General Reddit 2019

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Name General Reddit 2019
Date Jan. 1, 2019
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#1 Copy


Hey, I've been trying to figure out how Elhokar was 'broken', and I'd like to check if I'm on the right track. Obviously he isn't paranoid (since his fears of assassination and the people he sees in the shadows are very real), so i looked a little closer at his behavior and I noticed he never feels bad about how his decisions impact other people, and doesn't react to his sister's death/resurrection but does constantly worry about how people talk about him.

Combined, that really seems like he's somewhere on the spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder, what with "an excessive need for admiration, and disregard for others' feelings,"

Am I in the right ballpark?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, you are right on target.

Do note that the idea that a person needs to be somehow 'broken' is an in-world theory that isn't 100% validated by the people chosen as Radiants. People have, however, noticed a trend in-world, which is valid.

#2 Copy


Is this (see sources) a valid breakdown of known Rosharan Magic? The idea here is that two Shards on Scadriel gave us 3 systems - two mono-shardic and one di-shardic. Mono-shardic systems being each shard expressing itself, and multi-shardic systems arising from an interaction between the two. So by that logic, on Roshar, 3 shards should give us 3 mono-shardic, 3 di-shardic, and 1 tri-shardic systems. It is mentioned that Odium (the Void) is bound by the powers of Honor and Cultivation. With the caveat that the Everstorm is also probably in between Honor and Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. I'd suggest the chart is worth studying, however.

Footnote: I don't know if Brandon was talking about the Voidbinding chart or my linked chart.
#3 Copy


"Voidlight" (hasn't been named, I know) has been described as black with some violet to it. Is this because it's actually absorbing light-gold from all light hitting it?

Brandon Sanderson

I do call it Voidlight in the new book, so you can certainly call it that.

I'm more trying to describe the phenomenon of Stygian colors, which is how I imagine Voidlight. But your explanation probably has some plausible science to it as well.

#4 Copy


Is this hemalurgy table also a speculative in-universe document (like how the RPG had atium spikes only stealing temporal, because that's what the steelies believed)?

Peter Ahlstrom

It is an in-world chart according to the knowledge of some people at a certain stage in the history of Scadrial. [Edit: not Roshar, sorry. Also it’s not Khriss.]

#5 Copy


So originally book 3 was Szeth and book 5 was Dalinar? Good that it changed...I cannot imagine book 3 without Dalinar's flaskbacks. The story wouldn't be so powerful.

Now I am curious, did Dalinar get his memories back in the original planning for book 3?

Brandon Sanderson

As others have theorized, this wouldn't have worked quite the same way.

Oathbringer's ending would still have been its ending--but we wouldn't have had the flashbacks and some of the revelations about Dalinar's character. It quickly became obvious to me, however, that the confrontation with the thrill, the reveal regarding the ancient Radiants, and the solidification of the new Radiants as a unified(?) group needed to all happen alongside Dalinar's flashbacks (and his recovered memories) instead alongside Szeth's flashbacks and his plot, a big chunk of which was moved to book five.

#6 Copy


I've been checking the site almost every day for years to complete the signed art print collection of the other 2 framed on my wall. Please tell me this [Hemalurgy table] will be produced same as the other 2? I've got very low numbers for the other table prints, and it's hard to understate how much I've been looking forward to completing this collection after years.

Brandon Sanderson

It will be available as a print, probably with more details in the boxes. I don’t know the timetable though.

#7 Copy


Wait, don't you also have a teaching job?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a good question, and though others have answered, I should post to explain for those who might be interested in teaching creative writing.

It is very difficult to get a teaching job in creative writing without an MFA or a PhD. I applied to many of those programs, submitting Elantris as my writing sample, but I was rejected from all of them. I managed to get into BYU on my second year of applying to programs--but only their MA program, which was a stop gap because it wasn't an MFA, and therefore wouldn't be enough to let me teach.

In the first week of that program, the graduate chair explained the work we would need to do to if we wanted to get into a PhD program that would give us a shot at teaching for a living. I distinctly remember realizing I could never do all of that and still write my novels. So I made the call and turned toward my fiction instead of academics.

I applied to teach as a graduate instructor, but didn't get the job. I applied a semester later, though, and was given a few freshman composition classes to teach--but it was a graduate teaching position, meaning a job I couldn't keep once graduating.

I only got my creative writing class after I sold a novel. Even then, it was sketchy. The professor before me had been let go for not having enough academic credentials. I love teaching my class, but it is only one course which I only got after publishing. So this is not a route I could have taken if I hadn't sold a book. This tends to be a big conundrum in teaching the arts. You can't get a job without being successful--but being successful usually takes so much time, you don't have time left to be an academic.

#8 Copy


So basically I'm trying to figure out how Sapient Cognitive Entities are created, what they are, and how they work.

Spren and Seons are the most obvious examples. But seem to be fundamentally different on several layers. Spren are said to be manifestations of Cultivation's Investiture (might be mostly speculation, but irrelevant either way), but especially higher spren seem to be of Honor. Surgebinding is Honor's Investiture, and uses the bonding of higher spren to manifest. More sapient spren seem to refer to Honor as their father. Indeed there are direct references to Honor creating highspren. These are sapient when they exist primarily in the Cognitive Realm, but they require a human bond to maintain sapience in the Physical. Perhaps if they are pieces of Honor (Splinters), or at the very least collections of his Investiture, they don't have enough Investiture to exist simultaneously in all three realms. So, when dragged into the physical realm, their essence is stretched so thin they can't maintain a sapient mind. They need to bond a human to regain this by sharing the human's Investiture.

