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Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

At the end of Words it was talking about--I think, Teft was talking about how Bridge 4 was lighting up during the battle. So are they affected by Kaladin?  Or are they going to become...

Brandon Sanderson

So, they are what we call squires right now.

Questioner

Okay, so they are squires.

Brandon Sanderson

So yes.  They are affected by Kaladin, right now.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Would Dalinar or Kaladin like Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I think they both would have their issues with Kelsier.

Questioner

'Cause he's more of a rogue.

Brandon Sanderson

It would really depend on what situation they were in. But I think Dalinar would not approve of his methods. And I think Kaladin would empathize with him, but at the end would not approve either. To Kaladin he would probably represent the things that Kaladin kind of wishes he would do, but is too moral to do. And that would be a dangerous thing for Kaladin.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#5 Copy

geoffw35

You have Jasnah give such a good argument for the atheist point of view that I thought, well Brandon is probably an atheist (as I am). Then I started watching your writing class videos. Oops! In one of them you say that you feel you can successfully draw an atheist character. I certainly agree. ;-) Jasnah does seem to lack compassion to some degree, but I insist that religion is not necessary for one to be compassionate. You draw characters wonderfully!

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin is agnostic, which most people miss in these discussions, and is the series argument for a compassionate non-believer. Dalinar is a liberal theist, and Navani an orthodox theist.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

So how did Shallan rescue Kaladin when they fell in the chasm?

Brandon Sanderson

She did not. It was actually Syl, but he was in the process of breaking the bond, and so she was able to get some Stormlight to him. But that is what really set it really poorly. Like you can imagine, she-- this bond was really a strain for her to use at that point, so it was her. But doing what she did just about destroyed her, which is why you don't hear from her after that.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

So Kaladin, he has a lot of Christ-like qualities being the who protects those who can't protect themselves. When you were writing the character of Kaladin did you ever make a conscious decision to make him a Christ figure or--

Brandon Sanderson

The question is... Kaladin has some Christ-figure feel to him, was that intentional when I was writing the character. Actually it wasn't, there's nothing really intentional about that allusion.  But I can definitely see it. Being Christian myself a lot of what I find heroic is related to my faith. But I very rarely do conscious things like that, mostly-- This is for English majors, "I bet he got it from here" and things like that. So it was not intentional but I can totally see where you are making that connection.

Orem signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Is Kaladin's name influenced by Dune?

Brandon Sanderson

I've read Dune many times, so maybe? It's more looking at-- A lot of Dune names are Arabic inspired, and I went to that region for a lot of the names. But I think the word "Paladin" was probably more in the back of my head. I didn't even think of it until I started writing it, and I'm like, "Oh I bet that's where I got it." But it's often kind of based off of like, Khalid, or things like that? Like a lot of the Arabic names go Khalid.

Questioner

I was actually just thinking that the other day how the Knights are a lot like paladins.

Brandon Sanderson

It wasn't like, "I'll come up with the word." But after I started writing I'm like, "Oh I bet that's why the name felt right to me". But you can't separate an author from their influences, and I've read Dune like 5 times.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

There's a scene where you can see from the perspective of Nan Balat, Shallan's brother, where he's maiming an insect. It's described as soothing his aches. Is that in any way related to how Kaladin feels depressed and down during the Weeping even in his early childhood?

Brandon Sanderson

What's happening to Nan Balat is magically enhanced. What's happening to Kaladin is mostly just chemical depression. Be he is really too young to be diagnosed with depression during some of these events, but he's got the seeds in there. So Kaladin is not magically depressed. Kaladin is just legitimatly a person with depression. Nan Balat... What's up with him is... ah... being exaggerated by certain forces moving in on Roshar. (last bit is a bit indistinctive)

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

...Really?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup. Most of what you see him doing, Renarin did in the original outline, much more awkwardly.

Questioner

Did you keep him in for longer because he has an important part to play?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. remember, this is the draft I did in 2002, things were very different. Like in that draft Kaladin took the Shardblade and became a Shardbearer and stuff like this, and so it was a very different book, very different themes. I beefed up Adolin's part when I was doing this and eventually he developed into a stronger character. I need Adolin because Adolin is the guy who is not gaining all the magical powers and flying in the air and stuff. I need the guy who is more normal. As normal as the prince of Alethkar can be. I needed him and I really liked where he went after doing that, so.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

Based off of your previous question, the first Kaladin became Adolin?

