Rhythm of War Preview Q&As

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Name Rhythm of War Preview Q&As
Date July 28, 2020
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#1 Copy


I'm pretty convinced that Brandon's approach to building a magic or technology system starts with the question "how can I fly with this?"


Brandon Sanderson

Now, now. Give me some credit. I started this one with "How can I have magical Power Armor."

"How can I make Airships?" was, like, question number three or four.


We've been having some hot debates on how the airship works, if you don't mind shedding some light...

Does the aluminum allow for the Urithiru-lattice and Plains-lattice to be active/conjoined at the same time?Or is the aluminum just about allowing the Plains-lattice to be reoriented to allow "forward" to be different directions?

It's interesting that they need aluminum to do the force-redirect thing because spanreeds could already do that. (their orientation being relative to the spanreed board) Is there a reason they don't work like spanreeds in this way? Or do spanreeds not work that way after all, requiring the boards to be oriented along cardinal directions (or something like that) so the reference frames match up?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll get a big long explanation in the book. I just didn't want to front load it.

I've been dodgy on spanreeds, even in the books, because the locals don't actually quite understand how things are working with them. But suffice it to say that as they enter a kind of early industrial age in relation to their scientific understanding, they're realizing things they took for granted have principles behind them that can be tweaked.

#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

For what it's worth, I also agree with the poster above. Kaladin just isn't ready for this kind of [romantic] relationship yet.


Oh "yet" that means i can still hope?

Brandon Sanderson

There is always room for hope. :)

#3 Copy


Navani's fabrial ship is amazing. When you think about it, they're moving at ridiculous speeds technology wise, though I suppose you can attribute it to war. I want to see where this technology race is going to go.

Peter Ahlstrom

A knot on Roshar may just be shorthand for one mile per hour.

#4 Copy


So the whole book [Rhythm of war] is a Sanderlanche?

Brandon Sanderson

No, don't get me wrong. Imagine previous Stormlight books starting with a build-up, then ending with a mini-climax at the end of Part One. (For example, in book three, we are building toward the reveal of the Unmade at Urithiru, and the confrontation, which happens at the end of Part One.)

In this book, Part One starts with the climax--a kind of indication of what the missing months were building toward. What follows is more introspective and quiet through the second half, as we react to events and get our bearings.

You'll probably get some books in the cosmere that, like A Memory of Light, where the Sanderlanche takes up an unusually large chunk of the story--but it isn't time for that quite yet. We still have slow, building parts of the story that need to be in place for both contrast and grounding of characters. Like a symphony works better with softer and louder sections.


I really enjoy this action-packed intro (though just a little sad that Dalinar doesn't have viewpoints)

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar does have viewpoints in the book, but they are reserved for later on, for reasons I can explain better once the novel is out.


It reminds me of those Bond/Lucasfilms blockbusters (well, and everything that came after) that would open with an in medias res action setpiece.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I'm a big fan of the cold open. (As one might be able to note from the Wax and Wayne books.) It's not the right tool for every story, but it felt appropriate here.

#5 Copy


The fight between Kal and this new Fused is already one of my favorites and had my heart pounding. I always find the detail in your fight choreography so well defined and visceral. Have you trained any martial arts or done in depth research on fight techniques?

Brandon Sanderson

I use a lot of research--but also rely upon the help of people who know more than I do to tell me when I'm going wrong. My personal martial arts abilities are too laughable to be call the result of "training."


When you mentioned the Fused grabbed Kaladin in an "arm triangle", were you referring to the Jiu-Jitsu move? Because that is a specific Jiu-Jitsu hold, but it’s usually done from on top of someone rather than behind. Like this: https://www.studentofbjj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/arm-triangle-1024x724.pngBut then the Fused was behind him and stabbing him, so that made me think perhaps you didn’t intend it to be the Jiu-Jitsu position.

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't intend this to be the official position.

#6 Copy


Hey Brandon while you’re here and we’re talking about Kal’s relationship with Lyn, we know he’s had at least one romantic relationships in the past being Tarah I was wondering if he was still a Virgin. Were these relationships just romantic? Also how negatively is sex before marriage viewed on roshar and namely vorin culture? I know these topics sometimes can make you uncomfortable but I’m really curious about this part of their culture.

Brandon Sanderson

In these cases, I generally allow it to be vague enough that people can think/assume what they want. However, some of Kal's relationships in the past (including the one with Tarah) progressed to the point that in our world, most people would have been sleeping together.

In Vorin culture, I'd say that they're not as relaxed about such things as most modern cultures are, but aren't as strict as the more religious cultures on Earth are. Alethi are concerned about oaths in specific--what have you promised, and do you keep those promises. So, for example, cheating is a far, far worse offense in their eyes. And opinions and strictness in areas of moral chastity would vary depending on upbringing and personal beliefs. To some, a promise of, "We'll be together until we split" that is kept would be considered honorable--while to others, that would be too lax a treatment of oaths.

Also, lighteyes are expected to be circumspect and maintain an image of certain decorum. But that's something else entirely...

#7 Copy

Ben McSweeney

I'm curious to know when someone is Lashed to a "point in the sky", is there a place where they'll reach and stop, hanging in mid-air? Or do they keep going until the Stormlight runs out?

Brandon Sanderson

They keep going. Lashings are in a direction.

#9 Copy


I'm sorry, but I cannot help but wonder if throughout the book [Rhythm of War] we will get more answers about this in-between year.

I want to know how or where all these Edgedancers come from, for example, because it's a huge jump between "there are only 7 Radiants we know about, and Kaladin and Shallan are training more" to "a whole Order coming out the ship and being advanced in their Ideals and forming like a healer batallion."

Brandon Sanderson

I do give a little context, but at the same time, I think the previous books have set this up well. We've followed in close detail how a Windrunner initiated his oaths, found a group of squires, and then started an order. We got the same for a Lightweaver. In the story chronology, that all happened in a span not so different from the year between.

Because we don't have any major viewpoint Edgedancers or Stonewards in these five books, I have to leave most of this to the imagination--as you can take the model of Kaladin and Shallan, then extrapolate from comments mentioning that this sort of thing was happening all across the world, not just at the Shattered Plains.

I think the narrative leads you to the answers that connect this all. I do try to give some additional mentions of what was happening through the story, though I don't know if I'll explain enough for what you're asking here.

#10 Copy


It's surprising me to me that we haven't heard from Venli yet. Considering this is her book, I would have expected her to take more of a center stage. But we haven't even seen or heard from her yet, let alone had a flashback. I wonder why /u/mistborn decided to start elsewhere.

I suppose it's important to establish the time skip early on, but I wonder why that couldn't have been done from the perspective of Odium's forces so that Venli could take the lead.

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, this part you're reading is the "end" of the in-between book, and Venli's book hasn't started yet. Her first chapter is what you might consider the "true" beginning of the novel.

