General Reddit 2019

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Name General Reddit 2019
Date Jan. 1, 2019
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#1 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.
#2 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.

#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


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.

#6 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.

#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


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.

#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.

#11 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.

#12 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.

#13 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.

#14 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.

#16 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.

#17 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.

#18 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.

#19 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.

#21 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.

#22 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.

#23 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.

#24 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.)

#25 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.)

#26 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


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.

#29 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.

#30 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.

#31 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.

#32 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.

#33 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.

#34 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.

#35 Copy


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 roles. (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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TheFoxQR (paraphrased)

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 (paraphrased)

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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TheFoxQR (paraphrased)

In Awakening, can you with some mental gymnastics, view yourself as both the donor and recipient of Breaths? Is this how Vasher hides his Divine Breath (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 (paraphrased)

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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From what I understand, Sanderson (a long-time MtG fan) wrote the novel entirely of his own volition, using only the pieces of MtG lore he deemed necessary, with entirely new characters he created, and then approached WotC and said "Hey, I wrote this, do you want to publish it?"

That sounds unbelievable. Very few people just do work like that for free. I think something about that story is exaggerated.

Brandon Sanderson

It...well, it actually did happen. Kind of like /u/StrictlyFilthyCasual said (though not quite) and it is a kind of weird thing that I did that was terrible in a business sense. I wanted to do it anyway.

Basically, for years I've thought, "If I were going to write a MTG story, what would it be?" The answer was what became Children of the Nameless. I basically had it, and the characters, plotted in my head. When Wizards came to me, they wanted to hire me to write one of their stories.

I knew, right out, they wouldn't be able to afford what it would actually cost me to write a story for them. In fact, I suspected it would be orders of magnitude different. So, I counter offered and said, "Look, I have this cool story I want to write. It's in one of your worlds. I'll do it for free, as a gift to MTG and the community, but you have to let me do my own thing."

They were on board. I realize, doing something for free for a huge corporation is...well, kind of dumb. But I didn't decide to become a writer because I have good business sense... I just wanted to do my thing, and have it be a real part of MTG lore and get to have a card designed based on my character.


I knew, right out, they wouldn't be able to afford what it would actually cost me to write a story for them. In fact, I suspected it would be orders of magnitude different.

Does this mean its unlikely we'll see you write full length magic novels? :( Children was so good.

Brandon Sanderson

It's unlikely, I'm afraid. There's a chance I'll do another story about Dav, but it wouldn't be longer than what I've done already--and it wouldn't be anytime soon. One difficult reality is that I have promised a lot of things to those following my cosmere novels, and anything I write that isn't on one of those projects needs to be looked at skeptically on my part, if only for the purpose of keeping my promises. So it's less a matter of money, and more a matter of time.

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Brandon Sanderson

I have never said I don't let my religion influence my writing. That would be madness.

What I say is that I am looking to create a great story--I'm not seeking to put in a specific moral through fiction, though I don't think it's wrong to do so. (I respect both Lewis and Pullman who made different choices.)

My religion deeply influences who I am, and that will absolutely reflect in the story. However, these are the sorts of things that are generally easier to pick out from the outside, as for me, I'm not seeing them a lot of times--as I'm focused on character, plot, setting.


I've noticed you sometimes include criticism of religion in your works, whether through characters dialog/beliefs or through actions of religious organizations, are most of these deliberate or do they grow naturally out of world building (or both)?

Brandon Sanderson

They are an effect of me trying to get into the character's head and legitimately put forth a criticism I think they would make. As a religious person, though, I personally think that the miss-use of religion can be an absolutely terrible thing. I think it's something the atheists and I would agree on 100%.

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So it is said that the Lord Ruler created the nobility out of the people who supported him in his rise to power, making them taller, stronger etc.

But how does that make sense? Wasn’t his rise to power after he ascended and used up the power at the Well of Ascension, so how exactly did he change human physiology after the fact?

Unless I’ve gotten it wrong and I’m misunderstanding what happened, this timeline doesn’t fit.

Brandon Sanderson

There are a lot of myths about things the Lord Ruler did that aren't accurate. Most of what is said about the skaa and nobility by characters should be taken with a grain of salt.


Ah gotcha, thanks for the reply! I guess I gave it more weight because Sazed speaks about the difference as fact in the HoA epigraphs.

Thanks for the clarification!

Brandon Sanderson

The LR did distribute beads to some people, essentially creating major noble families with access to Allomancy. So there is truth behind what people are saying. They have just taken it too far.


