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Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Was it a deliberate move on your part to make it such that on Scadrial, people who wear aluminum foil hats actually are safe from mind control?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah that was a big inside joke. *laughter* When I realized it would work, I had to put it in. *pause* I’m doing some fun things. The gun thing is another one I’m very fond of.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What's the deal with silver? Why does it not fit cleanly into the Allomantic metals, why is aluminum a special one and not silver. Why is it silver powder and not aluminum powder on Threnody?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you want the in-world answer or the writerly answer?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The in-world answer.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The in-world answer is that people are not sure yet.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Well...that's not the in-world answer. That's the in world answer from Khriss, right? What about the in-world answer from...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's the in-world answer--they're not sure yet. 

The writerly answer is that we started with silver in place of tin. And by the time i swapped it out, aluminum was already its thing. If I had to do it over again, I might make silver aluminum, but I wanted what aluminum does to be rare, and silver isn't. So I might not have. I love what aluminum does because it's super-rare pre-industrial, but you hit industrial and it's everywhere.

So it allowed me to do, when we get to modern era, to have real checks on Allomancy as Allomancy gets more powerful.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is silver in Shadows for Silence similar in any way to aluminum in the rest of the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*hesitantly* Yes, but not really. Silver is like silver, and aluminum is like aluminum.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Does aluminum have any specific use in Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, you could definitely find a use for it.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of...am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike.

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

Oathbringer release party ()
#12 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, if we switch to Scadrial, and I had lined the inside of my hat with aluminum, I'm protecting myself from emotional Allomancy. What if I was able to use emotional Allomancy? Would that block me?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, it's going to interfere a little bit. But the issue with that is, a lot of Allomancy is coming from center and going to head. So, you're probably still gonna be okay with the helmet... So, I'm gonna say, you don't want a lot of aluminum around you, but you could probably still make it work.

Legion Release Party ()
#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Aluminum eventually is going to become more cheap to produce. Is everybody just going to have resistance to..

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is definitely something that's going to affect the future. But do also remember that as the powers become more accessible to people who weren't born with them, you have both more resistance to them and more widespread use of them, Which is going to change how things act out.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#15 Copy

ccstat

Can a Seeker, standing outside a Coppercloud, that is between them and another Allomancer, can he sense the person standing on the other side of the Coppercloud?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but he might get some interference.

Ben McSweeney

Would you sense the cloud itself, like "Hey, there's a cloud between me and what I'm looking at"?

Brandon Sanderson

If you know what you're doing, you might be able to say something is interfering, but you wouldn't be able to determine what. There are multiple things that could cause that, for instance-- Most of them are only-- That they would be able to-- Yeah, there are multiple things that could cause that. Like, for instance--

Ben McSweeney

Big buildings?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, aluminum.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The meteorite metal that they talk about that blocks Shards, is that aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Uh, so-- yes.

Footnote: Referencing OB Ch 100, "There are legends of metal that can block a Shardblade. A metal that falls from the sky. Silver, but somehow lighter." It is a point of contention, however, whether or not aluminum can actually block a Shardblade.
General Twitter 2017 ()
#18 Copy

Yata

Hi, the community has a [question], we have two WoBs: Shardblades can cut aluminum and Shardblades can't cut it. Which one is true?

Brandon Sanderson (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Hm. Yes, I wondered last night if I'd ever answered this before. Truth is, the answer is contentious at Team Sanderson.

I've been pushing for one answer, but Peter (whom I trust) is pushing back. We will see what ends up in the books as canon.

Problem with magic like I do is sometimes you have to wait for the scientific consensus... :) Err on "no" for now.

Peter Ahlstrom (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Oh, I think aluminum would stop Shardblades from magical cutting. But if it's too thin like foil, a sword...

...would cut it anyway. What I'm arguing is that something else that Shardblades don't cut doesn't need...

...to necessarily be made of aluminum, for various reasons.

Yata

For example Invested objects (metalmind,spike,etc) or polestones (from some SA's Quote) ?

Peter Ahlstrom

RAFO

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

In Allomancy, aluminum won't be able to be pushed or pulled, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

Questioner

So if you put a piece of steel like a gun barrel, and then you surround it with aluminum, can you still push the gun barrel?

Brandon Sanderson

The aluminum will add some interference, it's gonna depend on how thick the aluminum is. It's probably unfeasible. That is a viable concept, I don't think it's feasible on a gun barrel.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

Boskone 54 ()
#21 Copy

Ironeyes

We know aluminum affects mental magic and emotional magic. Would it affect the hole in your soul that’s created by Hemalurgy? If you had an aluminum spike, would that make it easier, less easy, or no difference for Ruin to take control of you?

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum resists Investiture generally, even when it’s not Invested itself.

