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Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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Harbournessrage

That line, about Kaladin trying to take on ardent job, then general one, and then on running away. Did you mean surgeon job being in certain way the running away way for Kaladin? Or you will leave it for readers to decide?

p.s. to me it felt like very sad decision tonally and probably the lowest point of Kal's regression.

Brandon Sanderson

So, right now, Kaladin views this as somehow giving in. That he should have been able to find a better option, a way to keep doing what he'd been doing. It is supposed to be sad tonally because Kaladin is sad about it.

However, this is partially Kaladin not being quite able to see clearly. So I suggest waiting for a little bit and seeing what happens next.

Figment chat ()
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Questioner

In transitioning from Merin to Kaladin, was there any plot sacrifices that were particularly difficult for [you]?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I had been disappointed enough in the way that Merin turned out in the original draft of The Way of Kings, that transitioning to someone more vibrant and more interesting in Kaladin really didn’t feel like a sacrifice to me.

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.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
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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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Are both of Kaladin's maternal... grandparents darkeyes?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Good question. I think you're the first one to pull that out of me...

There's one question, or two questions in [the signing line], that I know are driving your brains crazy, that are not as clear-cut in my answers as you might assume they are. One is about Kaladin's mother.

YouTube Livestream 23 ()
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Cody Taylor

What was the scene in Rhythm of War that you had planned or thought of twenty years ago?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin jumping off the top of the tower to save his father. Into the storm. I have been working on that scene in one way or another, like, forever. This was a scene I was planning in the original write of Way of Kings, though I don't think it was his father in that, because the relationship with his father was not the same in Way of Kings Prime. It was probably Dalinar back then, but it's been twenty years or so. But this scene of Kaladin jumping off, going into the darkness of a storm, and emerging like a lightning bolt afterward, is one of those pivotal, foundational scenes that built the core of how the Stormlight Archive was going to work, narratively.

Brandon's Blog 2014 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

What Is Altered Perceptions?

This anthology will collect "altered" versions of published stories—deleted scenes, alternate endings, original concept chapters, and that sort of thing.

For it, I'm letting people see—for the first time—a large chunk of the original version of The Way of Kings, which I wrote in 2002–2003. This version is very different, and involves a different course in life for Kaladin as a character—all due to a simple decision he makes one way in this book, but a completely different way in the published novel.

These chapters are quite fun, as I consider what happened in The Way of Kings Prime (as I now call it) to be an "alternate reality" version of the events in the published books. The characters are almost all exactly the same people, but their backstories are different, and that has transformed who they are and how they react to the world around them. Roshar is similar, yet wildly different, as this was before I brought in the spren as a major world element.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
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Questioner

Kaladin is a lot younger than his knowledge and training levels are... *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

It just depends, he's led-- you have to keep two things in mind, he's led a very hard life, which aged him experience-wise differently, and also Roshar years are longer than ours, so when they say in this book [that] he's 19, he's not actually 19, he's more like-- I can't remember the exact equation, but he's actually 23, or something like that. So do keep that in mind.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

This chapter in particular was a challenge to write. My experience with Sazed in The Hero of Ages warned me that a character deep in depression can be a difficult and dangerous thing to write. Depression is a serious challenge for real people—and therefore also for characters. Additionally, it pushes a character not to act.

Inactive characters are boring, and though I wanted to start Kaladin in a difficult place, I didn't want him to be inactive. So how did I go about making scenes of a depressed fallen hero locked in a cage interesting and active? The final result might not seem like much in the scope of the entire novel, but these chapters are some of the ones I'm the most proud of. I feel I get Kaladin and his character across solidly while having him actually do things—try to save the other slave, rip up the map, etc.

Syl, obviously, is a big part of why these scenes work. She is so different from the rest of what's happening, and she has such stark progress as a character, that I think she "saves" these chapters.

You might be interested to know, then, that she was actually developed for a completely different book in the cosmere. I often speak about how books come together when different ideas work better together than they ever did separate. Kaladin and Syl are an excellent example of this. He didn't work in The Way of Kings Prime, and her book just wasn't going anywhere. Put them together, and magic happened. (Literally and figuratively.)

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Govir

During a reread of The Way of Kings, I noticed Kaladin mentions a light eyes by the name of Katarotam. Will we ever find out more about this light eyes? (For some context, Katarotam is listed along side Roshone and Amaram as a light eyes that Kaladin believes to be corrupt).

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (This is possible, but not likely, in a Kaladin flashback.)

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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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.

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
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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.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
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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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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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.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
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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.

Calamity release party ()
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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.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

If Kaladin and Dalinar were Magic cards, what color do you think they’d be?

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar now is mono-White. He was mono-Red in his youth, inching toward Black-Red, but I would just call him mono-Red in his youth. Kaladin I would probably call Blue-White in Magic terms because they like things that fly and that have to do with the wind. So he would get the elemental Blue and personality White. Maybe a tinge of Red, but probably-- I would make a Blue-White Kaladin.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

What was your inspiration for Kaladin? What made you want to make him?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin's origin was in me reading about the interesting lives of surgeons in pre-industrial eras. Surgeons who were at times treated no different from a butcher, and at other times straddled this line between superstition and science in a really interesting way. And I wanted to write a surgeon who straddled that line. Where the superstition was against them, but in some ways the science that they knew also worked against them because the people didn't trust it. That's a really fascinating character. He started more as his dad, and as I worked the books he became Kaladin the son of a surgeon instead of the surgeon himself.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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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.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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Metagross22

Hey Brandon while you’re here and we’re talking about Kal’s relationship with Lyn, we know he’s had at least one romantic relationships in the past being Tarah I was wondering if he was still a Virgin. Were these relationships just romantic? Also how negatively is sex before marriage viewed on roshar and namely vorin culture? I know these topics sometimes can make you uncomfortable but I’m really curious about this part of their culture.

