JordanCon 2018

Event details
Name
Name JordanCon 2018
Date
Date April 20, 2018
Location
Location Atlanta, GA
Entries
Entries 136
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#1 Copy

Argent

Can Shards manifest a physical body that can actually interact with the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

If they wanted to, yes.

Argent

Was that the thing that Odium did at the end of Oathbringer or was that just a projection?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, it starts to be really difficult to define when you're getting to these points because they generally are such massive wells of Investiture themselves that it's like, is this thing they're creating, like, they are kinda, y'know, then bending the three Realms around the like spacetime with lots of gravity so is that a projection? Is that a real thing? Does it matter? Does that definition--

Argent

Oh! At that point they are almost the same thing, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, exactly.

#2 Copy

Argent

Because of Kelsier's status as a Cognitive Shadow we've been wondering what wonky things you can do with him being like that and so-- Hypothetically, purely hypothetically, could a Surgebinder, could somebody form a Nahel bond with him?

Brandon Sanderson

With Kelsier? We'll RAFO that. We will definitely RAFO that for now

#3 Copy

Argent

Ba-Ado-Mishram. Just the name sounds a little bit like a Shin name to me because they're all 'Somebody son Somebody' or 'Somebody daughter Somebody', was she a Shin woman at one point?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that cause that comes down to, they even asked this in Oathbringer, were they people or not? 

Argent

'Cause one of them says they needed to be made and then unmade. 

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm, so I do not feel I've explicitly said either way.

Argent

And you haven't, no.

#4 Copy

yulerule

Can you Forge liquids, like-- Does that go into Bloodsealing, can you change their blood type?

Brandon Sanderson

OK, can you use Forgery to, say, change someone's blood type? Yes. Can you Forge liquids? A little harder to stamp liquids, so this kind of comes down to, can you--

yulerule

Like, if you have a glass of water and you put salt in the water can you Forge it or make it and make it--

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible, but it requires a few little workarounds. Obviously you can do it because you Forge somebody, and they're mostly liquid.

yulerule

But you're putting in on a hard surface.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in the same way that you would with thr liquid you would probably--

yulerule

Touch some ice?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you would probably take the cup, and make it part of the whole, and if you can-- Remember in the cosmere, it depends on how you view a thing. Is it a whole? Do you view this as a cup of water, or do you view it as a cup and the water? Do you view a person as a vessel and the blood inside them, or together as a person? And that perception really affects your magic. So it's possible, for instance, to Forge a cup of water, Forging just the cup is easier than Forging just the water.

#5 Copy

yulerule

So, we have Shard names; Ruin, Preservation, Harmony, Cultivation, Honor, Ambition, Autonomy, Devotion, Dominion. Those are pretty much regular English words. And then we have Odium. That's a little more Latinate. It's not-- It doesn't fit the pattern.

Brandon Sanderson

So I don't really look as something as Latinate or Germanic, when I'm picking the names usually.

yulerule

But this one is more. Even in Devotion or Dominion, their more regular English. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

I just look for the thing that feels right. Remember, all these words are in translation. When you read the book, they were a word in the original language of the book, that then we have translated to English. And so, don't look to much about what's Greek, what's Latin, what's Germanic. I will mix those a lot. And that's just because I'm looking for the word that has right resonance in English, that I'm writing in. You might even find Latin and Greek mixes in some of my stuff. And that's not done to be like, "Oh, you should be paying [attention]." Usually, I'm just looking for a flavor.

yulerule

So is the flavor-- Because I actually did have *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Because Odium is cooler. It just sounds cooler. There is no answer other than "I like the word better."

yulerule

Is there any connection with the thought that it's not Hatred? Because in Oathbringer, he says he's Passion?

Brandon Sanderson

He would claim that he's Passion and not Odium. But that is part of why I chose it. Hatred felt too on-the-nose, because there is quite arguably that step toward just being all Passion, and that's what he claims that he is.

yulerule

His own perception of himself, can perception, in the cosmere, can that influence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it can influence.

yulerule

So the Shard's intent can--

Brandon Sanderson

Can be influenced by their perception and the holder's, yes.

#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I do have Karen [Ahlstrom] here. Karen is my continuity editor. She has the wiki up here open on the computer. The wiki began as a big notebook, like, a 3-ring-binder, that I typed a whole bunch of stuff on on the computer at work. For those who don't know, I started my career writing books overnight on the graveyard shift at a hotel. This is how I managed to go to school full-time and work full-time and write all-time all at once. It was my cool life hack that was really great, except for that whole minimum wage part. So I sat at that desktop computer at the front desk working on stories and writing books, and the wiki for The Stormlight Archive started there as just a big file of things that I wanted to do for the worldbuilding. Eventually, when it came time to write the books for real, I hand-- did you put this all in the wiki?

Karen Ahlstrom

No, somebody else did. Maybe Peter...

Brandon Sanderson

...I may have done it myself. I took this thing, which was around 300,000 words, which is about the length of The Way of Kings, and I dumped it into a personal wiki. Wikidpad, it's an open source wiki software. And then eventually it got too big for me to take care of, so I handed it off to Karen. And now, I just kind of ask her things. So, you may ask questions, and I'm just like, "Karen, what do you think? Let's look it up!"

#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I will be very liberal with the RAFOs. Just because getting pinned down on things like this-- I always say, I like to answer questions. I like to give you guys the secrets you want to know. But at the same time, I'm a showman. And where I really want it to come out is in the stories. And so there are a lot of things I'm holding.

For those who don't know, RAFO could mean "This is a secret I want to hold for dramatic purposes in the stories." It could mean "I enjoy the fact that the community is discussing this even though the commonly assumed answer is the right answer. I don't want to canonize something 'cause I don't want to kill the looney theories. Because people who love their looney theories really hold on to them tightly for a long time." It could just mean, "You know what, I haven't thought of that," or "I know I wrote it down somewhere, and I don't want to say it right now because I'll contradict myself later."

#8 Copy

Questioner

Could a higher spren manifest on a world other than Roshar in their spren form, not as a Blade?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, they would have to get off first.

Questioner

That doesn't answer my question!

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of these questions I have to be careful because they're presupposing things as foundational assumptions. A lot of time people-- The really sneaky ones will ask me these questions knowing if I answer the question, that there are three steps back assumptions that I am then canonizing, so I'm just going to RAFO that one, because I'm giving you the answer, "They would to have to get off first."

#12 Copy

Questioner

In the Celebrant Market, there's a nice piece of jewelry that's mentioned. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I wouldn't call it jewelry, but yes.

Questioner

Say a spren in humanoid form there put that on, could they manifest in Roshar in their humanoid form?

Brandon Sanderson

So he's asking about the odd chain that's mentioned in the Celebrant Market. You are way off on this one. I'm going to say, point different directions than that on that one.

#13 Copy

thegatorgirl00

There's a character in Bands of Mourning named Cob and there's also a character named Cob in the Oathbringer Epilogue. Are those two characters the same person?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope. Good question.

#15 Copy

Pagerunner

If you need to bring food into Shadesmar, why don't you need to bring air?

Brandon Sanderson

Y'know, we actually talked and thought about this. There are certain things I just decided for narrative reasons... I wanted Shadesmar to be travelable and I wanted it to be a real place, and so I just made air, I came up with kind of my own hacks. There are times I do this for narrative reasons. 

Let me give you an easier example. In the Mistborn books, and I've told people this before, I was working on speed bubbles. Slowing down time, speeding up time in a small little bubble around you, right? I went to Peter and I'm like, "This is what I'm going to do, what are the problems with this?" And he's like, "Well, redshift." Which means that basically you would be irradiating everyone with the light coming from inside the speed bubble. I'm like, "alright, we're just going to say that doesn't happen." This is where the line between for me science fiction and fantasy exists. When I'm building my story, I do try to have one foot in science with things like this. But I tend to work backward... A lot of science fiction starts with what we have now and extrapolates forward to [an] interesting, plausible premise. For my fantasy works, I start with some cool idea. And then I work backward in plausibility, trying to justify it. And we kind of meet in the center, but at the end of the day I am breaking the laws of thermodynamics, right? Just straight-up breaking laws-- I mean, we have our whole Realmatic Theory and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, I am trying to tell stories where certain extreme situations exist. Like, I bent over backwards to make the science of Roshar work with the greatshells, but at the end of the day, we still have to have a magical solution, right. To get beasties as big as we want to do, it doesn't matter how high your oxygen content is, if you've got .7 gravity or not, all these concessions we've made: the square-cube law says those things crush themselves. You just can't have things this big. And so we built in a magical solution. The spren creating this symbiotic bond is making it so these things don't crush themselves. 

And when I was looking at Shadesmar, there are a couple things-- what I want for the narrative is this place. I am going to work backward and try to make as many concessions and nods toward science as I can. But the air one, I just said "You know what? There's just gonna be air in Shadesmar. I am just gonna make it so that you can." I want you to be able to walk between the planets on Shadesmar, I don't want people to have to worry about bringing a Windrunner with them and plants or whatever to get oxygen. I'm just gonna make that the case. Your in-world answers, I'm like "Well, air kind of permeates and has escaped through and things," but really do we have an oxygen cycle there? We've got plants, but are they really--

The answer is, there is air in Shadesmar because I want there to be air in Shadesmar. 

#16 Copy

Mac

If one Feruchemist Keeper, a full Feruchemist, spiked another Feruchemist and got one Hemalurgic imbue from that person, would the first one now have enough of the second Keeper's Identity to use all of their metalminds? Or would it just be--

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh, that's a good one. I'm gonna say "yes," but it's a hesitant yes, because it's actually a question I haven't worked out yet. So you can have that as a yes, unless I hit it in the books and am looking at the notes and decide that it wouldn't work. I think that it would.

