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Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

It must be very difficult to write Dalinar, since it's--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah he's a very different person, it's kind of brutal to write him now. But it works, it's a good counterpoint.

Questioner

*inaudible* Shallan and Kal are both younger, so you have less to write about than Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah the flashbacks cross about 20, 30 years with Dalinar so it is a challenge. But you get to see a lot of sweeping changes in his personality which is really fun.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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 ()
#4 Copy

LoneWarmonger

If you take Bondsmith Honorblade, will you be able repeat Dalinar's Perpendicularity trick, or it is something special only Dalinar can do for a different reason?

When Dalinar repairs temple does he use Bondsmith power or...something else? If first, which Surge does he use?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

LoneWarmonger

I expected to get RAFO...But is Oathbringer a Bondsmith book or Skybreaker book? I know it was supposed to be Szeth/Skybreaker, but changed to Dalinar/Bondsmith. And still we learnt more about Skybreakers than Dalinar and his strange abilities. Will book 5 have more of Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Books 5 will have a lot of Dalinar. Once it is out, you'll be able to see why it could have been a Bondsmith book--but I think it's better this way, with Book 3 being the Bondsmith book.

LoneWarmonger

Thank you, Mr Sanderson, I'm pleased with the choice, but I guess, I just wanted to learn more about Dalinar's powers in his book, he's my favorite character. Even after HIS book, his abilities are a mystery. But I'm exited to hear I'll get more in the future. Please, don't keep Dalinar on the background, he's the best.

Brandon Sanderson

Note that book four may see less of him, as he steps back a little (like each of the characters will for a book or two here and there) but book five has him as a focus again.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#8 Copy

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.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#9 Copy

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.  

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I started writing my first novel when I was fifteen years old. I didn’t have a computer; I had an old, electric typewriter. It would remember your file on a disc, but it was really just a printer with an attached bare-bones word processor. (It had a tiny LCD screen at the top that could display three lines at a time. You could scroll through and edit bit by bit, then you hit print and it would type out the document.)

The book was terrible. It was essentially a hybrid of Tad Williams and Dragonlance, though at the time I felt it was totally new and original. It did have a wizard who threw fireballs with smiley faces on the front, though, so that’s kind of cool. At its core were two stories. One vital one was the tale of a wise king who was murdered by assassins, forcing his younger brother to take up the mantle and lead the kingdom while trying to find/protect the king’s son and rightful heir. The other was about a young man named Rick, originally blamed for the murder.

I still have some of these pages. (Not the entire book, unfortunately.) I used to hide them behind a picture on the wall of my room so that nobody would find them. I was so anxious about letting people read my writing, and was—for some reason—paranoid my family would find the pages and read them, then make fun of them.

Over the years, many ideas proliferated and matured in my mind. I began writing books in earnest (I never finished that one I started as a teenager.) I grew as a writer, and discovered how to make my works less derivative. Most of my ideas from my teenage self died out, and rightly so. Others evolved. My maturing sensibilities as both a reader and a writer changed how I saw the world, and some stories stood the test of both time and internal criticism, becoming stronger for the conflict.

Rick became Jerick, hero of the book now known as Dragonsteel. (It was my honor’s thesis in college, and will someday be rewritten and published. For now, the only copy available is through interlibrary loan, though it appears to have vanished.) Jared, the man who lost his brother and had to lead in his stead, protecting his nephew, slowly evolved into a man named Dalinar, one of the primary protagonists of The Way of Kings. Some of you may be curious to know that the character many now call Hoid also appeared in that ancient book of mine.

These two epics—Dragonsteel and The Way of Kings—have shaped a lot of my passions and writing goals over the last two decades. For example, in my last year of college I took an introductory illustration class to try my hand at drawing. My final project was a portfolio piece of sketches of plants and animals from Roshar, as even then I was hoping to someday be able to publish The Way of Kings with copious in-world illustrations of Roshar and its life. (At that time, I was planning to have an illustrated appendix, though I eventually decided to spread the pages through the book.) Fortunately, I was able to hire artists to do the work in this book instead of forcing you to look at what I came up with . . .

Well, finally—after two decades of writing—Tor has given me the chance to share The Way of Kings with you. They’ve taken a risk on this book. At every juncture, they agreed to do as I asked, often choosing the more expensive option as it was a better artistic decision. Michael Whelan on the cover. 400K words in length. Almost thirty full page interior illustrations. High-end printing processes in order to make the interior art look crisp and beautiful. A piece of in-world writing on the back cover, rather than a long list of marketing blurbs. Interludes inside the book that added to the length, and printing costs, but which fleshed out the world and the story in ways I’d always dreamed of doing.

This is a massive book. That seems fitting, as it has been two decades in the making for me. Writing this essay, I find myself feeling oddly relieved. Yes, part of me is nervous—more nervous for this book than I have been for any book save The Gathering Storm. But a greater part of me is satisfied.

I finally got it published. Whatever else happens, whatever else comes, I managed to tell this story. The Way of Kings isn’t hidden behind the painting in my room any longer.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

We were talking that it's kind of a shame that Dalinar doesn't have his own "real" spren. I think it's an upgrade, is there a way I should think of this? Is it a cool thing or a bad thing?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a very cool thing, but it's also a very dangerous thing.

Questioner

Well [the Stormfather] controls the highstorms ... follow-up question: if he dies, does that affect the spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Dying, as long as the oaths are not broken, does not affect the spren in a very terrible way. There are effects.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Battlefield.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#16 Copy

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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#17 Copy

Stromeng

In Oathbringer Cultivation calls Dalinar Son of Honor and Son of Odium. Why? Does he Connected to both Shards and technically can be a Vessel for Odium.

