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YouTube Livestream 24 ()
#1 Copy

Alexander

Which of your villains are you most and least happy with?

Brandon Sanderson

Least, I'll probably cheat and use Padan Fain. As I said before, after the fact, looking back at the Wheel of Time ending, Padan Fain is the one that I feel I dropped the ball a little bit on.

Most proud of is a spoiler. The character that you find out is a villain only at the end of The Way of Kings is the villain I am most proud of now. For a while, it was Hrathen. But the amount of depth I've been able to do and work I've been able to do on this character, and the twists and turns that this character has been able to take, I am very proud of, all the different incarnations of how this character worked. He is now the villain I am most proud of.

Footnote: The villain he is referring to is most likely Taravangian. 
JordanCon 2021 ()
#2 Copy

Ted Herman

A certain person went to a certain spren and got a boon and a curse, and later on, very recently, their fortunes have risen very high very fast. Is the boon and curse still in effect? 

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, but you will get answers in the fifth book about that. Excellent question, but this is a RAFO with a "yes it's coming", not a nebulous RAFO.

Skyward release party ()
#3 Copy

JoyBlu

At the end of Oathbringer there is an agreement between Odium and Taravangian.

"If you help me, I will save your family.  Anyone within two generations of you."

Taravangian says "Not enough."

"Then we have no deal"

And so then they go on and they make the deal that says "The city itself, and any humans who have been born into it, along with their spouses."

Was the grandchildren included in that? -- or was it meant to be ambiguous?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on where they were born.

JoyBlu

And then, Grandchildren. There are three listed of Taravangian's: Gvori, Karavangia, and Ruli.  There is also the one that Shallan drew the picture of which I think is a different one.  Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

*nods head in agreement*

JoyBlu

So far we have four granddaughters.  Karavangia is obviously named after her grandfather, Right?

Brandon Sanderson

*nods head in agreement*

JoyBlu

Does he have more grandchildren named after him?

Brandon Sanderson

*shakes head no*

Why are you asking?

JoyBlu

I was wondering if Tarah was somehow related to Taravangian.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, no.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Brett Roberts

If Taravangian had another intellectually "brightest" day before his main event in Rhythm of War, could he have seen the existence of other forms of Investiture on Roshar? For example, would he have been able to recognize areas where there is use of Sand, Allomancy or Breath, or would those have been too small for him to notice?

Brandon Sanderson

That would have been too small for him to notice, good question, but yes. Too small, most likely. Like he could intuit the existence of these things and perhaps the means of making use of them, but specifics of where they are, that's gonna get dicey for what could happen there. But when he had his weird day, weirder things happened on that day than him noticing something like that. I would say, in general, no, he would not have gotten that granular.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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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.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

Mrall is the assistant to Taravangian. He's described as Thaylen but he's bald and no eyebrows. Does he lack hair everywhere else?

Brandon Sanderson

He does not completely lack hair, but mostly.

Questioner

His comments about how it's easy for him to turn off his emotions are a little bit eye raising.

Brandon Sanderson

They should be!

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#12 Copy

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."
Skyward release party ()
#14 Copy

JoyBlu

How old is Taravangian?

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian is in his 80's, I believe. He is not immortal, he has not lived an extra long time. He might be 70's local time.

JoyBlu

How many kids does he have? If he has all these granddaughters running around.

Brandon Sanderson

He has a number of children, but I have not defined it.

JoyBlu

Were they all with the same wife?

Brandon Sanderson

No. That, I have defined.

Questioner 2

Were they all by a wife?

Brandon Sanderson

A better question. RAFO.

R'Shara

Was he as much of a stud as Spook?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#15 Copy

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 ()
#16 Copy

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 ()
#17 Copy

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

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

She has intervened before.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#20 Copy

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 ()
#21 Copy

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.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Tim

Hey, I've been thinking about that section in WoK with Jasnah and the "thieves" she killed, and it feels like a setup to me - it's weird that the messages Taravangian sends to the guard are on Jasnah's radar, and Jasnah even says that the situation is odd enough to "suspect that there is more going on".

Was this a Taravangian plot?

Taravangian leaks the information about the "reprimands" he sent to his city watch about these dangerous criminals, and watches to see how Jasnah reacts to it, ideally catcher her using her powers? (Just like how he used that cave-in to test her Soulcasting).

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian was under the hope that Jasnah would see the world the way he does--with a very strict (even dangerous) level of utilitarianism. He thought about recruiting her to his mission, but decided against it for various reasons.

Shardcast Interview ()
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Ian Weiry Writer

You killed Rayse this book. Could you talk about why you decided to kill him off, and have Taravangian be Odium instead. Was that always part of the plan?

