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Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

The Lord Ruler, sixteen-- all sixteen metals, full metalminds, and can compound versus Rand at the end of A Memory of Light *laughter/cheering*

Brandon Sanderson

...At that point probably Rand. Sorry. *cheering*

Questioner

But the Lord Ruler has luck, he can Compound luck.

Brandon Sanderson

He can do a whole lot of stuff. Now if it's the Lord Ruler during the moment of Ascension, it's the Lord Ruler, but post-Ascension? No.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

So you've written a lot of books. Of all the books that you've written, which do you look back gives you as the writer the most personal satisfaction?

Brandon Sanderson

Oooh, wow. Satisfaction. See I like all of my books for different reasons so picking a favorite is impossible, but you were smart and asked for something more specific than favorite. I would say finishing The Wheel of Time brought me the most satisfaction. Starting reading those books when I was fourteen and then having it be such an enormous challenge and then having it be well received and not screwing it up-- because I was really worried I would screw it up. And for the majority of people I didn't screw it up, for some I did, there are a few that really didn't like it. That's fine. But for the majority of people I didn't screw it up and for myself I didn't screw it up. So at the end of the day I'm very satisfied those books turned out as well as they did.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

So there's a certain very long chapter in A Memory of Light. There's also a certain very long chapter in Oathbringer. I'm assuming you used similar techniques; both are very effective. Did you come up with that when writing Memory of Light or were you inspired by someone else for doing that?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope, that was something I had wanted to do.

So the question is, there's a very long chapter in A Memory of Light that was done very deliberately. I've used this before and in other books. Oathbringer does one, not nearly to the extent, but there's a certain point in A Memory of Light—and this was me, this was just kind of my love of trying to make the form of a novel match what I'm trying to get across with the novel.

In A Memory of Light, there was a point where the characters could not set down their swords and take a break, and I wanted to make sure that part was not divided up, to encourage as many readers as possible to have to push through it, even if it was kind of late at night *crowd laughs*, to get to the chapter break, so that they would feel some of the same feeling that the characters were feeling. And that's just my writerly way to get that across. In Oathbringer, it was more like, "This is where the breaks fit most naturally." I wasn't trying to do the same thing, but it's a similar sort of thing, where I want the momentum to not have a break until a certain point in the story. I don't anticipate ever doing-- The one in A Memory of Light was like 90,000 words, which, if you're unaware, an average novel is 80,000 words. So there is a novel-length chapter in A Memory of Light. And so, yeah-- *playfully* eh.

Arched Doorway Interview ()
#5 Copy

Rebecca Lovatt

Do you mind if I ask one more Wheel of Time question? After A Memory of Light, Mat did he lose his luck, is he still ta'veren at all?

Brandon Sanderson

My perspective--now, I'm not speaking from a perspective of knowledge because Robert Jordan does not say in the notes, at least not that I saw. Speaking as Brandon the...very enfranchised fan and extra knowledgeable fan, but not as author of the series, I think he kept his luck but lost a portion of it. Meaning the luck is inherent to him, from the fact that the Heroes of the Horn know him as the Gambler. Luck and gambling are associated with him through all of his past lives, and I think that he naturally has some of that. When he was ta'veren it amplified and manifested, but he would still have it.

Rebecca Lovatt

I was curious about that.

Brandon Sanderson

And I don't even know if he's not ta'veren anymore.

Rebecca Lovatt

I remember in one of the books they said that they weren't always ta'veren for their whole life.

Brandon Sanderson

I think he expects that he's not anymore, but of the three he's the one that's still the center of global politics at the end of the books. If any of them was going to remain ta'veren, it would be him.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

What is the favorite character you have written?

Brandon Sanderson

What is the favorite character that I have written? I would say Perrin, from The Wheel of Time. Because I can't pick my own characters, because they don't feel like I'm-- They are my favorite while I'm writing them, whoever they are. But Perrin was my favorite Wheel of Time character and when I got to finish The Wheel of Time he was the character that Robert Jordan left the least amount of notes on. In fact there was one sentence, for three books-worth, about him. And so I got to take him and-- Really Perrin was the one I had the most influence on through the course of those three books and it was very special to me him being my favorite character and being able to do that.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Was there any one character that-- I know you said all of your characters are your favorite, but was there ever one you were really excited to kill?

Brandon Sanderson

Any character that I was really excited to kill. Masema, from The Wheel of Time. Spoiler. I was so happy to kill that dude. He was hanging on forever, annoying me.