Just to clarify, this is the Sazed thing he's talking about

The Balance. Is it real? We've almost forgotten this little bit of lore. Skaa used to talk about it, before the Collapse. Philosophers discussed it a great deal in the third and fourth centuries, but by Kelsier's time, it was mostly a forgotten topic. But it was real. There was a physiological difference between skaa and nobility. When the Lord Ruler altered mankind to make them more capable of dealing with ash, he changed other things as well. Some groups of people—the noblemen—were created to be less fertile, but taller, stronger, and more intelligent. Others—the skaa—were made to be shorter, hardier, and to have many children. The changes were slight, however, and after a thousand years of interbreeding, the differences had largely been erased.

Brandon Sanderson

Sorry, I don't think I read the topic closely enough. The issue here is that OP is, I believe, conflating the people the LR changed and the ones he gave beads to. The changes are real, but not nearly as important as people in world theorized about over the years. (At least when one talks about northern continent people.) What Sazed says here, however, is factual. (Though he doesn't know the LR's intentions, only what he did.)


To clarify, I meant to ask how did he decide who to make nobles and who to make skaa? From what I remember he made his supporters the nobility, which would imply that he made the changes in the balance after he had already used up the power. Right? Or am I misunderstanding and the nobility have nothing to do with who his supporters were?

Brandon Sanderson

He didn't have supporters at that point, not really. He did have people he liked, and groups of people he wanted to advantage--and other goals as well. But he was mostly a guy from the backwaters who didn't know a ton about world politics.

The people he liked later on were the ones he made Allomancers, and they became the most important noble houses. It's possible I didn't make this very clear in the text, though. It was a bit tricky to decide what I wanted to make clear and what I didn't.

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Brandon, if you don't mind, I always wanted to ask this:

If Dalinar knew the story of Adonalsium (well, I hope he will, eventually) would he be like -- Yes, this is the true God I'm looking for, or more like -- if Adonalsium died then he was never a God (same what he thinks about Honor)?

I, like others, also root for Dalinar gaining knowledge about the greater cosmere. Our man deserves it.

Brandon Sanderson

To answer this, I'd probably have to give more Dragonsteel spoilers than I want to give.


That's fair. Thank you, Brandon.

I have not read Dragonsteel (if we are talking about that old version of the book). Hope you will dig into these things in the future novels, especially with Dalinar :)

Brandon Sanderson

I promise that answers to questions like these are very much on my mind, and are things I do plan to eventually address in one way or another.

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Does your son know that he has a namesake, Dalinar, in Stormlight books?

Brandon Sanderson

He does know it. Though he thinks Dalinar is said Dallin R, as in he has a middle name that starts with R. He asks a lot what Dallin R is like, as he finds it quite amusing that there's a person with his name in a book.

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Since kandra (mostly) stopped eating human bodies after era 1, does that mean they all have a subtle tell, since the only human bodies they learned to copy were the ones the Lord Ruler modded to be able to breathe ash?

Brandon Sanderson

You know what, I think you'd be right.

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So I goddamn loved Shadows of Self, to me it was the best in the series and showed what Mistborn could achieve when you combine what makes it unique with a different genre.

But part of the synopsis on the back in retrospect really bothered me, namely: "All the clues suggest the killer is a rogue kandra - a secretive, almost mythical figure who acts from the shadows - called Bleeder..."

Now yeah it's not that big compared to the reveal at the end of the book, but the reveal that the main suspect is a kandra called Bleeder, doesn't occur until over 100 pages into the book. So by knowing this ahead of time, it removes a lot of the intrigue of the early chapters.

Did this bother anyone else when they read Shadows of Self? I've advised people reading the series in future not to read the synopsis

Brandon Sanderson

If I had my way, all of the summaries we got would be in world documents like the prologue to Elantris or the things the Sleepless write for the Stormlight books. Marketing material is almost always terrible in this way--the one for Hero of Ages I recall spoiling a big twist.

They don't let me write these, usually, and complain/change them if I do write something to go there. Or they reluctantly put it on the hardcover on the back, but still write their own "flap copy" summaries. Then they leave what I wrote off the paperbacks. It's frustrating.

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Is Odium using the same means (or closely related) to [Splinter] Shards that was used on Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I have to RAFO this, as I don't want to talk too much about the Shattering until I write that book. (Sorry.)

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As a follow-up: I've been curious for a while (since discovering The Truth about Taimandred, really) about how often RAFO means "This is a mystery I'm unwilling to divulge before the book is out" versus "I haven't decided yet" versus "I've decided, but I might change my mind", in rough proportions?

