of the other three?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, sure... One is a terrible, awful, seafood one that Rosharans would eat and I would hate, and people that I know would love. Not sure what the other two would be. Probably a very spicy one, a savory spicy one. Probably a vegetable greenish one, something that over here would look like it has spinach in it.

KalynaAnne

Is that different form the one-- she mentions one that has chopped vegetables in it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that would be different. It would be a pure green one as opposed to one more like--

KalynaAnne

Like a fritter?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Yeah.

Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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Jon

Did I miss the explanation for why women have a safe hand and why they must keep it covered?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you haven't missed it. People have asked about this. There will be more explanation in-world as it comes along, but it's for much the same reason that in some cultures in our world you don't show people the bottoms of your feet, and in other cultures showing the top of your head is offensive. It's part of what has grown out of the Vorin culture, and there are reasons for it. One of them has to do with a famous book written by an artist who claimed that true feminine pursuits and arts were those that could be performed with one hand, while masculine arts were those performed with two hands, in a way associating delicacy with women and brute force with men. Some people in Roshar disagree with this idea, but the custom has grown out of that foundational work on masculine and feminine arts. That's where that came from. One aspect of this is that women began to paint one-handed and do things one-handed in upper, higher society. You'll notice that the lower classes don't pay a lot of attention to it—they'll just wear a glove.As a student of human nature and of anthropology, it fascinates me how some cultures create one thing as being taboo whereas in another culture, the same thing can be very much not taboo. It's just what we do as people.There's more to it than that, but that will stand for now.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

On the eye colors on Roshar, there are some weird ones, like orange and yellow. Are those there for a specific reason, or are they just--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. The whole eye color thing is kinda based a little bit on the Knights Radiant, the eyes changing is involved there. What's normal eye colors to them, it's just normal to them. It's not weird to see violet eyes and things like that. But it would be weird to us.

Questioner

Did the eyes have to do with the Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Mason Wheeler

So, because the world is flat in Shadesmar, if there's a place where you can't cross, so if a Radiant was on a ship, they'd have trouble getting across, because their spren would be stuck behind that line of discontinuity. Is the Origin of Storms located on that line?

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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sandersonfan

Why are the people of Roshar so much more aware of the Cosmere? They seem to know more than any other world you've written to date.

Brandon Sanderson

I believe the people of whom you are speaking are mostly not native to Roshar. On another side, however, it is the first planet we've seen with three Shards, and it is the furthest along in the timeline. One final thing is that they had some very unique experiences early in the planet's history. It involves the Heralds, and various items I think would be spoilers right now.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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RobotAztec

Is all the chickens who are not chickens in Stormlight a big fat joke about [Terry Goodkind]?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Loan words into Alethi (chicken, wine, hound, etc) are a little bit of linguistic worldbuilding I am using for quite a different reason...

muther22

I'm guessing you aren't willing to elaborate on that point?

Brandon Sanderson

Book three will make it clear, but it is not so hard to guess right now. I will avoid saying more until November.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
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Argent (paraphrased)

Feruchemy is the "balance" between Ruin and Preservation. Would any combination of Shards create a "balance" magic, so to speak, or are only certain Shards compatible?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Feruchemy ended up being a balance system, because of how polar Ruin and Preservation were. Any world with at least two Shards will result in a similar phenomenon. 

Argent (paraphrased)

Like Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Like Roshar. There is something like that going on there.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

If an Inquisitor went to Roshar, would they be a lighteyes or darkeyes?

Brandon Sanderson

If an Inquisitor went to Roshar, they would probably be like someone who has heterochromia, one eye of each, meaning people don't know what to do with them and they are very awkward with trying to figure out how to treat them. The society breaks down a little bit when you run into anything that ruins their perfect system. Which is not so perfect, obviously.

Miscellaneous 2014 ()
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Peter Ahlstrom

Come on, guys, there are major major reasons Roshar can't possibly be a moon and one of the moons a gas giant. Think about it.

digitalbusker

Nobody ever remarks on how one of the "moons" takes up a quarter of the visible sky?

Peter Ahlstrom

Each moon is in the sky only once per day and moves across the sky in a couple to a few hours. What does that tell us about their orbits?

Could a gas giant be far enough away to look like a small moon, yet have this rapid of an apparent motion? (The answer is NO.)

Kurkistan

That they're really fast/close, I would think. Perhaps unusually so...  

Peter Ahlstrom

You may not be aware, but Mars's moon Phobos orbits in less than 8 hours, and gets less than 6,000 km from Mars's surface.

Kurkistan

Curses! Foiled again by SCIENCE!!!

Okay, so the orbits aren't magically augmented.

Still, that leaves us some information. The three moons are likely captured asteroids, then, rather than having split off from Roshar during its formation, Luna-style. Three captured asteroids at the same time in relatively stable, seemingly very close orbits... Anything significant in that, science people?

Peter Ahlstrom

I expect the moons were put in their current orbits artificially, but by whom or what I do not know. On astronomical terms, these are not stable orbits, but astronomical terms means millions of years. A few thousand or even a few hundred thousand years are no problem.