Questioner

Anyone from the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Anyone from the cosmere? I'm never eager to kill anyone specifically. I don't even really regard it as killing characters off. I build the outline, I let the character grow into who they are and let them kind of guide-- take the chances that I feel that character would take, and then deal with consequences of it. Does that make sense? So in a lot of ways, it's interesting to me-- Like I already generally know what's going to happen in my books before I write them. I'm an outliner. And so I'm very comfortable, if not happy, with the idea that certain characters aren't going to make it. Meaning, I'm usually sad that they aren't, but I know that they aren't from the beginning so I'm very well prepared for it. Unlike you guys.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#11 Copy

Wetlander

Human, spren, Splinter Sliver, Shard Adonalsium - which of these is most similar ontologically to Nakomi?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughter* I can't say anything about Nakomi! Robert Jordan did not want anything said about Nakomi! I can't say anything at all about Nakomi! Dig into the notes when they are released, and then you can find out things said about Nakomi. The little tiny hints we have, I told you he wrote that thing at the end, and I'm like well, okay. So.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

You have written before on Reddit that you had to add some scenes for Perrin in the epilogue, even though the majority of the epilogue was Jordan's. Did you have to figure out endings for any other characters, or did he write them?

Brandon Sanderson

I did have to come up with endings for other major characters. Other than Perrin, they were strongly suggested by the notes or by the books. And technically, he had in the notes, Perrin's absolute end. One of the few things that it said was, "Perrin ends up as king." So, his absolute end. But I did have to do lesser than Perrin, but still some major.

Questioner

Perrin finding Faile. Was that Jordan's? Or was that you?

Brandon Sanderson

That was me. He did write the scene-- I think this is the epilogue, where Mat comes back to Tuon, and things like that. Like, that whole scene was finished. The whole scene where Rand comes out of the cavern, all that stuff was finished. Some of the stuff with... Cadsuane, we had to extrapolate. Not extrapolate, he had some of the things in the notes. Some of the other ones, we had to. Others you would consider main characters, we decided on. Harriet decided on a couple of things.

Questioner

Galad and Gawyn?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna have to RAFO that, because I think Harriet has not wanted me to go down that path. I would say that major chunks of the Egwene and Gawyn plot were finished and written, particularly a lot of the stuff in Towers of Midnight. But there's a few things she's asked me to stay away from. One is who decided what happened to Egwene. Harriet has asked me to ease off on that one.

Manchester signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

My question was about your writing process... When you are writing do you become emotionally attached to the characters you are writing about? Does it become hard to distinguish between what you think the characters should be doing and what you actually have planned out for them? And how did that affect your Wheel of Time writing? You didn’t create them, but you took over their story arcs and did you become attached to any of those?

Brandon Sanderson

What an excellent question. I do grow attached to all of my characters, however character is the weird one for me. Character is very hard for me to define how I do it. With my plot I can talk about outlining the plot and these sorts of things. And my worldbuilding, I've written lots of essays about worldbuilding, and building magic systems and things like this. But with character I really sit down with this plot, this world, together and I start writing somebody in a role and I write a chapter and I see how they feel. It's almost like casting someone in the role. If that doesn't work, then I get rid of them, I get rid of that and I write a new chapter using a different character's personality but who feels very much the same in some ways. For instance, Mistborn,  I did this quite famously, Vin started with a guy, I tried Vin as a guy and then I tried Vin as a woman, but a different, a very different person from what you read, who was very confident and more Artful Dodger type person, and then I tried the Vin that ended up in the book. I can't really explain to you why I knew those first two were wrong, they just were. So I ditched them and tried again. I do that until I've hit the right character and then I let them start growing and developing as I write the book and if the person they turn into is not the person who would do the sort of things that are in my outline I either have to change my outline, which I will sit down and do, or I'll say "this character is awesome but they don't belong in this role. I will write a book around them later, and find a place for them." And that's-- Usually I just re-write the outline, once in a while I pull out the character and put someone else in that place. If a book is going wrong for me, it almost always because of one of the characters, something is wrong with them, and I wish that I could explain it better. It's actually really thrilling for me, when a character is alive and working well enough that I know they wouldn't do what is in the outline. That's not a sad moment that's a "Aha! I've got something good here. This character is working, they are strong enough on the page that they can balk these constraints that were placed upon them." Because an outline, while it is a great tool, the danger is that the outline constricts your story and it doesn't allow it to actually feel alive. This is when you get these wooden characters that just kind of cardboard cut-out through a book. That's when often the outline just takes too much-- takes over too much of the characters. So it's exciting, but it can be very frustrating when it's not working.

