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Calamity Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

This is quick question about outlines… Going on Mistborn, Era 2 is like 300 years after the original series...

Brandon Sanderson

I think it ended up being 200 and something but yeah.

Questioner

And you said that the next trilogy will be in the future, do you have a rough idea of how far...

Brandon Sanderson

I’m planning 70 right now.  But I mean I’m going to have to write it and see.  It is far enough away that you are not going to see most of the characters, but close enough that like you could see--

Questioner

But descendents might be...

Brandon Sanderson

Descendants are totally going to be around.  And you could see some of the characters that are there now. Could be that one of them has just passed away, that sort of thing.

Dragonmount Zoom Call ()
#4 Copy

Zachary

In reference to the events in Rhythm of War, what is the timeframe for Mistborn Era Three? Is it before? Or after?

Brandon Sanderson

After. Era Three is after. Era Three is gonna take place around fifty to seventy years after Era Two. And Era Two is happening in the ten years between Books Five and Six of Stormlight. Era Three will be happening in a post-all-ten-books-of-Stormlight world.

So I have to jump forward in time seventy years on Scadrial, and then jump backward in time and finish Roshar, and then jump back forward in time. I think it’s all gonna work in the jigsaw puzzle of my brain of how all of this is going. But Karen will tell me if it doesn’t work, and we will adjust appropriately. She keeps the timeline and keeps me honest.

Firefight Miami signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

When is the official timeline gonna get released for the whole cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I only gave it to Peter, who is my continuity editor, like, in September. And that's the first time he'd seen it. I think it's gonna take a little while, he says he wants to go through in minutia and make it work. Plus there's major spoilers for things that Odium has done, and stuff like that.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
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Chaos (paraphrased)

Could you tell us a chronology of the Shardworlds thus far? Like, did Warbreaker happen after Mistborn or before, things like that. Personally, I was under the impression you said Mistborn was a sequel to Elantris, but Mi'ch and Josh disagree.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He wasn't positive on where Warbreaker went, but Elantris is first and MB is after it.

West Jordan signing 2012 ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

What time period do [cosmere books] all fit in, do they all fit in time--at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

No, like for instance, Way of Kings and Alloy of Law are pretty close to one another, but Elantris is fairly far before them. So far I’ve written them chronologically basically, except I’ve skipped certain stories, like there’s a series called White Sand which is in the middle there somewhere which will actually be a jump back in time when I end up doing it and some things like that. And Dragonsteel is like way at the beginning which I’ll eventually do, but I’ve done them chronologically so far.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#11 Copy

BeskarKomrk

When you say Scadrial has an earth similar year, are you referring to the time it takes the planet to go around the sun? Or the year as people on the planet would measure it (e.g. Vin is fifteen years old when her brother leaves her)? Are these the same thing?

While I'm here, a selection of related questions for you if you have the time:

  1. Did the length of a year (as measured by the people on the planet) change when Scadrial was moved by The Lord Ruler/Harmony?
  2. I've assumed that lengths of time given in the books use that world's time lengths. For example, the Reod happens ten Selish years before Elantris (which may not correspond exactly to Scadrian years or Earth years), or that the 4500 years between the prelude and the prologue of Way of Kings is in Rosharan years. Is this an accurate assumption?
  3. I've assumed in the past that all the major shardworld planets we've seen have roughly earth similar years. Can you confirm/deny this for any of them specifically? I'm especially interested in Sel and Nalthis. (Specific numbers would be ideal, but even a yes/no for any of the planets would be super super awesome!)

Brandon Sanderson

  1. I mentioned in another post that I'll wait a bit to give you exact numbers, because I want to make sure Peter has run all the right calculations. But yes, changing the orbit had an effect on things--though official calendars didn't need to change, as they'd been used since before the original shift happened anyway. When we talk about 'Years' in the Final Empire, it's original (pre LR) orbit anyway. I knew I was going to go back to them later in the series, and when characters were actually aware of things like the calendar, it would be close to earth standard.

