YouTube Spoiler Stream 1

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Name YouTube Spoiler Stream 1
Date Dec. 17, 2020
Entries 61
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#1 Copy

Ramba Ral

How would a person with a Cognitive Shadow, like Szeth or the Heralds, look to someone in the Cognitive Realm? Would they appear to be just another soul? Or different?

Brandon Sanderson

So the question is, are there differences about a Cognitive Shadow in the Cognitive Realm. The answer is yes, but the way they became a Cognitive Shadow is going to influence how they look. And there are other little things playing into that. You could generally tell this if you knew what you were looking for. So the answer to that is a yes, but a qualified yes.

#5 Copy


Did true spren prior to the Recreance have many mannerisms and societies based on the singers?

Brandon Sanderson

This gets into tricky sorts of things, because there's a long history to Roshar. So when you ask a question like this, the question becomes: when? There is a time when the spren were mostly focused on the singers. And there's a time before the humans arrived when they were fully focused on the singers. And so, the answer to that question is "yes", but I don't think that's what you're asking. I think you're asking: "During the years of the various Returns and things like that," and the answer then would be: "No, not in large quantities." What is happening here, with Rlain and Venli and the crowd, is all kind of new ground for both them and the singers. Both the spren and the singers.

#6 Copy

Tom Goldthwait

At any point in the Rosharan history, was it possible to form a Nahel bond without swearing oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

"Nahel bond" is the phrase used for a bond between a spren and a being from the Physical Realm. That is the definition of it. So the answer to that is yes; it's currently possible right now. It's how greatshells exist and grow to the size they do. It's how Ryshadium exist. Those are Nahel bonds also.

What you're asking is if a sapient spren, a spren and a sapient individual, forming what we currently call the Radiant bond, which has access to much greater power; was that possible without swearing oaths? Yes and no. The formalization of the oaths and the Orders aligned with certain spren did take a little bit of time to come together. It was possible to form a Nahel bond before that, but it was not a Radiant bond accessing the levels of powers that are currently possible. So it's another one of these "yes and no" answers, if that makes any sense.

You could find a Nahel bond... In fact, many would call the bond between the singers and the spren that give them forms Nahel bonds. It may not fit fully into the categorization that most people would use it for, but you could kinda call that the same thing.

#7 Copy

Vishal Pani

Why didn't Kaladin seek help from Zahel during the occupation of Urithiru?

Brandon Sanderson

Zahel... At some point I'll tell you what he was doing, but he was not available. That is a RAFO.

It came up multiple times, and there were various points where I was going to delve into it, and it just was one of those things that I just could not fit in. It is a thing that I wanted to, because we have this foreshadowing that Zahel's there; like, we have a scene with him and Kaladin to remind everyone that Zahel's around. And then we don't even bring him up. Alpha readers asked about it, beta readers asked about it. I could not find time for it. So maybe you'll get a deleted scene that is not a deleted scene, that's just a scene that I eventually write, showing what he's doing. This is one of those things like: what happened with Elhokar and the Herdazians and why does Lopen think he's a king? That scene just never fit into the books either.

Maybe I'll do it, maybe I won't. It's entirely possible, both options are possible. If I eventually never do it, I'll talk about it, but we are gonna have a little more Zahel in an upcoming volume of the Stormlight Archive, where some of these things coming out might fit into the story, to the point that your answers will come in that volume. There's a lot of various moving parts on what's going on with Zahel, and with Azure as well, and their relationship to Nightblood that there's just not space in the Stormlight Archive to talk about.

#8 Copy


If Szeth were to have drawn Nightblood immediately after he had consumed Rayse, would he still have drained Szeth's Stormlight? As it said he seemed like he had eaten as much as he could.

Brandon Sanderson

At that point, Nightblood had entered into essentially a food coma... Well, no, the food coma one came when he was drawing from the perpendicularity. I don't think he was in food coma mode at that point. I think that he could still have drawn more at that point, I'd have to go look at exactly what I wrote, if I'd put him into food coma mode or not. It is possible.

