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Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#1 Copy

Scott King

Out of all the books you've written which do you think is the best?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Emperor's Soul is the one that won a Hugo, which gives it some objective credibility for being the best. [A Memory of Light] was the hardest by a long shot, and in some ways the most satisfying, but I'm perhaps most proud of The Way of Kings. So one of those three, likely.

Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
#2 Copy


When is Emperor's Soul set chronologically in relation to Elantris? Because if its around the same time Teod and Arelon might not have to stand alone against the Fjordell Empire.

My other question is also a timeline one. (There are a lot of those tonight haha) I heard you had to move The Way of Kings a little bit due to some plot constraints. So does Warbreaker still fall around the same time as The Alloy of Law or has that shifted as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Thanks for the kind words! Emperor's Soul is after Elantris, but not too long after. It is before Mistborn.

Second question is that I've moved things so that The Way of Kings is around the same time as The Alloy of Law, forced by some behind-the-scenes events. Warbreaker now happens before The Alloy of Law.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#3 Copy


I was wondering if you were planning on writing anything else in the Elantris world?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There will be some more [clipped off]. Yeah. I'm going to do some more full books. I'd like to get Shai into things a little bit more, but I don't wanna ruin The Emperor's Soul by writing a bad sequel. Mmhmm, you know, it just turned out so well.

ICon 2019 ()
#6 Copy


The Emperor's Soul was intentionally on Sel or was it just picked up as...

Brandon Sanderson

No, it was intentional, because the magic system... the way I build the magic systems in the Cosmere is very deliberate and certain planets have certain themes for their magic. And Sel's magic systems are all basically computer programming languages and when I was designing that magic system, it had to be on Sel, it couldn't work on any of the other planets for various reason.


And another question, is the Shaod random or is there a purpose beyond it?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not completely random. *laughter from audience*

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#8 Copy


Is there any plans to do anything further with the Elantris universe in the near future?

Brandon Sanderson

There is. The idea is, when the Wax & Wayne books are done, to do Elantris sequels in that slot, where I've been doing them. There's only one more Wax & Wayne book, so it shouldn't be too long, but when we talk about my writing schedule, we have to talk in the scope of years.


I really enjoyed The Emperor's Soul when I read it. It's, I think, one of my favorite things that you've written so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Thank you. I've been... I think, "You know, I should write another story about Shai," but then I'm like, "That one turned out so well." It's one of those things where it's like, "Don't ruin it by having a sequel," right? This is so perfect as its own little glimpse of something.

Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
#9 Copy


Are Legion and Emperor's Soul contained in their own worlds or are they part of the universe of The Stormlight Archive, etc (anywhere with Hoid in it. lol)

Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's Soul is set on Sel, the world of Elantris. It's far off, though, so you have to have your eyes open to catch the clues. Hoid shows up in a deleted scene, and is referenced in the story.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#10 Copy


In The Emperor's Soul - when did you decide to change the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

It was Mary, from the podcast with me, is very good at short fiction. She read it, and she said, "This intro is just holding the story back." And I read it again, and I'm like, I really feel that she's right. I felt at the end of it that the intro was interesting for people who liked Hoid already, but for people who didn't, it was just distracting and confusing. So at the end of the day, I cut it out, and I think it was a good move, even though it was sad. If you google the phrase "killing your darlings". it's a phrase we talk about in writing and storytelling. That scene was what made me want to write the book, it's what started me off in writing the book, and then I cut it out. But sometimes you have to end up doing that.

A Memory of Light San Diego Signing ()
#11 Copy

Freelancer (paraphrased)

In the opening of The Emperor's Soul, I see a scene familiar to Warbreaker; the first character we meet is in jail. Was this "connection" intentional?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes and no. Originally there was a prologue which featured Hoid speaking with the main character and setting some of the plot in motion, but it was cut before final revision. Also, it's convenient to begin with a character who is already in trouble.

ICon 2019 ()
#12 Copy


Also, The Emperor's Soul, will we see Shai in future books?

Brandon Sanderson

You will see Shai in future books. *applause* I came up with a really good idea for a sequel for her, also. I don't know if and when I can write it, but there's a really solid idea I have for one, so, we'll see. But she'll make appearances, she is around.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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Something I've always noticed is missing from your State of the Sanderson updates is any mention of a sequel to The Emperor's Soul. Is that something you might eventually get around to (after the Elantris sequel for example), or do you feel that story has been told?

