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Calamity release party ()
#1 Copy

Zas678

How does the Nalthis year compare to normal years?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, that's a PAFO. That's a Peter and find out. If you know much of orbits, and things like this, you will know that most of them have to be pretty close because of the nature of Goldilocks zones and things like this. But they all--

Zas678

Yeah. Yeah. They all have to be "year-ish", but the exact "ish" is going to be...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Mhm.

Footnote: Brandon's comment about the period of orbits in the Goldilocks zone is incorrect.
Holiday signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

The nature of humans on different worlds, like people from Warbreaker have a Breath, people from Scadrial, do they have a Breath as well?

Brandon Sanderson

They do not.

Questioner

That's specific to the Endowment Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup.

Questioner

I've read that Hoid does have a Breath. Was he born with a Breath or--

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid was not born on Taldain-- err Nalthis, on Nalthis. So no, he did not start with one. But the magic was much different when he started. He was before the Shattering of Adonalsium so things are weird regarding him.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vivenna notices the Tears of Edgli here, the flowers that drive Hallandren wealth and trade. I added these in an early draft, as I realized that there needed to be a cheap, easy source for all of those dyes the Hallandren use. (This was pointed out to me by my friend Jeff Creer, I believe.) The Tears offer something else as well—a reason for the wealth of the people. In early times, dye trades were extremely lucrative, and being able to control a method by which unusual dyes could be created would have been a very good basis for an economy.

I also like what it does for the flavor of Hallandren as a whole. This story happens in the place that is, in most fantasy books, far away. A lot of fantasy novels like to make their setting someplace akin to rural England, and they'll talk of distant countries that have exotic spices, dyes, and trade goods.

Well, in this world, Hallandren is that place. It's at the other end of the silk road, so to speak.

Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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Morsker

I'd like to ask what led to this decadence in the Iridescent Tones, what were the social causes? It started out as the Cult of the Returned, and a simple faith in caring for the Returned so they'd live long enough to fulfill their purpose. And I assume the Voice even sends them back without memories exactly to foster this faith and hope in people, so that mortals can be part of their salvation instead of just getting divine hand-outs. That sounds really nice. But by the time we reach the events in Warbreaker, a lot of corruption and cynicism has found its way in, no?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it has. Part of it is something that Lightsong points out. Their religion encourages the best of the Returned to give up their lives for their people, and they hit a patch where a lot of the best of them have already given up their lives. The rest have their needs and wants seen to. Beyond that, remember this is a society in which they're living in a very temperate climate where there isn't very much harsh weather at all; they're very sheltered, they have an extremely rich resource, and they have a lot of leisure time. So we're mixing leisure time with a somewhat selfish batch of Returned in control, and we're mixing that with a religion that focuses on art and beauty and that sort of thing.

I think one of the dangers this society would have to be worried about would be for this decadence to creep in as has happened at various points in various cultures around the world. The society certainly isn't irredeemable at all, but it is going through a patch of these three concepts aligning in some of the worst sorts of ways. But there are some better Returned than we focus on in the book, and there have been much better Returned in the past.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

In the last panel we talked a lot about people from different planets using magic systems on other planets, one of the things I've been thinking about, we've been thinking about, talking about Breath, and people being born with Breath, is that something specific to Nalthis or do, technically, other people on other planets have a Breath as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question and that is a Nalthian thing. Now, everyone in the cosmere to an extent has Investiture, the Nalthian Breath is part what everyone has and then a little extra, plus the ability to share it around. So a person who gives up their Breath on Nalthis is actually going below what a normal person has. But a normal person on Nalthis has more than somebody-- So if you were for instance to pick a world like Sixth of the Dusk, where there's not a Shard in residence, and you compared them to a Nalthian, Nalthian has an Investiture advantage over them. When they've given up their Breath, they have an Investiture disadvantage.

Bystander

So we're not Drabs?

Brandon Sanderson

So we're not Drabs. That's exactly it. We're not Drabs.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#7 Copy

Tyetnic

As another note, I think it's cool that the Cognitive Realm on different planets have similarities, but different styles, like the beads on Roshar vs the Mist on Scadrial. I assume all worlds have something related to this. (?)