There are a few theories i have as to why this is. My favorite of which is this: they are Splinters of Honor. They only have enough Investiture to exist in two realms at a time. In their natural state, I believe that would be the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms. When first forming the bond, and transferring to the physical realm, they have to separate from the Spiritual Realm. Tear themselves from it, really. I think this is why Pattern describes it as an "extremely unpleasant" experience, why they lose most of their memories, and all of their sapience until their bond strengthens. To me this means that self-aware intelligence is not a result of presence in the Cognitive Realm, but presence in the Spiritual Realm. [All objects and creatures exist in all three realms, but that is different from having a presence and Investiture there. A rock had a soul and cognitive presence, and can see itself, even "think" to a small degree. But that is not the same as sapience. A rock also has no Investiture. Humans are all born with a presence of Investiture, the "spark of life"] The other possibility is that since spren exist in the Cognitive Realm, the more people thought of them as alive and self-aware, the more they saw themselves that way. And due to the nature of the Cognitive Realm, and the power of human thought in that realm, they became that which they were perceived as. This theory has a number of problems. Especially since spren existed on Roshar before men did, although we do not know whether or not they were self-aware then. We do know that spren only started bonding with people after humans showed up, but that may just be a limitation of the Listeners' anatomy. An explanation could be that spren are of Cultivation, but men are of Honor (Thus, "Child of Honor"). So while the spren were originally not of Honor, the bond with the more solid creatures Investiture-wise makes Surgebinding of Honor. This also had problems, even before it was revealed that men were originally of Odium, not Honor. So the only answer seems to be that highspren have their sapience independent from men, and are splinters of Honor (confirmed on multiple accounts). But since we know that Honor created many highspren, this tells us a lot about how Splinters are formed if they can be made voluntarily by the Shard.

For this let's move onto Seons. Seons are Splinters of Devotion, but his Splintering was caused by his death. TheSeons were created after the Splintering of Devotion, by people with access to the leftover Investiture. Seons are also self-aware and can form bonds like spren, although without the same results. When a person with a Seon is taken by the Shaod, their Connection is severed, and they float around mindlessly, extremely similar to that of a dead (broken bonds) spren. When a Seon's human dies, it immediately searches another person to bond with. I don't think Seons are capable of retreating into the Cognitive Realm like spren can when their human dies, so I believe if a Seon fails to find a bond, they will find themselves spread too thin and behave similarly to a spren at the beginning of a bond. They are fundamentally similar on several levels, and I believe they are both Splinters, but they were created in different ways. (This also raises questions as to what differentiates a person from a Splinter. If I had to guess I'd guess that Splinters only have presence in two realms naturally, humans have presence innately in all three).

Now let's move on to another planet: Nalthis. Because there is another sapient cognitive entity that offers something very interesting. Nightblood, and others like it. They are sapient, can form bonds, and need extra Investiture from humans (or any source really). The only difference is how much more Investiture Nightblood needs, how much faster it drains, and the fact that its "grounding" Investiture doesn't come from a Nahel bond. My theory is that Nightblood is a Splinter of Endowment. He was created by gathering a lot of Endowment's Investiture in one place. WOB says that large amounts of Investiture are going to pierce the realms. So much Investiture concentrated in the metal pierces all three realms. This gives the sword a presence in the Spiritual Realm, and thus sapience. I think this is why it drains Investiture so much faster, the Splinter was created artificially, and is unable to sever itself from the Physical Realm due to the nature of its creation. So it needs that extra Investiture to sustain itself in all three realms instead of just the Spiritual or Physical. This could also be because artificial creation was done by someone without a good enough grasp on Realmatic theory that didn't know what they were doing, resulting in Nightblood being more "porous" to Investiture. It could also be that Nightblood was made without solid enough Intent and tries to gain as much Investiture as possible in all three realms without limiting itself. Also still, it could be that due to the nature of Endowment's Investiture, it can be easily given, taken, and stored. There are tons of reasons that could explain why Nightblood drains Investiture faster than other Splinters, but whatever they may be I still believe him to be a Splinter of Endowment.

We know a Shardblade is a Splinter manifesting in the Physical Realm. In Oathbringer, Nightblood and Vivenna's blade aren't described as "like Shardblades", they're described as Shardblades, even by Vivenna. She does go on to call it a cheaper imitation of other Shardblades, and regards other Shardblades as superior, but she never retracts or contradicts her statement that it is a Shardblade.

[Also totally not relevant but Nightblood's aluminum sheath doesn't keep Investiture from coming out, it keeps it from going in. Which is just interesting because that makes Nightblood always endothermic, which breaks the laws of thermodynamics like Sanderson said many of his magic systems do.]

Tl;dr: I think Splinters like spren and Seons can only naturally have presence (maybe Investiture) in two realms, and the require a bond to sustain a presence in all three realms by using some of the human's Investiture. I also believe that presence in the Spiritual Realm is what grants a creature sapience.

Brandon Sanderson

Here is your official RAFO. But it comes with a, "You're thinking along the right lines" to accompany it.

#9 Copy


Yeah, it’s dangerous to leave him unsupervised for extended periods of time, as a random novella might suddenly appear.