#17 Copy

Trae

Previously, you've revealed that the mechanism that determines the Returned on Nalthis is a decision of a sapient entity... Is the determination by which the entity that selects the recipient of a Divine Breath to come back as a Returned predicated on that recipient fulfilling some purpose in the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

...Basically they are asking... "Why does the entity that picks who Returns, why did they pick who they did?" And, your question kind of implies there's, like, specific tasks to fulfill. I'm gonna say, there aren't specifics, but there are certain things this entity is looking for--

Trae

In the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are certain things that they are looking for. Now, sometimes-- let's just say this entity is not necessarily the most consistent of entities in the cosmere when it comes to making decisions like this. But there are certain things they are looking for.

#18 Copy

Jofwu

Gavilar's black sphere. What was inside of it and how many does he have?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it is what you think it is. And he had-- yeah... He had access to several. Did we canonize this Karen?

Karen Ahlstrom

*shakes head*

Brandon Sanderson

No, we haven't canonized it. I'm going to say RAFO on the number, but it is what you think it is and what the third book implies that it is.

#19 Copy

Questioner

Are the Ghostbloods affiliated with Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

"Affiliated with" is very wiggle-room-ish. And so I'll go ahead and give you a RAFO on that one, even though I can totally wiggle on this one. I'm just gonna say "RAFO"; I'm gonna do the ultimate wiggle. There have been dealings.

Billy Todd

Interactions?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's been interactions.

#20 Copy

Kaymyth

So, the Synod in Elendel in Era 2. How much political control or guidance do they have over the other Terris enclaves? Do they have some sort of central government that makes decision for everyone? Or are they all--

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. No... I would say... let's see if I can find a real-world example. I'm not sure off the top of my head. I'm gonna say, they do not have any official control. They are well-regarded and respected, and sometimes ignored. And different groups regard this differently, the authority that they have. They would claim to have more than they do, how about that.

#21 Copy

Questioner

I noticed in Oathbringer the scene where Ash shows up as the washerwoman. Her description reminded me a lot of Khriss. Did Khriss have any personal relationships with Heralds? 

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that. Khriss has been around for a while, and the Heralds have been around for a while. 

#22 Copy

Questioner

In The Stormlight Archive, there are letters in the epigraphs. With those letters, is there some sort of Shardic postmaster? Who's delivering these letters?

Brandon Sanderson

I've been asked this before, actually. I wasn't asked it as early as I thought. I only started getting this one kind of recently. And my answer is RAFO. because, in part, it depends on the two planets you're talking about.

#24 Copy

yulerule

Okay, so Twinborn have [resonances], but full Mistborn don't, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

yulerule

So then I assume that a nonmagical person, like someone who doesn't have magic, holding the Bands of Mourning will not have no perks.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say they would not.

yulerule

Will a Twinborn that's holding the Bands of Mourning still have their original perk?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

yulerule

Or, if a Ferring is holding the Bands, and they use just one ability, will they develop a perk, tied to the one second ability they are using?

Brandon Sanderson

The longer they use it, the more likely that this is to happen.

yulerule

Using Investiture a lot over a long period changes your Spiritweb. So what happens if a nonmagical uses the Bands for a while?

Brandon Sanderson

Same thing that would happen to someone else, um, it would have a definite effect on them. *laughter* It would change them, as... in similar ways. Not exactly the same, but in similar ways.

#25 Copy

Questioner

So, when Vin and Kelsier are running around spewing those coins everywhere. I assume that leaves coins all over the place. So, what happens to all that money? *laughter* ...Are there conceivably skaa who could make a living?

Brandon Sanderson

...I got asked this in my writing group, way back when. Way, way back when. I got in alpha reads and beta reads too, people are like "They're just throwing coins all over!" I'm like, "Yeah, it's a meaningless amount of money to them at that point, and is cheaper, in a lot of ways, than going and buying bits of metal, because of the way--" Anyway. The answer is, they just get left there. And there are skaa who have a very lucky day the next day. Because to them, that money isn't a throwaway amount. And you could conceivably do very well watching where Mistborn went, and following after them. I'm not sure if there are people who do that. But it would make for a nice story, so we can imagine that there is at least a few people who try to track where they are. I mean, the problem is, once you start into that effort, you start to get to the realm of people who that money is insignificant to again. So, like, no underworld crime lord is gonna track where Mistborn are to go gather the clips that they drop for jumping around. It just isn't worth their money. But one of the things you see in an economy like in the Final Empire is that the wealth disparity is such that, for some people, that could be worth their time.

#26 Copy

chaplainchris

The Ghostbloods. Are they Kelsier's new crew?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question... Do I wanna answer this or not? *laughter* I'm gonna RAFO this one. Yeah, we're gonna RAFO this one. It is the RAFOlympics after all.

Billy Todd

Have there been interactions between Kelsier and the Ghostbloods?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that.

#27 Copy

Questioner

Exactly how turbulent is the Cognitive Realm around Sel? Khriss seems to think it's rather difficult [to travel] but how difficult would it be for Hoid to get through?

Brandon Sanderson

How difficult would it be to get through to Sel, how difficult would it be for Hoid. I would say straining his resources and capacity. It is difficult for him. So take that as you will. But it is worth his effort and he has done it numerous times.

#29 Copy

Questioner

Is Hoid gonna get his own book?

Brandon Sanderson

So, here's the grand Cosmere timeline as I have it right now... I'm going to write Wax & Wayne 4 this fall. This will be the end of the Wax & Wayne sequence. They have been really fun to write, those books. And I've got some really good Wayne stuff in this one, so be excited. So, I'll finish that, and that is the next Cosmere book I will do. January 1st, my requirement is I-- What I'm trying to do now, is I'm trying to do half my time Stormlight, half my time other stuff. That's the kind of balance I'm looking to do for my sanity. So, January 1st is when it's been 18 months since I turned in Oathbringer, and at that point, I have 18 months to get Book 4 done. So, I will start January 1st writing Stormlight 4, rain or shine. Everything else kinda has to be put aside. And then, we'll go until that book is done.

After Stormlight 4; at this point, the Wax & Wayne books are done, so we finally have opened up room to do either an Elantris sequel or a Warbreaker sequel. I'll do one of the two of those in between. And then we will do Stormlight 5. And then, we have the first sequence of Stormlight books finished. And at that point, my goal is to do Mistborn Era 3. Three of those. 1980s level, spy thriller-ish Mistborn stuff. And then we will come back and start on Stormlight 6. 6-10, different cycle. This is how I make sure this all kind of fits together. So, we will do that.

And at that point, we will do-- plan is, right now, the Dragonsteel sequence. Which is however many books I decide to do about Hoid's backstory. He has shifted to be the main viewpoint character of those. He was a side viewpoint character when I originally wrote them, but now I've kinda stolen all the pieces of that story that were not about him and put them in other books. So what remains is his backstory. I plan those to be first-person stories that he's telling, if I can get them to work.

So, then, we wrap out the Cosmere with the Mistborn science fiction series, the kind of Dune-esque far-future science fiction Cosmere thing. That is my grand timeline. Somewhere in there, I want to get one sequel to Warbreaker, two sequels to Elantris, and one Threnody novel. So, that's my goal. And that, I think, is doable before I die. We're just gonna keep that as our goal moving forward, and try not to add too much more to it, though there will be novellas and things like that as they pop up.

#30 Copy

Questioner

After people die, in this universe, where exactly do they go? Because, at first they appear in this one world, and then they go somewhere else.

Brandon Sanderson

So where do people go when they die. *laughter* In the cosmere. One of the things that's very important to me as a writer, when I am writing stories, is when we get to these kind of fundamental questions about faith and religion and things like this, that the narrative is allowing multiple characters' viewpoints to be plausibly true, if this makes sense. For instance, I am not gonna come out and say, "Is there a capital-G God of the cosmere, is there an afterlife?" These are not questions I'm gonna answer, because in-world, they can't answer them. What they can say is, your Investiture will leave what we call a Cognitive Shadow, which is an imprint of your personality that can do certain things. And that most of those fade away, and you can see them, glimpse them, and then watch them go. But, are they going somewhere? Or are they not? Is that simply the Investiture being reclaimed, Is it more of a Buddhist thought, where your soul is getting recycled and used again? Is it nothing, you return to, you know, being-- yeah, is it a different type of matter? Or is there a Beyond, is there a capital-G God? Things like this. These questions are not answered. I'm never gonna answer those.

Now, the characters will try to answer them. But it's important to me that both Dalinar and Jasnah can exist in the same universe, and that the story is not saying "This one is right, and this one is wrong." The story is saying "This is how this one sees the world; this is how this one sees the world." It's very important to me from the beginning to do that, just because-- Like, I hate reading a book where someone espouses my viewpoint only to get proven wrong by the entire structure of the narrative, and in that universe, that person is wrong. But I'm like, "In our universe, I don't think that I am. Just the way you constructed everything makes it so that I have to be wrong, if I were living in your universe, even if it's a universe that's not a sci-fi/fantasy one." If that makes sense.

This is just kind of for respecting my characters and for the people who hold the viewpoints of my characters, in particular if they happen to be different from my own viewpoints. I feel there are certain lines I'm not gonna cross.

So, the answer is: who do you believe? Which of the philosophies in the books do you look at and say "Yeah!" Or, even better: listen to lots of different ones, and maybe these different viewpoints are all gonna have interesting points that'll give you things to think upon.

#31 Copy

Questioner

The second set of The Stormlight Archive. Is that the same characters? Or different ones, like you did with Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

They are same characters, but we're gonna see a few main characters fade to being secondary characters. The ones that survive. And we're gonna see a few minor characters fade to be-- The structure of The Stormlight Archive is: one flashback sequence per book, and a focus on one of the Orders of Knights Radiant per book, and I've already announced who these all are, though I have secrets that pertain to them. Our next two books are Eshonai and Szeth. But, of course, Eshonai is dead. We're gonna see flashbacks from her viewpoint that inform our "now," but I haven't promised that these characters all live. Does that makes sense?

