General Reddit 2017

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Name General Reddit 2017
Date Jan. 1, 2017
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#1 Copy


Is the bond between an Elantrian and Arelon similar to that of a Knight Radiant and it's spren. You've said that zombie Elantrians are similar to dead spren, so I was wondering get if there was a bigger connection there.

Thank you for your time!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a similar relationship.


Is there a similar Ideal system? Are Elantrians transformed because of their character? Maybe their closeness to the culture of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, now you're getting into RAFO territory. Let's just say that you don't have to have a seon to be made an Elantrian, but in the vast majority of cases, you need a spren to be a Knight Radiant. So there are some differences.


Last question, does this have anything to do with the personification of culture, as spren are personifications of forces and emotions.

Again, thank you for your time, it's always nice to get a response from you on Reddit.

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes.

#2 Copy


Don't think I didn't notice the Jewish couple that Wit insulted in Way of Kings.  Yonatan and Meirav, huh?

I loved it.

Brandon Sanderson

They're relatives of my editor, Moshe. He requested a tuckerizeation as a wedding gift to them, and I was happy to oblige, considering some of the Hebrew roots of various Alethi cultural features.

#3 Copy


[Question unknown]

Brandon Sanderson

So, don't consider [harmonium] magically-enhanced cesium. Consider it a magically-created alkali metal. It's going to share attributes with the alkali metals, and generally follows the trends of the others, save for its melting point.

But in answer to your real question, atium would be a platinum group metal. (And platinum itself was my model.)

#4 Copy


How are the main characters like with regards to homosexuality? I imagine the likes of Sazed wouldn't care, but it'd be interesting to see how much of a deviant the characters we've come to know are, when compared to their world's societies.

Brandon Sanderson

Again, you're going to see a wide variety of attitudes and impressions here. Some are very deviant from society, while others are good expressions of it.

One thing I do downplay in the books is how often characters are terribly biased. Basically all the protagonists in the Stormlight books are, for example, HORRIBLE racists. I bring it up now and then to make sure the text, at least, knows this fact--but it's also something that, if I did with a dose more realism, would be very offputting. So I try to walk a line where it's an ugly thing that rears its head now and then, but it is still possible to like the characters, acknowledging they are products of a very different society from our own.

Views on homosexuality are the same. You'll see, for instance, that Sigzil has a problem with Drehy in Bridge Four. Similarly, some characters have more progressive views than their society, as I think would be realistic for the types of people they are. So you don't see as much from the text as there might otherwise be. Ranette's relationship is not quite as accepted in Scadrian society as Wax and Marasi's viewpoints would lead you to believe, for example.

#5 Copy


How is homosexuality regarded across the cosmere?

I know one member of Bridge 4, though I forget who, is gay, but I'm asking more in the sense of legality, societal view, etc.


It would probably depend on the planet and culture involved. Roshar has many varied cultures and probably has multiple different acceptance levels. Scadrial is much more progressive and really only has two cultures so it's more likely that most if not all of the world accepts it. Maybe this is something you could ask [Brandon] at a signing or during an AMA.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this varies widely based on the planet, and even culture, TimAnEnchanter.

Roshar, for instance, has a lot of different perspectives on homosexuality. In Iri, the more religious segment (who believe that life is about new experiences) would approve, while the more rigid modern, secular society has outlawed it.

In Azir, you'd find something like existed in middle-ages India. (Some societies there had this curious system where a gay man would be given "social reassignment" so that he was treated like a woman, dressed like one, and had relations with men--even if he wasn't actually transsexual.)

Vorin culture is concerned with oaths. Extra-marital sexuality is strictly forbidden, but homosexuality is regarded the same by most as heterosexual relationships. If the proper oaths are spoken, then the Almighty approves. (This usually means marriage, but there are certain official forms of other relationships that would allow it also.)

There are actually a couple of scenes in Book Three talking about it, for those who are interested, as the family and romantic relationships of the bridgemen are becoming a larger part of the story. (Still a small part, I should note, for space limitations.)

On Scadrial, it's going to fall between Pathian lines (each individual decides for themselves) and Survivorist lines (you follow church hierarchy, which forbids it.)

Don't even get me started on Bavadin's religions.


What reasons do Survivorists use to rationalize heterosexuality? Thank you so much for these tidbits it's really interesting to hear more about this stuff from you. It would be great to see some of this canonized, maybe in an interlude, or random background discussion somewhere. Thank you again for your books! Also very interested in hearing why secular Iriali have decided to 'regress' on that.

Brandon Sanderson

Survivorism calls it unnatural, and not conducive to the survival of the species. More than that, though, Survivorism has become very conservative and slow to change. What early thinkers had to say is regarded very strictly in the religion. Back during the early days of the new era, repopulating the basin was of prime concern, and this became a big part of what led to moral codes in Survivorism.

#6 Copy


Hey Brandon, you mentioned you like A Fire Upon the Deep. So if we could get an artifact, what would happen to a resident Shard if we could create a local Slow Zone? Or better yet, an Unthinking Deeps (although that might be bad for the mortals nearby).

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. You know, I'd never considered this? I guess it depends. I'd say these zones change Cognitive Realm issues--so wouldn't stop the Shards themselves, as they exist in a place of perfect thought and speed. (Spiritual Realm.) It might change how things get between Spiritual and Physical, though.

#7 Copy


Would an Alethi be turned on by the sight of a woman's right hand reflected in a mirror? I wonder if [Brandon] would care to elaborate.

Brandon Sanderson

Attraction is a mental thing that provokes a physiological response. So I guess it's going to depend on the person.

#8 Copy


Is there any noble house in Elendel that plays up their relationship to Kelsier and Marsh?

Brandon Sanderson

They tend to leave Kelsier/Marsh alone and focus on the other crew members. Getting authority from Kelsier is kind of presumed, a little like the Catholic church using Peter as its line of authority, rather than Christ--because the Christ part is assumed.

#9 Copy


Also, funny question, what happened Nacomb Gaval, the soldier that Kaladin gave a field commission to during the Battle of the Tower? Did Dalinar let him keep his new rank? How does he feel about Kaladin after those events? He is obviously a minor character but I feel like he would be a good friend to Kal if the need ever arose for them to interact. [...]

Brandon Sanderson

[...] As for your question, yes, Dalinar let him keep his rank. (He earned it.)

#11 Copy


I would love to know how Mr. Sanderson comes up with such wonderful names.

Brandon Sanderson

I use a bunch of different methods. Some involve creating a language, or parts of it, and building names out of that. Usually, though, I'm looking in those for something with the right sounds. I'll usually "audition" a name for a while by trying it in a book and seeing how I like it.

I also look for certain linguistic markers that can signify a character's country of origin. Symmetrical names for some people from Alethkar, for example.

#12 Copy


Is Nohadon a herald. There are tons and tons of little things that make me think this. Like the KR have the Way of Kings to base their views and policies on. Which, as was stated, was written by him. In Dalinar's vision of Nohadon, he says things about surgebindings and implies the man he's speaking to is a leader of an order, like he himself is. We know, from the WoR (In world) excerpts, that all the orders were lead by the heralds, after a time anyway. That's my reasoning, not that you need it, if it's true or not true. I just thought I might clarify why I came to that conclusion.

Brandon Sanderson

Nohadon is not a Herald, but I can see what lead you to think otherwise. Let's just say that even among kings and surgebinders, he was someone special.

#13 Copy


Have the Highstorms always existed on Roshar? The excerpt that talks about how one of the Bondsmiths had resigned himself to fight the Voidbringers but woke up and had a new idea, one that had to do with the nature of the Heralds themselves. Then, inside the Oathgate, we see "mythical creatures" like lions and such. It would make sense that the world might have been different when the KR were last around. So much so, that if the Highstorms "Opposite" is the Everstorm and it was made by followers of Odium, then the Highstorm would have been made by followers of Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

Highstorms did predate the arrival of Honor and Cultivation on Roshar, but it has evolved much during the thousands of years since that event. It was not created by followers of Honor, but there is more to this story that you'll find out as the series progresses.

#14 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

Rights to the Reckoners books do not include the entire multiverse. (Which I have argued could also be construed to include the Alcatraz books and The Rithmatist!)


I'd be curious to hear your argument for that. Is it just that a true quantum multiverse would contain all possible iterations (even weird and wacky ones like Alcatraz and Rithmatist) or is there some underlying mechanical commonality we don't necessarily know about?

Peter Ahlstrom

It's only because the plans for this as-yet-unnamed multiverse all involve different versions of Earth in some type of crisis. And that description fits both The Rithmatist and the Alcatraz books.

Brandon does plan some of these Earths to be pretty wacky.


Since you mention its namelessness, will it actually get a name at some point?

Peter Ahlstrom

It would surprise me if it didn't get a name eventually.


Had never heard about this, but this fits so well! Is this the first time you're confirming it? Or is there WoB on this as well?

Peter Ahlstrom

What I said above was that I have argued for this to be the case. It doesn't mean that Brandon agrees.

#15 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

The first three [Stormlight] books are a continuous narrative, but it's now looking like there will be an in-world gap between books 3 and 4, similar to the year that was skipped between each book in the Mistborn trilogy.


Even with that, isn't the plan for SA for it to be two related five-book arcs with more of a major gap in between?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yep. Previously I thought that would be the only timeline gap, but Brandon has leaned more toward this new gap while writing Oathbringer.

