General Reddit 2018

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Name General Reddit 2018
Date Jan. 1, 2018
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#1 Copy


Eshonai is flashback character [for Stormlight Four], but she is dead in the present. So...who will be main protagonists in the main timeline? Hope for Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin will be as important as they were in first three books)

Brandon Sanderson

Eshonai will still be the flashback character, and Venli will take a larger role to provide counterpart past/present. But, as always, you will find a focus on all five protagonists from this sequence. (I view them as Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Eshonai/Venli, Szeth.)


I heard it would be one year time gap(in world) between books 3 and 4, which make me think about structure of the book.Does it mean, something important could happen during this year, and then it will be explained in some form(maybe another set of flashbacks)?If so, it's hard for me to visualise the book structure: main timeline, Eshonai's flashbaks and another set of flashbacks for past year?Seems like a mess. Or it will be like Mistborn era 1 time gaps between each book?Main narrative just continues without getting stuck with one-year break, and nothing important happens off-screen. It will be nice to get some qualification from you, if possible.Cause now I'm a bit confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Right now, I've got it like Mistborn--we're checking back in a year, as I need to give some things time to progress in world. We'll see when I actually write it, though.


Thanks! But please, don't do things like Alien 3-movie, if you know what I mean. It's when they did a time gap between two movies and at the beginning of the new movie they told you that your favorite character died during the time gap, deal with it. This is the worst thing ever and a reason I'm always a bit skeptical about time gaps in fiction. Just hate when things like that happen off-screen.Just don't do it with your books, please.At least can you promise you wouldn't?And what do you think about this trope in general?

Brandon Sanderson

I actually want to write an essay about that very trope (I call it the Newt Principle.) You might see it on my website at some point.

Things will happen during the gap, I'm afraid. You might like it, you might not, but I do plan some of the flashbacks in the second half to help cover this time--so you'll see it eventually. If it helps, I'm pretty sure I understand the dangers of the Newt Principle, and how to not fall into that trap.

#2 Copy


I think it's probably the remnants of the first agreement between the singers and humans. They were allowed to terraform Shinovar, and rule that area, but anywhere else, they were forbidden from. Eventually, it morphed into the "soil lands are for humans, everywhere else is for singers." Then, over the millenia, it became a religious teaching, "don't walk on stones."

Peter Ahlstrom

Brandon wrote a ton of worldbuilding down before starting to write the first book, and this particular thing is definitely something he planned from the start. He does keep a lot of stuff in his head, but sometimes that shifts over time. Part of our job is to make sure what's in his head now doesn't conflict with what has previously been published.

If the outline doesn't work for something, Brandon will change it while writing. As long as it doesn't conflict with published canon, it's always more awesome than his earlier plans.

#3 Copy


Frustrated with the editing/beta readers for not noticing Brandon leaving out a character.

The character I'm talking about is Rlain. An entire part of the book was spent with every single member of Bridge Four talking about how Rlain wasn't really a part of things, and even more so Rlain himself in his POV chapter. And then nothing! We get a conclusion to the whole buildup of Bridge Four, but Rlain is nowhere mentioned in the last half of the book. Nevermind that we've all spent an entire book (and the three years since WoR) wondering if Rlain will become a squire, and nevermind that we get an answer to whether a Parshman can become Radiant in the first place. We just get nothing! No resolution.

Peter Ahlstrom

Everyone noticed this. I noticed it even before the beta read started. Brandon was well aware, and this was all intentional. I'll bet you can think of some reasons for it.

#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So, a couple of things here. First off, I'll take any knocks I get--and try to do better. I'm not an expert on Mental Health, and though I do my best, I'm going to get things wrong. I'm going to risk defending myself here--and hopefully not dig myself deeper--as I at least explain my thought process, and why I built Shallan the way I did.

However, one of the rules of thumb I go by is this: Individual experience can defy the standard, if I understand that is what I'm doing. Like how Stephen Leeds is not trying to accurately portray Schizophrenia, Shallan is not trying to accurately portray dissociative identity disorder (if a scholarly consensus on such a thing even exists. I haven't glanced through the DSM5 to see what it says.)

In Legion, I have an easy out. I say, point blank, "He doesn't fit the diagnosis--he's not a schizophrenic, or if he is, he's a very weird one." I don't have the benefit of a modern psychology voice in the Stormlight books to hang a lantern on this, but my intention is the same. What Shallan has is related to her individual interaction with the world, her past, and the magic.

