When did Nazh and Khriss meet?
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When did Nazh and Khriss meet?
Did Nazh fall in with Khriss before or after the Forests of Hell were colonized by Patience's people?
RAFO. (Sorry. I am toying with a book on Threnody, and don't want to lock myself into anything yet.)
So, I heard you talk about cameos, are there any other cameos besides Hoid and Nightblood in the books?
So, Galladon from Elantris, Baon from White Sand, and Captain Demoux all show up in Way of Kings. They're the Purelake scene. Let's see... the character of Felt is a worldhopper, you see him in a couple of books. Watch out for him. Khriss is in a couple of the books, she's the one who writes the Ars Arcanums. Nazh is in a couple of the books, Khriss's assistant. Vasher is in the book. They're all over the place.
If you guys don't know who Nazh is, Nazh is the person who annotates all the maps and pieces of art in the Stormlight books. The affectation is that the Ars Arcanum for the books and a lot of the illustrations are things that have been collected or put together by Khriss and [Nazh]. You describe Nazh as "grumpy James Bond," who is sent into the world to grab artifacts for Khriss when she's putting together kind of her guide to a world in the cosmere.
I've discovered a lot more about Nazh in the last year, just because we're getting closer to including him in more things. Right now, his personality is "grumpy James Bond" because he goes on missions, he's kind of a grump... but he kinda likes that sort of thing - he likes going off on his own, figuring out ways to do things. He has a specific skill set that works really well for this sort of thing.
But things kinda go poorly for him most of the time.
Yeah. I wouldn't say he's a Mr. Bean type character, but if you imagine the situations that he gets into, they're those sorts of things - but usually not funny, though he may tell them in a grumpy, funny way later on.
Basically, as Hoid is to me, Nazh is to Isaac. This is very fun because he can write all these annotations on the artwork, and you'll see Nazh popping up in the books now and then, just as cameo references to this guy. The affectation is the text of the book like The Way of Kings is not something that they have in-world, but all of the art in the Ars Arcanum they do, and those are produced by Khriss and Nazh.
I was wondering, like, are we gonna... From the Secret History...
The people he met with... Are they the ones from Bands of Mourning, and Are we gonna see them anymore?
Which people? Nazh and Khriss?
Uh, Nazh-- Khriss is in Bands of Mourning. Nazh is referenced in many of the books. He's been in-- uh-- he's been in a lot of them... Just briefly, or annotating maps or things like that.
Okay. So are we gonna see them more kind of like Hoid in the future?
Yeah, they're-- they are Hoid-esque. Khriss is the one who's been writing all the Ars Arcanum from the beginning, so...
Does Khriss have a way of changing her appearance?
I read that you had said if you had written Khriss' essay on Nalthis, it would have been more or less that she was talking about the magic, and then mention that there were scholars on this planet that were spitting distance from, like…
So, Vasher, and maybe some of the other ones have been off world--
Shashara has been, yeah.
...Are they known to the people at Silverlight? Like--
Like does Khriss know Vasher?
Know Vasher is a different question than know of Vasher. But they are widely regarded as early cosmere scholars... They are pioneers of this sort of stuff. So yes.
Can you tell us more about Khriss?
- She has a cameo in Bands of Mourning
- She's the main character of White Sand, basically said just read White Sand to get more information since it comes out soon.
- Nahz is basically her grumpy secret agent she sends out to go retrieve artifacts for her.
Was Khriss involved in founding the (a) University at Silverlight?
Are you gonna do more [White Sand Graphic Novels]
We're gonna do a full omnibus, and then we're talking about what to do with Darkside, 'cause there's a story there that I want to tell. I might involve Isaac in it; he's my art director who art directed this entire thing. There should be another story in the world. We're not sure if it'll be graphic or if it'll be print.
I have a copy of Darkside, I just didn't bring it.
No, not Dark One. Darkside of White Sand, the other half of the planet. Dark One is a different thing. Khriss is from Darkside in this world, and she's really relevant to the Cosmere as a whole. She shows in up several of the other books. She shows up in Bands of Mourning, Khriss from this, and she's also in Secret History, and she shows up here and there. She's really relevant to the Cosmere, particularly some future stuff. And so we want to tell more of her story also.
In Rhythm of War, when they're talking about like the sand from another planet, is that from here?