#16 Copy


I think [Brandon] would benefit a lot from finding some kind of way in-universe to convey when we can be certain that the character is dead. Something like what we see of Vin and Elend in Secret History after they die. I think that he was trying to prove how definite their death was.. I don't know how he could realistically or smoothly accomplish this, but I think that until we see some proof beyond what is normally expected to see for a death, we can't be 100% sure that anyone is dead.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I've been thinking about this. Spoilers below.

The issue is, resurrection is a major theme of the cosmere. The very first line of the first chapter of the first cosmere book starts with someone dying. The story is about his return to life.

The death of Adonalsium, and the questions surrounding the persistence of his power, is THE single pervasive theme of the works. And so, I've returned to this theme multiple times--from Sazed's more metaphorical rebirth in Mistborn Three to Syl's more literal one in Words of Radiance.

At the same time, the more this theme continues, the more it undermines the reader's ability to believe someone is really dead--and therefore their tension at worrying over the safety of characters. So we need a better "Dead is dead" indication, otherwise every death will turn into Sirius Black, with readers being skeptical for years to come.

So, let's just say it's something I'm aware of. Josh, of the 17th Shard, was the first one to raise the issue with me years ago. We need a balance between narrative drama and cosmere themes of rebirth.


I figured Nightblood was your answer to dead is dead.

Brandon Sanderson

He's certainly AN answer. But there are way more ways to kill someone in the cosmere--I just need to be more clear on how that works, giving the right indications to readers.

#18 Copy


So basically a Thunderclast is a rock giant. I thought it was a rock monster. Same difference I guess?


I got the sense in the prologue of Way of Kings that the dead Thunderclast there was quadrupedal. So maybe it's more the class of monster, with different shapes?

Peter Ahlstrom


#19 Copy


Who made the script? Was it Isaac? Ben? Is the diacritic mark (that phrasing surely is spoilerless) something you guys canonically have, and is it something Team Dragonsteel would be willing to show the fans?

Brandon Sanderson

Isaac is in charge of the scripts of Stormlight. I give him words of description, and he makes the actual pictures--and does a wonderful job. I've told him he can explain the methodology.

One thing to keep in mind is that we can't often do 100% in-world text for things like this, as (unlike Tolkien) I haven't fabricated the entire language. I've got bits and chunks, but not nearly enough to write in-world with full linguistics. So it's often "interpreted" for the audiences by writing it out in an Earth language, then writing it out using the Women's Script.

This means you're not getting it exactly as it would appear in-world, if it were a real language. It's an approximation. (At least for now.)


Yes, I totally get that part. Like the "steel alphabet", when we see it it's mostly just being used as a code for English.

I don't know if you recall something like this off the top of your head, but is there an actual H in the script, or is that sound only produced by way of the diacritic mark? Like, the name Tarah. Is she T-A-R-A-T(marked), or honestly just T-A-R-A-H natively?

Brandon Sanderson

The "H" is a mark, as you suspect. You put it on another letter, transforming it into an "H" sound, but otherwise letting the word look symmetrical.

#20 Copy


I just finished the audiobook this morning, and in the setting are rules about how to not provoke shades of the dead. The rules are in order of least to most severe:

  • Don't run
  • Don't kindle a flame
  • Don't draw blood

The post script talks about how these rules were based on shabbos as presented in the Torah. It was just interesting to see a non-Jewish author (In this case, Mormon) base something off of Judaism.

Brandon Sanderson

:) Thanks for the thread.

The Double Eye from the Stormlight books (inside front cover illustration of the magic in the hardcover of book one) has some roots in the Tree of Life also, and if you look at Alethi, you'll find some Hebrew poking through now and then.


I read all of your books as audio books because they are all so well narrated, especially the Wax and Wayne series.

I will have to keep a better ear out for the Alethi.

Brandon Sanderson

It can be easy to miss, as I play with it a little first, fitting it to Alethi. But Moash came from Moshe, for example.


Is that a hint of things to come? Is Moash like Moses or something? He is, isn't he?

Brandon Sanderson

Sorry. It doesn't mean anything other than "My editor is named Moshe, and I've always liked how the name sounds."


Speaking of which, there's a Lighteyes named Yonatan (a very Jewish name) that Wit insults in...I think it was Way of Kings. Is that based off of someone you know as well?

Brandon Sanderson

That is indeed. (Look again at what he's wearing.)

That's based off of my editor's nephew, who was included as a wedding gift.

#21 Copy


Did the Lord Ruler move the mountains North, or the Well of Ascension south? I couldn't figure it out and it bugged me

Brandon Sanderson

Technically, it's a little of both. What the Lord Ruler did was tilt the planet's crust until the Well was where he wanted it, then put the mountains in place as misdirection.

#22 Copy


I feel like The Lord Ruler from Mistborn would be a pretty good example of black/white philosophy. ( [Brandon] feel free to chime in here if you want). Kelsier from the same book feels pretty red/white to me.

Brandon Sanderson

I always viewed Kelsier as red-black, personally. He loves his friends, and his team, but is counter-authority in a big way. He's extremely selfish and violent, but is bleeding toward believing in something more important as the books begin.


This is interesting, I thought of Kelsier as about as mono red as you can get.

Freedom and emotions - rage and love at various times - drive him.

Never altruism, never malice. Just passionate rage.

Brandon Sanderson

I can completely see that argument. However, Kelsier has a strong megalomaniac streak. He set up a religion to worship him. He spent most of his life as a thief, seeking to get ahead--and enrich himself.

His arc is, to an extent, learning to allow the red side of him dominate the black side--but I still see him as a mixture of both. And you can see the malice on occasion (like when he dumps the body of the nobleman he's killed.)

#23 Copy


What is a lait?

Used in Stormlight Archive "was in a lait"?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not an Earth loan-word. Like crem, it's transliterated, not translated. It roughly means, "A place where the storms are blocked." Generally, it means some kind of depression or location in the shadow of a larger rock formation.

#24 Copy


What is the final page count? The first two books were monsters (in the best way). I think part of what sets you apart from some other authors is that you're very transparent with your writing progress. The progress bars on your site, your updates on twitter, et cetera. Anyway, long story short, I am really freaking excited to read what's in store for everyone, and I may just re-read WoK and WoR to get back in the mood.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Words of Radiance was spring 2014, incredibly.

Oathbringer would have been out last year, instead of this year, but the story went long. First draft was 520k words, compared to 300k words for TWoK and 400k words for [WoR]. However, in revisions, I buckled down and did some serious pruning for the good of the book--so Oathbringer is somewhere around 450k words now, going into final proofreads. November 14th drop date in the US.

More and more, I'm certain I can't do these every two years, as I had originally hoped. They are to intricate, and I need to take a break from the world to let things simmer and brew between books. But we'll see.

#25 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Just a warning: as always, some of these were heard wrong by me, or by the person recording, or were mixed up during questioning.

For example, the one referencing the first 11 chapters was me talking about the first book, not the third. The question about Ivory also wasn't quite recorded correctly.

I usually don't have the time to go through all of these, but remember--word of Brandon can be very fallible for many reasons. I continue to be willing to answer these for fans at conventions and signings, but the community does need to know not to hold to them too strongly.

#26 Copy


I did have a question about the story if you're willing/allowed to answer it for me. In the TWoK and WoR when the Highstorm and Everstorm meet, we're told that they will feed each other and that their strength is increased. What I wonder is that if that increased power is sustained after they pass, so that they get bigger each time they meet. Because if that's the case, it will basically turn into a Fibonacci Spiral of planetary destruction. (at least if my terrible understanding of both that sequence and math itself is right.)

So, if you could just say if I was supposed to understand that "They will feed each other" means only during their interaction or gives a more permanent upgrade.

Peter Ahlstrom

That's a good question. The answer is that they feed each other only while they're interacting. Once they pass they return to normal.

#27 Copy


Are you going to write all three books [of The Apocalypse Guard] at once or space them out a year or so each?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to try doing them straight, with a random novella separating them to give myself a break. I feel that Mistborn turned out very well from having had entire series perspective--and want to see if I can replicate that writing experience.


Man, does that mean no more Rithmatist in the near future? :(

Brandon Sanderson

We'll see. Rithmatist is a Tor project, and I need to do some Random House books for them. I'll get back to Tor books next year.


Yeah - I figured it was about having something for both publishers, since Tor has had the fair share of your writing time recently.

Well, I'll read anything you write, so it matters little. I guess we can wait a few more years for the Rithmatist and the conclusion of Wax and Wayne. :)

Brandon Sanderson

Current Plan (though these things get shaken up) is as follows:

Do the Apocalypse Guard Trilogy this year, moving into next year, with a novella between each book to take a break. That could take me up to roughly a year.

Do W&W 4, Rithmatist 2, and the final Legion story over the next year. That will wrap up W&W and Legion, maybe Rithmatist, depending if I want two or three books.

With my slate clean, I dive into Stormlight 4, write something bizarre and unplanned in-between, then go right into Stormlight 5 rounding out the first Stormlight sequence.

But, as I said, these plans tend to shift a lot as I work on different books.


Any word on what these novellas will be? Are they cosmere? Reckonersverse or greater universe of Apocalypse Guard? Something else entirely?

Brandon Sanderson

The way my process works, I'll probably need to see what I'm excited most about when I write them--something that gives me a break from what I'm writing. I've got outlines for a couple of novellas I want to do, but I can't say which I'd end up doing.


Cool. Does your "The Apocalypse Guard 1st draft" progress indicator refer to the entire trilogy or just the first book?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm being ambitious, and trying to use the progress bar for the entire trilogy right now--since I plan to write it straight through.