Brandon Sanderson

In these cases, I generally allow it to be vague enough that people can think/assume what they want. However, some of Kal's relationships in the past (including the one with Tarah) progressed to the point that in our world, most people would have been sleeping together.

In Vorin culture, I'd say that they're not as relaxed about such things as most modern cultures are, but aren't as strict as the more religious cultures on Earth are. Alethi are concerned about oaths in specific--what have you promised, and do you keep those promises. So, for example, cheating is a far, far worse offense in their eyes. And opinions and strictness in areas of moral chastity would vary depending on upbringing and personal beliefs. To some, a promise of, "We'll be together until we split" that is kept would be considered honorable--while to others, that would be too lax a treatment of oaths.

Also, lighteyes are expected to be circumspect and maintain an image of certain decorum. But that's something else entirely...

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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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.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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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.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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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.

FanX 2018 ()
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Questioner

Is there a reason Kaladin is always talking about the Survivor.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The Survivor? No. You're trying to get me to slip up on something; no. He does not know Kelsier, nice try.

Questioner

But are they connected?

Brandon Sanderson

Only thematically.

YouTube Livestream 23 ()
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Nouf

What does it mean that Kaladin is close to Honor, and how did that factor into him staying conscious while every other Windrunner in the tower didn't?

Brandon Sanderson

The nuts and bolts answer is, Kaladin basically was in a place where he could say the next oath, and should have said the next oath, and indeed knew the next oath, and it was on his tongue, and he refused to. So basically he was as close to being the next level of Knights Radiant as a person could humanly get, because everyone considered him ready except himself. He even knew that he was ready, but by saying it, it would require him to give up something that was precious to him, which is his feeling guilty. A precious part of his identity as he saw it. And he would have to relinquish that. That's the bulk of it.

The other bulk of it is, the level to which Kaladin tries to protect, the level to which Kaladin exemplifies the Ideals of the Windrunners, and indeed of the way that Honor would have all Knights Radiant act, is so over the top, in alignment with the way Honor would like it to be, that it could even be considered unhealthy. Remember, Honor didn't always encourage healthy relationships with things like the power, particularly later in his existence. So either way, Kaladin is just kind of extra aligned with that intent, if that makes any sense.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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sockmop

Who would win in a fight, Kaladin with no Shards but with Surgebinding and his favorite spear (aluminum tip) or Kelsier with the first nine metals of Allomancy?

AndTwoYears

Kelsier, I think, if Kaladin doesn't have Syl with him. But it may depend on nearby metal sources.

Alternatively, they come to a shaky alliance where they both fight against the nobility but still get on each other's nerves. [Brandon] care to weigh in?

Brandon Sanderson

If they came to arms, Kelsier would try to kill Kaladin in his sleep, most likely. But it depends on a lot of factors, and I think your alternative is the most likely.

YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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Dane Brown

Hypothetically, if Kelsier were to meet Kaladin, what would he say?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably "don't be so hard on yourself, kid." That would probably be what Kelsier says. He would do some version of "I've been there, don't be so hard on yourself. You can't fix it all." That's what my gut says.

Kelsier would really like Kaladin. He's the sort of person that Kelsier just... Kelsier loves to see and recognize the people who are just innately good and trying to do good. He's drawn to that because it's not something that is natural to him, if that makes any sense. He can recognize it, though. And it's one of those things that he kind of wants to preserve in the world. And he would really like Kaladin.

Adam Horne

Would Kaladin like Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not. But Kelsier would probably be just fine with that.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
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darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

The Weepings--Shallan and Kaladin react very differently to them.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They do.

darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

It just seems to me that the Weepings feel very close to Cultivation.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The primary thing you’re noticing -- and I'm not going to say there's not any magical influence -- but the primary thing you're noticing is that Kaladin has seasonal affective disorder and Shallan likes the rain. That's the primary thing you're noticing. I like the rain--my wife hates it. My wife gets depressed when it rains and I love when it rains.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

I read the earlier version of The Way of Kings. When did Kaladin get depressed?

Brandon Sanderson

That was when I realized he was the main character and the least-- the least a character, right? And so, it was when I sat down and asked myself, what went wrong with it? And the main thing of the things I came up was that Kaladin wasn't real. And so I started looking at what would make him real. And depression doesn't make more real, but it's an outgrowth of him making the other decision, what happened with his brother, he had PTSD, and all of this stuff. It grew out of that.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Questioner

I make cocktails, and I want to make cocktails based on the characters, have you got any ideas? Particularly Kaladin and Vin, what would they drink?

Brandon Sanderson

...Kaladin and Vin, ah boy. Vin wants something simple, I mean she's going to want something to relax, so maybe something fruity and simple. Kaladin, he'll want something stiff, right, something hard...

The next one actually has a mixed drinks scene. Fortunately, you'll be happy to know, I went to a bartender friend to get some advice on how to make it work, so... If you make Kaladin's stiff and blue, that might be good because of Alethi blue.