Is this Hollywood MPD? I'm not convinced. Hollywood MPD (with DSM4 backing it up, I believe) tends to involve things like a person feeling like they're possessed, and completely out of control. The different identities don't remember what others did. It's a very werewolf type thing. You wake up, and learn that another version of you took over your body and went out and committed crimes or whatever.

Shallan is coping with her pain in (best I've been able to do) a very realistic way, by boxing off and retreating and putting on a mask of humor and false "everything is okay" attitudes. But she has magical abilities that nobody in this world has, including the ability to put on masks that change the way everyone perceives her. She's playing roles as she puts them on, but I make it very clear (with deliberate slip-ups of self-reference in the prose) that it's always Shallan in there, and she's specifically playing this role because it lets her ignore the things she doesn't want to face.

She's losing control of what is real and what isn't--partially because she can't decide who she wants to be, who she should be, and what the world wants her to be. But it's not like other personalities are creeping in from a fractured psyche. She's hiding behind masks, and creates each role for herself to act in an attempt to solve a perceived shortcoming in herself. She literally sketched out Veil and thought, "Yup, I'm going to become that person now." Because Veil would have never been tricked into caring about her father; she would have been too wise for that.

I feel it's as close as I can get to realism, while the same time acknowledging that as a fantasy author, one of my primary goals is to explore the human interaction with the supernatural. The "What ifs" of magic. What if a person who had suffered a great deal of abuse as a child COULD create a mask for themselves, changing themselves into someone stronger (or more street-smart who wouldn't have been betrayed that way. Would they do it, and hide behind that mask? What would that do to them and the world around them?

DID is indeed controversial, but I really like this portrayal. Not of a disease, but of who this character is. And I've had had enough positive responses from people who feel their own psychology is similar that I'm confident a non-insignificant number of people out there identify with what she's doing in the same way people with depression identify with Kaladin.

#5 Copy


Would [Kaladin using a Shardblade to pick his teeth] work, or would it burn out your eyes immediately?

Assuming Syl doesn't just became a shard-toothpick, but remains a sword.

Brandon Sanderson

I suppose I'll go with the other responders--yes, you could make this work, in a perfect world.

#6 Copy


I will confess that over the course of my study I learned that we're nearing the 10th Anniversary edition, and that u/mistborn has asked u/PeterAhlstrom to go over the book, take Brandon's notes, and make sure there is a consistent system behind the scenes. Humbly, I do hope that perhaps by at least locating the times in the book when Breath-count is mentioned, I have saved Peter a bit of busy work, if nothing else.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a more precise system of how many breaths it takes to do X (and the exchange rate, so to speak, with other magic systems) is something on the list to do for Warbreaker 10th anniversary. I have the resources now, with more assistants behind the scenes, to get more precise on this sort of thing than I've done before.

#7 Copy


There should be an art of the Cosmere coloring book.

Brandon Sanderson

We plan to do one some day.

#8 Copy


I feel like society on Roshar would develop a bit differently because of emotion spren. You'd have to be very careful talking/ interacting with people since you can't hide things like fear, anger, awe, anticipation, joy, passion and shame. Imagine going through high school having to deal with them...


I have to imagine it alters things like, say, the concept of masculinity. Obviously the alethi have very strong ideas about masculinity, but attracting fearspren/feeling fear doesn't seem to be a negative within that like it would be in our culture. Men attract fearspren all the time, and it's totally fine.

It also seems like it might be taboo to mention someone else's emotionspren. People are constantly noticing internally that other people are attracting them, but they NEVER EVER comment on it (until the part in OB where they're investigating it in Kholinar). There must be a really strong boundary around commenting on other people's spren.

It's one thing I did want to ask Brandon about if he does another AMA--how emotionspren affect Rosharan culture.

Brandon Sanderson

This is some good theorizing here. I'd agree with what /u/The_Bravinator says.

The effects are all over the place, but they are just how life is on Roshar, so I rarely point them out. For example, the classic Alethi sort of idolizing being "straightforward" with people. No assassinations. (Well, supposedly.) You're used to being able to see people's emotions, so you take it for granted that only hyper untrustworthy people do things in ways that don't expose emotions. Emotions aren't bad, they simply are, and everyone has them. Views of masculinity are certainly changed.


