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General Reddit 2016 ()
#1 Share

Enasor

How about the Iriali and Alethi mix we have going on with Adolin and Renarin? Where would this put them within the chibi figures? I have always had a hard time trying to figure out how they would look like due to their mix ethnicity. I have ideas... of course, but I'd be great to have confirmation.

Brandon Sanderson

They're gong to have lighter skin, but skin tone isn't something Alethi pay much attention to. Hair and eye color is what draws their attention. Dalinar and Kaladin will be darker than Adolin and Renarin, though none of them would look Caucasian to us. Of course, Caucasians have varied skin tone as well, so it's hard to say specifically what they'd look like. (As a note, Renarin/Adolin are a Riran/Alethi mix--not exactly Iriali/Alethi, as there's some slightly different genetics going on there.)

Enasor

Oh I thought Riran and Iriali were the same... Where did I go wrong?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't say much without giving spoilers, but there are small differences.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#3 Share

Questioner

Was there ever a time when you had intended to kill off a character, but changed your mind because you liked them too much?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... I'm trying to think of whether or not this happened. I do believe that Adolin died in the original draft of The Way of Kings, which I wrote in 2002. he had a much smaller role in that book, and it played out very differently. When I did the newer version, which I rewrote from scratch, Adolin evolved much differently.

For those who don't know, he wasn't intended to have as large a role in the plot--but I ran into a problem during writing. Dalinar was feeling inconsistent as a character. I wanted to present him as strong and confident, but at the same time had him troubled by worries that he was insane from visions he was seeing.

This worked in outline form, but when I actually wrote, it seemed like he spent WAY too much time standing around worrying that he was crazy. So I expanded Adolin's character, providing a contrast. Dalinar, confident (to an extent) he was seeing something real--and his son, who worried his father was going insane.

Through this development, and giving Adolin more time on the page, he became a much more rounded character.

Another instance of this was Spook from the Mistborn series, who grew to have a much larger role than I'd originally intended.

There's another in this category--but it could include spoilers for an upcoming book. I'll talk about it eventually.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#4 Share

twixttwists

I couldn't help note that Adolin seems to have a somewhat special bond with his Shardblade. And there have been hints about reawakening the dead spren ( mostly characters speculating it wouldn't be possible). But what I wanted to know is if someone like Adolin could convince his Shardblade's dead spren to become a spear or shield, like Kaladin gets to with Syl. Or does a spren need sentience to anticipate its bearer's needs?

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin's shardblade is a RAFO, as I want this to play out naturally and not squelch discussion. Suffice it to say that a dead Shardblade, under normal circumstances, is locked into a single form.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#6 Share

Questioner

I notice Adolin has a talent for picking out when people are lying. At least he caught Sadeas, he caught Amaram, he knew Kaladin was having something, but he missed Danlan.

Brandon Sanderson

How reliable is Adolin with his read on people? Better with guys.

Everyone

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Look at the list you just gave me.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#7 Share

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

Shallan... in Oathbringer... she meets Adolin, and he's staring into her eyes. And she thinks that he can see that when she's Shallan again. So, my question is, is she correct? And if so, how did Adolin see that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, it's not a magical thing. She shifts even when she's kind of being herself-- When she becomes different people, even if she's not completely Lightweaving herself, she shifts.

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

Is it visible?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is visible.

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

So he's looking very closely.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

And he wouldn't be able to point out that he had seen that. But it's intuitive, and he's learned to recognize that.

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

...In her final scene, she seems like she kind of summons her personas-- as if she's fully in control, and they're not coming by themselves anymore, is that correct?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No.

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

So, they still come and go as they want?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, she's much more in control, but still has a way to go.

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

Would Wit basically approve of what she's done?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He would give her a "that's a step forward, but you're not there yet."

Shadows of Self release party ()
#9 Share

Questioner

In Adolin's fight in Words of Radiance, when his shardplate was being destroyed. Had he fought Sadeas right there, would he have been able to win? Or would he have--

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin thinks that he would have been able to.

Questioner

Adolin thinks he could, but would he be able to?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know. Adolin's pretty good, but Adolin's not as good as he thinks he is.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#11 Share

Questioner

Is there a meaning for Adolin's name, like there is for Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Okay, do you want to tell me it?