  2. Though, since you mention it, all numbers mentioned in their respective series are in-world numbers. This makes things tricky, as Rosharan years (with the five hundred days) are blatant enough to start the average reader wondering about these things.

  3. Mostly, Roshar is the big one (not in actual deviation--I think a Roshar year is only 1.1 Earth years--but in how the scope and terminology of the novel will make people start to notice and ask questions.) Other planets have deviations from Earth, but it's not as noticeable. We'll give specific numbers eventually. I promise.

Brandon's Blog 2017 ()
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Karen Ahlstrom

I knew I'd have to deal with it sometime, and it finally caught up with me today. My Master Cosmere Timeline spreadsheet has far too many relative dates, and not enough absolutes.

Roshar's date system

The biggest reason I have put it off is that the date system Brandon made up is both supremely logical and at the same time totally crazy. A year has five hundred days, but there's also a thousand-day cycle with different highstorms around the new year. In each year there are ten months of fifty days each. The months are broken into ten five-day weeks. The date indicates what year, month, week of the month, and day of the week it is and looks like this: 1173.8.4.3. It is impossible for me to do the math in my head to decide what the date would be 37 days ago, so I don't use the dates in my reckoning, and only calculate them as an afterthought. This dating system is also a hassle because two weeks in our world is almost three weeks there, and a month there is almost two of ours, and when writing Brandon doesn't even pretend to pay attention to those differences.

Day numbers in The Way of Kings

But then we have to talk about my relative date system. The timeline of The Way of Kings is a mess. The story for Shallan starts more than 100 days earlier than Dalinar's storyline. And Kaladin is roughly 50 days different from that. So for that book I had to pick a day when I knew there was crossover between the viewpoints and work forward and back from there. So a date in The Way of Kings might be marked on my spreadsheet as D 23 or K-57.

Day numbers in Words of Radiance and Oathbringer

For Words of Radiance I started over at day 1 for that book. Those numbers count up until the new year which is day 71. Oathbringer starts just after the new year, so I used the day of the year for my book-specific day number. Of course switching systems at the start of each book made it hard for me to calculate just how many days there were between events in WOR and OB. So I put in another column which indicated a relative number of days counting before and after the arbitrary date of the end of WOR.

Flashback dates

The next problem I dealt with were the line items that say something like "five years ago" for their date. With more than a year of onscreen time from the first chapters of The Way of Kings to the end of Oathbringer, it's really necessary to note that it's five years before what event with a solid date. Once I have a date to assign to it, I also have to decide how exact the date is. When I come back three years from now I will need to know whether this date is firm, or if it would be okay to put it three or four months on either side.

Putting it all together

When Peter found an error in the spreadsheet one day, I decided to match a serial number to each date after the year 1160 (which makes for easy calculating), and make that my absolute day number from here until forever (though I'll probably still make a book relative date, since it's a useful way to talk about things with the rest of the team). To find the Roshar dates from the serial numbers I made another spreadsheet with a vlookup table for the dates and serial numbers, then translated all the dates from the three books into that single new system (finding several more errors as I went).

 

Boskone 54 ()
#14 Copy

BeskarKomrk

What is the rough order of magnitude of years between Vo, the First Returned, and Warbreaker. Like thousands of years?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I believe that it is. I’m going to have to look at my own documents, but you can get a tentative yes that it is a long time.

BeskarKomrk

Was there just nothing interesting happening in that thousands of years?

Brandon Sanderson

No, interesting stuff happens. Thousands? I’m not sure it’s thousands. Let me RAFO that, we’d need to look at the master copy of the timeline to answer questions like this. You’re giving me numbers and I’m like “It’s that number, no it’s that number.” So we’ll just go with the RAFO on this.

Footnote: Reading Hoid in Chapter 32 of Warbreaker it's likely been somewhere in the order of hundreds of years.
Orem signing ()
#15 Copy

Zas

Elantris. Where does it fit in the timeline in reference to Hero of Ages? Since that's what most other things are referenced to.