That is this, yes. So, white sand will charge, basically, off of any active Investiture, kinetic Investiture, and so you can use it to tell if something is using one of the magics nearby. And so it's become... you can just take it offworld and then use it kind of like a Geiger counter. So it's made its way all over the place. It shows up actually in Oathbringer as well.
So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?
There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.
Implying that some are actually immortal? :D
Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.
Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)
Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)
Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)
Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)
Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)
Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)
Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)
And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.
Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.
Heals from wounds, but still ages.
Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?
Yes, you are correct.
As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?
This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.
...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?
Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.
Does Nazh work for Khriss because she's hired him, or because they share common interests?
They share common interests, and Nazh is fiercely loyal.
My top (realistic) potential options here:
1) Silverlight novella2) The Silence Divine3) SotD 2
(But seriously, give me that Silverlight novella. PLEASE, Brandon.)
Silverlight novella probably needs to wait until I've done the Threnody novel, for some connective tissue reasons, but we'll see.
Quick question. Will we ever see the Traveller short story be published in something like Arcanum Unbounded 2?
Probably not, at least not without a rework.
This just further leads me to bet that the new group that'll be introduced in the Threnody novel will have Silverlight ties.
Will it by chance be tied to how Nazh has gotten involved with Khriss?
No, though we're working on a White Sand graphic novel sequel that will start into that story, hopefully.
When Khriss visits Scadrial, does Harmony know it?
*written* Some times He does. (more often than not, these days...) But it is possible to hide.
*spoken* Khriss doesn't have a lot of reasons to hide. She doesn't mind the attention, usually.
Does Khriss ever figure out how to get sand [to work] on the Darkside?
Ohhh, that’s a bit of a spoiler.
Essentially her reason to become Cosmere-knowledgeable.
It is one of her primary motivations for where she has gone, is figuring out how all that worked. But her story I want to leave for her book.
There’s a character again that you've talked about in other signings-- That character has more information than Hoid about the cosmere. How does she have more information than Hoid?
Well, she is a very detail oriented person and takes the time to research very deeply into things. Where Hoid will often research enough as he needs to know to sound really smart and get what he wants. It is a matter of depth, if that makes sense.
Have we seen her?
Uhh, I don't know if you've seen her or not. I'm sure I slipped her in somewhere but I'm not sure... I think I may have, but I can't guarantee it.
Is the Ars Arcanum written by a person we have met yet?
He said some people have met this person. I pushed and he said this person is from an unpublished work.
What question about the cosmere does Khriss most want answered?
She would want to know what happens in the Beyond. Followed secondly by, how can you get Stormlight off of Roshar?
Will we get more information like that about planets and stuff like that in the Ars.. *interrupted* ?
The Arcanum Unbound[ed] is... Yes, the cosmere collection. There will be little essays from Khriss on each of the planets. There will be stuff like that. You're going to have to wait until the science in-world approaches more of our science before I can get into some of the things you would want to know specifically. But, I mean, we are starting to get to an era where they can talk intelligently about these things. So yes, but it's-- Arcanum Unbound[ed] is kind of weird because I had to pick a date for her to be writing these essays, and the date that she wrote the essays is before some of the stories. For instance, Sixth of the Dusk, right? And so for that planet she's just like, "Hey, here's this place that something weird might be happening with. We don't know a lot about it, but it's got this one weird attribute that we're studying." The story hasn't happened yet. So you get a little bit of that. It's not all from the far future, when like Sixth of the Dusk is happening, because otherwise there would be way too many spoilers for what's coming in the future. So yes, there will be lots of cool little tidbits. The essays are meant for people who ask questions like that, and like this one, but I'm not answering everything.
*responding to an unknown written question* ...This is one of the planets. Khriss has appeared in other books, she's a scholar of the magics across the various different worlds. It ties in, you'll see more and more references. The problem is, there are weird things going on with this planet after the events of this story.
Who wrote the "Ars Arcanum"? Since the writer obviously had knowledge of the cosmere I assumed that it was you making an editorial note, but then I thought that it could be Hoid (who was suspiciously absent) or Sazed or any Shardbearer... Does that make sense at all?
The Ars Arcanum is written in-cosmere by someone, but I don't want to saw who yet.
Is Khriss on Roshar during The Stormlight Archive?
Khriss is... RAFO.
I'll follow up on that: Does that mean she's in Shadesmar?
Ehhhh... There's some trickiness with answering that.
Does [Nazh] ever have any arguments with Khriss?