Brandon Sanderson

Honestly I have to look them up. So I don't have them off the top of-- I should. I just have to look them up. It’s like there's technically a meaning to almost every name but yeah.
Salt Lake City signing ()
#13 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Speaking of Rosharan calendar-- So seventeen year old Kaladin, is he the equivalent of a seventeen year old Earthling?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's 1.1, I think is what is it. Right, they're 10% older than their accounting system. So no.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So Adolin is 27, true?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So then a year is obviously a lot more than 1.1 but--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well no. The years are 500 days, but they're 20 hour days. Keep that in mind. So when you run the calculations kinda together, you end up with around 1.1.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#14 Share

Enasor

While I am glad to hear the book is going along well, I will not hide the fact I am severely disappointed by Adolin's lack of page time. I cannot believe we won't get to read his thoughts following the events of WoR. If there was one POV I wanted to read, it was his, but according to the planning, we won't, not until the very end of the book.

I truly appreciate the efforts done to keep the fans informed, but I cannot hide my disappointment. I guess it is better knowing now than finding it out about it after having waited for the book for another year.

Sorry.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if you're the same person who wrote to me in private, as I closed that window--so forgive me if I'm repeating myself somewhat.

I am well aware that many people are very interested in what is happening to Adolin, and I consider him one of the more interesting and unexpected developments of the series, in deviation from the original outline. I intend to dig into things with him in the book.

He's done a lot with very few viewpoints in the books so far. Why not read and see where he goes in this one?

Enasor

Thank you for your response. I have pondered on it all day yesterday.

Unfortunately, knowing Adolin doesn't have viewpoints until the last 100K words of the book basically is a show stopper for me. While I knew his story arc would never be as large as other characters, much to my sadness, I had hope he would, at the very least, remain a steady viewpoint character. My expectations for this book were to read more of him, especially considering how his story arc ended in WoR, not less.

Those very few words might be amazing, but it sounds too little and too late: especially knowing they are cramped into one of the smallest part of the book and shared with 5 other viewpoint characters including the three major ones.

My expectations sincerely were very different. It might my own fault for not having understood before how small Adolin's role was bond to be, but I cannot help being disappointed by it. If I knew Adolin had a bigger role waiting for him in later books, I would bear my time and think I only need to be more patient, but I know it will not happen.

So all in all, as much as I have loved the first two books, knowing Adolin's overall arc in so small in the upcoming book is a show stopper for me as a reader.

I truly appreciate your work as an author, but I had considered Adolin to be one of the major payers, despite the lack of flashbacks. I had expected him to be present within the story and not just through third person's perspective. Knowing it won't happen basically breaks the magic for me.

So sorry again.

Brandon Sanderson

I still think you're over reacting, and prematurely at that. Jasnah was a major force in the first book, and became many people's favorite, despite having no viewpoints. Sometimes, keeping someone from having viewpoints actually enhances their story.

Regardless, there is a bigger issue: the story cannot be everything to every reader. It must be the story I shape it to be; to try anything else is madness. You have the option, when reading, to edit the story in your experience of it, if you wish, to better match your desires. I have to tell the story the way my writing instincts say is the strongest, and this is the viewpoint breakdown that is best.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#15 Share

Questioner

Why did you make Adolin kill someone?

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin's on the edge. He was just really frustrated with this guy who tried to murder his dad multiple times. Adolin demanded that it happen. It wasn't me forcing it to.

Questioner

Because I was reading that during my creative writing course. Everybody in there was wondering why I was so mad...

Brandon Sanderson

You can slap him around sometime, if you want. But he made the call himself.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#16 Share

Questioner

What Jasnah did, in the first book, with Shallan in the alleyway and what happened at the end of this book... between Adolin and the other character [Sadeas]. Would you put them on the same level? Or would you say that what Adolin did was maybe a little bit darker?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that what Adolin did was less dark, personally... It just depends on your perspective, but personally I say what Adolin did was something that needed to be done and no one else was capable of doing.

Questioner

Would you say that it's going to have any ramifications for him down the line? With how it was handled?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh it's definitely—how it's handled, definitely there are ramifications, lots of ramifications. And there are certain characters who would think that what he did is totally, totally, totally wrong.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#17 Share

kmolleja

I've noticed some similarities between the father-son pairs of Dalinar/Adolin and Mormon/Moroni, was that intentional or did it creep in subconsciously? The M/M relationship is an incredibly powerful one for me and I'm glad to see it pop-up in unexpected places.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not intentional, but it could certainly be unconscious influence.

cfornia25

I've heard Brandon talk about these characters and he said that originally there was no Adolin. Dalinar was the only character speaking to both the belief and doubt of what he was experiencing. Brandon's Writing Group gave feedback that having one character flip-flop like that wasn't working, so Brandon developed Adolin to help express those doubts. What a great way to solve a problem, and the result is a wonderful relationship that immitates many powerful Father/Son stories.

