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YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Robert W

Does Jasnah still consider herself to be atheist and what would she have to see in order to change her view?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah would stop being atheist if she got definitive proof of an omniscient and caring and omnipotent God. She does not, and I kind of agree with her, consider the Shards to be Gods (capital G). In her realm these are beings that, you know, everything is Invested, they're Invested more. Atheist means she does not believe that there is, in these terms, an omnipotent God. It doesn't necessarily have to mean loving, I might have said that. She means that there is no omnipotent, capital G God. She doesn't think one exists. She would need to have irrefutable proof that they do or that they did and then she would believe. It doesn't mean she would worship, but it does mean she would believe.

FanX 2021 ()
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Questioner

Jasnah was in Shadesmar for kind of a long time, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Did she go somewhere and get other Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

She did not manage to get off world. Good question. She's becoming cosmere aware, but really it's through Hoid. Before, she didn't really have very much awareness of that.

Questioner

How did she survive, like getting stuff to eat and stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

You can get it if you know what you're doing in Shadesmar.

Questioner

She's pretty resourceful, right?

Brandon Sanderson

She's pretty resourceful. Most of the time, you're gonna have to trade for it. There's actually caravans that go through Shadesmar. They almost always stop at Roshar to resupply through the Horneater Peaks. So if you know what you're doing, you could trade for food. They have food in a lot of the waystops and the cities and things like that because humans are coming through, and it's a thing they can trade them.

Questioner

A lot of those canned goods, those coming from Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

If it's canned, it's coming from Scadrial at this point. Taldain probably has the same technology at that point, but Taldain is closed. So the cans are coming from Scadrial.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

Jasnah's name. What was the origin for it?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah's name predates most of the language work that I did. It comes from ancient, kind of Semitic languages-- playing around with those. And then her name became one of the ones that I built the language around. Because after I had named her, and written the whole book, I had named her and Dalinar. Kaladin's name changed once I had rebuilt the linguistics. Shallan's name changed once I rebuilt the linguistics. But Dalinar and Jasnah kind of became the origins. But it's ancient-- you know, a blend of Arabic and Hebrew. It's kind of-- yeah.

Questioner

Because I have an interesting tidbit--

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh

Questioner

"Jasna" in Polish actually means "bright."

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I've been told that! Just-- I went to Poland, like, last-- like a couple of months ago, and they're like, "Did you know this?" I had no idea.

Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
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gabbim

I was just wondering if any of your characters from Cosmere is interested in same-sex relationships, romantically speaking. Jasnah perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson

There are some, but I have left main character relationship issues to be discussed until characters have progressed further in their stories. Jasnah, in particular, is complicated.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
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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.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

Was Ivory watching when Shallan was in Jasnah's bathing chamber and that whole swap thing kind of went down… what did he relay to Jasnah…?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Umm… he would've been there… but I don't have an answer for that, mostly because I haven't considered it.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Are there differences in pronunciation between the different worlds in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Do you have any record of that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it depends on the culture and things like that, what it's going to be like. You can kind of bet in Mistborn it's going to be French, if it's from the Central Dominance. So they'll say "Kelsi-ay" and "De-MOH" but where Elend's from is a lot more Germanic so "EE-lend" "STRAHFF" and stuff like that. The other worlds are all going to have their different things. In Roshar you are going to get some of the "YAS-nah kHo-LIN" it's going to be a little more Semitic in its language family.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

I was re-reading the prologues of WoK and WoR... and it seems like there's something wonky going on with the timelines.

Szeth claims Gavilar left the feast hours before he started doing his work.

Jasnah leaves the feast and finds Gavilar and Tearim. Gavilar mentions he's going to head back into the feast. Jasnah then has an adventure. She sees Ivory(?), speaks with Liss and two strange men, and then, what seems like a very short time later in her PoV hears the results of Szeth starting his job.

There's no way it took her hours to walk down two flights of stairs, briefly "drown", and have two short conversations!

Am I completely off base, or is there something going on here with Jasnah's perception of time?