This is one of the things I wanted to answer with the book. A lot of people have been theorizing, could Nightblood eat an entire Shard? And indeed, Nightblood could not eat an entire Shard. That is not within his capability. In fact, one of the reasons that he leaks Investiture is: he's too stuffed full of it. There is more Investiture in the sword Nightblood than it can actually hold, it's supersaturated. And it leaks Investiture (that it's done some weird things to). But it is constantly hungry for more and constantly leaks it, but it definitely can get full for a time, and it could not eat an entire Shard.

I did see questions about that from people floating around, and it's something I'd been meaning to get to eventually. Nightblood is definitely relevant to things that are happening in the Cosmere, but it is not as simple as grabbing the sword, sticking it into a Shard, and defeating the Shard, unfortunately. Though, as you see in this book, there are reasons for a Shard to still be afraid of Nightblood. It didn't destroy Odium, but Rayse still really had a bad time.

#9 Copy


Will there be Enlightened spren of other Radiant Orders than Truthwatchers, and why does Sja-anat like Truthwatchers so much?

Brandon Sanderson

The reason Sja-anat likes Truthwatcher spren the most is because they are the most willing. And she considers what she's doing offering Enlightenment, not corrupting. And she considers their willingness to be a part of this. Outside observers might consider her methods less... involving less volition on the parts of some of the spren that she touches. They might argue with her on that point. In this case, as it comes with the two Truthwatcher spren that you see in the books, they both went to what they are willingly. Fully willingly to become what they are. They are, you might say, participants in her plans. So that's why she wants them.

#10 Copy

Dominic Field

If Kaladin's Shardplate is made of windspren, would the other Orders also have Shardplate made of lesser spren?

Brandon Sanderson


Dominic Field

Would Lightweavers have Plate made up of creationspren, for instance?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they would. You should be able to guess, for the major Orders that we've spent a lot of time with, what their Shardplate is made out of. There have been hints from book one what those are. Theoretically, you should be able to kind of put that together. You're not gonna be able to put it together for some of the Orders, 'cause we just haven't gotten into it as much; we haven't spent enough time with them. But you should be able to start putting this all together in relationship to the Shardplate. At least there's three or four of them that I think I've made very obvious.

#11 Copy


You said you would talk about the tone issue after the book comes out. What was that issue, and for which character?

Brandon Sanderson

So the tone issue for Rhythm of War is just how dark things get in some of the Kaladin viewpoints. We've had some rough times for Kaladin through this series, and I wouldn't say that this is necessarily darker than book one, for instance, or even some parts of book two. But one thing we were noticing with the beta readers is: stacking what was happening to Kaladin on top of a worldwide pandemic that was causing general anxiety in a lot of the population was making some beta readers overreact to Kaladin, the darkness in his thing. At the same time, I thought... "Overreaction's" the wrong term, right? It was the right reaction for them, it's not that they overreacted. But they reacted stronger than I think people would have in another year

And this left me with the difficult choice of: is this an actual tone problem with the book, or is this the function of the fact that everybody's really stressed right now? And I decided to walk a middle ground between this. I decided that even if it was a stronger reaction, there are things I could do that would just generally improve the book, that wouldn't make it worse, but would also help with this issue. The main thing that I looked to do was make sure that Shallan and Adolin's sequences were lightened up through most of their sequence. Even though some tough stuff was happening with Shallan and her viewpoints, particularly at the beginning, I wanted to back off on...

What I mostly did was: I added a few more scenes with Shallan and Adolin that were more "let's investigate a mystery, let's problem solve" but not "oh my goodness everything is wrong with Shallan, this is really stressful." This doesn't include the starspren scene, that was already there. But this does include... I think it's the second Shallan viewpoint in that part where they're crossing the ocean. That second Shallan viewpoint or maybe the third, there's one in there I added specifically to be like: let's show some healthy relationship stuff going on, just to balance out the fact that stuff's really dark over with Kaladin.