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin was actually in that book, and so the first Kaladin wasn't even-- didn't even become Adolin, like the first Kaladin was like-- you've read this book before probably. The young peasant boy trains to be a knight, that sort of thing and was just too familiar, it was too-- I was playing the tropes and hitting the nails on the head, but in a way that was not interesting. Adolin and Renarinare both in that book basically as the people that they ended up being. Shallan and Kaladin are the people that I basically pulled out and replaced with new characters, because neither of them were working. I'll someday release that book and you can read it and be horrified about this book where really, really different things happen, and the characters half feel like themselves and half don't. Bridge Four isn't in that version of the book, Bridge Four is actually in Dragonsteel. Which is another book I wrote, which is where Dalinar started too. I wrote 13 books before I sold one. Dragonsteel was number 7 or 8. Half the ideas for the version of The Way of Kings you read came from that and half the ideas came from the original Stormlight Archive.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#15 Copy

Kogiopsis

Kind of along the same lines, I just want to confirm something. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?

Brandon Sanderson

It would-- The model I use are actually for the half-Hawaiian, half-Asians that are kind of common in Hawaii. That's the model I've used; I actually have one of their faces for Kaladin. So it would depend on what your perspective is, you might say-- some people might say Arab, but the model I'm using is kind of more Hawaiian/Asian mix is what you'd get. The only ones that would look Caucasian to you straight-up would probably be the Shin, though if you get someone who has Horneater blood-- The Horneaters might look-- they just-- they're gonna look like bizarre… redhead… things, but they might look Caucasian to you.

swamp-spirit

So would Shallan also be more towards that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shallan has lighter skin. But she still has the epicanthic fold, and so she maybe would look to you like a Caucasian/Asian mix? With red hair? So… Anyway, she would look fairly Caucasian.

swamp-spirit

I will attempt to send you excited fanart.

Kogiopsis

I've been picturing the Alethi as Indian, myself.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yeah. Yeah, yeah, like East India? That’s a pretty good picture on them. That would work very well.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#17 Copy

Pillotsky

What's with the Stormlight Chapter symbols, and their similarity to other Cosmere symbols? I guess this is specifically talking about Kaladin and Shallan's symbols, and their resemblance to an Allomantic symbol and an Aon, respectively.

Is this just showing Roshar's place as significant in the Cosmere? Is there a reason those specific symbols were chosen for those characters? Anything you'd want to share, I'll take.

Brandon Sanderson

The meaning of Kaladin's symbol will be made manifest eventually. The connection to an Allomantic symbol, however, is mostly coincidental. (Both were drawn by Isaac.)

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

So, Kaladin met Hoid a long long time ago, and Hoid gave him a very important flute that he has not learned how to play. Is he ever going to put the time in to get good at that? Or is that just something we're going to have to wait for?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to wait for. Kaladin has a lot of things on his mind. He sure could use something to keep him from stressing out, but you're just gonna have to wait and see if Kaladin understands the reason he was given a flute, or not.

Firefight release party ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Where did you get your inspiration for Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin came because I was reading about the life of a surgeon in the Medieval age and how it-- how strange it was to be like this person who had one foot in science and one foot not, and that was really interesting to me. And he evolved a lot over time becoming more the hybrid warrior and things like that. But that's where it started, what it was like to live and be a surgeon in a Medieval world.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

Why is Kaladin so proficient-- Like naturally born to wield a spear. Is that a weapon he likes or is it a destiny for him?

Brandon Sanderson

So destiny is a strong term... I would say he has natural aptitude, but no more so than a normal person who has a natural aptitude for something. But the way the Spiritual Realm works in the cosmere and the way Connection works, there were certain things that were happening to Kaladin before they happened...

It's like Syl says in one of the books. "You didn't know me then, but I knew you then. Even though we hadn't met yet, I still knew you." You see some weird Connection things too. And these are mostly just for fun sort of cosmere connections. Like when you see Syl take on the look of Shallan standing on the beach. There's gonna be a connection there. It's forming, it doesn't exist yet, but all things are one in the Spiritual Realm, and we're just kinda seeing echoes of that. It's not meant to be destiny, it's more meant to be, "Hey there's little connections happening".

I would not say Kaladin is any more naturally gifted in that than your average professional sports player is naturally gifted in what they do.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

Speaking of Rosharan calendar-- So seventeen year old Kaladin, is he the equivalent of a seventeen year old Earthling?

