In Words of Radiance, the ardent Rushu calls Renarin's symmetry improper. Is that just meant to categorize his untrained hand, or is the symmetry different from normal?
No, it's his untrained hand.
In Words of Radiance, the ardent Rushu calls Renarin's symmetry improper. Is that just meant to categorize his untrained hand, or is the symmetry different from normal?
No, it's his untrained hand.
Can you tell us a little bit about what Hoid was up to in Terris in The Well of Ascension?
He was hunting for the Well of Ascension.
In the new continuity, he already knew where the Well was, because he used it to come back to--
Right, we changed the continuity, didn't we. Yeah. Oh boy. We came up with an explanation of this, because when we wrote the book-- Yeah, why don't you send me an email on that one. Now that I have the conversation with Peter, he brought that one up when I finally got around to Secret History. That was one of our big casualties. What did I come up with? I think he was just really, really-- I will have to-- because I canonzied it to Peter. We're gonna have to go to Peter and say "What's in the wiki now?" Yeah, that was one of the big casualties, and the fact that I couldn't get Kelsier to one of the places where I had left foreshadowing for him to speak in someone's head, and I can't remember what that one was, either.
Oh, that one was Sazed, you said it was his imagination.
Yeah, I had to make that his imagination. Because I just couldn't get people where they needed to go. This is the problem with writing an outline, then writing a book, and then writing another book so many years later. Certain things, we just can't work into the continuity. Write us an email, we'll get you the official continuity for that one. Because Peter did nail me down when we were working on the book.
Do kandra count as metalborn?
I would count them, yes.
And would Wax count them as metalborn?
He would not. Probably.
'Cause he calls VenDell metalborn, and I was wondering if he was testing VenDell in some way or not...
Yeah... I'll have to go look at what I wrote on that one, as well.
What was the thematic decision behind the number 16? Why did you choose that?
I really like how divisible it was. It looked really cool when I was playing with things like an Allomantic table and whatnot. It was mostly an aesthetic choice. Like, it just felt right.
So was it originally the Shards or the metals you decided on?
So, I started with the metals. And then expanded out to that, yeah. So what you've gotta remember is, like, I write Elantris without knowledge of the cosmere. I knew I was gonna do something, but I didn't know what I was gonna do. And then I wrote Dragonsteel, and in Dragonsteel I had all sorts of theories and plans, but I never canonized any of that. And when I sat down to write Mistborn, I said, "All right. We're building the cosmere for real now." And before then I had just kind of been winging it. So when I did Aether of Night, which I put Shards in, I was like "Okay, there'll be some of these things, and what-not." Mistborn was, like, the first real cosmere book, if that makes any sense.
As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?
Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?
So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?
So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.
How about Connection?
Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.
What power do you think you would get if you were in the Steelheart universe?
...I would hope to be able to fly. That would be my favorite. I don't think I'd get that. I'd get some weird temporal power, probably.
When someone dies on Nalthis, their Breaths: go away with the soul, or remain in the corpse?
Breaths return to Endowment.
Together with the soul? Or remain in the corpse?
Yes, unless it turns into a Cognitive Shadow. Then, the soul goes into the Beyond. And so the actual essence of the soul, the Investiture of it, does return to Endowment.
If you have 32 Misting and Ferring, every kind possible, without using Hemalurgy, you can craft a medallion? Without the aftermath of the--
So could you craft a medallion... without-- oh. That should be possible, but this is one of the things where I have to dig out the notes and double-check myself. But this should be possible.
Trellium could be Hemalurgy-viable without Trell messing with magic?
Yeah, I'll go ahead and give you [a RAFO card].
Is there any reason why Odium's known as the Broken One? Has he got some part of him ripped off? ...Has he had any Investiture ripped off of him?
Has he had Investiture ripped off of him? Yes, asterisk.
What is the most Invested item so far revealed?
What counts as an item?
Inanimate object. Sentient swords, stuff like that.
Okay, inanimate objects, would be Nightblood. Well-- is he inanimate?
Well, he's a sentient sword, but he's an inanimate object.
So, yeah, he would count.