Is it taboo to mention emotionspren that other people are attracting, or do people just not generally think to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the situation, really. Not exactly the same, but note how in Earth societies the different responses to something like passing gas, depending on context, culture, etc.

#9 Copy


Is the story of the girl who looked up a story that is only known to Roshar? I know it could have spread out, especially since we see paintings eluding to it in the Cosmere seen by a non-Rosharn but could it be a story they talked about on... say... Yolen?

Also, was the "god" from "God's love" mentioned by Hoid a piece that either should have or did belong to/with Passion/Odium? Cause that would make all the sense in the world to me that somehow Odium was Passion but because Odium once he lost love from his being... I know it doesn't make a lot sense in the timeline. I just can't get the thought out of my head.

Thank you for the time you spend answering my inanity or was it insanity. Either/or.

Brandon Sanderson

These are actually both RAFOs, I'm afraid. I do appreciate you asking, but I'm going to remain silent for now.

#10 Copy


I had asked you a little while ago if Commander Gaval would be retaining his rank that he received from Kaladin. You told me that he'd been allowed to keep it as he'd earned it. I was now curious, do you think we might see him again in the future of the series or find out anything more about him?

I know it's a silly little side character that was probably only there to facilitate that one interaction but I swear there is potential there to mine. It would be amazing, at least to me, to hear of him joining the recruitment drives, spending his days meeting the members and eventually soaring the winds with Bridge 4. He must have some form of affection for Kaladin after he aided in his major move up the ranks of Dalinar's army.

lol, these are the questions that keep me up at night... "I wonder if Taleb ever felt true respect for the man who'd killed his Brightlord, or if he was simply a man of honor and kept his word after Dalinar's agreement to not sack the city were he to join the Elites." He's another character that I am dying to know more about. The tragedy of Taleb is a short story that needs to be written.

Brandon Sanderson

I really should do more with Teleb, at least in some kind of flashback or the like. There was a lot going on inside of that mind of his--not the least of which a loyalty to a throne that his own line would have been ruling, had things turned out differently.

I'll see what I can do with Gaval. It would be nice to bring him back, as you mention.

#11 Copy


So as I was rereading Mistborn, I realized something that I hadn't deemed important before. Assuming that Rashek doled out the original Allomancy beads to create the first Mistborns, who did he give them to? Obviously, he couldn't give them to his fellow packmen because then they would have the same compounding abilities as him. Additionally, it stands to reason that he would not have given the beads to any of Alendi's entourage because of his deep-seated hatred for all things Khlenni. All in all, I'm just confused about the actual origins of the noble houses.

Brandon Sanderson

I actually intended to dig into this in the video game--which happened several hundred years after the event, but which would talk about the origins of the houses and things like that. It's possible we'll still do this some day.


Did you end up doing a lot of writing for the game before it got cancelled?

Depending on how much there is, it seems like handing it to Crafty for them to make a RPG module could make sense.

Brandon Sanderson

No, I didn't--but I had a lot of ideas.

My current goal is to hand it over to Ben (who does a lot of the artwork for Stormlight Archive) and see if we can turn it into a graphic novel. (Note that we wouldn't start on this until White Sand is done, though, as I don't want to have TOO many projects in the works at once.)

#12 Copy


I was reading Elantris, with my passive work being Jorge Luis Borges "Book of Imaginary Beings". The chapters are encyclopedic and short, and are meant to have a kaleidoscope style of reading. With Cosmere on my mind, I can across a really interesting entry:

Sylphs For each of the four roots or elements into which the Greeks divided matter there was a corresponding spirit. In the words of Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss alchemist and physician, we find four elementary spirits: the Gnomes of the earth, the Nymphs of water, the Salamanders of fire, and the Sylphs or Sylphides of air. The words are Greek origin. Litre has sought the etymology of "sylph" in the Celtic tongues, but it is most unlikely that Paracelsus would have known, or even suspected the existence of, those languages. Today, no one believes in Sylphs, but the phrase "a syphlike figure" is still applied to slender women, as a somewhat cliched compliment. The Sylphs occupy a place between that of material beings and that of immaterial beings. Romantic poetry and the ballet find them useful.

I don't think it is a far stretch or much of projection when I say that reminds me of a certain Spren. Either way, it made my day to come across this while reading.

