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Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#1 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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#2 Copy

Overlord Jebus

Has Eshonai left for the Beyond?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll canonize this. I'm sorry. 

Overlord Jebus

*sounds of horror and shock* Noooo, nooooo, RAFO it!

Brandon Sanderson

You wanted-- That was a RAFO-bait but, so I never intended that-- If you want to leave this one out there-- But I never intended Timbre to be Eshonai's soul. When people said that in the beta, I'm like, "Oh, I guess you could see that, but I mean that's not how spren work, right?"

Overlord Jebus

I was going to say, so you're saying Timbre is not Eshonai's soul.

Brandon Sanderson

No. I never even thought they would make that connection. Because we saw Timbre in the previous book... I mean, I don't want to kill people's fan theories. But that one kind of blindsided me in the beta. I'm like, "Well I guess we'll go ahead and let people think that but no." No.

You can leave that one off if you want to tease people and things. Some people really want to believe that.

Overlord Jebus

I made a bet that Eshonai was not only still be alive after Words of Radiance, but would also become Radiant. And then the bet was if not I had to eat a shoe.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no!

Overlord Jebus

So I've been trying to get out of it for like--

Brandon Sanderson

Well you could eat a gummy shoe or something like that...

But no, I didn't intend this. No. There are-- Yeah.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Fiechair

Is Eshonai really going to be the flashback character for book 4? Don't you mean Venli?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it is Eshonai. (And has always been planned to be Eshonai.) As the series progressed, I knew I wanted to do some unusual things with the flashbacks to keep them all from repeating the same themes and format. My hope is to craft something that is very interesting in the way that it both informs what Venli is doing in the future, and expands upon who Eshonai was in the past.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

Is there anything about Eshonai *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

So Eshonai is one of these people who's *inaudible*. She's *inaudible*, right? It's that question of what is that-- the driving force in her life. *inaudible* ..."trying to take care of my people." *inaudible* for Eshonai, but yeah. There's something in her, and that is also part of what's drawing a certain spren, as you'll see, in the books.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Were you intending to kill Eshonai off from the beginning of the series, or is that a decision you made later on?

Brandon Sanderson

That was a decision I made later in the outlining process. It was not begun that way, but it became obvious I needed to do it fairly early on. Why?

Questioner

I was just wondering, because as I was reading Way of Kings, a lot of people thought she was going to be a continuing character, maybe even be one of the good guys later on.

Brandon Sanderson

Right. The decision I came to, and it was probably-- Trying to remember exactly when it was. When I came to the decision that Venli was more interesting as a perspective, viewpoint character than her sister was, because we already had characters in the series whose attribute was paragon of their-- This kind of paragon soldier who's trying to do the right thing is well covered in The Stormlight Archive. She was intended originally, but pretty early in the revision process, I decided it needed to go the other direction, 'cause Venli just worked way better as a viewpoint character.

Questioner

Is Eshonai still getting a flashback book?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she's still getting a flashback book. I didn't change any of that. In fact, before I even began the series, I knew there were some characters who would not make it to their flashback book, and I wanted to make sure that I made clear that that could happen.

Questioner

You said that before, I was like, I want to hear it.

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai was intended to continue through, but I changed that pretty quickly, when I realized-- like I said.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#9 Copy

Mrrobot112

Eshonai is flashback character [for Stormlight Four], but she is dead in the present. So...who will be main protagonists in the main timeline? Hope for Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin will be as important as they were in first three books)

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai will still be the flashback character, and Venli will take a larger role to provide counterpart past/present. But, as always, you will find a focus on all five protagonists from this sequence. (I view them as Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Eshonai/Venli, Szeth.)

Mrrobot112

I heard it would be one year time gap (in world) between books 3 and 4, which make me think about structure of the book. Does it mean, something important could happen during this year, and then it will be explained in some form(maybe another set of flashbacks)? If so, it's hard for me to visualize the book structure: main timeline, Eshonai's flashbacks and another set of flashbacks for past year? Seems like a mess. Or it will be like Mistborn era 1 time gaps between each book? Main narrative just continues without getting stuck with one-year break, and nothing important happens off-screen. It will be nice to get some qualification from you, if possible. Cause now I'm a bit confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Right now, I've got it like Mistborn--we're checking back in a year, as I need to give some things time to progress in world. We'll see when I actually write it, though.

Mrrobot112

Thanks! But please, don't do things like Alien 3-movie, if you know what I mean. It's when they did a time gap between two movies and at the beginning of the new movie they told you that your favorite character died during the time gap, deal with it. This is the worst thing ever and a reason I'm always a bit skeptical about time gaps in fiction. Just hate when things like that happen off-screen. Just don't do it with your books, please. At least can you promise you wouldn't? And what do you think about this trope in general?

Brandon Sanderson

I actually want to write an essay about that very trope (I call it the Newt Principle.) You might see it on my website at some point.

Things will happen during the gap, I'm afraid. You might like it, you might not, but I do plan some of the flashbacks in the second half to help cover this time--so you'll see it eventually. If it helps, I'm pretty sure I understand the dangers of the Newt Principle, and how to not fall into that trap.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

Is Eshonai going to be a Radiant? You mentioned in the beginning that there's going to be ten books, ten Radiants - and Eshonai's book is one of them...

Brandon Sanderson

So. In the past, parshmen were - Parshendi were not allowed to become Knights Radiant. However, what I said, might imply that that could change.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

Considering Brandon likes MTG, this is probably something he has thought out haha.

Kaladin strikes me as someone with a very White personality and Blue powers.

Shallan's Blue.

Dalinar's White, but I feel like he was Red before.

Adolin has some Red, some White, and recently some Black I guess.

Lift is Red in personality and I guess Green at powers.

What else can you guys come up with?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... These are not bad, and it's always hard to figure out how to define by this system--honestly, I wouldn't trust my definitions, I'd have to go to MaRo or something.

I'd suspect that Shallan is red/blue instead of mono blue.

Lift is very green, not just in powers, but in personality. She's all about instinct, and doing what occurs to her in the moment.

As OP said, Kaladin is very white/blue. And Dalinar is red who became white. Navani is mono-blue. Szeth is black/white, and Taravangian probably mono-black. Eshonai is probably green.

Sofia signing ()
#13 Copy

dragonssleepinfire

In Words of Radiance--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes?

dragonssleepinfire

After Eshonai bonds the stormspren, she starts hearing this screaming voice in her head.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes?

dragonssleepinfire

Is that her voice?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, um… It is a combination of her voice and something that is happening with Roshar, and at the end of the next book you'll get a big clue.