As a note, though, I decided her flashbacks worked better when spread across a shorter reading space--so I don't introduce them until later in the book than the others started.

#11 Copy


I was itching for a long time to know how much more will we get to know about Heralds in comparison to the previous books.

Brandon Sanderson

You're not going to get a ton about the Heralds until the back five books, but this one (book four) has more about them than any previous novel so far.

#12 Copy


What does CP4 stand for? A bunch of people on 17th Shard are wondering about it.

Brandon Sanderson

There's nothing really exciting here, I'm afraid. It's a rank, like E6 or the like in the American military. Only the Windrunners use these, as they decided on ranks that one could earn while advancing as a squire. The old stories say that some squires never advanced to full Windrunners, and it felt it would be good to continue to promote these individuals to different ranks within squirehood. It stands for Commission Placement.

#13 Copy


That's interesting that you had this DID direction planned for Shallan since the beginning (pre-Way of Kings I presume). I had just assumed it was something that you developed in between WoR and Oathbringer. I know you've commented on subjects related to this before - but in light of what you're saying about leaning away from the fantastical, I'm curious to know if you think that if Shallan had become, say, an Edgedancer instead (or just never continued in her truths), that she would have developed DID and those aspects regardless? Or would she just have had her trauma manifest in other ways (such as other dissociative disorders like depersonalization/derealization/amnesia)?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that she would have gone the same way she has, but the manifestations of her disassociation would have been different. But this is something I could perhaps waver on.


I've seen quotes from you before that you didn't intend her to actually have DID, is that just about it originally being more fantastical, and now you're trying to make it actually be realistic more?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's what is happening here. I originally shied away from it, as I didn't want to open that can of worms--but then, I realized I was opening it anyway, and the only way to be honest was to admit what I was doing and get some people who have DID themselves to advise me.

I think, in hindsight, I was trying to take too much of an easy path--and the path that didn't require me to do the work like I needed to


Aha! So that's what you did. I immediately noted in the first chapters that Shallan's illness seemed to have gotten worse. I thought that it was you alludIng to a downward spiral of the characters in conjunction with the world of Roshar - which made sense because, if you place a mentally ill person in a world with no access to mental healthcare and then make their situation worse, what would happen? Their mental illness would get worse.

I'm surprised that it was just a change in the way you write her.

If you had the option to go back and revise all of her chapters that way, would you?

Because as it is, the real-ness and definition of her other egos reads like a downward spiral.

Brandon Sanderson

What you're noticing is not just me changing the way I'm writing her. More, I realized that her downward spiral was going to require me to actively deal with her mental illness in a responsible way, if that makes sense.

I wouldn't change much about the past books. It was more that I realized that the place she was going in this one required a more delicate touch than I could manage without some expert help.

#15 Copy


Quick grammar question for /u/peterahlstrom: In the sentence 'Instead, the Three dismissed her Blade", shouldn’t that probably be "their Blade" ? Or is it a deliberate decision to refer to the Three in the singular?

Peter Ahlstrom

It's deliberate.

#16 Copy


> I could easily have had an entire book with a major thread about toppling her [Ialai's] little empire on the Shattered Plains, but that would have been too backward looking.

I dunno. I think that could be fun. I'm somewhat imagining a John-Wick-alike character whose job is to take Ialai down and it turning into a surreal action/adventure/spy story.

Brandon Sanderson

I absolutely think this could have worked in a different narrative. But in this book, with so much of the focus moving to the greater war and the invasion, I feel that spending a lot of pages on recovering the Shattered Plains (and dealing with a group in the Sons of Honor that have been repeatedly defeated already) would just feel anticlimactic.

A different style of narrative could have pivoted to political intrigue instead of war epic after the first book or so, and then this sort of plot would have been exciting and dynamic. It's all about scope and the subgenre of your narrative.

#17 Copy


I’ve never seen that antagonist issue [Skelletor Syndrome] described before, but it’s really interesting to learn about and it seems like the opposite of what I call Dragon Ball Z syndrome - something Red Rising also had a heavy problem with. It’s the endless cycle of main character beats somebody in a fight, someone stronger comes along and almost kills them, main character is defeated, then trains and gets stronger in order to ultimately win in a re-match, then rinse and repeat into oblivion. Someone stronger comes along, almost kills them, they heal and train, win in a rematch, yadda yadda yadda. It was literally the entire story structure of Dragon Ball Z, and is my least favorite part of Red Rising. Makes the story feel too predictable.

Thankfully it’s not something you have any sort of issue with! Your post just reminded me of it. IMO it seems like those protagonist/antagonist issues only truly show themselves as a problem when the creator doesn’t have an ending in mind or a story outlined before publishing the first of a series (cough Disney Star Wars cough)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you hit on something real with DBZ syndrome too. It can make it feel like achievements the characters make are weak, and basically worthless, since they're immediately back into the same state as before--too weak to fight a new villain who makes their old "power level" look the same as their current one.

I think there is an important line to walk here that doesn't stray too far either direction--but it's not so hard as that, so long as new characters and situations present different kinds of challenges. Done right, you have something like the original series of star wars, where at first you think that simply being a better duelist will let Luke defeat Vader--but then the scope expands, and he realizes that it's not about how good he is with his weapon. The challenge is deeper, more interesting, and the person Luke could conceivably beat in a duel gives way before the more nefarious villain who requires a different type of strength entirely to defeat.

#18 Copy


Nale’s nuts sounds like something a world hopper would say...... I mean there aren’t any nut producing plants on Roshar so how would. (Someone’s) nuts be a saying?

Brandon Sanderson

In these cases, you should assume one of two things.

  1. It's a linguistic holdover. I like using a lot of these in Stormlight. Human languages still have a lot of terms in them that reference the world they used to live on. (See Hoid's discussion of the word "hound" in one of the books.)

  2. We're doing our best to translate into English a phrase that doesn't really work in our language.

Basically, whichever is easier for your suspension of disbelief. With this, I'd say it's likely they said "Nale's Rockbuds" but it's just awkward in English, so when the book was changed from Alethi to English, the translator (me) picked something that conveyed the same meaning.

#19 Copy


Are we to take Moash literally here [in Rhythm of War Chapter Eight] or metaphorically? Like is he literally telling Kaladin to kill himself or is he talking about some meta physical death/rebirth?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to have to RAFO this for now. I don't want to interfere with the text doing its job. Suffice it to say I knew this would be a subject of discussion, and the unfolding of the story should fuel the debate.

#21 Copy


I got a real emotional allomancy vibe from Moash here. It felt like he was rioting Kal's depression and exhaustion. Is there something more going on than must Moash having a past and being able to cut Kal to the soul?

Brandon Sanderson

I can see how it would be read that way, but you have it a little reversed. This depression and exhaustion is how Kal has been feeling lately, and he's been painting over it with other emotions. He's been forcing himself to keep moving, and at this moment, he was just too tired to keep lying to himself.