It did happen with the Wheel of Time but in a different way. The Wheel of Time characters were like my high school friends growing up, these were my buddies. I was a nerdy kid who sat in my bedroom and read books, and these were my friends. So writing them I was really worried that it would be difficult to write them. But it was actually very easy, their voices snapped for me quite quickly, I knew what they would do. So much in fact that Mat was a little off in Gathering Storm, I didn't notice it because I was so used to characters coming very easily to me. And yes I feel very much in love with writing them and these sorts of things because of these sort of things but it was because of my past familiarity with them that allowed me to do that.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

So what are your thoughts on the Wheel of Time pilot?

Brandon Sanderson

The Wheel of Time pilot? I... think... See this is kind of on the record because of the recording. I think the actors and the director are to be praised for doing so much with so little time. I don't think it should have been made and I don't think it is a good direction for The Wheel of Time to be going. But that is in part because I know Harriet was not pleased with it.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

So what about the things you left out when you finished-- What was the one thing you wish you could have gotten in there most?

Brandon Sanderson

Most that I wish I could have gotten into The Wheel of Time? My favorite sequence that got cut, writing-wise, was the sequence where Perrin travels in the Ways and defeats Machin Shin with the Ogier. It's a beautiful sequence, it came out really well. The problem is reading the book you don't miss it because it was a big deviation. So I'm not sure if I wish that one would have made it into the book.

I tried to get Rand engaged, and that one I think-- I think as a whole a lot of people are confused when they come to me and wish that they could have known a little bit more about that relationship and I tried to have the three-- I tried to write a scene where the three women weave a bridal wreath together to give to him and Harriet did not like that scene because she thought it might contradict Rand later wondering if any of them would follow him, which is a scene that Robert Jordan wrote. I didn't think it contradicted but since we had that scene from Robert Jordan and since Harriet-- She's the boss, I was happy to cut it according to her wishes. I miss that one.

Questioner

Is there anything-- Is any of that going to be in the Encyclopedia coming up and are you doing anything with it?

Brandon Sanderson

I am not doing anything with it. It is all Harriet. In fact when Robert Jordan and she signed the contracts for it it was always going to be her project and not his.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#16 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Will there be some other books concerned with the Wheel of Time maybe?

Brandon Sanderson

Chances are not good. I feel that Robert Jordan didn't want there to be more-- And I'm not the final decision maker on that, Harriet is, but I've mentioned to her that I don't feel it would be right to continue doing [Wheel of Time] books. So I don't think it's likely. If she decides that she wants more that's certainly not my place to say that she can't, or things. But I don't think I would write anymore just because I feel like he wanted it to be an ending. If he were still around, he would've written more. But I don't think he would want me to.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

You know how usually you read a good book and it will change your perspective on some aspect of life, do you ever finish writing a book yourself and-- From your own writings do you ever "Ah I've never..."

Brandon Sanderson

It's usually the research I do. Like when I'm like "I need to get in the mindset of this type of person" and I go read about it. I see the world in a different way after I become immersed in that.

Questioner

So what character have you written that was the hardest to imagine or get into?

Brandon Sanderson

Jasnah was very hard originally, and that took a lot of research into the mindset of people who think differently from myself. In The Wheel of Time books Aviendha and Tuon are both very different cultures so getting into those.

Questioner

How was it writing Mat? Was it pretty easy or--

Brandon Sanderson

No, Mat blindsided me. Mat I thought would be easy because Perrin and Rand were and I grew up with Mat, Perrin, and Rand, right? But the thing is Mat is a really hard character to write, meaning actual-- you look at him, he says one thing, he does a second thing, but he thinks a third thing. And so there is a lot of contrast to him and I just started writing him naturally and I wasn't getting all of that contrast because I was like "Oh I know who Mat is. Mat's my--" But he was saying the things that he never said, if that makes sense? I got his actions right but I flipped what he said and what he thought. It was actually really hard to get him down.

Questioner

You mean how he would say that he was going to avoid trouble and then run straight into it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it's like "I'm going to avoid trouble", he runs into trouble, and he's thinking all the way about something completely separate, and then something else leaves his mouth.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

What's the most important thing to do when writing to ensure that the story has the tone you want it to have?

