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General Reddit 2015 ()
#3 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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#4 Copy

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 Edinburgh signing ()
#5 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.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#7 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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#8 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

There has been evidence that Dalinar was able to heal with Stormlight (unintentionally) even before he said his oaths. How is this possible, and if Dalinar was able to do it, why does he have all these crazy scars? We know that Stormlight healing doesn't leave scars.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#9 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 ()
#11 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... you phrased [that] very well.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#13 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 ()
#14 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."

JordanCon 2016 ()
#16 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.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#17 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/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#18 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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#19 Copy

LerasiumMistborn

Why is Dalinar so hard on himself? He values his intellectual capacities very low (Well, he constantly thinks he's dumb) and so on. Considering how wise and humane he really is, I'll admit, it's sad that he sees himself in such a negative light.

Brandon Sanderson

This is a tough one to answer. Why are people hard on themselves? It's something a lot of us tend to do, and doesn't correlate with how much we deserve it. That doesn't stop it from happening, though, even when pointed out.

Skype Q&A ()
#20 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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#21 Copy

Ray745

So once upon a time Brandon was going to write Szeth as the flashback character for book three, but then Brandon changed his mind, decided to write Dalinar's flashback chapters to see how that would go, and then after writing them made book 3 Dalinar's book instead. Here is a quote from the first Stormlight Book 3 Update post Brandon made in this subreddit

As someone else has posted, I have finished the rough draft of Dalinar's flashbacks for Stormlight Three. I consider the experiment of writing his flashbacks for this book, instead of waiting for book five, to be a success. Therefore, I'm proceeding with the Dalinar/Szeth flip.

The reasoning for this is something I can't discuss in detail until the book is released. I'd be happy to revisit this topic once you all have a chance to read the novel.

Now that the book has been out for 6 months or so, I'd love to hear Brandon discuss the reasoning behind this. Personally, I have a very tough time imagining how this book would have played out if Szeth had been the flashback character. Clearly we wouldn't have had to Dalinar/Odium confrontation if we didn't have Dalinar's flashbacks, as those were integral to the overall storyline. I'd love to hear what the plot of this book was originally supposed to be when Szeth was going to have the flashbacks. Does anyone know the answers to this, or am I going to have to hope Brandon sees this post and decides to answer more than a RAFO? :)

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. This is going to be difficult to answer without straying into spoilers for books four and five. It's also hard to say how the books would have played out if I'd swapped these back.

The Dalinar/Odium confrontation would still have happened, as that was something I'd been planning for a while. But how would things have played out? Hard to say, as an outline is only a rough guide--even for someone like me. It's when you get to the nitty gritty of the story that things come together.

Having finished the book, it's hard for me to imagine going another direction--as I made the decisions I did because I felt they were the ones that were right for the story. And a lot has changed over the years as I've worked on the details. (Kaladin's arc from book two, for example, was originally plotted for book three--parallel to Szeth and his flashbacks, which share some similarities.)

Dalinar's flashbacks would work very well for book five for reasons I can't explain yet--but it became clear to me that I needed them for this book, despite the outline looking at the Szeth/Kaladin dynamic. (Which was upended anyway when I moved Kaladin's second character arc to book two.)

So...that's a whole lot of not saying much, I'm afraid. I can answer a lot more once book five is out.

sv15249

Does it mean that we shouldn't expect any explanations or clues about what happened with Dalinar at the end of Oathbringer before book 5?

Ask just to know if we'll know more in book 4 or we'll have to wait a bit longer.To avoid false expectations:)

Brandon Sanderson

There will be explanations and clues, but I would anticipate more Dalinar in book 5 than in book 4.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#22 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.

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

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 Seattle signing ()
#24 Copy

AmbitionsAvatar [PENDING REVIEW]

Why didn't we get to see Dalinar meet Gallant in Oathbringer in the flashbacks?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I planned that for a different flashback. I intentionally didn't put that one in, because it didn't fit the rest of the narrative that I was telling. But I will do that eventually.

AmbitionsAvatar [PENDING REVIEW]

Is it after he arrives at the Shattered Plains?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will RAFO that for now, because I'd have to go look exactly at the timeline where I'm slipping it in.

AmbitionsAvatar [PENDING REVIEW]

But it's around that time?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, it's more recent than most of the things that you're reading about. Let's say, the person that Dalinar has been through most of his life would not end up with him. I will get into it. I realize that that was a hole that is not in the story, and it's an intentional one. But I eventually worked in the flashbacks with Kaladin in the last book, I found a little extra place for them. I'll try to find some of those for Dalinar.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner 1

Is Dalinar clean-shaven or does he wear a beard?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the day, and the time. Dalinar is clean-shaven through most of the books you have seen.

Questioner 1

That's what I thought but he thought not.

Questioner 2

The audiobook reader just gives me an impression of a wizened person with a well-kept beard.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see if I've got... if I've got enough internet...

Questioner 2

I get the impression that Sadeas has a creepy mustache from the audiobook as well.

Brandon Sanderson

Beards are not in fashion in Alethkar right now.

Questioner 1

Which is why Kaladin shaves it off.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see, Way of Kings, I've got the artwork I used as-- *shows secret canon drawing* So there is the concept art we used for Dalinar.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#30 Copy

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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#31 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 ()
#34 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.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#36 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 ()
#37 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 ()
#39 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#43 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.