Also, any other categories of RAFO that you feel does not at all fit into the above?

Brandon Sanderson

Hm. I'd say that category number one is the largest. Category three is also very common. There aren't a lot of category twos, but it does happen. I think that for RJ, those weightings were different, as he was more of a discovery writer than I am. (As I consider...the #3 you mention might be bigger than #1.)

One very big one for me is that I often don't want to roll out things I have decided because that will lead people to ask questions about things I am still making up my mind on. Or it will lead them to figure out things that I'd still rather use as a major plot point in a future book.


Do you ever worry that you might run across a fan extrapolation on a theory that sounds really good, so you might be tempted to either borrow it, or maybe force yourself to go in a different direction?

I could see it causing the same problems that giving prescriptive advice to a discovery writer halfway through the book might.

Brandon Sanderson

It isn't something I worry about terribly, for the reason you point out. That said, GRRM (who is more of a discovery writer) has talked about how he doesn't worry about it too much either.

I think in both cases, it's about trusting your instincts as a writer--but also, being flexible. Sometimes, I DO let myself be influenced by things my readers say. This is part of the alpha and beta reading process, as often times, you'll be seeding things by instinct into a story that you don't fully solidify until someone comments on it.

So I don't worry about this; I just try to tell the best story I can.

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Elend and Dalinar's storylines kinda remind me of the book The Prince by Machiavelli, with their struggles of being a good rulers/leaders. And generally, I think that his books are dealing with the question, what it takes to keep power vs. being a good ruler.

I read somewhere that Sanderson somewhat has a background in philosophy, so does anyone actually know if his books are indeed partially influenced by The Prince?

Brandon Sanderson

I have read it, and yes, you will find it sprinkled all over. (As well as contrasting and complimentary philosophies.)


Thank you for answering! Would be interesting to know what other philosophies are in your books. I'm generally very interested in philosophy but unfortunately, there was only a beginners calls at my university.

Brandon Sanderson

There are a lot of them that pop up here and there, some I've read about, others I've merged, some little ones here and there that didn't come from one place--but instead grew out of the worldbuilding. But one that people tend to not have read a lot about, but which I've always found interesting, is Pantheism/Panentheism (two different, but related ideas.) You'll find elements of both in the cosmere. That might be a fun one to do some reading upon, if you're looking for a place to go. And, of course, there's the phaedrus--though you're probably already familiar with that. Kant and Descartes show up...but then, basically everybody does here and there.

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In TWOK, Shallan is abruptly introduced to Shadesmar, the Cognitive Realm, when she accidentally Soulcasts for the first time.

In Words of Radiance, Jasnah explains that Shadesmar is always around us, but we just can't perceive it while in the Physical Realm.

I think the "safehand" is hand is a beautiful metaphor for this duality of existance (or is it a triality? can anyone access the Spiritual Realm?).

Safehands are mentioned many times throughout TWOK and Sanderson never really gets into why there is a safehand (IIRC). But so much talk about safehands in the book sets up this idea, in the background, that we aren't allowed to see everything - and that even though we can't see something, doesn't mean it's not there. Just because a hand is covered in a sleeve, doesn't mean we can't see it. Just because we can't see Shadesmar, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Was using safehands as a metaphor/foreshadowing of Sahdesmar a thing?

Brandon Sanderson

I am very aware of duality, opposites, and symmetry as themes on Roshar--but I was not thinking specifically of this with safehands. That said, I think OP is discovering real themes in the series, and I like this discussion.

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I don’t suppose this [medieval scribes scribbling complaints in the margins of books] is where you got the idea for the unspoken commentary in women’s script?

Brandon Sanderson

This was actually talked about a lot in one of the books on the history of reading and literature I read during my senior course in folklore in college. So it was certainly in the back of my mind when designing the under text.

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Can there be a perpendicularity of Odium in Roshar? Or can it only be in Braize? ?

I think the perpendicularity has to be in Braize, but my doubt is in the fact that Odium influences Roshar. If it is not necessary to be "physically" on the planet, shouldn't there be one of Trell also in Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Rafo is the answer here, I'm afraid.


Would Odium be pleased if an unsheathed Nightblood was thrown/left in his perpendicularity?

Brandon Sanderson

No he would not.

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That WoB left me confused. If there was intermingling between humans and listeners "long ago", meaning before the Shattering, does this mean we had humans in Roshar before the destruction of Ashyn?