Also, why Cultivation says it'd be good for her to have a part of Dalinar inside of her? Is it important?

Brandon Sanderson

This is partially RAFO territory, but let's just say that Cultivation takes the long view on someone--and to her, Dalinar represents both the the best and worst of both Honor and Odium.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a favorite character that you've created or one that you've tended to favor over another?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have a favorite character? No, that's again, you know, the thing. I will say Dalinar is my oldest character, followed by Hoid. Those two have been around since I was 15 and so, there is some favoritism for them, perhaps, just in longevity sense.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Are there historical figures that were inspirations for Elhokar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#25 Copy

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.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

The visions Dalinar gets in WoK always struck me as odd - you don't just look at the past, you are able to act within this experience. Now we know that Gavilar was also on the way to being a Bondsmith - was he acting in a different way? Were the visions only basically the same but different in the end depending on the personal reactions? Is this something like a test?

Brandon Sanderson

He did see the same visions. They were the same thing. But... I will say that his reaction to them were very different from Dalinar's reactions to them. Anyway it was difficult for the Stormfather without a bond to determine/to tell the difference between very easily. When Spren are bonded, they gain a lot more ability to understand the world around then, so you'll find out soon more stuff about this in the third book.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

This is purely hypothetical, but if Dalinar was to become the Vessel for multiple Shards, would he have had more difficulty with Preservation separately if Harmony was involved? Because that's the only of the Shards I can't see him holding onto particularly well.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Hmm. I can say yes on that. I think that's a good theory.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#30 Copy

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.

Tor.com The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview ()
#35 Copy

thanners

Dalinar can't hear his wife's name (or at least it seems to be magically censored to him, anyway), nor can he recall anything about her. But what happens if another woman with the same name is mentioned. Can he not hear her name? Or will he instead be unable to retain the fact that that name is the same as his wife's name?

Brandon Sanderson

It would be more the second.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#38 Copy

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.

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

Questioner

Zahel calls Renarin--he says to Renarin-- I'm sorry, about Renarin... *brief interruption*

Brandon Sanderson

So, keep going.

Questioner

He calls him "the son of the most powerful human on this..." And I was wondering, the word "human", is that referring to Dalinar or is it referring to maybe Dalinar *inaudible/interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! It is referring to Dalinar.

Questioner

It is!? So how would you finish that sentence? "The most powerful human on this..."

Brandon Sanderson

"Planet."

Skype Q&A ()
#42 Copy

Lerasium Mistborn [PENDING REVIEW]

Will we know why Dalinar has a "warm feeling" sometimes? More specifically, in Oathbringer Hoid calls (covertly) Adonalsium's Power a "God's Light". Is it the same Light Dalinar senses?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

RAFO

JordanCon 2016 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

Is the reason Dalinar rejects the Thrill because he has a connection to Honor through his visions from the Stormfather?

Brandon Sanderson

…Is the reason that Dalinar rejects the Thrill because he has a connection to the Stormfather through his visions?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The answer is yes, this is parti-- this is in play. Though you could say the two of them have a si-- The reason he has a connection to the Stormfather also influences the reason that he rejects the Thrill, so it may be more correlation than causation, but there's at least a little causation as well.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#44 Copy

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.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
#45 Copy

Hoidonalsium [PENDING REVIEW]

In that one long rejection of Odium, how many Oaths did Dalinar swear before merging the Realms? And is "I am Unity" the fifth.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, that is not an Oath. He swore one ideal in that experience.

Hoidonalsium [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay. How many Oaths is he on?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The number you think. So, he should have just finished three, right? Or maybe four. I'll have to go look. It's the number that you think it is. I'm not being sneaky on you. There's nothing sneaky there. He doesn't get armor, so I can't remember where he is... He should be at three. "Life before death." "I will unite instead of divide." "I will stand up each time I fall." Yeah, so he's done three.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#46 Copy

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#47 Copy

Thadamin

Will we be finding out what dalinars Wife's name was or has her name been similarly wiped from the flashbacks like Dalinar's mind?

Brandon Sanderson

I feel I should RAFO questions about the flashbacks, except to say that I wouldn't jump into them without understanding what readers want to see--and either fulfilling that, or subverting it in the name of the story. (The latter happening very rarely.)

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#48 Copy

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.

Skype Q&A ()
#49 Copy

Jofwu [PENDING REVIEW]

Continuity question:

Just prior to meeting with the Nightwatcher 5.5 years ago, Dalinar wakes up at the end of a highstorm and seems to have experienced a vision from Stormfather. But in The Way of Kings, Dalinar says that the visions only began "a few months ago." He also seems to have specific memory of the "first" even if he can't recall all of the details, and it seems unlikely he would have visions for several years without anyone having noticed.

So, should we assume that (1) this strange "dream" in Oathbringer was not actually a one of Honor's visions? Is that just a weird dream, or perhaps some OTHER vision from Stormfather?

Or, (2) this is one of Honor's visions and any contradictory details from The Way of Kings are superseded by Oathbringer?

Or, (3) this is one of Honor's visions, and Dalinar just doesn't remember his history of the visions very well.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, I did this quite intentionally, it's not number two. But I expected these questions to be asked, and it's a RAFO, but it's one of these RAFOs where I wrote it very deliberately the way I did on purpose, and I'm going to leave it to your speculation as to what it means.