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Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#1 Copy

Djoic

You previously confirmed Kaladin has a depression. What about other two characters? Does Shallan has split personality disorder? And Dalinar has PTSD?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know that I'd say Shallan has straight up DID--and that is a controversial topic even under the more current terminology. More, Shallan is certainly disassociating herself, but the result is something I consider very individual to her. (Unlike Kaladin's fairly textbook chemical depression.)

Dalinar has had some PTSD, though you'll see more of the traditional symptoms in Kaladin, and is a recovering alcoholic--and a few other things.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Lurcher

In the battle of the Tower, Eshonai is fighting Dalinar, Dalinar removes his helm, and she recognizes him. She acts like she wants to speak with him. Possibly to negotiate. If Kaladin hadn't shown up and saved him, what would have happened?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a chance they would have worked it out. Not a really good one, but there's a chance.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Questioner

When Hoid is talking to Dalinar he seems to expect that Dalinar may have heard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium.  Yes.

Questioner

Why is that?  Why would he think that Dalinar would have knowledge about that?

Brandon Sanderson

He thought that Dalinar was part of some of the secret societies on Roshar, and he had thought his way into thinking Dalinar was part of them and that was how Dalinar was knowing certain things he was knowing.  Which he really wasn't, he was getting from the storms and things like this, but he thought that Gavilar had confided things in Dalinar and that Dalinar would know more about this.  And so he was kind of testing to see, and he was wrong.  

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

Dalinar Ascends, right? Like, right then, there.

Brandon Sanderson

I have RAFO'd that. Whether he is Ascending or not is a RAFO.

Questioner

Okay, because I know he kind of mentions from that, I don't know how to say his name but the older guy who has the Diagram--

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, yeah. Whether that deserves to be a capital "A" or not is a matter of argument. It can be disputed.

Questioner

I guess my main question would just be Dalinar's now able to pull Stormlight and give it to people now.

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely can. That is a Bondsmith power, so.

Questioner

That is a Bondsmith power, okay.

Brandon Sanderson

That is specifically a Bondsmith power.

Questioner

Because my roommate was saying well, the Stormfather was surprised he could do that or was the Stormfather surprised that he was able to bridge--

Brandon Sanderson

He was surprised by what was happening to Dalinar as a whole.

Questioner

Oh okay, that's what I thought because I was like, because I felt like the Stormlight, that power would be a Bondsmith power.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say that the Stormfather and Odium were seeing something in Dalinar that, perhaps, the average person watching even who is knowledgeable about Surges would not completely understand... But he will be able to use that power and Bondsmiths in the past have used that same power.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

Would Dalinar or Kaladin like Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I think they both would have their issues with Kelsier.

Questioner

'Cause he's more of a rogue.

Brandon Sanderson

It would really depend on what situation they were in. But I think Dalinar would not approve of his methods. And I think Kaladin would empathize with him, but at the end would not approve either. To Kaladin he would probably represent the things that Kaladin kind of wishes he would do, but is too moral to do. And that would be a dangerous thing for Kaladin.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner

The quote that Dalinar says at the end [of Oathbringer]. "I am Unity." Is that something that happened specifically because Honor is dead, and, for all these different reasons, that was able to happen? Also Odium said that he had Ascended. He wasn't supposed to Ascend, but he did...

Brandon Sanderson

I am totally RAFOing all that stuff; I knew people were gonna ask about it. You're just gonna have to wait and find out.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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DammyJerry

Does Dalinar know about Adonalsium? Stormfather dropped the term during one of their talks, so did he tell Dalinar the whole story of Shattering and Shards? Also, does he understand what exactly he did when summoned perpendicularity or not? Does he understand what’s going on with him now (that he’s connected with Honor’s remnants)? Does he even know what “Shard” means?

I guess, the question is “How cosmere-aware Dalinar is?”

Brandon Sanderson

As of Oathbringer, Dalinar isn't specifically aware of the larger cosmere story--though he would have numerous "Aha" moments if it were explained to him, as pieces of what he does know would fall into place. The Stormfather isn't particularly interested in the larger story, however, and that's one reason.

Jasnah is a different story...

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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geoffw35

You have Jasnah give such a good argument for the atheist point of view that I thought, well Brandon is probably an atheist (as I am). Then I started watching your writing class videos. Oops! In one of them you say that you feel you can successfully draw an atheist character. I certainly agree. ;-) Jasnah does seem to lack compassion to some degree, but I insist that religion is not necessary for one to be compassionate. You draw characters wonderfully!