#30 Copy


Also, you mentioned Snapshot to be set in one of the Core Realities in State of Sanderson 2016 but now that I look at it there is no mention of it? Was it taken out for some reason?

Brandon Sanderson

Snapshot can't be in the Reckoners universe right now, as the film rights are with different companies.

#31 Copy


So, I'm having a discussion with some people on discord and we were wondering, what color is a koloss's genitals?

I know Sazed gave them the ability to breed, and the discussion stemmed from Koloss-blooded people. If you can give me an answer, I'd be incredible grateful! If not, thanks for your time anyway. I know you're busy and silly questions don't exactly endear me to you.

Brandon Sanderson

I imagine they'd pull a Dr. Manhattan, and the genitalia would be blue. I'll admit, I haven't given it much thought, though.

#32 Copy


I think he is a bit hesitant to incorporate these stuff openly because he thinks that it might be perceived as tokenism. Do I have it right u/mistborn ?

Edit: If Mr. Sanderson decides to show up; the deleted comment was about you mentioning one of your characters was gay but he didn't get a chance to date anyone yet therefore it is not really out there.

Brandon Sanderson

It's partially that, certainly. But in the case of Bridge Four, it's more about the fact that the guys just haven't had time to start many relationships. It's only been a few months, in-world time, between thinking they were doomed to having respectable jobs. Give the fellows some time. Most of the guys, gay or straight, are looking. (Excluding the married ones and the asexual one.)


I hope I didn't offend, it was exaggeration for effect, nor do I think the lack of sexual depiction or even mention is done ham-fistedly, there's always a well formed, even subtle, reason WHY your characters don't tend to be particularly sexual, at least not the major POV characters, be it culture or circumstance, I've just noted that it's something of a theme, which I ascribed, perhaps erroneously, to "delicate mormon sensibilities".

Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't offended. I do tend to respond quickly to threads, however, so I know I can come across as terse sometimes. No worries.

By way of conversation, you might enjoy a story from when I was writing the second Mistborn novel. My editor called me one day, and said, "All right. I can't figure it out. Are Vin and Elend having sex or not?" I said, "Of course they are. They've been together for over a year at this point." His response was, "Well, why not say so?"

It was the first chance I had to vocalize something that I hadn't even really figured out myself--something that just felt like the right way to tell my stories. I explained that there were many readers, like my sister, who wanted to be able to pretend that the male lead and female lead in the story were going to do things the way she wanted them to, with a level of chastity that made no sense in the culture. There were other readers who would want to imagine wild Allomancer sex happening every night.

In this case (though it may not be every case in my books) I felt it was best not to intrude as the author, as what was going on in the bedroom wasn't plot relevant. In addition, there was a certain...privacy I wanted to afford them, because of Vin's difficulty with intimacy in the first place. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but while Wayne's sexual exploits can be front-and-center, it felt specifically wrong to go into Vin and Elend.

That said, I'm totally a prude. The Daenerys chapters from A Game of Thrones, for example, were too much for me, and are a large part of why I didn't continue with the series despite thinking the first book was very well written.

You should go listen to the Writing Excuses episode we did where we interviewed an erotica writer on how to write sex scenes. Mary spent basically the entire episode poking fun at me. (Though I'd like the record to stand that I was NOT blushing as much as she implies on the recording.)

#33 Copy


Is it too early to ask if you'd continue with the story you made for the game?

Brandon Sanderson

I have been tempted to do it as a graphic novel, if White Sand continues to be popular.

For my part, I want to point out that Matt Scott was awesome to work with. He really did try to make this game--but we were trying during a time when original IP in video games was a dodgy thing to start with. Several console changes, the revolution in mobile gaming, and various issues on the business side meant we could never really get this going. But there was a never a problem with their vision, passion, or enthusiasm.

#35 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, I don't know how much I've talked about this, but there are two things going on with Wayne in regard to Steris.

The first is that Wayne is a highly instinctive person. He DOES think, and more than people give him credit for, but he judges a lot of what he does by what his gut says. I've known people like this and they can be extremely charming, but have more trouble articulating why they might make a certain decision--or why they don't like a particular person.

Wayne doesn't like Steris. She feels off to him, and his instincts say she's hiding something. Trouble is, his gut is misleading him in this case. Steris doesn't think and react like Wayne does, but it's not because she's hiding something--it's because she doesn't pick up on the same social cues that someone highly sociable like Wayne sees.

There's a second issue here, and that's Wayne's over-protectiveness. Wayne tends to lump people in his head into "my mates" and "those other folks." Once you're "in" with him, he'll do basically anything for you. You'll never find a more loyal friend. At the same time, it's hard to get "in" with him--and if he perceives someone as "stealing" someone from him, he gets very defensive, even mean.

He doesn't realize it, but his subconscious sees Steris as taking Wax away from him and--even more importantly--away from Lessie. He'd be belligerent toward anyone Wax started dating, but the fact that he gets lots of false positives off of Steris doesn't help one bit. If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

#36 Copy


If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

Was there ever a chance this was going to be the case?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there was a slight chance. It wasn't what I had planned, but even an outline writer like myself must be willing to change plans as a story adapts. So until a book is published, there's a chance things will change.

However, in this case, the more I wrote, the more confident I was that this path was the right one.

#37 Copy


Fishtank beads aren't spheres, they're ovoids. They aren't flat on any sides, they're just oval-based.

This is a sphere that's flat on one side. Otherwise, the side of the sphere being flattened (since it's specifically only one side) would be pushed out to the sides, and it wouldn't end up being very circular at all.

/u/mistborn, please lmk if I'm misunderstanding it, because I'm genuinely curious now.

Brandon Sanderson

No, your image is close to what I imagined.

Footnote: This discussion is about Rosharan spheres
Sources: Reddit
#38 Copy


One thing about the sex scenes (or hints of) between Vin and Elend that strikes me, and those I've discussed it with, as odd is that there seem to be no contraceptive in the Final Empire. That'd be the most logical conclusion, seeing as skaa raped by Noblemen needs to be killed, there seem to be no other way to handle it. But that means that, to our understanding of the character, Vin wouldn't have sex unless she actively wanted to get pregnant. She's all too paranoid in general to just leave a thing like that to chance it, even despite loving Elend. How does it work?

Brandon Sanderson

There are indeed contraceptives, but noblemen tend to not trust them. After all, they can be executed for making a mistake.

#40 Copy


Is all the chickens who are not chickens in Stormlight a big fat joke about [Terry Goodkind]?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Loan words into Alethi (chicken, wine, hound, etc) are a little bit of linguistic worldbuilding I am using for quite a different reason...


I'm guessing you aren't willing to elaborate on that point?

Brandon Sanderson

Book three will make it clear, but it is not so hard to guess right now. I will avoid saying more until November.

#41 Copy


Brandon Sanderson's city of Kharbranth from "The Way of Kings" looks jus tlike Positano, Italy.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually wrote the book without a specific place in mind--just trying to build off of the setting, and create cities that would work with the highstorms. Once I gave the book to Isaac (my mapmaker) he went and looked for real-world inspirations for drawing out cities. I'm pretty sure this is one of them, though I'd have to grab him and get the photo references to know for certain.

It was actually one of those gratifying moments, when something I've imagined and described turns out to not only be plausible--it turns out to have been done in our world.

Standard disclaimer, though: It's totally possible I saw a picture like this at some point in my life, and drew inspiration without remembering.

#42 Copy


Here's the best I can do at what each of the dahns includes, without spoilers. Stuff in italics is unconfirmed but is reasonable to guess based on the information we have from the books and Brandon.

  • 1st Dahn: The King and the King's direct heir.
  • 2nd Dahn: Highprinces, their direct heirs, and the King's direct heir*.
  • 3rd Dahn: Generals?, Highlords, and the non-inheriting children of 1st and 2nd dahn lighteyes.
  • 4th Dahn: Battalionlords, Citylords, Shardbearers, and other mid-ranked nobles.
  • 5th Dahn: Companylords?, along with lower-ranked nobles.
  • 6th Dahn: Captainlords, along with the lowest-ranked nobles and landholders?
  • 7th Dahn: Lower-ranking landless officers, along with higher-ranking (or very wealthy) landless lighteyes?
  • 8th Dahn: Soldiers, along with high-ranking (or moderately wealthy) landless lighteyes?
  • 9th Dahn: Landless lighteyes with some wealth, like merchants and master craftsmen.
  • 10th Dahn: "Tenners", essentially any lighteyes who has to work for a living.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm very impressed by this list. You did a great job. Note that only the king is first Dahn under the Alethi system, however. His heir is second, until crowned. Sixth Dahn, as you've identified, is the "landed" cutoff--if you have land, even a little, you're at least Sixth Dahn.

If you were of a specific dahn (say, seventh) but were elevated by something unusual (say, you got appointed to an appointment that would raise you above this) your children will often be elevated to a rank just beneath you. So, for instance, if a tenner got a shard, he'd immediately be elevated to fourth, and his family would likely be elevated to fifth.

The only thing I'd offer a warning on is that sometimes, people shortcut "Captainlord" to just "Captain" which drives Peter crazy, and so it can be hard to pick out rank from title.


That's interesting... so, is the dahn system new since Alethkar was unified? Or was it modified once they got a king? Or was it always this way, and there just used to not be someone at the 1st Dahn?

Brandon Sanderson

Kings existed in other places, and had existed in Alethkar before. (Dahn is a Vorin cultural ideal, not just Alethi.) So the system is not new, but for many years, the Alethi refused to accept a king. (Following the division of the kingdom among the Sunmaker's sons.)


