Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing
Date
Date March 21, 2014
Location
Location Collegeville, PA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Towne Book Center & Café
Entries
Entries 112
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#1 Copy

Questioner

Based on what we know currently about ten heartbeats, why does Szeth require ten heartbeats to bring forth his Honorblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Perception is a very important part of how these things all work, and remember the Honorblades work differently from everything else. Everything was based upon them. Why don't you read and find out what's going on there, but remember that the characters's perception is very important.

Questioner

So then that's why at one point Shallan requires ten heartbeats and now she doesn't?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, it's the exact same reason that Kaladin's forehead wounds don't heal. Because he views himself as having those somewhere deep inside of him and he can't heal until that gets away. And it works for the same reason why in Warbreaker when you bring something to life, your intention rather than really what you say is what matters. It's all about perception.

#2 Copy

Questioner

In Mistborn, Allomancy tends to get a little addictive, is that something that's going to happen with Stormlight—holding it just because it feels good?

Brandon Sanderson

You are noticing a similarity. That is intentional.

#3 Copy

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Questioner

Magically, I guess.

Brandon Sanderson

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

#4 Copy

Questioner

We were talking that it's kind of a shame that Dalinar doesn't have his own "real" spren. I think it's an upgrade, is there a way I should think of this? Is it a cool thing or a bad thing?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a very cool thing, but it's also a very dangerous thing.

Questioner

Well [the Stormfather] controls the highstorms ... follow-up question: if he dies, does that affect the spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Dying, as long as the oaths are not broken, does not affect the spren in a very terrible way. There are effects.

#5 Copy

Questioner

So regarding Hoid, now are we ever going to know his real name at some point in time? I guess in Dragonsteel? I know he says about how he's borrowing stuff and how he steals stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You will eventually know his real name, but it depends on what you define as real.

#6 Copy

Questioner

Will the flute come back?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of people are curious about the flute. I have been non-committal, so far.

Footnote: The flute referred to here is the flute given to Kaladin by Wit in The Way of Kings.
#7 Copy

Leiyan

Can you tell me the order the three planets [located the Rosharan system] are in?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Leiyan

Because I know Braize is the third one, I've heard that, is that true?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm staying closed-lipped about a lot of this.

#8 Copy

Leiyan

Can you tell me which is the most massive moon [of Roshar]? Not the biggest, but the most massive moon.

Brandon Sanderson

I think the biggest is the most massive. All three moons are much closer than our moon is.

Leiyan

Yes, I gathered that. And so is that Nomon?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Leiyan

How big is Nomon on the night sky, compared to our moon?

Brandon Sanderson

Larger than our moon, but not dominating of the sky.

[Interruption]

I do believe Nomon is, I told Peter, bigger. But he had to run the actual calculations, so he may come back and say, "No Brandon, that's not possible." But I believe it is bigger than our moon in the sky. You're supposed to be able to see moderately well by Nomon.

#9 Copy

EHyde

I was wondering, on Roshar, what sort of plants and animals do they use for fabrics, because they don't have a lot of woolly animals and the plants are different?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of them are plant-based. I think I've mentioned one of the plants. Theirs are plant-based.

EHyde

They have silk though, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It is seasilk, you actually grow it in the water. It's pretty awesome. It comes from the coasts.

EHyde

So they don't have anything like our silk, then?

Brandon Sanderson

If you looked at it, you would call that silk, but it is being produced in a very different way.

EHyde

But our silk comes from insect cocoons, and they have a lot of that sort of thing, but they don't use it for fiber at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Insect cocoons on Roshar are either, they melt in water and are tied to the highstorm cycle, or they have stone in them. So they don't work really well for textiles. There are certain rockbuds you can shred the inside of the shell and get a textile from them, there's seasilk which you grow out in the ocean, and there are other plants of a similar nature.

#10 Copy

EHyde

I was also wondering, with the Steel Alphabet in the Mistborn books, each of the letters aesthetically looks like it's built from a cuff, a spike, and a bead, and was that intentional to reflect the magic systems?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Do remember that that writing system was developed by the Final Empire. They actually took the ancient Terris symbols and they made them more to their own aesthetic over time.

#12 Copy

Rhandric

How many worldhoppers have we seen?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I haven't kept track, you've seen quite a few. There's one from Mistborn, did you catch him? I don't think people have really picked out the Terriswoman yet, who makes her way into them, but they're mostly not supposed to be noticeable yet, until you get to know them as characters and you look back and be like "oh that was that person."

Rhandric

Is it the Terriswoman I think it is?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know which Terriswoman you think it is.

Rhandric

Tindwyl?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

#14 Copy

Kurkistan

Are the laws of physics in the cosmere Spiritually-based?

Brandon Sanderson

The laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they have been changed by Spiritual influence. So I guess you could say yes.

#15 Copy

Kurkistan

What would happen if you shot a thug with an aluminum bullet or stabbed him with an aluminum knife?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, that's a good question. The wound would not be able to heal around the aluminum, but once the aluminum came out and was gone from the system, they would be okay.

Kurkistan

Wait, is that a Bloodmaker, not a Thug?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you're talking about Thugs?

It would work similarly, but it really wouldn't have a huge effect on them.