Brandon Sanderson

Right. Elantris is far earlier.

Zas

Like thousands? Or like hundreds?

Brandon Sanderson

It's quite... It's not thousands.

Boskone 54 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

[The events of the Mistborn trilogy, obviously the … of people hopping worlds] Where does that happen in reference to the events of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

The further we get along, the closer the series are happening together. Stormlight is centuries from Mistborn, but new Mistborn and Stormlight are happening closer together. And the further I go the closer these things will get together in time, because that’s when we have really starting to have people influence one another, and things like that. White Sand, which is actually the first one we’ve released chronologically, is really pretty far back. Elantris and Mistborn, we’re getting closer and closer together.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Peter Ahlstrom

The first three [Stormlight] books are a continuous narrative, but it's now looking like there will be an in-world gap between books 3 and 4, similar to the year that was skipped between each book in the Mistborn trilogy.

Drathus

Even with that, isn't the plan for SA for it to be two related five-book arcs with more of a major gap in between?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yep. Previously I thought that would be the only timeline gap, but Brandon has leaned more toward this new gap while writing Oathbringer.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#18 Copy

Xluxaeternax

Is the chronology through the whole cosmere fairly linear, or are there some Interstellar-relativity timey-wimey stuff at play?

Brandon Sanderson

Relativity is in play for sure, but I am not allowing time travel into the past in the cosmere. So while you might find places that move at slower/faster speeds, and while foreseeing future timelines is in play for sure, nobody will not be pulling serious time travel shenanigans.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

How do the timelines line up? So they're all in the same universe. But how does Stormlight and--

Brandon Sanderson

They are mostly been chronological, yet Alloy-era is after Stormlight book 5.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Otherwise, mostly chronological. White Sand is before most of this happens. So if you ever read that one, it’s a pretty early book.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

Can I ask you real quick: Where Warbreaker falls in Stormlight Achive?

Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker is before Stormlight Archive. Vasher, before Warbreaker, had been to Roshar.

Questioner

Okay, that's what I needed to know. Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood was patterned off of things that Vasher and the others saw on Roshar.

Starsight Release Party ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

I have a bit of a problem with the first Desolation timeline. I'm wondering how old were the Heralds when they became Heralds.

Brandon Sanderson

The age that you would see them as when you met them. They basically are the age they look. When they became Heralds, they are the age that they appeared.

Questioner

So they were like in their younger middle age?

Brandon Sanderson

Some of them. I mean Ishar is older.

Questioner

So that means that the entire timeline of the first Desolation happened within a single lifetime?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of the ancient chronologies are wrong and you won't get the actual answers until the Heralds themselves explain it in their flashback sequences in the back five. 

Questioner

You've said that the Heralds came over from Ashyn. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Okay. How old were they then?

Brandon Sanderson

Younger than they were when they became Heralds.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Goron

You've mentioned before that all your books so far are in chronological order (Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy, Warbreaker, Stormlight Archive). Alloy of Law takes place about 200 years after The Hero of Ages. (Right?) Does this put it chronologically before or after Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law takes place around 300 years after The Hero of Ages and several hundred years before the events in The Way of Kings. That does put it around the same time as Warbreaker.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#27 Copy

Mondoodle

I don't know if someone has already commented on this, but something that's caught my attention after listening to the audiobooks back to back is that there seems to be a commonality of a significant event happening 300 years in the past. Was there a particular event that happened on one planet that has cascaded to others?

Brandon Sanderson

There are events that have happened on one planet, and cascaded through, but don't fixate too much on 300 years. The different books are happening on slightly different timelines, for one thing, so the separate '300 years' notations might not actually line up at the same year, if that makes sense.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#28 Copy

Questioner 1

Timeline-wise will Warbreaker 2 come before Stormlight Archive or is it after?

Brandon Sanderson

Before the end of the Stormlight?

Questioner 1

So Warbreaker 2 would it take place before the start of...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, before. Yeah, Warbreaker 2 chronologically is pre-Stormlight. Before Stormlight 1, yeah.