The end of OB makes it seem like there weren't any humans in Roshar before, doesn't it?

Brandon Sanderson

The way I phrased this is confusing, I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure I was trying to explain that "humans and parshmen" predate the shattering. Horneaters and the Herdazians do not. I certainly could have been more clear.

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Just out of general curiosity - what do you do? Like... How many assistants/whatever do authors generally have?

Peter Ahlstrom

Most authors don't have an assistant. Those who do are generally very successful, but what writer assistants do varies wildly. I would guess that I'm the assistant who does the most with the actual text of the books (except for whatever goes on with James Patterson).

I act as go-between for Brandon and the editors, and I approve the editors' changes when I think Brandon would, and also make my own edits before sending a book back to Brandon for another draft. Once a book gets to the copyediting stage, Brandon doesn't touch it and I handle everything after that, only going to Brandon for spot fixes where I need his input.

The point of every assistant is to give the author more time to write.

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Peter Ahlstrom

It's more likely now that Dragonsteel will end up as 3 books.


Ah, cool! That's what I get for placing too much trust in random images people sent me a year ago

Peter Ahlstrom

7 books was true a few years ago.

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If /u/mistborn doesn't write a short story based on [Peter and Karen Ahlstrom] at some point i'm going to be extremely upset. Glad it worked out well!

Peter Ahlstrom

Hah, I think it would be a really different genre from Brandon’s usual. Though, the characters named after us in the Stormlight books, Peet and Ka, did get married.

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Cephandrius is ONE of [Hoid's] oldest names, but not his actual name.

I’ll fully admit that I can’t say for certain that Midius is his actual name either; it’s just where my guess is at the moment. Shoot, it could still just be a slightly earlier alias than Cephandrius. :)

Peter Ahlstrom

I know what his actual name was at one time. But it might not be that anymore.


Is this knowledge something you’re at liberty to share?

Peter Ahlstrom


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The cultivationspren at the bank in Celebrant was also a bundle of vines like Wyndle. I wonder if it has something to do with the bond or if she is different in the Cognitive Realm because Adolin thought of her as different (with him speaking to her often).

Mayalaran is described as being a woman while other cultivationspren are described as being vines. I was just wondering if that was an inconsistency on (Brandon's) part or if there was a reason behind it.

Brandon Sanderson

She's made up of vines (visually, this kind of looks like a person with the skin removed--showing muscles--but not quite.) I mention it some places in the text, but because her skin is a darker brown (with the vines a different color) it's a little harder to see on her, and the eyes tend to distract people and draw their attention first.


So she's kind of a female Groot rather than a vine covered woman?

Brandon Sanderson

No, more vine covered woman. Or woman made from very small vines tightly wound together like muscles. If you saw her on earth, you would think, "huh. Cool cosplay. Wonder if that latex is uncomfortable" not "holy cow, that is an alien."

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I hold out misguided hope we may eventually get a sequel with [Obliteration]. u/mistborn are you listening :-) ?

Brandon Sanderson

Listening. I'm trying to find a way to do some more Reckoners, now that the Apocalypse Guard fell apart.


Does that mean that Apocalypse Guard will not be done? The last news was that you would do it with Dan Wells!!

Brandon Sanderson

Dan did a pretty good revision, but at the end, he felt it was still missing something. We agreed that it might not be right to do now. Maybe someday I'll release it to fans, and see what they think the problem is.

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I want a book published of Shallan's illustrations,that would be so awesome.

Ben McSweeney

A collected art book is most likely to happen in the 5-6 gap. Ideally it would showcase every artist and each illustration, plus our many alternate covers, which by then should be well over 100 pieces.

If there isn’t space in that book for the digital ton of ancillary sketches and anecdotes about the work that I’ve been collecting over the past decade, maybe there’ll be a Shallan-focused art book down the line (well, really it would just be a me-focused book, but that amounts to largely the same thing plus extras).

TL,DR: 4-5 years.

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The big question is LEGO building considered a Masculine Art or a Feminine Art? Seems like it would be feminine, but it would be extremely hard to do with one hand covered.

Brandon Sanderson

It would be feminine, but that WOULD be a problem! So they might have some healthy discussion on it. I suspect that the traditionalists would land on it being a feminine art, but covertly acknowledge that most would be built with two hands, then displayed.

The whole "one handed" thing breaks down quickly when poked with too many actual logical points. Like a lot of real-world sexism.