Brandon Sanderson

Boy, I'm not sure if there's a one catch-all most important thing. The answer, unfortunately, to most writing questions is: practice a lot, and then show your work to people and get feedback, and then learn how to target it better. With tone, one thing I've noticed that is really tough to pull off is switching very frequently between something that's supposed to be humorous and something that's supposed to be serious. And this is not a bad instinct, because some of the great filmmakers and writers we know are able to do this. This is like a Joss Whedon hallmark, right? We're gonna go from witty comeback to sudden gravitas in the matter of, like, whiplash. So we're like, "Wow, I like movies like that, I like books like that. Terry Prachett can make me laugh and then make me cry in the space of a page. I want to learn to do that." But it is really easy to have your tone go completely off the wall when you're trying to do something like that. And whenever I fail on that thing, on tone, it's almost always because I'm trying to inject something funny into the middle of something with a lot of gravitas.

This actually happened-- "Funny" is maybe the wrong term for it, but in the last Wheel of Time book, a scene we cut. The beginning of the Wheel of Time book, to not give spoilers, start with a really dramatic fight scene where some people are struggling to survive under terrible situations, and they are getting picked off and dying, and things are burning. And I alternated that with a different scene I had written separately of several characters getting engaged. Which were both scenes I wanted in the book; but when I finally came to fold the stories together, these different threads, this one went opposite this one, and wow, it did not work. It was so bad. You would be reading these scenes about people dying, you'd be like, "I'm not interested in the people getting engaged." Even though it's something that maybe you've waited for the entire series to read because of the tone mismatch of where you're jumping back and forth. So that was one where we actually cut out the scene of the engagement, and just let the scene that was the more powerful scene stand on its own.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

Where did the idea of spren come from?

Brandon Sanderson

Comes from two primary inspirations. One is my perhaps too-much fondness for things classical philosophy. Specifically some of the ideas that Plato talked about with certain Ideals, and the ideal picture of something, the theory of the Forms, and all this stuff. Mixed with the idea of, in the Eastern religions and mythology, you have the idea of the kami, or things like thsi, in which everything has a soul. A rock that you pass has a soul to it. And these two ideas kind of mashing together is where the spren were birthed out of.

I can also point a little bit at The Wheel of Time. One of the things I always liked about The Wheel of Time is, there's a character named Perrin who can smell people's emotions. And as a writer, when I was working on The Wheel of Time, I'm like, "This is so convenient!" Super convenient as a writer. Because it gets really cliched to use the same sort of phrases to indicate emotion. If you're always having somebody smirk as they talk, it starts to really stand out. But since, when I get to Perrin scenes, he can describe emotion in a completely different way, because he was using different senses, almost a synesthesia sort of thing where he would catch scents and know someone's emotion, it was a really cool writing tool. And I think the spren popped a little bit out of that, the ability to show emotion in a different way in my narrative, and that would change society in some (I thought) very interesting ways, made for a really interesting narrative tool for me as a writer.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

Which book was the hardest to write?

Brandon Sanderson

Which book was the hardest to write. A Memory of Light, the last of The Wheel of Time books by a LARGE margin is the hardest book I've ever written because the last Wheel of Time book mixed with a lot of war scenes that--I don't have the history in warfare that Robert Jordan did so all this stuff I had to do, there was a lot of research and a lot of going back and forth with Alan Romanczuk with Team Jordan. It was by far the hardest.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

I've been following the head writer of the Wheel of Time series for Amazon Prime. He was doing a Q&A on Twitter last month, and in it, he did not confirm Perrin in the series. How do you feel about that? And how do you think it'll affect the series?

Brandon Sanderson

I think, knowing Rafe [Judkins] a little bit (I've had a couple calls with him), he's not confirming things because they haven't settled on approving any of his outlines and things yet for the series. So he's not going to confirm a lot of things until he gets this outline together, and things like that. And The Wheel of Time is a really tough beast, because of how many characters there are, and how many introductions you have to give, and things like this. I would not imagine that they would leave Perrin out, but it's possible, I can see a world where you'd leave Perrin out of the first season, or at least have him as a background character, and then delve into him later on. Because you kind of need Mat and the dagger in the first season. And you definitely need Rand in the first season. But the Perrin stuff could easily be moved to another season, because it doesn't have payoffs until, like, Book Four, or something like this. That would be my guess, but I haven't talked to him specifically about this.

I do know earlier, different people working it, they had tried to take Mat out of the first season, because he kind of comes to his own in Book Three. And that turned out to be kind of a disaster. It's just them trying a difficult thing, and not taking anything off the table, I think, is a smart way to approach it. I would be very surprised if Perrin got pulled out completely. But I don't know, I haven't seen any outlines or things yet. And they're definitely not required to show them to me, or anything like that.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

I was curious Mat and then the second-hand man Talmanes... Did you have inspiration for those-- Because I absolutely enjoyed, I laughed out loud multiple times reading those characters. And I wondered--

Brandon Sanderson

With Mat it was always just me trying to match Robert Jordan's style, sometimes awkwardly at first but I think I got it down. With Talmanes there was more room for interpretation because I had always-- In fandom people interpret his personality in a lot of different ways, and I was a certain theory because we'd never seen through his eyes. When I did write scenes through his eyes I used my interpretation. There are some people "No that's not how he is". There are some people "Yes I always knew he was like that". But that's how I've always viewed him, with kind of the tongue in his cheek as he's talking to Mat. And I've always loved him as a character because of that. Which is why I wanted to write him and include him. There weren't any notes to use him.

