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Idaho Falls signing ()
#1 Copy

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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#2 Copy

coltonx9

How are the floating cities in Ashyn held aloft?

Brandon Sanderson

By local magic... So basically, I can tell you how it works, because I'm not saving any secrets here.

One of the diseases gives this power. The reason it's called The Silence Divine is right now, the way I've devised it, is this power also causes hearing loss. So you have this virus that does this weird thing, but also gives you the power. And so there's a conclave of them, a chorus of them that keep the cities aloft. And that's why the book, if or when I write it, I guess it can't be a virus in this case. Whatever disease they have, someone develops penicillin and can potentially cause the city to come crashing down. That was the premise for me, but that means it needs to be a bacteria, not a virus but it needs to be a bacteria that stays with you long, so I have to work out exactly how I would make these diseases work.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Yata

A little curiosity over the word "Shin", is it a deformation/twisting of their origin ? like "Ashyn person" --> "A Shyn person" ---> "A Shin person" ? (I assume this is a quite safe question to response without going into the rabbit hole)

Brandon Sanderson

Shin/Ashyn do have a relationship, but I didn't specifically intend "A Shin" to be Ashyn.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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vanahian

Is possible that I'm overthinking about it but in Oathbringer, in Puuli's Interlude he spoke about what seems a new kind of faction-to-be in Roshar. Given how Puuli talks about them one can think he is describing the Knight Radiants we know. But he also mentions that, "They will come from the Origin," and that them are, "The sailors lost on an infinite sea." My question then is... Are they direct descendants of the original humans that migrated from Ashyn eons ago? Yeah, I know that in some way all are descendants of those humans but my question, to be clear, is if they are more Odium inclined for example. An Odium-winning-card.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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beer_in_an_esky

1) Is Ashyn still operating on a sickness-based magic, as indicated in the readings you've done previously? Or are you not ready to canonise that?

2) Assuming it is, was the use of Investiture on Ashyn always sickness-based?

3) If someone who is sick on Ashyn leaves while still unwell, would they still have powers? How about any people they infect on the new world?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Ashyn still has that magic, though I've gone a lot of directions on how I want the culture to feel, so I wouldn't consider that canon yet.

2) No.

3) The powers come directly via the micro-organisms, similar to other symbiotic relationships in the cosmere.

MisCon 2018 ()
#9 Copy

Glamdring804

How advanced is astronomy on Roshar? Because it's something you haven't really talked about, and I'm thinking--

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the region. Some people, the astronomy's getting moderately well.

Glamdring804

Surely they've seen Ashyn and Braize in the sky, and I'm wondering how long it will be before they start detecting signs of civilization on Ashyn.

Brandon Sanderson

That would depend on a couple of things, such as, the easiest way to detect civilization is with radio waves, so-- You need some good telescopes. I don't think that would be, even if they spotted it, as revolutionary as you might think it would be, because we thought there were people on all of our planets for most of the history of mankind, and it didn't really affect how we viewed cosmology. I think if you went to Roshar and asked them, they'd be like "Yeah, totally, people live on those planets. Obviously." Just like if you went back and said "Do people live on the moon?" in the 1700s, people would be like, "Yeah probably, seems like they must."

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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Did humans come to Roshar through Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

It is technology or magic closer to how the Oathgates work. But it was like that. It's not canon but right now that's what I have. It's not canon because there are certain things I have to work out before that can work...

By the way I'll just say to the tape recording that I haven't canonized, like for instance if they traveled to Shadesmar to get to Shinovar from Ashyn. Right now I have that not being via Shadesmar, but the mechanics of that might not work out, and I might have to default to Shadesmar. So there's certain things, you'll see, where I say, "This isn't the canon answer, it's where I have things right now."

Overlord Jebus

So Urithiru might end up being a spaceship after all.

Brandon Sanderson

It's not that. Right now I have them using something closer to Oathgating, but it opens up a huge can of worms, when I'm not requiring direct-- When I'm sending through Spiritual Realm it opens up cans of worms, and I have to just make sure the mechanics on that are tight before I do it.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Potential Cosmere Stories List

Here are things that at one point I've had in the works, and probably someday plan to do, in the 'osmere:

  • Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel. (Hoid's origin story, to be written sometime after Stormlight is done.)
  • Sixth of the Dusk sequel. (I had a pretty cool idea for this last year. Nothing more than that.)
  • Untitled Silverlight novella. (What it says on the tin.)
  • Threnody novel. (An expedition back to confront the Evil that destroyed the old world.)
  • Aether of Night. (Still in the cosmere, and you can see the odd remnant of an Aether popping up here and there. Bound to be drastically different from the unpublished novel, which I allow the 17th Shard to give out to people who request it on their forums. Basically, the only thing from it that is canon is the magic system.)
  • Silence Divine. (Disease magic novella set on Ashyn.)
Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#15 Copy

Joe ST

Is Urithiru a spaceship?

Brandon Sanderson

 It is not, no, good question. I've never been asked that before. It's very Sim City, though.

Joe ST

It's a new theory, they're thinking, is it one of the floating cities from--

Brandon Sanderson

From Ashyn, yeah. Boy, that would be hard, it is so big. But, I suppose, magic, you know. But no, it is not...

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

A friend of mine wanted me to ask: Was the cataclysm that rocked Ashyn and forced its inhabitants into the flying cities Investiture-based, and if it was was it Shardic in nature?

