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YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

In your most recent Stormlight book, there was a character that came out as ace. Could you talk though that?

Brandon Sanderson

This is not a spoiler. I feel like this is there in the text, even though I wasn't 100% sure where I was going or how to pull it off. I think I was laying the groundwork for this character, and I was not completely sold, let's be perfectly honest. The members of the ace community who are fans were suggesting that this was how I was writing the character, and I did not want to canonize it until I had the right scene from this character's eyes to make it work. When I really sat down to do this, I tried the character several ways, and this is the way that felt right to me. I've often said that, until I write from a character's viewpoint, that I don't really know. And I had done viewpoints from this character before; at least one, maybe a couple. But I hadn't talked about their sexuality at all. And I explore the world through the eyes of my characters. And this was an exploration that really worked and kind of helped me understand the world and people in the way that I really like characters to do for me. That's part of why I did it. And I was holding off on talking about this character's sexuality until the right moment, and then I tried multiple different things, and this is the one that just really sang to me. People encouraged me to try it, and I'm glad that they did, because once I did, they were right, and it worked real well. So, thank you to members of the ace community who are fans of the books. I feel like the character locked into place better for me once I understood enough to try writing this way.

Footnote: The character in question was Jasnah, who was revealed to be asexual during Rhythm of War
Shardcast Interview ()
#2 Copy

Chaos

In Rhythm of War, when we see Veil in the scene in the bar when she's expressing interest in women. Was that meant to confirm Shallan is bi[sexual] in-text?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That was meant to be read as Veil legitimately - I realize you can read that as she's just joking around, but that was Veil expressing interest in the ladies.

Chaos

Well I suppose, what some people were saying, maybe Veil is bisexual and not Shallan.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that they are both, and maybe Veil kind of in a way to make less threatening to Shallan has started really only talking about women that way. Partially for Adolin's comfort and for Shallan's comfort. If that makes sense. It's more of a safe place, because for them they know she would not go and act on those if it were about men or women, but it would be more threatening if she were talking about men that way. 

FeatherWriter

I definitely got the vibe that Veil is more the sort of person who was willing to say those sorts of things, but knowing that a lot of the speculation about Shallan went back to book one, before Veil had even become a character, this has been with Shallan for a while way back when.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think Shallan would express it. She might be too culturally biased to even acknowledge it, but Veil? No.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Is Moash intended to read as being interested in men?

Beyond some of the things he says, I relate a lot to his feeling of alienation even within his marginalized group, as a queer poc.

Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't intentionally coding Moash as queer - but that doesn't mean I didn't do it on accident. I see him as straight, personally, but having gone so far down a dark path he basically feels nothing anymore.

Shardcast Interview ()
#4 Copy

FeatherWriter

I'm super psyched about the Rlainarin reveal that we've had recently. It was one of those things that reading Rhythm of War I'm like "Oh wow! There's a lot of cool chemistry here. And I don't think it's ever gonna be canon, but I'm gonna just love it quietly in my heart and tell other people that I think it's cool." And then finding out...

Brandon Sanderson

It goes back to Oathbringer too if you go back to Oathbringer.

FeatherWriter

It has! The scene in Rock's point of view. I'm just so glad it's actually happening. It warms my little Renarin loving heart.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. I looked for a place to get it into this book, I actually wrote scenes that "should I put this in this book?"  and they're like "No, if it will feel clunky just do it in book five." 

FeatherWriter

I think it was there enough, that a lot of us readers, got that the chemistry was there, and it could work very well.

Chaos

I think you can really do it justice, doing a same-sex relationship and do it really well. 

Brandon Sanderson

Well having two viewpoint characters - that's kinda one of my go-tos, right? To avoid tokenism, try to make multiple characters who think differently. One of the worries was: with Renarin being autistic, I don't want to conflate these two aspects of his personality. But having Rlain there lets me have diversity among a given representation in a single book. Just way more comfortable for me to write, because it lets me make sure that I'm making people their personalities, and not their defining attributes. Kaladin has depression; Kaladin is not depression. And that's a really important thing.

If its something that I'm less familiar with personally, it's more important that I have a variety of viewpoints. Even if its something like making sure that Jasnah is atheist and Kaladin is agnostic. And that I'm approaching their different worldviews from their personalities rather than as a cliché of some sort. 

ICon 2019 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Are you going to put a gay character in your book as a major character?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes! Someday I will, I want to... I'm easing my way into it because my specific culture and biases, I think would lead me to do it poorly, until I've... until I kind of ease my way in. There will be main characters who are LGBTQ in the future. I'm getting there, be patient with me.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#6 Copy

snowdayplease

Eshonai's one experience as a mate was a "disaster" and Rlain's time in mateform "didn't turn out the way he expected". Is that implying what I think it's implying?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're implying different things. With Rlain it's just that it turned out he was solely attracted to other men. Not a disaster, just not what he had anticipated. And Eshonai, I'm not implying the same thing there. I'm implying that she... when she did a mate she just did not like being in that form. It did not mesh well with her, she embarrassed herself in ways that... Eshonai outside of mateform considers that entire time an enormous disaster and a huge embarrassment. Does that make sense? I wasn't trying to draw a correlation between those two. It's a good question to ask because the structure of how I wrote those is very similar.