Arched Doorway Interview ()
#25 Copy

Rebecca Lovatt

I've been trying to avoid Wheel of Time questions, but I've got one. We need to settle the score... who understood women better: Mat, Perrin, or Rand?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh wow, who understood women better? So I'll say this: Perrin understood his woman better than Mat or Rand understood the women that they were interacting with. Does that make sense?

Rebecca Lovatt

It does.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to go with Perrin. Although by the end of the book Rand has recalled his past...no, Lews Therin was terrible with women, so I don't know. I'm still going to vote Perrin.

Rebecca Lovatt

That's not just because he's your favorite?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I'm going to say it's because he understands human nature the best, despite having this whole wolf side. Or maybe it's because of this whole wolf side that he's able to look from an exterior perspective at the way humans are doing the things they are doing, and relating it.

Warsaw signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

Thank you for finishing The Wheel of Time. How do you think it influenced your writing style? Did you adjust your writing style through The Wheel of Time to the original writing style of Robert Jordan?

Brandon Sanderson

What an excellent question! So, when I first started working on The Wheel of Time, I tried to imitate his voice exactly, and it came off like parody. So, instead, I backed off on trying to imitate every word and instead I tried to match the character voices as best as I could, and this ended up working a lot better. I often say, it’s like the same actors, but a new director. It had huge effect on my writing as well. I had to lift heavy weights, so to speak, and I feel like I came out of The Wheel of Time being much better at juggling a lot of different smaller viewpoints and combining them into a whole.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

At the end of A Memory of Light, it mentions that Rand is no longer ta'veren - does that apply to Mat and Perrin as well? And if it does, how does it apply to Mat's luck?

Brandon Sanderson

Everything I'm saying right now is not 100% canon, because I'm only working off of my guesstimates based on his notes. I believe that Mat's luck is a soul attribute that is independent of him being a ta'veren, but enhanced by his ta'veren nature. Part of the proof of this is the Heroes of the Horn knowing him as Gambler, which means in other Ages when he's been born and not been ta'veren, he's still had luck and attraction to things like that. Plus things in the notes, I'm basing on that. So it does not necessarily mean they aren't ta'veren right now, but even if they weren't, I think Mat would still have his luck.

Questioner

So you don't know whether they're ta'veren or not?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not know. My suspicion is that if he would have written the outriggers, Mat still would have been, and maybe Perrin, because Perrin was going to be in the outriggers, we know this. But I don't know for sure.

But I think it would have been fun, if in some parallel dimension if I were to have written them, which I'm never going to, I would have not made Mat ta'veren, or Perrin, I would have made Tuon ta'veren, and forced Mat to deal with someone else who was ta'veren, which I think would have been interesting.

Questioner

Can women be ta'veren? Because in the entire series there is not a single female ta'veren.

Brandon Sanderson

There is not, but I'm very sure that they can be, based on things that I read in the notes. So, that's what I would have done, but I don't know if that's what Robert Jordan would have done. Can you just imagine that, Mat having to think that he's in someone else's story now?

Warsaw signing ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

How was it to do The Wheel of Time, how was it to finish the words of a giant?

Brandon Sanderson

It was scary. For those who don’t know the story, I did not apply to finish The Wheel of Time. I got a phone call out of the blue one day from Robert Jordan's widow, and what she said was exactly, I got her on the phone and she said, "I was wondering if you'd be willing to finish my husband's series." I was not expecting this at all, so I replied, "Arrrgggahhhhh." Seriously, I could barely speak. That night, I wrote her an email that said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." I was just so surprised, but I was also extremely honored. She asked me because she knew I had read all the books since I was young man, and I had this moment where I realized, if I screw this up, it is a big deal! But if I turn it down, and someone else screws it up, it’s a bigger deal. So, I said yes, because I figured, if he couldn’t do it, I at last wanted it in the hands of someone I knew cared.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

What are your favorite books?