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin is agnostic, which most people miss in these discussions, and is the series argument for a compassionate non-believer. Dalinar is a liberal theist, and Navani an orthodox theist.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

When Hoid *inaudible* Shallan in...

Brandon Sanderson

In Jah Keved, when she's back in the flashback?

Questioner

In the flashback.

Brandon Sanderson

In the flashback, yep.

Questioner

In--yes--during that experience...

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner

And at the end of the book, Dalinar has that vision that didn't come from the Stormfather. I was wondering if those are related?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are not related. Good question.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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LoneWarmonger

Can you write me something about Dalinar, who's my favorite character, that'll make me happy?:)

Seriously, I'm very sensitive and Dalinar has to deal with some rough stuff in this book. My heart aches for him constantly, and I need a few words for comfort.:)

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar has indeed dealt with some rough stuff, but most of that comes from the fact that he is willing to turn and face it down--which is sometimes, the only way to deal with it long-term. So while you can let your heart ache for him, also let it be the ache of someone who was willing to pull the thorn from their foot instead of continuing to walk upon it.

And if you want something that might make you happy, in the original version of the book I forced Dalinar to have to kill Elhokar. I backed off from this when I rewrote the book for publication, realizing (I think rightfully) that I didn't need to push him into that, and the story worked better if he could help Elhokar instead of destroy him.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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LerasiumMistborn

Dalinar is my absolute favorite character in any book now. During previous AMA someone asked you about character’s mental health and you wrote that Dalinar has had PTSD, alcoholism and “a few other things”. Can you explain what these “other things” are?

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so with Dalinar, I wouldn't suggest looking for some broad categorization--like, I think there would be an instinct by some people to diagnose him with Antisocial PD during his youth. He certainly has some hallmarks (the lack of empathy, the aggression, and the and willingness to put responsibility for his actions onto someone else.)

But I think more, with Dalinar, it wasn't some grand schema to diagnose--but a lot of little problems, like most of us have, that were unhealthy ways of seeing the world. Some of this relates to his mix of jealousy/devotion related to his brother, both of which emotions were unhealthy at times. But also his bloodlust in combat, which wasn't just the Thrill--but a real enjoyment of fighting, and a willingness to ignore consequences to others for that.

These are still all issues he has, though he's worked through many--but the knowledge that losing control was so bad for him in the past has led him to what I'd call his current biggest challenge, which is the need to be in control at all times. (To the point that he doesn't completely trust others to see something get done, despite what he claims.)

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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JKOustin

I was rereading W&W books recently and noticed something interesting.

In Shadows of Self, when Sazed/Harmony is talking with Wax, he feels warmth.

Wax felt a warmth, a fire, as if the inside of the carriage were heating to incredible temperatures

The voice vanished. The temperature returned to normal. Wax leaned back, sweating, feeling drained.

That makes me think about our favorite Bondsmith who experiences something familiar. Is it a coincidence? No, I don't mean Sazed specifically, but perhaps this happens when Shard (any Shard) tries to communicate with people? In the case of Dalinar it could be Cultivation or another big splinter of Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

This parallelism is intentional, but that's all I will say for now.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
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Questioner

I read online, something about one of your original drafts, [I think it was about] Gavilar, and it was where he was blind?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that was actually Taravangian, in the oldest version. One of the very first things I wrote was that, though Taravangian had a different name then, and was very different. Szeth has stayed the same through all the revisions. Kaladin has changed wildly, and almost everybody has changed dramatically, except Szeth is the same person. Him and Dalinar are the same.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Enasor

1) Will the truth of how Evi really died matter to Dalinar's sons? In other words, is it reasonable to expect Adolin, most notably, will react negatively given he believes his father would have never burned the Rift?

2) Dalinar claims he could forgive Adolin for not being the man he thought he was. Is it reasonable to expect this is easier said than done?

Brandon Sanderson

1) It would be reasonable to expect that many people (Adolin foremost among them) will react negatively to the truth--which is indeed contained in Dalinar's book.

2) Yes, I would say that's a reasonable expectation as well.

Enasor

Thank you for the answer, I much appreciate it. Can I ask if it is reasonable to expect some ramifications with respect to those elements within the next book or if this won't be on topic?

Brandon Sanderson

We're getting into RAFO territory, I'm afraid.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
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Questioner

What was Szeth's reasoning for following Dalinar? From what saw he's only met Dalinar once or twice and wasn't aware he is a Bondsmith.

Brandon Sanderson

It wasn't about being a Bondsmith. It was partially about how everyone reacted to Dalinar and partially... Let's see if I can explain this. 