Brandon Sanderson

I always work in a way where I have different options and opportunities. Was it always the thing that I was absolutely going to do? No, I keep myself open on some of these things. 

The reason Rayse needed to go: he had been essentially defeated at the end of Oathbringer, when Dalinar does not go over to him. All of his rage, and everything he's trying to do cannot make that happen. He's defeated, at least in a philosophical sense. Now you can bring a defeated enemy back to be a threat again. You can find a new way to make them a threat, but I knew - in this book - Kaladin was not going to fall to him either. But once you've had two books in a row with the characters machinations not - things stymied by the heroes. I needed a different villain at that point.

And I also think that [al]though a lot of deep into the cosmere people are interested in the original Shards and getting their stories, for the average reader Taravangian is a much more identifiable villain. And I've been building him from book one to be not just really scary, but a philosophical opposite to Dalinar. These are all the reasons this book needed to go the way it did.

It has benefits and costs. The cost is Odium stops being the evil you don't know. The evil you don't know is a very powerful force in fantasy literature. The evil you do know does different things. And I lose that evil you don't know though you still have a bit of it, because the power of Odium - the Shard itself - I wouldn't say has volition completely, but it's still there and its a thing. It is constrained by Taravangian and directed by Taravangian, but it's the rage of a deity separated from its morals should be a scary thing. In the hands of someone who is essentially a fallible mortal, should be an even more scary thing. Rayse had gotten to the point where I no longer felt - if I was going to write the books the way I did. This basically became inevitable when I swapped and made Dalinar's book book three. [host reactions: OHhh sure!] I knew something big needed to shift, but fortunately I had several options. There is a version of The Stormlight Archive, where this doesn't happen. I think it's a worse version, but until something is written no matter how much something is in the outline, it's not canon even to me. I like to be willing to reassess what I'm doing.

Talking the other direction, the foreshadowing I put in the books the more I foreshadow, the more I do, the more that locks in what I need to do going forward, because I don't want to undermine that foreshadowing. 

There's a longwinded perhaps a little wishy washy answer to you. I can tell you why I made the decision, but I can't - the outlines are these things that are really organic, because I'm always working on them, and will often have lots of division points, these are different places it can go - because of the way I write characters.

I'm sure this will cause contention. But I did not decide in the original outline, who Shallan would end up with, or who anyone would end up with. I write character relationships as I feel they are appropriate on the page, and I revise the outline to match from that how things are feeling and how it's going. I know there are some shippers out there who are like 'that means there was a version of the ship I wanted, and you didn't do it. It was the nefarious beta readers who forced you not to! [Chaos denies] It was ?Calin's fault!' [hosts laugh]. I'm sure you've heard that before. I don't want to fuel that because these decisions are made not necessarily based on beta reader feedback. These decisions are made based on me giving life to the characters, and feeling where I feel they would legitimately they would go. And rebuilding my outline to match.

While I outline a lot more than my contemporaries, I am not a slave to the outline. I will change major things such as moving Dalinar's flashback sequences to book three which had ramifications all down the line. Or deciding I need to do more with Eshonai and Venli earlier in the series, which had other ramifications to their viewpoints later on because I feel it makes the best story.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#24 Copy

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 ()
#27 Copy

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 ()
#29 Copy

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.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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Lass Adventurous Arith

How did you decide to turn Taravangian into Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

How did I decide to do that? There are a couple reasons I decided to do that. This was one of the things didn't have to go this way. It is actually a good one I can talk about because I had multiple options here. Even until I was turning in this outline to my team and saying "Alright, it's time to sink or swim, do we like this or not?", I was going back and forth on it. Really until I had written the scenes and given them to my alpha readers and said, "alright, are you guys ready for me to pull the trigger on this?" because there are costs. The major cost is that Odium is a better ancient unknowable evil. Odium was filling the role in the books of Sauron. Ancient thing, very dangerous, very strange, very powerful and whatnot.

The thing is, my books aren't really about that. I will write books dealing with some of that sort of stuff, but that's not the sort of thing that is as exciting. It's not really as much a theme of my stories, the ancient unknowable evil. The whole purpose of Mistborn—one of them, it's not the purpose—is that even the Lord Ruler you've got to know. Even Ruin became a character that you understood. It is a cost, I will admit. It wasn't as strong for me as it might have been somewhere else. I do know that some people would prefer that, and I can understand why. Sauron makes a pretty great bad guy. Ancient, powerful, unknowable, evil forces—but I feel like I get that in the shard itself. One of the things that I plan to play up more as the Cosmere goes forward is that these powers have some sort of primal sense to them. That's always in my mind been the bigger danger than than Rayse is that.