Obviously, we know that spren look different in the Cognitive Realm, as opposed to in the Physical. Seons, from Elantris. Do they look different?
With Hoid, we know that he's got some sort of Lightweaving, Yolen magic. If we're gonna hypothetically say that he bonds with the Cryptic, at the end of Oathbringer. Talking about resonance between magic systems, what are we going to see if he tried the two together? Would they be separate? Or would they form some sort of resonance magic system?
So, I'm gonna go ahead and RAFO that.
Have we seen any evidence of Hemalurgy on Roshar? And, as sort of an addendum, given the end of Oathbringer, was what happened to Jezrien Hemalurgy?
There are certain cosmere philosophers that would count it. I would divide it as two separate things that are using similar fundamentals... I wouldn't call it myself, but there are people who would disagree with me in-world. Have we seen evidence? I would say no evidence that is easily-- easy to pick out.
But it's there?
Yes, there are people with Hemalurgy who have been to Roshar. I'm pretty sure they've been on-screen.
Just wondering if I could ask what the name of Azure's sword was?
I'll RAFO it now. That's mostly a RAFO because I have several names that I have not-- it's a TBA, sorry. I was gonna stick it in, and then I just didn't. I wasn't satisfied.
How does Cultivation figure in this conflict between Odium?
So, what people assume is that Cultivation is hiding. I would disagree with that. People in-world would assume that.
Any tips for a Stormlight Archive RPG?
Hmmm... I would say make sure that--this is just my RPG opinion--make sure you have things to do outside of combat that are as useful and fun as things inside of combat.
Was Melishi bonded to the Sibling?
RAFO, good question. Very good question.
Could you tell me something about Lift that's not in the books?
...There are foods that Lift hates. They do exist... Things she does not like to eat, they are hard to find, but they do exist.
Will you ever make a book based in Shadesmar?
Yes, I will, actually. There's one that I've plotted in Silverlight. Whether I'll be able to write it as a whole book, or whether I'll be able to do it just as a novella I'm not sure yet. But I do actually have a plotted-out story with Khriss as the protagonist in Shadesmar.
Have you forgotten about little Gav?
...Let me tell you this. I have not forgotten about little Gav.
How do you come up with your concepts on flying across all of your books? They're a little different from usual flying.
So, I look for something that just hasn't been done before. Almost all powers in fantasy books have been done. But can you put some interesting restriction on them that'll make it more actually interesting to write? A little different? I spend a lot of time just kinda brainstorming these sorts of things.
One that's probably for Peter. Shadesmar appears to be flat. And you talk about people walking between worlds. But worlds are spherical. What's up with that?
This has given him a bit of a headache. It works in my brain, and I'm pretty sure we can make it on the world. Remember, things people think about manifest in Shadesmar, so I've been able to work out a map where places that just aren't inhabited are shrunk in Shadesmar.
And they turn into points, so you can just walk off them?
If you're an aquatic civilization on Roshar, would the oceans match the oceans? ...Because of all the spheres...
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've never been asked that before. That's an excellent question... I think it would have some weird different manifestation in Shadesmar, depending on their culture, and the way they view the world.
From what little we know about the Willshapers, I'm really interested in them. Is there any really tiny tidbit about that Order you could tell us? Even really small?
One of the first Orders that I developed when I was building the magic systems was the Willshapers... Very excited to do a story about them.
The next book, Szeth, will he be the primary character?
I'm probably going to do him as [Stormlight] Five. Eshonai is [Stormlight] Four.
Is there ambient Investiture in all of the planets, or just the Shardworlds?
*pauses* It's mostly Shardworlds. But that definition gets a little uncertain in the case of some various planets, like Threnody. There are other Threnody-esque sorts of things.
We've seen what Shardblades look like in Shadesmar. What do spikes look like?
Like, Hemalurgic spikes? That's a RAFO. You will see eventually.
How would Nightblood work when drawn on Scadrial?
So, you would have to be actively burning a metal or tapping a metalmind, or Nightblood would eat you very quickly.
