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Firefight Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

If you could live on any one of the worlds, which one would it be?

Brandon Sanderson

If forced to, because I would stay here if I could 'cause internet, internet's really cool, mac & cheese, I like mac & cheese, I like instant ramen. But if I were forced I would pick Scadrial, the Mistborn world, because it's the closest to all of those things, but beyond that it would, post-Catacendre, a very good place to live...

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Why did Hoid in Secret History have to ride on another person to get to the Well, when that person could float on--

Brandon Sanderson

Sooo, what he's floating on is a Cognitive Shadow. It's a spirit, it's not an actual person. He is floating on someone who is--

Questioner

Do we know them?

Brandon Sanderson

You did not know them, don't worry about them. But see, he's using that as a boat because it's easy to sink through the mist. And if you notice, he has to coat his oar with Investiture in order to move him. So yeah, he's floating on a person's soul... It was so much easier with the Pits, but that's because there were boats and things.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

What color are Marewill flowers?

Brandon Sanderson

Marewill flowers I've always imagined as a kind of bluish-white. But I don't know if I ever describe that, so it's possible that Peter pushed me once and I said something else. But I'm assuming I've never done it because you don't know. So I'm imagining a bluish-white… with a green actual plant.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eight - Part Two

In this chapter, for the first time, I straight out mention that plants aren't green. I hoped that this concept would come across in the first few chapters. However, this sort of thing is difficult to enforce in people's minds. The fact that there are NO green plants in the world is something that most people will probably just skip over in their heads. So, I had to make Kelsier aware of the way that things should be, so that he can explain it to Vin, and therefore point out to the reader–in no uncertain terms–how the landscape works.

The other thing to notice is, of course, that there are no flowers in this world. But, we'll get to that later.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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Questioner

I've noticed that Seons and Spren are very, very similar but i haven't seen anything like that in the Mistborn world.

Brandon Sanderson

In Mistborn the Investiture took other forms. It never obtained sapience in the same way. Its theoretically possible that it could have but it.. yeah.

Questioner

So it wouldn't be like the Mist?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you could say that the Mist has a bit of sentience to it, so yes, but there are a bunch of different things going on. On one hand, you've got, right up to the end, Preservation's Cognitive Shadow still around doing stuff, basically still there, so that's preventing it. It's just a very different situation.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Someone on the forum I'm on wanted me to ask you about citrus fruits during Vin's time.

Brandon Sanderson

Citrus fruits during Vin's time because of the lack of flowers, and things like that? Their fruits were not our fruits. Let's say that.

Questioner

Were they close to, like, Rosharan, like bulb fruit?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there were definitely some bulb fruits. But any actual citruses, I don't think that there were.

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.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Paleo

The people in the Central Dominance speak a sort of French accent. Is that still the case in the Wax&Wayne era?

Brandon Sanderson

It has mostly changed. I mean there are still some French regions, but there are some Germanic regions also and things. It is no longer just the same positioning, it's more kind of, well, like your family heritage and things like that.

Goodreads February 2016 YA Newsletter Interview ()
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Jessica

In Shadows of Self a few characters use some variation of "Hell!" as an exclamation when things go awry. I don't recall any reference to "Hell" as a place or philosophy in the religions of the Mistborn series. How does this word fit into their world, does it differ from our own?

Brandon Sanderson

The characters in Mistborn have been using "biblical" curses since book one. This was a specific choice made on my part, as I want the "feel" of Mistborn to be like London in the early 1800s. All of my books are to be read as if there's a phantom translator who took it from the original language and translated it into English. In many cases, there isn't a word that is an exact translation—so the translator does their best.

In The Final Empire, there was indeed a kind of "hell." Though there wasn't a specific idea of a devil—it was just the punishment ascribed to the souls who failed or disobeyed the Lord Ruler. Even the skaa knew of this, though religion was forbidden them. So it was a more vague sense, than specific theology, to them.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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theravenchilde

And I was trying to figure out how jazz could possibly develop on Scadrial in Alloy of Law.

Brandon Sanderson

How what?

theravenchilde

How jazz could develop on Scadrial.

Brandon Sanderson

Jazz? Okay.

theravenchilde

*audio obscured* Would it be appropriate to compare the Steel Ministry to the Catholic Church? Not so much in doctrine but...

Brandon Sanderson

Sure, that would be appropriate. I mean when I'm writing Alloy of Law era they are only hitting big band stuff.

theravenchilde

That's what I figured.

