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General Twitter 2017 ()
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Payden McRoberts

So with the great map in Oathbringer, I was able to update my map of Roshar from space! Enjoy!

As always, thanks to @BrandSanderson, @IzykStewart, and @PeterAhlstrom for making such an inspiring and awesome world.

[Payden_McRoberts_1_Roshar_From_Space.png]

Peter Ahlstrom

Did you use the one from the ebook? Also your equator is too high...

Payden McRoberts (Part 1/Part 2)

Yeah, I made a grid of 100 degrees latitude and 200 longitude, projected it into azimuthal equidistant, and wasn’t quite able to match it to the graticule in the ebook map. I got it as close as I could and assumed your projection was slightly different.

[Payden_McRoberts_2_Azimuthal_Equidistant.jpg]

[Payden_McRoberts_3_Azimuthal_Equidistant.jpg]

Is the equator supposed to go through the top of Kadrix?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yes. Through the word Kadrix. I’m guessing the latitude the projection is centered on is a bit off.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

Is the crem--is it natural--are the highstorms magically created and that's why--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah the crem is there to keep the continent from washing away. So I had to add a magical element that, if it were not in the cosmere with magic, this would not work.

Questioner

Is that why the Weepings don't have crem, is that's a natural storm?

Brandon Sanderson

That is because I didn't want there to be too much crem at that point. These are all story structure things, instead. World-wise, I would say a little more natural, sort of blow off steam, there.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

'inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

There's a lot of divisions in the lighteyes. The lighteyes are basically...there's as many of them as there are darkeyes and the lower ranks of lighteyes are basically peasants, like you would look at them and say, but they're not quite, they're like Roman citizens, not all the Roman citizens were wealthy, things like this. And so all of them, their lives would be fairly familiar to you. The higher you go on the rankings, the less likely they are to care for their own children.

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see a very young child in the next book and I think at least one baby. But it's not a baby of relevance to any of the main characters.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

I heard you talk about the Vorin languages have a vowel shift. I'm a linguist so...

Brandon Sanderson

I'm kind of bad at vowel shifts, but it does have a vowel shift. You'll see Kalak being called Kelek, and some of these things like this. And I try to stay consistent with it, but I've also not been as rigorous with it as I maybe should be. Peter always points out little errors I've made. So it's a vowel shift that has some inconsistencies, how about that. But of course, real-world vowels shifts have it.

Questioner

You need to publish something only about the conlang.

Brandon Sanderson

Only about the linguistics? Yeah, having an assistant who has a degree in linguistics is really handy. Peter's been of very big use, particularly on Stormlight, because I didn't have him before those books. I just kind of had to muddle through it. And now I've got him. I'll call him up and say, "Pronounce this; pronounce this." There are lots of names in Stormlight that I can't pronounce that he can... The Arabic /q/ ...he can do, and I can't. Which we use a lot in some of the names over in Azir, and stuff like that.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

What’s the story behind Vedeledev's Golden Keys, or are we going to hear it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Vedeledev's Golden Keys are more of a mythological thing like the sword that forbade people from entering the Garden of Eden, things like this that, they have existed but they're more symbolic… does that make sense?

General Reddit 2016 ()
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BipedSnowman

This is just a little thing I thought of that is kinda neat. Symmetry on Roshar is seen as holy, but the letter H can be used in place of another consonant without "spoiling" the symmetry.

Is this because of the spelling of the name Honor? If the H is a stand-in for the R, it makes the name symmetrical.

Dickferret

Where is the "h" thing mentioned?

BipedSnowman

I am copying this from somewhere else, but apparently WoR chapter 47. (I guess i tagged the post wrong, but it's just barely a spoiler anyway.)