Questioner

Was it, like, 'cause in--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, part of it was that. Definitely part of it was what he had seen and things like this. Part of it was how everyone, like-- he knew about Dalinar, right? He had fought Kaladin a couple of times. My own justification for it when I was writing this, 'cause I actually did think about this one, like, Dalinar has a magnetism to him. And Dalinar has a reputation. And Dalinar lived up to the reputation, and Szeth was just looking for something-- The reputation was in some ways more important than the man. For instance, there's a chance in that same situation that Szeth would have followed Amaram. Right? Fortunately he made a better choice than that but-- Anyway.

Questioner

You're thinking about a similar feeling of the honor because obviously Dalinar is really honorable toward the end and then he's got the same, Szeth's got the same--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Yes, but at the same time that gives a little bit too much credit to Szeth, to be perfectly honest.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

I need to ask, Dalinar lost his wife's name. I was talking about it with Klaudia yesterday and I need to ask, is it punishment or it's-- was it his wish?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

DrogaKrolow

When will it be revealed?

Brandon Sanderson

It will be revealed in Oathbringer. You will get flashbacks of Dalinar going, you actually see him visit the Nightwatcher.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
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Questioner

Who is the greatest warrior in the cosmere? I think it's Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, define "warrior" versus "soldier" versus--

Questioner

Who could win at an all-out fight? Even with powers taken away, I think he could still take on a lot of the other warriors.

Brandon Sanderson

A question. Are they on a battlefield? 'Cause Kelsier just murders him in his sleep.

Questioner

Battlefield.

Brandon Sanderson

The actual soldier, battlefield, is probably Kaladin. Problem is, you could put Dalinar in his prime. And they're both pretty good. But, Kaladin is a true soldier.

Orem Signing ()
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JoyBlu's Friend

Many of my questions have to do with the Dalinar-Adolin relationship because I love families and I find this particular relationship very strained. I wish to know stuff like what Dalinar really feels for Adolin, as I find he treats him more like a tool than a son. Or whether or not we've seen the end of the Adolin murdered Sadeas narrative arc, as no character really had the time to react to it yet.

Brandon Sanderson

You have not seen the end of that arc. Dalinar loves his son but has trouble treating anyone as anything other than tools.

JoyBlu's Friend

What are Brandon's thoughts on the relationship? I'd also die to hear Brandon speak about what to expect for Adolin within book 4 in terms of length, scope—

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! RAFO!

JoyBlu's Friend

—as I just wished to give Brandon comment on the fact that some readers were disappointed with the outcome of this narrative arc.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, RAFO.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

Are there historical figures that were inspirations for Elhokar?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar is based very slightly on Subutai, the great Mongol general. Elhokar, no one specific. I thought of him when I was a kid, when I was, like, fourteen, I wanted to do a story about a weak king and his uncle who's a really strong figure, and that interplay, and that's where he came from.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Would Dalinar make it so they couldn't retreat to make it more a challenge or would he just--

Brandon Sanderson

He will follow good tactics when it's time for good tactics. He won't lose a battle because he wants a better challenge. In an individual sense he will seek the best challenge for himself on the battlefield.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Axartsme

I was just listening to Darn Carlin's Hardcore History podcast and Dan Carlin was talking about Genghis Khan's habit of seeing the potential in anyone, even an enemy. He was specifically going over the story of Jebe, a soldier who shot Genghis Khan in the neck and was recruited by the Khan because of his skill. This, at least to me, bears a striking resemblance to the final scene in the first flashback of [Oathbringer]. [Brandon] can you confirm or deny my suspicions that this scene was directly inspired by the real life event?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, that's where it came from! I read a history of Genghis a number of years back, and loved this story, which was included there (though said to be just a legend.) Since I based old-school Dalinar on Subutai, a Mongolian general, I thought that this would be a perfect inclusion.

The origins of the Mongolian-Dalinar link, by the way, can be traced back to a friend of mine, Bat-ultzi, a Mongolian who went about always claiming to be "The Great descendant of the Great Genghis Khan." He'd throw his shoes at people if they offended him. He was such a character that I got very interested in Mongolian practices and history.

More tidbits. Rock and his culture started Mongolian long, long ago. (98-99 era, when I first wrote him.) As Roshar in general (and the Alethi in specific) became more Asian in look and less Semitic (though they are still a mash-up) I decided to push Rock's people in the direction of a human/parsh hybrid strain. This also was part of moving Rock himself from Yolen to Roshar, following after Dalinar and some other characters, who came earlier during the original Dragonsteel / Stormlight split in the early 2000s.