#22 Copy


In this moment: "Oh! a perky voice said in Shallan’s mind. We were almost here anyway, Veil! What are we doing?" Shallan is Veil (or was just a paragraph earlier with no hint it's changed) and Pattern calls her Veil but the phrasing is "in Shallan's mind". Is it a typo (or significant... mismatch)?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm a little tight for time now, so I can't look specifically, but I BELIEVE what is happening here is that Pattern is guessing which alter she is, and getting it wrong. It happens in this book several times, where Shallan is not giving external cues at which one she is at the moment.

#23 Copy


Here Sanderson says that the flashback chapters will be quite heavy in Cosmere content, and yet we get this before even that happens. I am so very hyped.

Brandon Sanderson

Let me point out that is NOT what I said. I said there were a few things in Venli's viewpoints that would be of interest to those watching the larger Cosmere. The flashbacks are not cosmere focused.

If people want huge cosmere revelations in Venli, they're probably going to be disappointed. I don't want to predispose them wrong. However, there ARE some interesting tidbits.

#24 Copy


but one kingdom (led by a mysterious figure who knew far too much)

Did this evolve into or influence the Ishar/Tezim situation at all? Or maybe the latter is a parody even of that idea.

Brandon Sanderson

The mysterious figure was [Aronack] (though I don't remember how I spelled it) one of the original figures planning to kill Adonalsium. Back then, before the cosmere fully formed, they were demigods--but I later decided it was more interesting for the Shards to have been (mostly) ordinary mortals before the shattering. So he's no longer canon.

He was basically breaking the agreement between the others of his kind by giving rapid technological development to his people. This was, in part, because I was intrigued by the idea of a single highly-advanced (in technology) culture among a group of bronze age peoples. An idea you see play out in science fiction (with advanced aliens among modern cultures on earth) but not often in fantasy. (Except in some versions of "Old world meets new world" style recreations of what happened on Earth.)


(mostly) - translation: dragons?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, at least one Dragon. And at least One Sho Del.


Is [Aronack] (though not necessarily with the same name) still one of the original Vessels in the current version of the Cosmere? If so, does he have a different name in the current canon?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid.

#25 Copy


How do you approach breaking a story? Is it still scary / daunting? How did you know that the first version of Dragonsteel wasn't right, and how many iterations did it take to get to the published Way of Kings? Is it something you can do alone, or do you rely on your network of collaborators? Your pace makes it seem like there's not much time for reinvention - is that simply because you don't need it now?

Brandon Sanderson

The best thing I can tell you to try, is to write something else, something you haven't been planning for years--something more off the cuff (even if you outline it first) that you're not worried as much about "breaking" by doing wrong. Get some more experience as a writer, then tackle the big more messy problems like the books you've been working on for many years. That is what worked for me, at least.

#26 Copy


With RoW did you know immediately that you wanted a time jump? From how rigorous you seem to be I presume you've plotted out the whole year, but how did you decide on the point to open the book at; did you always envision using Kaladin returning home?

Brandon Sanderson

I knew I wanted a time jump in the first five at some point, but I wasn't certain exactly which book it would go between until I was further along. Again, it was more of an instinct thing.

#27 Copy


Is it possible to know which characters will be getting viewpoints after Part 1?

Brandon Sanderson

All the main characters get viewpoints, though there aren't a lot of them for Szeth or Jasnah. (Technically, she isn't a main character of this sequence--but she has a couple viewpoints here and there regardless.) The structure is a little more like Book One, with one "A" plot that runs the entire book (in book one, it was Kaladin in Bridge Four) and two "B" plots that each are in half of the book.

In this book, parts 2 and 4 are one of those B plots and parts 3 and 5 are the other one. (In book one, the first B plot was Shallan and the second was Dalinar/Adolin.) Like the previous books there are two "C" plots. One being a flashback sequence for one of the characters (in this case two) and one being a sequence of interludes.

Venli's flashbacks are weighted toward the back half of the book, as it felt better to have them in quicker succession, since she's sharing them with Eshonai.

The A/B/C breakdown doesn't start happening until after Part One in this book, though. So I'd say wait until you get the book. Anyone you don't see in Part Two will be in Part Three (and a group of people in Part Two won't be in Part Three.)

I do this deliberately to keep the number of viewpoints down per section, as it helps with the complexity a little. Epic fantasy tends to have a problem of viewpoint sprawl, which has made problems with the pacing. This kind of structure is how I combat that in the Stormlight Archive.

That doesn't mean characters don't have a part in the story, even if they aren't getting viewpoints. For example, Dalinar is in multiple chapters in Part One, though he doesn't get viewpoints in this part.


Since this is a front half book, can I assume that this doesn't include Ash and Taln?

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct. No Ash/Taln viewpoints in this book, though they do appear in the text briefly.


Do we have any view points from moash as well? I really enjoy the character.

Brandon Sanderson

There is at least one Moash Viewpoint in the book.

#28 Copy


I would also like to point out that both Shallan and Adolin wondering what kind of places could have such names, after being told by Azure last book that she came from a far land other than Roshar, is mildly amusing to me. They do have a lot on their minds.

Brandon Sanderson

That is true. They MIGHT start putting some things together in relation to Azure later on in the book, fortunately.

#29 Copy


By the way, Kaladin's comment on Taln and Shalash's mental health makes me wonder: Are the Ten Fools based on the Heralds after they broke the Oathpact? Having 9 immortal, mentally ill people on Roshar for millenia seems like it'd have spawned some stories that could have eventually become stories of the Ten Fools. Taln wouldn't be included in this, but with Vorinism and the number 10, I imagine they'd have created something to oppose his virtues.

Also, I can't remember if this is confirmed or not, but on the topic of the Heralds' mental health, is it at all supernatural? Taln seemed to recover somewhat when Dalinar summoned the perpendicularity at the end of Oathbringer. So, is it just severe PTSD, or something supernatural is involved?

Brandon Sanderson

I've tried to make it clear in talking about the books that I separate what has happened to the Heralds and normal mental health. What they're suffering from is in large part supernatural--and has to do with the way souls (or Cognitive Shadows) work in the cosmere. So you are correct. This doesn't mean that some normal treatments wouldn't help them, but their core problem has a huge supernatural component.

And yes, there IS a relationship between the ten fools and the Heralds, though people on Roshar wouldn't be able to point it out.


Is the Heralds' madness related to and/or the same thing as the Fused's madness? The Stormfather mentions that each time one of the Fused is reborn, their mind is further damaged. Is it the same with the Herald? To many rebirths, possibly compounded by the fact that they not only often died each Desolation, but were tortured until the next one?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, these two things are related. (There are some hints in Rhythm of War at how Hoid has avoided a similar fate.)

Note that the torture--and the many rebirths--are a big part of this. But their age is also a factor.


Does this mean that a certain Cognitive Shadow from the Mistborn series is fated to go insane?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on a lot of factors. But the longer a Cognitive Shadow exists, the more likely these problems are.