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Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't particularly interested in writing a [Magic: The Gathering] novel that Wizards [of the Coast] wanted me to write, but I was in a position to write something I found really exciting--supported by their creative team, who helped make sure I was getting the continuity right.

I would be interested in doing something else like this, but it would have to be years in the future. I put off some of my own projects (Wax and Wayne 4, mostly) in order to do this, so I owe my readers some time staying on task and doing what I've promised them I'd do.

But, I guess the answer is, "It could happen." Novellas like this, or even something more. Like, I could see (crazy though it would be) moving to Seattle for a year or so and being part of an early lore meeting on a new world, then working with creative closely for the development of that set and writing a novel tied in. (Assuming they'd have me.) I really like Magic's creative team, and being deeply involved in the lore of a world like that would be a lot of fun.

This would be an AWFUL business decision, of course. So it's not anything I could do in the near future.

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Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to release [Dragonsteel Prime] digitally (likely for free) eventually. The thing is, I don't think the book is very good--so I kind of don't want people reading it. And beyond that, there are a few things in it that are cosmere spoilers--AND more than a few things that are no longer relevant to the cosmere.

I realize it's a curiosity, however, to cosmere fans. I just don't feel it's equal in writing skill to my two other unpublished books from that era (White Sand and Aether of Night) despite them also having their problems.

I haven't been able to bring myself to say, "All right, here you all go. Read it" because in some ways, it's way more personal for me than the other weak stories from my unpublished days, because it represents me trying very hard (and failing) to boot up the cosmere, so it's extra cringeworthy for me in that regard.


This just made my night, so thank you! That being said, I feel like you have the kind of fan devotion that would allow for a type of “podcast paywall” or “YouTube patreon” situation where those that would want to learn more could be offered some additional information (like Dragonsteel) without having to make the trip to BYU.

I know I would! And I know I would understand that I’m paying for the right to see a rough draft.

Brandon Sanderson

I understand this. I think I'm going to experiment with offering Way of Kings prime first, as that one's not quite as bad. I will say this: eventually, I'll release Dragonsteel. I think it's inevitable that I'll bend and give it to the fans, so you don't need to make the trip, so long as you're okay waiting a few years.


Maybe also drop Mistborn Prime/Final Empire Prime the next couple times there's a gap in your publication schedule?

They're technically accessible through email, but having them on the website would make things easier to discuss, and it seems like an easy way to throw a little red meat at the fanbase without putting in too much effort (and you could stretch it out by just putting up 1 or 2 chapters a day).

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there is enough serious fan and academic interest in my roots as a writer, that I should probably do this, as you suggest. Let me find the right way to do it.


Maybe you could release a digital anthology of all the Prime/Unpublished works?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll consider the right way to do this--but either way, I will start trying to get them out to people.

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This got me thinking about the older spren with four genders. Do they look more like the parshmen (dull form), or one of the listener forms?

Brandon Sanderson

Almost everything about this needs to be a RAFO, I'm afraid. I'll get into it eventually.

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Numuhukumakiaki'aialunamor, his nickname. Its Rock. And do ya know what he does? He cooks. THE ROCK COOKS. Adonalsium damn you Sanderson! Why would you do this to me, WHY? Why would you make a character just to have an IN UNIVERSE "what the Rock is cooking?" joke? why?

Brandon Sanderson

Would you believe me if I told you this was actually a coincidence? I DID notice it, though, when writing the first book way back when.

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Children of the Nameless sequel, when?

Brandon Sanderson

Sequel someday. But not until after I've caught up on Stormlight and Mistborn.


Catch up as in finish or catch up as in get up to date on release windows? Cause I can't spend like 10 years waiting to see what happened to that girl after she disappeared, even if I get some radical Stormlight books while I wait

Brandon Sanderson

I put off writing Wax and Wayne 4 to do Children of the Nameless, and so I need to make sure I've finished that at the very least--and it has to come after Stormlight 4.

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I'm sure others have spotted this already, but I just noticed that the titles of the first 5 Stormlight Archive books are on track to form a palindrome.

  • (The) Way of Kings
  • Words of Radiance
  • Oathbringer
  • (The) Rhythm of War
  • ...


This is really cool! Whether coincidence or deliberate, I hope that Sanderson continues the trend.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say that abandoning the title of book two way back when let me rebuild the title sequence to do something I hadn't been able to make work in my original series draft. Stones Unhallowed isn't likely to be the last book's title any longer.