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that the-- did you finish [Oathbringer]?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that they were fleeing, that they caused, is the one that forced people into the skies...

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

Do you have another magic system that you haven't written about yet?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a ton. And, yeah, so there's some that are in the cosmere that I haven't yet gotten to, that I've got planned out. And there's some that I started writing a story on and didn't have time to finish. And I've got some weird settings. And-- yeah. So yes, there are a ton.

Questioner

Wow, that's so cool. Would you be able to share a little bit?

Brandon Sanderson

Well the most famous one that I've talked about before, so fans already know about it, is the one where people-- you gain magical talents based on diseases you catch. Like you get the common cold, you can fly while you have it, when you get over it-- it's the bacteria and viruses have evolved to give-- to interface with the magic to try and, you know, they want to keep you alive to let you spread the disease so they-- you get these powers. And that one's going to be very cool when I can write it.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

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

Herald (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Big RAFO.

Herald (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

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

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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windolf7

Is Ashyn the Tranquilline Halls?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

faragorn

Actually, my theory is that Braize is both the TQ and Damnation.

Gamers will all be familiar with the concept of rezzing after you die, often at a specific place.

The legend is that humans were forced out of the TQ and followed to Roshar. If Odium attacked and conquered Braize, and Honor created the heralds before he and Cultivation moved humans to Roshar, then the heralds might very well be rezzing on enemy-held Braize each day as described in the WoK prologue. Against the combined armies of the entire planet they get ganked as described in the prologue, only to rez the next day (kind of like the rez timers in World of Warcraft :-)).

WoR confirms that Braize was called Damnation, but I think it is now damnation, and was once the TQ.

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent theories, strange gaming parallels notwithstanding.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

So I was reading that one of the worlds, I think it was Yolen, is going to be a disease oriented magic?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not Yolen, it's Ashyn...

Questioner

How does that work?

Brandon Sanderson

Viruses and bacteria, various strains of them, have evolved in-line with the investiture on the planet to grant you a magical ability when you catch the disease, because they want you to stay alive long enough to--

Questioner

To transmit it.

Brandon Sanderson

--o transmit it. So it becomes part of the transmission vector. So you have superpowers or whatever-- You can fly as long as you have the common cold, but when you get over it, you can't anymore.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

How much involvement does the other planet in the same system as Roshar have with Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* Your question has a fundamental flaw to it.

Questioner

And that is?

Brandon Sanderson

That there are multiple planets that have an influence on Roshar.

Questioner

I thought there were multiple planets in the system that...

Brandon Sanderson

There are, but you said "the other", there are more than one so the phrase, "the other" doesn't make sense.

Questioner

How much influence do the other planets have?

Brandon Sanderson

A great deal.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Leiyan

There are three planets in the solar system, are they all in the habitable zone, with the water...at least two of them must be...

NutiketAiel

When you say three, is it actually three in the solar system, or is it three...

Brandon Sanderson

There are three planets with sentient beings on them.

Leiyan

There are more than three planets in the solar system?

Brandon Sanderson

There are. With non-sentient beings. There are three planets of importance. So I didn't give you very much, because you wanted something...I could give you something.

Leiyan

Yeah I knew that, I should have said that I knew that before I asked.

Brandon Sanderson

You may have...here's one for you alright. You may have heard a reading from one of those planets today.

SpoCon 2013 ()
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Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There are two Shards on Roshar. Odium's presence is felt on Roshar, but he is on Braize, the third planet in the system.

theofficetroll (paraphrased)

Is that Shard on The Silence Divine?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Oh, you mean Ashyn. Ashyn is mostly barren with small fertile patches

There are two Shards on Roshar; however, Honor is dead.

Oslo signing, 2011 ()
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Thorondir (paraphrased)

How many Shardworlds are there? Only seven? (Sel, Nalthis, Scadrial, Roshar, Yolen, Taldain, and whatever planet The Silence Divine is on [Ashyn]?)

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said he has a set number in his head but that he didn’t want to say it because he might change his mind. Essentially he doesn’t want to make the number of worlds canon yet.

17th Shard Interview ()
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17th Shard

How is The Way of Kings related to the rest of the cosmere? What point in time is it?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, so far I have written the books/series chronologically. Though, I have skipped books. And so there will be jumping back eventually, but Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker and Way of Kings all happened chronologically.

17th Shard

Just in general, how is it related to the rest of the cosmere? Or can you say?

Brandon Sanderson

I, uh…officially don't know what you're talking about. I mean, what do you mean by "related to"?

17th Shard

For example, the letter…

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, just like the letter that I have no idea what you're talking about. I will tell you that one of the novels I skipped is actually set in the same solar system.

17th Shard

Oh…so this is the series that that book shares.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is the series that the book shares that I skipped. I was planning to do it first, but now was the time to do the Stormlight Archive. So you will eventually see a book set on a planet in the same solar system. You could just pick out in the sky of Roshar if you were watching, and it may even get mentioned because it's a fairly close planet.

17th Shard

Is that on Divine Silence?

Brandon Sanderson

Silence Divine happens there.

17th Shard

What is the name of that planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm…should I tell you? Oh, Peter says no. You got PAFO'd. Peter and not find out.

Yeah, so, I will tell you the name of that planet once it is out like I've told you the rest of them.