Would this affect the Returned as well? What about those with a lot (like 8,000) breaths since they are not cognitive shadows.

Brandon Sanderson

Returned are Cognitive Shadows. In the Cosmere, there is no way to bring someone back to life, other than normal medical resuscitation, without using a Cognitive Shadow.


What about Dalinar? I thought he has had textbook PTSD, but the screams he continued to hear turned out to be magic.

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar has a whole host of issues, not easily defined by a single definition. Assume, though, that his mental state is a normal response to, in part, supernatural occurrences.

The different for the Heralds is that they have conditions which could only truly exist in the cosmere, even if some of the manifestations and symptoms are similar to what could happen on Earth.


So is that implying that Hoid is a Cognitive Shadow, or is that just an effect of being really really old? Also does Vasher know about/how to avoid these effects? Probably an RAFO, but...

Brandon Sanderson

Come back to that question in about a month or so.

#30 Copy


Is there going to be any Szeth in the book? I mean as far as main characters go his screen time seems to me to have been ridiculously short until now.

I guess this is intentional on your part, to retain the mystery surrounding him and set him up somehow for book 5.

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid there's not a TON of Szeth. He does have a viewpoint, but it's an interlude. Other than that, he appears in several chapters and does a some very relevant things to the plot, but always through other viewpoints. You'll have to wait for Book Five for a larger chunk of Szeth, I'm afraid.

You're right, I've intentionally been holding him back. I worried that too much Szeth too soon would undermine his flashbacks. I think it was wise; you'll see in this book that though the Venli flashbacks are still interesting, they're not as compelling as ones like Dalinar's, since you basically know Venli's entire backstory by this point. Just not the details. There's not a lot to explore or reveal that I can't do just as easily in her mainline viewpoints.

I was careful in the outlines to front-load the flashbacks for the characters I knew would have a lot of screen time. Szeth has always been intended to get the fewest viewpoints of the main five characters.


So Szeth won't be the one most prominently featured character in the main timeline in book 5, right?

Brandon Sanderson

He will have a larger part than he's had in most previous books.


I am curious...how Szeth's role in book 3 could have played out if he were the focus character. Would his role increase or stay the same?

Or Dalinar's role in book 5. Will those big chunks of his story still happen in book 5 or they were moved into book 3?

Brandon Sanderson

If Szeth had been the focus, we would have had all the stuff with his homeland in three--and then had to wait until 5 to get Dalinar's flashbacks. It COULD have worked, and by doing it this way, I had to kind of keep Szeth off the center stage in book four. But I am confident it was the right choice, as delaying longer on Dalinar would have felt like a worse stretch.


Oh. So book 5 main timeline narrative for Dalinar will still happen because you moved only flashbacks?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the main storyline stayed basically the same. You will see in Book Five why my initial feelings were that Dalinar's flashbacks would work there. Szeth's joining the Skybreakers would also have meshed well with his flashbacks, but I have instead enhanced the trip back to Shinovar to be longer instead.

Note, however, that a LOT of things move around during writing. The Book Two Kaladin climax was originally outlined to happen at Urithiru, for example.


Just curious, if you think that Venli doesn't have as much potential for the flashbacks as the others then why did you choose to focus an entire book on her?

Brandon Sanderson

In the original outlines, I hadn't intended to go into as much depth as I ended up doing with Eshonai/Venli in books two and three. I realized quickly into writing the series that I couldn't wait that long to humanize the Parshendi. So I put a lot of the mystery of their culture and their motives into books two and three.

That led me to deciding in this book to split the flashbacks between them, as I felt it added more variety to the flashbacks--as I had sacrificed some of the novelty that was originally going to distinguished the flashbacks for this book.

#31 Copy


I'm waiting each preview chapter for even a line referring Lift (which has been great! With the Syl slang pick up and so forth.) and Im not expecting much else than a line or two like that - cause back five, I know, so just looking for the scraps so to speak. Just curious - if there are a few lines more in the Part One previews coming up or I got my fill.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a Lift interlude, which is your only viewpoint for her in this book I'm afraid. She makes one other brief appearance in this part, but don't expect much of her until later in the book.

#32 Copy


Does the book [Rhythm of War] have only four main characters Kaladin, Shallan, Navani and Venli?

Brandon Sanderson

I would consider Dalinar, Adolin, and Eshonai to be in that grouping as well. But it depends on your definition of main character. Jasnah gets multiple viewpoints in this book, for example, but not as many as the others. Taravangian gets a fair number too.


Thank you! My definition of main character...I mean, plenty viewpoints in each part of the book and role in main arc of the story. Only Kaladin, Venli, Navani, Shallan who were introduced in part 1 fit that definition. Unless someone else shows up in remaining chapters.

I hoped for another Dalinar's book, because some other characters get multiple 'big books', but it won't happen, I guess?

Brandon Sanderson

In Stormlight books, in order to contain the story, I limit the number of viewpoints per part. If you look back through the other ones, generally I'll alternate which characters get viewpoints in a given part.

Dalinar still has a large role to play in the events of the series.

#34 Copy


Was busy yesterday writing a picture book.

Don't leave us with less info! What is it about?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO for now. I want to show it around to some people first and see what they think. I'll tell you all what it's about if:

A) It doesn't turn out to be good enough to publish professionally.


B) We get a deal for it.

It is not cosmere, however. I wrote it in part to practice the format, as some day I'd like to do some of Hoid's stories (like the Girl who Looked Up) as picture books.

#35 Copy


One of those, however, is this: Venli doesn't see herself as a hero, nor is she interested in being one. Emotionally, she's not really about saying ideals. She feels she's the wrong person for whatever it is that has started to happen to her.

It is good for the characters to be different so I don't have any problem with this. However, it seems as if she will speak the ideals over a long period of time because of this. We had a theory floating around that Venli can go to the cognitive realm for the escape. I guess she will either need to speak the third ideal (it looks like this will take time) or she will need help from someone else. Maybe BRDIGE 4?

Brandon Sanderson



Would Moash (not Vyre) be on her side if given the opportunity? I mean, would he empathize with her and understand her point?

Brandon Sanderson

Moash and Vyre are not distinct personalities, so that part of the question isn't as relevant. However, I'd say that he wouldn't really care one way or the other about Venli's problems.

#37 Copy


Since you too acknowledge the massiveness of this world you built, have you ever considered letting some of your writing group pals or closest friends write short canon stories about any of the side characters in SA? Like an Arcanum Unbounded but with lots of stories from the POV of various side characters?

It would be amazingly interesting, not only to get more info on some of our favorite characters, but it would let other styles of writing bleed in and mix among this wonderful world of yours (and we, as fans, get more Stormlight content without you having to burn out from writing all these side stories)

Brandon Sanderson

I've been toying with this, and it's possible in the future, but we're taking baby steps. First will likely be Isaac (who is my art director and long time collaborator) who will probably be continuing the Taldain graphic novels, with a Khriss-focused story set on Darkside.