This might be a slight spoiler for the next book, but I can tell you Kaladin has now turned the corner, I would say. You should be expecting from now on: Kaladin's still gonna have dark days, Kaladin has depression. But he turned a major corner in this book, and I'm very proud of him.

#12 Copy

Gordon Kelsch

Can Dalinar permanently bring someone back from the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

No. In fact, whether or not the voices he is hearing are legitimately voices from Beyond the Spiritual Realm, or if they're a manifestation much like the visions that the Stormfather creates, where Dalinar's desire for certain things is basically creating... So when Dalinar goes into the visions, what's going on there is: these are not people with autonomy that he is interacting with. These are Investiture manifesting a basic AI that is able to adapt, cause Investiture kind of can do this.

Dalinar would argue, "Yes, that's the case except for when I actually met Nohadon. That character felt different, that felt like the real Nohadon stretching through the Spiritual Realm and actually interacting." Jasnah would say, "No, that's because, Dalinar, you have such, in your mind, a hope and desire to see Nohadon, he's this mythological figure in your head, that basically the Stormfather's knowledge of who he actually was was creating this much more animated puppet that was more like actually how Nohadon was, but was based on knowledge of the spren and the Investiture that you're interacting with." And Dalinar would say, "I heard Evi's voice." Jasnah would say, "You heard the Investiture coming to life and speaking with her voice the things you needed to hear. And it wasn't that the Stormfather was like, 'He needs to hear this, I'm going to create this fake.' But it's instead your relationship with this magical force that does take on life of its own, manifesting this thing." Which one it is, I do not answer. Both are, I consider, equally valid interpretations of the text, and equally valid interpretations of the magic system.

Once someone is passed into the Beyond, there is no force that can bring them back, according to people's understanding of the magic system. There is even the argument that Cognitive Shadows are not the person. That the Cognitive Shadow is indeed a spren with the memories and an imprint of the person's personality that becomes self aware and continued on living that person. It's kind of the same question that arises in Star Trek. When you are ripped apart and rebuilt piece by piece with the transporter, some people in Star Trek do not believe you are becoming the same person again. You are then a different individual who has been cloned from the person and had the memories attached. Functionally, in the narrative, for the reader, it's the same. Is it the same soul or not? That question is answered differently by different people in the Cosmere. There are equally valid interpretations from the reader. You get to decide, basically. You get to decide, just like if there's a story where a person's brain is uploaded to a computer, you get to decide: is that the same person? Because we can't do that, we don't know. Is that the exact same individual, or is that a computer simulation of that person, where the person has died? That's what a Cognitive Shadow essentially is, but using Cosmere physics instead of theoretical science fiction physics.

#14 Copy

Maxwell Goode

Before he betrayed Bridge Four, had Moash attracted the attention of any Honorspren, like the other members of Bridge Four?

Brandon Sanderson

So this was pretty early, so I would say probably not. But that's a RAFO. I can see opportunities in the future where I would want to retcon that. I don't think he did, I don't think most of them were attracting spren until middle of Oathbringer or early in Oathbringer, when we actually had kind of a mass influx of Honorspren who decided not to follow the rules and kind of, as a group, came looking for Knights Radiant. But it's not outside the realm of possiblity that Moash had attracted a rogue Honorspren like Syl. I don't have it right now as happening.

#15 Copy

Cody Taylor

What was the scene in Rhythm of War that you had planned or thought of twenty years ago?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin jumping off the top of the tower to save his father. Into the storm. I have been working on that scene in one way or another, like, forever. This was a scene I was planning in the original write of Way of Kings, though I don't think it was his father in that, because the relationship with his father was not the same in Way of Kings Prime. It was probably Dalinar back then, but it's been twenty years or so. But this scene of Kaladin jumping off, going into the darkness of a storm, and emerging like a lightning bolt afterward, is one of those pivotal, foundational scenes that built the core of how the Stormlight Archive was going to work, narratively.