When you start planning your books, is there anything you start with? Is there always some sort of starting point, or do you start whenever an idea occurs and you run with it?
Every book is a combination of multiple ideas that are bouncing around in my head. And when they start sticking together, like when I've got an idea for a cool idea where "There's a storm all the time," mixing with "Hey, I want to tell this story about these ancient orders of knights." with "Ooh, this magic system might develop here." When these all start sticking together, that's what makes a book for me. And then I sit down and write out all the ideas I had, and then start I organize it into an outline.
We know Ati chose how Ruin was interpreted, in that he was a card-cackling maniac. Could someone so differently interpret a Shard as to change its name to be something different? Could someone pick up the Shard of Ruin and think I'm the Shard of Change? Or could someone pick up the Shard of Honor and think--
*hesitantly* Yes. To an extent. The interpretation, what you call a thing-- I think it would be arguable either way in-world, regardless of what they call themselves. There are those who would say the core intent is still there and you can't shift it that far, and others would argue you can shift it far enough to change the definition to a synonym. You see evidence of someone claiming this in the books. I'm not gonna confirm or deny for you whether that is actually a thing or not.
So, at the end of [Oathbringer], a certain Shard says "we killed you." Is "you" Adonalsium there? Or is that a [RAFO]?
That's a big RAFO!
Is Hoid's inability to do harm voluntary or--
Was that little remark about queuing by Sigzil [in Oathbringer] a little dig at us Brits?
Do all Shards have a direct paired opposite intent...
No, I would say no, they do not all have a directly paired opposite intent.
Were the Surges used by humans, the ones that destroyed their previous home, the same as the ones that the Radiants are using.
Yes, same basic principles. Magic system slightly different. Same basic principles.
It was actually really interesting, because I started reading Oathrbinger-- I'm a teacher, I teach philosophy, and I was actually using that with my students, which is interesting because it came out particularly randomly. Is there inspiration for some of the philosophy that goes in?
I have a philosophy minor. There's a bunch of random philosophical-- yeah. It's all over the place.
What book are you most excited about working on?
I would say the Wax&Wayne book, the last one, I am really eager to do. I've got a lot of really good notes for it.
So, if Dalinar used Spiritual Adhesion to forge a bond between Sja-anat and Honor or Cultivation or whoever, then could Sja-anat corrupt a spren, an Odiumspren back to Honor or Cultivation?
What about the Fused?
The Fused-- I mean, it's the same kind of thing, they're a Cognitive Shadow. Eh? Eh. I'm gonna give you an "Eh." on that one... I don't know how you write that on the forums.
Who's your favorite spren in The Stormlight Archive so far?
...Right now it's probably Pattern. But I don't know. I love them all. They are my children.
Is the Iri religion based on knowledge of the [Shattering], anything like that?
Kind of, yes.
But they don't know it?
They don't know it, yeah. I would say yes, there are echoes of it. There are more recent events that they don't even quite remember that are more influential.
How do you write the <Shardblade> fighting, like the fencing aspect of it? I guess you do all the research for that, the way the Shards actually work?
So, the fight scenes, right? The first drafts are usually pretty bad. I kind of just get down what's happening, who it's happening to, what I want the outcome to be. And then I do a lot of refining, and I try to find people who are actual fencers...
And I usually try to add something to my worlds that doesn't exist in our worlds, like Shardblades and things, just so I can have a little more suspension of disbelief for people like yourself, where you're like "Well, they have different positions."
...But I do try to get some primary sources who can tell me where I'm doing stuff really bad... Matt Easton's YouTube channel is really great for that. Schola Gladitoria, Matt Easton. When I have two people who are fighting with actual weapons, I go-- He usually has done some HEMA things where you see, like, ten bouts with that. And I can watch it, and be like "Alright, this is how it would go down."
Could two kinds of <spren> talk to each other. So, could Syl talk to Nightblood?
Yes, that is possible, definitely.
When Lift says to Dalinar that he smells like her, does she mean Cultivation or Nightwatcher?
[She] meant Nightwatcher, but Nightwatcher is kind of Cultivation, so, yeah.
Does Wit have another name apart from Wit?