That is, the negatives were not that big of negatives. And what are the positives? In Oathbringer, Dalinar did not fall to Odium. That is a huge blow to Odium, Rayse-Odium. The fact that at the end of book three he was defeated in a major way, and in book 4 he gets defeated again, this time by Kaladin. We have proven that two of our primary viewpoint protagonists of the Stormlight Archive are able to resist and defeat him. My opinion was that by that point in the Stormlight Archive, Odium would no longer, Odium-Rayse would no longer be a threat. You run into this in lots of long running epic fantasy series. I've talked a lot about how when I was designing Stormlight Archive, the things I had read in other long running fantasy series were a big part of why I designed it the way I did. For instance, in the Wheel of Time it was very difficult—even in the ones I was writing—to maintain a sense of threat for the Forsaken when they had just been defeated right and left every book. They do get their licks in now and then, but it's real hard to keep considering Ba'alzamon from the first one to be a threat when boy, Rand just defeats him and defeats him again and defeats him again and then defeats him again. This is a problem for a lot of media. How threatening is Magneto really when he never wins?

At this point in the series, what I wanted to do was hit you with a left hook from somebody that I considered more frightening, more dangerous, more capable, and who had been growing as an antagonist for a while. And while some of his ploys had not turned out, he is still very threatening. My hope was that this reveal to a portion of the audience—I knew that some would prefer Odium, but to I hoped a larger portion—would be like, "Oh, this just got real."

I've mentioned before that my favorite antagonist is Magneto, I've brought him up before. I like characters who have clashes, antagonists who have clashes of ideology, not just clashes of forces. A reason I'm not excited to write about somebody like Sauron is that, while there are clashes of ideology behind the scenes, on screen for the movies and books it's basically: Sauron wants to rule the world and we don't want him to. That works really well in Lord of the Rings because you have, as I've talked about, part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings is both having Sauron, Saruman, and Gollum to represent three different kinds of evil and three different antagonists that work in tandem really well together. It's part of the brilliance of the Lord of the Rings. But I like having a villain like Taravangian. Taravangian, who has a world view that is a certain world view and that is terrifying because of how that world view is. Elevating him to Odium so that you mixed that with the kind of ancient spren of hatred that is still a very big, dominant part of what he's now become—I just thought made for a more compelling and interesting villain for the fact that we have many more books left in the Stormlight Archive and in the Cosmere, and I had done what I wanted to with Rayse-Odium.

There's my answer. It is totally viable to have, viable is the wrong term, totally understandable that some would have preferred me to go a different direction, but my instinct says—and I haven't done any polls or things on this—that the majority of fans are going to like this direction better, and I certainly think the story will turn out better. That's what led me to make that decision, but these were all things I was heavily considering. Adam was there watching those emails go around with me and the team when I was asking if I should pull the trigger on this or not. There are a couple of things that I've made decisions on that have been some of the most difficult or most far-reaching in that regard, but that I think I made the right decision on.

The other one was bringing Kelsier back. Kelsier, so I seeded all the stuff in the original books to bring Kelsier back, but then I backed off on it, and for a while I'm like eh, I don't think I'm going to bring Kelsier back. During that whole thing, oh this is a fun spoiler thing that I don't think I've talked about before: during that time in the outlining—some of you may again have much preferred this—TenSoon was actually going to be Thaidakar, wearing Kelsier's bones. There was a time where I was going to play with a kandra believing they were Kelsier, in this case TenSoon. I was going to go this direction where it's like, I'm the survivor, I'm picking up the survivor's heritage and I'm doing all of this sort of stuff—I did warn you all about spoilers—and there was a time in there where I decided no, I'm going to leave Kelsier dead—that I'm going to go this direction. Why did I back off on that one? A couple reasons, number one I feel like I really did a solid job with Lessie in the second of the Wax and Wayne books, which was a similar conflict. I felt like I got that out of my system. I did it well, I think that story has some really heart-wrenching things, but as I wrote that story I felt that it was a one-book story.