#17 Copy

Phillip Denny

Is there a "how the sausage is made" reason why there are 16 Shards, instead of 15 or 17?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it splits really nice on a table. When I was developing the Cosmere in general, I was looking for... the division of multiples of 2 is just so much fun for designing things like the Allomantic Table. You can do that with 10, you can do that with 15, yes. I find aesthetically pleasing the way that 16, 8, and groups of 4 work, and that's how I arrived at that number.

I also did have some kind of boundaries on myself. I needed it to be a large enough number that it could cover the full group that I wanted to do in Dragonsteel, but it had to be small enough that people could track them all. 16 is a little on the high end for that, but doable, I believe. Particularly since you really only have to track all 16 when I write the Dragonsteel stories. (You'll really have to track 17 because we have Hoid, who did not take one.) But lately, you have at least one of the Shards being combined, and others of the Shards no longer being relevant to the course of stories, and things like that. So you won't actually, in the future, have to track 1.

But it was a nice number for what I wanted to do; not too big, not too small, and I liked how the divisions broke down. And I knew I was going to do 10 with Roshar by that point. If I was gonna pick 10, I would have to use 10 again in Mistborn, which I could do, but I wanted to have different themes. I wanted their tables and math to look a little different visually on the page, since they were two pillars. So 10 and 16 felt like the two good pillars. The Aether world is a 12 world, so we'll have a 12 also. The Aether world does not play into things nearly as much, but it'll depend on how many books I write using the Aethers in the future.

#18 Copy


Is there a reason for why so many early Radiants were family? Including theorized ones, we have Tien and Kaladin, Jasnah and Elhokar, Dalinar and Renarin, Shallan and Helaran...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, so I can give you the "how the sausage is made," I call this the narrative reason vs the in-world reason. I can give you both.

In-world reasoning is that, when these bonds are forming, these human beings have bonds to other people, and that naturally leads the spren along those bonds. When Kaladin is forming a bond with a windspren [honorspren], and windspren [honorspren] start looking, or even other sapient spren start looking for people, they're going to notice. Remember, they're coming into the Physical Realm, it's very hard for them. They're doing this partially from the Cognitive Realm, searching and trying to get pulled through by the attention and the bond that is forming. They're naturally led to other people who are related. You could even say that, because of Tien, Syl found Kaladin.

I built this in for a narrative reason, and the narrative reason is: we generally are going to want to have a larger than average number of people among the core characters, who are involved in the magic system, and involved in the narrative. Because the magic system is so important in my books, I knew that I was gonna have a lot of friends and family of main characters end up with spren bonds.

But I don't think this is unusual. In fact, I think this is more true to life. It's not one of those coincidences we make up for a book; it's one of those coincidences that happens in life that seems unusual. It seems unusual if you look at it and say, "There are five people who became full-time in the publishing industry during the year Brandon was a senior at BYU. And they are all friends; in fact, they were all friends before they got published." This seems unusual; like, why didn't anyone else? There is nobody else that I know that broke in into the industry from that year. Maybe it happened, but nobody I knew who wasn't in our immediate friend group. Well, this is not that surprising if you actually look at it, because when one person breaks in, it becomes so much easier for everyone else that knew that person. Not just for networking reasons. (Networking reasons: obvious). The other obvious one is: the people are gonna know each other because they're all gonna be moving in the same circles, looking for each other without knowing it. They're gonna be looking for other good writers, and they're gonna be making connections with them. They're gonna notice when people ask questions in a class that are the right kinds of questions to be asking about getting published.

But even beyond those two things, once I broke in, Dan Wells has said before he realized, "Brandon did this; this is real. He actually did this. I can do this." And indeed, he went and broke in. Once this thing that seems impossible, whether it's becoming a full time novelist, or forming a spren bond and becoming a Knight Radiant; once you've seen somebody do it, it becomes way easier for you to conceive of yourself doing it. This is why C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were in the same writing group. This is why you see this sort of thing happening all around the world and in all sorts of professions, that people who were friends together... Every time that people are like, "Wow, these three major Hollywood stars knew each other in high school." Well, yes, that is actually more likely to happen than not, because of all these reasons I've talked about.