Brandon Sanderson

If you poke around a bit, you can probably find where the names of some other spren (like Notum) come from. In a lot of their names, I'm looking for something similar to what I did with Syl. My rationale is that if you heard her name in-world (which might not actually be the exact sounds Syl) you'd have the benefit of local traditions, word roots, and mythologies. You'd hear it and say, "Huh, that sounds like a word for wind." So, when the books are "translated" to English, the translator creates names in English that evoke the same feel in readers here.

#13 Copy


I do have a question, while listening to New Spring today, I realized that a channeler using the One Power sees and hears much more vividly, similar to people invested with breaths from Nalthis. Was the magic of Nalthis partially inspired by the One Power?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that was an inspiration from the WoT. I always wanted to take that concept RJ had used and see if I could make it a fundamental and quantifiable part of a magic system.

#14 Copy


Today I saw a paperback copy of Arcanum Unbounded and remembered this reddit comment, in which we're told we might get a Nalthis essay and map around the paperback release or around Oathbringer. Since both those times have passed, is there any hope we might still see it?

Brandon Sanderson

Dang. I'd totally forgotten. I'll have my assistant put it on my list of things to do, and make sure to write one out in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll stick it in the newsletter.

#15 Copy


If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.


I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

Brandon Sanderson

I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

#16 Copy


In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present ( However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard ( Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

Brandon Sanderson

I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

But no shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The investiture on that planet is residue, normal investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a shard present. Indeed, I would say that no shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

The being called Patji still exists, and is a shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of shardworlds.)

Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor shard worlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a mistborn.

But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)



I'm confused.

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal investiture from Adonalsium?

Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

But now you're saying it didn't?

If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

Could you please clarify all that?

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal investiture from Adonalsium?"

The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

When people ask, "What shard is this investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all investiture ever predates the shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and investiture are one thing.

I always imagine investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To investiture, Adonalsium's shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

Autonomy never "invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "invested" there? No, no more than you're invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of mater and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

Overlord Jebus

You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

Investiture on First of the Sun predates any shards fiddling with it.

Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.


Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning automony--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

#17 Copy


Was there a being/entity named Patji onworld - prior to the shard 'interfering' - that lead a life that was more conducive to autonomy, and was it a case of that entities (for lack of a better term) natural bent towards autonomy naturally turning it into a portion of autonomy (again, for lack of a better term)?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good and valid theory that I don't think I should comment more on right now, as I feel like I would muddy the water more. I need to wait until I approach these concepts in-book.

I'll just say that I don't consider what you said to be excluded by the things I've said about the situation.

#18 Copy


Then, at the sixth chapter [of White Sand Volume 2] I was like "ugh... A new artist.." and then I was all like "Oh! A new artist!" I hope new Julius stays on for the rest of the series.

Peter Ahlstrom

Sadly, new Julius has other commitments, but the current proposed artist looks promising.


Oh yeah? Who's that going to be?

Peter Ahlstrom

That's not for me to announce.


Are you able to speak to what drove the change to a new artist?

Peter Ahlstrom

I believe not.

#19 Copy


Isn't Adolin not in the original [Way of Kings draft]? That the son listed is an entirely different character that was cut and Adolin added as a different son?

Peter Ahlstrom

Aredor is Adolin's old name. They're still the same person. However, Shinri Davar is a completely different person from Shallan Davar.

#20 Copy


I want to know if Shadesmar contains memespren or (since they're defined as idea viruses) memetic plague. If anyone can make literal meme magic, it'd be u/mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. Yeah, that could probably become a thing in the cosmere, though I doubt I'd go there. (At least, if I did, it would have to be done very carefully.)

#21 Copy


Here is an example of a Mongolian girl with red hair. Would she make a good example of a Vadan Dark Eyes, u/mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's a good example. Though do remember, Vedens aren't all redheads--that's going to depend on region, and even have a lot of variance within regions. (Alethi skin tone will be similar in its variety, depending. Vedens in general tend to be lighter.)

Here's another image I noticed a while back that feels very like what I'd imagined.

#22 Copy


I don't expect (okay...I only half expect) Brandon to have a spreadsheet matrix of "power levels" quantified down to the molecule, but everything fits so well together that every chapter is a terrific read.

Peter Ahlstrom

My wife Karen has done that for the past couple years.

Event details
Name General Reddit 2018
Date Jan. 1, 2018
Entries 22
Upload sources