Brandon Sanderson

Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly--it got me into reading. Les Misérables--my favorite classic. And then book four of The Wheel of Time. *inaudible*

Questioner

Really? Book four?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, book four. Rand going to the pillar in Rhuidean? It's my favorite. Have you read those?

Questioner

No.

Brandon Sanderson

No, okay. It was one of the experiences I loved growing up. And I still love it, despite the fact that I *inaudible*.

Questioner

Yeah, that's got to be pretty awesome you got to finish it. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh man, it was awesome. I didn't know them. They just called-- his wife called me on the phone and asked if I could do it. Just out of the blue. No application or anything. "I like your books. Will you to finish this."

General Reddit 2015 ()
#31 Copy

L0neGamer

*posting a thread in the "WhoWouldWin" subreddit titled "Randland vs Scadrial"*

Round 1: Zen Rand (after revelation, before last battle) vs Mist Vin (Feeding on infinite metal sources) - Both at their top tiers, they should, by my estimation, be matched because of the rays of power vs seeing the future.

Round 2: The armies of Randland vs The armies of Scadrial - Aes Sedai, Asha'man, dragons/cannons, vs koloss, mistings, mistborns.

Bonus round: The Lord Ruler and his armies have to take on the Dark One, and his armies. How well do they fare?

Other rounds would be cool if you come up with more.

EDIT: Since people seem to think that RandLand would stomp, how would Vin and crew, with/without the Lord Ruler, fare if they had full knowledge of Rand's abilities and 6 months to prepare?

Brandon Sanderson

I think that while Vin in the state you mention might be able to give a good fight to Rand, overall, Randland winds. Channelers are more powerful and versatile than most metalborn. Randland has far better generals; everyone on Scadrial is basically still winging it. I hand this one to Randland, unless Kelsier can pull off some improbable assassinations before the whole thing begins.

potentscrotem

Would the time reversing properties of balefire remove the ability [of atium] to see the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Boy, this one is a tough call. Mixing cosmologies is tough. If we're IN Randland, then atium would work by reading the pattern--but in the cosmere, it looks into the Spiritual Realm--where all times, locations, and possibilities conflate. Either way, I'd say Balefire could counteract atium--but it would be tricky to use correctly, as you'd basically have to balefire some object that the atium burner was factoring into their plans very soon, tripping them up and catching them unable to adjust to the new futures quickly enough.

Argent

Not too long ago you told us atium works in the Cognitive - to quote you in reference to how stronger atium burns, "However, there's a certain breaking point where you kind of crack the whole system, peer straight into the cognitive realm, and kind of have a "It's full of stars" moment."

Are the two replies still compatible?

Brandon Sanderson

I meant Spiritual there. Sorry. I deal with the cognitive so much in the books, and Spiritual so infrequently, I often have a silver/tin moment when my fingers just type the thing I'm used to typing.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever done fan-fiction?

Brandon Sanderson

Have I ever done fan-fiction? ...I have done fan fiction a couple of times. One was this series called The Wheel of Time.

Crowd

*thunderous laughter and applause*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Technically, right? It was sanctioned fan-fiction by the publisher, but it was basically fan-fiction. I also did a couple of video game tie-ins for a friend of mine, which was essentially fan-fiction. They were friends building a video game, they talked to me about how cool it was, and how it was inspired by my books, and I'm like "Ah, I'd better write something for you." And that's where the Infinity Blade stories come from. I can see myself doing things like that in the future, but not very much. They're only, kind of, in most cases, going to be little forefront fun projects.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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sxeQ

Given the chance, what stories would you like to write in the Wheel of Time universe?

Brandon Sanderson

If I felt it appropriate, I'd choose to finish the prequels. I'd write one about Tam going to war, and one about Moiraine and Lan's adventures leading up to visiting the Two Rivers. Those were two things Robert Jordan had talked about writing.

He didn't leave much in the way of notes, though, so I don't think it would be right to do them.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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ThePsion5

I always wondered what would happen if someone burning atium fought a ta'veren like Matrim Cauthon. Would it look like he was burning atium as well? Would his atium shadow be concealed by a haze of probability?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say that Mat's aura would interfere with atium, but you could easily rule the other way--you could say atium works something like Min's visions of the future, letting one "read the Pattern" so to speak. And Min's visions do work on ta'veren.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

Which character arc has been your favorite to write?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually don't pick favorites. Because all characters in all the books are like my children. But I will say it was extraordinarily satisfying to write Rand's arc, that I did in Gathering Storm. That was a true delight as a long-time fan of the series. So probably that one.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

How involved are you in the Wheel of Time [television] development?

