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Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

I almost have a little bit of trouble understanding the difference between the Lighteyed and the darker...How did you come up with it?

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted to have some kind of racism in the books that was removed from the racism we have in our world, so I could talk about it in a more isolated way related to the books; and so, having it based on eye color made sense because the Voidbringers have these glowing red eyes and the Heralds have these bright eyes. So, this idea of eye color being related to your level of nobility, which is not true, but it entered the culture and became the form of racism and prejudice that they use.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

I've been recently introduced to you as an author, and I heard "lighteyed" and "darkeyed." What is that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, in The Stormlight Archive, their ethnic divisions in one of the cultures is by eye color. It traces back to when there was an ancient magic that eye color was related to, and in the modern culture, if you have lighteyes (like you), that's nobility. If you have Darkeyes (like you), you are not noble, you are... you know. So, instead of dividing by skin color or by nationality, they are much more interested in eye color. But that's only one of the cultures, that's a big important one.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The lighteyes-- Do their eyes actually glow or is it just blue or green?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. It's a very pale blue or green though. You can tell pretty easily looking at them who's lighteyed and who's dark. They don't glow. So--

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It's otherworldly?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Some of them would look-- You would say otherworldly, but not impossibly. You can find people on Earth who have eyes the shade that they are. Not all of them, right? Because some of them are yellows and things like that that we don't have. But if you looked at them and they were here, you might wonder if they were wearing contacts but it wouldn't be unusual to find out they weren't.