Brandon Sanderson

The latest one is a story I really want to write about one of Hoid's apprentices, set in the future of the cosmere (between era 3 and 4) stranded on a minor shardword and trying to figure out their kite-based magic system...

(No time right now, though. Stay on target...)


That sounds very much like the first story you wrote about Hoid, doesn't it? About him landing on a new planet and trying to figure out the local magic system?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it would be the spiritual successor of that story. I don't think it would work any more for him, the way he has developed, but I think it could play out very well with one of his many apprentices across the worlds. (Particularly if he's a little more organized about this in the space-age era.)

Someday, I really need to send my old discs from the early 90s out for data recovery, to see if anything is on them. It would be a hoot to read these old stories and really see how much of the Cosmere existed in embryo back when I was a teenager.

#10 Copy


Not sure how many people would buy it but it would be amazing if he created an Ars Arcanum Compilation book and released it as a stand alone Hardcover reference style book.

Could be broken down per cosmere system (sort of like Arcanum Unbounded) and go into more details of the various magic systems, charts and the like. Sort of like the Hemalurgy Chart in the Hero of Ages leatherbound.


Edit just realised the perfect cover could have possibly already been designed - see the book on the cover of Arcanum Unbounded - that white cover with the gold Cosmere symbol is awesome

Brandon Sanderson

I've really considered doing this, particularly since there are a lot of worlds in the cosmere I don't know if I'll ever be able to do books for. So we will see, /u/NeoBahamutX. It would have to be something I do primarily for the hardcore fans, which would limit the publisher's interest--but I'm at the point where I can get them to do projects like that to keep me happy.

#12 Copy


Please make this [Warbreaker Chinese cover] available on your store!!! I want a print of this so badly, I already have enough of your stuff on my wall to drive my wife insane but she like this one shined read warbreaker too!!!

Brandon Sanderson

I would like to offer a pack of all the Chinese covers, sized to be placed on American hardcovers--so I'm ahead of you on this one.

#13 Copy


In my mind [Kelsier] was Blue-Black before the Pits and picked up Red after that.

You could make the case for White I guess but IMO even though he has this small group/community around him, he's too much "f*** the law" to be white.

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't generally make Kelsier white. I tend to make him blue black in my head, though there are good red arguments. (He lets his love of Mare override his logical conclusions that she probably betrayed him, his last encounter with Vin is him arguing about the importance of being a good friend, etc.) In fact, the red portion of him is probably the best in him--though it is also part of what drives him to kill ruthlessly.

#14 Copy


I am re-reading through Elantris for the second time and I am at the part where Raoden and Galladon are trying to find out who Shaor is. They sneak around and find a little girl in a pink dress and golden hair yelling, "Bring me more food." To top all of this off, Raoden is trying to remember her name something like Soine (Sō - īne) or swine........or Miss Piggy....

Did you do this on purpose /u/Mistborn ? Or is it just a really hilarious coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a coincidence, I'm afraid, but an amusing one.

#15 Copy


[image of Pathian symbol concepts]

Brandon Sanderson

You're right in that I don't have an official version; I haven't had Isaac take the time to do one yet. (I tend to keep him busy with loads of things.) I'd say these are very nice, and along the lines of what I was considering--but I don't have a full decision on what I want yet. We might have to wait a little longer for a canon answer, but I do think these are close to what I'll eventually want.

#17 Copy

Ben McSweeney

If I recall rightly (it's in my notes somewhere) the height is 15' per level. Only a variance of 3', but it adds up. I feel like 17S did this same math a while back but it's probably buried by now. Could be worth digging up to compare notes though.

We do have numbers, I went to some pains to try and get the drawing to represent them correctly. Your estimates are a little high I think, and you might be discounting the amount of internal space given to non-residential function (giant elevator atrium, for instance), but I think you're in the right zone.

#18 Copy


Can you confirm whether Navani will be the prologue viewpoint? Or you want to keep that quiet/ haven't decided yet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she is the prologue viewpoint.


Wouldn't it be dope to have the book 5 viewpoint from Gavilar himself, and it finally revealing what exactly he was up to.. :)

Brandon Sanderson

That is what I have planned.

#19 Copy


Breath and Stormlight are both forms of Investiture. AFAIK you can power any of the magic systems from any form of Investiture. Zahel is on Roshar, I believe, primarily due to how easy Investiture (Stormlight) is to come across.

AFAIK the form of Investiture doesn't change anything about the abilities. For example, Szeth was sucked out of Stormlight when he drew Nightblood; and Azure used Stormlight to Awaken in Shadesmar.

/u/mistborn is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of this depends on the Investiture and the magic in question. Azure was legit using Breaths, for example--ones she'd brought with her. But Szeth was able to feed Stormlight to Nightblood, much as Vasher uses Stormlight to keep himself alive.

To Awaken with Stormlight, the easiest thing to do would be to first change Stormlight into Breaths--something that Azure doesn't know how to do. (Admittedly, Hoid doesn't either, so it's not like it's a simple thing to achieve.) You could also theoretically use some magical (or mechanical) means to power your Awakening with a different form of Investiture.