But our back five are Lift, when she's grown up. It'll be about ten years later. I haven't gotten the exact date yet.

Questioner

Is she alive, or a grown-up ghost?

Brandon Sanderson

...If she survives! *laughter* It will be Lift, Renarin, Taln, Ash, and Jasnah. So, yes, your main characters-- some of them are main characters. People who aren't on that list will still-- some of them will have big chunks of the stories. Just like you will notice that there's a big chunk of Kaladin in Book 4, even though it's Eshonai's book. So, that will happen. But I'm not making any promises about who survives and who doesn't.

What I really also wanna do is, like-- The big epic fantasy series. I have an advantage over Robert Jordan in that I've read Robert Jordan. And I can see the structure of this, and say, "What can I do to create the structure of a big epic that will have a lot of the things I love about a big epic but avoid some of the potential pitfalls." And I feel that one of those is beginnings, middles, and ends are really hard the longer you go in a series. And if I bring it to five, and then I take a break. And those five tell a story. And then I certainly am gonna leave some things that we start up in the next one, and do the second sequence of five. It's just kind of how the structure of The Stormlight Archive works for me.

A given book, I usually plot as three novels. And I will do this outline of three novels, and this becomes one volume of The Stormlight Archive. Well, each of those novels has Act One, Act Two, Act Three. And then all of those combine into the thick ones that you get, and then five of those combine into an arc. And then the two books of five combine into their own arc. So, hopefully it'll all work out. When I first pitched this to my editor back in 2003, his response was, "Wow, you're ambitious!" And he was a little frightened when I gave him Stormlight. And then, in 2004, I pitched the whole 9-book Mistborn thing that is somehow now... 13. But, yeah, so. We'll see.

#32 Copy

Mrs. Jofwu

If you had to characterize in a few sentences, as adults, what the relationship was like between Jasnah and Elhokar...

Brandon Sanderson

...As adults. Their relationship is that of a fond-but-unyielding sister and an earnest-but-insecure brother.

Mrs. Jofwu

So they were affectionate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would say they were affectionate. Not as much as, maybe, some other siblings. Like, you can look at Renarin and Adolin and see genuine affection. With Jasnah and Elhokar, it is almost-- there's definitely some affection, but there's almost more of an allegiance. Like, they're both dealing with certain pressures upon them, and their lives were very much consumed by these pressures, and they had that in common. But, I mean,  Jasnah's not a hugger anyway, if that makes sense?

Mrs. Jofwu

There was no jealousy between them?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, there was definitely jealousy on Elhokar's part. Definitely, the insecurity there. But Jasnah, was-- I mean, she was a little bit aware of it, but you know how she is, right?

Mrs. Jofwu

I didn't know if that contributed to why she removed herself from the Shattered Plains.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little bit. I mean, her quest was more important to her than any of that. But, you know. Let my brother not live in as many shadows. Because he had a lot of shadows that he had to live in. And she was one of them, certainly. That would've been a consideration to Jasnah. But if had been right to stay, for her quest, she would have.

#33 Copy

ChickenBites

Can you Soulcast aluminum into other materials?

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum would strongly resist any sort of Soulcasting.

Billy Todd

Would that resistance be overcome? Could be overcome?

Brandon Sanderson

This is the question. Everything can be, right? Aluminum, in the cosmere, was created. And can be created. So, people ask me this, "Can? Cannot?" Like, with a powerful enough magnet in our world, what can you do? Like, is water magnetic? ...But, could you make water respond to a magnet? Yes! You can make anything if you really try hard enough... It's, like, this idea, that when people are like, "Can you, yes or no?" Well... yes! Would it take the power of six Shards of Adonalsium working together? Maybe! Can you? Yes, you probably can. Like, we're talking about a fantasy universe where almost anything is possible, and the impossibilities are contradictions, it's "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" sort of questions when you get into "can you?"

Now, could you Soulcast aluminum using a reasonable amount of energy that an individual could conceivably have in a normal setting and situation? No. If that's what you're looking for.

#34 Copy

Questioner

We started out in the earlier books knowing that there's this Hoid guy, he's a worldhopper. Hey, worldhoppers exist. And then we've kind of been given more and more. In Secret History it said you'd be surprised about the economy you've upended by destroying the perpedicularity. what amount of people are travelling between worlds? Hundreds? Thousands? Billions?

Brandon Sanderson

...Thousands.

Questioner

Is it like vacation? Or is it like...

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I wouldn't call it--

Questioner

Is it the frontier? Or is it from where you could go?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the roadway. Let's say you look at frontier era America. How hard was it to get to England? It was really far away, but it was actually relatively safe and common to do this. How difficult was it to get to Boise, Idaho? That's harder, but you know how to do it. How easy was it to get to, let's say, the Hawaiian Islands? You're starting to get into like, the question comes here, certain pathways are more traveled. There are going to be caravans, there are going to be guides. There are going to be safe travels between certain places that are done commonly enough that if you are in the know and are in the right place you can be like "I wanna buy passage here." And you go there, and you can have a reasonable expectation that you're going to make it to where you're going. 

Other places, you say, "I wanna go here", and they're like, "Yeah, I've known someone who tried that and they never came back. I'm not taking you." So, where you're going, where you're trafficking, Khriss gives you some indications of which ones are easy to get to and which ones are commonly visited. I would recommend that if you want to go on vacation in the cosmere, like, "I want to go somewhere different," go to Nalthis. Go to Nalthis. Nalthis is great to go to, right? They even have customs that you can go through. You can like, arrive, and things like this. Don't go to Sel. Sel is not good to go to. Sel is really dangerous to go to. There's a dead Shard--two of them--in the Cognitive Realm that will destroy you. Other places, Scadrial, used to be a lot easier to get to. Roshar, depends on which era you're talking about. Sometimes it's pretty easy to go to. Those nice Horneaters will treat you like a god and feed you food. However, right now, it might not be a good time to try to visit Roshar.

#35 Copy

Questioner

It is said by a spren, Syl, that everything has a spren. Does aluminum have a spren? 

Brandon Sanderson

Does aluminum have a spren? This is a good question for philosphers in world. I would say the majority of them would say yes, its just a very isolated and unresponsive spren. There are some who would say no, it is the dead material, that has no spren, but others would argue that a dead material with no spren would just disintegrate to death, so aluminum is kind of a strange duck. 

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Questioner

So, in Oathbringer, when Dalinar goes to the Nightwatcher, we see Cultivation intervene directly. How closely does she supervise other Nightwatcher visits? ...Could the Nightwatcher give a boon that Cultivation wouldn't want her to?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, yes. "Wouldn't want her to" is a strong phrase. Like, Cultivation is always aware of what's going on. Cultivation rarely intervenes, even if she thinks it would be a bad boon, because she wants the Nightwatcher to learn. And she also is very interested in seeing what happens. So, rarely intervenes, but is aware.

Questioner

Would she intervene if she thought the boon would help Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily.

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Questioner

Are we gonna possibly get another Mistborn: Secret [History]...

Brandon Sanderson

So, depends on my time. Like, Mistborn: Secret History, I started writing in 2006, and I released it in... 2016. So, it took, like, 10 years to get that, because it was a side-project of a side-project. It's, like, so self-indulging, Mistborn: Secret History is...

So, Secret History 2, will I ever have time to do that? Well, it depends on if I can do it in a way I don't feel is interfering with the main Cosmere timeline. Because we would all like to see Secret History 2. But not if it means we don't get Stormlight 9, if that makes sense. It's gonna depend on my writing time, on how I'm feeling about various things. You are more likely to get it the more I work on Era 3, because Kelsier is a part of Era 3.

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Questioner

Why can't Zahel sleep at night?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, multiple reasons. None of which are particularly pleasant. He just has a rough time with a lot of different things.

Billy Todd

I'll inject a follow-up on that. How many of those reasons would give rise to a bounty?

Brandon Sanderson

Multiples, depending on who's offering the bounty.

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Questioner

Why did the Sharans have a prophecy about the Dragon slayer?

Brandon Sanderson

...Partially, that's a RAFO. RAFO, meaning, "I am no longer the voice of canon for The Wheel of Time." And I've been very careful about this. While I was working on the books, while I was writing them-- When I was first handed The Wheel of Time, Harriet said, in essence, to me: "You are the author on these now. You just have to convince me. You can do whatever you feel is necessary to tell the story the right way." And for that time, I stepped into the shoes of being in charge of all of that. Though, like I have Karen here, there's always Maria and Alan even back then, that are like, "Certain things contradict. You just can't do that." But for a while, I was the voice of canon. I have stepped out of those shoes. It's not an appropriate place for me to stand any longer. That was a mantle that I bore for a short time ,and then I gave the One Ring back to Frodo. Because that was something I had to carry, because no one else could, for a short time, but it wasn't mine. It wasn't my duty. I've left those shoes behind. So I do not give canon answers. I let that to Maria and Harriet on things like this.

Now, I can talk about, like, story and narrative reasons why I did certain things that I did. For instance, I, as a reader, waited for years and years to find out what's happening in Shara, and I wanted to do something big and cool with it when the books came along. When Harriet said, "You can do whatever you want. Here are the notes, you can do whatever you want." If you've looked at the notes, Robert Jordan's notes were really interesting in that he would often say, "I'm gonna do this, or maybe this, or I'm not sure, I could do none of the above." So there was a lot of creative freedom in there. One of the things I wanted to do was do Shara. And this is the thing that I did, that at the end, Harriet said, "You didn't convince me on this one." There were actually two things I didn't convince Harriet on. I got away with a lot. A lot of things I did, I convinced her on. Like Aviendha going through the pillars. That was something that I had to do some-- like, when I first suggested to them, they're like, "Woah." But when I wrote it, they're like "Wow, this really works." But Perrin going back and cleansing the Ways with the Ogier, and the scenes in Shara, are the two things they didn't feel I pulled off in the original draft.