TES is easily my favorite of your stories, with a depth of character and theme which really surprised me. Would love to read more - especially if it were more novella-length works!

Brandon Sanderson

I've been hesitant to do a sequel, as I don't want to "George Lucas" the story. Emperor's Soul is one of those stories that turned out very well on its own, and I worry that doing another story could take away from how well it works on its own now. I might have Shai do cameos in other stories, though.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

How was the Fjordell Empire not aware of the existence of the Rose Empire during the time of Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The connection between the two will be explained in future Elantris books, but a quick answer is this:

Fjorden was aware of the Rose Empire, but doesn't consider the location to be holy, so they didn't really care that much about it. There is also no easy natural way to travel between the two. If you remember, Shai did run into the Fjordell ambassador.

Sasquan 2015 ()
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Questioner (Paraphrased)

Do you ever plan on writing a sequel to The Emperor's Soul?

Brandon Sanderson

The first one turned out so well, and it's one of those things that you kind of-- Like I didn't expect-- Like sometimes you're amazed at how well something turns out. I wrote that mostly on the flight home from Taiwan. It wasn't anything I was planning to write. I was inspired by my trip to Taiwan. I sat down, and I lived in Korea for two years, so I was kind of familiar with some of the culture, tojang, the stamps, and things like that, and so I ended up writing a story. It turned out so well, that it feels like it's one of those things that may not need a sequel. Does that make sense?

There's some things that are just better by themselves. *laughter* So we'll see. If the right inspiration strikes. I'm not planning one right now, though, for those of you that have read it, there is-- we have sold a movie option on it.  


So a movie option on Emperor's Soul, how would you do that? The producers are working very closely with me, and I'm working on the treatment , and I'm very excited. In fact, [Matt Hughes?], are you in here somewhere? The producer of it flew up from Hollywood, because he wanted to see WorldCon. So he's skulking around WorldCon for the first time. But yeah, so you might see a film.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#20 Copy


Was the Rose Empire ever under threat from Shu-Dereth? And can you speak a little bit on fitting The Emperor's Soul into a world you'd already created?

Brandon Sanderson

So was the Rose Empire ever in danger from Shu-Dereth and could I speak a little about fitting The Emperor's Soul into a world I'd already written. So when I designed Elantris, I knew where I was going, and I knew a lot about the world. This is how I am in building. So when I wanted to do The Emperor's Soul I already knew where I was going to place it, I knew which magic system I was working toward, and things like that. So it wasn't terribly hard since I already knew what was over there.

The fun about that is that you should go look at the map commissioned, the one Isaac drew, that's done by the Derethi and see how they view the Rose Empire and where they put it on their map. And then you'll eventually get a map of the whole world, and let's just say they don't have a really accurate representation of the world and their place in it. As was very common for a lot of early societies, early European maps are hilarious.

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

In your novellas Legion and The Emperor's Soul, there was a common theme of a creation of character. Were you making a comment on that as a writer?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The Emperor's Soul was much more so, specifically dealing with the artistic process. That was part of the theme for me. Legion was more "Wow, this idea's awesome." I originally told Dan (from Writing Excuses) that he should write this, it's really quirky. He said, "I got my own ideas—go write it yourself!"

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#24 Copy


Kind of an interesting question I guess, and it's mostly, like, Emperor's Soul.

Brandon Sanderson



It's funny because I was reading that book and I almost, almost thought that you put a twist where, like, her soul was stamped, and actually she was, like, not exactly who she thought she was. Did that ever cross your mind?

Brandon Sanderson

I did, but at some point, um--


Maybe it's a bit cheesy, I dunno.

Brandon Sanderson

--sometimes you twist so much. I felt that the more impact thing was the fact that she was planning this whole exit strategy to wipe herself away. I thought that was more telling about her than having her soul stamped. I did consider it, but it just felt like it was one of those over-twists, does that make-- make sense?


It might have--yeah, cause that's supposed to be a classic, like, "oh, *inaudible*" But anyway...

Brandon Sanderson

But you know, I mean there's some books where I've done--where I've like--this is the classic twist, and I like it, so I do it anyway.