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Skyward Houston signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

What's Kaladin's last name?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin doesn't have a last name because, in Alethkar, your last name is your House name. He is vacillating on what his House name would be, everyone just calls him Kaladin Stormblessed. There's a realistic expectation that if he wanted to be a Kholin, he could be a Kholin, if he wanted to adopt that as his own House name instead of having a different one.

But right now he's just called Kaladin Stormblessed.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering what the Alethi, what kind of music they listen to?

Brandon Sanderson

They're gonna like stuff that sounds stuffy and snooty to you. So, the kind of equivalent would be a soft string quartet in our world. Granted, it's a little different there, but that'll-- Not much percussion. There is a time where they like a nice battle hymn, or something like that, you could get some equivalent of brass.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a preference for Windstance when writing the Stomrlight Arhcive, it feels like that one comes up the most.

Brandon Sanderson

The people that I'm writing tend to like it. It is very Alethi. The Windrunners and things like that are connected with the Alethi people. Its disproportionately represented by all of the Alethi.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#5 Copy

reddidaccount1

In Sanderson's most recent lecture (50:25 in) to his BYU Writing Class, he mentions that Alethkar natives resemble Asians. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, especially since I always imagined the Shin as the "Asians" of that world.

Brandon Sanderson

It's a little more complicated than I might have made it seem. Alethkar natives other than the Shin have the epicanthic fold, but the Alethi wouldn't look strictly Asian to you--they'd look like a race that you can't define, as we don't have them on earth. I use half-Asian/half-arab or half-asian/half-Polynesian models as my guide some of the time, but Alethi are going to have a tanner skin than some of those.

Some Horneaters might look Caucasian to you--but then, most will not. They'll seem like something alien, and not all of them have light skin; they tend to walk a spectrum between pale and coppery. Reshi and Herdazians will look closest to something like an indigenous Bolivian.

Shin would look the closest to Caucasian to you, but again, they're not an Earth ethnicity. So you might not be able to place them either.

A lot of the fanart has done a good job with this, and if you search through it, it might help you get an idea.

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

Questioner

I've been recently introduced to you as an author, and I heard "lighteyed" and "darkeyed." What is that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, in The Stormlight Archive, their ethnic divisions in one of the cultures is by eye color. It traces back to when there was an ancient magic that eye color was related to, and in the modern culture, if you have lighteyes (like you), that's nobility. If you have Darkeyes (like you), you are not noble, you are... you know. So, instead of dividing by skin color or by nationality, they are much more interested in eye color. But that's only one of the cultures, that's a big important one.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

What are Oldbloods?

Brandon Sanderson

Oldbloods? Oldbloods are the, um... Lon-- Years ago, Alethkar was ruled by a different group of people. A different, like, dynasty. And it's been overturned, and it's been a long enough time that they're not really a threat. But to acknowledge them, and Oldblood-- they wear the tattoo. It means, "We are-- We used to rule this place." And so, it's just-- It's a lineage of people and a dynasty that used to be the kings of Alethkar.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#9 Copy

Titan_Arum

In TWoK, Dalinar mentions that back home Reshi border encroachments grow increasingly bold...according to the map of Roshar, no Reshi islands are directly adjacent to Alethkar. Is this encroachment simply due to Tai-na migrating into Alethi waters and skirmishing with Alethi boats? Or are the Reshi actually sending raiding parties to the mainland?

Brandon Sanderson

The Alethi have a long history of skirmishing with the Reshi islands just to the north and northeast of Alethkar. (And at various points, they've just considered Herdaz to be an Alethi province.) The fertile fishing up there makes for some coveted seas.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

What's the penalty for killing a highprince, like Adolin did to Sadeas?

Brandon Sanderson

Official law is kind of confusing, because before the unification of Alethkar back into a kingdom, killing a highprince was like killing the monarch of another country. So if you did it on the field of battle it's fine. If you assassinate them it's considered a bad-- a mark of dishonor. But, what's gonna happen? I mean, your own people are gonna probably be like, "Okay, you killed the other highprince. You shouldn't have done that." But, you know... the enemy... *laughing* But now that there's a kingdom, those sort of laws are different. So it's going to cause a legal conundrum. Does that make sense?

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#13 Copy

Personification

Was there a similar things like the ten Highprinces were like-- What were the different roles that each Highprince could hold?

Brandon Sanderson

The Highprinces were more like warlords fighting for and squabbling for land, they were not good at anything like that. So they were more like warlords.

Personification

But the Highprince roles though?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the Highprince of? Yeah. They did have the official things like that and when it was working, way back in the day, you could probably align them-- I don't even know if you could align those to Radiants--

Personification

I wasn't saying the order of the Knights Radiant, I was saying just like, what role did they have?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, they would be pretty official, but if you're going back in the day, to where it actually worked, then they would have distinct roles that they would fulfill, and they would kind of be like-- Imagine the cabinet of a country.

Personification

I was wondering if I could have some specifics on the names.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I can't do that right now. I might be able to dig that out of the notes, but I've remained flexible on some of those things because I don't want to name them all, specifically.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

What kind of embroidery is it [on Alethi women's clothing]? Is it like flowers, patterns?

Brandon Sanderson

No no, it is a lot of things but the Alethi's don't do the flower thing as much... It's not really an Alethi thing, floral patterns. So you are seeing a lot of designs and hatchings. They may look a little Arabic to you. Or the glyphs and things like that you will see worked in but very stylized.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#15 Copy

Phantine

Do rebellious Alethi teens ever mix together red wine and yellow wine so they can be all 'see parents, I'm just drinking orange, that's nonalcoholic'.

Brandon Sanderson

There aren't as strong a set of taboos on underage drinking in Alethi society as there are in ours. I'd imagine that what you say has happened, but wouldn't be too common.

BookCon 2018 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

If a Thaylen and Alethi had a child, how would their eyebrows look?

Brandon Sanderson

Their eyebrows would probably have streaks of white. You would just see the kind of hybridization how bushy and long their eyebrows got. The color would breed kind of half-way true.