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Warbreaker Annotations ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Life Sense as Part of the Magic

The ability of the Heightenings and Breath to give people an added dose of life sense was part of my attempts to make Awakening, as a magic system, feel more visceral and real. Allomancy is a great magic system, but I wanted a different feel here. In Allomancy, the powers granted are more like superpowers; with Awakening, I wanted something that felt . . . well, closer to what people already do.

Perfect pitch and perfect color recognition are two things that I think resonate this way; the ability to bring inanimate objects to life may seem wildly superpowerish, but I think it's a part of our own superstition and mythology—or at least the superstition and mythology of our past. Life from things inanimate, like spontaneous generation, was long assumed as something real. Witches were often thought to be able to bring sticks or bundles of cloth to life.

I think that there's still a lot of superstition in our modern world regarding how it feels to have someone watching you. We are more aware of our surroundings, sometimes, than we realize. I think we attribute a supernatural connection to some of these things. Who knows? Maybe there is one. I don't know, perhaps I've got a bit of it myself.

Enhancing this and making it part of the magic was a way to get the visceral feel I was looking for. It also plays off the idea that by giving up your Breath, you give up part of your life. The fact that Drabs can't be noticed by life sense allows me to show that they have taken one more step toward being objects themselves.

BioChroma. It turns objects into living things, but turns living things into objects as well.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vivenna's Thoughts on Being a Drab

A lot of what happened to Vivenna—how she saw the world and how she acted—was influenced by being a Drab. As I've said before, the Hallandren aren't right when they say losing your Breath does nothing to you. Most Drabs struggle with depression, and the fact that they're almost always sick doesn't help either.

And so, Vivenna's time on the streets was artificially made more dreary and terrible than it truly was. Being a Drab, being sick, the shock of being betrayed—these things combined to give you the person you saw in the previous two chapters. It's a way to cut a corner. I wanted Vivenna to feel like she'd been on the streets for months, but for it only to have been a few weeks.

She is able to make her hair change colors again. This is a representation of the fact that she has started to pull out of the nightmare. She's slightly in control of her world again, and the roughest time for her has passed. There's also a clue in that hair, one that Vasher mentions. Because of it, and her heritage, and something very mysterious in the past, every member of the royal line has a fraction of a divine Returned Breath in them. That makes it much easier for them to learn to Awaken than a normal person.

A Memory of Light Dayton Signing ()
#3 Copy

NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

If a native of Sel or another Shardworld traveled to Nalthis, would they be a drab?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, they would not be a drab. But, no one would be able to take their Breath.

NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

If such a person died on Nalthis, could they Return?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, they cannot Return.

NutiketAiel (paraphrased)

If such a person received breath, could they use BioChroma?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes

Salt Lake City signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemallurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemallurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and t less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal. Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Halfshard?

Brandon Sanderson

A halfshard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soul stamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soul stamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of investiture going on in a soul stamp.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-One

Vivenna, Sick and Disoriented, Gets Turned Away by the Restaurant Keeper

One of the ways I decided to make Vivenna's sections here work better was by enhancing the fuzziness of her mind. By giving her this sense of numbness, I hope to indicate that something is not right with her.

It's common for someone who suddenly becomes a Drab to get sick almost immediately. For a time, her immune system was magically enhanced and warded, in a way, to keep her from becoming ill. With that removed suddenly, sickness can strike. She hasn't built up immunities to the sicknesses going around, and by becoming a Drab, her immune system suddenly works far worse than that of other people.

These things combined made her come down with something pretty nasty the very day she put away her Breath. This would have killed her, eventually, if she hadn't done something about it. She would have grown so dizzy and confused that she wouldn't have even been able to walk.

By sending men to find her, Denth saved her life.

Anyway, I feel that these scenes work much better now. We can look at Vivenna's time on the streets in the same surreal sense that she does. They happened in the past, in a strange dream state. In that way, they can seem much longer than just two chapters and a couple of weeks.

Firefight release party ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

So I have heard that it is harder to Push a shardblade with Allomancy than it is a normal sword.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that true of both living and dead shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Equally?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, no.

Questioner

Okay, so it's even more difficult to Push one alive.

Brandon Sanderson

The thing-- An Invested object is more difficult with any of the magics. So, for instance, even a Feruchemical metalmind is going to be harder. Depends on how much it is Invested, and things like that. But, y'know, it can range from you barely notice it or don't even notice it to "Wow, that's hard to Push on". Same for a Hemalurgical spike, depending on how much Investiture is left over, how long has it been outside of a body, and things like that. Same thing Pushing on something inside a person's body, their Investiture is going to interfere with it.

Same thing, when you read White Sand, why a person slapping their hand through someone's stream of sand can throw off the entire creation of the sand mastery. It's just-- There's interference patterns, and things like that.

Questioner

And is that true of a Drab as well? Does the body affect--

Brandon Sanderson

The Drab is going to have less.

Questioner

So they just have less Investiture, but they still have some natural Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

They do still have some. They've lost their Breath but that isn't the entirety of the Investiture inside of them.

Almost all of the times we see Vin--in fact I think every time--we see Vin, or someone in the Mistborn books, Pushing or Pulling on an Invested metal they are either drawing on the mist or they're Elend or the Lord Ruler who have the enhanced power, or something like that. Or it's a duralumin Push, or its one of the Inquisitors who's had a spike-- y'know, and things like that, that've-- And so it's not something that you see done very often in the Mistborn books.

Rubix

I can actually confirm that's correct.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh you guys looked it up?

Rubix

I checked.

Brandon Sanderson

I mean it can be done. And depending on Investiture it can be not even that hard to do but--

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

On all the cosmere worlds, it seem as if-- do all the humans have what you call innate Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see...

*thinks*

I believe that they all do. I don't think that you've seen anyone without innate Investiture yet.

Questioner

Because when they don't have Breath anymore, they would get Drabs, and those don't have innate Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

They don't have innate Investiture. And on Scadrial they have the pieces of Ruin and Preservation in them. And they do have it on Roshar.

Questioner

Which Shard is that?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to read and find out. *gives card*

So yes, I don't think you've seen any worlds where they don't.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

Could non-Scadrians use Southern Scadrian medallions, and if so, could Drabs, too?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the amulets? Yes, yes they could.

Questioner

And Drabs, also?

Brandon Sanderson

Could Drabs use one of the amulets and make them work? Yeah, Drabs could. They're missing a little bit of something I'll explain eventually, but they could make those work.