I'm reading (listening to) Warbreaker currently, and I'm curious as to what the Cognitive Realm on Nalthis looks like. I imagine a neutral gray wasteland to represent nonliving matter (metal/rocks) and glowing clouds of color to represent people--glowing more powerfully if they have more breaths, no color if they are a drab--and less colorful more solid structures for once-living-matter. Similar situation with the whole "water is land, land is whatever the fuck the planet wants".

Brandon Sanderson

You'll eventually figure out what Shadesmar looks like on Nalthis.

elendeldailyplanet

Are there any big plans for the world of Warbreaker beyond the sequel? Or would that be a RAFO (equally exciting)?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Other Notes

Yes, there are Returned in Idris. There are Returned everywhere in this world that there are people. (The name of this world is Nalthis, by the way. Mistborn takes place on a world called Scadrial, and Elantris on a world known as Sel. See the fun things you learn by reading annotations?)

I'd like someday to do a sequel to Warbreaker, in part because I want to show off all of the different ways people in Nalthis deal with the Returned. They're treated in very strange ways some places. For instance, just across the mountains there's a kingdom where when someone dies in a way that might be heroic, the corpse is immediately purchased by a nobleman hoping to hit the jackpot and get a Returned. You see, since Returned can heal people, keeping one around to act as an emergency insurance plan to restore your health is a great idea.

Skype Q&A ()
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Alyssum [PENDING REVIEW]

How would someone with naturally perfect pitch be affected socially on Nalthis, even though they only have one Breath?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They would be regarded-- they would be well-regarded, let's say that. Now, you say on Nalthis, but there are a lot of cultures on Nalthis, and so they're not going to be a monolith, but a lot of cultures are going to consider this person someone who's touched by the divine, or someone who's-- it's going to be a sign, perhaps, that there's something about this person, depending on the culture.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#11 Copy

luckat

What is something that you would have put in the Nalthian essay if you had one in there?

Brandon Sanderson

I probably would have talked about how close some of these scholars are on Nalthis to understanding all of this. They're probably the closest to understanding the nature of the cosmere of anyone outside of the people who are actually worldhoppers. I probably also would have given some hints where the pool is.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Cryokina

Today I saw a paperback copy of Arcanum Unbounded and remembered this reddit comment, in which we're told we might get a Nalthis essay and map around the paperback release or around Oathbringer. Since both those times have passed, is there any hope we might still see it?

Brandon Sanderson

Dang. I'd totally forgotten. I'll have my assistant put it on my list of things to do, and make sure to write one out in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll stick it in the newsletter.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

Is there any other magic types on the Warbreaker world?

Brandon Sanderson

There are different manipulations and manifestations of Breath.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

They are gonna be much closer than, like, the Selish magic systems and things like that.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

So, the deviation is much smaller, but it does manifest in slightly different ways-- Kind of a thing.

TheHunter

Have we seen any?

Brandon Sanderson

Ahh! RAFO!

Manchester signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

..One of things I had difficulty with was coming up with names for the characters and seeing how your names are more than just random collections of letters, a lot of them actually have meanings behind them. I was wondering how you were able to do that.

Brandon Sanderson

That's actually a very good question and number one you should keep writing, even if you feel like what you are writing is a rip-off, it is better to finish that first book and be acknowledging your influences because you want to be practicing. And sometimes it is very useful to lean on something else while you do it. In fact this is how Great Masters did artwork, you can find-- I don't know if you guys know this-- various different versions of the Mona Lisa, we saw one in Spain, my wife and I, that was done by DaVinci's student while DaVinci was painting the Mona Lisa. "Here's what I painted now you do it too"  That was the means by which the Great Masters would train their students, so leaning on someone is just fine. You just can't publish it like that, but it can teach you a whole lot. Don't feel bad about that.