Oooooooh... fascinating. So, this implies that before Gavilar unified Alethkar, King Taravangian and the King of Jah Keved would both have been First Dahn, while the highest-ranked ten people in Alethkar were only Second Dahn. Interesting. In the interests of adding a few more names to the list of "known people of the First Dahn" on the Coppermind, would you be willing to confirm if King Taravangian (let's say at the start of the Way of Kings to avoid spoilers) was First Dahn?

Brandon Sanderson

Traditionally, the monarchs of city-states (like Kharbranth, Bavland, and at some points Silnasen) do not claim the first dahn. There have been leaders of New Natanan who have, same with Herdaz. Depends on how much they want to aggravate the Alethi.

Unification era, there'd be two people of the first dahn: The queen of Thaylenah and the king of Jah Keved. Non-vorin monarchs in the west would be treated like first dahn, sometimes, depending on the situation.


Did we know that Thaylenah is currently ruled by a Queen, or is this a small tidbit you have just given us?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not, honestly. Queen Fen. You'll get to meet her soon. Note that Thaylenah is kind of a plutocracy, with merchant councils holding a lot of power, which changes its dynamic a little when compared to Alethi or Jah Keved.


I see you may have sneakily included an explanation for the 4th/5th dahn thing I noticed in a certain father-daughter duo. I promise not to read too much into it....

Brandon Sanderson

Note that getting a Shardblade isn't the only reason someone could be elevated, and isn't the only reason why children might not be the same dahn as their parent. Most of it has to do with titles, and who inherits, and that sort of thing. The answer is probably more boring than you're hoping.


Not sure if this is entering RAFO territory, but are highprince candidates (that is, people who can be elevated to highprince status if the post is empty) only people from the 3rd dahn? Or can a 4th dahn also be elevated to highprince, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

Highprince is a tricky one, as the definition of "highprince" is a person who can convince others to call him by the title. I guess that's the same for all of them, but as highprinces tend to be near the top of the pecking order, it's more about military than anything else.

Gavilar was 4th dahn before becoming highprince, for example. His branch of the Kholin family wasn't considered a prime contender for the highprince throne--until he took it for himself.


His branch of the Kholin family? Does this imply there are other branches of the Kholin family? Meaning, there are other Kholins elsewhere?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, not as many as there once were...


So if I'm understanding this correctly, before Gavilar's branch of the Kholin family started their conquest of Alethkar they conquered Kholinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup. (There's some minor mention of this in Book Three, I believe.)

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Did Kelsier really hear Preservation's voice telling him to Survive when he was in the pits of Hathsin? Or was it Ruin pretending to be Preservation?

If it was Preservation, does that mean Kelsier died in the pits? Or were there special circumstances that allowed Kelsier to hear Preservation's voice without dying?

Brandon Sanderson

Special things often happen in the cosmere when someone is very close to death, or undergoing intense pain (either physical or emotional.) Barriers between the realms weaken.

I can confirm that the Kelsier who left the pits was not a Cognitive Shadow.


Could he have become a Shadow using the pits if he died immediately after snapping?

Brandon Sanderson


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Brandon Sanderson

I've watched this conversation with interest, and wasn't planning to step in, as it's exactly the sort of thread that's generally better without me. Author intervention can derail a good discussion.

But after considering, I decided I did want to talk about this topic a little. There are two things going on here. One is the mistake I made with Jasnah in Words, which I've mentioned before. One is a larger discussion, relevant to the cosmere.

Warning, WALL OF TEXT. This is me we're talking about.

You see, Jasnah wasn't originally meant to be a fake-out. Jasnah originally was going to go with Shallan to the Shattered Plains--but she was really messing up the outline, diverting attention from Shallan's character arc and pointing it toward Shallan/Jasnah conflicts instead.

My biggest breakthrough when outlining the book in detail was the realization that the book would work so much better if things I'd planned to do with Jasnah in it were diverted to later books. When that came together, WORDS really started working. Hence her jaunt into Shadesmar. I initially wrote the scenes with it being pretty clear to the reader that she was forced to escape--and it was super suspicious that there was no body.

In drafting, however, early readers didn't like how obvious it was that Jasnah would be coming back. I made a crucial mistake by over-reacting to early feedback. I thought, "Well, I can make that more dramatic!" I employed some tools I've learned quite well, and turned that into a scene where the emotion is higher and the death is more powerful.

HOWEVER, I did this without realizing how it mixed with other plotlines--specifically Szeth's resurrection.

We get into sticky RAFO areas here, but one of the biggest themes of the Cosmere is Rebirth. The very first book (Elantris) starts with a character coming back from the dead. (As I've mentioned before, a big part of the inspiration for Elantris was a zombie story, from the viewpoint of the zombie.) Mistborn begins with Kelsier's rebirth following the Pits, and Warbreaker is about people literally called the Returned. (People who die, then come back as gods.) The Stormlight Archive kicks off with Kaladin's rebirth above the Honor Chasm, and Warbreaker is meant as a little foreshadowing toward the greater arc of the cosmere--that of the Shards of Adonalsium, who are held by ordinary people.

Szeth's rebirth, with his soul incorrectly affixed to his body, is one of the things I've been very excited to explore in The Stormlight Archive--and the mistake with Jasnah was letting her return distract from that.

That said, you're not wrong for disliking this theme--there's no "wrong" when it comes to artistic tastes. And I certainly wish I'd looked at the larger context of what happened when I shifted Jasnah's plot in book two. (Doubling down on "Jasnah is dead" for short term gain was far worse than realizing I should have gone with "Jasnah was forced to jump into Shadesmar, leaving Shallan alone." I consider not seeing that to be the biggest mistake I've made in The Stormlight Archive so far.)

However, the story of the cosmere isn't really about who lives or dies. We established early on that there is an afterlife (or, at least, one of the most powerful beings in the cosmere believes there is--and he tends to be a trustworthy sort.) And multiple books are about people being resurrected. What I'm really interested in is what this does to people. Getting given a second try at life, being reborn as something new. (Or, in some cases, as something worse.) The story of the cosmere is about what you do with the time you have, and the implications of the power of deity being in the hands of ordinary people.

More importantly (at least to me) I've always felt character deaths are actually somewhat narratively limp in stories. Perhaps it's our conditioning from things like Gandalf, Obi-Wan, and even Sherlock Holmes. But readers are always going to keep asking, "are they really dead?" And even if they stay dead, I can always jump back and tell more stories about them. The long cycle of comic books over-using resurrection has, I think, also jaded some of us to the idea of character death--but even without things like that, the reader knows they can always re-read the book. And that fan-fiction of the character living will exist. And that the author could always bring them back at any time. A death should still be a good death, mind you--and an author really shouldn't jerk people around, like I feel I did with Jasnah.

But early on, I realized I'd either have to go one of two directions with the cosmere. Either I had to go with no resurrections ever, stay hard line, and build up death as something really, really important. Or I had to shift the conversation of the books to greater dangers, greater stakes, and (if possible) focus a little more on the journey, not the sudden stop at the end.

I went with the latter. This isn't going to work for everyone. I'm fully aware of, and prepared for, the fact that things like Szeth coming back will ruin the stories for some readers. And I do admit, I've screwed it up in places. Hopefully, that will teach me better so that I can handle the theme delicately, and with strong narrative purpose behind the choices I make. But do warn you, there WILL be other resurrections in my books. (Though there are none planned for the near future. I took some extra care with the next few books, after feeling that things happening in Words and the Mistborn series in the last few years have hit the theme too hard.) This is a thing that I do, and a thing that I will continue to do. I consider it integral to the story I'm telling. Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to achieve these acts with the weight and narrative complexity they deserve.

If it helps, I have several built-in rules for this. The first is that actual cosmere resurrections (rather than just fake-outs, like I did with Jasnah) can happen only under certain circumstances, and have a pretty big cost to them. Both will become increasingly obvious through the course of the stories. The other rule is more meta. I generally tell myself that I only get one major fake-out, or one actual resurrection, per character. (And I obviously won't use either one for most characters.) This is more to keep myself from leaning on this narrative device too much, which I worry I'll naturally do, considering that I see this as a major theme of the books.


(Sharders, please don't start asking me at signings who has had their "one death" so far. This is me drawing the curtain back a little on the process, I really don't want it to become an official thing that people focus on. Do feel free to talk about the mechanics of resurrection though--it should be pretty obvious now with Elantris, Warbreaker, Szeth, and a certain someone from Mistborn to use as guides.)

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I really hope /u/mistborn explores the issues a safehand causes like he did women using the One Power in his ending to WoT (ie, it is all arbitrary).

Brandon Sanderson

It's not exactly arbitrary, but it is completely sexist. See it as you would something like foot-binding on Earth--something that grew, over time, partially to mark/distinguish/hamper women with enough means to be "refined" enough to do something this wildly impractical. There's a reason darkeyed women (and a lot of lower lighteyed women) wear gloves.

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The whole Radiant/Light motif fits naming their Sprenblades 'Dawnshards'.

The term 'Shards' in-world have almost exclusively been in the context of Shardblades or Shardplate. I don't see why they would name a fabrial something in a way that breaks the pattern.

Y'know, if I'm right this wouldn't even really be a spoiler for Brandon to confirm. Maybe the main man u/mistborn could weigh in?

Brandon Sanderson

The nature of the Dawnshards will become (slightly) more clear as the series progresses. For now, RAFO.

