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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#3 Copy

Argent

Is the Earth-like biome in Shinovar a product solely of environmental factors (e.g. shelter from the highstorms), or is there a magical component as well?

Brandon Sanderson

On Roshar, the environment and magic are so intertwined, environmental factors ARE magical components.

Argent

Interesting, hadn't really thought of it this way, but much of the environment and its events depend on magic - highstorms, plant and animal life, crem and water deposits, and those are just off the top of my head. Was it this way before the Shards showed up, or is this a change they caused (intentionally or not)?

Brandon Sanderson

This will eventually be revealed.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#4 Copy

TopRamen713

I think it's probably the remnants of the first agreement between the singers and humans. They were allowed to terraform Shinovar, and rule that area, but anywhere else, they were forbidden from. Eventually, it morphed into the "soil lands are for humans, everywhere else is for singers." Then, over the millenia, it became a religious teaching, "don't walk on stones."

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon wrote a ton of worldbuilding down before starting to write the first book, and this particular thing is definitely something he planned from the start. He does keep a lot of stuff in his head, but sometimes that shifts over time. Part of our job is to make sure what's in his head now doesn't conflict with what has previously been published.

If the outline doesn't work for something, Brandon will change it while writing. As long as it doesn't conflict with published canon, it's always more awesome than his earlier plans.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#7 Copy

reddidaccount1

In Sanderson's most recent lecture (50:25 in) to his BYU Writing Class, he mentions that Alethkar natives resemble Asians. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, especially since I always imagined the Shin as the "Asians" of that world.

Brandon Sanderson

It's a little more complicated than I might have made it seem. Alethkar natives other than the Shin have the epicanthic fold, but the Alethi wouldn't look strictly Asian to you--they'd look like a race that you can't define, as we don't have them on earth. I use half-Asian/half-arab or half-asian/half-Polynesian models as my guide some of the time, but Alethi are going to have a tanner skin than some of those.

Some Horneaters might look Caucasian to you--but then, most will not. They'll seem like something alien, and not all of them have light skin; they tend to walk a spectrum between pale and coppery. Reshi and Herdazians will look closest to something like an indigenous Bolivian.

Shin would look the closest to Caucasian to you, but again, they're not an Earth ethnicity. So you might not be able to place them either.

A lot of the fanart has done a good job with this, and if you search through it, it might help you get an idea.

General Twitter 2011 ()
#8 Copy

talonnolan

How do the Shin get Stomlight, if the storms are broken up by the mountains before reaching Shinovar?

Brandon Sanderson

An excellent question that you should be asking. (So…RAFO.) Note that they don’t use it as extensively as outlanders do.

Also note that though the storms aren’t as strong there, they do still reach Shin lands, to an extent.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

So, are Shauka-daughter-Hasweth and Ali-daughter-Hasweth two different people? Are they the same person?

Brandon Sanderson

They are different people. Good question. They do have very similar names. That happens a lot among the Shin, and I'm trying to make it not confusing, but I can't promise it won't be. There are a lot of similar names, and a lot of people are named similar ways, and things like that.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#11 Copy

leinton

Does Roshar experience storms outside of the highstorms and the Weepings? And if so, how often would Shinovar get them?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the weather patterns are dominated by the highstorms. Non-highstorm storms are rare but do occur. The further to the west you get, the harder it is to tell the difference between a highstorm and a regular storm. Like, in Shinovar, a highstorm is just kind of like-- it feels like what a storm you might get here, or even weaker. But they do happen. They're gonna happen, most often you're going to notice them in the quote-unquote "summers," when the highstorms are further apart.