Kurkistan

Alright, because Peter was implying that there was some weird aluminum interaction with Thugs.

Brandon Sanderson

What was he thinking of...?

There is some weird interaction but...

Kurkistan

In the wedding scene, Wax thinks they would have aluminum bullets to deal with Thugs, and I was like, "Oh, that's a typo." And Peter was like, "Oh no it's not..."

Brandon Sanderson

No, no. That would just be-- it's like I said: healing it until the bullet is gone, it's just the same as Bloodmakers.

#17 Copy

Kurkistan

Are flamespren, are they all doing their own thing, or is there some Ideal of "Fire" sitting in the Spiritual Realm that they're all based on?

Brandon Sanderson

Each spren is based on the Ideal of Fire.

Kurkistan

And is that sitting in the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, we're using sort of a Platonic Ideal, and that concept is in force, so *sounds hesitant* "yes", but [spren] are manifestations of it.

Kurkistan

So these Ideals in the Spiritual Realm: Divine Breath, does that heal by accessing some Ideal of Human Health: so a guy who had never had a tongue and doesn't know how to speak all the sudden has a tongue and can speak?

Brandon Sanderson

You are... *LONG pause* You are, um, on the right track.

Kurkistan

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Because the Breath is... eh. How can I explain this? You are, yeah... So... So each Breath is a shade of diety, right?

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

And each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the deity Endowment, correct?

Kurkistan

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

And so each Breath you hold brings you one step closer to becoming like that, and so what you're saying is... is "yes", kind of true, yes.

Kurkistan

But it's like within the Breath, not sitting off by itself-

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes yes exactly.

#18 Copy

Kurkistan

If Wayne was inside of a speed bubble and punches somebody who's standing outside it, what's happening with his fist and them: are they like sucked into the bubble, or what?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I have... So exiting a speed bubble, while it's going, has weird ramifications on lots of things. It would be really hard to punch somebody through a speed bubble--

Kurkistan

So would the surface like distend around his fist--

*Illustrates with fist "stretching out" invisible film*

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to steal your momentum, but if you actually managed to do it, then-- yes. Anything in the speed bubble that's touching through is counted as being as part of the speed bubble.

Kurkistan

Okay, so his bubble would end here *Draws invisible surface in the air* and his fist would be out there *Illustrates by "punching" arm through the fake surface, demonstrating the fist extending past the bubble while he arm is within*, but still fast?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

Oh okay, thank you.

Brandon Sanderson

That's how I've imagined it so far.

Kurkistan

But the bubble does end at [the same place still, with the fist extending out past its boundary].

Brandon Sanderson

The bubble does end, yes.

Kurkistan

*Makes pleasantries and goes to leave*

Brandon Sanderson

And when you're punching through, it's going to-- your momentum is gonna'-- you're going to lose momentum and get a ricochet, because you're lurching from-- *notices Kurkistan (very foolishly) acting like he's about to leave* anyway... I'll let you figure that one out on your own.

#19 Copy

Questioner

Have you thought any more of metal allergies with your Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

It would definitely not be pleasant.

Questioner

Because I have the steel allergy.

Brandon Sanderson

You have the steel allergy, huh?

Questioner

Yeah, I actually got it last year. I have a steel allergy and I work in a steel plant.

Brandon Sanderson

Aww man. It would not be pleasant, I can definitely say that. Although, I would have the instinct that fewer people on Scadrial would have that allergy because of the Investiture during their creation. But it could totally happen.

#20 Copy

Sweetness

What do the glyphs in the Kholin glyphpair mean?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh boy, that's in my notes. I should know that, I should totally know it but I would have to look it up.

#22 Copy

Sweetness

Since the evil on Threnody isn't a Shard, can you tell us anything about its nature? Is it an actual being, and is it related to Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson

Everything is related, in the Cosmere, to Adonalsium. Most of the magic you're seeing is a just a natural outgrowth of Cosmere-related magic, you're seeing Cognitive Shadows. The Evil is similarly related.

#24 Copy

Rit

So, my question is glowing Shardplate and retractable helmets. Is that a similar origin of the Shardblades—

Brandon Sanderson

There's a similarity, but they are also very different.

Rit

Yeah, I noticed they do seem like advanced fabrials, because Adolin just keeps going on and on about how they're all interchangeable and they all feel comfortable after a while, and it doesn't have the same kind of thing with the Shardblades.

Brandon Sanderson

No, it doesn't. Though a Shardblade, used for a long time, will change shape slightly.

#25 Copy

Questioner

Is the power of the bond between humans and spren, the Nahel bond, or from the swords—the existing Shardblades—that causes the eyes to turn light?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

#27 Copy

Questioner

So I was reading the Wheel of Time and in the first one when they get to the saidin and saidar, the pools—they're very similar to Shardpools.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, and that is something that he kind of dropped. The Eye of the World is just like pure saidin, and I would be surprised if that weren't an unconscious influence on me. I didn't think of it when I was coming up with these but that's definitely way back in my brain when I was creating these.

#28 Copy

Questioner

So Nohadon's still alive, right?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! Why would you say that Nohadon is still alive?

Questioner

I know he's still alive.

Brandon Sanderson

Why would you say he's still alive?

Questioner

It's the perfect trick, that you're gonna bring back Nohadon. It's my feeling about things.