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Hmmm, I just read this timetable update then went back and read State of the Sanderson 2016. I think there is a decent chance that the novella between The Apocalypse Guard 2 and 3 could be Silverlight. Could we be so lucky, /u/mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a decent chance. I've also got several on First of the Sun plotted, which are possibilities--and even a Threnody story I want to do. However, there's also a non-cosmere "minority report" style thriller I want to write, and a more thoughtful story about a world where big data predicts all of our choices. So...who knows.


Do you have any thoughts on a short story set on Nalthis? It's the only major Shardworld we haven't yet revisited.

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't been able to get any shorts on Nalthis to work so far. Maybe eventually.

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Brandon Sanderson

A full-blown Radiant can heal almost anything (cut from a Shardblade included) because of the way the magic works--their soul is literally bonded to Investiture, and it suffuses them in such a way that even the soul is very resilient to damage.

Honorblades are what you'd consider a "prototype" for what eventually happened with Shardblades. An Honorblade can be used by anyone, without need for oaths, which makes them very dangerous--but since the bond isn't as deep, they are far less efficient. They use more Stormlight, for example, and can't heal to the extent that a Radiant can.

So the difference is not in the device that did the damage, but in the method using to heal. Over the course of the first two book, the reader should be able to subtly pick out differences from what Szeth says is possible (in more than just healing) and what Kaladin experiences.

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I can't remember, was it true that Jordan wrote the last chapter before anything else, or was that just apocryphal?

Brandon Sanderson

I've heard that, but can't find any evidence for it--I do know he had it in mind very early, and did write it down in a very complete form before passing. In fact, it was in a more complete form than most everything else in the notes.

But I don't think it was written before he did Eye of the World. And I seem to recall an interview with him before he passed saying something along the lines of, "I've got it in mind. I know what it is. It might be slightly different if I write it now, as opposed to if I write it after I finish the last book, but the soul of it will be the same."


Can I ask how much of the sequence where Rand and the Dark One devise possible futures post-TG was you and how much was RJ? Because that was phenomenal.

Brandon Sanderson

That was one of the sequences where I had to construct something to fit what I felt RJ wanted--using the notes, in part, and the momentum of the books as my guide.

In the notes, RJ said something along the lines of, "Rand and the Dark One fight. Rand realizes that he can't destroy the Dark One, because doing so destroys choice." So I constructed the idea of dueling possibilities because I felt a simple sword fight with the Dark One would be anti-climactic, and that RJ would have done something more epic.

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Will there be leatherbound editions of The Stormlight Archive anytime soon?

Brandon Sanderson

We do those on the 10th anniversary of the original. So, not for a few years.


Will there be one for Edgedancer? I know if I was buying the leatherbound editions (which I might someday) I'd want any canon novellas in the correct spots on the shelf XD

Brandon Sanderson

Arcanum Unbounded (which contains Edgedancer) will eventually get one.

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I feel (strongly) that Hoid might be a conjured being. As he states he started life as words on a page. Either he knows that he's a character in a book or someone wrote a spell and poofed him into existence. (or you have another origin for him that I'm not considering) I just figured I'd ask and see what you thought.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (You expected something else?)


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Huh. It seems a proto-Shallan did already exist as of this version [Way of Kings Prime]. I thought with the prologue's discussions of House Davar that Shallan would have been a more recent development.

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon sees Shinri and Shallan as entirely different people who have the same last name and are both Jasnah's ward. However, most of the other characters are the same people as they are in the published novel.

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I've searched this subreddit for someone mentioning Jane Elliot before, but nobody has, so I decided to share this.

I was explaining The Stormlight Archive to a friend yesterday when he told me that BS must have been influenced by Jane Elliot, so I researched her and found the wikipedia article about her.

This woman was a school teacher who decided to teach her class about racism the day after Martin Luther King's death by segregating the class between light eyed and dark eyed children. It's a very interesting exercise and I love how the darkeyed vs. lighteyed issue was actually experienced for real on this earth, not just in the SA books. You can read more about the experiment on the wikipedia page or in this article.

The coolest part of this is that the 3rd time Jane Elliot did that experiment, she filmed it and it was made into a documentary in 1970 with the title : The Eye of the Storm

I think it's a pretty cool coincidence (probably influence rather than coincidence) and I thought I'd share!

Brandon Sanderson

The study sounds familiar to me, so I'm sure I've read it before--but I can't remember if it was like this (in reference to the SA, which I'd already started working on) or if I read about it before, and it lodged in my brain as something to try some day.

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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.

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I love, love Brandon Sanderson but I feel like every time he needs a "magic word" he just takes two regular words and jams them together.

Dreamshard, Shardblade, Shardplate, Lightweaving, Mistborn, Coinshot, Pewterarm, Coppercloud, Surgebinder, Soulcaster, etc etc etc

Sorry u/Mistborn I still love you

Brandon Sanderson

It's done intentionally. Let's look at our options.

I can create all-out fantasy words for terms like this. (Lait or crem from Stormlight are examples.) Problem is, the more you do this, the more you pile a difficult linguistics on top of a reader. The more words like this they have to learn, the more difficult it is to get into a story. If you were doing it, perhaps you'd go this direction. I feel that overloading on these terms is dangerous. Already, the main reason new readers put down my books is that they feel overwhelmed by the worldbuilding.

So we have the second option. Use a latin, germatic, or greek root and create a word that FEELS right, has some mental connection for the reader, but which isn't a real word. Allomancy/Feruchemy/Hemalurgy. Veristitalian. To a lesser extent, Elantris.

This so called "Harry Potter Spells" method gives some familiarity to the naming, makes them stick a little better in people's heads, which makes the books a little easier to get into. But they're also distracting to some readers who say, "Wait. There's no Latin in this world, so where did Latin root words come from?" And for others (particularly in translation) those roots mean nothing, and so these all end up lumped into the first group.

The final method is the pure Germanic method--creating compound words. It works in English very well because of our Germanic roots--and is one of the main ways (other than turning nouns into verbs or the other direction) that we create new words. Supermarket. Masterpiece. Newspaper. Thunderstorm. Footprint. Firework. Heartbeat. Yourself. None of those look odd to you because they are words that are "meant" to go together in your head.

I use some of batch one, some of batch two, but I do favor batch three--it does what I want it to. Works in the language, has an "otherworld" feel but is also very quickly understood by someone new to the series. There are arguments for all three methods, however.


You can also just go the route of using an English word despite it clearly not being accurate.

"He tied a ribbon around his horse's third antennae, and patted its chitinous flank."

Brandon Sanderson

Agreed. Re-contextualizing English words can work too--I find it particularly useful to do what I mentioned above. Take a verb and make it a noun or vice versa. Or use a verb in a way that you normally don't. (Awakeners or Lashings are examples from my work, though Spice from Dune is one of the grand-daddy examples of this. As it is for a lot of fantastical linguistics.)

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Not sure if this has been discussed. But the Oathbringer cover clearly has a new font from WoK and WoR. I thought it was just a placeholder and the final version would have the awesome Stormlight Archive font.

But today at the bookstore I noticed the Words of Radiance they had in stock also had the new (IMO boring) font. Anybody know why this got changed?

Brandon Sanderson

We were getting a lot of feedback that the old fond looked...gimmicky and outdated. The publisher came to us and suggested a change, I believe, but we'd been talking about it in house here too. The more we looked at the new book with the old font, the more we agreed. Somehow, it worked for TWOK but just didn't for Oathbringer.

I realized that some would like the old font, but gave the go ahead to change anyway. At some point, a font that drew that much attention to itself was going to become a millstone around our necks. We decided to change sooner rather than being dissatisfied for years. (Sorry.)

Peter Ahlstrom

So, this was a matter of much internal discussion between Dragonsteel and Tor. It basically comes down to legibility.

The old font is just not very legible. If you don't already know what it says, you have to stop for a few seconds to figure out what it says. If you're looking from a distance, Words of Radiance looks sort of like Wobos of Bhoihnce.

After Tor spent some time tweaking the letter shapes on Oathbringer to try to make it more legible, and really didn't get anywhere (it kept ending up looking basically the same), they floated the idea of just doing a redesign. We at Dragonsteel agreed this was the best time to do that if it was going to be done.

They tried quite a few different fonts, and the one they ended up with was one they had actually proposed to use for Brandon's name. We said keep Brandon's name the same, but try that font on the title. It's not just a standard like Times New Roman; the shapes of the letters have interesting little touches with the serifs and whatnot.

No, it's not an "awesome" font like was used previously, but it's a lot more legible for books sitting on the shelf and possibly catching someone's eye when they're walking past.

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[Discussion of Nale, and the legality of his actions.]

Brandon Sanderson

He takes whatever steps he can to go through proper channels. He would argue that he's doing what /u/bonly says he is. But remember, he is insane, and his perception of the world is untrustworthy.

He would claim to be, in the context of this discussion, Lawful Neutral.

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I haven't seen or heard anything about the potential for TWOK movie ever since there was that article about using virtual reality to pitch the idea.

Anyone heard anything recently?

Brandon Sanderson

No updates, I'm afraid. Last big session I had with them was when I flew to LA in June. They're still working on the VR experience/pitch to take to studios.

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Who drew [the Oathbringer endpapers]? Are they in-world art?

Brandon Sanderson

These are in world paintings done by the Oilsworn, one of the people Shallan studied when practicing her art. The actual paintings were done by the Oilsworn's real-world counterpart, Dan Dos Santos, who did the cover of Warbreaker.

There are two more pieces in the back, done by someone else, which are also in-world art pieces. They're all part of a larger theme, and are equally gorgeous.


