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Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#1 Copy


One of your characters wishes for and is given capacity... That is one of my favorite concepts of all the books that I read of yours. Can you talk about the inspiration for that gift of limited and maximum capacity?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

To not give spoilers, there is a character in The Stormlight Archive who has asked the Old Magic, which is a force that kind of has references in things like The Monkey's Paw and what-not, a force that doesn't always give you things exactly the way you want them. And I built, by the way, the Old Magic into The Stormlight Archive because I felt that at a certain point, while I love to do these rule-based magic systems, I wanted there to be a contrast to it... It's kinda like this idea that, yes, modern science and things have explained a lot of stuff, but there's something primal, perhaps, in the past, I don't actually know. But that idea that there's a primal magic that doesn't really adhere to the rules, we can't anticipate it, was really, I felt, vital for me to include so that I didn't overexplain everything in the books.

So, there's a person who asked for capacity. It wanted to be, let's say, strong enough to lift (it's not actually strength, but it's more of an emotional thing) what was coming. That, I feel like, is a very real thing to wish for, right? I have frequently, like... people say "What would you wish for," and I say "The ability to fly," because I would love to be able to fly. But really, if I sit and think about it, capacity, ability, the capacity to hold all of this stuff in my head, would probably be the sort of thing that I would wish for. So this character, in some ways, is giving wish fulfillment for me, because that's what I would maybe ask for if given the opportunity, but even that kind of turns on its head because the Old Magic just doesn't get people in the way that people think they should be gotten.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#3 Copy


Is the Old Magic in Shinovar, and is this a result of something to do with Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson

The Old Magic is at The Valley, which is not in Shinovar, which is… If you've got a book, I'll show you where it is.... Let's see where Issac's wonderful map is, the first big one… Right here. So the Valley's right there. So that's where you go in order to visit the Old Magic.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#4 Copy


So for the Old Magic, in this classification system of end-positive, end-neutral, and end-negative, where would that fall under?

Brandon Sanderson

So, almost every magic in the cosmere is end-positive, almost every magic is relying upon an external source of Investiture to power it. So that phrasing is mostly more relevant to Scadrial than anywhere else, because that concept is how I'm dealing with things like the laws of thermodynamics, and even what they call end-neutral is relying a little bit on the power of Investiture to facilitate. So even an end-neutral magic system as they define it on Scadrial is actually not end-neutral. What you get put in you get out, but the power is facilitating that transfer… So that phrasing is kind of a... Take that as a science on.. Scadrial that does not extrapolate well, and may not even be 100% accurate.


That would have been a great thing to know before we did the cosmere magic panel. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

I look at it as, is an Investiture externally powering the magic, and if you look at Allomancy, yes it is. You are drawing that power out. Feruchemy, you are putting Investiture in from your own body, it's your energy transferring to Investiture, which is being stored, which you are then drawing out, and things like that. But that changing forms is facilitated by the magic. Whereas you're stealing stuff with-- So you could look, for instance at the magic on Nalthis, you could look at that one as being-- as kind of working as end-negative, meaning "I am taking it away from someone else", or end-positive depending on if you're the one receiving it or not. So again, it's a phrasing that can be useful as a tool but doesn't scale well to the other magics.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#5 Copy


I kind of envision the Old Magic working a little bit like Hemalurgy, where some-- takes a part of the Physical DNA of the person and transmutes it onto the Cognitive DNA because everything seems to be a Cognitive shift for the person, am I thinking along the right lines?

Brandon Sanderson

You are thinking along very-- Yes you are thinking along the right lines.  I won’t tell you exactly but you are thinking along the right lines.