Questioner 1

Pre-Stormlight. Okay.

Questioner 2

I'm excited for that.

Brandon Sanderson

In fact, chronologically I think it's the exact book before Stormlight 1. I don't think there's anything in between there.

Questioner 1

Will the book say why Nightblood's on [Roshar]...

Brandon Sanderson

It will at least hint at it. I mean the book is called Nightblood. If it doesn't I'll write a bridge novella to kind of do that.

Questioner 1

Bridge the gap?

Brandon Sanderson

Bridge the gap. Because the story-- I'm not sure if I can work in everything. Because the story isn't about Nightblood leaving. It's about-- yeah.

Questioner 1

Yeah, it's not about that. It's just kind of like a... how did that transition happen.

Brandon Sanderson

I mean, yeah. Vasher's cosmere-aware, and so the more you talk to him the more some of this stuff will come out.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a giant timeline somewhere written out all of it?

Brandon Sanderson

I do. Actually, it's in a wiki. I work digitally for most of my stuff. It's one that myself and my assistants use to try and keep everything straight. Actually, Karen, who this book is dedicated to is my-- Her main job is to do the timelines and keep me consistent for every book.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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HorseCannon

I didn't realize Horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

Brandon Sanderson

There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.

ccstat

Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Blightsong

*via private message*

Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen.

Calamity release party ()
#40 Copy

Zas678

Did Vasher visit Roshar before the Recreance? Because he had-- *Brandon mumbles question* Because he had to see Shardblades, and... presumably live ones.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... I'll RAFO that. I'll RAFO that. It is an assumption that he had... He doesn't necessarily have to have seen alive ones. He could have heard records of them.

Zas678

Okay. Because I've tried to make out a timeline, to be like, "Okay, if this is here..."

Brandon Sanderson

Kara has a timeline-- Not Kara-- Karen has a timeline in hand. But I would have to look at it to give you exact dates, but yeah.

Zas678

Okay. So you didn't have to see...

Brandon Sanderson

He did not have to see.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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potterhead42

On Scadrial, humans were created as a result of the deal between Preservation and Ruin. But what about the rest of the humans on the other worlds of the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It's split. Some predate the shattering; others were created. The humans that existed before were always a model, which is why they're so similar to one another.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Questioner

I'm trying to figure out the chronology of the cosmere. The first thing that happened is with Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson

So far they are chronological order except for White Sand. And then the Alloy books are getting out of chronological order, we're jumping back and forth. But the first introduction of each book is chronological order, with the exception of flashbacks and things like that. But the actual main line of each book, chronological except for White Sand and the Alloy books.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

How far ahead in the timeline is Sixth of Dusk?

Brandon Sanderson

Pretty far.

Questioner

Can I have a general--

Brandon Sanderson

Most people that I'm writing about now are dead.

Questioner

Is it up into the third trilogy of Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

It is that era, yes.

Questioner

Sweet! That's what I thought.

Brandon Sanderson

It might be a little bit before that trilogy, but it's that era.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
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Questioner

Did Evi have a miscarriage or stillbirth before Adolin? She is visibly pregnant in one of the flashback chapters set almost a year before Adolin was born.

Brandon Sanderson

I think that she did... or that's just a continuity error, I don't know whichone  it is. That's a question for Karen. If it's a continuity error, then maybe you found a continuity error and a solution to the same continuity error for us. I'll be completely frank with you guys, the timelines of the flashbacks are really tricky, particularly because I'm writing books like Way of Kings and Words of Radiance without a full continuity team. I just kind of have to keep it in my head. And so when we sat down to run the continuity, particularly starting in Oathbringer, there are a lot of things where it makes Karen's brain break. This is not where a lot of my mental effort went to, planning out each month. I generally knew which things happened in what order and what happened where. The timeline is pretty good and tight now, but there are all sorts of things that I worked into it that I said had to happen. For instance, the dates of births and things like that, that's locked in. I say how old people are. It's totally possible that you caught us on a continuity error.