""Bajerden? Nohadon? Must people have so many names?" "One is honorific," Shallan said. His original name wasn't considered symmetrical enough. Well, I guess it wasn't really symmetrical at all, so the ardents gave him a new one centuries ago." "But ... the new one isn't symmetrical either." "The 'h' sound can be for any letter," Shallan said absently. "We write it as the symmetrical letter, to make the word balance, but add a diacritical mark to indicate it sounds like an h so the word is easier to say." "That - One can't just pretend that a word is symmetrical when it isn't!" Shallan ignored his sputtering [...]"

pwnt1337

Is this similar to the many interpretations of the spelling and pronunciation of YHWH?

Brandon Sanderson

Hebrew, among a few other languages, is an inspiration for some languages in the cosmere. (One of them is Alethi.) That said, in this case it's more like how in some Asian countries, they would give honorific names to famous scholars or rulers after they pass away.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Kogiopsis

Kind of along the same lines, I just want to confirm something. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?

Brandon Sanderson

It would-- The model I use are actually for the half-Hawaiian, half-Asians that are kind of common in Hawaii. That's the model I've used; I actually have one of their faces for Kaladin. So it would depend on what your perspective is, you might say-- some people might say Arab, but the model I'm using is kind of more Hawaiian/Asian mix is what you'd get. The only ones that would look Caucasian to you straight-up would probably be the Shin, though if you get someone who has Horneater blood-- The Horneaters might look-- they just-- they're gonna look like bizarre… redhead… things, but they might look Caucasian to you.

swamp-spirit

So would Shallan also be more towards that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shallan has lighter skin. But she still has the epicanthic fold, and so she maybe would look to you like a Caucasian/Asian mix? With red hair? So… Anyway, she would look fairly Caucasian.

swamp-spirit

I will attempt to send you excited fanart.

Kogiopsis

I've been picturing the Alethi as Indian, myself.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yeah. Yeah, yeah, like East India? That’s a pretty good picture on them. That would work very well.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Boogalyhu34

I asked you at minicon if Roshar had always been the only large landmass on the planet and I think you said that there was once no large land mass on Roshar. Did I hear you correctly? I've been kicking my self for months for not recording that small q and a.

Brandon Sanderson

You heard me right.

FatalTragedy

Does this mean Roshar was once an archipelago?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Did a lot of the life on land from Roshar come from the sea? Because they all have shells. Or is that just the highstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

That’s just the highstorms. Good question actually.  I mean I would say that evolutionary, certain traits that vanished on Earth did not vanish on Roshar because of the highstorms. But also things evolved independently similar attributes because of the storms. So it's a yes and a no.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

How does a world that is wracked by Storms supply food for and entire population?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, you um... The thing to keep in mind is, it's not a barren planet. There are lots of plants on this planet. When-- I mean, it's no more barren than a corral reef that deals with the tide rushing in and rushing out. Now, the life has to adapt to it, but it's a really lush planet. You-- I mean, if you go and you look at the Shattered Plains there's grass everywhere and plants growing all over the place. It's just, right before a Storm, it becomes barren and then becomes lush again.

*long pause* 

Yeah, that was, um... One of the things I kind of have to overcome with this books is, though it is very rocky and stony, it's also very lush, and it's hard sometimes for people to imagine that. But even if it is a little bit barren, Utah is barren, and it supported people.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

A friend of mine wanted me to ask: Was the cataclysm that rocked Ashyn and forced its inhabitants into the flying cities Investiture-based, and if it was was it Shardic in nature?

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that the-- did you finish [Oathbringer]?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that they were fleeing, that they caused, is the one that forced people into the skies...

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is there more significance to the 10 other planets around the Rosharan star system and them being gaseous? We know that Roshar's moons have unnatural orbits; so there seems to be some astronomical manipulation in the system.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is significance of 16 in cosmere and 10 in Rosharan system.

Herald (paraphrased)

The outer 10 gas giants in the Rosharan system suggest a tie to the number 10 that predates the arrival of the current Shards. Is the prominent numerology we see around the cosmere an inherent property of the planets, rather than the Shards who invest them?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Big RAFO.