This is very interesting. Is it possible then in the Cosmere for the 'intent' (spin or however described) of Investiture to be changed? And I mean within reasonable limits (not the powers of six shards or any of that). Can a Shard effectively grow in power in a place (e.g. toward an avatar) through another Shard's Investiture being changed (not just corrupted)? Or is it just making one type ('intent' - you should canonize a word for this :D) of Investiture mimic the properties of another?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the ways of accomplishing what you're talking about would involve either 1) fooling/overwriting your spiritual makeup somehow. (This is what Hemalurgy does, for example.) 2) Refining the power somehow into a more pure form.

But there are a lot of variables. The way magic from Nalthis works, for example, the system is just looking for any available Investiture to power itself--and so basically anything will do, regardless of the source. This includes consuming your own soul, in some cases...

You'll see terminology coming along eventually that facilitates talking about all of this. I'm not yet decided on some of it.


How many Breaths does [Azure] have by her final appearance in OB?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, I'm afraid.

#20 Copy


Is Dalinar based off of Genghis Khan to any extent, and if so did you blend him with other historical figures?

Brandon Sanderson

One inspiration for the Alethi is the Yuan Dynasty, which has Mongolian roots. Because of that, I've included little hints here and there connecting the peoples. I'd imagine Dalinar more as a Subutai than a Genghis, but the episode where he recruits a guy who shot him with an arrow is based off of a piece of folklore that surrounds Genghis, so it's not off base to note the connections there.

#22 Copy


Asking about the new novella

Brandon Sanderson

I suppose I shouldn't be coy, as there aren't many stories this could be. Yes, it's a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk. I've spoken about wanting to do one.

Unfortunately, I only had time to get a little ways into it. I suspect I'll pick it back up on the flight to Spain in July. And if I don't finish it then, I have another long haul flight in October to visit France then Israel.

It's generally hard to do Stormlight on flights like that; the books are too intricate, and the distractions too multitudinous. But novellas tend to work, so we'll see if I can get this one done on these trips.

#23 Copy


Huh, I had assumed Rock's or Rysn's novella would be your airplane project. I guess taking a break from Stormlight by doing more Stormlight doesn't really work. Can you share your current plan for these two too?

Brandon Sanderson

Still hoping to do both of them sometime this year, but we'll see. I would hate for Edgedancer to be the only X.5 novella for Stormlight. Feels more right if I can get those, and the Lopen one happening between books one and two, done some day soon.

The Rock one kind of needs to happen, so we'll see. I need to get back on schedule with the main book first, though. That takes precedence over all of these smaller projects.


This may be too much to ask.

For Rock's, is this a prequel in his homeland? Post-Oathbringer, coming to terms with his actions? Something different all together maybe..

I find either very exciting.

Brandon Sanderson

It is post-Oathbringer, involving him returning to his homeland.

#24 Copy


My top (realistic) potential options here:

1) Silverlight novella2) The Silence Divine3) SotD 2

(But seriously, give me that Silverlight novella. PLEASE, Brandon.)

Brandon Sanderson

Silverlight novella probably needs to wait until I've done the Threnody novel, for some connective tissue reasons, but we'll see.


Quick question. Will we ever see the Traveller short story be published in something like Arcanum Unbounded 2?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not, at least not without a rework.


This just further leads me to bet that the new group that'll be introduced in the Threnody novel will have Silverlight ties.

Brandon Sanderson

It will.


Will it by chance be tied to how Nazh has gotten involved with Khriss?

Brandon Sanderson

No, though we're working on a White Sand graphic novel sequel that will start into that story, hopefully.

#25 Copy


It just stores wakefulness right? I don't think it gives you the actual benefits of a good night's sleep. So after an extended period of bronze Compounding, your body will start deteriorating and eventually die.

Brandon Sanderson

Bronze Compounding will indeed let you never have to sleep. /u/mikkomikk as a good theory, as I haven't really talked about this, and that might be the way to theorize without more info--but it was designed to let people go without sleep, and does give benefits of a good night's sleep.


Alternatively, could you compound copper for a supernatural sleeping aid? or would that just lead to accidentally sleeping for 16 hours

Brandon Sanderson

Copper? I don't see that working, I'm afraid. Did you mean bronze?

You could fill bronze to sleep. (This is actually the very first power for Mistborn I imagined, back in highschool. Wishing, as an insomniac, I could sleep when I wanted to and be rested when I wanted to.)

#26 Copy


I have zero doubts after reading Stormlight that u/mistborn has a number of veterans in his alpha/beta readers group to help curate that mindset, because Kaladin and the other soldier characters are written perfectly.

Brandon Sanderson

I do, actually. (There are several, but Skar, who is in bridge four, is based on a friend of mine who has done several tours in the sand box. He's a big help for these books.)

#27 Copy


It makes sense that [Davriel]’s in the combat suit, because it’s war time, and it’s a game about combat, but I love my lazy, smart, tea-drinking good for nothing anti-hero.

Brandon Sanderson

We should get a version like that eventually.

Creative and I both wanted his first appearance to be a non-black version, even though Dav has a very strong secondary blue mode. (And some white he pretends isn't there.) I pitched them on the idea of him using the mask and cloak to hide his true nature, and it was pretty clear he would be using that mode on Ravnica. You'll have to wait for him to be a little more in his element for a more Dav-like card.

Brandon Sanderson

I posted about this on the other thread, but I do think we will get another card some day. This is actually a very good representation of Davriel in stealth mode, where he uses only his thoughsieze powers and wears his mask. As much as we would like a planeswalker card with art of a dude sitting at a cafe and complaining, it doesn't really fit the tone of the set...