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A while ago I was talking with my friend about the presence of isotopes in Mistborn, and we thought surely the metals have ions and isotopes like they do in the real world, otherwise how else would they exist on an atomic level? We wondered if there were radioactive isotopes on Scadrial or even in the Cosmere as a whole, else they would never discover nuclear weaponry and fuels. None of the non-god metals in Mistborn have radioactive components, but that isn't to say that radioactive metals don't exist in the cosmere. Radioactive elements such as uranium (a necessary discovery for the 3rd and 4th Eras of Mistborn if they want to have long term fuel sources/weapons) and radium (necessary discovery in the field of medicine) seem necessary to the advancement of civilization. This also raises the question of where would the god metals, lerasium, atium, and harmonium, fit on the Periodic Table, and would all of their isotopes be stable, would they perhaps have radioactive isotopes that can somehow affect their Allomantic properties?

Brandon Sanderson

These are things we'll start answering in the modern day Mistborn novels, so RAFO for now.

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Have I gone crazy or did he misspell Kal's mom's name twice [in the Stormlight Four preview chapter]? It's Hesina, is it not? But its listed as Hessica twice.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I always write her name the way it was in 1.0 of the first book, not the place one I changed it (to be more in line with Alethi naming conventions.) So Karen or Peter always have to go through and change it several times for me.

At least I've stopped writing tin as silver these days. Whatever I do in the first draft tends to get embedded into my muscle memory as far as names.


Ha! I figured it was something like that, but started getting paranoid that I completely misremembered anyway. Besides, I imagine that, especially writing at the speed you do, it's easy to overlook the smaller details.

Brandon Sanderson

It's also something about the way my brain works. I still have trouble writing Galladon instead of Galarion, which was his original name. Often, near the end of a book, I'm making tweaks to get the languages and naming more consistent--and some names just don't fit any longer. But my brain rarely wants to accept the changes. (Notably, though, I took easily to Kaladin--who was originally named something else, but a name I never really liked.)


Huh! Sorry if you’ve answered this before, but what was Kaladin’s original name?

Brandon Sanderson

Merin. I know. In my defense, it fit the linguistics at the time.

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What is the difference between a person's Spiritweb and their spiritual DNA? Is there a difference?

Brandon Sanderson

Soul, generally used in the cosmere, is a spiritual or philosophical term. It refers to the part of a person that continues to exist after death, or to the "being" of the person in a philosophical term.

A Spiritweb is a measurable, quantifiable thing in the cosmere. (Granted, it's not easy to do either to one, but it can be done.) It is a scientific term, though because the cosmere hasn't reached modern scientific understandings yet, there is a lot of overlap between science, philosophy, and spirituality.

This way, acknowledging that a person has a Spiritweb does not require an atheist/humanist to affirm religious ideas or concepts--like acknowledging that the Vessels/Shards exist does not require also affirming that a capital G God exists.

The separation of the two is necessary to allow people like Jasnah to not be undermined by the text. It wouldn't be right of me to work for having representatives of viewpoints contrary to my own if the very foundation of the magic systems and physics proved them wrong.

So, in short, you can measure a Spiritweb. Whether a person actually has a soul or not (even in the cosmere) is subject to your own personal philosophy on the idea. Even ghosts and other persisting personalities after death, like certain individuals who shall remain unnamed, have a very real and rational magic system explanation for their existence.


Is a Cognitive Shadow essentially Investiture filling in the molded pattern of a Spiritweb to the point where it resembles the initial person?

I'm interested in the implications with respect to personal identity--the "soul" would be one of the competing answers for the question "what am I," but some argue for psychological continuity and others for biological continuity. A Cognitive Shadow seems like it might better fit the Psychological Criterion, since it seems like Investiture replaces the biological body as the source of living and experiencing things.

Brandon Sanderson

You're getting into things that are subject to debate among people in the cosmere. Most shadows would insist that they're the same person. Others would dispute this, saying they're essentially a spren--a bit of the power that came alive like you said, taking on the personality of the person when the person themselves died.


Like uploading a brain to a computer. Made of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

A fitting analogy.


Does it matter what kind of power it was that filled the gaps? Like, if you were a normal human and made a Cognitive Shadow fueled by AonDor, would you be more able to "possess" a modern computer than if you were made a Cognitive Shadow by - say - Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

This can matter. Shades from Threnody, for example, work differently from Returned, who are different from Heralds. But all are Shadows.

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I’ve read the books several times and still can’t imagine what grass not in Shinovar is like.

Ben McSweeney

it looks like a tall, terrestrial grass, shades of green to gold depending on the variety and life cycle... grass which suddenly whips down into the ground whenever anyone gets too close (probably sensing ground vibrations).