Herald (paraphrased)

Would Ashyn/Braize share the 10-centric numerology of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes 10-centric is for the entire Rosharan planetary system...wait Braize is 9-centric.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Does Roshar have plate tectonics?

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar does not have plate tectonics, good question.

Questioner

Well when I met you in Orem, I was asking about frequencies. And you said it was more the shape of the plate-- The frequency. We've got no plate tectonics, we've got people who like to sing.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. Now the weird thing that we would have is with the crem, we have to do some weird geology gymnastics, because Roshar is moving...

Roshar, the continent of Roshar, it's moving, right? As it gets weathered and things like this. Making Roshar actually work requires some really interesting scientific gymnastics. But one of them is I just didn't think plate tectonics, or even volcanoes and things, is just not something that is going to work on Roshar the way that I built it. So I just stayed away from all of that.  It's a pangaea.

Questioners

Is the pangaea built up of crem?

Brandon Sanderson

 It's a pangaea built up of crem.

Rubix

Over a long time--

Brandon Sanderson

Well no, because it was created at first.

Bystander

And then crem was on top of it?

Brandon Sanderson

...The whole idea that this is a fractal-- The whole point of that is, somebody built this. Somebody built this using mathematics that you know. They said "Oh. Boom. Bing!" and grew themselves a continent.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

How many more secret societies are on Roshar? What-- More of them?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a few but most of the ones you haven't found out about are either in countries you haven't gone to and spent much time with or they are offworld societies that are involved in Roshar. You know most of them.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Camposteria7

Do Rosharans believe that their planet is flat?

Brandon Sanderson

Rosharans do not believe their planet is flat. 

You could find Rosharans who believe that, but most of them that you had talked to would just be like, "What's a planet?"

Because if you go to rural parts of most of Roshar and you're like "What do you think of your planet?" They'd be like "What do you mean by planet?" You'd be like "Well, the thing you live on", they're like "I live in Bavland". They're not viewing a planet. They don't understand that, but like sailors all know that Roshar is a sphere, and you know the educated would definitely know. This is not a question. But even talking in terminology of a planet I feel is hard for the Rosharans because when you say "The world," that they can grasp, right like, oh just everything. When you say "Your planet," or "This planet," it makes you have to be like "Wait. There are others? I suppose there are but ramifications." And so, yeah.

Prague Signing ()
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Snoxcatko

Roshar--it's obviously, it is or it seems to be in the Southern Hemisphere. Is there something else in the world?

Brandon Sanderson

There are no other continents. It's not completely--it is Southern Hemisphere--but I think we inch up above the equator, don't we?

Isaac Stewart

Just a bit, just the islands. They kinda curve over the equator.

Brandon Sanderson

There are no other continents but there might be other smaller landmasses.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Where did you get the idea for the gemhearts.

Brandon Sanderson

So, I wanted-- in the books, I wanted there to be an economic component to the magic, like, something that was based on the money in the world. And I knew I wanted to use the gemstones, but I also knew they would be used up really quickly by the magic, with Soulcasting. So, I built something into the creatures of the world, so that we could renew the gemstones, so they wouldn't all just be gone after a few hundred years.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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nnneeeerrrrddd

Over a long enough timeline would Roshar's "random" seasonal pattern show an actual predictable pattern, or is it truly random?

Brandon Sanderson

I think I know what you're getting at, and if so, you're right. But just to answer the question: temperature variation on Roshar doesn't follow much of a pattern, and is relatively small in variance. It's caused by the blowing of the storms, so over the long term, looking VERY hard, you could probably find some patterns. They'd be related to the frequency and strength of storms during that time of year.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
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king of nowhere (paraphrased)

Then I asked him about Jasnah in Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that he still is not sure whether to include it in the book or not, but he most likely won't. The reason is that he fears it will lessen the impact of something that will need to happen later in the book. so, it implies some characters will visit Shadesmar and have some important adventures there, which Jasnah's story may spoil. he is looking forward to showing Shadesmar on Roshar; we saw it on Scadrial, but on Scadrial it is mostly uninhabited, while in Roshar there are all the Spren.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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flying_shadow

How would an albino with red eyes be regarded on Roshar? Do they even exist there?