These changes drove the Horneaters away from Mongolian influences, though I can't say specifically where the Polynesian/Russian mashup came from. I liked how it read, and felt the linguistics supported the accent. These changes, of course, had a domino effect that resulted in the Veden people gaining their occasional red hair and fair skin from Horneater relation, which means Shallan is part parshman--though the relation is distant at this point.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Arcanist

According to [Sanderson's Second Law of Magic] your characters have flaws, weaknesses. What is the reason, that in a lot of them (Vin, Elend, Kaladin, Dalinar, Spook, etc) the most significant weakness is the lack of self-confidence?

Brandon Sanderson

It's because of mode-shifting. The people you noted have been doing one thing for a long time, and are now forced into something else. The self confidence is a side effect of that. However, I wouldn't say it's the primary character attribute for any of them, however. I think you're blanketing self confidence as a larger issue, when it's the smaller part of something larger for each character.

Vin: Trusting Others

Elend: Idealism

Dalinar: Conflict between the killer he was and the man he wishes to be.

Spook: Self Worth

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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dvoraen

When Dalinar teleports away from Vedenar back to Urithiru, the Thrill immediately comes to him even though he just went a very large distance away. Was this due to Odium talking to him directly at that point, or did Odium move Nergaoul there to maintain the effect of the Thrill, or was Dalinar already Connected to/consumed by Nergaoul and the distance effectively didn't matter because Spiritual Realm Things(tm)?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar's feelings are not always the Thrill. A part of him legitimately feels these emotions--and there are other things happening as well. (Either way, Odium did not move Negaoul in that scene.)

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Arcanist

As Dalinar gave his Shardblade to Highprince Sadeas, was his motivation only to free the Brigdemen as "Thank you" for the help? Or did he already plan to build a team from soldiers who are loyal only to him?

Brandon Sanderson

He certainly saw the side benefits. However, his primary motive was to make a statement. Not just as a thank you, but as a way of proclaiming to all of the Alethi "What we have been doing is wrong. This wealth is not worth the lives of men."

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

If Kaladin and Dalinar were Magic cards, what color do you think they’d be?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar now is mono-White. He was mono-Red in his youth, inching toward Black-Red, but I would just call him mono-Red in his youth. Kaladin I would probably call Blue-White in Magic terms because they like things that fly and that have to do with the wind. So he would get the elemental Blue and personality White. Maybe a tinge of Red, but probably-- I would make a Blue-White Kaladin.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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gauzemajig

Do you think you'll ever go outside of the established raunchiness of your books? I don't mean a murder sex party, but you know, straying a bit into the dark and gritty. It's just my opinion but I feel like you play it a little safe. Not necessarily a bad thing though!

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think I've crossed the line where I'm personally comfortable doing, but I think I'm close. Usually, I give a few characters (like Wayne) the ability to go further than others, as an acknowledgement that there are good people out there who don't happen to have my same prudish nature.

I think the thing you'll see that is the closest is when (and if) I write the Threnody novel.

For everything else, you'll have to settle for knowing that one of my quirks as a writer is that I do indeed play it a little safe--and probably will always do so. I'm very aware that my children, nieces, and nephews read my books. Beyond that, I feel that I'm an intentional and specific contrast to other writers in the genre--I consider it my duty to prove that (like many of the classic movies) you can write something that is for adults, and has depth, without delving into grittiness.

This is not a disparagement of people like Joe Abercrombie, who I think is an excellent writer, or others like him--and I'm glad we have them in the field. However, my own path goes a different direction, and I think it's important that I also publish, proving to those who perhaps wish to be more circumspect in these areas that there is a place for them in the genre too.

Xluxaeternax

Does that mean that you recognize that the stories that take place on Threnody, a world of your creation, are stories that you are uncomfortable exploring because they are too harsh or intense? If that's the case I find that absolutely fascinating and very impressive- it's almost as if the cosmere is a real place with real people and you're just communicating their stories to us. I personally would rather you never told those stories instead of forcing them to be something that is untrue to what you created them to be.

Brandon Sanderson

A writer must be willing to do uncomfortable things; I fully believe that. Stories like Snapshot (my most recent novella) have done this before, and if I write the Threnody novel, I intend to do it well. (But also be very clear to audiences that it's darker than other cosmere books.)

It's not about intensity--I feel other books are intense. Or even about violence or darkness. It's about how far the narrative needs to delve into these things, or the relationship of light and hope to the darkness.

Dalinar's backstory in Stormlight is uncomfortably dark, and I won't pull punches from it. But it's balanced by the man he has become. In Threnody, some of the stories don't have that balance.