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Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#2 Copy

Argent

Can tapping enough Feruchemical zinc allow one to match Taravangian's intellect on the day he created the Diagram? Or are the effects different somehow?

Brandon Sanderson

The effects are similar, but not exactly the same. Zinc is speed of thought specifically--while what happens to Taravangian increases multiple types of intelligence, not just raw 'processing power' so to speak.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

Are the Unmade the analogs to Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson

There is certainly something similar going on there. Be aware that it's not a one-to-one correlation, that they're not exactly the same. For instance: Many of the- the Unmade are referenced by Taravangian in this, and he uses a phrase for them, and that is correct, that's what they are.

Footnote: In the epigraph for WoR 81 the Diagram says "The Unmade are a deviation, a flair, a conundrum that may not be worth your time. You cannot help but think of them. They are fascinating. Many are mindless. Like the spren of human emotions, only much more nasty. I do believe a few can think, however."
OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

How much did Super Mind Taravangian know about the Cosmere as a whole, roughly, rough estimate.

Brandon Sanderson

He had a little bit of knowledge. Not as much as... not as much conscious knowledge.

Blightsong

Did he guess about the three realms?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he knew about the three realms. He didn't have to guess on that, he had read philosophy and things, that knowledge is there on Roshar

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

This is just from our discussion earlier. So Taravangian… He asks for two things. The capacity to stop what is coming and the capacity to save humankind. And then he gets this weird thing to happen. Is the intelligence and empathy thing because both of those things can't come true at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

That's an excellent question. RAFO!

Moderator

Let me ask a parallel to that. Are those-- Does the Nightwatcher perceive those as the same boon or two parallel boons?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner

If Taravangian made the Diagram, and telling the future is of the Voidbringers, is that a bad sign?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on if you're speaking culturally or actual magically.

Questioner

Magically, I guess.

Brandon Sanderson

Because he would claim to you that he did it all with strength of mind and no magical influence other than enhanced mind. That's what he would tell you. And so in that case it would not be—culturally they'd look very weirdly at it, but spiritually he would say it's not of the Voidbringers.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

We saw that, in one case that she felt it was very important, Cultivation intervened when Dalinar was asking for his boon from the Nightwatcher. You said that for the most part she just sort of lets her work, but has she intervened in other cases that she feels are important, specifically with Taravangian?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

She has intervened before.

Orem signing 2014 ()
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zas678 (paraphrased)

And my other question is about Taravangian. It becomes clear that when he's smart, he's less compassionate, and when he's dumb, he's more compassionate.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah, he mentions that in his interlude.

zas678 (paraphrased)

Is that intentional, or is that just how you believe intelligence works?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, that's intentional. There's plenty of really smart people who are also compassionate, and dumb people who aren't.

zas678 (paraphrased)

So when Taravangian is smart, his Cognitive aspect is stronger. So when he's dumb, is his Spiritual aspect stronger?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*With a sly grin, pulls out a RAFO*

Alloy of Law Manchester signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

A girl asked what was up with Taravangian, since it seemed a rough break between the tottering old man and the scheming mastermind that Szeth meets at the end.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon said that Taravangian used the Old Magic, and that he wakes up each day with a different IQ. Sometimes he's a genius, sometimes he's an idiot. So what he does is he writes up math puzzles for himself in the evening, and if he cannot get a certain score in the morning the guards have orders to just take care of him and keep him away from important decisions for that day. That way he keeps his effect under control.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
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darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

Did Taravangian go to see the Nightwatcher before or after Gavilar's assassination?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um, oh man. I'm going to have to look at my timeline. I believe it's before, but I can't guarantee I'm right, because these things are all happening around the same time.

darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

Because he says that Gavilar confided in him the night of.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Ooooh, you're right. Nope, it's after. It is after. You can send that question to Peter so we can confirm it. There might be something I'm forgetting about Taravangian.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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defiantburrito

Taravangian: On his "Special Day" where he created the Diagram, was he actually as smart as he thinks he was, or was something else going on? It seems suspicious that any level of raw intelligence would let him deduce all of that...

Brandon Sanderson

That sure IS suspicious, eh? Let's just say that HE believes it was rational deduction. But other theories are valid.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
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Questioner

I read online, something about one of your original drafts, [I think it was about] Gavilar, and it was where he was blind?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that was actually Taravangian, in the oldest version. One of the very first things I wrote was that, though Taravangian had a different name then, and was very different. Szeth has stayed the same through all the revisions. Kaladin has changed wildly, and almost everybody has changed dramatically, except Szeth is the same person. Him and Dalinar are the same.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Brandon Sanderson

*after reading a personalization request* What do you mean by specifically what Paalm was doing, which thing?

Questioner

Her ultimate goal, we think, was to Shatter Harmony.

Brandon Sanderson

You think her ultimate goal was to Shatter Harmony?

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Her ultimate goal was to free people from Harmony, so I wouldn't say her ultimate goal was to Shatter Harmony. So what you're asking me is "Is Taravangian trying to combine Harmony?

Questioner

We thought that Paalm was trying to divide people from Harmony in order to Shatter Him. *audio obscured* Taravangian was doing the opposite, trying to gather his people so that he could pick up-- so Honor could come back.

