General Reddit 2019

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Name General Reddit 2019
Date Jan. 1, 2019
Entries 22
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#1 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.]

#2 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.

#3 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.

#4 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.

#5 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.

#6 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.

#7 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.

#9 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.

#10 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.

#11 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.

#12 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.

#14 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.

#15 Copy


Excitement...building... Brandon only question I can't hold - can you confirm whether Navani will be the prologue viewpoint? Or you want to keep that quiet/ haven't decided yet? Thank you, as always, for being the Joybringer

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, she is the prologue viewpoint.

#16 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.

#17 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.

#19 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.

#20 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.

#21 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.

#22 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.

Event details
Name General Reddit 2019
Date Jan. 1, 2019
Entries 22
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