Names, I use two general methods, and this is not going to give it the justice it deserves, I'm giving you the five minute version. One version is I look for the linguistic attribute that is interesting to me that will visually distinguish these people on the page. So when you are coming across them and you see that name, I want you to say "I bet that they're from this country". That is really tough because that means they all have to feel similar but you can't let everyone get confused over who's who and that's the real challenge, it's the getting confused. For instance in Warbreaker I tried using some different things like we don't in our world. In Warbreaker I used repeated consonant sounds, so you get someone like Vivenna, when you see that double v, you are like she must be-- Llarimar, there's a double L, you pronounce them both out. T'telir. And when you get double repeated consonants you are like "Oh they are from this region, that makes sense to me even though they start with different letter there is something to them" The same sort of thing is supposed to happen in The Way of Kings, you see names that are mostly symmetrical. When you see something like Shallan and her name is a derivation of Shalash, who was one of the Heralds and its a symmetrical name. When you see something that reads almost, or does read, forward and backward the same way you are like "They must be either Alethi or they must be-- They've got to be Vorin because that is the Vorin religion influencing this". And hopefully it will give you some subconscious cue when you run across those names and you'll get it.

Now a way to do this that is easier is than doing all of that is going to take a lot of work linguistically is to go get yourself a nice atlas and say everyone from this country is going to have names that are analogous to this region in our world and I am then going to take this atlas and look for these names and use baby names from that culture... I did this in Emperor's Soul, I just picked ancient Persia, I picked people who lived there in this era and what they named their cities there and I'm going to take those words and I'm going to screw with them until it is not actually a word but it feels like it might be one. That way everyone from this region is going to feel like they've got a similar name. Or I can just-- For that book it was much easier because the linguistics were not as big a deal.  I could basically just crib off the bat. And that works very well also.

Sometimes I do it intentionally, Mistborn was supposed to evoke a sense of 1820's Paris, or London, that was what I was shooting for with the grime and the dirt, the ash falling. So I used French names and Germanic names and Spanish names and things like this, so when you run into Vin, Vin is just wine in French and Kelsier [Kelsi-ay] is how they would say-- you can say Kelsier [Kelsi-er] if you want-- and they have Kelsier and Demoux so you can go "Oh this is a French sounding region" so when you get some like Elend and Straff you are like "They are from a different region. They sound like the eat meat and potatoes and they try to conquer Europe periodically, those guys" *laughter* That helps you distinguish the regions very easily.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#17 Copy

esh99

I know there isn't a short story from Nalthis in the collection, but I still would have liked a Solar Map and Brief overview of the system in the Arcanum Unbounded. Maybe it could have just included the Warbreaker prologue and a link to the free download? The fact that even White Sand (an unpublished book/unfinished graphic novel) had one but Nalthis doesn't is a shame...

Brandon Sanderson

Truth is, part of me felt I'd find time for a Nalthis story at some point, but it never worked out. Edgedancer's length and involvement in the main Stormlight story sucked away the time for doing a Nalthis story. Maybe it would have just been better to stick one in, with no story, but it felt weird to me. Hindsight, looking at the book, I probably would do it if I had the chance over again.

fixer1987

Could the map and Khriss essay for Nalthis perhaps be released on your website/Tor's website sometime after Oathbringer's release or during the revision process for it.

Brandon Sanderson

I was thinking maybe we release it around the time of the paperback of the collection, if I can find time to get it done. But the Oathbringer release would be another good idea--maybe I'll do that instead.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Eric Lake

Here's a quote. "Why, the Astalsi were rather advanced—they mixed religion with science quite profoundly. They thought that different colors were indications of different kinds of fortune, and they were quite detailed in their descriptions of light and color. Why, it's from them that we get some of our best ideas as to what things might have looked like before the Ascension. They had a scale of colors, and use it to describe the sky of the deepest blue and various plants in their shades of green." Do the pre-Ascension religions correspond to religions from other Shardworlds, as this one seems somewhat like Nalthis?

Brandon Sanderson

I mention this in one of the Well of Ascension annotations.

After I came up with the idea and had Sazed mention it, my desire to explore it more was one of the initial motivations for Warbreaker's setting.