By the way, I minored in astronomy while at the university, for expressly science fictional purposes.

Leiyan

Were the moons also artificially created, or were they originally formed naturally?

Peter Ahlstrom

I don't know.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

Are birds native to Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Birds are not native to Roshar.

Questioner

...Did they come over with the initial humans?

Brandon Sanderson

They did. The humans brought them over, along with a lot of other beasts. Like, horses aren't native to Roshar either. You can tell pretty easily the non-native things. Like, Roshar doesn't have any grapes. So the word wine got genericized in the same the way that the word chicken did. You'll see bunches of that. Like the way the weather works. Roshar does not have weather patterns like Ashyn did. They're used to seasons. Suddenly, the words for the seasons, all these weird things that you may have been wondering through the first couple of books, you're like, "Oh I see why they just call hard alcohol a wine," or, "I see why they call everything a chicken." It's kind of related to this.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Adrienne

In Well of Ascension, it mentions that the language of Terris had a gender neutral pronoun. If you actually constructed the language, what was that pronoun? Or did you just leave it as its English translation of "it"?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't spend a long time on the languages in Scadrial, since most people were speaking the same tongue. I just used "it" in my own writings. Roshar has a lot more detail on the languages, because culture-clash is a bigger part of the theme of the series.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

So, I'm intrigued by aluminum, especially the fact that it can only be found by Soulcasting on Roshar. So, how was it discovered in the first place?

Brandon Sanderson

...Did I say you can only get it through Soulcasting?

Questioner

In the Shallan flashbacks, she has the pendant.

Brandon Sanderson

Don't take what she says at 100% truth.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

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--

Brandon Sanderson

It just depends on the planet. Like Roshar… it's 0.7 Earth gravity on Roshar.

Questioner

Oh really?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Questioner

Oh, I didn't even know that.

Brandon Sanderson

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.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Kharbranth

The City of Bells is a true city-state. They have no real authority beyond the city itself, and they trade for everything they need. There aren't Kharbranthian farmers, for example. If commerce were to fail, the city would flat-out collapse.

They do have their own language, as hinted at in this chapter, but it's very similar to Alethi and Veden. I consider the three languages to really be dialects of Alethi, and learning one is more about learning new pronunciations as it is about learning new words. (Though there are some differences in vocabulary.) I would put them even slightly closer than Spanish and Portuguese in our world.

The city origins are a little less proud than they'd tell you. Kharbranth was a pirate town, a harbor for the less savory during the early days of navigation on Roshar. As the decades passed, however, it grew into a true city. To this day, however, its leaders acknowledge that they're not a world power—and might never be. They use games of politics, trade, and information to play Jah Keved, Alethkar, and Thaylenah against one another.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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CoverYourSafeHand

Where do spheres come from in Stormlight? Is there a giant factory somewhere that turns gemhearts into spheres?

Brandon Sanderson

It's similar to mints in various kingdoms on Earth. They're made by different regional powers, and sometimes there are exchange issues because of it--but since Roshar had some unique forms of societal unification in the past, a lot of things like this got standardized.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

I've been trying to brainstorm what Stormlight characters would have jumped into the other books so far. You told me they had at one point.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they have but you've got to remember that The Stormlight Archive you are seeing right now, what's happening in it is like late cosmere era, does that make sense? So there are lots of people from the world that have been to other worlds but the people you know--this is happening just before Alloy of Law era-- So does that make sense? That's the first time you'd be able to see anyone here and by that era the bleed over is a lot less because we have the whole Odium trapped and things like that. There's a lot less-- There are a lot fewer people traveling in and out of Roshar than there once were.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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kalamitous_emoashions

Have we seen any evidence of Hemalurgy on Roshar? And, as sort of an addendum, given the end of Oathbringer, was what happened to Jezrien Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

There are certain cosmere philosophers that would count it. I would divide it as two separate things that are using similar fundamentals... I wouldn't call it myself, but there are people who would disagree with me in-world. Have we seen evidence? I would say no evidence that is easily-- easy to pick out.

kalamitous_emoashions

But it's there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there are people with Hemalurgy who have been to Roshar. I'm pretty sure they've been on-screen.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent

How many waves of human populations have migrated to Roshar? So I'm thinking the Ashynites coming from Ashyn, right? Was that just the only humans that ever came as a population?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on if you count the Iriali?

Argent

That's specifically the one I'm thinking of.

Brandon Sanderson

They came in a separate migration.

Argent

Not from Ashyn?

Brandon Sanderson

Not from Ashyn.

Argent

From whatever the Third Land was.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
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SirSavien1

I asked about how Syl was invented, I don't even know if this is already known information, I'm not that knowledgeable in Cosmere lore.

Brandon Sanderson

He said that originally he thought about the idea of wind coming alive, which remained. Initially he wanted to have only four wind spren, one for each cardinal direction, and Syl was supposed to be the wind of East. Then things changed, but this was the initial concept.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

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?

