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Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#1 Copy


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. Interview ()
#2 Copy

It's a random question, because we have chickens on Roshar, the other thing is are there cats in Shinovar?

Brandon Sanderson

So there were at least at one point cats in Shinovar. Whether cats are still there or not, you'll have to wait for book 5 to discover. But cats did make the jump. If they exist, they didn't make it past the mountains very far, but you'll have to see.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#4 Copy


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.


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.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#8 Copy


What was the thought process behind Shinovar being so similar?

Brandon Sanderson

A couple of reasons. One is, by having some sort of Earth analogue on-world, I could give some contrast, and I could have a kind of an explanation for why they might use words like chickens and things until I can get to the big reveal. Like, if there weren't Shinovar there to act as a red herring, I think it would give away the twist very early.

Beyond that, I like the idea of the people that are like us being the alien ones to the society. Kind of helps separate it and make it this is a different world, this is a different culture. So, it gave me a lot of advantages. Plus it also gave an explanation for how they could-- humankind create a foothold on this planet after coming across. So, lots of different thought processes behind that.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#10 Copy


A little curiosity over the word "Shin", is it a deformation/twisting of their origin ? like "Ashyn person" --> "A Shyn person" ---> "A Shin person" ? (I assume this is a quite safe question to response without going into the rabbit hole)

Brandon Sanderson

Shin/Ashyn do have a relationship, but I didn't specifically intend "A Shin" to be Ashyn.

WorldCon 76 ()
#11 Copy


I was asking about the diets of the Shin, Stone Shamanism, because Szeth in one of the interludes talks about the stone walkers, being able to eat food on any day of the week, so I was wondering what that actually referred to.

Brandon Sanderson


General Twitter 2011 ()
#12 Copy


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 ()
#15 Copy


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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#18 Copy


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.