At the same time, I'm planning to do a few more audio novellas like The Original where I collaborate with people like Dan Wells.

Whether I do anything similar with Stormlight will really depend on what the readers think of these experiments. I would enjoy doing a book of canon stormlight short stories that are written by other people who want to explore characters that there isn't as much time for in the narrative--but I'd be very careful and cautious about it, and would want to ease into the idea by trying other properties first.


Is this the first you've talked about this? I was wondering the other day whether there had been any update to how the story from White Sand would move forward since the graphic novels have caught up with your prose novel.

Brandon Sanderson

It might be. It's something he wants to try, and I think it would be an excellent collaboration, since he's much better at visual storytelling than I am.

#39 Copy


Rock isn't in this book after this and waiting for Novella for more of him - Im curious if it's possible he'd be showing up in book 5 interludes?

Brandon Sanderson

I am going to have to RAFO anything about Rock going forward, as to not interfere with his novella. (Which is likely to happen.)

#41 Copy


Can you maybe tell us something about how much of the text in this book is devoted to the happenings of the past year (especially with Dawnshard not being an absolute pre-requisite to understand RoW)? How much can we expect to see of Renarin's journey, because that's an important variable in Odium's plan? I guess with the word/page limit though, it would also make sense to portray the characters just dealing with the aftermath of the events.

Brandon Sanderson

From here out, not a TON is devoted to the past year. We get a lot more from Adolin on how he's feeling than from Renarin, but I did find time to slip a little Renarin in later in the book. And what is there does relate to the questions you are asking here.

#42 Copy


I’m curious if you’d ever consider going into writing for graphic novels? I never considered it until reading Saga by Brian K Vaughan and then sone thing clicked where I realized that the stories I want to tell are so visual and I think that is something your writing has down perfectly. I can’t help but picture Stormlight Archive as an anime or manga in the style of Full Metal Alchemist

Brandon Sanderson

An anime of Stormlight is very much on the table--seems more viable than doing a live action in many ways. I have been hesitant about doing straight graphic novel adaptations of my works, however, as I try to come up with things like Dark One that seem to fit the genre specifically.

#43 Copy


As a Stormlight reader who has only read one Mistborn book (the first) and am only comsere aware through soaking things in from Stormlight. I have to say you walking that tightrope nicely here. It’s intriguing without feeling like I’m out of the loop and it for sure fuels me with interesting things are in the background.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm glad that the tightrope is working for you. You picked up on everything you need to know--there are other planets, and being able to provide Stormlight to them (as a cheap, renewable version of magical energy) would be valuable. So the Ghostbloods are interested.

#44 Copy


My small question. With his [Mraize's] goals kind of explained here having to do with Stormlight and moving it. Is he aware of Lifts relationship with Investive and Stormlight? She’s like a renewable battery if he could get her off the prison! Get her off. Get her to eat. Stormlight anywhere.

Brandon Sanderson

He is aware of Lift, and is very curious about her. But she isn't able to produce on the scale he wants. One person who could charge batteries by touching them would certainly be cool--but if you're goal is to (say) dominate and monopolize the battery distribution to all of America, that person would be more of a curiosity (scientific implications aside) than a huge asset.

#46 Copy


Radiants are bound to Roshar because of spren, but does it apply to Dalinar's ability to open the perpendicularity? If we assume that's not a Bondsmith ability, but somehow a Shard power can Dalinar open Honor's perpendicularity on another planet?


I don't think Dalinar's ability will have any impact on him being more likely to leave. Opening the perpendicularity creates a path from the Physical Realm to the Cognitive and Spiritual Realm, but it doesn't change the person's location. Going through the perpendicularity doesn't get someone further away from Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

This is correct.


If Dalinar ascended as Honor (assuming reuniting Honor is ppssible), would this new Shard tied to Roshar like certain Shard from Mistborn, or he will be able to leave Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

It really depends on the circumstances. Most likely he could leave.

#47 Copy


Do you have Beta readers that have only read some of your Cosmere works? Like, do you have people that are exclusively Stormlight Archives or exclusively Mistborn? It seems like it would be useful for this kind of information exposure, but I have a hard time imagining someone that you'd trust to read the books early that would be willing to not touch some of your other books.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I do. I also rely on a few more casual readers in my writing group, who don't keep up to date on everything happening in the books (and don't reread before we get back to a world) to help me judge what will be confusing to the fans who don't keep track as meticulously. I want the books to work on both levels, if possible.

#48 Copy


I know Nightblood was written specifically as a sort of prequel, but isn't that a bit of a violation of keeping them self-contained?

Brandon Sanderson

It is. Warbreaker has always been a little bit of a special exception, because of the circumstances of writing it.

#49 Copy


What would it take to drain the highstorm of Investiture? Are there enough gemstones / Radiants on the planet to accomplish this? What would be the consequences if this happened?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a RAFO! Nice question, though.

#51 Copy


Q1: Can synthetic diamond contain Stormlight?

Q2: if yes, can a perfect gemstone that never loses Stormlight be made of synthetic material?

Q3: Has anyone already tried bringing synthetic diamond to Roshar at this point?

Q4: Is the increasing heaviness caused by Connection limited to Shadesmar, or does it also apply to the Physical Realm?

Q5: Will Mraize ever say, “He who controls the Stormlight controls the Cosmere”?

Brandon Sanderson

Answer to one is yes. Answer to two is, "Never is a LONG time." Three is not yet. I'll RAFO the other two.


Do diamonds have to be clear to hold Investiture, or can they be of any color?

Brandon Sanderson

On Roshar, part of the definition of a diamond would be that it's clear.

#53 Copy


So the total number of the Fused is around 100. Is Odium unwilling or unable to create new Fused?

Brandon Sanderson

He is able, but so far hasn't. Also, there are more than 100 Fused.


I got 100 from the following sentence from Chapter 14:

Other Voices were gathering. There were some thirty of them—she’d been led to believe that there would be as many as a hundred, once all the Fused were awake.

Brandon Sanderson

A hundred voices, representing Fused important enough to deserve a place in this meeting. Fused below Leshwi's rank wouldn't have a voice. Easy mistake to make--maybe something I should have tweaked in drafting to make more clear.

#54 Copy


When Leshwi says Lezian has gone six thousand years and never failed to hunt down his killers, does that mean it's been six thousand years since his first death to a human? Six thousand years since the First Desolation? Or does it mean six thousand years prior to Aharietiam, since he hasn't exactly done much pursuing of normal humans while on Braize for 4.5k years?

(The first seems more likely to me from the wording, but if he's been on Braize for 4.5k years, he hasn't done anywhere near 6k years of pursuing.)

Brandon Sanderson

It's the first. And yes, he's spent a LONG time not pursuing. But that's the sort of thing the Fused gloss over when talking about something like this.