Does that mean Davriel is confirmed to live through the war?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't give any confirmations (and know less about the current storyline than you probably think I do) but I'd be VERY surprised if Davriel were a casualty of the current conflict.

#28 Copy


Are we going to hear anymore about the worldhopping characters? I've been wondering what exactly their motivations are and if they have any connections with each other.

Brandon Sanderson

You'll need to wait a little longer on this. It will start to come out a lot more in Mistborn Era Three and beyond.

#29 Copy

Thank you for your update, this sounds like an amazing plan! Would you be willing to give us some clues as to which characters are featured within the primary, the secondary and the tertiary arcs?

Brandon Sanderson

I might do so in the future, once I'm sure that I'll stick to the outline--but I also think a lot of fans would rather not know this level of detail, and consider it a spoiler, so I'll probably hold off and only start talking about it closer to the book's launch.

#30 Copy


I finished Bands of Mourning last weekend and see that there will be a fourth Wax and Wayne book, The Lost Metal. A quick Google search makes it unclear if it has been released yet, it has a GoodReads rating but I can't seem to find a link to it on the websites of any of the bookstores I usually go to to get your books. I'm careful to Google too hard lest I get spoiled. So, has it been released yet, and if not, when can we expect it to be released?

Brandon Sanderson

Not out yet. I was supposed to write it last year, and got distracted by a different project. (Very sorry about that.) It will be one of the first things I do after Stormlight 4.

#31 Copy


Roughly 2 years for a book means it'll be 4 years for the end of the first half and 14 years total from now, minimum, before the conclusion of Stormlight.

Brandon Sanderson

This is correct, I'm afraid.

Know that books 1-5 are what I consider a complete arc, with 6-10 being a slightly different (but intertwined) arc. So there is that--but these books just take a ton of time to write.


Are we still going to see the same characters in arc 2? Or will it be a mostly deprecate story with certain aspects intertwined?

Brandon Sanderson

The second arc will still have some of the current main characters as main characters still. And it will be very connected to this story--but they are separate arcs, with a different focus. (The Heralds, for example, will be a larger part of the second arc.)


Is it possible for current Stormlight character to make an appearance in other cosmere books? I was thinking about it, Dalinar as a Shard if he becomes one may appear somewhere else or some characters could become worldhoppers and explore another worlds. Would be really cool!

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible for current Stormlight characters to appear in other books. That's all I will say for now, though. :)


Besides Wit?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, besides Wit.

#32 Copy


Would a stick like this [that looks like a burning torch] be more prone to soulcasting into fire because of the cognitive association?

Brandon Sanderson

It would be, actually. For the same reason that it's easier to Awaken a piece of cloth cut into the shape of a person.

#33 Copy


What is the ratio of Skaa to Nobles in the Final Empire?

Brandon Sanderson

Skaa to nobles is roughly ten or more to one, I believe. It's been a long time since I worked on the demographics, but it becomes far more imbalanced the further out from Luthadel you go.


How "far more imbalanced" is it between the Inner and Outer Dominances? What are the differences in demographics between, say, Luthadel, Fellise, Urteau, and Tathingdwen?

(Just between Skaa, Nobles, and maybe Terrismen. I don't need demographics of Allomancers or Koloss or anything like that, I don't want to take up too much time.)

Brandon Sanderson

The further you get out, the more unbalanced it is. In the center heart of the empire, a there are a lot more nobles. More like a 3-1 on the side of skaa. Far out, there are places with only a small number of nobles, more like 10-to-one or more. I don't have the exact demographics on hand--it would take longer than I want to take to dig them out. But maybe that gives you an idea.

Generally, cities are going to have a higher density of nobles.

#34 Copy


Is Taln's brief moment of lucid tied to Dalinar/Dalinar's powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it was tied to that.


I am very interested with Dalinar's powers. We already have had Bondsmith book but we know very little about their abilities. Stormfather has said they are the most capable of Radiants if not using the power for mere battle. Why is Dalinar so weak? He can barely do anything in "Oathbringer". I am sure he can do more, a lot more and he is my favorite, but the next books will focus on different Radiant Order. Will the powers of Dalinar be explored further even after the Bondsmith book?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll find out much more about the Bondsmiths in future books.


It is very hard to recognize which powers are a Dalinar only thing and which are a Bondsmith thing. Is it reasonable to assume that Dalinar is special? I believe some of the things he did cannot be repeated under normal circumstances.

Brandon Sanderson

You are correct.

#35 Copy


Think Dalinar could lift [Mjolnir]?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... It's a question I hadn't considered. I guess it depends on the criteria. I've never been able to figure out exactly what makes one worthy. Maybe it's more of a feel than specific criteria.

Of my characters, I'd suspect Dalinar is the closest. I'd say yes, depending on circumstances, but I am not 100% sure in the judgement.


Do you think Dalinar may have some problems with the hammer since he's afraid of himself, his powers?

Also I think Dalinar made a mistake when he refused to be a king...He's probably the best choice, but he still follows that promise he made to his brother when he was a young man.

Wouldn't it be better for Dalinar if he stopped being so uncertain of himself?

Brandon Sanderson

It would indeed be better for Dalinar if he'd grow a little more confident about himself--but I think he's no more uncertain than Thor in Endgame. So I think he'd have a good shot of at least budging the hammer.


What about Wax? Not that I see him using a hammer...