Brandon Sanderson

They would be deeply mistrusted. (Unfortunately.)

Mathota

Just because Rosharans are racist, or is it a cultural carryover from fear of the Voidbringers?

Peter Ahlstrom

Probably both.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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BipedSnowman

Does this [map of Roshar] look like a storm to anyone else?

Brandon Sanderson

I was searching for something that at once felt organic, but would hint at a pattern. (Much like cymatic patterns, as referenced in the first book.) Fractals and mathematical functions became my go-to place to hunt, as I like the blend of structure and spontaneity they can sometimes exhibit. The slice of the Julia Set was the one that stuck with me as feeling perfect for Roshar. As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium, you now know the seed that was used in-world to create it.

The fact that it looked like a swirling cloud is part of this all--but also part of the connection between natural patterns and the underlying math, which is a primary theme of the Stormlight books. So yes, it SHOULD look like a storm--but for deeper reasons than you might assume.

Argent

I asked Isaac recently, but he suggested you might be the right person for this - do you have a specific equation for the Julia set you used to generate Roshar? I know it resembles a few easily Google-able images of (shadows of slices of) Julia sets, but I was curious if had specific numbers here.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't have any numbers I could give you. Sorry. I might be able to find them, if I looked, but it would take more time than I'd like.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

On the eye colors on Roshar, there are some weird ones, like orange and yellow. Are those there for a specific reason, or are they just--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. The whole eye color thing is kinda based a little bit on the Knights Radiant, the eyes changing is involved there. What's normal eye colors to them, it's just normal to them. It's not weird to see violet eyes and things like that. But it would be weird to us.

Questioner

Did the eyes have to do with the Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

I'm asking why they have chickens.

Brandon Sanderson

...They were carried with them.

Questioner

So is Earth...

Brandon Sanderson

Earth is not. There are several Earth analogues. I go with a default, we're gonna make it easy on myself. Those planets have, kinda, Earth analogue for plants and animals. And then you can assume that they have Earth creatures until I start doing ecology really quite weirdly.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Jess

Do Rosharans store their gemstones in spheres in imitation or inspiration of the spheres in [Shadesmar]?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they don't. There is a relationship there, but that's not what caused it.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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BeskarKomrk

When you say Scadrial has an earth similar year, are you referring to the time it takes the planet to go around the sun? Or the year as people on the planet would measure it (e.g. Vin is fifteen years old when her brother leaves her)? Are these the same thing?

While I'm here, a selection of related questions for you if you have the time:

  1. Did the length of a year (as measured by the people on the planet) change when Scadrial was moved by The Lord Ruler/Harmony?
  2. I've assumed that lengths of time given in the books use that world's time lengths. For example, the Reod happens ten Selish years before Elantris (which may not correspond exactly to Scadrian years or Earth years), or that the 4500 years between the prelude and the prologue of Way of Kings is in Rosharan years. Is this an accurate assumption?
  3. I've assumed in the past that all the major shardworld planets we've seen have roughly earth similar years. Can you confirm/deny this for any of them specifically? I'm especially interested in Sel and Nalthis. (Specific numbers would be ideal, but even a yes/no for any of the planets would be super super awesome!)

Brandon Sanderson

  1. I mentioned in another post that I'll wait a bit to give you exact numbers, because I want to make sure Peter has run all the right calculations. But yes, changing the orbit had an effect on things--though official calendars didn't need to change, as they'd been used since before the original shift happened anyway. When we talk about 'Years' in the Final Empire, it's original (pre LR) orbit anyway. I knew I was going to go back to them later in the series, and when characters were actually aware of things like the calendar, it would be close to earth standard.

