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BookCon 2018 ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite magic system you've read?

Brandon Sanderson

That I've read? I really like Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books. Probably the best magic system is either Brian McClellan's, I really love Patrick Rothfuss'. Probably the best three are those, as far as magic systems.

Sasquan 2015 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Which of the roles Hoid has played is your favorite? And will we be seeing him in Dalinar's flashbacks?

Brandon Sanderson

So which of the roles played by Hoid is my favorite. I would probably say Dust from Warbreaker. I just like-- That's the most true storyteller he's been, kind of based on oral storytelling tradition and things like that.

I can't tell you.  You'll have to read and find out whether you'll find him in Dalinar's flashbacks or not.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vivenna Finds an Alley to Sleep In

One of the big stories I'm worried about channeling here is Les Misérables. It's one of my favorite stories of all time, so sometimes it's difficult not to find myself drawing upon Hugo's story and characters. That constant fight to keep myself from leaning too much on what has come before went into overdrive in these chapters.

In the end, however, I think that Vivenna's scenes belong here and accent the story. So yes, if you noticed them, there are some echoes of Fantine in these sections—Vivenna selling her hair and noticing the prostitutes most prominent among them. These two items, most of all, I considered cutting. But in the end, I decided that if there was anyone I was proud to have influencing my writing, it was Hugo, and I left the references. Partially as an homage, I guess—though that's always the excuse of someone who ends up echoing a great story of the past.

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

Questioner

Who is your favorite character you've written, if you had to pick one?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a hard question, I can't pick a favorite character. Dalinar is what I normally say, just because I've been working on him the longest. Honestly, I don't know. It's whoever I'm working on at the time.

Questioner

Dalinar is a good character, I like Kaladin a lot too.

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin has really worked out well. It's interesting because Kaladin-- the first time I wrote The Way of Kings, in 2002-- did not work and I had to rip him out and try a completely different personality and things for him. So it's cool to see it finally working.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

What are your favorite books?

Brandon Sanderson

Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly--it got me into reading. Les Misérables--my favorite classic. And then book four of The Wheel of Time. *inaudible*

Questioner

Really? Book four?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, book four. Rand going to the pillar in Rhuidean? It's my favorite. Have you read those?

Questioner

No.

Brandon Sanderson

No, okay. It was one of the experiences I loved growing up. And I still love it, despite the fact that I *inaudible*.

Questioner

Yeah, that's got to be pretty awesome you got to finish it. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh man, it was awesome. I didn't know them. They just called-- his wife called me on the phone and asked if I could do it. Just out of the blue. No application or anything. "I like your books. Will you to finish this."

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#8 Copy

TaurusRW

Which is your favorite Pratchett novel and why?

Brandon Sanderson

The Truth is my favorite. As a writer, and one who likes to explore the nature of the truth in his works, a novel that deals with someone trying to publish a newspaper in a fantasy world mixed philosophy and laughs in the way only Pratchett can. However, Guards Guards is the book where I suggest people new to Pratchett start. (I suggest avoiding the Colour of Magic as your first experience, even though it's technically the first book in the series. They are all stand alone novels, really, and Guards Guards can be seen as the beginning of the best sub-series within the series.)

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

I would want to know what is your favorite character you've ever written.

Brandon Sanderson

What is the favorite character I've ever written. I actually can't pick one, because they are like my children and picking a favorite child is basically impossible. I don't have one. Robert Jordan, I quote him a lot because I studied his life a lot, he always answered this question by saying "My favorite character is the one I'm working on right now" and I like that answer.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

What's your favorite Wayne one-liner?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably "defecation of character". My favorite Wayne moments are the ones that you could conceivably miss. Like, there's one for the next book where he calls being pressed into the army, "corporal punishment," that I'm just totally over the moon over, that I think people will probably miss, and that's what makes them fun.

BookCon 2018 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

Who is your favorite character in Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmmm, probably Sazed. The truth is, my favorite character changes depending on who I'm writing, and things like that.

Questioner

Okay, I feel better about it now.

Questioner 2

Breeze is my favorite character

Brandon Sanderson

Breeze is a lot of fun.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#12 Copy

carmen22

Which of your books is your favorite?

Brandon Sanderson

Tough call. Right now, Warbreaker is the best written—though The Gathering Storm is better, I think. I think that The Way of Kings will be awesome too. But you didn't ask for the best, you asked for my favorite. In that case, I'd probably have to say Elantris, as it was my first.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#13 Copy

DrogaKrolow

As we know you're a human typewriter. You can release books faster than we can read it.