But my goal was, I really wanted to bring Shara into all of this. I wanted to narratively connect it. I wanted it to be a part of, and show how some place that had been so isolated form Randland for all this time could have their own legends and mythologies spawned. I wanted to have a different perspective. I wanted you to go there and say "Wow, it's really different. But there are some core ideas that are really cool that have grown up." And if I would have had three more books, Shara probably would have worked. But we didn't have three books, and it was the right call to cut Shara, because it was a real big deviation in the final book. And maybe even if I'd been able to work it in earlier, it would have worked. But it didn't work where it was.

I can give you narrative reasons. I can't give you the canon in-world reason. You can ask Maria or Harriet about that, and see if they'll answer.

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Questioner

So, kind of a support question... The nature of Investiture and metals, is it just solid Investiture that's metal or is all Investiture some kind of state of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

So this gets back into your idea of metal. Do they all represent metal? Well, I'm fascinated by states of matter, if you can't tell, and I'm fascinated by groupings on the periodic table in our world. I am fascinated by how certain things share... properties with one another but not other properties. When I was building the cosmere, I loved this idea of this pure Investiture, this solid state Investiture which looks like metal, but its not a metal that would be on our periodic table, and none of them are, but they share some properties with metals. You look at it and you're like "That's a metal!" But is it? Well it wouldn't go on the periodic table in our world. It's its own thing. 

So yes and no. 

Billy Todd

Is that similar to the way that a Rosharan calls all birds "Chickens"?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the way that Rosharans call all birds "chickens" or all alcohols "wines" is actually me maybe feeling more clever than I am, putting in seeds from book one that-- This just happens in linguistics, where certain words sometimes narrow in definitions, other times they broaden in definition. Just how we call Googling something, searching for it. There are people who are joking that movies are just going to be called Disneys in the future. I love the linguistics of this, and I wanted to indicate that the word for "bird" just spread through Roshar as "chicken" because those were the birds that they knew about. And wine was a pretty good one. There aren't grapes on Roshar, right. They call them "wine"; none of it's wine. You wouldn't call any of it wine. Because they don't have grapes. But this is a word from a planet from when they used to have grapes, that they used for this thing, that eventually replaced the word and became the generic. You see it more often in our languages the other way, Peter can talk more about this. Words will become more and more narrow over time.

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Questioner

In reading about Adonalsium and Odium, I get the sense that it's more related to lerasium and atium than it is to, like, Preservation or Ruin. Because, sometimes it seems like we're identifying... Odium and Adonalsium as beings instead of, like, the body of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it is a little confusing by design. The question is, like, telling the difference between the Vessel who is holding the power, the intent of that power, and the physical manifestations of that power as Investiture or as whatever, these things are confusing. And I did this on purpose. I like that blurring between them. One of the things I did when I was designing the magic for the cosmere, was-- you guys know this very easily from looking at the books, I love the ideas of quantum theory, string theory, all this stuff. And even, just looking at quantum mechanics as we understand them right now. And the further you get into the details, the more the rules that you built, everything you understand upon, become blurry. And we live in this world where certain scientific principles, like-- I was sitting at a writing group, talking to my friend who's a mathematician, and I'm like, "I really like math 'cause it is objective. One plus one equals two." And he's like, "Well, the further you get in math, the less that actually is true, and the more 'One plus one equals two' is a philosophical statement, not an actual objective truth." And we talked about the nature of, the further you dig into things--

So, I tried to build the cosmere magic-- For instance, how the Bands of Mourning work. We are getting away from Step 1, which is, "Metals push or pull." We can get that. Into Step 2, where we are building complex machines out of the interactions between the magic. And we will then get to Step 3, where it's like, we can explain the principles, but you need to be a computer engineer to understand exactly how the computer is working. And I wanted to be able to build to get to that point. With the philosophy of, "What is the power, what is the individual, what is the intent," and things like that, we're kind of going that direction, in a philosophical direction. What does it mean? What are the answers?

Humans like things to be divided and put in boxes, but in nature, these boxes are usually arbitrary, of our distinction. So, I like that aspect of our interaction with the real world. So, the answer to your question is, this is not a question for me, this is a question for philosophers. Where does the intent stop, and the being begin? And what does it mean to have a body? Is the body of the original person that has taken up the Shard, the Vessel, when that drops out when they die, is that their real body? Or is that just the power pushing out something that it absorbed and recreating it, and dropping a copy of it? What is that? What's going on there? What's it mean? How much can a Vessel influence their intent? This is all a question for philosophers, that I'm going to explore in the books, but it's not the sort of thing that you're like--

Does one plus one equal two? The answer is, one plus one equals two according to this proof that we believe explains the universe, but is a little fuzzier than you think it is.

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Trae

The term "the God Beyond" is used across several worlds and stories set in the cosmere. Is this piece of terminology one that has spread across the cosmere through the intermingling of worldhoppers and native populations? And if not, is it merely a conceit that the translation into English we read encapsulates similar convergent ideas?

Brandon Sanderson

What an excellent question. I have been expecting that question for a while. So... various people are using this phrase, "The God Beyond." And, what Trae is asking is, "Is that a translation artifact?" ...Like, our conceit is, when you are reading a book from the cosmere, I (or someone) has translated it into English. So when you see someone make a pun, it doesn't necessarily mean they made that exact pun, it means they made a pun in their language that worked, and I am looking for one in English that expresses the same concept or the same humor. Or lack thereof, if you don't like puns. In our language. So, you're asking, the God Beyond: do they all say "the God Beyond"? Or the saying some entity that I am translating all as God Beyond. And they are actually all saying "God Beyond." It is the same, in their language, same thing. So, like worldsinger, worldbringer, things like this; the linguistic ties there are intentional, as opposed to just an artifact of the translation. There are things that are artifacts of translation very commonly, but that is not one. I am doing that intentionally.

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Questioner

So, I noticed that in Mistborn, the way you get magic is very biological, the way you swallow it. *inaudible* I wondered if they have such a malnourished kind of life? *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, I've never been asked that one before. Does this have to do with their malnourishment? I did not build into it that this had to do with malnourishment. You can certainly imagine it that way if you want. The whole origin of this was, I'm always looking for something that has one foot in science and one foot in superstition. And metabolizing energy, eating things and getting-- that feels so natural to us, that when I tried it with the metals, it worked so well. It's one of those cool things, that I work backwards from. I'm like, "This works. This is really cool. People read this and they get it." In fact, people often say, "I dreamed that I ate metal and flew around." And it's just one of those things that sounds so weird when you describe it, but in a book it works really well. And I think it's because it has that connection to biology. So, I started with that, and then justified. But, I wouldn't say the malnourishment-- Their souls might be crying out for some Spiritual nourishment.

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Questioner

I was wondering if the Nightwatcher can offer a boon or curse to other sentient species or non-native to Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the Nightwatcher could offer boons and curses to non-natives of Roshar. I mean, humans are not native. So there's a pretty good--

Questioner

They were born there, but--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, someone who's not born there, yeah. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

I have a follow-up question, would those boons and curses still apply when they left Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the boons and curses should still apply when they leave Roshar.

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Questioner

Large gemstone, Oathbringer. Not leaking Stormlight. Is shining. Is there a spren inside of it? ...Is there a spren trapped in it?

Brandon Sanderson

...There is not. Good question. I mean, at various points in the story, there are, but the one you're referencing.

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WinespringBrother

Given that Shards, and perhaps, Ascended beings, have intents similar to their names...

Brandon Sanderson

More that they have names similar to their intents.

WinespringBrother

So, would Unity be a natural enemy of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... Possibly. You say "natural," and so I--

WinespringBrother

Well, would one eliminate the other one? But more towards Autonomy trying to break up--

Brandon Sanderson

To break up Unity. It's so hard to say, because Autonomy is a bit of a strange duck. Like, what counts as being Autonomous? Is absorbing everything and becoming one again Autonomous or not? That's kind of your question that you get into. And the way Autonomy looks at it right now, is no. Autonomy wants to remain Autonomy. Autonomy does not want to be corrupted by anything else. And Autonomy would think the Shards are better on their own. But is this a natural effect, or part of the-- Does that make sense?

WinespringBrother

Well, but it's also along the lines of, Odium wants to break up the other ones, so they don't--

Brandon Sanderson

Odium just wants to be top dog. And your two ways to be top dog are to climb higher, or to lower everyone else. And he's like, we're gonna lower everyone else. Because I know, if I combine, it stops being me, is what his opinion is. I would no longer be the person I am. I would change into someone else. And then that person gets to rule, and I don't want that person to rule. I want to.

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Questioner

So if a person's holding a Shard, someone like the original sixteen people. Some of the Shards got [Splintered], does that automatically kill the people? Or can some of those people still be walking around?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not automatically, because you can give up pieces of investiture and things like this. It did kill them, that was part of the point. But there are ways to conceive of this happening that it wouldn't. Technically what Endowment is doing is giving up pieces, intentionally splintering to form these other pieces and things, so yeah.

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Questioner

We saw that, in one case that she felt it was very important, Cultivation intervened when Dalinar was asking for his boon from the Nightwatcher. You said that for the most part she just sort of lets her work, but has she intervened in other cases that she feels are important, specifically with Taravangian?

Brandon Sanderson

She has intervened before.

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Questioner

In universe, all the intents and charts and names, who names them? Do they name themselves?

Brandon Sanderson

I have kind of imagined this is one of those things that they certainly have influence over. But obviously Odium thinks that he's named something other than what he is, and I feel like these are intrinsic things that the sixteen all knew. Like, "I am missing this part of me, it is this." And it was less "we went around and named them" more like "this is just what it is". And various Shards are resisting that, but the others are all like "No, this is what you represent". 

Billy Todd, Moderator

Follow-up question there. Would the entity that we call Odium refer to itself as Odium when it's honest with itself?