#30 Copy

Questioner

Is Shai on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question!

Questioner

Has she already popped up?

Brandon Sanderson

She has not already popped up.

Questioner

So she's not a Radiant. Or is she?

Brandon Sanderson

You have not seen her on screen yet, other than in her story.

#31 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if you have off the top of your head any one-armed Herdazian jokes to offer?

Brandon Sanderson

Only the obvious one.

Questioner

That being?

Brandon Sanderson

How do you get the one-armed Herdazian out of a tree?

Questioner

How's that?

Brandon Sanderson

You wave!

#32 Copy

Questioner

We were wondering about the stances and I was wondering if you could match them?

*unfolds image*

Brandon Sanderson

I would have you email it to us, because Ben McSweeney made the final call as he drew these, on which one was which. While I had notes on each of them, he matched the stances to them, and so it would be really easy for me to get them wrong.

#33 Copy

Questioner

So what's your favorite thing from The Way of Kings? Quotes, coming from the actual book in The Way of Kings.

Brandon Sanderson

The book in-world? I would say it's the story that Nohadon shares about walking and passing the man with his burden.

#35 Copy

Questioner

I do have to know, how many cousins [does Lopen have]?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on what your definition of cousin is. By Lopen's definition, there are a lot of cousins. He's counting like fifth cousins.

Questioner

Third cousin twice-removed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's his cousin. Like [someone] dating his sister, or his mom's sister - that's a cousin.

#36 Copy

Questioner

How many people that we've met know the story of Dalinar's wife?

Brandon Sanderson

Know which story?

Questioner

The story about the pact, why he doesn't remember anything.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh. Not very many at all know that he doesn't remember. He's had to fake it.

#37 Copy

Questioner

Is Lopen still going to have one-armed jokes?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, he will always have one-armed jokes! He's probably going to have to come up with some two-armed jokes.

#38 Copy

Questioner

How are you going to finish the cosmere stuff? Like when you get to book 35, how are you gonna resist like book 36, we're gonna say "Courage is held by dude named Steve and according to Hoid he's pretty cool." Just extend it another ... how are you going to finish?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll see. We will see. The thing is there's a beginning, middle, and end to the Shattering of Adonalsium and the involvement there. More stories can be told in the cosmere, but there's a beginning, middle, and end to that. When I finish that, that is the sequence that I wanted to tell.

Questioner

And you have that outlined out?

Brandon Sanderson

I do.

#39 Copy

Questioner

Are the Wax and Wayne stories going to always be in stand-alone, or are they ever going to tie in to the main Mistborn and stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

They will tie in, in fact I intended the first one to foreshadow stuff for the next trilogy, so you will find things tying in with what's going on, but I kind of wanted them to also just be more independent, so we'll see. It'll be a little of both.

#42 Copy

Questioner

Kaladin in the second book seemed to be a different Kaladin than at the end of the first book.

Brandon Sanderson

In what way?

Questioner

And he seemed angrier, and my question is, why did you write him that way?

Brandon Sanderson

He has always been angry. In the first book, he is focused on saving his men and now that his men are safe, all of those emotions—if you go look at him from the first nine chapters of Way of Kings, he's that way there, it's when he becomes focused on saving his men he has something to drive him and it kind of subsumes these things, but once they're safe all these things he hasn't dealt with came back out.

#43 Copy

Questioner

How do you do time dilation and character time? Like how do you keep the stories straight?

Brandon Sanderson

Just practice. And good beta readers really help with that a lot because in my first drafts I will often mess these things up and then my beta readers will help me.

#44 Copy

Questioner

I was actually wondering, the epigraphs for The Way of Kings, that were talking about how the various Shardholders [Vessels] are influenced by their Shards over time—how does that impact someone like Harmony, with multiple shards?

Brandon Sanderson

The main effect it's having on Harmony right now is the inability to act sometimes, because his two sides are pushing, and so he is having trouble being proactive. It'd take a long time before it really becomes manifest, but he's had several hundred years, so it's starting to have an effect.

#45 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned one time that there were guards hiding under the bed and in a secret room when Siri was first *inaudible* the God King?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I at least imagined it that way.

Questioner

Do you always add details like that in your imagination?

Brandon Sanderson

It's very frequently I do. Just cause I want to be a few steps ahead. And I want to be making sure that my motives for the characters—particularly the side characters, we're not seeing through their eyes, make sense. Motives are really important to me.

#46 Copy

NutiketAiel

For Feruchemy, can you only inherit that? Or is there another way to get it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you could obviously get it through a Hemalurgic spike.

NutiketAiel

Yeah, but that’s kind of a different thing.

Brandon Sanderson

It is hereditary, but it came from somewhere. Which is a RAFO, but it’s not a big RAFO. There’s not something you missed in the books, or anything like that. It originally came from Preservation long ago. And there are other ways to get it, but you have not missed any major plot points regarding that. Good question.

#47 Copy

Questioner

Could you use the Feruchemical ability to store Identity to heal damage done to you in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... yes, but it's gonna take a roundabout method to make it happen... Yes, but Identity can be very useful for all sorts of things like this.