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say Wax could lift it. Doesn't feel right. He resents being Harmony's agent, even still. He's a weapon himself, in many ways.


Thor makes mistakes. Picks the wrong sides, gets tricked into wrong actions. It’s intent I think. It’s the courage to go on when faced with impossible odds. It’s also Odin who puts the requirement on it. It’s not some nebulous spiritual ideal. He needs a warrior and a fighter who can still get up in the morning after what they’ve done for a greater good.

Brandon Sanderson

I agree. It's more than just being a good guy--otherwise, Spider-man would be able to hold the hammer. You've got to both have good motives, but also the soul of a fighter.

This prevents someone like, say, Sazed from my books from being able to hold it. But I don't think someone like Kelsier, though shooting for good goals in the end, would be able to lift it. He's too much of an assassin, and a little too concerned with himself. Vin, as someone else pointed out, probably could have done it at the end of the third book. Dalinar. Kaladin wouldn't believe in himself enough, I suspect--but it would depend on the situation.

It's tricky because you don't simply want the magic of the hammer to be about someone with pure motives--you want it, I think, to be someone who fits the spirit and intent of the hammer.


What about Elend? He's the character that immediately came to mind when I heard this question.

Brandon Sanderson

Elend, I'd say no. He probably wouldn't want to--more of a Black Widow situation there. "Not interested. Isn't relevant to me."


What about Taln? Could he lift it, assuming he hadn't lost his sanity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Taln would be one of the most worthy I could think of in the Cosmere. Less of a question than Dalinar, actually.


What about Vasher??

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher has enough trouble with magical weapons. He wouldn't go near another one.


What about Adolin? He has a good heart, he is compassionate, honorable and he definitely is a fighter.

Brandon Sanderson

My gut says no. It's about more than being honorable and a fighter--the fact that Iron Man and Spider-man are both shown being unable to lift the hammer (granted, Spider-Man it was only implied by the hammer towing him away) says it's about more than just being a fighter and being honorable.


What would, in your estimation, be what Adolin is missing to lift the hammer? Is it because he doesn't have as much of a warrior's heart as Taln or Dalinar? Or is it a matter of him not being as strong as he believes he is?

Brandon Sanderson

It's hard to say specifically, as I don't know the canon reasoning for who can and can't lift the hammer. Tony can't, Peter can't, but Steve can--and so can Thor, even in the new film.

I'd say that Adolin needs to decide what his ideals are. He's in a confusing stage for himself, because deep down, he can't decide what man he wants to be. Is he an inferior version of his father, or is he someone else, who needs to find his own way?

Settling this question is going to be vital to Adolin in coming years.


Are the reasons why you believe Adolin wouldn't be able to lift Mjolnir the same reasons why the sprens skipped him when came the time to turn the Kholin family into Radiants?

In other words, is this why Adolin isn't a Radiant? Because he doesn't know who he is nor who he wants to be?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. (Sorry.)



Brandon Sanderson

Old Dalinar. I don't think young Dalinar's motives were right for holding the hammer.


How about Rock? He could probably lift it without even realizing what it means.

Brandon Sanderson

I think Mjolnir might have problems with his pacifism.


Hmm. that leads to the hard question: could Hoid lift it? :)

Brandon Sanderson

No. Not a chance.


What?!? No seriously… I don't mean Hoid honestly being worthy… but he doesn't do much things honestly anyway.

I think that (assuming that Mjolnir's power level is +- a Honorblade), Hoid could deceive Mjolnir for long enough to be able to use it… wouldn't he?

Brandon Sanderson

I think if we're bringing a Marvel item into the equation, we have to play by their rules, not mine. Odin is one of the most powerful beings in the MCU, powerful enough that even Thanos feared him, by my understanding. I think by their rules, it would be difficult to fool the magic.

Hoid would be much more likely to find a being who IS worthy, but who is also dumb enough to be duped, and get them to do what he wanted with the hammer.

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Considering inside the hardcover Words of Radiance is a giant, extremely high quality, official art of [Shallan], and she totally looks like the northern european stereotype. We might need /u/mistborn for this, because sometimes even official artwork is a mess [with regards to ethnicity].

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I've had a tough time pushing to get the images to work like I want. (Oathbringer's cover was more successful here.) The problem is that a lot of artists work from models, and it's hard to find appropriate models.

I've let Shallan slide because I know that if the films get made, she's likely to be cast with a Caucasian actress--and am more ready to make a fight over Kaladin, Jasnah, and Dalinar. So I don't particularly mind if people see Shallan as white, for various reasons--the main one being the one that's been brought up in this thread, I believe. The fact that Vedens, Alethi, and Horneaters aren't real Earth races--and can't really be cast with them. Shallan, having all three bloods intermixed, makes for a difficult description--particularly since I know the average reader is going to peg her as Irish in complexion because of the hair.

I would say that it's all right to imagine the characters however you would like, as it's your version of the story in your head. The Whelan art in book two is how I think most people will imagine her, and I'm fine with that--I wish I'd been able to get Kaladin looking a little more right on the book two cover, though I was successful with Jasnah on book three.


How would you cast Adolin? He's always been one I struggled to pinpoint too due to his blond hair and his mixed heritage. Blond hair and blue eyes do bring in given imagery which seems to clash with the Alethi racial identity. Or at least, it does to me as a reader. So how would you approach it while remaining faithful to your work?

Brandon Sanderson

I actually think Adolin could be somewhat easier than others.