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh, I don't think Odium is capable of being honest with himself. *laughter* There are times where Odium has called himself Odium. That is more out of convenience and the fact that everyone calls you by a name. But Odium is determined to change that perception. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

So, does he genuinely believe in characterizing himself as Passion?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Part of him does.

Billy Todd, Moderator

Has he always ever been Odium since the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

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Questioner

Do the spren that we know of as the Cryptics exist before Honor and Cultivation came to Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, good question! No. Cryptics would be one of the forms of spren that were a later creation. Creation is the wrong term, but yeah. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

Later development? Evolution?

Brandon Sanderson

All of the sapient spren are later developments. 

Billy Todd, Moderator

Are they evolved from the earlier spren?

Brandon

Evolution doesn't work the same way on the spren, right? The spren were created more than evolved, I would say.

Billy Todd, Moderator

Maybe cultivated?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, cultivated. *'aughter*

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yulerule

So if you were in the cosmere, and you know how it works, or how it all should work. Would you hack it like all ridiculously and like what would you-- Do you have a plan of action.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah I would. I would have two choices. I would go hide on the planet I know is safe, and ride it all out. I have those two options.

yulerule

What was the second option?

Brandon Sanderson

Well the second option is try to take over, right? 'Cause I know all the secrets. I don't know which one I would do.

yulerule

Would you be able to hack it all?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, would I be able to? It depends on where I am in the cosmere, and how easy it is to get a hold of some Investiture.

yulerule

But once you get some initial Investiture then you go out.

Brandon Sanderson

Then things start rolling. As soon as you can get one of the easy ones, it's easy to use, transfer. 

Argent

Like Breath.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah like Breath, or uh...

yulerule

Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well Mistborn's harder, but you know Breath is the easiest I've approached so far. Unless you kind distill it, then you've got the... Anyway. We won't go there. You saw that in Secret History

Argent

Oh, oh that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. When you strip off all kinds of identity and stuff.

Argent

Connection Juice...not Connection Juice.

Brandon Sanderson

Connection Juice?

Argent

Yeah, that's what we're calling it.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, okay I suppose.

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Isaac Stewart

I've been doing maps for a long time, and I never thought it was something I would be making a living on. It's just so strange.

Questioner

'Cause they're not over-complicated. They're not super busy. So, I'm like, what am I focusing on? Where are the cities?

Isaac Stewart

That's actually one of the things that I do intentionally. Because, if you look at a real map, there's cities everywhere. But these are for books. They're intended for us to open them up I mean, they fit on the page a certain way... I mean, every map is meant to convey information, there's a reason why. The reason for these maps is not to look complicated, but you can go in there and at least get the information that you want. While at the same time, giving some kind of verisimilitude of real maps.

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Isaac Stewart

I think they might have [the Highprince glyphs] in order on the warcamps map, when I have them on the edge. They might be in order, but I might have put them together in a way that they just looks nice... I think I might have picked an order that looked cool. I'm like, "Ah, this one looks better here and moved them around."

Pagerunner

One of them's upside down, right?

Isaac Stewart

I think they go all into a symbol in the middle... You might have some of them upside down. I'll have to look at my old file that has the originals. And you can see, too, that their glyphs, they're starting to look different from what I do now stylistically.

Pagerunner

You talked about the Shard line, and I've seen that, they all have this line down the middle.

Isaac Stewart

Yeah, we started changing things. That's just how things work. Things evolve. But, it works in the history. There was probably a time when the calligraphy, it was just in the vogue to do it this way. The rules could have changed. If you're the Calligrapher's Guild, you're gonna want to change the style, see what's in vogue. Because, hey, now all the nobles need to change their house logos so their logos, their glyphs don't look... "Oh, that looks so old." They want to stay relevant, so they probably do things like that. It's interesting how that-- Even though there's a kind of way they look like mistakes, it's how things work in the real world, people make slight changes and people do things a slightly different way, but I imagine those particular glyphs are a little more simplified than some of the stuff that we're doing. If we were to go into, like, Sadeas's glyph, for example, it's really simple. But I have other places where it's got more lines and stuff. His personal banner is probably gonna have more stuff in it.

Pagerunner

One of the Kholin glyphs has all these extra letters. It's like, "Wait a minute, what are these letters?"

Isaac Stewart

People call them "screw with you" lines. No, they call them "screw you lines," and it was never meant to mess with people. It was meant to make it look cool.

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Questioner

Do you have any updates on games or movies or shows?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, let's go down the big run-down.

We've been having moderate luck with board games, people are actually producing the things that they sign up to do. So, we should be having another board game before too long. We have the House War game, and we have the Reckoners game coming out, and there might be another one to announce eventually. We've been having a lot more luck there than we have other places. Video games, nada. There's just nothing. I would love to do a video game, but-- yeah. I don't know what's going on over there. We sold the Mistborn rights, they were really nice, and then they didn't do anything for, like, five years, and eventually, they're like, "We can't make this."

So, Hollywood. Steelheart series is owned by Fox, with 21 Laps producing, that's Shawn Levy's company, he made the Night at the Museum films. They still own that, they are on their second renewal of the options, so they've had it for a number of years. I have not heard anything from them since last July, when they called and said they wanted to keep it still and wrote us a check. I don't know what's going on there.

Snapshot is owned by MGM. Snapshot is a novella I wrote about a year ago, it's kind of Phillip K. Dick-ish, with a little bit of Se7en, the serial killer show. It's different. MGM bought that, they have assigned a screenwriter. The screenwriter said his goal would be early this year, in his schedule, to work on it. And they've been fairly good at staying in contact with us every couple of months. We haven't heard from them since, about, December, when they said that there would be there, so we probably need an update there. But things seem to be moving just fine there.

DMG has the Cosmere. They bought it up in pieces, and eventually just bought the rest of it from me. They have been really good to work with. DMG has always involved me in everything. They have shown me every screenplay and script they have come up with, and they made the VR experience as a tool to try to explain the Stormlight to studio execs who don't read books. Which you can get on VR systems, if you want. It's kind of trippy, with you down in the chasms in the Shattered Plains. But that was primarily so we can go to studio execs and be like "It's like this!" But they have been really good to work with. Right now, latest news is they're worried Stormlight is going to be too hard to do as a film series. Surprising! So, latest discussions with them-- Though, we did get a screenplay from them that came in at 250 pages. Which, if you don't know screenplay format, one page equals one minute, so 250 pages is 4+ hours. And it still cut out a lot, so they're like, "Well..." So, I don't know where that will go but that is where we're looking right now. Mistborn, they're still looking at for a feature. They have a screenplay that they are trying to get studios to partner with them, and things like that. They're doing the whole Hollywood runaround. So, who knows.

Most likely, the best thing that could happen for Stormlight would be for Wheel of Time to get made and do really well, and then everyone will be like "Wow, we want more epic fantasy. It's not just Game of Thrones, it's lots of stuff!" Hopefully, that'll go places, but I don't know any more than you guys really know about that. I can't say specifics. I did do a phone call with one of the people involved, they reached out and said "Hey!" but it's just "Hey, we're the TV people, hi!" So, we will wait eagerly for updates on that.

We haven't announced a deal, but we've signed contracts on Legion for another television show. Legion, this will be our third or fourth option on that. If you don't know how Hollywood works, they option things, which means they rent the rights, and they get them for three to four years depending, with payments every year or eighteen months. And during that time, they try to get it in development, try to get everyone excited about it, try to get it to a screenplay, and stuff like that. And at the end of those years, they either pay you the rest of the money, if they have the option-- it's like a rental that applies, it's like rent-to-own. The big price, that they pay a little of that price. Or they just decide to let the option lapse, and then it goes to someone else. So, that has happened at least several times. Nobody wanted it for a while, when the Marvel show was happening, and suddenly, they want it again.

So, there's your rundown. A whole lot of "Well, this looks promising, I think," which is how it's always kind of gone. Hopefully, Wheel of Time or Name of the Wind will come out and do really well, and that will spark everybody wanting to make very expensive fantasy properties and very expensive television shows. Because The Stormlight Archive will not be cheap. It will be really, really not cheap. So, if you have an aunt or an uncle who happens to runs Netflix Originals division, tell them they need a billion dollars. They've got it, right? They have to spend it, or they'll have to pay taxes on it, so might as well do Stormlight.

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Questioner

At what point did you go, "Elantris was good, Mistborn was good, now let's do 40 more books"?

Brandon Sanderson

So, a brief, brief history (writer's side, not the in-world side) of the Cosmere is this. So, Elantris was written without the cosmere in mind. This was-- Elantris was the first, kind of, book in my--

So, the way my history works, I was told early on that your first five books are generally terrible. And this was actually really relieving to me, because I'm like "Oh, I don't have to be good until book six." So I wrote five books as, just, lots of experimenting. Lots of different types of stories. And I didn't really even try, I sent one or two of them out, but I didn't really aggressively try to publish them. They were White Sand--not White Sand that you can get from my newsletter signup, an earlier version--which is my first book. And then Star's End, which was a little science fiction book, and then a sequel to White Sand, and something called Knight Life, which was a comedy. Yes. But bits of that got repurposed into Alcatraz. And then The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora, which was a weird cyberpunk, far-future thing. And I got done with all of those, and I'm like, "All right. I kind of know what I want to do. I thought it was epic fantasy. I now know it's epic fantasy." And then I wrote Elantris. My next books were Elantris, a rewrite of White Sand, and Dragonsteel. And this was kind of me exploring "What do I want to do? How do I want to-- What is my-- What do I want to add to this genre?"

But the idea of the interconnected universe grew out of doing these things, writing these books. I started planning The Way of Kings then, I started planning the book that became Warbreaker then. It was called Mythwalker at the time. And I wrote a book called The Final Empire and a another one called Mistborn, which are neither of the ones that you guys actually have read. What eventually happened, is when I sold Elantris, this whole thing of the cosmere had really come together, this is what I wanted to do, I was really excited by it.