Ironeyes

(Brandon hems and haws a little so Ironeyes clarifies the question) Would an aluminum spike make it harder for a Soother to take control of you?

Brandon Sanderson

An aluminum spike would have no effect on a Soother’s ability. They wouldn’t see it there.

yulerule

Did you make aluminum resistant to Allomancy so that you could do the tinfoil hats?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but once I did, I was like that’s a cool idea. I made aluminum resistant to it because I wanted something to be magically inert in the Cosmere. It was a happy accident.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#22 Copy

Kurkistan

What would happen if you shot a thug with an aluminum bullet or stabbed him with an aluminum knife?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, that's a good question. The wound would not be able to heal around the aluminum, but once the aluminum came out and was gone from the system, they would be okay.

Kurkistan

Wait, is that a Bloodmaker, not a Thug?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you're talking about Thugs?

It would work similarly, but it really wouldn't have a huge effect on them.

Kurkistan

Alright, because Peter was implying that there was some weird aluminum interaction with Thugs.

Brandon Sanderson

What was he thinking of...?

There is some weird interaction but...

Kurkistan

In the wedding scene, Wax thinks they would have aluminum bullets to deal with Thugs, and I was like, "Oh, that's a typo." And Peter was like, "Oh no it's not..."

Brandon Sanderson

No, no. That would just be-- it's like I said: healing it until the bullet is gone, it's just the same as Bloodmakers.

Oathbringer release party ()
#24 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In the Shallan flashbacks, she has the pendant.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#25 Copy

FirstRyder

Could Aluminum be used to protect a Surgebinder from a larkin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

havoc_mayhem

Would a larkin be able to steal Stormlight from a surgebinder wearing Shardplate? Any comments on whether Shardplate or aluminium would be more effective protection?

Brandon Sanderson

Getting through both would be relatively equal--with the problem being that Shardplate is powered by investiture, which the larkin could feed on. So aluminum is better in that specific case.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

The guards that are used on the Shardblades, that people are able to work with them safely, are those made of aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson

[...] This is an excellent question that is well asked, and people are thinking along the right lines. I haven't answered 100%, but people are thinking the right way.

Skyward release party ()
#29 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Mistborn Era 1, they don't...Aluminum in real life can only really be refined through the use of electricity

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You can actually get it before that. For instance, Napoleon had a set of aluminum dinnerware that he gave to the really fancy guests. If you weren't fancy enough, you got the gold. So they could get it in elemental form without electrolysis or whatever the process is. You could get it, but you couldn't make it. It was extremely rare till the modern era.

They have started to figure out that process in Mistborn, and it soon is going to become really common.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Once aluminum is dirt cheap like it is--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That changes the world a whole bunch!

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

What would happen--

Imagine I had-- imagine Wayne is standing near the end of an aluminium tube. He tries to set up a speed bubble such that he radius would go through the tube, what would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay standing at the end of an aluminum tube, well I don't know--

Oh I see what you're saying. Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. I think that if it's trying to be set up through aluminum it's gonna' disrupt it, you're gonna' have that sort of the "backlash" that you get when-- yeah.

Questioner

Oh so you can't even set it, it won't be there *inaudible*--

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think you can set it up, I think it's gonna' cause it to collapse the second that it tries to pop up around the aluminum.

Questioner

Okay that makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

[...]

Yeah, it's probably gonna' act like you tried to set up a speed bubble on something that's too small and moving.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You know the sparring guards, for the Shardblade training, the guards they put on the Shardblades. Are they made of aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, they are not. Peter will not let me make them made out of aluminum. He's my continuity editor, he keeps me honest. I tried to get them to be aluminum, but there are reasons why they can't be. So we had to make them their own weird little thing, unfortunately. But you could make a sheath out of aluminum for a Shardblade that would work.

He keeps me honest, so it's good, but I did try to fit them in that way.

Orem signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So this flashlight is made of aluminum. So obviously, I could not affect the flashlight itself with iron or steel. Could I affect the battery inside it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Could I like, pop the trigger?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#39 Copy

wicktacular

At the end of the first Mistborn trilogy it's really significant that 1/16th of the soldiers who got really sick are now atium Mistings.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Sixteen that he-- when Preservation set that all up. He, number one, was not all there. But he was trying to create sixteen as a symbol to say, "Hey, catch this. I've given you a clue-- uh-- help." And so it was devised specifically for that. "*inaudible* Something's going on here."

wicktacular

questioner's paraphrase, delete after review: So, were the other remaining group of soldiers that fell sick all still Mistings of the other base metals?

So were there-- were 1/16th of the rest of them just *inaudible* just not significant?

wicktacular

But we know that there's more than sixteen metals. Wh--

wicktacular

Did he bump one of the other types then to make it sixteen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, they would have been Mistings of other types as well.