Brandon Sanderson

Their music would lag behind ours.

theravenchilde

'Cause big band stuff started around the 1920's.

Brandon Sanderson

They're not even quite there yet. In the second or the third... anyway one of the Alloy books Wax hears someone and they've added to a band brass and he's like "that's not right" he's expecting violin concertos or a pianoforte and he's hearing brass.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

Are there cats anywhere in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes there are cats in the cosmere. There are lions in Mistborn, and have been mentioned numerous times, so you can assume, extrapolation, that there are also cats in the worlds somewhere. Scadrial, the Mistborn world... is my Earth analogue. When I was designing I'm like, I'm gonna design this one in such a way that I can-- because I knew I was going to be doing 1900's fiction, and 1980's fiction, I wanted it to have some sort of parallel societal evolution and so I put in a lot of parallel cultural things, and things like that. So you can make an assumption that, unless I say otherwise, on Scadrial they have basic Earth ecology, particularly now after events that I can't talk about because they're spoilers.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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lightylantern

I'm pretty interested in the integration of magic and sport, like in Harry Potter and The Legend of Korra. Will we be seeing any allomantic sports in the second Mistborn trilogy?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably the third. Scadrial is behind on a couple of things, technologically, and they've been very practically minded lately. I have some hints of professional sports in the Era Two books, but they're slight.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Kellosian

If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.

foomy45

I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

Brandon Sanderson

I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

I'm a geologist. I was wondering does Scadrial have tectonics the way Earth does?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Scadrial does have tectonics. Roshar doesn't. I think it's the only one I built that doesn't, because of some specific things. But yes, Scadrial tectonic.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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Ace_of_Face

How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?

Brandon Sanderson

There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of Preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of Preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.

Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.

#SandersonChat Twitter Q&A with Audible.com ()
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PhantoMonstrosity

Would you mind giving a width for the Final Empire as well? Thanks! :)

Isaac Stewart

Still work to do on that... Maybe before the end of the year.

PhantoMonstrosity

Ah, for the book with all the starcharts [Arcanum Unbounded]? Looking forward to seeing it then :).

Isaac Stewart

Not necessarily for that book. :)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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A_Dunyain

This is just a stab based on perceived hints, but is Yolen the most "Earth-like" planet in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial is, actually. Sel isn't too far off either. Yolen has some strangeness to it. Two competing ecologies, and some strange geography. But I have wavered on how to convey all of this, so none of it is set in stone yet.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Flowers. It was actually hard to write a world without flowers. For instance, the scene where Kelsier fights in the conservatory–I had to struggle to not call things flowerbeds. Describing gardens without flowers was tough too.

So, how does a world get by without flowers? Why don't they exist any more? All these questions will be answered.

In book three. Sorry.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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Questioner

I think you may have answered this one before, but where do you come up with your names for all your characters?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the series. For Mistborn, I build a 'feel for certain regions and develop names using the linguistic rules of that region. The Central Dominance (and Elendel in this book) had a slightly French feel to the linguistics, and many of the names came from that paradigm.

However, unique to the Mistborn world was the need to give people simple nicknames in a thieving crew sort of way. Wax, Clubs, Breeze, Mr. Suit, all of these are along those lines.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Questioner

Was it a deliberate move on your part to make it such that on Scadrial, people who wear aluminum foil hats actually are safe from mind control?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah that was a big inside joke. *laughter* When I realized it would work, I had to put it in. *pause* I’m doing some fun things. The gun thing is another one I’m very fond of.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Is there more to the Roshar world than what is shown on the map or is it just that?

Brandon Sanderson

There is only one continent. Now if you are paying attention, that's not answering your question completely.

Questioner

It's just different realms and all that. I meant like more landmass.

Brandon Sanderson

There is only one continent on Roshar.

Questioner

Just different versions of it.

Brandon Sanderson

That doesn't mean there aren't islands out there.

Now the Mistborn world there is a whole lot more.

Questioner

We've only had that one little part so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but it's basically almost all empty because... Which is actually very fun for the worldbuilding, is this idea of a mostly unpopulated world.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Honestly? I just, these days, say "It kind of looks something like this" and he [Isaac Stewart] reads the book and finds any references I've made and comes up with something. I can trust him to the point that I don't have to worry too much about it. On some I'll give him a shape. On Roshar I gave him the shape, and said "It's like this" and then I split things up. Because that one shape was very important to me. But like Mistborn I'm like "It looks kind of like this. Go for it."