And so, the first book that I wrote knowing about the cosmere was Mistborn. And Elantris got retrofitted into this as I was writing the Mistborn trilogy. And it was while I was working on the Mistborn trilogy that I made the nine book arc that is kind of the core, though-line of the Cosmere, the past/present/future Mistborn. I called my editor in... 2005 with a really big, exciting, sort of huge outline for 40 books (it was 32 back then), I'm like, "It's gonna be this, it's gonna be this, it connects here, and all this stuff--" That's when it all kind of happened, and I built that all out. It was the process of working on the Mistborn original trilogy and building out the nine book arc for those that really solidified a lot of these ideas. By then, I had written Dragonsteel, so I knew--- Dragonsteel was book number seven, so I knew about Adonalsium and all of this stuff, but it was really kind of in Mistborn where I decided how I was gonna incorporate all of that. And even then, even in Mistborn, there are still things that I was still putting together.

So, yeah. There's a brief history of it. By the time I had those three books done, 'cause I wrote them in a row, I was pretty solid on how all of this was gonna come together.

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Questioner

In the early 2000s, you started toying with this idea of the cosmere, these interconnected stories that are separate, but you've got your little Easter eggs. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Marvel movies started coming out. Were you like, "Wow, I can't believe this got so popular, this idea of--"

Brandon Sanderson

Like, it had always been in their comics. I didn't invent interconnected universe. I didn't even invent them in books. Like, Michael Moorcock, I don't know if you guys have read Michael Moorcock, but I really like Michael Moorcock's work, and he connected a bunch of his things together. And Stephen King famously did it. I think the one that first blew my mind when someone did this was when Asimov connected Robots and Foundation together. 'Cause I had read the Robots books, then I read the Foundation books, and then I read the later Foundation books and I'm like, "They're the same world?!?" That was a very mind-blowing moment for me.

But when I was writing a lot of this stuff in the late 90s, early 2000s, the rule of thumb was, "People don't want continuing narrative." Like, I still remember watching the DVD extras on the Deep Space Nine DVDs. (Which is the best Star Trek, fight me.) And in Deep Space Nine, they would talk about how they would have to-- they had this big arc they wanted to do for seasons. Go listen to it, it's hilarious. They're like, "But we couldn't tell the executives about that, because they would say 'People don't want continuing story arcs, they want individual adventures.'" So, they would write the Ferengi episodes, which were standalones that were goofy and funny, and sent those as their samples to the studio execs, and hide the fact they were making this big, interconnected epic out of Deep Space Nine. And that was the conventional wisdom. That's just where storytelling was going. So, I'm like, "I have to be really hidden about this, everybody's gonna--"

But, Marvel wasn't the first case we have. It was the television show 24. When 24 came out (this is old news to a lot of you, it's like 20 years ago), but when that show came out, people were like "Wow, a continuing narrative. Some people really like this." And then Marvel did their thing, and Marvel became Marvel over the next years. And that was, like, a thing. And then Netflix started doing stuff where it's like, "We're releasing a whole season at once so you can binge. It's like a nine hour movie." And meanwhile, this whole time, I'm like, "Yes! I was born at the right time!"

I will tell you that when DMG came to buy the Cosmere, it was with stars in their eyes, because shared universes were suddenly the thing, and I had the only one on the market for sale. They're all really really stretching, they're like, "Universal Monsters universe?" They're always trying to make some shared universe. And meanwhile, they're like, "There's a guy who already has one. We'll just go buy it!" That was a big part behind them grabbing that. I think that now, people are more wary, because so many of them that they tried to make failed. But the reason they failed, at least in my opinion, is because they did it the wrong way. Instead of starting with something great, that people would want more of, they started saying, "You are going to get 30 of these. You'd better like the first one. Oh, you think it's mediocre? Well, you'd better like the second one, right?" Where this has always been a theme for me with the Cosmere, that I really want each individual story to stand on its own, and if you want to dig into the connections behind them, there is that depth for you to dig into, and you can start making all of these connections and being part of the fandom. But if you just want to read Warbreaker, it is a standalone. You don't need any of this other stuff, it's all Easter egg, and I think that is part of the issue with some of these. It's this thing I told the writers the other day. This magic phrase of, "Everybody wants to start a book thinking it's a standalone and wants to finish it thinking, knowing it's a series." Like, you want to pick up that first book, or whatever it is, and have it be so good that it wraps up and just knocks your socks off. And at that point, you want a sequel. You don't really want the sequel when you start, you just want a good well-told story. So, I tell a lot of writers, try to make sure that first story is really good, and then worry about sequels. So, that's been my philosophy, and hopefully it has worked out.

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Questioner

I know you've been asked several times about other authors that have influenced your work, but are there people in other lines of work, other medias, that you deliberately learn from? And if so, who?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So, I do really like film. I love films that, like-- one of my favorite films of all time is Gattaca. And I really like films that do interesting things with narrative, like parallel narrative between characters and stuff like that. I like films are trying, even if they fail, to do really interesting things. Like, Interstellar; I really liked Interstellar. Interstellar is a hugely flawed movie, but it's, like, so ambitious and interesting. And I like it when movies do that. So, I do study a lot of films. I like movies that have good structure. I love the original Star Wars trilogy for its structure. It teaches you so much about structure that Lucas apparently didn't learn. He learned other things; Lucas had really big dreams and great ideas and I really liked that he-- Even in the prequels, I liked that he told us a consistent narrative across three. I like doing that.

Watchmen was really influential on me, as like basically everyone who's read it. Watchmen was influential. And some other graphic novels. I loved Kingdom Come when I first read it back in the 90s or whenever it was. The roommate gave me that, and I'm like, "Wow, these do different things with the medium that I--" Yeah

I read a lot of webcomics, also. I don't know how much influence they have over me. But Dr. McNinja, until it ended, was my jam. But I would list those. Films, and the occasional really powerful graphic novel that have influenced me a lot.

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Argent

During past events and interviews you've said that you've had to make your peace, so to speak, with some fans guessing reveals in future books before those books have even come out. Obviously you can't write for just a fraction of your fans who obsess every detail, and every word that Hoid ever utters. (Balderdash.) But have you ever written anything specifically for those people going, "Oh, that's gonna blow their socks off"?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah. So, for any who didn't hear, I get the question of, "How do I feel about fans guessing things before I've revealed them in the books? How do I respond to that?" And I've said I have to just make peace with that. Because I feel like trying to change-- like, I'm such an outliner, that if I change the target, if I change what I'm doing, then it's just not gonna work at all. Changing the target after I've shot the arrow, it would mean me moving the target away so the arrow misses, and saying "Haha, you guys got it wrong!" just wouldn't work for the way I tell stories. But the way I tell stories, you need to be able to see the arrow flying. I like that. And when you get three years in between books, you're gonna see where those arrows are flying. So, I just had to make peace with the idea that the hardcore fans, and maybe even some of the medium-core fans, they're going to know, they're going to see these things. Like, the big revelation-- one of the big problems I had with this was: the big revelation at the end of Oathbringer was something that the hardcore fans had figured out in book one. But the characters hadn't, because they are steeped in this world, and in the lore, and in the customs of the world. So something that was mind-shattering to a lot of the characters was old hat to some of the readers. And I had to figure out how to-- one of the things the beta readers helped me with on that book was figuring how to make sure I layered surprises at the end of Oathbringer, so that ones would be emotionally impactful to the readers while the characters were reeling from something the readers might not be reeling from. That was a challenge.

Anyway, the actual question he asked is, "Are there things I write saying 'Oh, they're gonna love this one'? Do I tease?" Yes, I totally tease. I write in words that I'm like, "Oh, I'm gonna name-drop this person they have never heard of. Because I feel like the character would name-drop, and plus it's gonna drive them crazy." I try to hold myself to the cosmere-aware sections of the books for doing that. Things like Secret History or the Letter epigraphs, and things like this. Places where the casual reader will be like, "You know, I don't get any of this, so it doesn't matter. I can move on." Where I'm kind of, like, taking you and quarantining you in your own section of letters from the cosmere, and stuff like that. But I'm gonna read you one of those in a minute.

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Questioner

I know that with Harmony, he has difficulty interacting because he holds two Shards. Did Adonalsium, since he had all these other personality traits, also have issues directly interfering? 

Brandon Sanderson

A RAFO! Good question. I've never been asked that question before.

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WinespringBrother

When Veil went to Mraize's lair, she saw a vial of white sand. Was there a reason that it didn't turn black?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes

WinespringBrother

Can you tell me that reason?

Brandon Sanderson

So, sand will turn white in the presence of certain kinetic usage of Investiture. 

WinespringBrother

Okay, so that was what Veil was doing?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how loud the Investiture is, that sand-- that sand just absorbed some of the Stormlight. I'll just be be clear with you, yeah... It was not the stuff that Veil was doing. 

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Billy Todd

How closely does Adonalsium map to the gnostic demiurge?

Brandon Sanderson

A little bit.

Billy Todd

So, not completely? I'm not completely off?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not off at all. 

Billy Todd

So, not the urge, but the demiurge. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, well I'll have to go read to make sure what I'm talking about then. Your answer is: I will go read and make sure I know. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

Billy Todd

So, there's the creator, which is the urge, which is the creator of the Universe. *large hand gesture* The demiurge is actually God. The demiurge is the one that creates [its] universe, *small hand gesture inside larger gesture* and entities living within the universe need knowledge of that which is beyond what the demiurge has created.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, that matches pretty well.

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Questioner

Can you Hemalurgy Aviar? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You could. 

Questioner

So you could take a Aviar Hemalurgic spike and put it on a cat and make a Aviar cat?

Brandon Sanderson

See, this is where it gets-- you heard the asterisk in my-- These sorts of things-- It wouldn't do what you wanted to. But this is possible. 