The actual plant is a sort of shallowly burrowed seed pod with room enough inside to hold moisture and for the long leaf to coil up... any excess leaf will get trimmed by exposure. Pretty sure it tops out around 3 feet, but if it grows longer some critter will eat it. Seeds emerge from the leaf tip to be either consumed and then redeposited in faeces, or blown away and redeposited by the winds.

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Ben McSweeney

The major mandate for the entire Rosharan environment is "coral reefs above water". We leaned into it hardest in the first book, partly 'cause we were still working out what's what and partly 'cause Brandon wanted to put that design theme up front.

So the luckspren and windspren are evocative of fish and schools. The prickletac rockbuds are actually shaped like branch coral, and the leaves of the stumpweight trees are seawead. Markel trees gots clamshell leaves. Axehounds are turtle-faced lobster-dogs, chull are giant hermit crabs, skyeels are so Moray they even got pharyngeal jaws.

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Is the footwear for Plate a version of sabatons? Meaning, is it a form fitting armor over a boot? I ask because I was wondering how an Edgedancer would use Abrasion on the Shardplate they were wearing?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate as it is used by Shardbearers in the modern era of Roshar would interfere with Edgedancers moving like they do. (Yes, it does fit around the boot entirely.)

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So for years GRRM has had a yearly Song of Ice and Fire calendar.

I’d like to think the Cosmere is big enough / popular enough to get similar treatment?

I think there is some great artwork and I love seeing the collections in the leather-bound editions and things.

Brandon Sanderson

This is on our radar. Actually, because of the way the year on Roshar works, we could theoretically come up with an 18-month calendar that has our dates, Roshar dates, and list all the highstorms and Everstorms. That might be more niche than just doing a normal calendar, though.

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From what I understand, Sanderson has basically decades of books planned, and the next Mistborn era should be coming out after this first Stormlight series is done, which will be 5 books in total.

I forgot the source on this, and honestly this is more from multiple interviews of his, so take it with a grain of salt, but my understanding is that he writes each series in chunks, so his writing timeline would look something like this:

  • Stormlight Archive Part 1 (Books 1-5)
  • Misborn Era 2 Trilogy (1980s cyberpunkish)
  • Stormlight Archive Part 2 (Books 6-10)
  • Mistborn Era 3 (Futuristic SciFi setting)
  • Final Cosmere book focusing on a central character to all these books.

So Mistborn won't be coming out until the 5th Stormlight book is done, and so on down the line. If you expand the schedule, we can expect almost yearly Sanderson books until 2040! Guy is a machine.

Brandon Sanderson

You've got this mostly right, though we've just gone ahead and renamed the 1980s one "Era Three" because of confusion, and Wax and Wayne Era Two. (People didn't really take to my Era 1.5 philosophy on that one, so we are just going with the easiest method of discussing it instead.) Era Three will be a little more Tom Clancy spy thriller than cyberpunk. And Era Four is the same as the final cosmere books. (But you forgot Dragonsteel, which will happen right before it--Hoid's origin story.)


I hope you don’t mind me asking, how do you think you’ll approach balancing out knowledge self-contained to the Mistborn series with the audience’s need to know about the larger Cosmere? Do people who only read Mistborn have to brush up on Roshar stuff beforehand?

Brandon Sanderson

For the final Mistborn trilogy, they will have to. That will be the cosmere equivalent of Endgame or something--the series that won't really work for you unless you've followed most everything up to that point. Dragonsteel, Era Three, etc should still work as stand-alones.


That will be the cosmere equivalent of Endgame or something

This sentence alone gives me shivers. I can't wait for all of it. And I hope that everything comes together as you plan and hope.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm always hesitant to make Avengers comparisons, as the cosmere endgame is less about individuals coming together (though there will be some of that) and more about the clash between philosophies and cultures. But who knows? That is several decades away. Right now, I just need to keep working on Stormlight Four.


How thick do you think you’ll go for the Era 4 books? Stormlight level word count or keeping with Mistborn’s general length?

Brandon Sanderson

I would anticipate Era Four going Stormlight length. (Though Era Three should be regular Mistborn length, I think.)

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Are there plans for Arcanum [Unbounded] Vol. 2 somewhere down the line?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but I need to write MANY more novellas before we can collect them again.