#48 Copy

Questioner

One of the things I love so much about your books are the illustrations and the maps, even though I'm really bad with maps. So I guess I was wondering, do you have a really clear vision in your head for what you want them to be or...?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the book. In some cases I do. In some cases I'm more vague and I work with my illustrator through several iterations then decide what we want.

#49 Copy

Questioner

Before the Recreance, there were three Bondsmiths. Did they all bond "superspren", or is Dalinar an exception?

Brandon Sanderson

They did something similar.

#50 Copy

Questioner

Can the Unmade be bonded?

Brandon Sanderson

Wow, plausible... Yes, or possible, I should say.

#51 Copy

Questioner

What Jasnah did, in the first book, with Shallan in the alleyway and what happened at the end of this book... between Adolin and the other character [Sadeas]. Would you put them on the same level? Or would you say that what Adolin did was maybe a little bit darker?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that what Adolin did was less dark, personally... It just depends on your perspective, but personally I say what Adolin did was something that needed to be done and no one else was capable of doing.

Questioner

Would you say that it's going to have any ramifications for him down the line? With how it was handled?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh it's definitely—how it's handled, definitely there are ramifications, lots of ramifications. And there are certain characters who would think that what he did is totally, totally, totally wrong.

#52 Copy

Questioner

How does Susebron love sweets if he doesn't have a tongue?

Brandon Sanderson

The fact that your tastebuds are all in one place is actually untrue, scientifically. You have tastebuds all through your mouth.

#53 Copy

Questioner

Hoid says [in Warbreaker] that he learned stories from a place where gods have died. Is that Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. I will say this. A god has died on Roshar. Only one, that we know. So, "gods" would not be plural.

Footnote: Brandon is referring to the Shard Honor here, which has been confirmed to be Splintered.
#54 Copy

Questioner

Is Shallan's father her actual father?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah! People asked if her mother were her mother. No one's asked yet if her father were her father... Yes, it was her father. Yes, I will give you that, yes. Her mother and father as presented in the stories were actually her mother and father.

#55 Copy

Questioner

Szeth a lot of the time throughout Words of Radiance is referring to the fact that he's hearing his victims screaming in his head. Is that actually just his conscience screaming at him or has he possibly already bonded to a spren in some way, that is displeased with his actions?

Brandon Sanderson

That is not his spren, good question... It is not the spren—it is not a spren that is for one of the orders.

Questioner

Okay, but it is related to—

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say that. I just said it is not a spren—it is not a Blade. It is not one of those.

#56 Copy

Questioner

What came first, Pattern or Chalklings?

Brandon Sanderson

Pattern was before Chalklings, good question. For some part of its existence, The Rithmatist was in the cosmere, until I finally decided I just don't want Earth in the cosmere at all, even a bizarre sort of version of Earth.

#57 Copy

Questioner

Which of your characters do you think would win in a fight?

Brandon Sanderson

At what stage in their career?

Questioner

Not the Slivers.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so they don't count, the Shards of Adonalsium don't count… Does Kelsier have atium?

Questioner

Yes, atium exists.

Brandon Sanderson

A Mistborn burning atium is really hard to beat in any other way.

Questioner

So you think that Kelsier would beat Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Kelsier would beat Vin if he had atium and she didn't. If they both did? Vin has more raw talent, Kelsier has a lot more experience. So if you can pick Vin after she's had more experience she will give him a fair fight, but before that she will not.

#58 Copy

Questioner

The letter in the epigraphs in Way of Kings, the recipient—is he or she—are they in Words of Radiance?

Brandon Sanderson

They are not in Words of Radiance in person.

Questioner

Will they be in the next book?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. But they have not appeared in person in the series yet.

Footnote: The letter in The Way of Kings was written from Hoid to Frost.
#59 Copy

Questioner

If someone—Vasher says that Nightblood would kill him, is that just because he has this one deific Breath? Would it kill an ordinary person, like a drab?

Brandon Sanderson

It would suck the Breath from anybody, and if they were unable to feed it he would feed on their soul.

Questioner

So they would die?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Anyone wielding Nightblood, he will suck their soul. If for too long, he will eventually—if you draw him—will suck your soul.

#60 Copy

Questioner

When does a person become a Surgebinder? Cause Kaladin talks about when he was a child, talked about it being a familiar feeling, and Shallan obviously was younger. Or is it when they speak the Words?

Brandon Sanderson

The bond starts forming before the Words are spoken, but if the words are never spoken that bond will eventually evaporate and get broken. But the bond will start forming before. Just like an emotion attracts a spren, acting in the way that the spren you would eventually bond will start drawing them toward you and that will start to create that bond.

#61 Copy

Questioner

I know that there's three sorts of forms that magic presents itself in, the liquid and the solid and air. What would Breath be?

Brandon Sanderson

Breath is definitely like mist, it is in the form of the air.

Questioner

And is Stormlight the same?

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight is the same.

#62 Copy

Questioner

Would Vasher be able to use Stormlight in the same way that he can get Breath?

Brandon Sanderson

That would not be immediately easy, but Stormlight could feed Nightblood.

Questioner

Which is why Szeth can wield Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh, you'll have to see if but yes. That could theoretically happen. You can use most of the magics on most of the planets to fuel the other magics, if you know how to do it, it is not easy.

#63 Copy

Questioner

She wanted to know earlier, when [will] you get a book with Lift?