Wit has many other names. Cephandrius is him.
What's his real name?
He does... have a real name, but he would argue that they're all real names.
What's one that isn't Cephandrius or Midius?
Hoid. *laughter* Topaz.
When he says he's named after a rock that's a reference to Topaz?
Yes that's referencing the topaz. And the other thing that he references with... When he says he's named after words on a page that is not breaking the fourth wall... It's not even winking at it. Nope... It's quite literal. Yes, that is quite literal.
Is all Investiture in the cosmere associated with a Shard?
Yes, well, okay. So this is a complicated one. *pauses* So, Investiture predates the Shattering of Adonalsium, all Investiture was from Adonalsium, all Investiture got assigned to one of the 16 Shards when Adonalsium was Shattered. Some of the Investiture was not on Yolen but location is irrelevant. So Investiture is related to Shards even on planets where none of the Shards are inhabiting.
Are they aware of that Investiture?
That's part of the whole seeing into the infinite, being beyond even the power of a Shard. So, technically you could make the argument that Harmony could feel the sense of Preservation on every world in the cosmere, right? Because the building blocks of all life and creation are these things.
So the Shard of Preservation embodies all preservation in the cosmere?
Yes but he just can't do that, right? Like, he's not infinite. The Vessels are not, even if their minds are enormously expanded by holding a Shard, they are not infinite. The Connection is all there in the Spiritual Realm
Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard?
Yes, it is. That one is even closer associated with a Shard, the actual Investiture of the magic. Remember when I say Investiture, I mean matter, energy and magic. Sometimes the word Investiture refers just to the magic such as the Aviar and in that it is associated directly with one of the Shards...
Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium. *silence*
Sorry, can you say that again?
Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium.
Is that one of the Aviar?
No, Patji is the island.
Island or islands?
The island but Patji is one of the islands.
It's a Shard?!
Yes, big asterisk! But yes.
Shard as in equal or Shard as in a mass of Investiture?
As in one of the 16 Shards of Adonalsium is represented and involved in First of the Sun. In fact, one of the letters references First of the Sun in this *Indicates Oathbringer*
Sorry, I probably killed some theories on that one.
Yup, but by doing that you've confirmed some as well so it's fine!
So you've previously described gemhearts as Investiture leaking into the Physical Realm in a similar kind of process to atium. Now atium had a way of-- the Investiture used in the creation of it-- of returning back to the kind of background pool of Investiture on Scadrial. Is there a way of the Investiture used in the creation of gemhearts to return to the Roshar Investiture pool?
There is? Have we had any hints of it at all?
*Hands Brandon the Part Four Sea of Lost Lights Map*
How much of a hand did you have in this map or did you kind of let Isaac go crazy?
So this one is half and half, I went to Isaac and said put this and this and this and then he added some craziness. One of Isaac's voices in the cosmere is Nazh and almost everything that is written by Nazh is Isaac and he named a bunch of this stuff, he ran it all by me. I actually vetoed a few. He came up with some, I'm like "Ehh" and then I renamed them to things that actually fit.
Okay, why is spren fishing banned here, is that you or Isaac?
That was Isaac...
So I've noticed a pattern in the way that the Radiants learn their surges. They seem to learn their anti-clockwise surge before their clockwise surge?
Excellent, everyone thought I was a crazy person!
They do tend to-- Now, I'm gonna give you some behind the sausage stuff on that. That is partially for writing expediency reasons.
How do you mean?
I designed that partially because I didn't want to overwhelm people with too many magic systems at once so I came up with a little bit of a pattern so that I could have a little bit of an in-world reason why we were slowing that down. It's not a hard fast rule, it's something that I've kept to in order to not overwhelm readers so it's more of form following function than the other way around.
Advice for worldbuilders that are trying to create a scientific-based fantasy?