Brandon Sanderson

Chromium.

wicktacular

Okay. Do you have in your head *inaudible*?

wicktacular

Chromium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's right. It would probably have been one of the metals that was difficult to get at that level of technology. It would have been chromium - chromium would be hard gather at that time. Actually, no, it would have been aluminum. *about a minute later, while signing someone else's book* Hold on, there's a caveat to that last answer. Let me finish signing this and expand on that. *pause* So, it would still have been aluminum, but not for the reason your thinking. It would have been aluminum, but there's an asterisk next to that answer.

wicktacular

Okay. Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to get chromium.

wicktacular

I've been thinking about--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no! He bumped aluminum. Yeah, he bumped aluminum. Sorry I had to-- I changed my mind.

wicktacular

Oh!

Brandon Sanderson

*a moment later*

Okay, Chad? I have a <qualification> for you. I'll do this and then we'll...

*a moment later*

So...

wicktacular

On the sixteen or the *inaudible*...

Brandon Sanderson

The sixteen. So the answer is "yes," but it's not something-- it's not what you're thinking it is. 

wicktacular

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, there's an asterisk on it, okay? There's an asterisk on it, it's not what you're thinking. Uh, you're making-- you're making assumptions. 

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#40 Copy

Argent

On Nalthis, can aluminum prevent somebody from Returning? So if you kill somebody with aluminum and leave the weapon in them?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think that's going to be enough. I think that…

Argent

Different way then?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah there are totally ways. I don’t think that that’s going to be enough. There's a difference between being inert and blocking Investiture, and actually sucking out Investiture. If you stuck Nightblood inside of a corpse; there are certain things… if you had a larkin or whatever sitting there that ingests the Investiture as it was coming in, that would prevent [Returning]. I think with aluminum you would just have somebody that comes alive with a wound, so maybe... But I think it would just heal around [the aluminum] and you'd just have a spike in you, kind of like Hemalurgy—but not like Hemalurgy. It's inert, but you know what I mean.

Argent

Which suggests you can't actually Awaken aluminum.

Brandon Sanderson

No. It's not going to hold a charge.

Kurkistan

I assume you can't Forge it, either.

Brandon Sanderson

No. In fact the unForgable metal-

Argent

Ralkalest?

Brandon Sanderson

There's an unForgeable metal mentioned.

Kurkistan

Could we call it aluminum if we wanted to?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say that aluminum through most cultures was considered a mythological metal, and when people could actually find some, they considered it more valuable than gold, in our culture. So just sayin'...

Legion Release Party ()
#41 Copy

Jozomby [PENDING REVIEW]

I’m wondering about the idea that you can block emotional Allomancy with an aluminum lined hat.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yup.

Jozomby [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay.  So I’m wondering how much aluminum is required.  So like, an aluminum colander, versus an aluminum headband, versus…

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right.  Alright.  So, I’ll be honest with you.  The idea of a tinfoil hat was so intriguing to me, basically, that I made sure this was part of the magic system.  I say it has to be tinfoil, at least. Thicker is probably better, the way these things work. I’ll try not to do spoilers.  When Hoid lets somebody use aluminum to block signals, he was going with something that you would be able to bend a little bit by pulling on it, but wouldn’t be able to fold it down.  I’d put a bare minimum, if you want to be extra sure, on that, but lining your hat with tinfoil is viable. Particularly in the later eras of Mistborn, when some of the powers are decreasing.

Oathbringer release party ()
#46 Copy

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

So, Kaladin obviously draws Stormlight from a pouch, all the time... If the pouch was coated in, say aluminum, would he still be able to draw the Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Good question.

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

What about if it was coated in silver?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, he probably still could.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

In other worlds, are we seeing any magics already? Like, if Allomancy might be on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

You've seen people using Allomancy in Roshar before.

Questioner

[...] I remember reading in in Words of Radiance you said that the only way to get aluminum [on Roshar] was to Soulcast it, right? I think you said something like that... maybe? I thought I read that. I was wondering how that would work, if an Allomancer were to--

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum has some weird properties on all of the magic systems, not just Allomancy. It does not have the same effect, but aluminum has some bizarre effects.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#49 Copy

Argent

Are there non-Invested (or at least not heavily Invested) objects that cannot be cut by Shardblades, or that offer more resistance than what we see in The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

You're unlikely to find anything without high investiture that can resist a Shardblade. By definition, to stop one, you're going to need something with a powerful spiritual component to it.

zotsandcrambles

Would Ralcolist (the unforgeable metal) be at all resistant to a sharblade given its proven resistance to other forms of investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, but is a question you should be asking.