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White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#1 Copy


I really like how you have different fingernails. *inaudible* Because I barely noticed, rereading for Stormlight, you've got the He--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Herdazians. 



Brandon Sanderson

That's because Herdazians are-- have Parshendi blood. Parshmen blood. They're one of the halv-- they're one of the mixed breeds. Horneaters *inaudible* too.


Horneaters, um.. they're not *inaudible* with Parshendi are they?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they are.


That's where they get the red hair then.

Brandon Sanderson

That's where they get the red hair. And they actually can-- they call them Horneaters because they eat shell, and they actually can metabolize it which humans can't. Yeah. They've actually got, actually-- they've actually got different teeth than humans have.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#2 Copy


I was just listening to Darn Carlin's Hardcore History podcast and Dan Carlin was talking about Genghis Khan's habit of seeing the potential in anyone, even an enemy. He was specifically going over the story of Jebe, a soldier who shot Genghis Khan in the neck and was recruited by the Khan because of his skill. This, at least to me, bears a striking resemblance to the final scene in the first flashback of [Oathbringer]. [Brandon] can you confirm or deny my suspicions that this scene was directly inspired by the real life event?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, that's where it came from! I read a history of Genghis a number of years back, and loved this story, which was included there (though said to be just a legend.) Since I based old-school Dalinar on Subutai, a Mongolian general, I thought that this would be a perfect inclusion.

The origins of the Mongolian-Dalinar link, by the way, can be traced back to a friend of mine, Bat-ultzi, a Mongolian who went about always claiming to be "The Great descendant of the Great Genghis Khan." He'd throw his shoes at people if they offended him. He was such a character that I got very interested in Mongolian practices and history.

More tidbits. Rock and his culture started Mongolian long, long ago. (98-99 era, when I first wrote him.) As Roshar in general (and the Alethi in specific) became more Asian in look and less Semitic (though they are still a mash-up) I decided to push Rock's people in the direction of a human/parsh hybrid strain. This also was part of moving Rock himself from Yolen to Roshar, following after Dalinar and some other characters, who came earlier during the original Dragonsteel / Stormlight split in the early 2000s.

These changes drove the Horneaters away from Mongolian influences, though I can't say specifically where the Polynesian/Russian mashup came from. I liked how it read, and felt the linguistics supported the accent. These changes, of course, had a domino effect that resulted in the Veden people gaining their occasional red hair and fair skin from Horneater relation, which means Shallan is part parshman--though the relation is distant at this point.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#3 Copy


I didn't realize Horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

Brandon Sanderson

There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.


Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

Brandon Sanderson



*via private message*

Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen. The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview ()
#5 Copy


The characters eat all of these crustaceans... do they have some sort of butter to dip into—even without cows, although maybe they have cows in Shinovar? (I can't be the only one who envisions himself on Roshar eating dinner every time I eat crab or lobster)

Brandon Sanderson

Their milk products are much lesser used, but they do get cream and whatnot from sow's milk. The pigs on Roshar produce more milk from years of natural genetic modification—breeding and whatnot—in the same way that humans have bred cows over the centuries. So they do have milk products. Some of their curries will have different types of cream. Whether they're dipping the crustaceans depends on the culture. For instance, Horneaters have teeth that break claws. Their back molars are different from standard human molars. To a lesser extent, the Herdazians have the same thing going for them. For those two cultures, they'll chew the shells and eat them. For the Alethi, they're probably dipping the meat in a curry, or just preparing the curry with the crustacean meat in it. There are other cultures where they’ll sauté it or have a sow's milk dipping sauce or things like that.

Liverpool signing ()
#6 Copy

Ayende87 (paraphrased)

I asked if the Aimians as a race were, as I suspected, closer to the Cognitive Realm, and whether they are somehow related to the Parshendi.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon started by saying there are 2 sub races of Aimians for a start, and Axies the Collector is of 1 set, we have yet to meet the other but we will!

He did say there is 'Something' going on with the Aimians and their interaction with the Cognitive Realm but wouldn't elaborate on that point.

He then went on to say that Aimians are not in fact related to Parshendi at all, but the Horneaters and Herdazians are!