Brandon Sanderson

It's less that, and more me (as the author) glossing over time passing with quick phrases like "after walking a short time" and the like.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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cinderwild2323

What were you dissatisfied with in WoR?

Brandon Sanderson

It's twofold. Spoilers follow, obviously.

In the original draft, none of the alpha readers felt that I had 'sold' Jasnah dying to them, and were all like, "Ha. Nice try. No body. She's alive.' So I kicked the assassination scene up a notch, until betas were like, "Stormfather! Jasnah just died!"

That was a mistake, I now believe. (Though this didn't get changed, and won't get changed.) Sometimes, I over-emphasize to myself the importance of surprises and twists. The book is fine if readers suspect Jasnah is still alive--actually, I think it's stronger, because it is more satisfying to be right in that situation, and doesn't detract from Szeth's miraculous survival at the end.

I knew this soon after I'd released the book, but decided it was just too extensive a change to try tweaking.

The other one I did tweak. In the battle at the end between Kaladin and Szeth, I'd toyed with letting the storm take Szeth--him essentially committing suicide--as opposed to him spreading his hands and letting Kaladin kill him. I felt that after the oath Kaladin had just sworn, stabbing a docile opponent unwilling to fight back just didn't jive. This I tweaked, changing the paperback from the hardcover, which has produced mixed results.

Most people agree the change is better, but they also say they'd rather not have the hardcover and paperback have different accounts in it, and would rather I just stick to what we put in the hardcover. It was interesting to try, to see what the response would be like, but it seems that the better option all around is to just wait until I'm certain I don't want to revert any of the revisions or tweak anything new.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Mike Potts

Are any secondary The Way of Kings characters likely to become more major in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah, Navani, and Taln all have expanded parts in the series to come. I won't say specifically in which books, but all three of those characters will have larger roles. Several of the members of Bridge Four have larger roles; they will basically remain secondary characters, but may have expanded viewpoints

YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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Questioner

Who bullies whom: Jasnah or Cadsuane?

Brandon Sanderson

I would like to think that Jasnah and Cadsuane would very quickly determine that they should have mutual respect for one another and keep to their own spheres. They would meet, they would turn around, and they would walk the other way from each other and go on bullying other people.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner 1

How was Jasnah able to teleport into the [Cognitive] Realm when she didn't seem to have any Stormlight in her in Words of Radiance?

Brandon Sanderson

She had enough.

Questioner 1

She had enough. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner 1

And is it just teleportation-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say... Jasnah's figured out some things that other's haven't figured out, for one thing. *brief interruption* And, let's say that. But also, there's a little scene from it I wrote from her viewpoint just to know what was happening that's never going in the books. If you Google "Jasnah deleted scene Words of Radiance" you can read it. It talks about how she did what she did.

Questioner 2

Oh good.

Brandon Sanderson

So that is out there. Just-- It was my reference for writing the scene. But-- One of her powers is called Elsecalling, which is basically popping in and out of Shadesmar more easily. It's hard for everyone else to do that.

Questioner 2

My other question is, so when Shallan was on the land she was in the sea in SHadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner 2

Is it exactly opposite?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's mirrored... Um... It's mirrored, yeah.

Questioner 2

So any land is on sea. So she would have actually landed on land on the ocean.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... so... yes...

Questioner 1

She kind of *inaudible*

Questioner 2

Well that's, no for Jasnah that's... *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah yeah, Jasnah... In that scene where you see? She pops out in Shadesmar on the land.

Questioner 2

So, was the scene at the end right as soon as that happened?

Brandon Sanderson

What the-- no, no, no. She spent months trying to get back out.

Questioner 2

Oh, because she doesn't have the power to get back out.

Brandon Sanderson

Much harder to get back out.

Questioner 1

*inaudible* trying to get back out, because she doesn't have any more Stormlight.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. Much harder to get back out than it is to get back in even if you have Stormlight, and she is out of Stormlight, so...

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Mrs. Jofwu

If you had to characterize in a few sentences, as adults, what the relationship was like between Jasnah and Elhokar...

Brandon Sanderson

...As adults. Their relationship is that of a fond-but-unyielding sister and an earnest-but-insecure brother.