All the time.
But, they're basically best friends anyway right?
I don't know about that, I'd have to ask Brandon. But I imagine that they get along pretty well and he feels okay being grumpy around her.
So it's not like Mythbusters where they're only friends on TV but not actually friends in real life?
I would imagine it's not like that.
Have we seen [Khriss] in any of the books out so far? Is Vathi Khriss?
No, someone else. But you'll see Khriss in a soon-to-be-published book.
Ars Arcanum at the back of this book [The Alloy of Law] - who is it written by?
The same person who has written all of them.
This is kind of a shot in the dark but is there anything you want to tell me about whoever writes the Ars Arcanum?
The person who writes the Ars Arcanum is a character in-world from a book that is been written but has not been published.
Is it a book that has been announced?
It is a book that's been announced, the title is known.
How long has Khriss been cosmere-aware?
Khriss and Jasnah... are they ever gonna meet, because I feel like they'd be the ultimate power couple.
They would get along smashingly, is what I feel. I won't say if they're ever going to meet or not, but I do feel that they would get along.
Is Khriss a reliable narrator?
Yes, Khriss is reliable. She doesn't know everything, so there are some things that she doesn't quite get right. But she usually will acknowledge, "I'm not sure about this." Okay?
You can trust Khriss as much as you can trust most experts in their field.
Is Hoid the most knowledgeable about what's going on in the cosmere?
No, Khriss is the most aware by a long shot. Nazh knows a lot as well. Hoid might know more than Nazh but he is pretty in the know as well so it's close.
i messaged earlier regarding #alloyoflaw appendix narrator, unaware of today’s torchat. maybe you can respond in the chat?
I haven’t been telling people the name of the appendix author. It is either Hoid or one of the 17th sharders. #torchat
Does Khriss write the Ars Arcanum?
The woman that dances with Wax in Bands of Mourning. I've heard a lot that it's Khriss, a lot of people say that, when I first heard that I thought "Is this Jasnah?" Could you give me a--
It is Khriss.
Is Khriss planned to be a major character in the future of the Cosmere, or will she be more of a behind-the-scenes source of knowledge?
I do plan some more--some actual Khriss stories. I mentioned I had a Silverlight story in the back of my head--she would have been one of the viewpoint characters of that if I ever get to write it. She will be in the background of most everything, but I do plan a few stories, that will have her. She will come the forefront the more the cosmere comes to the forefront, and more interaction between them.
For those who were curious, my plan for the Cosmere all along has been - now that I have something to point to, people say is it like the MCU? And, yes and no. I'm not developing specific characters to bring forward, some of them will of course will still be be around. My whole goal with the Cosmere is to push toward something a little bit more like Star Trek or Star Wars, in that lots of different cultures, lots of different things--more Star Trek I guess - interspace situation, the conflicts that come between cultures and ideals and things like that, is what I'm pushing for. Rather than taking like the champions of each book and having them. So the characters are important, certainly, but when you're reading a given book series, that's where your characters are important. If you're thinking about the future of the Cosmere, think more about the clash of cultures, is where I'm pushing that.
Did-- this is RAFO bait, but did Khriss and Nazh happen to meet on one of their planets or in a different location?
Oh, you are RAFO baiting hard.
Yeah, that's RAFO bait.
How well would Jasnah and Khriss get along?
Uhhhm, I would say that they would get along well, like scholars from different disciplines, meaning with respect for the other's discipline.
All of the females in your books seem to be very independent, strong women; do you believe that you write them that way from your perspective, or is that your experience, or...?
There's a couple of things behind that. The first is that my mother graduated first in her class in Accounting in a year where she was the only woman in the entire Accounting department. That was in an era where that wasn't something that a lot of women did, and so I've had quite the role model in my life. But beyond that, it's kind of an interesting story. I discovered fantasy with a book I mentioned earlier, Dragonsbane. Wheel of Time was my *inaudible*, but I discovered Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, and my teacher got me to read this, and I came back to my teacher, and said, "People write books about dragons?" She's like, "Yeah, there's a lot of books about dragons; go read them."
And so I went to the card catalog, which we had back then in the Stone Age [laughter], and I flipped to the next title in the card catalog, and it was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery. And so I'm like, "Well, this has dragons; maybe this is good." And it was fantastic! If you've ever read Dragonflight, it's amazing! So I read through all of those in the school library, and I'm like, "Well, what else is there?" The next title in line was Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn, and so I read through all of those, which are also fantastic books, and one of the best magic systems in fantasy, in Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner books.