Brandon Sanderson

Not really. Good question, once I figured it out.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

Further on in that… do different gemstones hold a different flavor, or different "frequency" of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Umm…. Nnnnnnnnooooooo… But kind of? Here's the thing: So with the gemstones on Roshar… scientifically some of these gemstones are just really close to one another. Like chemical formula and whatever. But, their cognitive selves and their spiritual selves are gonna be very different because of human perception, right? (sure) And so, the answer is both a no and a yes because of that. So people's perception has sort of changed how the magic works, to an extent… but it's the same amount of investiture, just with slightly different flavorings.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Right, so… is it easier for a Soulcaster to turn rock into smoke with a smokestone as opposed to a ruby?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So… Soulcasting… is gonna really depend on whether you're using a soulcaster.

Darkness (paraphrased)

First is for a Soulcaster, second is for a Surgebinder.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

A Surgebinder is far less constrained than someone using a device accessing surges, right? A Knight Radiant is far less constrained than somebody using a mechanical means of accessing magic, and I would include Honorblades as a mechanical means of accessing a surge.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Cool! So with the whole Jasnah scene, she inhales Stormlight, for using Soulcasting. So how is it the Soulcaster appears to glow more fiercely instead of growing dimmer in that scene?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um… heh heh heh… So… this is perception on Shallan's part, watching and kind of resonating with the Soulcasting, and some weird things are happening that she sees, and not necessarily anyone else is seeing.

Darkness (paraphrased)

I love that! Alright… Also, did Taravangian recognize that Jasnah was not Soulcasting traditionally? Like was it the hand sinking into the rock that gave it away?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Taravangian knew and already suspected.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Questioner

Considering Brandon likes MTG, this is probably something he has thought out haha.

Kaladin strikes me as someone with a very White personality and Blue powers.

Shallan's Blue.

Dalinar's White, but I feel like he was Red before.

Adolin has some Red, some White, and recently some Black I guess.

Lift is Red in personality and I guess Green at powers.

What else can you guys come up with?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... These are not bad, and it's always hard to figure out how to define by this system--honestly, I wouldn't trust my definitions, I'd have to go to MaRo or something.

I'd suspect that Shallan is red/blue instead of mono blue.

Lift is very green, not just in powers, but in personality. She's all about instinct, and doing what occurs to her in the moment.

As OP said, Kaladin is very white/blue. And Dalinar is red who became white. Navani is mono-blue. Szeth is black/white, and Taravangian probably mono-black. Eshonai is probably green.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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zotsandcrambles

Mr.T has his emotional intelligence inversely attached to his logical intelligence. in the physical realm, this means that on his emotional days, he is functionally a blithering idiot. The physical realm is more logic oriented, so that makes sense.

However, would this inverted intelligence express itself DIFFERENTLY perhaps in the cognitive or spiritual realm? In the world of forms, emotion, and identity, could weepy/drooly Mr.T express some unique insight inside of Shadesmaar?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a theory with merit.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

One of your characters wishes for and is given capacity... That is one of my favorite concepts of all the books that I read of yours. Can you talk about the inspiration for that gift of limited and maximum capacity?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

To not give spoilers, there is a character in The Stormlight Archive who has asked the Old Magic, which is a force that kind of has references in things like The Monkey's Paw and what-not, a force that doesn't always give you things exactly the way you want them. And I built, by the way, the Old Magic into The Stormlight Archive because I felt that at a certain point, while I love to do these rule-based magic systems, I wanted there to be a contrast to it... It's kinda like this idea that, yes, modern science and things have explained a lot of stuff, but there's something primal, perhaps, in the past, I don't actually know. But that idea that there's a primal magic that doesn't really adhere to the rules, we can't anticipate it, was really, I felt, vital for me to include so that I didn't overexplain everything in the books.

So, there's a person who asked for capacity. It wanted to be, let's say, strong enough to lift (it's not actually strength, but it's more of an emotional thing) what was coming. That, I feel like, is a very real thing to wish for, right? I have frequently, like... people say "What would you wish for," and I say "The ability to fly," because I would love to be able to fly. But really, if I sit and think about it, capacity, ability, the capacity to hold all of this stuff in my head, would probably be the sort of thing that I would wish for. So this character, in some ways, is giving wish fulfillment for me, because that's what I would maybe ask for if given the opportunity, but even that kind of turns on its head because the Old Magic just doesn't get people in the way that people think they should be gotten.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

I want to know if Taravangian, the Ghostbloods, Amaram, is there any kind of like connecting... are they working together or anything like that?

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, so the Diagram, the Ghostbloods, is that the two you mentioned? Amaram is Sons of Honor; Amaram and Gavilar are Sons of Honor. These are three different groups who are aware of what is happening and have different philosophies on how to deal with what is coming. They have opposed views, for example, the Sons of Honor are trying to bring back Voidbringers because they believe it will return the heralds as well. Where as the diagram has his plan... y'know, I wont give them away. Some of the are hinted at, you can read. He talks about it, but you can see what he's doing. The Ghostbloods, they have not talked about their motives very much. They have different motives. The Sons of Honor are the easiest to figure out and they are also the most wrong, right. If you read what Taravangian says you can probably see what the Diagram is trying to do.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

Ok. Um… did Taravangian arrange for his granddaughter to be trapped, so he could see Jasnah soulcasting?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um he used an opportunity, that he could've gotten to through… in a multitude of ways, in order to… check on some things. But it is his granddaughter and she really was in danger.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Yep, he really did seem concerned.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.