Mrs. Jofwu

So they were affectionate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would say they were affectionate. Not as much as, maybe, some other siblings. Like, you can look at Renarin and Adolin and see genuine affection. With Jasnah and Elhokar, it is almost-- there's definitely some affection, but there's almost more of an allegiance. Like, they're both dealing with certain pressures upon them, and their lives were very much consumed by these pressures, and they had that in common. But, I mean,  Jasnah's not a hugger anyway, if that makes sense?

Mrs. Jofwu

There was no jealousy between them?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, there was definitely jealousy on Elhokar's part. Definitely, the insecurity there. But Jasnah, was-- I mean, she was a little bit aware of it, but you know how she is, right?

Mrs. Jofwu

I didn't know if that contributed to why she removed herself from the Shattered Plains.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little bit. I mean, her quest was more important to her than any of that. But, you know. Let my brother not live in as many shadows. Because he had a lot of shadows that he had to live in. And she was one of them, certainly. That would've been a consideration to Jasnah. But if had been right to stay, for her quest, she would have.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner 1

My friend and I always argue. He's like, "Amaram and Jasnah are the same age." Are they really?

Brandon Sanderson

Amaram is a little older, I believe, but they are around the same age.

Questioner 2

Like 24ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, no. Jasnah's like in her mid to late thirties. Mid thirties. I get it mixed up which one's Earth age and which one's Rosharan age. Whatever I say in there, it's about 10 percent more for our age. But yeah, Jasnah's not...

Questioner 2

She's not a spring chicken.

Brandon Sanderson

She's not a spring chicken. 

Questioner 2

But Amaram's older?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. I think Amaram's like a year or two older, but they're around the same age.

YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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Andrew

Had the Stormfather sent visions to Jasnah instead of Dalinar, how would that have changed her?

Brandon Sanderson

That's an excellent question. I think that Jasnah and the Stormfather would not be a terribly great match. But I think her coming to understand a very powerful spren like the Stormfather and seeing all of this, I think it would have really helped Jasnah build her philosophy of life. Because, what's going on in the cosmere, is that the gods are lowercase-g gods, right? And this is a really fascinating thing that I like when fantasy deals with. I'm certainly not the only one. But at what point do you worship a being who is pretty flawed, but super powerful and able to help you in your life? And what kind of worship is that, right?

There's a level between atheism and theism in fantasy works, where it's like, "We can see that someone legitimately has supernatural powers, and following that person makes some logical sense. But does that make them God?" Certainly not as the church teaches, where there is a perfect being who is concerned with the lives of people and doesn't make mistakes.

So I think Jasnah would have arrived at some of the conclusions that she made, probably, faster if she had had these visions to see the past. She would have known some things that she was suspicious of and hoped would be the case. She probably could have gotten to Urithiru much faster. It would have made a big difference in a lot of different ways. But it was not a good match, let's say. She was not the person the Stormfather was looking for for these sorts of things, to continue the legacy of Honor and things like this.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Questioner

Which Cosmere character would dominate the world fastest, and why is it Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah's a good choice. Why would it be Jasnah? If Jasnah decided it needed to be done… Jasnah is most self aware of her own moral philosophy and why she makes the choices she does, and because of that she is able to act decisively, because she has already considered the conundrum and the moral dilemma of the item ahead of time. Which gives her just ex... She doesn't need to second guess herself at the level that, for instance, Dalinar spends a lot of time second guessing himself, Jasnah does not. She does spend a lot of time upfront making her decision about what will happen in certain circumstances if she has to decide.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

For Jasnah, it seems like maybe a couple times it's been hinted that maybe she prefers women *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just have you Read on And Find Out on that one. There is-- Her book isn't 'til, like-- at the earliest, Book Eight. So, we've got a long ways to go before we're digging into Jasnah some more.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

Of all the characters you've written which one has the most of you in them?

