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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

I do have to know, how many cousins [does Lopen have]?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on what your definition of cousin is. By Lopen's definition, there are a lot of cousins. He's counting like fifth cousins.

Questioner

Third cousin twice-removed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's his cousin. Like [someone] dating his sister, or his mom's sister - that's a cousin.

YouTube Livestream 7 ()
#6 Copy

Spencer Walther

Lopen clearly states he doesn't consider himself a broken character, like all the other Knights. Do you consider him a broken character?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not. And, again, "broken" is a term with a lot of baggage, let's point that out. I would rather use the terminology that a given person is comfortable with, and let them put definitions on that themselves. Because the way I view it, I don't really view most people as "broken," even if they may use that terminology. What they might have is, they might have certain mental health issues that they haven't yet figured out how to work with that are integral to who they are. But not broken, just still practicing. And that's how I would define a lot of people, but I don't get to define it for those people, if that makes sense.

And one of the things I like to do is to have a variety of viewpoints in my stories, to make sure I'm kind of running the gamut on this, and I think some of the characters in my stories would say, "Yeah. Something in me's broken. You can talk about all the funny business you want, Brandon, about just needing to practice. Something in me's broken, and I need to learn to deal with that. Either fix it, or learn to not let it ruin me." And there are people that I've talked to, that that's how they've described it.

I've talked to other people who say, "No, I'm not broken. 'Broken' implies I'm a less valuable person, because of that phrasing." That is something that I never want to imply. And so it is a dangerous word to use. I let people in fiction use it, because people in real life use it. But just wanted you to be aware of that.

So, the idea that a person needs to be "broken" to be a Knight Radiant is a part of the world that a lot of people talk about. I actually intend Lopen to be a counterargument to that. But people in-world would disagree with me. They'd say, "No no no, he's got some of these things." But if Lopen has them, we all have them. So there are no not-broken people, which also makes the word "broken" just completely wrong phrase to use, if that makes sense.

So, that is how I view it. But I admit that some of my characters would disagree with me.

Boskone 54 ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Lopen. Is he a squire, or does he actually have a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

He’s a squire. You’ll find out a lot more about what the squires are in the upcoming book. For most orders, squire were knights radiant potentially in training, so you can see what happens in the next book.

Oathbringer release party ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

The Lopen's cousins? Is there any significance to them, or are they just--

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're just, like, his cousins and his distant cousins. He just is somebody who knows everyone and is related to half the Herdazians around. There's no secret, they just really are.

Questioner

When they show up, ever time, I'm like, there's gotta be something with these guys.

Brandon Sanderson

They're a tight-knit group, those Herdazians.

Oathbringer release party ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

What did Lopen do to get on a bridge crew?

Brandon Sanderson

Lopen? Someone just thought he was annoying. Lopen, he's like the only person in Bridge Four who's, like, not a criminal. It's just like, "Oh, that stupid Herdazian, send him to a bridge crew, get him away." He's legitimately, like-- all of them have deep, dark, tragic pasts, but not The Lopen.

Questioner

Is he one of your friends?

Brandon Sanderson

No...

YouTube Livestream 1 ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

What inspired Lopen?

Brandon Sanderson

A couple things inspired Lopen. The first, and kind of most important thing, that inspired Lopen, was: I knew Bridge Four needed more light. Like, it needed somebody who just refused to be beaten down at all. Because things were so dark in the Bridge Four sequences, I knew I needed to add in somebody who just had a different personality. And I developed Lopen around that idea. Lopen is the guy that's going to be shoved into Hell and be like, "Hey, guys, what's going on? Wow, it's kind of hot here, huh. Well, we'll deal with that!" Just refuses to let it get him down.

The Herdazians, in general, came from me wanting to reach to other cultures that aren't often seen in fantasy novels for some of my inspirations. So a few of the Herdazian inspirations come from Hispanic culture. I think that's probably pretty obvious. But just not something that you see a lot in epic fantasy, for whatever reason. If people are writing epic fantasy, and they're reaching for cultures to base things on, they are usually going to go to Europe or to Asia. You're going to see a lot of Japan and China. You're going to see a lot of Germany. You're gonna see a lot of classical Europe, Hellenistic, things like that. You'll occasionally see the Persians because of like, the accumulated Persian inspirations and things like that. Then we have a "Cyrus the Not So Great" earlier - that was the Persians, right? Yeah ... But you don't see Mexicans, right? You don't see South Americans. And there's a lot of really interesting things to go there.

Now, it strays into dangerous areas when you're just like, "I'm going to lift this culture wholesale" and plop it in you're book, which is dangerous because you risk, really, misrepresenting that culture, appropriating it, things like that. But I think where fantasy comes from is going and actually doing deep dives into Earth's history and looking for inspirations for cultures. And with the Herdazians, I spent a lot of time in that direction. Because I was already reading on some of that for Rithmatist.

