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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#1 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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#5 Copy

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

So, Kaladin obviously draws Stormlight from a pouch, all the time... If the pouch was coated in, say aluminum, would he still be able to draw the Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Good question.

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

What about if it was coated in silver?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, he probably still could.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Does aluminum have any specific use in Shadows for Silence?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, you could definitely find a use for it.

Orem signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Silence, when silver turns to dust, is that a Spiritual transformation or a chemical reaction?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#10 Copy

Kenzal [PENDING REVIEW]

Would it make an Allomancer sick if they tried to burn pure silver?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

As it stands right now, nothing would happen, because they would know if it did. Good question. Silver has some interesting properties, but on Scadrial they are largely undiscovered.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#11 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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#15 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The in-world answer.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.