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JordanCon 2014 ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

With Lift part of the inspiration was-- Boy, what was the inspiration for Lift? When I was building The Stormlight Archive I said, "I want the Knights Radiant to run the gamut of different character styles, ages, and types of story." And when you say "knight"--when I say knight you imagine one thing. What you don't imagine is a thirteen-year-old Hispanic girl, right? And I said "I want to have the people that are in the Knights Radiant to not be the standard what you think of." They are the entire world's cultures having different people. And so I said "Well, what is somebody who does not fit that mold?" That you would say is not a knight. Lift was partially developed out of me wanting to build a character who was awesome but was so different from what everyone would think of. 'Cause you say knight and they think of white dude in armor, and I wanted something very different from that. And that's where she came from. It also came partially from my wife reading a lot of fantasy and complaining that she's like, "you know the Asians show up in fantasy a lot, Asian culture inspires a lot. European culture of course does. You see a lot of these things but where are the Hispanics?"

*audience laughs*

...Yeah there's one. So she challenged me to put a Hispanic culture in my books because I had never done it before, and so Lift is an outgrowth of that, so are the Herdazians. They are meant to be sort of in the same way that the Alethi are inspired by Korean culture, mashed up with this sort of concept of medieval knights. The same way Shallan is based a little off of Western American/Europe culture. The Herdazians are launching off some of the original Hispanic concepts. So the thing is, you want every culture to be new and original but you are working from somewhere. And the problem is we all work from the same stories for so long that is part of the reason why fantasy is starting to feel so stale.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

Her name, Lift, is it literally like 'lift', the sound, or is it translated from Rosharan, like the word lift?

Brandon Sanderson

It is translated from Rosharan.

Questioner

Is it a nickname?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I'll RAFO that. But that is actually, it's whatever in Rosharan...not in Rosh...in Reshi, whatever in Reshi...and Reshi is the Iriali language family, so...

Kraków signing ()
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Questioner

Is there going to be more Lift in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you’ll see some of her, she's reserved... most of her you'll see in the book 6 and on but you'll see little glimpses of her in the other ones. The stuff she has in Oathbringer is a riot, it's very fun.

BookCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

So Kaladin's in charge of the Windrunners, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is Lift in charge of the Edgedancers?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to see in the next book. Lift is the first Edgedancer they've found. Lift is not so good at being in charge of anything... So I wouldn't probably say the first one discovered has to be in charge. Different Orders of the Knights Radiant lend themselves to different styles of organization. Like, some of them are a lot more disorganized than the Windrunners, who you'll see have a very militaristic organization to them.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

You said in a previous question and answer that there was Cultivationlight, possibly. Since Lift is aligned to Cultivation, does she actually use Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. You know I'm staying away from this.

Footnote: The previous question referenced can be found here. This question has been answered here; she is generating Lifelight, which is Cultivation's Light.
Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Tiek00n

What would happen if Lift ate aluminum or other Allomantic metals? 

Brandon

Lift would not be able to do anything with Allomantic metals. Good question.

Tiek00n

Does that include turning them into Stormlight?

Brandon

Yes, that includes turning them into Stormlight.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Lift and Hoid disagree on bacon. 

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is this because food on Roshar is usually either Spicy (male) or Sweet (female), so salty bacon would just taste wrong to Lift?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

She just doesn't like the taste, please don't think too much into it.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Loose_Combination

Is Lift trans? Some of the specific scenes and wording when Lift stole the food from Rock's son seemed to indicate that?

Brandon Sanderson

This was not intentional. I have intended Lift to be assigned female at birth. I wouldn't play so coy with something that would be so relevant to trans readers.

alercah

I think /u/Loose_Combination meant the other way around. She's experiencing body dysphoria very much in the way a transmaculine character would.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I apologize. I didn't read closely enough.

So yes, there is something here. More her body disphoria is related to aging, and secondary sex characteristics are involved.

Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
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HellaSober

(Until the second five books, where our primary characters will shuffle. So you Renarin fans will have to be patient.)

Do you worry that assuring us that a character will likely survive the first arc of the series removes some of the tension in their scenes?

(While you've discussed the idea that a main character can have a book about them while they are dead when Dalinar was expected to be central to book 5, this seems different)

Brandon Sanderson

I have said many times before that Renarin and Lift are main characters for the next five, but--as you point out--I've also said that I have no problem having a main character who is actually dead, and their story told through flashbacks and the stories of the other characters. Renarin is not safe, but you will see a lot more from him in the future, even if he does die.

To say more would be to give too many spoilers about the nature of the back five books.

Dragonsteel 2023 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

what inspired Lift?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

(inaudible, there was a cultural influence), then he said that he wanted to have a teenager to kind of represent teenagers for his goal of representing everyone possible.

YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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Hannah

If video games existed in the cosmere, which current cosmere character that we know would be the best gamer?

Brandon Sanderson

Best gamer? Um...

Adam Horne

I want to see if your statement is the same as mine.

Brandon Sanderson

Whew, best gamer? Who wants to sit down and game?

Adam Horne

That's going outside of mine, my character probably would not want to, but I think they'd be very good at it.

Brandon Sanderson

Very good at gaming, very good at gaming... Lift.

Adam Horne

Oh, Lift would probably enjoy it. Mine is Sazed because he can store his speed and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Sazed would be technically, you're right, would be way, way better. I don't know if Wayne could slow time and put in inputs and then they would come out, I don't know how that would work.

Adam Horne

Is the tv outside of his bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the tv would have to be outside of his bubble. How would that work?

Adam Horne

What happens to a wireless signal when it hits the bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

Wireless signal is going to have a red shift. Physicist, what happens if a red shift happens? As I understand it, that actually wouldn't change it appreciably, but we'd let a physicist say on that. Regardless, yeah, Sazed would definitely have a big leg up. That's a very good answer.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

So Lift gets her awesomeness from food. Is that a Lift thing or is that an Edgedancer thing?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a Lift thing. She is a very specific thing, and what she is will come out more, as the series progresses. It's not just a little one-off, there is actually something more behind it, but it is not an Edgedancer thing.

Questioner

I was starting to think that maybe there was something that Cultivation's people had their own kind of Heralds, that had their own alternative energy so--

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to probably take until Lift's book to start to dig into it too much, but it isn't that far off, 3 books.

Questioner

*laughs* Only 3 books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, she is 6th.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Does Lift turn food into Investiture directly or is it similar to the metals on--

Brandon Sanderson

Similar to the metals.

Argent

So like a gate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

Okay, that's good to know.

Brandon Sanderson

She can metabolize-- She can draw-- It's not actually the food, it's-- It's not like the metals, not exactly. It's not-- What she can do is she can metabolize into Investiture instead of sugar. Does that make sense?

Argent

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

We metabolize food into sugar. She can metabolize it into Investiture. Does that make sense?

Argent

That makes a lot of sense. So if she eats--

Brandon Sanderson

She's got to have a blood sugar spike.

Argent

So if she eats like a cake it will give her more Investiture--

Brandon Sanderson

Faster. It will give her faster.

Argent

Whereas if she eats a vegetable...

Brandon Sanderson

Vegetable... More calories is going to equal more. But the better comparison would be a sausage and bread. Because bread is a fast blood sugar spike and the sausage is not. And that's how I'm working in my head. It's kind of a magical version of a blood sugar spike and I have it happen to her faster than it could happen. Like normally you eat a piece of bread and your blood sugar spikes in a half hour, it's going to go faster for Lift.

Argent

Hers is like five minutes.

Brandon Sanderson

Hers is like five minutes, but a sausage would be slower.

