YouTube Livestream 14

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Name YouTube Livestream 14
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Date July 30, 2020
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#1 Copy

Austin

How did you go about making all of your magic systems together in the context of the wider Cosmere in a way that feels natural?

Brandon Sanderson

I (like a lot of things related to the cosmere) had a leg up because I had written so many books before I got published. I had written thirteen novels before I got published, and among those novels were six or seven pretty decent magic systems. And I started to notice fundamental things that I did when building a magic system that were very common to my writing. And for a while, I'm like, "I want to make sure I'm doing lots of variety, so I'll push this further."

But I also kept noticing these connecting tissues, such as Intent being important behind the scenes to how the magic works, to the idea of the Three Realms. Realmatic theory showed up in Dragonsteel, which is the second Cosmere novel that I wrote and is based a little bit on Plato's theory of the Forms and things like that, but kind of taken my own way. And I always kind of start thinking of magic in that context.

And because I had designed all of these things and was noticing themes, I always asked myself, "Where does the power for the magic come from?" I'm going to bend the laws of thermodynamics, but I'm not going to break them; I'm going to have a different sort of power source. That's just fundamental to how I like to do magic. Where does the energy come from? So building a common energy source to all of these was the first thing that I started to do, just very naturally. And it's part of what made me want to link the Cosmere together. I kept having these stories where I wanted to tell stories about these kind of divine forces, the powers of gods put in the hands of mortals: what does that do? That's a common theme that started showing up in the stories that I was writing before I got published. And I said, "Well, if it's a theme, it's something you're really interested in, why not build it into the entire continuity?" And that's where the idea of the Shards came from, and creating Shadesmar and all of that. It grew out of things I did naturally and saw as themes in my writing.

And the linking then was very natural because they all were coming from the same essential power source, and they all had a few fundamental rules they were following. Mostly because that's how I build magic systems, right? If I have a problem, it's that when I try to build something that ends up not in the Cosmere, like Rithmatist, it still just basically works with Cosmere magic because that's a way that I build magic systems.

Good question, but like a lot of things, a lot of my career's success can be traced back to the fact that I was really bad at this when I started, and I got a long time to practice before I went pro.

#2 Copy

Clayton

I think you said you started with the Surges and worked from the bottom up. So what was the hardest Radiant Order to conceptualize in terms of virtual or ideal and powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Cracking how I wanted the Dustbringers to work was probably the trickiest of them all, because I knew that we were going to have (not to give spoilers) some things happening with the Dustbringers that would predispose readers toward them in a certain way that I did not want the Radiant Order to exemplify. And I wanted to be sure what I thought the distinction was and why it was possible that they could go in a different direction. (Trying to circumlocute all of these things to not spoil you.) They were the hardest, probably.

Building up how to make the Surges work, I would say that building up how I wanted the strong force and the weak force, and turning them into fantasticalized versions that basically have very little to do. Like, I even went kind of the surface tension, and things like that. Those were the trickiest. Like, gravity was pretty obvious and ended up working pretty well. I didn't one-to-one move the fundamental forces, by the way. I just took the idea of fundamental forces. But I wanted there to be nods to most of the fundamental forces in the Surges, just because that's where the inspiration was, and because I was gonna be using gravity, quite obviously, because that's the one that made me most excited, and as you can see the Windrunners and the Skybreakers were two of the first ones that we dealt a lot with.

#3 Copy

Questioner

Do you think anything in the future would change [Isaac Stewart and Steve Argyle's] minds [on Lightweaving being the magic system they would want to have]?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I mean, there will be other magics. But we have hit all of the core cosmere magics, except for the aethers. And I don't think aethers will be enough to tempt them away. Possibly. That would be my guess. I mean, there will be other little magics, because I always have things like that that I'm writing. But there's only one major magic system that hasn't been used extensively on-screen.

#4 Copy

Questioner

Did Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have any influence on your coming up with Syl?

Brandon Sanderson

I get this a lot. Here's my dirty secret: I never played Ocarina of Time. I really am embarrassed by that, because I have played a lot of Zelda games, and they're all great. A lot of people are shocked by that, because they list that as their favorite, and I never played that.

#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Horneaters are capable [of drinking the Horneater White]. They actually are human-singer hybrids, like the Herdazians, but in a different line. And they have a different physiology. And they actually are not 100% human and are capable of eating and ingesting things that would kill a person.

Isaac Stewart

Can singers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, singers can drink the Horneater White.

#6 Copy

Bayin

How much research into philosophical work do you do before each book? And what inspired to use thesein particular: Kantian deontology for the Knights Radiant, consequentialism for the Alethi and Taravangian, and secular morality for Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

Why did I choose the ones that I did? I really like when stories are not just a conflict of personality; they are a conflict between ideologies and ways of viewing the world which are all valid ways of viewing the world. When I put Taravangian and Dalinar into conflict with each other, it's because they are both looking at life in a different way. And I'm kind of reaching to different philosophical bases for those. And I will butcher it if I try to use the actual terminologies, because I am not a philosophy major.

Why did I take what I did? They matched the characters. And they matched what I'm trying to explore, without trying to give you the answers; trying to explore theme in stories. And I just love doing that. It's what makes me excited about writing characters.

#7 Copy

Valerie Jackson

What Order of Knights Radiant did Dalinar's plate come from?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that. Let's leave that alone for now. We're not talking a lot about Plate. You deserve a nice can of Read and Find Out. We'll start talking about...

We don't even really know where Shardplate comes from. It's all a mystery! Was Shardplate even from a Knight, ever piece of it? We don't know where it comes from!

(The cosmerenauts all know, they've figured it out. But we're just gonna pretend that they don't know.)

Event details
Name
Name YouTube Livestream 14
Date
Date July 30, 2020
Entries
Entries 7
Upload sources