Learn to differentiate between the three kinds of what we talk about with science-based magic. One is internal logic. One is logic with the world. And, oh, what is the third one? For instance, "logic with the world" meaning, "This is an explanation of how the magic actually could come to be." And a logic with "This is trying to break one rule, and then keeping the others as consistent with our universe as possible." With the difference being, like, for instance, Investiture keeping the laws of thermodynamics except for the fact that it exists is kind of a reference to the third. We're letting rules affect the laws-- the laws of our universe, we're trying to tie into that. You don't have to do that. Internal logic is the most important. Then the other one would be, kind of, the "How does this magic arise out of the nature of the universe? How could I take a few steps extra? Can I make it realistic?" That's a completely different rule. So look at those three things.
Is that where you fit Investiture in the magic? Matter, energy, Investiture?
Right, that's where I'm trying to do a little bit of all three of those things. But you don't have to. Understand that you can do one of the three.
Cosmere postal service. Can you tell us anything about this? How many people are involved?
It is more UPS than USPS, if that makes sense. Meaning it is enterprising individuals who are traveling and trading between planets. Some places are easier to deliver to than others.
What do you base the codes on, from The Stormlight books? Do you have anything specific--
I don't have anything specific. It's kind like a general-- lot's of different things, looking at bushido and knightly code and things like this and just kind of building my own out of it. The words "Life before death" were like one of the first things I thought of for the book and I'm like "I gotta use that. It's going in there." And eventually it grew out of that.
Shallan... in Oathbringer... she meets Adolin, and he's staring into her eyes. And she thinks that he can see that when she's Shallan again. So, my question is, is she correct? And if so, how did Adolin see that?
So, it's not a magical thing. She shifts even when she's kind of being herself-- When she becomes different people, even if she's not completely Lightweaving herself, she shifts.
Is it visible?
It is visible.
So he's looking very closely.
And he wouldn't be able to point out that he had seen that. But it's intuitive, and he's learned to recognize that.
...In her final scene, she seems like she kind of summons her personas-- as if she's fully in control, and they're not coming by themselves anymore, is that correct?
So, they still come and go as they want?
Yes, she's much more in control, but still has a way to go.
Would Wit basically approve of what she's done?
He would give her a "that's a step forward, but you're not there yet."
I think Kelsier is one of the best-crafted fantasy characters I've seen in the world. He resonates with me on new levels. What exactly were your influences in the character when you were constructing him?
Two big influences for Kelsier. The first is, I wanted to do kind of the classic rogue archetype guy, but someone who had had something so fundamentally life-shaking in his life that he had to look deep within and become somebody else. But it's mixed with the other big inspiration, which is, there's kind of some psychopathic tendencies to him, and he would be a villain in many other books. But in this one, he's what the world needed. And those two combinations created for me a really nice tension inside a character.
In the universe that the cosmere takes place in, is Adonalsium god or is he a smaller entity?
That is a matter of some debate and I will not answer yes or no because I would rather not-- I would rather leave it to the characters' debate.
How was the universe created?
...The cosmere? I'm going to give you a RAFO card.
For Adonalsium to create the universe, therefore he must have infinite power to create an infinitely sized universe. Therefore, infinity divided by sixteen is equal to infinity. Therefore, why don't the Shards have infinite power, which they clearly don't, because they can be killed?
The power can't be killed. The entity controlling the power can. Infinite power existing and being able to access the infinite power are different things, and a finite mind, even added to a very powerful sense of power, isn't necessarily able to tap all of that.
What about Ruin and Preservation in Well of Ascension? We hear about Ruin using some of its power. Therefore, it must not have infinite power, because if you minus something from infinity, it's still infinity...
So, infinite power is changing forms. It's not going anywhere, right? So, the Investiture, the power, is becoming energy, which is doing work, which is being released back into the system. Nothing's growing or shrinking. It is simply changing forms, and potential energy is becoming kinetic.
Do Ryshadium have gemhearts?
Um... I'll RAFO that for now. I'm just kind of staying really dodgy about Ryshadium, on purpose. I will dig into them later on.
The painter dude that Shallan had the book from... Was that Hoid?
The Oilsworn? No, that is a little tuckerization for Dan dos Santos, who did the American cover of Warbreaker, and did several of our interior arts in here [Oathbringer], the fashion pages. He's one of my favorite artists.