YouTube Live Fan Mail Opening 1 ()
#16 Copy

Jonathan McGuire

If Wayne and The Lopen were to meet, would they hit it off?

Brandon Sanderson

They would get along fantastically, absolutely fantastically. Lopen would find Wayne imitating his accent to be the funniest thing that he has ever heard... and Wayne would introduce him to all kinds of interesting modern conveniences like flushing toilets and whatnot and Lopen would find that all just delightful. So, yes they would certainly hit it off.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

Was Lopen ever actually a slave or did he just see a slave wagon walking by and was like, "Hey, can I join you guys?"

Brandon Sanderson

I'll get to his story eventually. But he did not spend a long time in a bad situation like some of the others did.

Questioner

*inaudible* One of the people just would walk up and it's like, "Hey, can I join you guys?"

Brandon Sanderson

It didn't happen quite like that but it is a little bit goofy.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

I asked about The Lopen, and it was a public Q&A, so I was trying not to be spoilery. But some of the things he said at the end of Words of Radiance, where he knew a lot about background processes. I asked if I should be suspicious of it, and you said, "Yes." Was that in reference to him becoming the king, that you revealed? Or is it because of something else that he knows about?

Brandon Sanderson

Background processes of...?

Questioner

It seemed he knew more about the squires, the process of being squires

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Lopen. Lopen knowing more. No, that's not about being the king. You are supposed to be suspicious of it because Lopen has been paying a lot of attention. He didn't have foreknowledge. It was completely accidental he ended up in Bridge Four. But once he did, he decided, "I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna learn about it." And he has been the one actively pursuing becoming a full Knight Radiant. He's the only one of the team who's actively been doing that. That's why you are supposed to be suspicious. There's not an ulterior motive. He is proactive.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

In The Way of Kings, how did Lopen get in and out of the chasms with only one arm?

Brandon Sanderson

So, he had a little help. And he can do it. Getting down and up-- I've actually seen people, looking online. You can climb a ladder. It's not easy. It's better if you have some help. But you can get up and down.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

In Herdazian, is there no personal pronoun, and that's why Lopen always refers to himself as "The Lopen"?

Brandon Sanderson

No, that is his personal thing. In Rock's language, most nouns are gendered, masculine, which is why you always see him flipping-- screwing that up. But Lopen, just his thing. Just his thing.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

Lopen, from the end of The Wheel of Time; and Lopen, from Stormlight Archive. Do they have anything in common?

Brandon Sanderson

Lopen, is there a character in Wheel of Time called Lopen? ...Must just be a coincidence, then. *laughter* I didn't write any intentional Wheel of Time references to my books, or anything like that. The only cameo sort of thing there is in there for me is, the sword that Robert Jordan's cousin gave to me out of Robert Jordan's collection, I wrote into the book. Kind of in the same way Robert Jordan wrote himself into the books as a ter'angreal that had lots of stories in it, that they discovered was his cameo for himself. I wrote in my sword. So my sword, that they gave me, which has painted dragons on the scabbard that look a lot (in my mind) like the ones on Rand's arms. And I don't know if he got that from that katana that he was given, but it was the one they gave my out of the collection, so I wrote it in. But any other connections you think you run into are going to be just coincidences. I do have a fondness for certain types of names.

Calamity release party ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

Did Lopen bond a spren or is he a squire?

Brandon Sanderson

As of right now, Lopen is a squire.

Questioner

Okay, as of right now. So it's a potential RAFO.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, I answered your question exactly. *questioner laughs* That's not a RAFO, that's an exact answer to the question you asked.

YouTube Livestream 20 ()
#30 Copy

Isaac Stewart

As Brandon has mentioned, we have some scenes from The Lopen viewpoint [in Dawnshard], and I'm going to show you The Lopen chapter icon.

I don't know if this will wind up in the actual main books, but if we have a Lopen chapter, we might.

Brandon Sanderson

So far, for Lopen, we've been using the generic Bridge Four icon, because usually what's happening is I have a whole section where we get a bunch of different Bridge Four viewpoints, and it makes more sense. But we needed one for The Lopen.

Calamity Houston signing ()
#32 Copy

Cadmium (paraphrased)

Who cut Lopen's food for him while he was one-handed?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*laughs* Well, I'd have to say he doesn't need anyone to cut his food for him, he'd just kind of "grr, arrgh" *pantomimes, stabbing something on table with fork and ripping into it with teeth* Because he's The Lopen right, and he can take care of his food himself. Great question. Very unique.