And so I got done with those, and at that point, a friend came to me, who'd heard I discovered fantasy, and said, "Here, you'll like this book." It was by David Eddings. And I told him, "I don't think guys can write fantasy." [laughter] That was—honest to goodness—that's what I told him. I'm like, "I don't know if I want to read a guy writer; I don't think they can get it down." And so, I did end up reading Eddings, and enjoying Eddings, but my introduction to fantasy was through three women who have at times been called feminist writers—all three of them have worn that mantle—and that's still with me as part of what makes a good fantasy book, and I think that's just an influence.
My very first novel that I tried, which was not Elantris—White Sand—the female character turned out really bland, and I was really disappointed in myself, and I thought, "the book is terrible." And it took me a long time to figure out—like, several books of work—what I was doing wrong. And what I was doing wrong, and I find this in a lot of new writers across the spectrum, is I was writing people specifically "the Other"; people who are different from myself, I was putting them in their role, rather than making them a character, right? And this is an easy thing to do—like, you get into the head of your main character. They're often pretty much like you, you can write them, they're full of life, they've got lots of passions, and then, the woman is like the love interest, and the minority is the sidekick, right? Because that's...you know, how you do that. And you stick these people in these roles, and then they only kind of march through their roles, and so while it's not insulting, the characters don't feel alive. It's like one person in a room full of cardboard cut-outs, like "Stereotypes Monthly" magazine. [laughter] And then your main character.
And women are just as bad at doing this as men, just doing the men in that way. And so it's just something, as a writer, you need to practice, is saying, "What would this character be doing if the plot hadn't gotten in their way?" Remember, they think they're the most important character in the story. They're the hero of their own story. What are their passions and desires aside from the plot? And how is this going to make them a real person? And you start asking yourselves questions like that, and suddenly the characters start to come alive, and start to not fill the role. And you ask yourself, "Why can't they be in the role they're in?" And that makes a better character, always, than "Why should they be?"
Flop roles, too, if you find yourself falling into this, you say, "Okay, I've stuck—" You know, Robert Jordan kind of did this. The natural thing to do is to put the wise old man into the mentor—you know, the Obi Wan Kenobi, the Gandalf—role, and instead, Robert Jordan put a woman in that role, with Moiraine, and took the wise old man and made him a juggler. [laughter] And these two...you know, and suddenly by forcing these both into different roles, you've got... they're much more interesting characters. And you know, Thom is named after Merlin; he could have very easily been in that role, and instead he wasn't. And so, it made even the first Wheel of Time book so much better by making characters not be the standard stereotypical roles that you would expect for them to be in. So, there you go.
Also, stay away from tokenism. If you force yourself to put two people in from the same culture in your book, that will force you to make them more realistic as characters, because if you only put one in, you can be like, "All right, their whole race and culture is defined by this person." And putting in multiples can help you to say, "Look, now they can't both just be defined by that." Anyway, I went off on a long diatribe about that; I'm sorry.
Can you talk a little bit about why you changed Khriss's personality so much between the White Sand prose and the White Sand graphic novel?
I felt that the biggest weakness to a lot of my early writing (this encompasses White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Elantris) is that my worldbuilding was really working, my magic systems were really coming together, and my characters were flat and kind of boring. And this early work of mine, I look at and there's a lot of external conflict to characters.
And it works in Elantris. Raoden is a bit boring, compared to some of my other characters. But he has an enormous external conflict to deal with, and that actually kind of works. There are lots of movies, I mentioned Mission Impossible earlier. Like Tom Cruise's character in those: not the most interesting character. But he doesn't have to be, because in fact it would probably make the movies worse if you spent a lot of time on that. That's not what those movies are about. So if you have lots of tension and lots of external conflict, then you can have a character who doesn't change as much, who doesn't go through big character arcs and things. And it's not just fine; it's a selling point of the story. It's just a different type of story.
But the problem with mine is, they were all kind of the same person. They're all kind of the same level of boring in a lot of my early works. And so, when we approached the graphic novel version, one of the things I wanted to do was see if I can liven up the characters a little, if I can make them more like I would write them now. And that's what happened with basically all the changes in White Sand were attempts to do that: make the story more like I write right now. And I'm pleased with those changes.