Brandon Sanderson

It's 1.1, I think is what is it. Right, they're 10% older than their accounting system. So no.

Questioner

So Adolin is 27, true?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

So then a year is obviously a lot more than 1.1 but--

Brandon Sanderson

Well no. The years are 500 days, but they're 20 hour days. Keep that in mind. So when you run the calculations kinda together, you end up with around 1.1.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

Who is the greatest warrior in the cosmere? I think it's Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, define "warrior" versus "soldier" versus--

Questioner

Who could win at an all-out fight? Even with powers taken away, I think he could still take on a lot of the other warriors.

Brandon Sanderson

A question. Are they on a battlefield? 'Cause Kelsier just murders him in his sleep.

Questioner

Battlefield.

Brandon Sanderson

The actual soldier, battlefield, is probably Kaladin. Problem is, you could put Dalinar in his prime. And they're both pretty good. But, Kaladin is a true soldier.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#25 Copy

Bradtholomew

What is the origin of the name Kaladin?

My wife and I recently had our first child and that's what we named him. Just curious if there's any story behind the name.

Brandon Sanderson

I use Arabic in some of the creation of Alethi names, and Kaled (or Khaled) was the root I started playing with to come up with a new name for Kaladin, as I didn't like the one I'd used in 2002. I'd already designed Kalak after this, the Herald, and wanted a common name version of this.

When I arrived at Kaladin, it sounded right to me--likely because of the similarity to Paladin, as others noted below.

Dragonsandman

So if Kaladin's name is derived from Khaled, is it fair to assume that the Alethi language sounds similar to Arabic?

Brandon Sanderson

Alethi has some Hebrew to it too. I used Semitic language roots for the Dawnchant, which had a huge influence on Rosharan languages. While there are a few oddballs rules, and some linguistics that stand on their own, both major language groups on Roshar (the Azish family and the Vorin family) would probably sound very Arabic to you.

For example, the Alethi Kh is a voiceless velar fricative. The Azish kk or q sound is a voiceless uvular, sometimes stop, sometimes an affricate. Sometimes a uvular ejective.

No, I can't make those sounds on demand. Peter can, though. It's helpful to have a linguist on my team.

Shin is its own language, as is Iriali.

BeskarKomrk

What can't Peter do? He seems to be an expert on everything!

Brandon Sanderson

He is amazing. But, in this case, he was a linguistics major in college. So there's a little extra amazingness from him in these areas.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

We've got Kaladin's name meaning, do we have Shallan's?

Brandon Sanderson

Shallan is-- Her name comes from Shalash, the herald, so it's kind of like naming somebody Christian in a lot of ways. Or naming someone Michael, though Michael has a meaning. Shalash does too but it's so old-- Like-- Yes, it will have a meaning but really what you need to know is "she is named after the Herald Shalash", right? But I'm sure we can dig out what the meaning is because it does have a meaning... I mean Kaladin's has a meaning even though he's named after Kalak.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

Who's Tarah?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* Why do you want to know?  ...Tell me why you want to know.

Questioner

Because she's important to Kaladin and Kaladin's important to me?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, that's a decent answer. She-- um. Ehhhh. She was someone Kaladin cared for deeply in a romantic way.

Skyward release party ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Why do you hurt Kaladin so? *inaudible* Why can't he be happy? And who the heck is Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

I hurt Kaladin because I tell the stories and the characters put themselves in the situations. Why can't he be happy? Kaladin has a hard time with happiness. He is working on it.

BookCon 2018 ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

Just a minor request: Kaladin have some semblance of long term happiness? I know he struggles with depression and PTSD, but just a little bit of-- as happy as someone struggling with that can be?

Brandon

I think you can be very happy when you're struggling with those things. There, obviously, are things you have to learn and things you have to work with, but it is, I think, totally possible that he could. Whether or not I'll do it-- I'll take that as a request.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

When Kaladin jumps in to help Adolin, and he's fighting and he says he feels like he can fight with his eyes shut. Is that just Kaladin being cocky? Or is that Investiture related? It reminded me of Atium.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a little more going on there, but it's not as far as you think.

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

Questioner

Kelsier vs. Kaladin, who wins?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is meaner. Kelsier is sneakier. Raw power - I'm not sure, but I'm gonna go with Kelsier. If its on a battlefield, Kelsier doesn't win. If its off the battlefield, Kelsier wins. Kaladin is a soldier. He can fight a war and fight with a team and he can win a battle. Kelsier can sneak into someones house and stab them.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#37 Copy

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.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#38 Copy

Questioner

At the end of Oathbringer, or near the end, Kaladin is talking to Syl about not getting Shallan or whatever, and he says that she really just reminded him of someone, who is it that she reminded him of?