Brandon Sanderson

You are going to get a book with Lift as a main character. It is going to happen, I promise. And I'll probably do some more shorts with Lift because she is so much fun.

Footnote: Lift will be a flashback character for the second five book arc of the Stormlight Archive.
#64 Copy

Questioner

The Seventeenth Shard—is their purpose limited solely to tracking down Hoid? Or all Worldhoppers or is it something grander than that?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they have other stuff. It is grander than that.

Questioner

He's just one of many priorities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. They are very worried about what he's going to be doing.

Questioner

But there's others they're worried about as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... They have a task, they have goals, and they are worried that he is going to be [at] cross purposes to them, so is trying to hunt him down.

#65 Copy

Questioner

What's his name, the one who sends the letter with pictures … Nazir?

Brandon Sanderson

What? Oh, Nazh? Yes, Nazrilof.

Questioner

He's not in the list of …

Brandon Sanderson

He appears in one place in that book.

Footnote: Nazh is confirmed to have made an appearance in Words of Radiance as the ardent trying to sketch the bridgemen.
#66 Copy

EHyde

I was wondering if, at the Recreance, the Radiant were deliberately trying to put Shardblades in the hands of non-Radiants? Since they left them all outside a military base.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

#67 Copy

NutiketAiel

When a Radiant is in the Cognitive Realm, does their mind exist individually, like separately from their body?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, no.

NutiketAiel

So you physically travel to the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

You can kind of step in between both but you do not separate from your body.

NutiketAiel

So when Shallan is only partly in...she's in both at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. She's transitioning. It's not astral projection. But no that's a legit question.

NutiketAiel

So Shallan, and Lightweavers, are capable of physically stepping into Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. But the implication is yes.

#68 Copy

NutiketAiel

If you could write something, whatever you're willing to tell us, about the Moon Scepter that we haven't already heard?

Brandon Sanderson

(Writes, amidst oohing and aahing)...I run into problems with some of these things, because there's not much to say, but what there is to say can be very spoilery, you know what I mean. Like it's like...and so... (possibly pointing at what he has written)

NutiketAiel

This is probably going to be a RAFO but is that the one...the stick with the writing...seen in Mraize's collection?

Brandon Sanderson

(continues writing)...well, at least I gave you something...

But it is not Mraize's stick.

#69 Copy

EHyde

As Lift's spren refers to the Nightwatcher as Mother, right...

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely calls somebody a mother. The implication in the text is that it's the Nightwatcher.

EHyde

Certainly, so I'm just going to run with that right now. So the question that I'm asking is, is surgebinding in general a melding of Honor and Odium, a la feruchemy being in some sense not directly derivative of Ruin and Preservation?

Brandon Sanderson

It is...Honor and Cultivation is what you mean?

EHyde

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

There are spren of all three Shards, and those spren can work within the bounds of the magic that has already been set up on Roshar.

EHyde

What Shard are Cryptics associated with?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

#70 Copy

EHyde

I was wondering about the in-world text, the Way of Kings. It's older than those 4500 years, right?

Brandon Sanderson

It was written by Nohadon.

EHyde

Especially since Jasnah mentioned how all the texts have been corrupted or changed since then, especially the ones dealing with the Radiants, I was wondering if we will find out how the Way of Kings survived intact for so long, or if it actually did, or if it's...

Brandon Sanderson

They do say that...well let's just say that some books exist in translation over the centuries with the primary text having been lost, or things like this.

EHyde

But you're not going to say if the translation is guaranteed to be accurate.

Brandon Sanderson

I am not going to say that.

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Rhandric

How many magic systems are there on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on your definition. Is Windrunning its own magic system, or is it a division of a larger magic system? Are the ten different Surges each their own magic system, or...it's really how...

Rhandric

If you assume the surges are considered one.

Brandon Sanderson

Well then you would have Surgebinding, and the Old Magic, those are two at least, and there are things that are not explained in those at all, and how do you count creating fabrials? Is that a science and not a magic? Is that its own magic system?

Questioner 2

It's a science, because anyone can do it.

Brandon Sanderson

So Awakening is not a magic, then? Awakening's a science? Because anyone can Awaken if they just get the breath.

Rhandric

That's one thing that stood out to me in your magic systems, because in all your other magic systems that we've seen so far there has to be some form of snapping to occur, and that's unique...

Brandon Sanderson

Not all of them because, um, let's see...

Questioner 3

BioChroma doesn't.

Brandon Sanderson

BioChroma does not requires snapping.

Rhandric

Actually wait, is there an active magic system on Threnody?

Brandon Sanderson

Threnody has a non Shard-based...it depends on what you call magic. Do spirits coming back to life count as magic? It's science to them, but it's goofy science.

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Questioner

Rock sounds Hawaiian.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Questioner

Hawaiian royalty. Is that a pun on Dwayne ["the Rock"] Johnson?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* No it's not. 

Questioner

So if you have a book on Rock, you can get him to--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's a coincidence. 

Questioner

Dwayne Johnson is a prince, Hawaiian prince.

Brandon Sanderson

Is he? Really?

Questioner

Yes, he is. He is from a royal family, a Hawaiian royal family

Brandon Sanderson

He's from a royal family? I didn't know that!