Brandon Sanderson

Now you say that but I release like a Stormlight book and I start getting fanmail for it the next day. This took me 18 months to write and then you read it in one day so I don't know if I’d agree with that. But go on.

DrogaKrolow

You certainly have some free time for, let's say, reading books. And what books do you like to read? You have some favorite authors? Maybe fantasy genre?

Brandon Sanderson

Terry Pratchett is my favorite writer. But I like to read widely. I like to read a little bit of everything. Usually-- Like people talk about how fast I write; I'm not that fast a writer. I'm just very consistent. I write a little bit every day. And that adds up to a certain amount that I can do every year. But I write for 8 to 10 hours a day and spend four hours or so with my family and then spend two hours goofing off. So, goofing off can include listening to an audiobook while I do other things or reading a book or playing a video game. So I do find time.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

In terms of books that you wish you could have written yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

I read a lot of things for pleasure. I think I need to stay up on what everyone else is doing. As a teen, my favorite writers were Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Barbara Hambly, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, it would probably be. David Eddings too. I grew out of David Eddings, happens when you get into your twenties, but during my teens he was the bomb. Do kids still say that, the bomb? I'll have to figure out what they're saying now. Nowadays I read Pat Rothfuss, I really like Pat, I really really like Naomi Novik's Uprooted, if you guys didn't read that this summer it's a fantastic novel. I like Brent Weeks' work a lot, Brian McClellan's, Nora Jemisin, you guys read NK Jemisin? She writes very literary fantasy; if you're an English major and you like that kind of stuff, which I do, it's amazing. Her most recent one has a character who writes in the second person, and it works. It's the first time I ever read a book where the second person, which is you do this, you do that, it actually works, it works really well. The second person past tense, so you did this, you did-- it's a person telling themselves a story so it actually, it really works. The Fifth Season. So, yeah, I read a lot of stuff.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifteen - Part One

Siri Sees the God King

I think this is my favorite plotline of the book. The Siri/God King one, I mean. It's hard to choose, but this is the one that I felt most interested in. (Though Lightsong's ending chapters are powerful too.)

I wanted the God King to be an enigma, much like Vasher is, at the beginning of the book. Well . . . that's not quite true. Right at the beginning, I wanted him to be scary and dangerous. I wanted the reader to perceive him as Siri did.

By now, however, you should be wondering more. Who is he? What are his motives? Is he angry with her or not?

The driving force behind this, actually, is the Lord Ruler. In Mistborn, a part of me always felt that he was just a little too stereotypical an evil emperor. True, I worked hard to round him out, particularly through the later books. But writing him made me want to take an evil emperor archetype in a very different direction.

I've spoken on the reversals in this book. Well, one thing I realized after the fact is that the novel is—in a lot of ways—about reversals of my own writing. Things I've done before, but taken the opposite direction. Almost like I need to react against myself and explore things in new ways, particularly in cases where (like the Lord Ruler) I did things that were more conventional to the genre.

I think that's why this book has so much resonance with my previous books. Or maybe it doesn't really, and I'm just seeing something that doesn't exist. A lot of my ideas in writing, however, come from seeing something done in a movie or a book (or even in one of my own books) and wondering if I could take it a new and different direction. I hope that doesn't make me feel like I'm repeating myself.

MisCon 2018 ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

Who's your favorite planeswalker?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Elspeth. When Elspeth is dressed in armor appropriate for her personality. I have a thing about that. But I really like-- I mean, it's me. I like the questing knight searching for answers who thought she found them and then they turned-- the moral axis was upended. That was a really cool story, to me.

Questioner

Would you ever write any planeswalker stories?

Brandon Sanderson

If I were asked by Wizards of the Coast to write a story, I would probably say yes... I've told them this, as well, that if they asked me to write a story, I would probably say yes.

Questioner

So that's not Secret Project, either.

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Yomen is one of my favorite characters in this book. In fact, I've liked all three main human villains—the Lord Ruler, Zane, and Yomen—from this series. All were intended to present an antagonist who, in some ways, wasn't as expected. You'll see much more of Yomen in the future, of course, but know that Slowswift isn't lying. Yomen is a good man—and a dedicated one. Perhaps too dedicated.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any other [video game] favorites right now?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, favorite video games. The Dark Souls series, I started on Demon Souls when it was actually hard, *laughter* but I like them all. I like the level design, I like that they're not coddling you, things like that. I've always loved the Civilization games, I play those quite extensively. In fact when I was in college I spent many a long night in my friend's room, because I didn't have a computer, playing Civilization, until he was like "Go to bed". Let's see, what else have I liked. I just played Skyrim, I tend to wait on those Bethesda games until they've been out a few years so I can get mods and things like l like. I thought Skyrim was the best of the Elder Scrolls games, I've played them all since Daggerfall-- Never played Arena, I played Daggerfall all the way through, and they fixed a lot of the problems like the leveling was always bad and some of the dungeon designs were so repetitive.  This one they fixed all that and I had a blast with Skyrim.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

[What is your favorite] disorder to write about?"

