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Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#1 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.

General Reddit 2019 ()
#3 Copy

mraize7

u/mistborn I know you were writing the sequel to [Sixth of the Dusk]. Any progress on Threnody's novel? 

Brandon Sanderson

Just some vague ideas here and there. Nothing too specific. Silver chain in Oathbringer is from Threnody, though. (They use them in Silverlight too.) I'll get a chance to explain what they are eventually. (I hope.)

Dragonsteel 2023 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Does silver break Connection or bonds? If silver does have this effect, does it get used in the creation of unkeyed metalminds?

Brandon Sanderson

These are good questions. Silver, as I have it right now, is not capable of that. What silver's doing is is disrupting. It's more like interference. You know how, in White Sand, people can have these columns of sand. If you swiped silver through that, they would fall; but then they would be able to do it again. It's this little nullification for a short time. It's very dangerous to things like shades, and stuff like that. It's more disruptive. If you hit a spren with this, it would be like hitting them with a Shardblade. They're gonna come back together. They're not dead; they're gonna reform eventually, and probably won't take too long. So it's not severing Connection; you're gonna need anti-Investiture to do really destructive stuff. But you can disrupt with some silver. It's specifically bad for Shades for reasons maybe I'll get into someday.

Orem signing ()
#6 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.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book?

Brandon Sanderson

Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book. Oh... Yes, but I'm trying to remember. I had like two dozen of them? Oh boy I can't even remember the ones that I discarded. I was going to do a lot more stuff externally, stuff that like wasn't inside of you and it didn't end up working out. The big thing that I talk about with Allomancy that changed is originally I was using...silver as one of the metals, this is-- this is because... Dumb story time, so when I was a kid I painted these little miniatures that you do in D&D so your little guys can actually fight each other, right? And my brother still does this, they're awesome, I was terrible at it, but I painted these little guys. And at one point I went-- and they used to be lead, and then they realized that lead kills you *laughter* and so--or maybe it just makes you strange, I can't remember--I went and all of the prices had gone up, like by a double, because they had made them out of pewter instead. And I said to the guy "What is up with this, you are totally ripping us off. My figures now cost us 50 cents instead of--" I don't remember what it was and he went "Uh yeah it's because pewter has silver in it man. You're buying little silver figures now" and I went "Oh. That's cool." And I bought them. And so for years I thought pewter was an alloy of silver and I wrote an entire book. An Entire Book. The whole first Mistborn book with silvereyes and pewterarms until it went to my beta readers and like "There's almost no silver in pewter Brandon, you don't even really need it. Everything in this magic system works except that." and I went "Well maybe we can just pretend in this world pewter--" "No that's stupid" *laughter* So I had to change it to tin which is actually what you find in pewter. To this day my assistant Peter, who is my continuity editor, came to me and said "You realize you wrote silvereye instead of tineye in the newest Mistborn book that you just finished? It's been ten years Brandon get over it." *laughter* Still happens.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#9 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.

Shardcast Interview ()
#12 Copy

Argent

Can silver help a spore eater with their condition?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it can stab them through the heart with a silver knife so they die. Much better ending. There is potentially an application of silver that could maybe help them, it would not be my first go to. Silver can be pretty destructive.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#16 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.

Boskone 54 ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

In Mistborn, silver doesn’t play a role. But then in Shadows for Silence, silver does play a role...

Brandon Sanderson

It does. I still wanted silver to be part of the Cosmere.

Questioner

But we’ll never see it in Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not, as they understand currently, interact with Allomancy, with the three Metallurgic Arts. Silver does have a Cosmere role.

Shardcast Interview ()
#18 Copy

Argent

It seems there is a special interaction between silver and Investiture, in at least certain places in the Cosmere. We've seen how silver interacts with aethers, and we've seen over on Threnody. So that makes silver the second really really special metal to interact with investiture. Is the plan now to have aluminum block investiture, and silver destroy investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's the way I'm going with it. To make a distinction between them, that's where we're going.

Argent

But silver is still non-Allomantic. No silvereyes.

Brandon Sanderson

No, non-Allomantic, yup. No silvereyes. This is my nod towards silvereye-ness, and yeah, there we go.

Argent

So would [silver] be effective against spren, just like [anti-Investiture]?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, you'll have to find out. RAFO!

Footnote: Argent tried. He also horribly mangled his last question, but it got RAFO'd, so that doesn't matter...
Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#19 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.

Shardcast Interview ()
#20 Copy

Argent

Spores are said to eventually overwhelm a ship's silver defenses. Do aether spores ruin silver like the Shades over in Threnody do?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It'd take a lot, but yeah. Basically, this is how we have a ship that sinks not destroy the whole ocean.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#23 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.

FanX 2018 ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

In Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, they use silver to fight Shades. I'm wondering if that's actual silver or they just call it silver and it's a mysterious metal that's known to fall from the sky.

Brandon Sanderson

It's a good question. I have it as actual silver.

Questioner

Would it be effective, at fighting...if you wanted to harm a spren or seon or other types of Cognitive Shadow?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Miscellaneous 2012 ()
#27 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

Silver is not Allomantically inert the way aluminum is. In that annotation, Brandon just meant that silver didn't do anything if you swallowed it and tried to burn it. It can be Pushed and Pulled. Years after Brandon wrote that annotation, what he means by "Allomantically inert" has changed.

JordanCon 2021 ()
#28 Copy

Pagerunner

The silver-nickel alloy that is used in Raboniel's dagger where the... Is that going to do the opposite effect (like a Pushing vs. Pulling) of what silver does to shades on Threnody?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, good question. Good question!