Questioner

So, get him to pay for the movie. And star as Rock!

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NutiketAiel

You have a tendency to create books with theocracies that are legitimately ruled by the gods, and this seems to be missing. Is that a direction that the Knights Radiant might be heading, or is something else going to happen?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna RAFO that one. There was a theocracy on Roshar at one point. There was also a mage-ocracy, whatever you want to call it. 

Questioner 2

Priestocracy?

Brandon Sanderson

No, mage, magic-user...A lot of things have existed on Roshar.

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Questioner

They mentioned a video game in the Mistborn world at one point - I was wondering, in terms of the story, is it just an adaptation or--?

Brandon Sanderson

I wrote a story for them to use that is in the second century of the Lord Ruler's reign. The idea was for them to use that story and then come back to me with the finished game and then I would write the dialogue for the characters to match the story. That is what we want to do, it is taking them forever to write this game. [...] Our goal was to do a kind of Infamous-style open world RPG sort of thing.

Footnote: The Mistborn video game (Mistborn: Birthright) was officially cancelled in July 2017.
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EHyde

And, how were the Radiants able to summon their Shardblades at the Recreance if they'd already decided to break their oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

Their Shardblades are part of what brought them to—part of the Oathpact—but breaking the Oathpact did not affect their ability to bond or unbond Shardblades.

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Questioner

Do you ever find yourself, when you're in the middle of writing a book, swearing like the characters do?

Brandon Sanderson

I do occasionally, yes. That does happen. Which cracks my family up. [...] I'm writing the sequel to Legion right now, and J.C. has decided that he's not a hallucination, he's an interdimensional space ranger who only exists partially in this world, so he starts using made-up future curses and so he's saying all these weird curses ... anyway. It's a lot of fun.

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Questioner

In other worlds, are we seeing any magics already? Like, if Allomancy might be on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

You've seen people using Allomancy in Roshar before.

Questioner

[...] I remember reading in in Words of Radiance you said that the only way to get aluminum [on Roshar] was to Soulcast it, right? I think you said something like that... maybe? I thought I read that. I was wondering how that would work, if an Allomancer were to--

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum has some weird properties on all of the magic systems, not just Allomancy. It does not have the same effect, but aluminum has some bizarre effects.

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EHyde

What information do Stormwardens use to predict Highstorms?

Brandon Sanderson

Many things, some of which is necessary to the process and some of which is not. But previous Highstorm arrival is a very big part of it, and Highstorms from previous years, most recent Highstorms, and if they can get when the Highstorm left the other side [of the continent], that's a calculation that will help them, and things like this.

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Leiyan

Doesn't Shadows of Silence happen in that system?

Brandon Sanderson

Threnody? Threnody is not one of the three.

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Questioner

Several of my friends play the [Mistborn] tabletop game, and we have a question, so, if you want to burn a metal Allomantically do you actually have to ingest it, or can it just be in your bloodstream, or-?

Brandon Sanderson

If it gets in there somehow, you can use it.

Questioner

So you can inhale something, or inject something ... what about spikes? Could you like burn a spike that was-?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could, but not if it's Hemalurgically placed or Hemalurgically charged. But otherwise yes. If it gets in you-- I almost wrote a scene where someone got stabbed through the chest and they burned it. The problem is your metal also has to be of the right allomantic alloy.

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Questioner

Is the surge Cohesion, that we haven't really seen much, strong axial, is that related to the fabrials for the half-shards?

Brandon Sanderson

Aha! Um, I'm gonna RAFO. It's not me not knowing the answer, it's me not knowing if I should say or not. I will RAFO that, because I don't want to get into that too much right now.

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Leiyan

There are three planets in the solar system, are they all in the habitable zone, with the water...at least two of them must be...

NutiketAiel

When you say three, is it actually three in the solar system, or is it three...

Brandon Sanderson

There are three planets with sentient beings on them.

Leiyan

There are more than three planets in the solar system?

Brandon Sanderson

There are. With non-sentient beings. There are three planets of importance. So I didn't give you very much, because you wanted something...I could give you something.

Leiyan

Yeah I knew that, I should have said that I knew that before I asked.

Brandon Sanderson

You may have...here's one for you alright. You may have heard a reading from one of those planets today.

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Questioner

The Aimians seem disliked throughout the world. Is that based on something that has happened in the past?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, yes, but they're also really creepy.

Questioner

Are they open to manipulation like other sentient non-human humanoids of Roshar? The Parshendi? Or, similar?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, RAFO.

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Questioner

Are we going to see Shai again in the next ten years?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. [...] But the chances of me doing another short about her are not great just because The Emperor's Soul turned out so well that I feel like doing a follow-up is just the wrong move. So more likely you'd see her show up in something else.

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Questioner

What's your working title for the third book [of The Stormlight Archive]?

Brandon Sanderson

It has two. The original working title was Stones Unhallowed. However, [Patrick] Rothfuss is using Doors of Stone, and I kind of feel like I might want to do something different, so my interim title is Skybreaker, but it has to be an in-world book. The in-world book for book 3 is kind of a different one, so I can do a lot with it, but Stones Unhallowed is easier.

Questioner

I was gonna ask if this was gonna be a trend for the whole series--

Brandon Sanderson

It is going to be a trend.