  2. Though, since you mention it, all numbers mentioned in their respective series are in-world numbers. This makes things tricky, as Rosharan years (with the five hundred days) are blatant enough to start the average reader wondering about these things.

  3. Mostly, Roshar is the big one (not in actual deviation--I think a Roshar year is only 1.1 Earth years--but in how the scope and terminology of the novel will make people start to notice and ask questions.) Other planets have deviations from Earth, but it's not as noticeable. We'll give specific numbers eventually. I promise.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

So Roshar is pretty small on the map. Are there other species on the planet that we don't know about?

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar is primarily the one continent. There are no other continents.

Questioner

No other continents?

Brandon Sanderson

No other continents... There are no other major landmasses on the planet.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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[unknown]

Rereading Words of Radiance... Are the Herdazians a caricature of Mexicans? Is that ok?

Brandon Sanderson

Parts of their culture are inspired by Mexican culture in the same way the Alethi are inspired by Mongolians, Lift's origins are indigenous Bolivians, and the Final Empire (Central Dominance) was 1800's France. Human beings need a launching-off point for creativity to work.

I don't consider them a caricature. Lopen is extreme to say the least, but I made sure to include Palona, Huio, and others as a balancing factor. That said, I don't get to decide if what I did works--I get to try, and explain my motivations, but the decision on whether or not I succeed is not in my hands. Many a writer has had the best intentions, but has failed anyway.

I think it's important to diversify my inspirations, and push myself. If I were going to say the true inspirations for Herdazians, it would be a Mexico mashup with Korea (where I lived for several years.) The smaller country that has long been overshadowed by a dominant neighbor is a very common thing in our world, and it really felt like Alethkar would have a similar effect on kingdoms around it.

I will take a moment to note that chouta wasn't inspired by burritos, really, but more the "street food" explosion that accompanied the industrial revolution. I took what they had in the society (flatbread and Soulcast meat) and tried to build something that would replicate the things I've seen and read about in our world during that era, because it fascinates me.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

Technological progress. So Scadrial is going all the way to cyberpunk.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

DrogaKrolow

But do you plan to do it anywhere else?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, with an asterisk, right? Roshar has a very different technological path but they have access to so much more Investiture in an easy to use format. Roshar is really heading toward what we call magicpunk, or things like this, magepunk, where you are using a magical power source and things like this. So their technology is going to go weird but it's going to go fast once they start figuring things out because they have easy access to Investiture resources.

Scadrial: slower for various reasons and things like that, but it's ahead.

And then there was Taldain, which was really far ahead but then froze when it got-- Offworld travel was stopped and it became isolationist.

So most everybody is kind of heading that direction but, yeah.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

Much like in The Wheel of Time where there are false Dragons, are there people on Roshar who are pretending to be Heralds that are not?

Brandon Sanderson

Are there people on Roshar who are-- There are definitely lots of people who have claimed to be Heralds who were not.

Moderator

You said "have." The question was, are there?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sure there are people around who've-- *laughter* I'm sure you can go to any city in the United States and find someone who claims to be Jesus, right? So yes! Absolutely!

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
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Questioner

Back to Stormlight. Is there significance to the color of moons?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a significance to the colors of the moons in Stormlight, but it is not a major player in theories. There is a significance, but it's not, like, one of these things that you're going to read book seven and be like "The colors of the moons! It was there all along!" Sometimes, I put stuff like that in, right? It's not like that.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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CoverYourSafeHand

Where do spheres come from in Stormlight? Is there a giant factory somewhere that turns gemhearts into spheres?

Brandon Sanderson

It's similar to mints in various kingdoms on Earth. They're made by different regional powers, and sometimes there are exchange issues because of it--but since Roshar had some unique forms of societal unification in the past, a lot of things like this got standardized.