When we make the movies, I'll probably suggest that we make anyone from Shin, Iri, or Rira (all along the coast there) look Caucasian. The books can handle a lot more of a learning curve, I feel, than the films--and we won't have things like the Interludes to jump over to Iri to explore their culture. So a race of strange, golden-skinned and haired people who ALSO aren't native to Roshar (different from the Caucasians in Shinovar) might just be too odd.

The Rirans, which Adolin comes from, are already a mixed ethnicity themselves--not even Iriali, so it's fine to make them Caucasian. So Adolin could be cast white, if they really want to. Basically, I'm expecting it to be a bit of a fight to get them to cast four of the leads (Kaladin/Dalinar/Jasnah/Navani) as Asian actors. Maybe I'll be wrong, but from what I've heard from actors in Hollywood, directors and studios are hesitant about not being able to cast known names in big roes. (Ignoring the fact that's hard for Asian American actors to become big names if they aren't ever given big roles...)

So, I can imagine allowing them to go with someone Caucasian for Adolin and Shallan, in exchange for pushing the rest of the cast to be how I'd like.

In a perfect world, though, I'd want someone like Dave Bautista for Dalinar--and someone like Alex Landi for Adolin. (Note that I'm not a casting director myself, so I have no idea who could act the role the right way--I'm just judging based on what I've seen of them in the past.)


How would you differentiate the "weird" Caucasian Shin eyes from the others in that case?

Would you go for Alita Battle Angel eyes or something to make the Shin distinctive?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I wouldn't do that. In this theoretical land, the Iriali and those around them would also have Shin eyes. That's basically how it is in the text right now. (Drehy, from Bridge Four, for example isn't Shin--but he's mentioned as looking like a person from "Western Roshar" which means Caucasian to them.)


Why do people think Szeth's eyes are creepy and "child-like" if Caucasian eyes are more prevalent on Roshar than being a uniquely Shin characteristic? I read it as the eyes being an exotic and strange Shin thing, just like their animals and plants.

Brandon Sanderson

They are exotic and strange. A pure-blooded Shin is a rare sight, and the way I have it now, even westerners like Drehy are mixed breeds. Even then, someone like them would not be something you see often. But at the same time, it might not be as rare as you think. Like encountering an American when in Japan. Something that happens regularly, but they still stand out. And many people from the rural parts of Alethkar would never have seen one.

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Those are all good possibilities [for a novella Brandon is working on], but it could also be the one he mentioned during the first Book 4 update where an apprentice of Hoid is stranded on a minor shard world with an umbrella-based (Edit: oops!) magic system.

Brandon Sanderson

Please. It was a KITE based magic system. An umbrella-based magic would just be silly, now, wouldn't it.

I'm tempted to plot that one as a YA book, to be done after the Skyward novels. I'd like to do something YA in the cosmere, but have been waiting for the right moment.


Would Mistborn Era 1 not count as YA? I got those vibes from many parts of it, though most/all traces of that vanished in Era 2.

Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn Era One walks the line. (Having a teen protagonist for one of the viewpoints does indeed give it the vibe--and we did a YA printing of it, with YA covers.) Really only the first book would fit, though, and it's kind of a stretch.

Generally, YA is defined by the age of the protagonist, and the conflicts they're seeking. Vin's quest to find a home where she can trust the people around her is a YA style plot, but by the second book, it's drifted more toward adult style plots.

A lot of sf/f walks this line, though. There are arguments for some Game of Thrones to be YA for similar reasons. (Be aware that in the industry, content--meaning sex/violence/language--is not a descriptor of whether something is YA or not. It's age of the protagonists and the nature of the conflicts.)

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So ever since I read your various tantalizing tit-bits about the Iriali being not native to Roshar, I've been incredibly curious about this especially considering that the other humans of Roshar all originate from a different singular source, Ashyn (unless there were more migrations that I'm forgetting). Are we going to get more info on this in the near future? Is there anything, even a tiny crumb, that you could possibly drop for us now?

Brandon Sanderson

The Iriali story is one you should expect to be continued during the space age of the cosmere, not in current storylines.


What about characters who are interested with cosmology in current storylines? Like Dalinar who certainly wants to seek answers about the universe. Do you plan to write more of it in future novels of current series or this is a stuff for future series with defferent set of characters?

Brandon Sanderson

The further we move in the Cosmere, the more these stories will become relevant. We're moving from the world of them just being cameos into the world of them being small (but important) sub-plots. They will evolve from there.

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Will [the White Sand sequel] still be called Lord Marstrell?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Lord Mastrell was, essentially, the second half of the first book.

White Sand was my first novel, but I only got about halfway through the story. A few books later, I wrote the "sequel" called Lord Mastrell. But really, they were one story.

Years later, I rewrote it all from scratch into a brand new novel, also called White Sand. This is the one that we adapted to the graphic novel--and it included everything that had been Lord Mastrell already.

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I know the multiverse isn’t a thing in the Cosmere, but I was wondering: if a Shard was in the world of MtG, would it have the power to planeswalk? Would their powers work if they crossed into another plane?

Brandon Sanderson

It's always hard to figure out how to cross magic systems like this. I'd say that yes, a Shard would be able to, as they're vastly powerful--but it really depends on how you decide to define certain aspects of the magic systems.