Brandon Sanderson

How involved am I in the Wheel of Time development? Not at all. They haven't contacted me. If they did I would be involved, but they have not contacted me.

Questioner

That's disappointing.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well. I mean, I don't think they're as far as long as Harriet's limited communication to the fact has made it sound. I don't-- I think they are just starting the process. Now they own the rights outright, which is a big advantage for actually getting something made. I think the chances are pretty good. But I doubt they're beyond looking at screenwrite--scripts and things like that. Maybe they'll write a script for a season of a TV show and come to me and say, "Hey Brandon, do you want to consult on this?" But I would expect that they would wait until then. I don't know. If they ask me... But I-- the Wheel of Time is not mine, and so I have very limited creation with any of the business side of stuff on the Wheel of Time.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

When you started writing for Wheel of Time, did you find that any of your opinions changed when you wrote the characters, versus--

Brandon Sanderson

So, Mat was way harder than I expected him to be to write. I thought Mat would just zip out and be super easy, and I was taken by surprise by how difficult Mat was to write.

Cadsuane had always been my least favorite character, and I was surprised by how much I understood her when I had to stand in her shoes.

DragonCon 2016 ()
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Jennifer Liang

Alright, so you guys all know who he is but I need to explain why I'm sitting next to him, for the majority of you who have never seen me before. I'm Jennifer Liang, and many years ago I was the Track Director for the Wheel of Time track here [at DragonCon]. *cheers* Awww... I've moved on to other things, I chair my own Wheel of Time convention [JordanCon] now, so if you are interested in that go look that up somewhere. But the reason that Brandon was first at DragonCon, eight years ago, was because I told him to be here.

Brandon Sanderson

I was really scared. *laughter* See I knew Wheel of Time fandom, as a fan, and I knew how crazy they were. And so when, basically, the queen of Wheel of Time fandom wrote to me and said "You're going to come to DragonCon and talk to us." I was super nervous. I still remember it, I was talking to Jenn about it. I walk in and it was a room, pretty big, not as big , but packed with people. And I walked in and I'm like "I've never been in a panel this size before." right? "I'm used to going--" It was only that same year, I think it was, that I went to WorldCon and did a reading and there was only one person at my reading. *laughter* And it was Eric James Stone, my good friend. *laughter* They did schedule it opposite Lois Bujold's main address, which was part of the problem. But still, I went from one person in my reading to walking into a room like this. Full of a whole bunch of people who are like "You're not my real dad." *laughter*

Jennifer Liang

It was very weird hearing somebody who was not Robert Jordan talk about writing The Wheel of Time. Like it was really flipping us out at the time. But he-- you were good.

Brandon Sanderson

You were all very nice. Except for the-- The did this thing called... Darkfriend games, right? Are you a Darkfriend. Which is basically like Assassin, one of those party games where you sit around-- Except it's Wheel of Time themed. And they always murdered me, like first. *laughter* Right? Like that's how I knew there was a little bit of subconcious agression going on. We'd look up and they'd say "Who did the Villagers want to kill? Brandon." Every time. I was never the Darkfriend, but they killed me every time.

Jennifer Liang

It was funny. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

There's a group of three of them in particular, that I remember, who kind of ganged up and got me. So I actually put them in, I think as Dreadlords, in the books and got them murdered. *laughter*

Jennifer Liang

They're extremely proud of themselves.

Brandon Sanderson

They're very proud. They got in and murdered. So if you look for a conspicuous group of Dreadlords that get killed in a very terrible way, that's them.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

What happened to Rand? He's not dead?

Brandon Sanderson

So Robert Jordan wrote everything from Rand stumbling out of Shayol Ghul until the ending, with the exception of the Perrin scenes, which I added to that epilogue. Harriet says--his wife--says he sat laughing to himself as he wrote the scene with the pipe, but he did not tell her what it means.

Questioner

Pipe?

Brandon Sanderson

The pipe where he-- he lit the pipe just by thinking about it. 

Questioner

That's also something-- he's using the Tel'aran'rhiod power to light it in the real world?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not know. Now, I have my theories. I think that because Rand touched the Pattern directly, when he was doing what he was doing, that he now has influence over the Pattern. 

Questioner

So he can change and manipulate things? But he's-

Brandon Sanderson

That's what I think, but Robert Jordan didn't say, and he did write those scenes himself before he passed away. So, I wrote the actual Last Battle-

Questioner

All of it? That was so epic.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So he took over-- where he left was right when Rand stumbles out. The Last Battle chunk before that was me. He wrote Mat in the Tower of Ghenjei... He wrote most of Egwene in The Gathering Storm, and then little snippets of Egwene all the way through. Perrin was almost one hundred percent me; he didn't leave much on Perrin. With Rand, he wrote little chunks here and there...