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Mrs. Jofwu

At the end of Calamity, I was wondering if the Prof and [David] together repair their relationship. They were kind of built up as a father/son kind of--

Brandon Sanderson

If I do any more books in direct sequence, what's going on with Prof would be be a factor in them. So I'm going to RAFO this just because I am planning...

Apocalypse Guard will not be a straight up follow up, but a sidestep, but I might do one someday.

Mrs. Jofwu

...Does he ever get the chance to build a relationship with Tavi in another reality, similar to how David does with his father?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll give you a RAFO card on all of that.

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Questioner

Rosharans are good with math, because you did the whole... They're aware of the normal distribution and all that. So, do like, complex numbers, imaginary numbers, do they live in the Cognitive Realm? And would prime [numbers] be the brighteyes of the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

We will get into this. I would say--I've actually thought about this--that right now, there are spren that kind of represent abstract mathematics but not individual concepts within abstract mathematics. Like when you draw a spren that represents creativity, it's not necessarily divided into, "Painting," even though some of them may edge in that direction. So you could perhaps find a spren where you go, "Oh!"

Questioner

I just want to see pi and phi arguing.

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Argent

Back in ['14] you referred to Honor's Purposes to me at one point. Is that still a thing in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Honor's purpose?

Argent

Honor's purposes. You referred to ten of them. Using the concept of Shardic numbers. But I don't have that on record, I don't know anything about it, it's been a confusing topic ever since.

Brandon Sanderson

So that's still a deal. It just plays into the ten names of the Almighty and the ten attributes of the Fools and the ten attributes of the Almighty.

Argent

Are Purposes something every shard has?

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say-- No. It's playing more into the nature of Honor itself.

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Argent

Was the reason the Listeners or the parsh people turned into parshmen, was that because Ba-Ado-Mishram was imprisoned by the Radiants? That she was Connected to all of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, yeah. That plays into what happened there.

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yulerule

Have all the spikes been collected? You have a bunch of dead Inquisitors, you've got the koloss at the end of Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Have they all been collected?

yulerule

Or are they just lying around, or did they--

Brandon Sanderson

There are some that have been lost.

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yulerule

Can you reuse a spike?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Uh, yes, technically, but not as easily as that question makes it sound.

yulerule

Can you re-use it if it's for the same exact thing or for a different thing? Will that change?

Brandon Sanderson

Spikes are going to get keyed by Identity--

yulerule

So you can't already spike that person. But if you spike and don't kill them can you spike the same person again?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah and if you can somehow strip the identity of the person or the spike-- So yes you can use them again but it comes into a sort of-- Like, you can't just take that spike and spike somebody else.

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yulerule

Are Inquisitor spikes, kandra Blessings and koloss spikes interchangeable?  Like if you it spiked in a different way--

Brandon Sanderson

*Hesitant* You could make that work and it wouldn't be that hard. But just as they are, no.

yulerule

Would nothing happen or would weird stuff happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Weird stuff would happen

*pause*

But that one's not very hard to make work.

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Questioner

When Kaladin jumps in to help Adolin, and he's fighting and he says he feels like he can fight with his eyes shut. Is that just Kaladin being cocky? Or is that Investiture related? ...It reminded me of atium.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a little more going on there, but it's not as far as you think.

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Questioner

If you had a choice for a game format, would you go single-player story? Or would you go multiplayer?

Brandon Sanderson

For a video game? I would do single-player probably. 'Cause that's what I play most of, myself. If I could do anything, I would probably do a Mistborn video game, single-player, with a strong narrative.

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Questioner

In Mistborn there's no flowers or anything. So how do they get dyes for their dresses and things?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the dye. Some come from animals like snails. Some are metallic. Or, metallic is the wrong term. From minerals like lapis and things like that. There are a lot of non-floral dyes out there, even in our world. And they had extra resources in that.

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Pagerunner

The Starfall vision. Ten Deaths, referring to the Midnight Essence. That's what the one Radiant said, they're the Ten Deaths. Is that the Unmade, the Ten Deaths.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there's nine Unmade, so...

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Pagerunner

The cracked stone spren that we saw, we didn't get a name for them, are they the Stoneward spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes-- Oh wait, yes.

Pagerunner

Do they have a name you can canonize right now?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I don't.

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Pagerunner

The Drominad name. Where does that come from, for the system?

Brandon Sanderson

Where did we come up with that? I came up with that.

Isaac Stewart

I think you just named it.

Brandon Sanderson

I think I just named it. It's a name. I mean it references--

Pagerunner

Because it doesn't fit with the First of the Sun culture.

Brandon Sanderson

I know. That's intentional, because--

Pagerunner

Is it Latin?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's not named after-- It's not named after-- It is intentionally-- The name comes form somewhere else. It's not meant, Latin, don't read too much into Latin.

Pagerunner

It's not a Yolish name?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's not a Yolish name. Once in a while, I'll make them very, very Roman if I want you to make that connection.

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Pagerunner

Do all three of the Drominad worlds share a culture? Like, they don't worldhop on the second planet. Do they call themselves Second of the Sun, do they have another name for themselves?

Brandon Sanderson

They have another name for themselves.

Pagerunner

Would one of those be Obrodai, by any chance?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

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Pagerunner

Wit says an expression, "Speak your fears at a mirror when you get home tonight." I've never heard that. Is that a real-world thing? Or is that, like, a Yolish thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's not a real-world thing.

Pagerunner

Any clues to what's going on with that?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I won't give any clues. I'll RAFO that.

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Brandon Sanderson

Let me set up this piece for you. Let me see if I can--I'm gonna look at the file and see when I first started writing this piece-- The master computer, that if you ran away with you would get all of my secrets. *crowd laughs* Nope, it says created when I created this new computer, so that doesn't help me.

But this is old. This is like 8 years old. Maybe 9 years old? And this is a story that I started writing-- You can date it by-- because you guys have been waiting for it. You can date it by when I told people I had written this thing in interviews. So it may be 2010, I dunno. You'll be able to find out I think by looking through the interview archive.

I wrote this thing that is very cosmere-aware. It's very kind of inside-- sort of a little bit self indulgent. And I wrote it, I'm like, "I'm gonna post this on my website." And then I thought, "No, this gives away too much. I can't post this on my website, and so I'm not going to finish it. We're going to wait." But now most of the stuff that it gave away then has come out in things like Secret History and stuff like that, so now I can actually read it. So I called this "The Traveler."

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Brandon Sanderson

A focused southern breeze made the trees sound like they were chattering. Tiny crisp leaves spreading the news of the Traveler's return. Pure white leaves, clustered along branches like skeletal limbs. Even the bark clinging to the trees was white. In some lands, white meant purity; in others, it meant death. Here, it didn't mean a thing. It was simply, normal. 

The Traveler sat on the mossy white ground, back to the tree, legs crossed idly as he picked at a pomegranate, eating the seeds one by one then spitting out the pits. They fell on the stark moss-covered ground, leaving red juice like blood running across a sterile white floor. To say he wore rags would have be an insult to many a goodwife who kept her washing rags in much better shape than the Traveler's costume. Ragged brown and black canvas, tattered cloak, and scruffy beard, rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot — or ash. 

The leaves suddenly fluttered excitedly behind him, and a strange puff of wind blew across the trunks. A moment later, a figure in simple gray robes walked into the clearing. Clean-shaven and silver-haired, he had the look of an aged scribe, not haughty, but tired. 

"So, you're back," the elderly visitor said. 

"Did I leave? I am the lingering odor you can never quite locate, my friend. Just when you think I've faded you open your cupboard and find, in an overpowering reveal, that I've merely been… ripening."

"Hmph, that's a new look for you."

The Traveler looked down at his ragged clothing. "I've been learning to blend in. Hard to do that in one of my normal costumes."

"I doubt you'll ever be the type to blend in."

"You'd be surprised!"

"Is that soot in your hair?"

"Maybe."

The elderly man sighed, walking across the short clearing and settling himself down on a large protruding tree root. "You can't keep doing this." The Traveler continued to eat his seeds, though he had started to chew them up rather than spitting out the pits. "You will just make things worse." 

"Ati and Leras are dead," the Traveler said, picking a piece of seed out from between his teeth. The elderly visitor said nothing, and the Traveler eyed him, leaning in closely, studying the man's eyes. The pupils were rimmed with a silver far too metallic to be natural, at least for a human. 

"You sly old lizard!" the Traveler said, pointing. "You already knew! You were watching! And here you were chastising me."

"I did NOT interfere," the elderly man said. "You meddle in things we promised to leave alone. Things that we—"

Traveler held up a finger, interrupting him, then slowly he pointed at the older man. "I. Made. No. Promise."

"You made your choice. Why now seek for things you so eagerly denied? My friend, it's the dangerous desire, the lust for power best untouched, that created the situation in the first place."

The Traveler did not reply. The two sat for a time, listening to the winds through the garrulous trees.

"Did you… find what you were seeking?" the elder man finally asked.  

The Traveler shrugged, picking at another seed and nibbling on it. 

"You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend," the aged man said softly. "It is impossible." 

"You don't know that. The old rules no longer hold." The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. "Besides, I've heard of a place… It doesn't matter. I don't care. This isn't about the dead… or it's not JUST about the dead, at least." He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat.

"So it's a simple vendetta, then," the aged man said, sighing. "How many years have you lived, and you still can't learn the wisdom of just letting go?"

"A simple vendetta?" the Traveler said. He rose, stalking up to the older man, holding out a finger and touching the man's chest. "You saw what Ati nearly did." The Traveler leaned down, face even with that of his older companion. "I would not think it MY vendetta that should worry you, old friend."

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Ravi

Does [Nazh] ever have any arguments with Khriss?

Isaac Stewart

All the time.

Ravi

But, they're basically best friends anyway right?

Isaac Stewart

I don't know about that, I'd have to ask Brandon. But I imagine that they get along pretty well and he feels okay being grumpy around her.

Ravi

So it's not like Mythbusters where they're only friends on TV but not actually friends in real life?