Brandon Sanderson

Are there people on Roshar who are-- There are definitely lots of people who have claimed to be Heralds who were not.

Moderator

You said "have." The question was, are there?

Brandon Sanderson

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!

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
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king of nowhere (paraphrased)

Then I asked him about Jasnah in Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that he still is not sure whether to include it in the book or not, but he most likely won't. The reason is that he fears it will lessen the impact of something that will need to happen later in the book. so, it implies some characters will visit Shadesmar and have some important adventures there, which Jasnah's story may spoil. he is looking forward to showing Shadesmar on Roshar; we saw it on Scadrial, but on Scadrial it is mostly uninhabited, while in Roshar there are all the Spren.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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holdencaufld

I feel like society on Roshar would develop a bit differently because of emotion spren. You'd have to be very careful talking/ interacting with people since you can't hide things like fear, anger, awe, anticipation, joy, passion and shame. Imagine going through high school having to deal with them...

The_Bravinator

I have to imagine it alters things like, say, the concept of masculinity. Obviously the Alethi have very strong ideas about masculinity, but attracting fearspren/feeling fear doesn't seem to be a negative within that like it would be in our culture. Men attract fearspren all the time, and it's totally fine.

It also seems like it might be taboo to mention someone else's emotion spren. People are constantly noticing internally that other people are attracting them, but they NEVER EVER comment on it (until the part in OB where they're investigating it in Kholinar). There must be a really strong boundary around commenting on other people's spren.

It's one thing I did want to ask Brandon about if he does another AMA--how emotion spren affect Rosharan culture.

Brandon Sanderson

This is some good theorizing here. I'd agree with what /u/The_Bravinator says.

The effects are all over the place, but they are just how life is on Roshar, so I rarely point them out. For example, the classic Alethi sort of idolizing being "straightforward" with people. No assassinations. (Well, supposedly.) You're used to being able to see people's emotions, so you take it for granted that only hyper untrustworthy people do things in ways that don't expose emotions. Emotions aren't bad, they simply are, and everyone has them. Views of masculinity are certainly changed.

The_Bravinator

Is it taboo to mention emotion spren that other people are attracting, or do people just not generally think to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the situation, really. Not exactly the same, but note how in Earth societies the different responses to something like passing gas, depending on context, culture, etc.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Boogalyhu34

I asked you at minicon if Roshar had always been the only large landmass on the planet and I think you said that there was once no large land mass on Roshar. Did I hear you correctly? I've been kicking my self for months for not recording that small q and a.

Brandon Sanderson

You heard me right.

FatalTragedy

Does this mean Roshar was once an archipelago?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Axartsme

I was just listening to Darn Carlin's Hardcore History podcast and Dan Carlin was talking about Genghis Khan's habit of seeing the potential in anyone, even an enemy. He was specifically going over the story of Jebe, a soldier who shot Genghis Khan in the neck and was recruited by the Khan because of his skill. This, at least to me, bears a striking resemblance to the final scene in the first flashback of [Oathbringer]. [Brandon] can you confirm or deny my suspicions that this scene was directly inspired by the real life event?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, that's where it came from! I read a history of Genghis a number of years back, and loved this story, which was included there (though said to be just a legend.) Since I based old-school Dalinar on Subutai, a Mongolian general, I thought that this would be a perfect inclusion.

The origins of the Mongolian-Dalinar link, by the way, can be traced back to a friend of mine, Bat-ultzi, a Mongolian who went about always claiming to be "The Great descendant of the Great Genghis Khan." He'd throw his shoes at people if they offended him. He was such a character that I got very interested in Mongolian practices and history.

More tidbits. Rock and his culture started Mongolian long, long ago. (98-99 era, when I first wrote him.) As Roshar in general (and the Alethi in specific) became more Asian in look and less Semitic (though they are still a mash-up) I decided to push Rock's people in the direction of a human/parsh hybrid strain. This also was part of moving Rock himself from Yolen to Roshar, following after Dalinar and some other characters, who came earlier during the original Dragonsteel / Stormlight split in the early 2000s.

These changes drove the Horneaters away from Mongolian influences, though I can't say specifically where the Polynesian/Russian mashup came from. I liked how it read, and felt the linguistics supported the accent. These changes, of course, had a domino effect that resulted in the Veden people gaining their occasional red hair and fair skin from Horneater relation, which means Shallan is part parshman--though the relation is distant at this point.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

So Threnody, does it have anything to do with Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, I mean--

Questioner

Beside y’know that there in the same--

Brandon Sanderson

No, it doesn't. I mean, it's connected to the larger cosmere… You will find more. There are important people from Threnody that are involved in things. You've seen other people from Threnody in the books but I don't think like it's connected to Roshar in any special way

FanX 2018 ()
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Questioner

I'm just curious, there are 16 Allomantic metals, 16 Feruchemical metals, there are 16 Shards of Adonalsium. Are there 16 surges?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

So there's no correlation?

Brandon Sanderson

10 is an important number on Roshar.