Adam Horne

But with a solution, so that's a double win.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#45 Copy

Argent

In terms of timeline-- So The Way of Kings and The Stormlight Archive takes place 1173-74 right now, how far ago, approximately, was the Recreance?

Brandon Sanderson

So you-- Let's see-- Heralds leave at what, 4500?

Argent

That's what it says.

Brandon Sanderson

So the Heralds leave at 4500 and we're at 11--

Argent

So we are at 5500 years after--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So Recreance is more recent than late.

Argent

So... In the thousands--

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to have to pull out the timeline.

Argent

But it's not like three hundred years ago.

Brandon Sanderson

It's not like three hundred years ago, but it's also not like 4000 years ago.

Argent

Okay, so from the middle--

Brandon Sanderson

The Hierocracy happened after and the Hierocracy was a couple hundred years ago. It's longer than that even, it's like five or six hundred years ago I think.

Footnote: Argent makes a small math mistake here, Aharietiem ended 4,500 years before the events of the book, not 4,500 years before the start of the calendar the Alethi use.
Starsight Release Party ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

Are all the planets on the same timeline? Is the time the same on all of them? Like a thousand years on Roshar is a thousand years on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

They aren't. The years on Roshar are longer. They're different. So the way they count them is different. Basically, if you took a clock that was set, the time would pass at the same speed on most of them, but the time that it is a year on different ones are different.

Questioner

I was just curious if like Anno Domini was the same for all of them like year 1 is year 1 on...

Brandon Sanderson

Nope. They are not. The calendars are all different. And Roshar for instance, if I say someone is 20 in the Stormlight books, they'd be 22 in Earth years and Scadrial uses a very-close-to-Earth year so they'd be 22 in Scadrian years. I keep them mostly very similar just for the reasons of trying not to be super confusing. 

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

Questioner

How does time work in the Cosmere? Or a better question to ask: are any of the books happening at the same time in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna have to look at the timeline. Most of them do not happen concurrently. Mostly they have been at distinct points. But the closer we get to modern and future era Mistborn world, the more overlap there is between them, just kind of by necessity 'cause they eventually start ramming together. So, the further we get in the Cosmere, the more likely things are overlapping.

So, I don't know that we've had anything actually overlap yet, in fact I'm pretty sure that we haven't, unless you count some of the short fiction might overlap. But even then, I don't think anything big overlaps, but it will start happening soon.

ICon 2019 ()
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Questioner

I want to ask how were the Realms created and does their creation have anything to do with Adonalsium and the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

So, good question. The Realms predate the Shattering of Adonalsium and are part of the fundamental physics of the cosmere. So they would have been created at the equivalent of the cosmere Big Bang when time was created and things like that.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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NotOJebus

As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium

WHAT????!!!

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar predates the Shattering. I've spoken of this before, haven't I?

NotOJebus

Maybe somewhere before, and obviously most planets existed before the shattering (Planets are pretty old) but I don't think you've ever mentioned Roshar (the continent) being specifically grown by Adonalsium.

Is this a normal thing that Adonalsium did or was Roshar special to him in some way?

A quick search reveals that you have mentioned that Roshar was named Roshar before the Shattering but nothing mentioned about it being grown by Adonalsium. It makes sense though, that shape is obviously not natural.

Brandon Sanderson

There are many things that are unique about Roshar, but it wasn't the only world created in this way.

Miscellaneous 2016 ()
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Questioner

Can you put the Cosmere books into [chronological] order?

Brandon Sanderson

Here is the order that I have publicly confirmed. There are obviously other books and stories fitting in there. For those, you’ll just need to RAFO.

  • Elantris
  • The Emperor’s Soul
  • First Mistborn trilogy (The Final Empire)
  • Warbreaker
  • Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
  • The Stormlight Archive
  • Wax and Wayne Era Mistborn (Alloy of Law)
  • Sixth of the Dusk
  • Future Mistborn trilogy