General Signed Books 2018 ()
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MiToRo94

Since all matter and energy are Investiture in different forms, and the magic of Investiture depends on the Shard it is most closely connected to, could it be theoretically possible for Lift to burn food on Scadrial to have the powers of a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

This wouldn't happen naturally - she would still get Surgebinding powers, even on Scadrial.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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Fox

In Edgedancer, Lift refers to Hoid as "Ol' Whitehair". Was Hoid not in disguise at the time? Did Lift and Hoid have any encounters between Oathbringer and Rhythm of War?

Brandon Sanderson

Lift has seen... how about this. Lift knows what Hoid is. Maybe not intellectually, because Lift doesn't know a lot of things intellectually, but she's connected dots that others have not connected and indeed she has seen him without his disguise on. She is another weird one. She pops in places she's not supposed to.

That was done deliberately, I shall say.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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Sacae-

I am a bit sad Lift didn’t tag along to Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

I was actually going to send her on that mission, and wrote this chapter with that intent. Then I re-read what I'd written, and decided, "There's no way on Roshar Dalinar and Navani would send her on a delicate diplomatic mission." So I forced myself to revise the outline so Lift stayed in the tower.

There are some things that just stretch plausibility too much.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

When Odium and Dalinar were having their meeting in Oathbringer, Odium seemed kinda freaked out by something. Could it possibly be related to how Lift can interact with spren in the physical world, and that might cause some problems for him, <seeing the impossible>?

Brandon Sanderson

He is weirded out by Lift, certainly. Lift is something that shouldn't exist, let's just say that. You'll find out why, probably in book 6? But she should not exist.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Audrin

Here's my theory, and I want to get it down here so when it turns out to be right I can say "See I called it!"

​Dalinar becomes the new Honor, Lift becomes the new Cultivation. Why? Cultivation touched three people, Dalinar, Taravangian and Lift. She planned for Taravangian to become the new Odium, so I figure the other two are the new Honor and her eventual successor Cultivation. At least this is Cultivation's plan, even if that's not exactly how it ends up happening.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO indeed.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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TallRedditor

Is there a specific reason as to why Lift can synthesize food into stormlight? Or is she just special?

Have we met/Will we meet anyone else that can take in stormlight in a different way?

Brandon Sanderson

She is unique, and was not born with the ability.

Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
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the-kings-wit

One thing that I'm slightly confused about is who the primary POVs will be for the second set of 5 books in the 10-book series. I've heard a bunch of names being floated around on various online forums--such as Jasnah, Renarin, and Taravangian to name a few--but are any of these confirmed? Any word of Brandon as of yet?

Brandon Sanderson

It's possible this will change. But the back five have been planned as Jasnah, Renarin, Lift, Taln, and Ash. Though, once again, this isn't a promise that these people survive. You'll likely see at least one flashback set in the series from a character who has died in a previous book, and then you get to see something they experienced through flashbacks before their death.

faragorn

I'm having trouble locating Ash. No direct matches on coppermind.net, 17th shard forums or google.

Do you mean Ashir from one of the WoK interludes? Or perhaps someone we haven't met yet (at least by name).

Brandon Sanderson

There are a lot of weird things going on with Ash, so what's up with her will be something you'll have to wait on for a long while.

Enasor

But how about the characters we currently love? Are they all gone in the second half??? This is terrible :-(

Brandon Sanderson

No, they will be around. (Well, if they survive.) But the second series will be taking place years later, and their roles may have changed.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

Why pancakes?