So I do not know. Now, I can tell you that there in the notes that when the balefire streams, when they crossed, intertwined [Rand's] soul with Moridin's soul. And one thing that his assistant said is that the [soul] that wanted to live found the body that was going to live, and the [soul] that wanted to die found the body that was dying. And that's what happened.

Questioner

They swapped bodies because he had this thing-- Why didn't he go in and say "hey everybody?" ...He didn't want to be with his family and friends anymore?

Brandon Sanderson

I think he probably came back-- He just needed a break. I'm pretty sure that he eventually let them know, but he just needed a little time. So, but I don't know for sure.

Questioner

I thought it was super cool, going in, the chase between Slayer and Perrin.

Brandon Sanderson

I had a lot of fun with that scene.

Questioner

...Also, you told me last time I saw you, that Tel'aran'rhiod is basically-- Is that kind of where you got the idea of the parallel universe in the other books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shadesmar. Shadesmar you can tie directly back to my love of Tel'aran'rhiod. It's kind of mixed with that in my love of some ancient Greek philosophy things that are not that important, but yeah.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

What’s the hardest power you've created to find a balance for?

Brandon Sanderson

Hardest power to create a balance for? I'd say first is Wheel of Time, but I didn't create that... Hardest to balance… They've all been fairly easy so far. My guess is that it will end up being Stormlight just because I am doing so many books in that world, and I'm not resetting characters as much as I am in Mistborn, that I'm going to have to be careful about power creep... That's an excellent question.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

So how tough a decision is taking on Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

It was very tough. It uhh-- Man, I was-- I was scared. But I realized, after being offered it, if I said no and somebody else screwed it up, it would be partially my fault for being too cowardly to take it, right? Or too frightened or whatever. I don't know if it would be cowardly, but too timid? So I had to-- I eventually said yes because I figured, if someone is going to write it I want it to be me. Because at least I knew then a fan was in control.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

...I still haven't finished the last [Wheel of Time]. Because I'm like, I don't know what I'm going to do without them in my life.

Brandon Sanderson

I know that feeling. When I sat down and read the ending that Robert Jordan himself had written, it was a weird, surreal moment, that it was done.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

What was the hardest part of finishing The Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

The hardest part, I would say, was the battle logistics.

Questioner

So A Memory of Light took a while?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, A Memory of Light is all battle logistics, it was really hard. And the second half was really tough to get that all right. And just to work with the assistants and things like that.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

The scene where Verin Mathwin dies. Did you write that?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't. Robert Jordan wrote that. It is one of the very few scenes that he actually had written in the notes, and I was able to reach out, grab that one and drop it in. I was very satis-- In fact that was one of the big surprises when I was reading the notes.

Questioner

Everybody-- I mean, it's probably my favorite scene that's ever been written.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and he did that one. I feel very happy to be able to tell people that because there aren't a lot of scenes that I could just drop in that he wrote, and that is one of them.

SpoCon 2013 ()
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Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

That scene you're talking about, Robert Jordan wrote that scene himself. He did not tell us what the scene means. If you've read the last scene of the Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan wrote that. It's what became the epilogue. And he wrote it and left it, and Harriet said, he left it and he laughed. He laughed and smiled. She doesn't even know what it means. I don't know what it means. You can ask me when you come through the line, I'll tell you her interpretation and mine. But we don't know for sure what it means.

Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

Who do I blame for killing off some of my favorite characters in the last book of Wheel of Time? You, or Robert Jordan?

Brandon Sanderson

Actually, there are three people to blame. I chose about a third of them. Robert Jordan chose about a third of them. And Harriet, his wife, chose about a third of them. So you can blame all of us. She killed Bela, though. I tried to make Bela live. I know. I tried. I worked very hard.

Questioner

Who killed Egwene?

Brandon Sanderson

Harriet has asked me not to reveal that one. Egwene, Gawyn, and some of the others...

Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

If you would spontaneously, prematurely die, is there any author you would consider ideal for finishing your work?

Brandon Sanderson

I usually pick Brian McClellan. Just because he's my student and I wanna be mean to him. I've warned him, I haven't asked him if he'd do it, I just warn him. I tell people that he will do it. And he's like, "Oh. *grumble*" We're good friends. But Brian would actually be a really good match. Properly outlined, Brian is one of the better writers out there.

Second Questioner

I love that caveat.

Brandon Sanderson

Brian is-- Brian can go off. He knows this but-- yeah.