Isaac Stewart

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah I sent an MS Paint thing.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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FirstSelector

You have claimed that the Shardworlds had their names prior to the settlement of people and Shards. However, Ruin and Preservation created Scadrial (presumably post-Shattering). Where, then, did that planet get its name, and how did the rest of the cosmere learn of it?

Brandon Sanderson

While many of them were named, not all of them were. And the presence of a Shard warps Shadesmar much as large objects warp the physical realm (gravitation.) So if you know how to look, it's not hard to find them.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Miss_Silver

Is there a market for decorative metalminds on Scadrial? (IE gemstone studded earrings or fancy engraved bracelets. A jeweler's gotta make a living somehow, y'know. d= )

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a market for this--even among those who don't have specific talents themeslves.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
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Questioner

This is about certain people from Nalthis... living on Roshar and how they are living on Roshar. Could they also do that on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial would be a lot harder because getting the Investiture out of things on Scadrial is tough, there are ways you could do it but it would be much more difficult.

Questioner

Does that have to do with the Investiture being more directed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's more the genetic component is a big part of it. The directed component-- In Roshar its just flowing around all over the place. For instance, if he could get to a Shardpool he could feed off that, but then he's at the Shardpool and that's kind of dangerous and things. Roshar is really the easiest place in the cosmere for him to consistently get this sort of stuff. Taldain would not be bad either, that's the White Sand world but it is inaccessible currently in the cosmere

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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yafeshan

I am space nerd with a love of fantasy, so; Why is Scadrial prime example planet to invent space travel. Is its allomancy/ferruchemy/hemalurgy combination more suitable for that kind of technology or do they have other incentives to invent space travel other than regular technology development? Is it related to the intervention of unknown metal/shard/beings we saw?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a bunch of reasons.

The most technologically advanced of the planets (Taldain) is extremely isolationist because of its Shard, while Harmony is very interested in the progress of his people.

Scadrial has an advanced understanding of metallurgy, and for many years was quietly open to visitors from across the cosmere. In the modern era, that has enhanced. It's a much safer place to visit than, say, Sel, Threnody, or First of the Sun.

There are other reasons, too, which we'll get into as the world progresses. Having some prominent cosmere-aware people pulling strings behind the scenes is a big help. If you know other worlds are out there, and are populated, then you're more likely to push toward space travel.

Dark Talent release party ()
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Windrunner Savant (paraphrased)

I asked about the importance of a lot of the religion from the "Final Empire Era" Scadrial. I pointed out that there were a lot of little nods and references to other shardworlds.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He assured me that there was something there, perhaps not anything as big as I was hoping for, but definitely more than just "Easter eggs!"

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Chaos2651

In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadrial. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadrial come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-Mistborn 3? Or is "Scadrial" just what you as an author use to refer to it?

Brandon Sanderson

It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet. The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea. Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.

Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

Why don't Northern Lights ever appear in the Era One Mistborn trilogy? If Luthadel is situated at the Magnetic North Pole?

Brandon Sanderson

It has-- ‘Cause as I understand--has to do with-- what is it coming off the sun--

littlewilson

Solar flares?

Brandon Sanderson

That cause the aurora borealis. It's not just the magnetic-- There's physics involved which are not relevant in the Mistborn world.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

Did Ruin and Preservation create Scadrial, as in the actual planet? The other Shards seem to have settled on already-made worlds (or at least, they did for Roshar).

Brandon Sanderson

What Ruin and Preservation did is less common, for certain.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

In Mistborn there's no flowers or anything. So how do they get dyes for their dresses and things?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the dye. Some come from animals like snails. Some are metallic. Or, metallic is the wrong term. From minerals like lapis and things like that. There are a lot of non-floral dyes out there, even in our world. And they had extra resources in that.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Questioner

Are are they any other continents on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar is, I haven't said that there's anything else out there, but I have said it's Pangea, meaning if there's anything else out there, they are small.  They are not of a similar scope and size.  Now on Scadrial, there is other stuff going on.  And I've told people that for years, and years, and years.  So, you may find some other stuff going on there.  For years, you know, the southern continent was populated on Scadrial during the Final Empire era, even.  It was just impossible to reach because the heat, the poles were the only habitable places on that planet, and so anything in between, you just couldn't deal with it.  The Final Empire was on the North Pole.  

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Six

The North Pole

One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.