Does Hoid use a similar time-shifting method to the Heralds?
No. The Heralds don't time-shift.
Is Nightblood made of the same material as the sheath?
No. Good question.
Dilaf seems to be very similar to Voidbingers in terms of what he looks like, when he's in his full form. Is there something to that?
Yes. It's not a big connection, though.
If someone did, like what Dalinar did at the end of [Oathbringer], go on Sel, and they Ascended to take up the Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed?
If someone were able to take up the entire Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed? I would say equivalent.
Aren't they all Shattered? Aren't they all Splintered, both of them?
The thing about it is, taking up the power-- taking up the power would-- So, I'll leave it at this. I would say equivalent. Everything still considered.
Will we ever find out what Lift asked of the Nightwatcher?
Yes. It's probably gonna be her book before you find out. Book Six.
If Elhokar had been able to finish his sentence, what type would he be?
He would have been a Lightweaver.
With the ardents and the flamespren, is something going on similar with Cusicesh?
Because he seems to be stuck in a cycle.
There is something there, but it's not as direct a connection as you might be making it.
Is there any hope for a History of Aons companion book, with Elantris sequels? 'Cause I really like those ones you did way back when.
Yeah, there's a hope, but not a big hope.
Do spren not appear in Shinovar because the highstorms don't Invest there?
No. And spren don't necessarily not appear.
A word for the intent/mandate? The canon word for it, do you have a term for it?
No, we don't.
Can Hoid be killed by Nightblood?
When Odium said "we killed you" to Dalinar, was he referring to Adonalsium? Was he referring to Honor?
Did Hoid think of the Shattering as necessary?
*pause* Kind of.
Is ten of significance in Roshar as sixteen is on Scadrial?
Yes, it is.
Saze. How do you pronounce it?
I sayˈse͡izɛd. And that's the way Kelsier says it. But, in-world, Sazed himself would say something closer to se͡izd.
When Kaladin runs out of Stormlight, is that something you've worked out, how much Stormlight should have, and how much each move takes?
So, what I do is, I actually write the thing first, and then I tell my assistant, "Work out how much he needs," and then I give him that much. I work backward. Yeah, I do that a lot in books, but that's a little bit seeing how the sausage is made, there.
Would Kelsier be able to wield Nightblood?
In his current state? That'd be really dangerous.
I didn't say "should"! I said "would"! *laughs*
Is there a thing which determines what kind of spren is a higher spren, and what is, like, a basic...
Amount of Investiture, the way they're regarded, and a few other minor factors.
This [Kaladin chapter icon] looks a lot like the Allomantic metal symbols? Is that completely coincidence?
That's coincidence. There is something weird about that picture, but it's not that.
Can an Allomancer burn any god metal? Or is it specifically Preservation and Ruin?
That is actually a RAFO. There's some funkyness going on there.
What's your favorite order of Surgebinders?
Probably the Bondsmiths.
Let's say Lift got a hold of Szeth's Honorblade? Would she become a [Windrunner], or would she be both [Windrunner] and Edgedancer?
Now that jet lag is a thing in Roshar, what is the time difference between Shinovar and the Shattered Plains.
I'm gonna do what I call a PAFO, which is: my assistant Peter is the one who tracks all of that. I have offloaded that to him. I used to keep all that stuff in my brain, but I just don't have space. Ask Peter.
How do the Knights establish leadership in their ranks? Was it a democracy?
It is different for every Order. Some are more democratic than others.
There's one of the Knights that has sworn not exactly what people think.
As the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms aren't something that exists in real life, is it safe to say that everything within those Realms are comprised of Investiture?
Is the liquid in the Well of Ascension Invested mercury? What is the chemical composition of lerasium + atium?
Is Shallash/Ash going to be a Dustbringer? (So Dalinar's count can be all 10 orders)
Did any Shards remain on Yolen post-Shattering? If so, how many?
The voidspren for stormform were red, were they originally of Honor?
How many oaths/Ideals has Dalinar sworn by the end of OB?
The # you Think
If Red investiture = co-opted by another Shard, what about the Thrill?