Isaac Stewart

I would imagine it's not like that.

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Argent

...The reason Odium dealt with the Selish Shards in the way that he did, whether that was primarily because he was inexperienced in Splintering and so he knew that he wanted nobody to take the Shards--

Brandon Sanderson

There were better ways he could have done what he did.

Argent

And he then learned at least a little bit better?

Brandon Sanderson

He learned at least a little bit better.

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Argent

Spren grant control over surges because surges are perceived as fundamental powers on Roshar. Would other Cognitive beings grant different powers based on what they perceive to be fundamental? Such as electromagnetism is on Earth?

Brandon Sanderson

It is plausible, although this was set up in a specific way.

Argent

By Honor or Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO on that. Set up might be the wrong word. There were seeds that caused this to happen the way it did.

Argent

The Surgebinding thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, specifically... Those influenced what people perceived as fundamental forces.

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Argent

Lightsong's personality is very different than Stennimar's. If the Returned are their previous lives--Cognitive Shadows as you've said before, just stapled with Divine Breath--where do their new personalities come from?

Brandon Sanderson

My argument there is when I was writing him, getting into a kind of writer-thing, this is the person he would have become... My philosophy there was, the way that the Returned happen, and you losing your memories, it comes down to this nature versus nurture thing for me. The personality-- He is the same person, but with certain life experiences removed. Different circumstances. And in his case, that resulted in, let's say, a secondary mode of personality that had never been encouraged before.

Just like how, you put me in the right situation I'm an extrovert, but in a lot of situations I'm an introvert. So you remove a lot of the cultural conditioning and that is who he becomes.

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Argent

Khriss believes that the reason Preservation is experiencing a slow death is because Ruin is not strong enough to Splinter Preservation.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that is a theory.

Argent

Yeah, that's what she thinks. Does she think that this is because of Ruin's trapped power, or because of an inherent difference in the strength levels of Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

She thinks it is more along the lines of a matter of leveraging power as the power is-- The things that happen made it harder for him to leverage his power.

Trapped is a good enough term.

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Argent

How many waves of human populations have migrated to Roshar? So I'm thinking the Ashynites coming from Ashyn, right? Was that just the only humans that ever came as a population?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on if you count the Iriali?

Argent

That's specifically the one I'm thinking of.

Brandon Sanderson

They came in a separate migration.

Argent

Not from Ashyn?

Brandon Sanderson

Not from Ashyn.

Argent

From whatever the Third Land was.

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Argent

Do Feruchemical metalminds experience physical change such as wear and tear, due to just being used as Feruchemical metalminds

Brandon Sanderson

Never thought of it.

Argent

Do you want to make up canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Sure...

Argent

Half-canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say half-canon. Wear and tear being used as metalminds, not counting clasping them on and things like that. Simply tapping or taking out? I would say no, but I would really have to think about that. Are we losing any particles to the transfer, the change? I don't think you are, but I don't know. I'd have to really dig into the physics of that. I had not even considered of that. There are ramifications of things-- So I'm going to say no, half-canon.

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Argent

Are mandras gravityspren?

Brandon Sanderson

*Very hesitantly* Nooooo? Kind of-- So the actual gravityspren, you're talking about the things Kaladin saw stuck to a wall? Those are not mandras.

Argent

Oh no, I was thinking about the ones that appear around dead chasmfiends.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, dead chasmfiends, yes. The arrowheads, yeah.

Argent

But you're saying those are not gravityspren? They're mandras?

Brandon Sanderson

So the things Kaladin saw stuck to the wall are not gravityspren, right. So I want to make sure.-- So arrowhead spren, that Shallan is philosophizing, theorizing about, are mandras.

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Argent

Do any of the characters in The Stormlight Archive share a familial relationship that we don't know about? Considering that we know about Jezrien and Ash. Not necessarily Heralds but--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Yes. No more on that.

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Argent

If two Surgebinders are next to each other in the Physical Realm and their spren are with them, chatting or whatever. Would this proximity be reflected in Shadesmar somehow? For example if there's a third Surgebinder in the same physical location, but in Shadesmar. Would they be able to deduce that this is what the physical-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, theoretically possible. 

Argent

Maybe difficult?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll dig into the mechanics. Not necessarily though.

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Argent

Would Aons work even better if they were drawn with a cartographer's or calligrapher's attention to detail? ...If you draw a map of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* Yes and no. The answer really is, it depends. I'm going to say, on average, yes. 

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Argent

Voidbinding, and what Renarin does, we are still very confused about how much--

Brandon Sanderson

I am happy that you are very confused about that, because I haven't explained it very much.

Argent

Ok.

Brandon Sanderson

And Renarin didn't figure it out very much.

Argent

And he hasn't figured out it much, yeah. And we're not even sure whether he's a Voidbinder.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

He's probably a Voidbinder, right. Then I'm not going to ask you that, because you're going to say RAFO.

Brandon Sanderson

Yup.

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Argent

How do visions in the cosmere work? And I'm thinking Realmatically.

Brandon Sanderson

So almost always [it's] glimpsing into the Spiritual Realm. But you are often seeing it through the Cognitive, and so like a vision that...

So like the vision that Dalinar sees. What's going on is-- being pulled, and kind of stretched a little bit through the Realms, into the Spiritual Realm.  Where a Cognitive construct is adding a framework to seeds that are set in place.

Argent

So that you can kind of comprehend the Spiritual?

Brandon Sanderson

You can comprehend-- and also there's a little bit of a life to it. Meaning it can respond to you and things like this, to an extent. So imagine, it kind of works like an AI. Imagine there's some-- You've got that power in the Spiritual Realm and you're adding a framework to it, that it is shining through, and that is giving you the vision. Complicated, I know. Spiritual Realm is supposed to be weird, and we aren't supposed to quite comprehend it, but that's why we've got the Cognitive framework there.

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Argent

I thought, like, at one of the signings you told me that when Odium was on Sel and Splintered the Shards there, the reason he did the Cognitive Realm hack was because he was not yet experienced in Splintering stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Right. He did not want what happened to happen, but he didn't know that he didn't want what happened to happen.

Argent

What I was getting at is, I could never find a recording of you saying "He was not experienced. He didn't want the power to be taken by anyone, and that's the only solution he could figure out." Does that sound like something you would say?

Brandon Sanderson

That is something I would say, yes... There are better ways to do what he wanted to do, which he later did a better job with. But there's not a lot of experimenting he could do.

Argent

Limited number of subjects, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

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Karen Ahlstrom (paraphrased)

1. Just as highstorms come less frequently around the Weeping, they are more frequent around Midpeace.

2. Following the advent of the Everstorm, the normal highstorm calculations/schedule was found to be thrown off by about four (Rosharan) months.

3. Highstorms move at about 370 miles per hour. The Everstorm moves at about 120 miles per hour. Those are variable of course, and shouldn't be taken as official, definitive numbers.

4. For approximate Everstorm timing calculations we used a cycle of 9.1 (Rosharan) days.

5. Roshar's circumference is about 22110 miles. Again, this shouldn't be taken as an official, definitive number.

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Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

The stamp-like glyph at the bottom corner of the "Ironstance Scroll" artwork in Words of Radiance is the symbol of the Calligrapher's Guild. It uses the phonemes from "Isaac", but doesn't phonetically represent that.

Jofwu (paraphrased)

I thanked Isaac for explaining that rather mysterious glyph, and asked if he could say anything about the even more mysterious glyph that has appeared in every book so far.

Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

I don't know what it means, but that Brandon has asked me to put it in several places. Compare it to the Calligrapher's Guild glyph. "That's all I'll say."

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Jofwu (paraphrased)

1. In your "Oathbringer's Timeline" blog post you said that Oathbringer ends on the 100th day of the year. What event does that refer to? The battle, the wedding, the epilogue?

2. Looking at my own Oathbringer Timeline, it seems like Venli spent only a few days in Marat. Is that true?

3. What day did Shallan and Jasnah leave for the Shattered Plains?

Karen Ahlstrom (paraphrased)

First, note that the timeline is a flexible thing that can be changed to make other events work if needed.

1. The 100th day of the year marking the end of Oathbringer refers to the last event in the final chapter.

2. Venli spent just 5 days in Marat before they left for Thaylen City. 

3. Shallan and Jasnah left for the Shattered Plains on "Day 6927". (referring to the day number used in my calendar as explained in the "Roshar's Date System" blog post)

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Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

The Nalthis essay and star chart (similar to the ones Khriss put together for the other Shardworlds in Arcanum Unbounded) are in the works, but we don't know when we'll release them. Warbreaker's 10th anniversary next year is a good candidate, but it may happen even earlier.

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Argent (paraphrased)

Nazh writes that "spren fishing" is illegal in Ravizadth. What exactly is spren fishing?

Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

It is the act of forcefully attracting spren in Shadesmar for your own purposes. For example, you know how when Adolin is genuinely afraid there, his fear attracts fearspren naturally? That's okay. But if someone were to engineer situations that would attract certain kinds of spren because they wanted to make use of those spren - for study, or other reasons - that would be "fishing". If spren have formal ethics, this would be unethical.

Argent (paraphrased)

So this has a lot to do with consent? Drawing spren naturally is part of how spren work, but forcing them to come, that's a no-no?

Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

Pretty much.

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Lightshaper_ (paraphrased)

What are the official colors of the Alethi Highprinces?

Karen Ahlstrom (paraphrased)

(From the internal Dragonsteel wiki)

  • Dalinar: blue & white
  • Sadeas: deep/forest green & white
  • Bathab: N/A
  • Hatham: green shirt with a darker green scarf?
  • Roion: green & gold
  • Aladar: black with maroon stripes
  • Ruthar: red & blue
  • Sebarial: deep gold on black
  • Thanadal: red & brown
  • Vamah: brown & gray
Event details
Name
Name JordanCon 2018
Date
Date April 20, 2018
Location
Location Atlanta, GA
Entries
Entries 136
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