Are you still planning on a Wandersail and/or aRock novella?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but we'll see. It's going to depend on how the revisions go on Book Four. There's a good chance I'll need a little sanity (ie, writing something new) in the middle of that process, but I'd have to be far enough ahead to spare a few weeks to work on it.


Weren’t you working on a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a pretty good chapter and an outline, but it gives away a lot about space age cosmere, so I don't know when I'll finish and release it.


And take them out directly in the Arcanum or separately first??

Brandon Sanderson

I'd probably do them separately, as I did with the others, then get a collection together once there are enough of them.

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Do you anticipate ever writing a climax as big as the Last Battle again? I'm sure keeping that chapter straight was a huge endeavor

Brandon Sanderson

:) I'm pleased with how people responded to its length, I must say.

In case you're interested in more than the innuendo, I don't know that I imagine ever doing a chapter of that scope again. If I do, though, it would come either at the end of Stormlight 10 or the final Mistborn book at the end of the full sequence.

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I vaguely recall reading a WoB somewhere saying you were toying with the idea of doing cyberpunk Mistborn between Era 3 and 4. Have you shelved that completely?

Brandon Sanderson

It's still there in the back of my mind, but I'd need to see how Era Three plays out before I say more. Beyond that, I have to make certain I'm setting goals I can realistically finish before I'm too old. I'm trying to contain the scope of the cosmere to be certain I don't start too many things that slow down the release of the main line books.


The Mistborn cyberpunk era and the 1940s era would certainly be fun to see glimpses into in novella form, even if they'll never be the main "Eras".

Brandon Sanderson

That's a distinct possibility.

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Brandon Sanderson

As you all can guess from this [Stormlight Four release date], I finally decided that I've made enough progress (and am likely enough to finish the final book in time) that I let Tor pick a date and start the marketing Machine.

As we stand right now, I have 10 chapters plus the climax (which can be quite large) and epilogue to finish before the end of the year, and I'm thinking I'll make it.


Climax? Haven't you said this book doesn't have one big epic climax like previous books but three different climatic scenes for three different characters in three different places? Did you change it?

Brandon Sanderson

No, that is the way it is--but the other two climactic sequences are done already. And I saved the one with the most characters, and therefore the one that will take the most time, to write last. You're right, though, in that Arc 2 and Arc 3 already have their climactic scenes finished. One will happen in the middle of Part Four, and one will happen around the Epilogue, with the Arc One climax taking the traditional "Big chunk of the ending" slot.


How long is Arc 3 (Arc 1 is 200+K words and Arc 2 is 80K words)? Which character does it follow?

Brandon Sanderson

The arcs are now completely interwoven, as I've been layering them in the full document as I finish them. So it's really hard to say how long each arc is at this point. (Sorry.) I also haven't revealed which characters are in which arcs, as I think the groupings would give away too much.


Don't be sorry :) You dropped some info about the length of Arc 1 and Arc 2, and I thought Arc 3 is also known, but you forgot to mention it in the last update.

So there will be three separate arcs with no interwentions, BUT...main characters, Shallan, Dalinar, Kaladin will all be together again in book 5 for "grand final", right?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's not talk too much about book five yet, as book four isn't even out. But I do anticipate book five having a plot structure more similar to books two and three, rather than books one and four. (IE, most main characters together for big chunks of the plot, rather than separate.)

That's subject to change as I tweak the outline following the finish of four. It will be a major finale for the series, though.

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WOOT WOOT SOULBURNER STUFF! I remember asking you about that in the Skyward Reddit Q&A and you said not to get my hopes up...permission to get them up now...?

Brandon Sanderson

Your hopes can go up. There's something really cool happening with Soulburner.

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Assuming I don’t add anything else, like a Mistborn cyberpunk between eras three and four

I didn't know how much I needed this in my life until you mentioned it. Even if it was just a small one off. This would be peak awesome.

Brandon Sanderson

We'll have to see. I would like to do something here, but it's going to depend on a lot of different factors.


Even just a short story or novella to provide a little window into that era to bridge the gap before Era 4 would make me unbelievably happy

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sure we will need something. A novella at the least makes sense.

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asmodeus (paraphrased)

Would the Unmade correspond to the various Knight Radiant Orders by philosophy? Would Odium's champion be his equivalent to the Bondsmiths?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, the varieties of the Fused do that. It's not 1-to-1, but think of the Unmade as the analogs of Heralds. Odium has no Bondsmith Analog.  

Footnote: Brandon specifically used the spelling "analog." The capitalization is also replicated.
Direct submission by asmodeus
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Date Jan. 1, 2019
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