Brandon Sanderson

My kids love pancakes, I thought Lift would really like pancakes. And pancakes are pretty universal, like, most cultures come up with a pancake-type thing. Now they aren't always the sweet pancakes, fluffy ones that we imagine. But, like, almost every culture, pancakes are a thing. Some weird batter with stuff in it you pour onto a hot skillet.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Zantis

Let's say Lift received two Hemalurgic spikes: one for Allomantic bendalloy and one for Feruchemical bendalloy. Then she eats a bunch of pancakes, stores the nutrition in a piece of bendalloy, burns it to compound nutrition. Can that nutrition be turned into Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.  Yeah, but remember she didn't have to be-- so basically what that-- Is just a really complicated way for her to turn Allomantic Investiture-- so that it can allocate Allomantic Investiture into Stormlight. That would be a complex method of doing that. Just transferring one type of Investiture into another. It's just basically drawing from Ruin and she is then turning it into Stormlight-ish? It's a complicated thing, but that's basically what happens, just really crazy.

Zantis

Okay, so-- but it is the same sort of thing, right? *hesitant nod from Brandon* And--

Brandon Sanderson

I hope that eventually in the cosmere they will find easier ways than that.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

If Lift ate something that had like, gold leaf on it, 'cause some foods like-- She would be turning that gold leaf into Investiture or Stormlight, right?

Brandon Sanderson

If it is giving-- So the gold leaf would probably pass through her system.

Questioner

So she wouldn't be...

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm, yes, that things that she eats that she can metabolize, she can turn into Stormlight.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Shadowglass0

If someone used Hemalurgy to give Lift from Words of Radiance the ability to use Bendalloy Feruchemy, could she convert the nutrition she gets out of Feruchemy into stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Theoretically possible, I suppose.

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
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Elijah Stormblessed

Does anyone other than Lift use "starving" as a swear word or did she make it up?

Brandon Sanderson

Heh, she made it up. That is just Lift being Lift. There are a lot of things in these books that are just Lift things and that's one of them.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Lift as an Edgedancer. Doesn't seem very coordinated, which seems to be the preeminent part of being an Edgedancer. Was Lift actually maybe better for another Order?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that, in the eyes of some of the spren, taking somebody who maybe doesn't quite fit the mold for your Order but has the heart that fits it is a better choice. And I think Lift and Wyndle and some of the texts may be comparing what someone at the beginning of the journey to someone near the end of their journey. So let's just give her a little time.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Ethour

Would a Shardfork be effective in combat?

Brandon Sanderson

...Depends on who has it. I think-- There were war tridents that were used, historically, but I'm gonna say that, on average, a sword's a better choice. But, I mean-- Lift isn't hot on hurting people, even when she's fighting them, so it's kind of a weird thing.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

So in The Stormlight Archive series--

Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archive? How old are you? *laughter* How old are you?

Questioner

Nine.

Brandon Sanderson

Nine?! You're reading The Stormlight Archive? You are awesome! *cheers*

Questioner

So the character Lift, for her powers, why does she have to eat food instead of sucking in--

Brandon Sanderson

So why does Lift have to eat food instead of sucking in Stormlight. So Lift is a really weird one, she visited the Old Magic and asked something very strange. And the Old Magic didn't know how to treat that and answered with something equally strange. So you will eventually see what happened with Lift and things like that but suffice it to say some really weird things are going on with Lift.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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socool111

I do have a quick question about Lift.

She is my favorite character (which is in by no means a sleight against your other AMAZING characters, I just love her dialogue and outlook on the world). I know you have intentions of giving her more space in the archive, but will any of it be in book 3.

Brandon Sanderson

She will appear in Book Three, but the real place for her is starting in Book Six. That's why I wanted to do a novella about her now. I might do more.

Lift is the sort of dangerous character that can cause epic fantasy series to spin off on tangents. She's fun, and I know she's relevant later--but if I start giving her big chunks now, it will distract from the important stories of the characters in these books, and might also play Lift's story out too early.

I think you'll enjoy Edgedancer, though.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Ray745

Is Lift the only one who is able to see the afterimage around Szeth when he moves? And would she have seen that afterimage around him before he was brought back to life by Nalan?

Brandon Sanderson

Lift is seeing that Szeth's soul isn't quite attached to his body any longer. She is not the only one that can see it, but her special physiology is certainly helping her see it.