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Questioner

If somebody with some kind of magical ability, for example Allomancy, etc., were to travel off-world, would they still have that ability?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the ability. Some are easier to use off-world than others. You have seen Allomancy used off-world already.

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Questioner

Are we going to get ten different perspectives for Gavilar's death?

Brandon Sanderson

You will get five.

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Leiyan

I'm curious about the sun because it's described as white, and our sun is typically yellow. I assume it's a different type of star?

Brandon Sanderson

The yellowing of our sun is not actually caused...so our sun being yellow is not based on the star's actual color.

Leiyan

So is it bigger than our sun? Smaller? If there's anything you want to throw out there I'll take it.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay...I'm having to reach into my memory. This is not canon. Younger and larger, I believe it is both. Younger and larger.

Brandon Sanderson

The star's age, at Roshar...Earth astronomers would say that is a star which could not have planets with life on them.

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Questioner

Did the shattering [Splintering] of Honor happen in the Cognitive Realm, and Ruin in the Physical? *Brandon laughs* The reason I'm wondering is, are spren the expression of the shattering in the Cognitive Realm while Ruin's physical being is an expression of the shattering in the Physical?

Brandon Sanderson

This is an interesting theory that I don't want to completely shoot down, but it is not heading in absolutely correct directions. The shattering of a shard is an event that transcends all three Realms.

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EHyde

I was curious about the dye in Hallandren, the Tears of Edgli. So, that can be used to make a whole bunch of different colors, right? Does the flower come in different colors? Or is that something in the dye process, or-?

Brandon Sanderson

The flower comes in different colors.

EHyde

And it dyes all fiber types the same?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not dye all fiber types the same.

EHyde

In theory, if they had synthetic fibers would it work on them?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes.

EHyde

Is it more fuel-efficient for Awakening?

Brandon Sanderson

Is what more-?

EHyde

Like, color used in Awakening-?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Those dyes are very effective for Awakening.

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EHyde

I was also wondering if there's any chance of seeing a Nightblood point of view.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a chance of seeing a Nightblood point of view. [...] It is something I have sincerely contemplated ... and even maybe even posted about online. It was just one tweet.

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Rhandric

Have the Bondsmiths ever had a Shardblade? Have any of the Bondsmiths had Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! Good question. Good question.

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NutiketAiel

Were the original sixteen Shardholders after the shattering all human?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh … RAFO. There are three races on Yolen. 

NutiketAiel

Three sentient races?

Brandon Sanderon

Yes, three sentient races.

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Questioner

I'm guessing it's a RAFO, but why do Honorblades work the way they do?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades were crafted before Shardblades existed...

Questioner

So they were crafted.

Brandon Sanderson

They were crafted before Shardblades existed, and all Shardblades that exist came about as certain individuals trying to find out how to copy Honorblades.

Questioner

So would it be fair to say that Honorblades are analagous to fabrials in some sense? Trap spren in a crystal yada yada Stormlight power?

Brandon Sanderson

There is an analogy there, that I think would pass the SAT's rigor for analogies.

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Leiyan

Do you know, do the moons orbit the opposite direction of Roshar's rotation?

Brandon Sanderson

I believe they do but I'm not 100% sure.

Leiyan

There's no eclipses as far as I can tell, so the plane of the orbit must be inclined pretty strongly, because there'd be an eclipse every day if there were eclipses...

Brandon Sanderson

We had to fudge that because as you said, if there were any it'd be all the time.

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Leiyan

So I had some things I figured out, I just wanted to know if they're maybe true or not. So I have that the orbits of the moons would precess so that the farthest point is always pointing towards the sun.

Brandon Sanderson

So, one more time.

Leiyan

[Holding out and point at diagram she brought] So they precess, so that the long point is always towards the sun?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so, we have figured all this out. It's in the wiki...so me just saying...it's not in the wiki that you can find. I would need to go compare this to what we have. 

Leiyan

Because I was wondering how accurate these were, but that's ok, so I can skip that bit. I had like...

Brandon Sanderson

All the calculations on things like this...this is stuff where I sat down with Peter, who knows much more astronomy than I did and said "here's what I want" and he's like "well it has to be this" and I'm like "ok".

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Questioner

Do you ever take inspiration for your characters from people you know in real life?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I do. Usually, it's one small thing about a person that I know. Sarene from Elantris is based on a friend of mine named Annie. And many of my characters have some little attribute... I was just talking online with <?>, who is a guy that I know from Mongolia. I'm LDS, and I served a mission, and he was one of the other missionaries. And he threw shoes at people. This was his deal. Like, when he got mad at you, off came the big old Doc Marten and he threw it at you! So, in Dragonsteel, one of my books that's unpublished but we'll publish someday, there is an entire race that that's what they do when they're offended. The shoes come off. And Hoid once described it as, "When a bunch of them when they get angry, it's like a tornado hitting a cobbler shop." And shoes go everywhere.

So, definitely, they do.

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Questioner

In all of your books, except for, like, Warbreaker, there's always a very big symbology to your types of magic systems. Like, with the AonDor, with Allomancy. Is that intentional, is that something you have in your head before you get started on your books?