Brandon Sanderson

You're ALMOST right. Adolin wasn't a viewpoint character initially, but he was in the book during the draft you're talking about. (The one where I had to fix things.) But if I go back to Dalinar, the character, back in his origin (before I wrote the way of kings the first time, back in 2002) he did not have a son. It was his relationship with his brother and nephew (needing to take over the kingdom for a beloved brother who died, and rule it for a nephew--then have concerns about giving up power, and how much he should take) that was the origin of Dalinar.

General Twitter 2012 ()
#18 Share

samulihonkanen

Have you decided which future book Adolin character will be the focus of Stormlight series?Book 3-4 He is the best character

Brandon Sanderson

We shall see. Talking too much about which characters get which books risks spoiling who survives long enough to get a book.

Orem signing ()
#19 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Was it moral for Adolin to kill Sadeas?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Which morality scheme are you looking for?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Yours. Your personal morality.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

My personal morality. It depends on the day. That one's on a line. I would say yes. There's a little bit of-- there's enough chaotic good in me. I would generally put myself in neutral good. But there's enough chaotic good in me to say, "Yeah, that guy asked for it. He betrayed you, he was threatening your family." I would side on Adolin's side, I think.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#20 Share

Questioner

I am very convinced that Adolin, with the events that happen with the last book. You're sending him down a like a dark path. Is he possibly going to be a-- *questioningly* Antagonist? Protagonist?-- A bad, eventually? Or is he--

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to say this, the things that Adolin did do not contradict some of the moralities on Roshar, in fact they follow them directly. Some of the moralities on our planet would say what he did is the right thing to do. I think treating it as a "dark path" is too reductionist to say. There are people who would seriously argue, and they would have a good argument, that what Dalinar was doing by leaving Sadeas around was a good idea. And then there are other people who would say "You know what Sadeas did was a challenge and it was rightly then responded to" and then there are people who would say it was absolutely immoral. So, it depends on your philosophy.

What would Honor say? Well, Honor's dead, so-- *lots of laughter* You know Honor would not have been behind that action, but Honor's dead.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#21 Share

argel1200

Have you ever considered giving Adolin more screen time and a better arc, similar to how Spook grew on you? There are a lot of die-hard Adolin fans that are really hoping he will get bumped up into a more important role?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO on that one.

peleles

Love Adolin! May we also see more style tips for Alethi men? lol I'm likely alone in that.

Brandon Sanderson

You'll be getting some more.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#22 Share

cinderwild2323

What is the biggest change you've made based on alpha/beta reader feedback? (This goes for any of your books)

Brandon Sanderson

Probably adding Adolin as a main viewpoint character in the first book, which was done because I had trouble striking the balance between Dalinar worrying he was mad, and being a proactive, confident character. Worried better to externalize some of the, "Am I mad" into his son worrying "My dad has gone crazy" while letting Dalinar be more confident that his visions were something important. (I still let him worry a little, of course, but in the original draft, he felt temperamental from vacillation between these two extremes.)

Bringing Adolin to the forefront in the books has had a huge ripple effect through them, as I've been very fond of how his character has been playing out.

Enasor

May I ask why you choose to use Adolin as the viewpoint character to supplement Dalinar as opposed to Renarin? My understanding is Renarin has always been the "most important brother" within SA, which made me wonder why, based on the beta readers comments, you ultimately decided to use Adolin and not your established character to bring forward the dilemma.

I am, obviously, extremely fond of how Adolin has been played out so far and while I have no idea where he is going (but zillions of theories), I am curious to know what his initial purpose in the story was. Did you draft the character's personality just for WoK's needs or did you have an idea of what to do with him when you made the change?

Brandon Sanderson

I was well aware that I needed certain things about Renarin to remain off-screen until later books, and him being a viewpoint character early would undermine these later books.

Adolin is a happy surprise and works exactly because he doesn't need to be at the forefront, even after I boosted his role. With Adolin, what you see is really what you get, which is refreshing in the books--but it also means I don't need huge numbers of pages to characterize him, delve into his backstory, etc. He works as a side character who gives more to the story than he demands pages to fullfill that giving, if that makes sense. Renarin is more like a pandora's box. Open him up, and we're committed to a LOT of pages. (Good pages, but that was the problem with TWOK Prime--everyone was demanding so many pages, from Renarn, to Jasnah, to Kaladin, to Taln, that none of their stories could progress.)