The answer to your question is yes and no. There are shadows.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Also, just in case you're wondering, the Bright Sea and the Inner Sea are both the same place. It's another Idris/Hallandren thing. Most mountains, oceans, and lakes have two names—the Idrian one and the Hallandren one. Originally, this happened because there was bad blood between the two kingdoms, so they'd call things different names in order to differentiate themselves. Ironically, in a lot of cases both names have stuck, and both kingdoms have found themselves alternating between the two names.

Inner Sea was the Idrian name for the body of water, renamed because they wanted to downplay how important it was. (Idris is landlocked, after all.) Bright Sea was the original name.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Portugal_Stronk

What is the status of that Arcanum Unbounded Nalthis essay you said you'd like to do one day? Is that still the plan? And, speaking of Nalthis, will we ever see a map of it? I think Warbreaker does a good job of showing the relative locations of places, but us map nerds would really like one, even if just a sketch.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually sat down to write it the other day, after someone reminded me on Reddit about it. But I quickly got distracted by something else. Soooo... Yeah, it WILL happen, I just have to squeeze it in.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Straff Venture

Are any of your books' locations (barring Legion) based on real-life places? If so, where? If not, what propels your creative drive to make new worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

All of the keeps in the Mistborn series are based on real structures I've visited. The mists are based on a trip to Idaho, were I drove through a fog bank at high speeds.

Warbreaker's setting was inspired, in part, by a visit to Hawaii.

Much of Roshar is inspired by tidal pools and coral reefs.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#27 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't sure if I wanted a map of the world in the front of this book or not. The problem is, if I give a world map, I risk doing it wrong. It takes a very specific set of geographic requirements for a rain forest to work, and what I wanted here was a kind of rain forest valley, irregular and out of place in the world. In the abstract, that can work—but the more details I pin down in the map, the less likely it is to be believable.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Nalthians seem to do a really good job of passing as Rosharan. Are they just better as disguising themselves, or do they naturally look like residents of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...Nalthians have some innate abilities that allow that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The hair, of course.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Not just the hair.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Four - Part One

Naming in This Book

The names in this novel, particularly in Hallandren and Idris, follow the concept of repeated consonant sounds.

I wanted to try something a little more distinctive in this book than the names were in Mistborn. In that book, I intentionally backed away from the insane craziness of the names in Elantris. I've written entire essays on how I devised the languages in that book. The names were appropriate for the novel, since the language was so important to the story. However, I know that the number and oddity of many of the names in Elantris was off-putting.

So, instead, in Mistborn I chose names that were much easier to say, and gave everyone a simple nickname. When it came time for Warbreaker, I wanted to try something else, to take a step back toward distinctiveness in the language, but not go as far as I had in Elantris.

I've long toyed with using double consonants as a naming structure. I played with a lot of different ways of writing these. I could either use the letters doubled up, with no break (Ttelir). I could slip a vowel in the middle and hope people pronounced it as a schwa sound (Tetelir). Or I could use the fantasy standard of an apostrophe (T'telir).

In the end, I decided to go with all three. I felt that writing all the names after one of the ways would look repetitive and annoying. By using all three, I could have variety, yet also have a theme. So, you have doubles in names like Llarimar. You have inserted vowels like in Vivenna. And you have apostrophes like in T'Telir.

I think it turned out well. Some members of my writing group complained about fantasy novels and their overuse of apostrophes in names. My answer: Tough. Just because English doesn't like to do it doesn't mean we have to eschew it in other languages. I like the way T'Telir looks with an apostrophe, and the way people will say it. So it stays.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

So I have a question about the cosmere. I recently read The Stormlight Archive books and I love them, and then I reread Warbreaker and I noticed something. When Siri was teaching the God King how to read, she says one of the letters is called shash and this is the name of one of Kaladin's slave brands. I was wondering why.

Brandon Sanderson

It was just a coincidence, that one's been asked of me before, yeah it's just a coincidence.

Oathbringer release party ()
#32 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, you know, on Scadrial, once metal is burned, it returns to the ecosystem, because matter is not created or destroyed. Does color do the same thing on Nalthis? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You're gonna make me try to decide-- does color have, um-- I'll have to think about it...