Was this first death to a human during the First Desolation? It seems the Fused didn't have Surges at that time, so I imagine a normal human killing one wouldn't be much more difficult than killing a normal singer?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO on that one! Can't say too much about those days for a few more years.

#55 Copy


Kaladin's new occupation raised a discussion about the use of shardscalpels against tumors in Daniel's Discord, can you clarify what happens with a tumor when it is stabbed with a shard?

Brandon Sanderson

With training, it could be made to cut out a tumor--but that wouldn't be the natural result.

Cosmere surgery stuff is going to be...odd, at least on the magical side. How the person views themselves and the disease could influence things in interesting ways.

#56 Copy


Hi Brandon, just to double check my understanding of things, Odium is still mostly bound on Braize right? Just that he can influence things on Roshar because of proximity?

Brandon Sanderson

I treat Braize, Ashyn, and Roshar as if they were almost one entity for a lot of Identity/Connection related issues. It's more than proximity, though proximity leads to it. We on Earth, I feel, would consider the moon and even Mars to be "ours" so to speak, part of our family of planets. Odium's binding, and that of the Heralds/Fused encompasses Roshar and Ashyn. There are some subtle distinctions, but for the most part, being bound on Braize is the same as being bound on Roshar.


So Shadesmar is only from Roshar or from the three planets??

Brandon Sanderson

You can reach all three through Shadesmar, with a much shorter trip than to other systems. But the map we provide so far is only Roshar.


Have you come up with a name for their star? It'd be easier to refer to all three by calling it the [???]ar/[sol]ar system instead of the Rosharan/[Earth]an system like we do now.

Brandon Sanderson

By people in world, it's being referred to as the Rosharan system. This is kind of confusing to us, because we focus on the suns to orient what makes a system. But in the cosmere, they travel directly to planets, and so the biggest trading planet becomes the source of naming conventions in most places. I agree it's a little confusing for us, but I believe it's the way it would naturally arise for them.


On the topic of the Rosharan solar system, do we get to learn about the significance of the 10 gas giants? We’re they there before the shards ever made their home there? Is that the ‘origin’ of the significance, in the context of the cosmere's natural laws?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, I'm afraid.

#57 Copy


Would it be correct to speak of Vyre and Moash like only one person? I mean, they actually look like different people.

Brandon Sanderson

They are one person, but his identity is a little wonky at times.


Does that mean Moash has dissociative tendencies similar to Shallan? Vyre mouthing off to the Fused is very different from Moash being dead inside in Oathbringer

Brandon Sanderson

No, this is more about whether he sees himself still as Moash and such. It will be more clear as the book progresses.

#60 Copy


Since it seems like the sibling is more "dead" than sleeping, is the event that caused this to occur from a certain Bondsmith breaking Odium's surges from the Parsh?

Brandon Sanderson



Is it more of a 4/5 RAFO, or a 6-10 RAFO?

Brandon Sanderson

4/5 RAFO, I'd say.

#61 Copy


Something I've been curious about: will Liar of Partinel be released as a Sanderson Curiosity eventually? I noticed that in the stream a while back where you listed your unpublished books, you didn't list it among them.

Also, you gave four approximate sort of "quality tiers", of

  1. Decent but not great: White Sand, Aether, WoKP, Dragonsteel Prime
  2. Readable but not good: Final Empire Prime, Mistborn Prime
  3. Bad but not horrible: Knight Life, Star's End, Sixth Incarnation of Pandora
  4. Just plain terrible: White Sand Prime/Lord Mastrell, Mythwalker

Which tier would Liar be in?

Brandon Sanderson

Liar would be #2, I'd think. Problem is, it's close enough to continuity (having been written after I'd outlined the cosmere) that I wouldn't want to actually release it until after I've done the actual Hoid backstory book. I've changed some dramatic things about how I want to present the story, so it would be bad to release this one.

We've reached a point where Dragonsteel, however, wouldn't be a spoiler. So I'm tempted to release that one in the next kickstarter. I've been kicking around the idea of an actual revision of White Sand, to make it publishable, and release that as an actual canon novel. It's the only one that could happen to.


Does this mean there is no chance of a canon version of Aether of Night ever being published? I really enjoyed it and think a fully polished version would be fantastic.

Brandon Sanderson

It is unlikely, but not impossible. Aether could be made canon with only slight changes--but it doesn't fit into the larger cosmere story any longer, so I don't know of how much interest it would be.


To clarify, you're referring to the actual Aether of Night novel, not the future rewritten Aether books that you've mentioned before, right? Or are those not likely anymore either?

Since Aether of Night could be canon with slight changes, I assume the Aethers in the book will be mostly canon as they are, at least in your current outline?

If you were to revise Aether to be canon, would you be replacing Ruin and Preservation with two other Shards, or would you be more likely to just remove Ruin convincing the Twins to imprison Preservation?

Brandon Sanderson

Future Aether books are very likely. And the aethers themselves are going to be very like the ones in the book.

If I did try to make it canon, I'd probably remove the whole Shard plot from the book and instead either use another Shard, or not add a new one, since the Aethers (as I have them now in the notes) function without a Shard's involvement, and even predate the shattering. (Note, that's not yet canon.)

#62 Copy


Maybe I'm seeing things but it seems like this chapter is reinforcing to the reader that Kaladin is special amongst the Radiants as well? Or maybe that's just me seeing it like that as a Kaladin-fanboy. I'm a sucker for traditional heroes (and being moody hardly disqualified Achilles from being a hero after all).

Brandon Sanderson

Every one of the main characters I've chosen to focus on has a kind of special relationship with the narrative and the Radiant Oaths, Kaladin included. But I wouldn't say that he is more so than Dalinar, Jasnah, Szeth, or Shallan.


Interesting, since the Oaths seemed designed to push people to be their ideal selves. Literally power from character growth. Are you saying not all radiants would have this same personal journey tied to them the way our main cast does? Some of the new Windrunners like Lopen are growing, but don't seem to have to overcome the same personal milestones the way Kaladin does. Relatedly, are the these Oaths simply a 'natural' extension of the spren that initiate them, or are they specifically designed to groom (er, cultivate even?) the Radiant to a new self?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm more saying, for example, that Kaladin founded the Windrunners. It doesn't mean the others aren't growing, but he has a special relation with the narrative in that he the reason a lot of other people are Radiants. Likewise, Dalinar (as a bondsmith) has a very different relationship with the narrative than, say, Lopen.

#63 Copy


The problems of transporting investiture reminded me of asymptotic freedom a lot, is an analog of that at work in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say yes, but with fair warning that I am not an expert on quantum mechanics.


Regarding this, I remember asking a question a while back about a chapter's annotation of two ardents measuring some flamespren's sizes, where sizes are fixed once measured (like real-life projective measurements in quantum mechanics). And then the annotation with Navani stating that flamespren are trapped and then the gem divided and used for conjoined fabrials, which sounds a lot like entanglement and/or cat states. So I'd say you may not be an expert but you sure know enough to at least make this a fun read for a physicist!