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When I first started reading Stormlight, I couldn't help but notice how similar Kaladin's name is to the Latinised forms of some Middle Eastern names, such 'Saladin', 'Saphadin', 'Nurudin', 'Meledin', etc. Initially, I just scratched it off as an interesting observation until I reached the point in WoR where we learn that Rock calls Kal, 'KalaDEEN', rather than 'KalaDIN'.

​Today, many people outside the Middle East pronounce to 'Saladin' as 'SalaDIN'.

​But in the Middle East, people would pronounce it with a 'DEEN' just like Rock would. Did Brandon intend for us to think of this? Maybe not, but...

​The Latinised forms of these names are more condensed compared to the Arabic forms of the names:

Saladin --> Salaah ud-Deen (Righteousness of Faith)

Saphadin --> Safaa' ud-Deen (Purity of Faith)

Nurudin --> Nuur ud-Deen (Light of Faith)

​Kaladin's name can also be extended almost similarly and can be translated into Arabic.

Kaladin --> Khalaa' ud-Deen (Void of Faith)

​'Void of Faith' befits Kaladin, especially in the first book as a slave and a bridgeman early on where he seems to have given up on life. I can remember some excerpt where he almost mentions something along the lines of losing faith in the Almighty or the Ardentia, but I cannot remember the exact words.

​Now, to be fair, 'Khalaa'' could be also be translated as 'Lack', 'Absence', and 'Empty', but I think all those words could be considered synonyms of 'Void', which better fits the Stormlight Archive, seeing as we have Voidbringers and Voidspren.

Brandon Sanderson

This isn't a coincidence. Many Alethi names come from Arabic, Hebrew, or sometimes Sanskrit origins. I devised Kaladin specifically by mashing up names like Khalid and Saladin--among others. The ones you can pick out are, generally, intended to be names with Dawnchant origins. Not to imply actual Earth connections; the point here is the same one I make when using ancient Latin or Greek roots to create magic term words.

The idea is that in world, these names might actually be slightly different--but in translation, we use words that evoke the same feelings as they'd have in world. (Indicating, in this case, some names have roots that trace all the way back to original Dawnchant names and terms.)

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Brandon Sanderson and J. Michael Straczynski co-developing an original urban fantasy TV series for the USA Network

Brandon Sanderson

This is Dark One, the story I've talked about for years--and which I think I finally cracked open how to do a few summers ago. I wrote what I think is a pretty solid outline, but it was obvious to me it was paced more like a television show than a novel, so I went hunting some partners.

Basic premise is that a guy from our world finds out that a fantasy world has prophesied he'll become the next Dark One of their world, so they decide to assassinate him before that can happen. It's been fun to work with Joe; he's quite the character. We did pitches for this early in the spring, and got some good reactions and some nibbles from Hollywood. That's about all I can say right now, unfortunately, but hopefully Joe will be writing up a pilot soon and we can see where that takes us.

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What the hell do the majority of armies use as fletching for their arrows? Like we’ve seen that the Horneaters use goose feathers but the majority of places minus the Shin lands don’t have chickens or any feathered beasts so what do they use instead to stabilize their arrows?

Like light shell bits? Or are arrows just incredibly expensive?

Brandon Sanderson

They use a plant material that works pretty well, comes from a fan-like plant that's pretty common around Roshar.

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Is there temporal symmetry in between the Surge-binding and void-binding charts, from the front and back covers of The Way of Kings? As in, Surgebinding is a re-emerging system of the past, vs Voidbinding being a newly emerging system that will fully exist in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

You can assume that Voidbinding has not been fully explored, but that parts of it have been looked into in the past. So I wouldn't say that temporal symmetry fully holds.

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In awakening, can you with some mental gymnastics, view yourself as both the donor and recipient of breadths? Is this how Vasher hides his divine breadth (and consequently nature), by tucking it inside of himself rather than an external object? Theoretically, can you awaken yourself, and with the right commands enhance/extend yourself Cognitively, like how burning Atium comes with cognitive enhancements to process the raw information?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a theory worth exploring. You're not quite there, but you are on to something.

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I want Rysn to keep accidentally finding herself in ever increasingly plot-relevant situations until she just becomes a worldhopper by accident.


u/mistborn, please seriously consider this. It would be amazing.

Brandon Sanderson

I've got some plans for her. Saying anything more would be a RAFO.

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u/mistborn I know you were writing the sequel to [Sixth of the Dusk]. Any progress on Threnody's novel? 

Brandon Sanderson

Just some vague ideas here and there. Nothing too specific. Silver chain in Oathbringer is from Threnody, though. (They use them in Silverlight too.) I'll get a chance to explain what they are eventually. (I hope.)

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Thank you for the update u/mistborn I always enjoy these and has the title been confirmed as The Rhythm of War?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm 90% sure that will be it, but I will need to finish the book before I'm absolutely certain. It has to work as an in-world text.


Ah, so does it need to be a written text or could it be an oral collection?

Brandon Sanderson

Oral would work in a pinch, but I'd prefer them all to be written works. These books are the "archive" part of the Stormlight Archive, after all. (The word IS intended to have multiple meanings, mind you. This is the most overt one.)

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/u/mistborn what do you think about an eshonai novella, something along the lines of Edgedancer? maybe in between book 4 and book 5?

Brandon Sanderson

This is plausible.

Others have suggested both Eshonai and Venli flashbacks in this book--and I considered that too. It is something I intend to try, but I'm not 100% sure I like it. We'll see.

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