I assume these are paintings of heralds, then?

Brandon Sanderson

These two [in the front of the book] are Ishar and Ash. The back two are Jezrien and Vedel.


Ash is so much more...shiny than I expected, but I guess that's Lightweaving for you. I love the space background too.

Brandon Sanderson

Remember, these are in-world artifacts. So this is how someone painted her from their imagination, based on lore. These are Rosharan versions of the paintings of the prophets along the top of the Sistine Chapel.

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Will we get a depiction of Dalinar, aside from the image in Unfettered II? I was slightly disappointed these [Oathbringer endpapers] are depictions of Heralds actually, although having said that, they are gorgeous!

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sure we'll get one eventually. But there's not one in this book.

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So it might be a bit far fetched but it seemed like Brandon mentioned quite often that the caves beneath the Fields of Rebirth were slowly getting flooded. Any ideas why that might be important?

Peter Ahlstrom

They’re getting flooded due to the river that flows around all sides of the Field of Rebirth. It's at least somewhat miraculous that they haven't entirely flooded already.

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I spot a potential error [in Oathbringer]:

While she spoke of Jezrien and Kelek, she said their names strangely: Yaysi and Kellai.

This line comes from Dalinar's perspective - don't the Alethi use the name Jezrezeh and not Jezrien?

Peter Ahlstrom

The name Jezrien isn't unknown—Sizgil knew it in Way of Kings, even though they don't say Jezrien in the Makabaki lands either. But I'll ask Brandon about this line.

EDIT: We have determined that Dalinar should have said Jezerezeh in this context. So we'll fix this in the ebook and audiobook, and in future reprints.

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For those who haven't seen this before, Brandon recently updated his website to show that he's started working on a new "Mystery Project".

Anyways, Brandon mentioned in his interview with Crendor that, over the summer, he finally managed to craft a really solid outline for Dark One, and I'm almost certain this is his mystery project.

Dark One is a Cosmere YA story that has stymied Brandon for years on end, so it'd be no surprise that he'd want to write it as soon as possible now that he's "finally cracked it" and has a storyline he's confident with. I can just see him cackling at the idea of springing this on us out of the blue after all these years. We're on to you, Brandon!

Brandon Sanderson

It was almost Dark One...but I have other plans for that right now.

This is a different book that has been brewing for many years that I finally decided to work on. I probably won't talk about this until State of the Sanderson, though, because it will take some explaining.

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If I spend thousands of dollars and fly halfway across the world to go to a book signing, what can I expect? I've never been to one before, and likely never will again. But Stormfather take me if this doesn't seem like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Brandon Sanderson

You are more than welcome to come! But I do always feel a little strange when people spend a lot of money to come see me, as I'm not convinced I'm worth it.

Here's how a signing goes down: I usually speak for about an hour, which is divided into three segments. I generally start with a short (15 min or so) talk about something I'm interested in at the moment. Usually it relates to the book somehow, or to the fantasy genre. Then I do a Q&A with the audience for maybe 25 min. Then I do a reading for maybe 20 min. (This is usually from something I'm working on that isn't yet published.)

From there, I sit down and start doing the signing. This part takes a long time--four to six hours, depending. You usually get a line number from the store based on a couple of factors. (When you arrived and if/when you bought your book.) I strongly suggest checking with the store you plan to visit, as some of them have stricter policies than others about being required to buy a copy of the book to get into line. (Most of them don't require it, but let the people who bought the book from them--which is most people there--go first.)

You get maybe thirty seconds or so with me, during which you can ask a question and get a picture, if you want. (I always feel bad it's such a short time.) I will generally personalize up to three books, though I will sign as many as you want. Most stores only sell the US edition in the US.

If you mention you came from New Zealand, you will most likely be the person who came the longest distance, which I usually reward with a little pin.

All of these signings will be relatively packed, I'm afraid, so I can't suggest one over another being faster. But they're also all very good stores, and are generally willing to let you leave and grab food, then come back closer to your chance to get a book signed.

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Peter Ahlstrom

The labels on the [Oathbringer Oathgates] map are written by Nazh. Anytime you see this font used, it's Nazh writing it.


I assume this means Nazh somehow got his hands on this ancient/priceless piece of art/map and had no compunction writing all over it? I'm honestly just a little surprised Nazh didn't write a note to Khriss somewhere on it.

Peter Ahlstrom

All his notes are written for Khriss.

Probably this isn't the only copy of this page on Roshar. It's like the manuscripts copied over and over by monks in our world.

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Brandon Sanderson

I don't even put spren in on the first draft, that's just too much to keep in my brain. Afterward, I do a draft where I just go in and add all that stuff. It's like adding the special effects to a movie.

Peter Ahlstrom

So, Brandon actually does put a number of spren in the first draft. But part of Karen's job as continuity editor is to find more places to add the spren and mark those in the document. Then on the next draft Brandon puts spren there if he judges them to be good places for spren.

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In chapter 37 [of Oathbringer], as Rock is looking for his family after the Voidbringer attack, he notes an arrow fletched with goose feathers.

Was this intentional? Should it be chicken?

Peter Ahlstrom

Horneater language has a word for goose, and they have them in the Peaks. I'm pretty sure geese used to be mentioned another time by Rock in an earlier draft, but that might have been cut.

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Here are the lists of things that I've noticed could be reasons why certain Herald images get chosen. I also picked up on alot of this stuff because the folks over at Tor have done a WoR re-read and have a dedicated "Heraldic Symbolism" subsection they devote for each chapter. They speculate as to why the specific herald(s) were chosen. Specifically Alice Arneson (one of the re-readers) has seemingly done some good research into this, so I'll give her credit for a lot of this.

I mostly listed these out for my own reference as I've been meaning to do so (since I usually keep them in my head when figuring this out when reading).

  1. Herald themselves (mentioned, talked about, or actually has an appearance)
  2. Some object associated with a herald (example: A specific herald's honorblade)
  3. Member of Order (ex: Kaladin=Windrunners=Jezrien)
  4. Characters portraying divine attribute behavior (example: Loving and Healing)
  5. Characters portraying the inverse of divine attribute behavior (example: Hating and Destroying)
  6. Herald of <concept> - things associated with that concept. Known examples: 1) Shalash: Herald of Beauty 2) Nalan: Herald of Justice 3) Jezrien: Herald of Kings 4) Taln: Herald of War 5) Ishar: Herald of Luck

  7. Roles associated with a herald Known Examples: 1)Chana: Guards 2)Taln: Soldiers/war 3)Ishar: Ardents/religion 4)Vedel: Physicians

  8. Essences ( ): Essence, body focus, Soulcasting properties...(this one is a stretch as I've never really could pinpoint this well enough)

  9. Jester/Masked face (as mentioned in other posts on this thread). This can be tied to chapters with Wit them or tied to concepts related to him, the biggest one (I think) being storytelling.

How'd I do? :)

Note: I loved the "Four Lifetimes" chapter's heraldic symbolism in Oathbringer (I'm a little over halfway through the book), but I thought that was great showing the different roles/lives Kaladin has filled: Surgeon (Vedel), Soldier (Taln), Guard (Chana), and Leader/Windrunner (Jezrien). Bravo.

Peter Ahlstrom

How did you do? Pretty much a home run. There's only one thing you're missing, which you may have implied, and that's the gemstones. Also, there's a little bit more to #5 that will be explored further later in the series.

Your "Four Lifetimes" analysis is spot-on. Congratulations.

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Brandon Sanderson

I'm a little late to this, because of travel/booksigning woes, but I did want to jump in and offer a few things here. As Lyn said above, the AMA isn't often going to be able to dig into details about what was in the original draft--that's the sort of thing we like to keep a little closer to the chest. I'm okay with revealing things like that in the abstract, but having a wholesale "let's reveal plot points in early drafts of books without context" reveal seems like it might be dangerous.

So here, off the top of my head, are some of the things that I changed in the book related to Beta Reader comments. These topics are "open" for discussion--meaning you can ask Betas for more specifics on them, if you feel like it. These were all things I changed specifically because of Beta interaction.

Adolin's viewpoints were added to Part One. As was a quick run-down on Renarin's powers, and what he was learning to do with them.

The romantic angle between Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin was tweaked as I more and more referenced the idea that two different personalities of Shallan's were in love with two different people. IE--moving it further away from a love triangle, and instead showing more clearly that that Shallan was splitting further into multiple people, with different life goals.

This wasn't coming across in the early drafts, though I sometimes coulen't quite tell which responses were knee jerk "Twilight ruined love triangles! Don't do them!" comments and which were "I'm not convinced these four people--counting Shallan as two--are actually working in relationships." (I'll note that I, personally, am very pleased with how this part turned out in the books--but the betas certainly helped me get there. I'd guess that this is one of the more contentious matters of fan discussion about the book. The point of bringing it up here isn't to discredit anyone's feelings about the actual arc, just point out how the betas helped me find the balance I wanted.)

I got a LOT of help from people for writing Shallan's getting drunk scenes.

Slightly beefed up Yelig-nar's part in the plot, as what he did wasn't coming into play enough--and originally (I can't remember if this was a beta thing or an alpha thing) he wasn't as involved in the Amaram/Kaladin fight.

I revised part four heavily, moving the scene where Kaladin runs into our "so very beautiful" friend from Elantris (and the subsequent dip into the Spiritual Realm) from happening in the market to happening in the Lighthouse. Originally, the Lighthouse was run by Cryptics. (Which was a lot of fun.) However, I needed stronger establishment of Kaladin's motivations earlier in Part Four, which was going kind of off-the-rails a little.