Brandon Sanderson

Is the symbolism, the symbology, the actual symbols in the books important? The magic systems, a lot of them have these... Is this something that I did intentionally? Yes, it is. When I built the cosmere, I built some underlying rules of magic that I would use in all of the books to give a cohesion. And not every one of these books is going to be very obvious. There will be different takes on them. But for a lot of them, they are sharing these attributes. And you can notice similarities between them. Because when I eventually do cosmere-centric books, I want Allomancy and AonDor to share things in common, so it doesn't feel like everything and the kitchen sink just thrown into a book. But there are underlying reasons and rules and things like that.

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Questioner

I love your books, and I'd like to know (not big authors), but what smaller authors do you like?

Brandon Sanderson

I really like Daniel Abraham's work in all its various forms. Tor has a series by Daniel that's been very good. Recently, I've liked Brian McLellan's book that came out. That was very good. I liked N.K. Jemisin a lot, though I'd put a content warning on her books just in case. There is some more explicit content. She's really good. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay should be something that everyone knows, but a lot of people don't know of it. It is the single best single-volume epic fantasy ever written. Guy Gavriel Kay is Christopher Tolkien's friend in college, who help him put together the Silmarillion. A lot of people think he ghostwrote parts of it, but he's not allowed to say, so we're not sure. He's a fantasy writer into his own right; all of his stuff is amazing. He is lesser-known, and should be better-known than he is. I think there's a Tor book I just covered for, but I can't remember what it is.

Questioner

Was it The Emperor's Blades, by Brian Staveley?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I think it was that. Yeah.

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Questioner

Were you ever influenced by the Silmarillion?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. I didn't read Tolkien until late. I tried Tolkien when I was young, and I bounced off of it because I was not a really good reader at the time. And I didn't read Tolkien 'til college. I didn't read the Silmarillion 'til grad school. So, while I would say "Yes," I am not as Tolkien-influenced as a lot of writers are. I'm more influenced by the writers who were influenced by Tolkien. Like Robert Jordan, and people like this, who were very Tolkien-influenced. And I read them growing up. And Tolkien, I was finally able to read and really get an appreciation for, but it was later in my life.

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Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

So, ideas bounced off of my editor? I needed epigraphs for Part One that increased the tension for the book. Because I was really worried that Part One was very establishing, and I wanted to ramp up the tension. And so, a lot of ideas we bounced off of him. I eventually came up with what to do, but I did a lot of talking on that.

Failing continuity? Keeping track of how many Shardblades the Alethi has, and how many Adolin had won? I just fail continuity at that completely. That's, like, math, or something! So I just let Peter tell me. I'll write, "How many do they have now?" Or, "Does this guy have one yet?" And then, once I write the book, it all goes in the wiki, and I can just look it up. But until then, I kind of need Peter. And, you know, eye color. I don't remember what people's eye color is. But it's really important to the books what color someone's eyes are! So, I fail continuity at those sorts of things. I'm really good with plot arcs and stories, but remembering what someone's eye color is, I just have to look it up. I did the same thing in the Wheel of Time. It gave them so many headaches. Where they're like, "How can you not know what somebody's uncle is?" I'm like, "I don't care what their uncle is! What's their emotional resonance?"

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Questioner

So, you spend a lot of time comparing lifespren and rotspren. They're complementary colors, *inaudible*. The rotspren can appear around animals, as well, whereas lifespren only appear around plants. Is that a misnomer? Is there something that we're missing?

Brandon Sanderson

No, there's nothing you're missing. It just takes a large number of organisms in the same place. So, in a herd of animals, you could find lifespren. They don't come to people as often. But, the thing you have to remember about spren is: spren are attracted by something. And they have to be nearby, and they have to make their way there. So, sometimes, you will have an emotion, and no spren will appear. Because there's not one nearby enough. Or they just didn't feel like this. I worked this in because I didn't want the spren popping up too much. They're a big symbol of Roshar, they're a way, in very early chapters, for you to realize this is a different place and a different world. But if every other sentence were, "And a spren appeared," it would go crazy way too fast.

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Questioner

Is there any chance that we could get a lexicon or grammar book high Imperial?

Brandon Sanderson

I can give you a few basic rules. Put everything in the present progressive, number one. Then, you're usually gonna go verb first, and you're gonna throw lots of "to be" in, and you're gonna add extraneous words in order to confuse the people who don't speak it. They actually do this. If you look in the books, it mentions they put in extraneous words. There's one other rule I'm forgetting. But you kinda go through that, and then you say whatever feels right to you as you're speaking it. The thing about High Imperial is it's supposed to evolve, and each little group that was speaking it was kinda making up their own slang of it as they went. And so, even if you met someone from another city who spoke it, you would have a lot of trouble. Now, now it's all been nailed down. But you can get pretty close by doing those things I said to you. There's one other one, I can't remember what it is.

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macros (paraphrased)

I finally asked if [Brandon] could write anything in my book that we did not already know about the Skybreakers. I will upload the picture when I get home but it is the second oath of the Skybreakers which says:

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

[written in book] "I will put the law before all else."

Event details
Name
Name Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing
Date
Date March 21, 2014
Location
Location Collegeville, PA
Tour
Tour Words of Radiance
Bookstore
Bookstore Towne Book Center & Café
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Entries 112
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