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if I have a favorite. I have revisited dissociative disorders in multiple different ways because they make for interesting narrative... but it's not the disorder that's interesting to me, it's the person interfacing with the world and the challenges they deal with. And writing about that sort of thing is really interesting to me. I try not to let the disorder define the person, though it is sometimes a little harder, particularly with something like Legion.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#21 Copy

meramipopper

What is a song that you really love that a lot of people who know you would never expect?

Brandon Sanderson

Hm. Most people don't expect me to be enjoy Metallica as much as I do--but that tended to be more in the past, when Metallica was considered somewhat edgy before it became classic rock.

Kraków signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

Three books or three authors you'd recommend to any fantasy reader?

Brandon Sanderson

If I were to recommend one, it would probably be the first Mistborn novel.

*laughter*

Translator

Apart from your books.

Brandon Sanderson

Terry Pratchett is probably my favorite writer. I really liked Anne McCarthy work and I think it translates very well to large or different types of audiences. I often give Name of the Wind to people, it's good introduction to fantasy, it's a really solid novel.

But of course there is also Wheel of Time. I genuinely recommend Wheel of Time to people who already love fantasy cause it's a big commitment.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#26 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Assaults Cett's Keep

This is one of my favorite chapters in the book. I only occasionally REALLY let myself go with Allomancy, letting the Mistborn reach for their potential. I don't like violence. And yet, I love the beauty of a good fight.

This is a twisted beauty. Corrupt, fascinating, destructive—yet powerful. I've wanted to write something like this ever since I saw the lobby scene in the Matrix. Not because it was so amazing—which it was—but because I think they handled it wrong. The characters commit this huge slaughter, but we never see the horror of it—only the awesome visuals.

There are repercussions for doing something like what happens in this chapter. Perhaps Zane can slaughter wantonly, but that's only because he's beaten his conscience away repeatedly. Vin will not escape so easily.

Oh, and the guy on the wall—Wells—is a cameo. He is my good friend, Dan Wells. He's not this much of a coward, but he didn't make it into book one, so I figured I'd throw him in here. He'll be back, actually. . . . (Watch for him in Book Three.)

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

Questioner

Which one have you been the most excited to write? Which brought the most joy to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's really... I love them all. I wouldn't write them if I didn't. I'm at a position in my career where I can say "I'm just not writing this book right now," and not do it. I would say that I'm most proud of the Wheel of time because it was so hard. Particularly the last one, I would say I'm most proud of.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#30 Copy

Joshua_Patrao

About your characters, Brandon: Which ones are the most like yourself?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a piece of me in every one of them, but I'm not really like any of them. People who know me well say that Alcatraz's humor reminds them of my humor (which is different from Lightsong's humor or Kelsier's humor, which are different from mine.) Elend in the original Mistborn book represents some of how I've been known to act (bringing books to social events). Shuden in Elantris has a lot of me in him, actually. Raoden has my optimism, Hrathen my logical and thoughtful (and dangerously devious) mind, Vin my pragmatic determination, and Sarene my utter lack of skill with painting or drawing. In the end, I don't know if I can pick one who is most like me. Perhaps you should ask my wife. She'd probably be better at seeing this than I am.

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite male and female characters you've written?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by favorite. A lot of people ask me this question, and my response is often different. Who am I writing at the time, what I am feeling at the time? Lightsong makes me laugh, but Kelsier is conflicted in a more personal, dangerous way—and that appeals to me. Vin is best rounded, but Sazed is (perhaps) closest to my heart.

Joshua_Patrao

Your favorite male/female characters of all time?

Brandon Sanderson

Man, I'm bad at answering questions like this. Okay, male is probably Jean Valjean. Female...urg... Moiraine, maybe? Sioned from Dragon Prince is pretty awesome too. Double urg. I don't know. Jenny from Dragonsbane has long been one of my favorites, so maybe I'd pick her.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#31 Copy

Questioner

He would like to know what is your most favorite book that you have written?

Brandon Sanderson

Most favorite book that I have written? I can't choose. Cause they're all like my children, right? I can't tell you who my favorite child is. In the same way, I can't tell you what my favorite book is, that I've written. I can say that I'm probably most proud of, either The Way of Kings or the last of The Wheel of Time. But some books are more fun, right? Some books are more fun. Some books are more satisfying. Some books are more frustrating. The most frustrating book I've ever written was probably the third Mistborn novel. And so, it's different for-- each book has their own *inaudible*. Good question.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#32 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Speaking about other movies, do you have your favorites?