Lots more conversation between characters who weren't talking enough in Part Four. (Most specifically Azure.)

There are hundreds more, but those are a few that might be of interest--and I need to be up in three hours to get on a train to go do more signings. Jet lag sure is fun!

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What is Scadrial's primary intergalactic export?


Okay so, this is what I got from Brandon.

Prior to Kelsier exploding the Pits, Scadrial's canned goods were one of the main things exported to the intergalactic market from the planet.

NB: This is something that Brandon can change at any time if the story calls for it.

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Brandon Sanderson

I don't like emailing out this book [Dragonsteel Prime] because of things /u/JawKneePawLick talks about. All the good things in it have been done better in later books--there isn't a single character attribute or theme by this point that hasn't been repurposed better in Stormlight.

You can glean some little things about the cosmere, but not much. I didn't start canonizing real cosmere elements until Mistborn. The book just isn't great, and what it does contain in regards to the cosmere has either been changed or will be changed.

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Brandon Sanderson

The book [Oathbringer] did great, and I'm doing just fine. US and UK publishers are both very happy. I achieved financial independence through my writing years ago at this point, and I have plenty of money. I have enough in investments that my passive income would be enough to live for the rest of my life at my current standard of living--I write purely for artistic satisfaction. (Which has kind of been the way it's always been, but it IS far less stressful now.)

We're generally really coy about talking numbers in the book industry, perhaps because we don't want to brag. There are a ton of authors out there who sell less than 1k books on a new release, and so flaunting my numbers...well, I don't know. It makes me uncomfortable.

That said, remember that books and records don't sell as much as people assume they do. Taylor Swift, one of the most popular singers of our time, sold...what, 1.5 million albums the first week of her last release? Granted, album sales aren't what they used to be (it's all about streaming now), but film numbers tend to make us inflate book and album numbers in our heads. 2k book sales is enough to get on the bestseller list, many weeks of the year.

(As an aside, when Elantris sold 400 copies its first week, and I was devastated until my agent told me that was actually really good for a new author hardcover.)

That said, we did WAY more than 400 copies, and Oathbringer is the bestselling book I've ever had out of the gate. It's probably more like double or 2.25 the opening of Words. (When I said 3X I was forgetting that my Words of Radiance figures didn't include audio, while my Oathbringer numbers did.)

Oathbringer will likely crest a million copies across all formats--but it will take a number of years. I'm not sure if TWOK has hit a million yet, for example. (Though if it hasn't, it's in that neighborhood.) Very few books get to 10mil without some kind of film or television franchise to propel them. I'd guess that the only single sf/f book sitting at over 10mil copies without a major adaptation is Foundation.

Anyway, Oathbringer's success won't stop the publishers from griping just a little that the books are too long. (Bookstores complain that they don't fit on shelves very well, and take up too much space, things like that.) But the book will still sell more copies than any other new release the publisher has this year, and if they do gripe, it's mostly just habit at this point. They're actually quite pleased. They just can't help imagining a world where they could split Oathbringer into three smaller books, and make the bookstores happy while making more money.

(And note, you shouldn't be annoyed at them for this. The publisher's job is to point out financial realities, as authors tend to be very bad at such things. They didn't try to force me to cut or split the book. They just always ask, very nicely, "Is there a way the book could be shorter?" and I reply, "Sorry. But this is how it has to be." And then they go about making it work.)

Be warned, though, we might have to go from hardcover straight to trade paperback (skipping the mass market paperback) because of printing realities.


One thing I've long been curious about: how much does putting out a new book in a series increase sales of the first in the series? I would assume that Oathbringer caused a bump in sales for The Way of Kings, but I'm not sure to what extent, or if that assumption actually holds true.

Brandon Sanderson

The assumption holds true. Bookscan for last week proves it. This is only print books recorded by retail chains, so it's only a small glimpse, but it's most of the print numbers. (As it does include Amazon and B&N.) I'll put numbers from six months ago in () after, so you can see the growth.

TWOK: 1500 copies (700)

WOR: 800 copies (450)

TWOK: Trade Paperback: 650 Copies (156)

TWOK Hardcover: 454 (123)

Mistborn 1: 450 Copies (350)

Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set: 450 Copies (350)

Words of Radiance Trade paperback: 380 copies (Not out yet)

Words of Radiance hardcover: 270 copies. (130)

Steelheart: 325 copies (274) Arcanum hardcover: 280 Copies (180)

Bands of Mourning, Shadows of Self, Warbreaker, Alloy of Law: All right around 230-260 (Maybe 10% different.)

Elantris, Firefight, Calamity, Mistborn 2, Mistborn 3: 160-200 (Same.)

Lowly Rithmatist at the bottom with 113. (85)

Note that some things, like the hardcovers jumping up in sales, are because bookstores ordered them special for my signings.


What about digital copies?

Brandon Sanderson

They tend to run 2X the print, but I don't get an email with them every week like I do print--so I don't track them as closely.

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After finishing Oathbringer I started a reread of Warbreaker and noticed something.

Page 427 of Warbreaker:

Susebron: "Didn't you eat before you came to my chambers?"

Siri: "I did, but growing that much hair is draining. It always leaves me hungry."

Sounds similar to our favorite Edgedancer, but I thought she was supposed to be one of a kind on the whole getting Investiture through food? I'm assuming the Royal Locks have something to do with Investiture.


FWIW, i asked this question in my Warbreaker book and got RAFO

So in war beaker Siri is able to convert food directly into hair growth through the Royal Locks, we know that the Royal Locks are somehow related to investiture, so my question is, can Siri/Viv convert food into investiture to use in Awakening (or Surgebinding or any other uses of magic in the cosmere) similar to Lift and her awesomeness.

Brandon Sanderson

As far as I know, you were the first to catch on to this. (Or at least ask about it) so that should be a very proud RAFO. There is something here, but it's not as deep as you might assume.

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If I were to guess: allo- would have its roots in the word allos (Greek for different, also the root of alloy), feru- would be ferrum (latin for iron), and hema- would be haima (Greek? for blood).

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I could mix traditions and linguistics a little and pass it off based on my theory of translation for the books. The construct is that the person translating them for us is looking for words that evoke the right feel in English, not for exact 100% accuracy. So she can mix greek and latin roots, play a little loose and free, to give the right vibe to the reader--when in the world, they would have a single in-world linguistic tradition.

Either way, you've popped out the right ones, though I want to say the last was hemat as a root.


Hang on a moment.... I always assumed that the translation effect from in-world language to English (or other Earth languages that allowed us to read the books) was more of a passive thing, almost like we are 'Connecting' to the stories which enables us to read the words that make sense to us.

Are you saying here that the process is actually by design? That someone (from the sounds of it Khriss) is somehow actively translating the events of the books and that's why we read them in our native language? Is this something that has been discussed before and I missed it?

Brandon Sanderson

I've always imagined a hypothetical translator into English, more as a writing construct (to explain certain things and the way I do things) than anything else. I wouldn't consider it canon, in that there is no Earth in the cosmere, but it's how I frame the process for myself. It's how I explain to myself that certain metaphors work and the like.

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Did Vasher do to himself something similar to what Cultivation did to Dalinar, with his memory? I know in Warbreaker he says he knew the commands to take Denth's memories of things they'd done in the past away. Is there a chance he is not "whole" in his ability to recall his past?

Brandon Sanderson

It's safe to say that Vasher's memory has a few holes.

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I was at the Houston signing, and Brandon referred me to you on a few technical questions that I was asking him, since he he was quite "brain dead."

First was what Surges the Bondsmiths have. Based on the ordering in the Ars Arcanum in WoR and OB, they should have Tension. But the application of the shared Surge we saw for both Stonewards and Bondsmiths in OB looks to line up more with Brandon's previous description of Cohesion from the Words of Radiance tour. (, although he did identify it as a Willshaper Surge there.) Brandon believed it was an error in the Ars Arcanum, and that Bondsmiths do have Cohesion, but he told me to confirm that with you.

Peter Ahlstrom

What power did you see in the book that Bondsmiths and Stonewards share?


In Chapter 38:

The Shardbearer pressed his hand against the incline leading up to the Voidbringer, and again the stone seemed to writhe. Steps formed in the rock, as if it were made of wax that could flow and be shaped.


"And that Shardbearer I saw? A Herald?"

No. Merely a Stoneward. The Surge that changed the stone is the other you may learn, though it may serve you differently.

Which seems to align with how Brandon has previously described Cohesion in the past, as opposed to Tension.

I assume this Surge is what Dalinar used to repair the temple of Talenel in Chapter 59, but that's not actually essential to the point.

Peter Ahlstrom

I think this has to be an error in the text.


Sorry, which do you think is the error? The order of Surges in the Ars Arcanum? Or the Stormfather's statement to Dalinar?

Peter Ahlstrom

The Stormfather's statement.

Peter Ahlstrom

I have verified with Brandon that what the Stormfather said here is wrong and will be corrected in the future.

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/u/Mistborn (Brandon) said that Eshonai will be the flashback character in Book 4. (source), which would indicate that she's probably still alive in some form.

But we'll see. He could've changed it or that could've been a diversion from Venli being the actual flashback character.

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai is the flashback character--but she is dead in the present. I've warned people multiple times that we WILL have flashbacks to the viewpoints of characters who have died.

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Rereading Words of Radiance... Are the Herdazians a caricature of Mexicans? Is that ok?