Brandon Sanderson

I've joked before that the way I treat Quantum mechanics in some of these spren relationships is the way that people THINK quantum mechanics work. But I did use some intentional entanglement language in the explanation I think you're referencing. (If it's the place where she's explaining something similar to the famous two marbles in a bag thought experiment for explaining entanglement.)

#64 Copy


How do artifabrians cut the rubies in half? Do they use a Shardblade? As far as I understand, gemstones don't exactly get sliced very well because of how hard and brittle they are.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO--but answered (I think) in this book.

#65 Copy


I was wondering why you chose to only mention worlds we already know about? If you were okay with readers being in the dark on these things, why not mention places we don’t understand yet in order to keep everyone in the dark? As it stands, it just rewards super fans at this point (which increases the pressure to go read everything).

Brandon Sanderson

I do mention things you don't know about, quite often. It's either that there isn't context, so people don't latch onto them, or people ask me a lot about what they mean.

#66 Copy


If Investiture can’t be moved beyond a certain point away from its world/solar system, how in the Cosmere did three Awakeners end up on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Investiture from different systems acts in different ways. Certain people have managed, for example, to get some kinds of Investiture to leave their home world through the use of a kind of magical pipeline. Breaths attach to the identity of the individual, and are fully given away--freely, which removes some of this Connection. It's a nature of Endowment that the gift is given without strings attached, so to speak. But while it's a renewable resource, it's a difficult one.

Roshar is extra "sticky" so to speak with Investiture. It's part of the nature of Honor, Cultivation, and oaths. So getting it off is a problem, though collecting it is not.


Wouldn't consuming it also be a problem? You need a direct or secondary Bond to take in Stormlight Investiture. It's not like metals or Breaths that anyone could absorb. Although a certain grouchy ardent might have found a way...

Brandon Sanderson

You are right in that Stormlight is more being seen as a power source, since certain systems in the cosmere can work on a variety of different kinds. Not just anyone could make use of it, at least not unless it is refined.

#67 Copy


I just have a quick question about the appearance of the new Kholinar palace and the towers being built for the shanay-im. Do they have the same almost organic look as the palace?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, though not to the extent of the palace.

#68 Copy


Just as a point of clarification, was Vasher physically articulating his Commands in this chapter, or is he capable of bypassing that need, for whatever reason? (skill, Heightening, etc.)

Brandon Sanderson

You can assume he whispered each Command as he gave them.

#70 Copy


Can we expect these kind of chapter notes [Rhythm of War Annotations] for the rest of the book once it’s released? I absolutely love them.

Brandon Sanderson

I wish I could say yes, but these sorts of things are really tough for me to promise. I used to do way more of them, but the amount of writing I need to do these days can get prohibitive. For example, Dawnshard taking a little longer to revise than anticipated has put me behind on Skyward 3, and I'd really like to make deadline on that.

#73 Copy


And if you let a man die with too Invested a soul—or Invest him right as he’s dying—he’ll leave behind a shadow you can nail back onto a body. His own, if you’re feeling charitable.

[Secret History spoilers] was that mean to be a subtle nod to Kelsier tied in with the awesome exposition and realisations?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, to an extent.

#74 Copy


So, Zahel seems to carry a lot of baggage from his various experiences with war and violence.

Will we get to see what lead to him being this way?

Brandon Sanderson

Goal is for you to eventually get these answers. Either in the Warbreaker sequel, or another place that will become evident as the cosmere progresses.

#75 Copy


So, initially spren had imitated the heralds which then brought about the Knight Radiants and granted them similar powers. Can a spren, upon seeing worldhoppers like Vasher using biochromatic breaths, learn to imitate those as well over time? For Vasher can gain access to stormlight, so I'm wondering if spren can somehow also be able to access different investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

There is something to this theory, but I need to RAFO details.

#76 Copy


In his current revised in-world framework, would Vasher include the Lifeless in the same category as Shadows in the Type IIs? You've talked in the Warbreaker Annotations about how it was a mistake for the awakeners to keep the Lifeless in the dark:

Lightsong Sees the Lifeless and Takes Command of Them

They keep them in the dark. This is a bad idea. They don't realize it, but the Lifeless are far more aware than everyone assumes. Clod in this book is a foreshadowing of that, and there won't be much more about it in the rest of the novel. It's one of the focus points for the sequel, if I ever write it. (Which will actually have a Lifeless as a viewpoint character, if I can find a way to swing it.)

And then there is the in-story information given to us about how Lifeless retain some measure of their skills from before their death. Would it be fair to say that the Lifeless would be considered by Vasher to be Cognitive Shadows of this nature:

For the weaker ones, just kill the body again, make sure no one Invests the soul with more strength, and they’ll slip away in a few minutes.

Brandon Sanderson

This is RAFO material in that it is a possible plot point for a future Warbreaker book. (Sorry.)

#78 Copy


I perked up when Zahel mentioned Hoid! I just wonder how much we'll get to read about Hoid in this book. I really hope it's more than just an epilogue, he really seems like the type of guy who can offer A LOT of information but is too engrossed in his own journey towards a hitherto unknown goal to care about the plebian things lol

Brandon Sanderson

He's a little more involved than normal. (A trend that should continue into the next book, the final of this sequence.)

#79 Copy


I’m curious, based on Adolin’s behavior towards his father getting more and more rebellious and antagonistic.

Did Dalinar tell his family about Evi and what he was confessing g before the book was published or did they find out like the general public?

Brandon Sanderson

He kind of told them. He had the book read to Adolin and Renarin, in draft form, before he started releasing those drafts.

#81 Copy


Finally, thank you for writing Kaladin like this during this chapter [Rhythm of War Chapter Fifteen]. As someone who struggles with depression and is often brooding, I do have my good days and still have some serotonin in my brain. I get excited about doing things I’m good at and I think you nailed that aspect.

Brandon Sanderson

One of the worries I had starting this book with Kaladin down was that people would forget that he can be up--so I wanted to make sure to get there in this section as well.

#82 Copy


Will we see more fights like these [Kaladin vs Zahel] in the future of the cosmere to settle all the debates? Would have loved to see full Surgebinder vs Returned Awakener.

Also can you say who would win if Zahel and Kal went all out?

I assume Kal couldn't really lash someone with a lot of Breath. But my money is on the Windrunner.

Brandon Sanderson

Being able to fly is a huge tactical advantage in most fights, so I'd agree with you to an extent. But Vasher could probably beat anyone alive in a fair swordfight.

#83 Copy


I happened to notice that Aon Ene in AonDor, which is said to represent debate, is used to control timing in Aon sequences. Is this an intentional connection with logicspren, which are drawn to debates, being used for timing in fabrials?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is. There are a few more connections like this in some of the other magics I hope to be able to get to before too long.