Brandon Sanderson

Of all the characters I've written which has the most of me in them. Boy, y'know every character is a bit of me and every character's got something that's very unlike me. Um, I really have trouble answering that. People have asked it of me before. Some days I think it's Jasnah, some days I think I'm arrogant to assume it's Jasnah. Any character I would mention it would feel like the things I like about them are the things I wish I would have, if that makes sense? I don't know if there's any one that is really just me. My mother reads the Alcatraz books and says that's me. *laughter* She really does. Like she loves those books because she says "No that's you". When I have no inhibitions and I'm not trying to be self important I just do stupid things like in the Alcatraz books so maybe Alcatraz?

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

A question about Jasnah and your relation to Jasnah. She's a Veristitalian... Is that a part of Jasnah that is you, or is that a part of Jasnah that's somebody else?

Brandon Sanderson

The fascination with history and trying to use it to change the present is me. And that is the part of Jasnah that I-- Also, by nature, I'm kind of a Slytherin. And so would Jasnah. That part of me is there. The "do-gooder Slytherin," if that's not an oxymoron.

Questioner

And does the word Veristitalian come from "veritas"?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, in their language, it would not actually be Veristitalian. What I do is, my books, I pretend they're in translation. So when Wit makes a pun, or when you see something that echoes Latin or Greek, the idea is that they are echoing in-world ancient languages that we have chosen, instead of transliterating, to actually translate so it gives the right feeling in English.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Anything about Jasnah.

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah, I would say, is the character who changed the least between the draft I wrote in 2002 and the final version. I always knew who she was and how she was going to turn out, and she stayed really consistent. So I'm really excited, particularly for the back five, which will have more of a focus on her. I've started to tease in some viewpoints, but you'll really get to know her starting in like books six, seven.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Tim

Hey, I've been thinking about that section in WoK with Jasnah and the "thieves" she killed, and it feels like a setup to me - it's weird that the messages Taravangian sends to the guard are on Jasnah's radar, and Jasnah even says that the situation is odd enough to "suspect that there is more going on".

Was this a Taravangian plot?

Taravangian leaks the information about the "reprimands" he sent to his city watch about these dangerous criminals, and watches to see how Jasnah reacts to it, ideally catcher her using her powers? (Just like how he used that cave-in to test her Soulcasting).

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian was under the hope that Jasnah would see the world the way he does--with a very strict (even dangerous) level of utilitarianism. He thought about recruiting her to his mission, but decided against it for various reasons.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

You know how usually you read a good book and it will change your perspective on some aspect of life, do you ever finish writing a book yourself and-- From your own writings do you ever "Ah I've never..."

Brandon Sanderson

It's usually the research I do. Like when I'm like "I need to get in the mindset of this type of person" and I go read about it. I see the world in a different way after I become immersed in that.

Questioner

So what character have you written that was the hardest to imagine or get into?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah was very hard originally, and that took a lot of research into the mindset of people who think differently from myself. In The Wheel of Time books Aviendha and Tuon are both very different cultures so getting into those.

Questioner

How was it writing Mat? Was it pretty easy or--

Brandon Sanderson

No, Mat blindsided me. Mat I thought would be easy because Perrin and Rand were and I grew up with Mat, Perrin, and Rand, right? But the thing is Mat is a really hard character to write, meaning actual-- you look at him, he says one thing, he does a second thing, but he thinks a third thing. And so there is a lot of contrast to him and I just started writing him naturally and I wasn't getting all of that contrast because I was like "Oh I know who Mat is. Mat's my--" But he was saying the things that he never said, if that makes sense? I got his actions right but I flipped what he said and what he thought. It was actually really hard to get him down.

Questioner

You mean how he would say that he was going to avoid trouble and then run straight into it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's like "I'm going to avoid trouble", he runs into trouble, and he's thinking all the way about something completely separate, and then something else leaves his mouth.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

For the next Stormlight [book], will there be chapters from Jasnah's perspective?

Brandon Sanderson

There will be, I believe, at least one chapter from her viewpoint. I could change that but the outline has at least one from her.  It’s dangerous to do too many from her viewpoint because she’s eventually going to be a main viewpoint character, and she has a large chance of taking over a narrative that she’s part of.