One of the things I've come to be aware of as I've written, this stretches back to the days of Elantris where my original ending had too many twists. It's been changed, like I had some weird twist where Hrathen had secretly come to Elantris at some point and had a heritage that made him Aleth—not Alethi—made him Aonic and things like that and it was dumb and it didn't work. It was twisting for twists sake. And part of me worries, and part of me actually doesn't just worry, I think that if I had done that whole thing with TenSoon it would have been less cool than what I just actually wanted to have happen, which was to give a full finished character arc to Kelsier. At that point I went back to what my original plan had been and I picked up those threads, and that's when I wrote Secret History, after I had finally made that decision. And it comes with costs too. Everything comes with costs. Having main character die in such a spectacular way and then not being quite dead yet has certain costs in your narrative. The more you do that less that death is meaningful in the stories, the more it feels like a gotcha and things like that. Yet at the same time on the other side, I don't think the Lord of the Rings is weaker for having brought back Gandalf. I think the Lord of the Rings is stronger, and why is that? Gandalf comes back changed as a different person and makes the story more interesting for having returned. My original plan with Kelsier was just more interesting in the long run. Forcing Kelsier to do these things and fi—he did not complete his character arc, and that's part of why it was so heart-wrenching to lose him, which I understand. Bringing him back in that regard lets me finish his story, and I just think that's going to be more satisfying. I gain more than I lose.

Plus there's the fact that someone comes back from the dead in the first chapter of the very first Cosmere book. Second chances at life is a major theme of the Cosmere. Both Warbreaker and Elantris that's kind of—Warbreaker it's the primary theme: second chance at life. You're doing a different thing with your life than you thought you would do, and let's take a second stab at it. I think that being able to play with that with Kelsier is a stronger narrative thing to do. This was also influenced by my, as I've talked about before, sort of shrinking the timescale a little bit of the Cosmere so that more of the characters from the different books can interact. It just makes better storytelling. I would say that those are the two things that in outline I could have gone different directions when I actually got to the story. When it was time to write Secret History I had to make the call. He had been dead, he had been alive, he had been dead, he had been alive, at least in my head, and I made that call. The same thing actually happened with Taravangian. It had been am I going to pull the trigger, was he going to become Odium or not? I actually vacillated on that and eventually have made the decision I made. 

Adam

Are you ever going to reveal what the alternate was going to be, kind of like what you just did?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe eventually I will, but for now I will not. It's easier to reveal in Mistborn because it's basically all in the past. It isn't to say that I won't do something else like that, with a kandra. I might, but Lessie's story covered that real well. Who knows what I'll do, but I've backed off on, for those who have read Way of Kings Prime, Taln's original story was the story of am I an angel or am I not? Am I a herald or am I not? Am I this divine being or am I a normal person? And that actually plays real well in Way of Kings Prime. It is just not a thing I could make work in the actual published version of Way of Kings. It's one of the things that's cool about Way of Kings Prime, is being able to see some of these ideas that I can't express in the actual series. Part of the reason I can't is also, number one I wanted to bring the voidbringers in and all of these things, and you just can't... The more fantastical your book is, the less the reader will be able to suspend disbelief about your character who claims that they're not some mythological legend from lore actually not being that mythological—they walk onstage and are like, "I think that I'm this mythological legend from lore but my powers are gone." Ninety-nine readers out of a hundred are going to be like, "yep, I believe you", even though all the rest of the people in the books are going to be like, "No of course you're not." The reader—because it's just cooler that way. It's very hard to fulfill on good promises by not having that turn out that way. Beyond that, the story I wanted to tell involved Taln and so big surprise, Taln is a herald!

Skyward release party ()
#32 Copy

R'Shara

A long time ago, where you said that Pailiah was the elderly ardent in Kharbranth that Shallan saw, is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes? If you say I said that, then I did.

Questioner 2

Does that mean it is still true?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say there is a Herald in close proximity to Taravangian.

R'Shara

It was in a signed book but we never got a picture of it.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a Herald in close proximity to Taravangian. I'm not being sneaky about that.

R'Shara

Is there more than one?

Brandon Sanderson

There have been in the past, but there is only one that you would call influencing him right now. But there have been others in the past.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#37 Copy

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

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

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.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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VioletSoda

When Taravangian picks up Odium's Shard, how smart is he? Is he more intelligent or compassionate? And now that he has the Shard, is he still subject to his intelligence/compassion fluxuating every day, or is he locked into whatever he was at when he picked up the Shard? Does the intelligence/compassion trade off still affect the plot, is that the loophole or system cheat that will allow Cultivation, Dalinar, etc. to overcome Odium in the end?

Brandon Sanderson

This is indeed a huge RAFO--but you should expect me to be trying to answer these questions in the next book.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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dvoraen

One question I've seen arisen about Taravangian I'm hoping for clarification on: Is he basically retreating from public eye whenever he's not having a "good" (smarter) day?

Navani notes in the chapter that he's dispensed with the doddering old man act, but we the readers know he's just as likely to have a not-smart-but-emotional day where he's not allowed to enact policy, and that could be on the day meetings with the monarchs occur. How is he managing his condition with being so much more in the public eye now?

Brandon Sanderson

There is more help with this in his perspectives, so I'll leave this at a RAFO for now.

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.