The only thing I don't like about White Sand is, as we were new into doing this, we did not get the worldbuilding across in a visual medium the way we wanted to. I don't think that the worldbuilding made the leap. And we're trying to fix that with future things that we're doing. We're hoping that we can play to the strengths of graphic novels and not have them lose some of the coolness. Some of the things that were working in the White Sand prose didn't make the jump to the graphic novel as well as we wanted them to.
As of Secret History, is Khriss working with the Seventeenth Shard at that time?
Khriss works with anybody who is interested in the information that she has. She is a--
No, not a freelancer, really, she is a-- She'd get along with Edward Snowden, right? She is-- For the good of the cosmere, in her opinion, she is providing this information. She thinks that it'll be useful for everyone. So if the Seventeenth Shard comes to her and says "We want to know this" and she knows it, she will tell them. If Hoid comes to her and says "I want to know this", she would tell him. So Khriss will work with anyone who she thinks their motives are for the good of the cosmere in general.
Not strictly a mercenary?
No, not a mercenary, she's kind of a freedom of information type person.
I'm assuming they met in White Sand, if Hoid is who I think he is in that one ;) but more how well does she know his agenda?
I'm not sure if you're thinking this, but Nazh and Hoid are separate people.
I dont recall hearing about this anthology until recently. Did Brandon need a break from writing S3 and so [Arcanum Unbounded] was put in the schedule?
This was put on the schedule when it was determined that Stormlight 3 wouldn't come out until next year. Brandon has been wanting to do something like this for a while, so we went for it.
The book is not just reprinting stuff you've already read. Aside from the new Lift novella (at 40,000 words it's actually a mini-novel), each story has a new full-page illustration and a postscript by Brandon. Each world section of the book has a planetary system map and an essay about the system written by Khriss, who writes the Ars Arcanum section at the end of the books.
Taldain, are you going to do something with Darkside?
Yes, we are actually... now that we have more experience with graphic novels, we are gonna do probably a Darkside-- three more graphic novels that are gonna be kind of like more focused on Khriss.
Will there be a prose for that?
There will probably not be a prose for it. I will probably do Taldain novels in the future but I can't promise them. For right now we are just gonna do the graphic novels. They take a lot less time from me. And we are gonna see it how it works out. There are certain things we like and certain things we don't like, and mostly it's our fault, right? Not getting across some of the worldbuilding to the artists and things like that. We are gaining a lot of experience. But I don't plan on a prose Darkside novel anytime soon.
What's Khriss's favorite magic system?
She does not think any of them are magic, so it would be in some sort of fiction book she's read in-world. They're all just science.
I asked him to tell me something about Nazh and Khriss.
Khriss is Nazh's employer. He gets the worst end of the deal.
Is Khriss going to make her appearance on Roshar?
So far, she's had Nazh do that, but she is in Shadesmar, or has been in Shadesmar at various points. So it's entirely possible. She lets Nazh do the hard jobs.
The worldjumpers in [Secret History] are they ones that have shown up in other books? And we just don’t know their names?
Yeah, they’re only tangential in the other books. I think one of them has only shown up on screen once. The other one’s shown up a couple of times but mostly in certain annotations and things like that. In the books, like on the maps.
I noticed in Oathbringer the scene where Ash shows up as the washerwoman. Her description reminded me a lot of Khriss. Did Khriss have any personal relationships with Heralds?
I'll RAFO that. Khriss has been around for a while, and the Heralds have been around for a while.
*reading a personalization request* Specifically what Khriss knows about the red haze around Scadrial and if she was trying to clue Wax in on the situation.
I can't tell you what Khriss knows about the red haze. Definitely not. She knows too much and I-- ...I can say "She knows too much".
Will you ever make a book based in Shadesmar?
Yes, I will, actually. There's one that I've plotted in Silverlight. Whether I'll be able to write it as a whole book, or whether I'll be able to do it just as a novella I'm not sure yet. But I do actually have a plotted-out story with Khriss as the protagonist in Shadesmar.
I can't remember if I asked you this before - is there going to be anything like a 'khriss's notes' proto-ars-arcanum for White Sand?
I think it would be neat to see how her style has changed over time.
I've been thinking about it. We'll see.
Since Khriss is actually from Taldain, does it mean, we are going to get a 100-page encyclopedia? (and please, let the answer be "yes")
Maybe some day.