#84 Copy


I am in the very small minority of your readers that finds Hoid obnoxious and unpleasant. So will we see more characters talk negatively about Hoid, or expose some of what he has done in the past? I bet there are a lot more people like Shai out there ...

Brandon Sanderson

There are a ton. But I don't know when exactly I'll be able to get to them. Suffice it to say that you wouldn't find yourself alone in that opinion in the cosmere.

#85 Copy


The main concern I saw with people on this chapter [Rhythm of War Chapter Sixteen] is the whole thing with where The Thrill ended up. Do we just lack info, or did Jasnah allow something that powerful to be simply tossed away and hope no one finds it?

Brandon Sanderson

Betas had some questions about this too, and my team keeps pushing me to put more info about it--but I haven't found the right place. It's more secure than you'd think.

#86 Copy


Has Balat been healed? He isn't mentioned using a cane in the chapter, and he's in guardsman training? Did he get a session with Renarin or somethng?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not healed (wound is too old) but has access to much better things like physical therapy, and a little strength training to help. Plus, he's doing much better mentally.

#87 Copy


You’ve mentioned a few times the concept of the “in-between” book. Did you plot the events of that time skip out in detail to give yourself the starting point when planning RoW? Or did you just know where you wanted the characters and the world to start from?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not as detailed as a full book outline, but at the same time, it's more than just starting where I felt was right. So kind of between the two ideas you offer?

#89 Copy


That line, about Kaladin trying to take on ardent job, then general one, and then on running away. Did you mean surgeon job being in certain way the running away way for Kaladin? Or you will leave it for readers to decide?

p.s. to me it felt like very sad decision tonally and probably the lowest point of Kal's regression.

Brandon Sanderson

So, right now, Kaladin views this as somehow giving in. That he should have been able to find a better option, a way to keep doing what he'd been doing. It is supposed to be sad tonally because Kaladin is sad about it.

However, this is partially Kaladin not being quite able to see clearly. So I suggest waiting for a little bit and seeing what happens next.

#90 Copy


I got a question about this and last week's epigraph.

The metals Fused use. How come nobody knows, guesses or even suspects that aluminium and its alloys are Investiture resistant? They know you can Soulcast something into aluminium, so they should also know it's impossible to Soulcast aluminium into something else.

And once they know about metal that cannot be Soulcast, they start experimenting with fabrials - they used that in construction of Fourth Bridge - and then the logical step is to test it against Shardblades.Probably experimenting with alloys of aluminium, too.

Yet the metal Fused use to make weapons resistant to Shardweapons is a mystery to them?

I feel like I'm missing something here.

Brandon Sanderson

They're getting to answers here. Problem is, metallurgy just isn't a big science on Roshar. I feel it's one of those things that is more easy to see externally than internally--and do remember that there are things like god metals (Shardblades, for example) that also behave strangely around investiture. They have far more experience with those than aluminum, which is more of a little historical oddity to them than a big revolutionary part of science. Add to that the fact that some of the metals the fused are using aren't aluminum, and...well, I don't think it's as obvious a leap as you're making it out to be.


So the Fused's fabrials are not 100% aluminum based? Or they are and they are struggling to reach that conclusion?

Brandon Sanderson

I think what you're asking will be answered in the book, so I'll RAFO for now.

#91 Copy


Related to Kaladin's abilities and their application to medicine, is a Shard-scalpel possible, or does a Sylblade of any kind have to do the whole burning-eyes deadened-limbs thing that Shardblades do?

(actually, I bet this is going to be addressed in the book, unless my memories of lore are insufficient and this is a silly question that is already answered if I look closely enough.)

Brandon Sanderson

It's not a silly question--and while it's not answered in the books, the topic (or at least ones similar to it) is discussed. So I'll RAFO for now.

#92 Copy


So there's speculation in this thread about whether the Singers have a Fishform relating to the Thrill getting tossed into the sea...

and that makes me wonder - are all Singer forms predetermined by whatever deity created them or evolution, or can new ones arise spontaneously when new spren are created?

Brandon Sanderson

New forms could exist.

#94 Copy


One question I've seen arisen about Taravangian I'm hoping for clarification on: Is he basically retreating from public eye whenever he's not having a "good" (smarter) day?

Navani notes in the chapter that he's dispensed with the doddering old man act, but we the readers know he's just as likely to have a not-smart-but-emotional day where he's not allowed to enact policy, and that could be on the day meetings with the monarchs occur. How is he managing his condition with being so much more in the public eye now?

Brandon Sanderson

There is more help with this in his perspectives, so I'll leave this at a RAFO for now.

#96 Copy


Speaking of sending Stalins to jail, will Dalinar ever face any consequences for his act of genocide in Rift?

Brandon Sanderson

Unfortunately, no. (Other than his strained relationship with Adolin and his own personal guilt.)

Problem here is that by our standards (and now, Dalinar's own) this was a terrible act of destruction. But by the standards of his society, this was just business as usual. A city in open rebellion against the crown? That's basically an invitation.

It's a tricky scene because the awful truth is that in our world, these sorts of things were extremely common in warfare--even up to and including the modern era. It wasn't until very recently that this sort of action was seen as a the war crime that it is.

To be more accurate, I probably should have had this sort of thing happen dozens of times in Dalinar's past. But I felt that wouldn't have made the point any stronger, and felt that one time was bad enough. That said, however, it's not the sort of thing that most rulers through history would have to bear any consequences for.


Has Vasher/Zahel done anything like this? Is that why he is as we see him in the Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO for now, but the responses below this do have valid points [Manywar and Nightblood].


Would something like the 1474 trial of Peter von Hagenbach be possible on Roshar? And if yes, would this be something Skybreakers would get behind? It always seemed to be that they'd be interested in the idea of 'make law, not war' (I got that quote from Ben Ferencz).

Brandon Sanderson

This sort of thing would have been possible (and indeed inevitable in a situation like that) during the days of the Radiants. Not so much in recent history. Old Skybreakers would have been behind it entirely, new ones have some...different ways of looking at things.

#97 Copy


I am a bit sad Lift didn’t tag along to Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

I was actually going to send her on that mission, and wrote this chapter with that intent. Then I re-read what I'd written, and decided, "There's no way on Roshar Dalinar and Navani would send her on a delicate diplomatic mission." So I forced myself to revise the outline so Lift stayed in the tower.

There are some things that just stretch plausibility too much.

#99 Copy


So at this point we either know or can infer the opinions of most of the Radiants spren on bonding humans, but I was a little curious on the exact position of Lightspren. We know there's some who are against it, considering Ico's opinion, but is that representative of the entire people, or just a significant number? Is Timbre the only one willing to bond someone, or is she one of a group of rebels like Syl?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a RAFO for now.

Event details
Name Rhythm of War Preview Q&As
Date July 28, 2020
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