Brandon Sanderson

Parts of their culture are inspired by Mexican culture in the same way the Alethi are inspired by Mongolians, Lift's origins are indigenous Bolivians, and the Final Empire (Central Dominance) was 1800's France. Human beings need a launching-off point for creativity to work.

I don't consider them a caricature. Lopen is extreme to say the least, but I made sure to include Palona, Huio, and others as a balancing factor. That said, I don't get to decide if what I did works--I get to try, and explain my motivations, but the decision on whether or not I succeed is not in my hands. Many a writer has had the best intentions, but has failed anyway.

I think it's important to diversify my inspirations, and push myself. If I were going to say the true inspirations for Herdazians, it would be a Mexico mashup with Korea (where I lived for several years.) The smaller country that has long been overshadowed by a dominant neighbor is a very common thing in our world, and it really felt like Alethkar would have a similar effect on kingdoms around it.

I will take a moment to note that chouta wasn't inspired by burritos, really, but more the "street food" explosion that accompanied the industrial revolution. I took what they had in the society (flatbread and Soulcast meat) and tried to build something that would replicate the things I've seen and read about in our world during that era, because it fascinates me.

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What's up with Mare? Here's my Conspiracy Wall about her.

TL;DR Paalm was Mare. She spent most of Shadows of Self trying to imitate Kelsier.

Brandon Sanderson

This one is a RAFO, I'm afraid. As I've said, there are things about Mare I haven't gone into.


Putting aside whether this theory was accurate...

Have you seeded anything else in the books that this level of newspaper-clippings-connected-with-string thinking would be necessary to figure out?

Brandon Sanderson

I have put things in like this, but generally I don't think I'm putting in enough foreshadowing for them to be recognized--I'm just working under an assumption on my part, which then reflects in the writing, which then people put together. (Which sometimes surprises me.)

So, I don't generally put in puzzles this complex intentionally to make people figure them out. But the puzzles do end up in the stories, and can be figured out, nonetheless.

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If someone shaves with a shardrazor is that shave their last shave?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not unless you cut down beneath the skin--so nicks maybe would be a problem...


Would a living spren be able to choose whether or not they cut something? Like could Syl make herself cut nonliving objects without also harming living things? If that's possible, could that go even farther and make it so a radiant's blade could only harm specific targets?

I'm starting to think up a ridiculous scenario where a radiant cuts through an ally without harming them to get to an enemy.

Brandon Sanderson

As it stands, no, this is not possible. (Sorry.) It's possible the spren could dismiss in time, then reappear on the other side, and FAKE that they'd done this--but couldn't simply choose not to do damage while cutting someone.

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  1. In the part 2 epigraphs of Oathbringer, Michael reads Harmony's letter in Sazed's accent. Is that something you specifically told him to do, or did he figure that out on his own?

  2. By that same token, have there been other instances of you telling Michael and Kate "Read this with a specific accent" or "Make something memorable for this momentarily-appearing side character" (Jezrien the beggar comes to mind).

  3. In TWoK interlude 1, Michael doesn't read Demoux with the same accent as he did in Mistborn. That leads me to believe that Connection also emulates accent. When Dalinar used Connection to speak with the Azish, did he sound like an Azish speaking Azish, or an Alethi speaking Azish?

  4. Finally, this occurred to me as I was typing the previous question: How is Taln understandable to the modern characters of SA? He's been in Damnation for the past 4500 years, and there's been dramatic changes in the writing system. I assume that means similarly dramatic shifts in the spoken language too. I mean, today we can't really understand Old English, and that wasn't even 1 millennium ago. Has the spoken word really not changed that much, or is he using Connection? If he is, do all the heralds use it?

Brandon Sanderson

1.) I believe we warned him.

2.) Yes, though Peter usually makes these calls (he checks with me on a few.) We do need to do this for translations sometimes too (gender an ambiguous-in-English voice, for example.)

3.) We're better at this than we used to be. He probably should have had the same voice there. However, it can vary, depending on how the magic works. For example, Hoid--who is generally using Connection, rather than using languages--sounds like a native speaker. How you use the magic, how you view yourself, and things like that do influence this.

4.) I'm on this one, and will have answers for you eventually. In original drafts of TWOK, back when it was supposed to be a mystery if Taln were a Herald or not, I believe Jasnah used this as evidence that he WASN'T one, actually. Suffice it to say that the Heralds have had to deal with this a lot, over thousands of years...

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Would Lord Mastrell be a good name to disambiguate it [the original draft of White Sand] from the Graphic Novel and the Prime version?

Peter Ahlstrom

No, Lord Mastrell (actually spelled Lord Mastrel at the time) was the third book Brandon wrote, but it's essentially the second half of White Sand Prime. That book didn't finish, he just got to where he had written 243k words and said "guess that's the end of the book." Then Lord Mastrel was another 204k.

Both together cover the same amount of story as the later version of White Sand. Glancing quickly at the end of Lord Mastrel, a big difference was that Kenton got 6 months to prove himself instead of two weeks. (Also, for some reason Lord Mastrel has all manual page breaks. The horror!) There are also some...interesting differences in how the final vote went.

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Throughout TWoK, Kaladin complains that he is cursed. When others call him lucky, he thinks about all the times he has failed to protect people and considers himself unlucky. Everyone around him dies.

His Journey in that book takes him to Bridge 4, the bridge team that has the most losses, that everyone knows is a death sentence. Death being the end of every journey, this is appropriate.

But what I've never really noticed before is the importance of the bridge number. 4 is, in East Asian cultures, considered unlucky or cursed. In Chinese 4 is nearly a homophone to the word death. Buildings will skip the 4th floor, companies will skip from version 3 to version 5 of their products (Palm, OnePlus, I'm sure there are other examples but I can't think of them right now).

We already know that The Stormlight Archive finds some of its inspiration in anime/manga. We know that the Alethi are what we would consider ethnically East Asian. Dark hair, tan skin, and they don't have the large, round eyes of the Shin. It seems very fitting that the least lucky bridge, the one responsible for the most death, is Bridge 4.

Of course, Kaladin comes to believe he isn't cursed as he uses his powers to defend his bridgemen. 4 becomes the most envied bridge as they suffer the fewest deaths, have camaraderie, and eventually become squires to a radiant.

They are numbered unlucky and cursed, but turn out to be the most "lucky" of the bridge crews.

This all struck me today because at the end of Oathbringer, Dalinar casually mentions that his personal guard from Bridge 13 isn't there because that bridge crew became Teft's squires. 13 is the number in Western culture that we consider "unlucky" or "cursed," so fitting that it would be the second bridge crew to become squires of a Radiant! With that realization, everything about Bridge 4 clicked in my head.

Did anyone else catch this, or notice anything else cool with these numbers?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of things fans find are coincidence...but neither of these are, actually. Those are both intentional, as are a few other little numbers things.

Numerology has not become a big thing in Stormlight during the development of it, but original (2002 version) The Way of Kings leaned a lot more heavily on numerology (gematria style word/number interactions) and that's still around in the world.

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*fan art of a whitespine*

Ben McSweeney

Well done. I had a difficult time with the whitespine's anatomy, to the point of largely redesigning the body again just before the deadline (we wrote an article about it on Brandon's blog, I think? -EDIT- We did! ), but you've interpreted it nicely considering the limited reference.

Missed the vestigial claws behind the primary legs though (sorry, your quality kicked my AD brain into gear :), and the skin could be bit smoother/slicker on the flanks (they get more shellie as they dry out, so maybe he's very dry).


Oh snaps, you're right! I missed that detail :*( He did come out a bit chunkier than I think I would have liked (I imagined them looking a bit more agile and bug-like and less "tanky"/dragon-y than this) but alas I just went with it since I was having fun.

Ben McSweeney

The interview talks about a bunch of the design motif stuff we went through. There was an active need to step away from the chunkier arthropod/crustacean thing we had done with chasmfiends and axehounds and cremlings, and start to widen the field a little more. I think you were right to push away from being tanky-dragony. What you have here is remarkably close to some of our earlier designs.

At the end I was thinking of the flanks being clad in a sort of sharkskin, merging with the bonier protrusions along the spine flowing just under the skin... as the creature dries out, the skin contracts and even cracks with mineral buildup, and it becomes more rocky/tanky. It needs the storms to stay active, otherwise it's inclined to go into a sort of hibernation to conserve energy unless prey comes near. I imagine as things dry out, they crawl into cracks and hollow between the stones and blend in, waiting for the next storm. Still ready to snatch up prey or even emerge to hunt when prey draws near.

When the weather is wet, they're out and hunting all the other critters that come out to feed in the aftermath of fresh rainfall and the newly stripped, tossed landscape. Then they fill out a little and become more like sleek sharks stalking the mountains and chasms. They get shinier and smoother and more able to move quickly. That's when they become the real terror of the hills, stalking like wolves or tigers but climbing like goats.

It's still a mishmash design, it's not really as cohesive as I would have liked. There's room for evolutionary improvement... after all there's probably always another breed. Southern Whitespines, if you will. The Great Northern Rockback Whitespine. The tiny but deadly Deep Chasm Whitespine. The sleek and slender Eastern Spinybacked Whitespine (much more needly). I'm making all of this up as I go, but that's half the secret to doing this at all :)

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Chapter 36: Hero

Dalinar thinking about Evi.

With that pale hair and light golden skin, she was like a glowing gemstone.

Now, maybe I am confused about Iri looks, but shouldn't it be other way around, pale skin and light golden hair?

Peter Ahlstrom

Evi is Riran, so she has blonde hair rather than actual golden. The skin here is how we might describe someone in our world that way, rather than literal golden.

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