Brandon Sanderson

Favorite films? Picking favorites is always so hard. In recent years I really liked-- I don't know if it's my favorite-- but I really liked Live.Die.Repeat./Edge of Tomorrow.

DrogaKrolow

The book is better.

Brandon Sanderson

The book is better? I really liked that. I really liked Lincoln. I mean, it’s not science-fiction/fantasy but I really liked that-- Classics, Fifth Element, it's like my go-to guilty pleasure space opera, I really like that. I really like the movie Gattaca… You guys ever seen Gattaca? Gattaca is good movie. It's an oldie now but it's great. It's a science-fiction. What else have I really liked? I like Chris Nolan's movies, I like them all.

DrogaKrolow

Inception.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Inception would be my favorite, I think. Though I really like The Prestige also. But on that one the book is legitimately better, also. But Prestige turned out very well.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

What is your favorite relationship between two characters?

Brandon Sanderson

Favorite relationship? Oh boy... Adolin and Kaladin. That was a lot of fun to write, because they're such different people, but they're really good for one another.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

What was your favorite character to write?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite character to write is whoever I'm writing at the moment. I don't usually pick a favorite... I don't have a favorite character... and I don't usually have a favorite book. People ask that a lot. It's like choosing your favorite child.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#37 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Viewpoint; she and OreSeur listen in on Breeze and Clubs.

Vin gives away a valuable secret here. OreSeur, previously to this, hadn't know that she could pierce copperclouds. However, the way that she first tells him that Allrianne is a Rioter, while Clubs is there burning his metal, is too big a clue. He just figured out Vin's secret.

And, by way of reminders, Kliss was the woman that gossiped a lot at the balls, and whom Vin tried to manipulate. Turns out that she was an informant playing Vin the whole time. Shan is Elend's former fiancée, a woman he didn't know was Mistborn, but who tried to assassinate him. Vin managed to kill her in a rather dramatic scene involving arrows, half naked girls, and a big, stained glass rose window crashing to the ground. One of my favorite sequences in the first book.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#38 Copy

TupaczHologram

Who’s your favorite character? As in who would be your favorite if you were reading the novels like the rest of us?

Brandon Sanderson

The first is kind of hard to answer, because my favorite tends to be whoever I'm writing at this exact moment--and I'm not sure I could separate myself from being the writer enough to pick my favorites if I weren't writing.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

Do you have a favorite Smedry Talent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I took a lot of these from things my mom does. Which are things that maybe I do also, like being late to everything, and being bad at dancing. Probably mine is being bad at dancing. But probably my true talent is the ability to use a lot of words to say nothing. *laughter*

BookCon 2018 ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

I feel like you're the kind of person who sneaks little details all over the place. Do you have a favorite that you've ever snuck in somewhere?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah. Most definitely, the first line of The Final Empire. I have never been able to, so far, pull off as long a con as the first line of the first book being the climax of the third book. I do have some other long cons going, but they haven't paid off yet.

Boskone 54 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

Sazed is my absolute favorite character in any book now. I love the way he talks and his passion for religion. I think that’s really really cool. (interrupted)

Brandon Sanderson

How did I come up with Sazed? Is that where you’re going?

Questioner

Yeah, and the religion thing, because you have so many. Did you study religion?

Brandon Sanderson

I do study it. I do a lot of studying religion. It fascinates me. I’m religious, I want to know what people find sacred. The origin of the idea for Sazed was the idea of a missionary for all religions. I can actually point at the moment, though, but it comes from a goofy movie.

Questioner

What goofy movie?

Brandon Sanderson

The goofy movie is the original Mummy with Brendan Fraser. There’s a moment where the dumb guy tries holding up a religious symbol and talking and nothing happens, so he pulls up a different one and he pulls out a different one. That moment actually spawned the, “What if that were serious? What if there was somebody who tried to match a religion to the individual?”. That spun me into Sazed, the whole concept of Sazed. You can trace the origins of this deep and important character to the dopey, evil sidekick in a Brendan Fraser movie.

WorldCon 76 ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

Is there a TV show or a movie that you really like in the fantasy genre?

Brandon Sanderson

My favorite fantasy movie? Uh... probably Willow. No, it's gotta be The Lord of the Rings... Probably the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings. They're just better. But I really liked Willow.

Questioner

I'll check that out.

Brandon Sanderson

It's from the '80s, so... It's still fun.