Brandon Sanderson

She reminded him of Tien, his brother, because his brother was a burgeoning Lightweaver, and Lightweavers, you'll notice, when they're around someone, that person starts to act a little bit more like a little bit of their best self. There's a bit of, also, counteraction to feelings of darkness and despair, it's just a natural Lightweaver sort of thing. And so, part of what Kaladin was drawing from Shallan was that feeling. I think it could've totally become love. And he's now cutting that off, he's saying it couldn't at all have become-- it could have. But that was part of what was drawing him in.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#41 Copy

Questioner

What's Kaladin's last name?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin doesn't have a last name because, in Alethkar, your last name is your House name. He is vacillating on what his House name would be, everyone just calls him Kaladin Stormblessed. There's a realistic expectation that if he wanted to be a Kholin, he could be a Kholin, if he wanted to adopt that as his own House name instead of having a different one.

But right now he's just called Kaladin Stormblessed.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

So you mentioned that Kaladin gets sad during the Weeping. Is that due to lack of stormlight or maybe seasonal affective disorder?

Brandon Sanderson

It is mostly due to seasonal affective disorder. Now, you know, there are other things going on and whatnot, but yes he has strong seasonal affective disorder.

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
#44 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance Tweak

Moving on to Words of Radiance, as we were entering typo fixes for the paperback of this book, I made changes to a few lines near the end. This isn't anywhere near as extensive as the changes in Elantris, but once again I figure I should be up-front about what I did and why I did it.

This part is going to have some spoilers for the book, so if you haven't read it, please stop right here. I'll put a number of blank lines here to prevent accidental spoilers. Scroll down if you've finished the book.

So, in Words of Radiance, I think the scene I worked on the longest both in my head and on the page was the final confrontation between Kaladin and Szeth.

There was something I wanted to do, and took a stab at it in the text, then backed off because I couldn't make it work. It was important to me that Kaladin refuse to kill Szeth at the end. Kaladin is about protection, not vengeance, and once he realized that Szeth really just wanted to be killed, I wanted Kaladin to hesitate.

It didn't end up working, and I moved on to a new version and submitted it. But this itched at me, and by the time the book was released, I felt I'd made the wrong choice for that scene. So I've taken this chance to roll it back to the previous idea, and written it in a new way, which I like much better.

The events are the same, except for that moment. Szeth is now killed by the storm instead of by Kaladin, which I think is more thematically appropriate.

The question this raises is about Szeth being stabbed by a Shardblade, then being resuscitated. I'm sad to lose this sequence, as it's an important plot point for the series that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can. I'm going to have to work this into a later book, though I think it's something we can sacrifice here for the stronger scene of character for Kaladin and Szeth.

Calamity release party ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

How hard was it for you to write Kaladin *inaudible* end of the second book?

Brandon Sanderson

It was pretty hard. Knowing people whom I love, who have depression, when they are in a depressive funk. And knowing I had to get that across accurately, but try not to make people hate him too much? It was a challenge.

Holiday signing ()
#50 Copy

Questioner

Did Kaladin’s name come from anywhere in particular?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I'm sure the word paladin was in the back of my head, but it's not like he shares much with like an actual paladin. His name was Merin in the initial version and it was-- it didn't work, he wasn't a Merin and all the fans-- all the readers were like "this name just doesn't work" so I spent years hunting for the right name for him, and that's the one I ended up with. It's really based-- it's Kalak, which is the Storm-- not really the Stormfather but people y'know. Most of the names you'll find are based off one of the Heralds in some way. So he's KALA + DIN, Kalak and din is a suffix.

Isaac Stewart

We do have a meaning for it though. Can I tell them the meaning?

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh, have we canonized it?

Isaac Stewart

We have canonized it, and we have told people before.

Brandon Sanderson

Then yeah.

Isaac Stewart

It means "Born unto Eternity".

Brandon Sanderson

...I mean, it means that in the same way that names mean something, like my name means-- But when they're naming him that they aren't thinking that. What they are doing is picking one of the Heralds and making a name out of it. But my name technically means "Dweller by the Beacon", but really what it means is "He was the son of Alexander".