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Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#2 Copy

Blightsong

I noticed in Dragonsteel that the Sho Del use silver sheathes and that stuck out as an atypical material for an ancient technology scabbard, does the metal hold some kind of significance within Sho Del culture?

Brandon Sanderson

This was done intentionally, and will probably still be a thing when Dragonsteel enters canon--but that's a LONG ways away, so don't read too much into it for now.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

What's the deal with silver? Why does it not fit cleanly into the Allomantic metals, why is aluminum a special one and not silver. Why is it silver powder and not aluminum powder on Threnody? These kinds of questions.

Brandon Sanderson

Do you want the in-world answer... or the writerly answer?

Questioner

Well really I want the in-world answer.

Brandon Sanderson

...The in-world answer is that people are not sure yet.

Questioner

Well, that's not the in-world answer. That's the in world answer from Khriss, right? What about the in-world answer from--

Brandon Sanderson

That's the in-world answer--they're not sure yet...

The writerly answer is that we started with silver in place of tin. And by the time I swapped it out, aluminum was already its thing. If I had to do it over again, I might make silver aluminum, but I wanted what aluminum does to be rare, and silver isn't. So I might not have. I love what aluminum does because it's super-rare pre-industrial, but you hit industrial and it's everywhere.

So it allowed me to do, when we get to modern era, to have real checks on Allomancy as Allomancy gets more powerful.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

Is silver in Shadows for Silence similar in any way to aluminum in the rest of the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Yes, but not really. Silver is like silver, and aluminum is like aluminum.

Questioner

Does aluminum have any specific use in Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could definitely find a use for it.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

Orem signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

In [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], when silver turns to dust, is that a Spiritual transformation or a chemical reaction?

Brandon Sanderson

Both, as I have it right now. That one's not canon, but I say not canon because I haven't written it into the books yet and I still have another book to write, there. But I would say both right now.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#17 Copy

zotsandcrambles

Is the silver on Threnody imbued with investiture? The presence of a silver knife in Stormlight leads me to believe Threnodoic Silver is actively different than average silver and Threnody's silver could be used off-world in a way - say - Sel's silver couldn't.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm RAFOing most questions about Threnody for multiple reasons. It's a RAFO you shouldn't read too much into, however.