Adolin has basically always had the same personality, from TWOK Prime, through the original draft of the published TWOK, to the revision. The changes to making him more strong a viewpoint character were very natural, and he has remained basically the same person all along--just with an increased role in the story, and more development because of it.

I do discovery write character, usually, as a method of keeping the books from becoming slaves to their outlines. This means that Adolin has gone some new directions, but it's been a growth from the person he was in TWOK Prime. (Which you'll be able to see when I release it, sometime in the hopefully not distant future.)

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#26 Share

Questioner

When Adolin snapped, I noticed your wording. Those... The term snapping...

Brandon Sanderson

No. Good question. He did not gain Allomantic abilities.

Questioner

Well - Spren bonding abilities...?

Brandon Sanderson

Well no. That was not used magically.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#27 Share

Questioner

...Really?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup. Most of what you see him doing, Renarin did in the original outline, much more awkwardly.

Questioner

Did you keep him in for longer because he has an important part to play?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. remember, this is the draft I did in 2002, things were very different. Like in that draft Kaladin took the Shardblade and became a Shardbearer and stuff like this, and so it was a very different book, very different themes. I beefed up Adolin's part when I was doing this and eventually he developed into a stronger character. I need Adolin because Adolin is the guy who is not gaining all the magical powers and flying in the air and stuff. I need the guy who is more normal. As normal as the prince of Alethkar can be. I needed him and I really liked where he went after doing that, so.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#30 Share

Questioner

I wondered if there's a bit of you in all the characters... and it's characters where they don't have bits of you that you get stuck with writing them, and how you overcome that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, getting stuck. So characters are the hard one for me to talk about because I plan my worlds in great detail before I start writing, in most cases, and I plan my plots in moderate detail. I plot backward, I start with what I want to have happen for a plot cycle; not necessarily the last scene, but, you know, something like this character learns to use the magic, and I've got the scene where it shows that this is working, and then I list a bunch of bullet points underneath. That's my-- And so if you look at my outline, it's like goal, bullet points, goal, bullet points, goal, bullet points-- that's my whole outline.

My characters, I figure out who they are when the book starts, but I do not outline them in great detail. The reason for this is we find that writers tend to fall into two general camps. We have what we call outline writers, and discover writers. Now, discovery writers, George RR Martin calls them gardeners, they like to discover their story as they go. Stephen King says you never start with an ending in mind because otherwise it ruins the book, he just goes and see what happens. They tend to write character really well. In fact if you're reading a good and you go "Wow these characters all feel really vivid and alive", that's probably a discovery writer. If you're-- On the other hand outliners, or architects as George RR Martin calls them, tend to plan everything out ahead of time and because of this they tend to have spectacular plots. If you've got somebody who's got a great plot, it's a page-turner, the great twist at the ending-- that's most likely going to be an architect, but the flaw of this is they tend to have weaker characters; and the flaw over here is they tend to have weaker plots. Terrible endings are a horrible kind of habit of the discovery writer. 

Over time I've really tried to kind of mitigate this by letting myself discovery-write my characters to kind of get some more of that living character status, which means I have to have a flowing outline where, once I've started writing my way into the character I will then have to rebuild the outline periodically to match the person they're becoming, which sometimes rips apart that outline quite a bit. The other thing that it requires me to do is I often have to kind of cast characters in a role. Vin is a great example of this, where I actually tried Vin three different times--I posted one of these on my website--with a different personality each time until I got one that would fit the story that I'm telling, and who she was, and I went from there.

And so it's really hard for me to pick out what I do with characters, but if my book is not working it's almost always that a character is not working for me. And this happened with Sazed in book 3 of Mistborn. I wrote this in the annotations, you can go and read it off that. Dalinar, in the original draft of The Way of Kings. When a character is not clicking 100% it is the biggest problem I run into with books, that takes a lot of drafting to figure out what to do. With Dalinar, if you're not familiar with what happened there, is I split him into two people. It always had his son Adolin, but Adolin had not been a viewpoint character, and the problem I was having with Dalinar was that I wanted to present a strong figure for the leader because people though he was going mad, but I also had to have him talk about this madness, and be really worried about it, and so he came on very weak, because everyone thought he was going mad, and he spent all of his time brooding about going mad. When I took the brooding out to his son, and had Dalinar be like "I'm not mad, something's going on, everyone thinks that I'm crazy, but I can deal with this", and had his son go "my dad, who I love, is going crazy", those two characters actually both became more alive, and worked better, than they had with the conflict of "I'm going crazy" being Dalinar's. So, it takes a lot of work to figure these things out sometimes.