#19 Copy


How can splintered seons like Mraize's leave their planet, while spren cannot?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a big mystery in the Cosmere, so it is a RAFO. This is actively... The answer to that question is a big step toward doing what Mraize wants to do. And they haven't figured it out yet. There are lots of theories. And indeed, Elantris and its magic systems tend to be the oddball among Cosmere magic systems in a lot of ways. This is all related to how things work and the various things that are odd about the Elantris magic system. So I'm going to RAFO that with a "why don't you theorize along those lines?" They are trying to figure it out, and obviously they do, because (spoilers) I have read things that indicate that this is possible in the future.

#20 Copy


What does it mean that Kaladin is close to Honor, and how did that factor into him staying conscious while every other Windrunner in the tower didn't?

Brandon Sanderson

The nuts and bolts answer is, Kaladin basically was in a place where he could say the next oath, and should have said the next oath, and indeed knew the next oath, and it was on his tongue, and he refused to. So basically he was as close to being the next level of Knights Radiant as a person could humanly get, because everyone considered him ready except himself. He even knew that he was ready, but by saying it, it would require him to give up something that was precious to him, which is his feeling guilty. A precious part of his identity as he saw it. And he would have to relinquish that. That's the bulk of it.

The other bulk of it is, the level to which Kaladin tries to protect, the level to which Kaladin exemplifies the Ideals of the Windrunners, and indeed of the way that Honor would have all Knights Radiant act, is so over the top, in alignment with the way Honor would like it to be, that it could even be considered unhealthy. Remember, Honor didn't always encourage healthy relationships with things like the power, particularly later in his existence. So either way, Kaladin is just kind of extra aligned with that intent, if that makes any sense.

#21 Copy

Katelyn Gigante

After the epilogue, when Odium took Hoid's memories, did he gain them or just remove them?

Brandon Sanderson

He removed them, he did not gain them. He excised them, he performed a little surgery on the Breaths. You have seen this happen before in the books, though I will not give spoilers to another book. It happened on a different world.

#22 Copy


The UV wavelength is wider for Voidlight. Is there an Investiture reason why the bands are wider instead of brighter? Wider bands doesn't make sense in physics, due to Snell's law, but brighter works.

Brandon Sanderson

The reason I did this, I actually did this very intentionally. This can go two ways. What I'm hoping you'll see is: this is Brandon understanding the physics of our world and saying, "It's okay to let go, because I am not using the physics of our world." This is supposed to say to you, "All right, I understand this doesn't work the way it's supposed to." Because what I'm doing with the constructive and destructive interference requires Cosmere intervention in order to actually work. Destructive interference is not magically different in any way than constructive interference, or than any other sound wave, it's just where you position it. You couldn't look at it by itself and be like, "Oh, that is the anti-song to this song." That's not how it works. The anti-song to this song a song that is aligned differently; they sound the same to you. They're just played in such a way that is destructive interference. And I needed there to be a dividing line that said, "We are actually working in Cosmere physics here."

And the main reason to do that is that, the nuts-and-bolts reason, is so that those who knew their physics could be like, "Ah, okay, we are in a fantasy world. We are in a world where people don't irradiate each other with redshifts, and indeed this destructive interference can be magically known as the opposite of this other sound because humans beings are considering it so and that makes it so." And there are a couple of other things about the physics through the books that are done that way.

What's the in world reason that it's like that? That is a RAFO.

#23 Copy


Does Shallan's "I killed my spren" count as a truth?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna leave up to theorizing, figuring out the timeline that's going on with Shallan. What we can say is that Shallan is reconstructing, in many cases, oaths she has said before. And it is working slightly differently than someone who is saying new oaths. And indeed, saying she killed her spren is one of those steps. I'll leave it to you to try and parse through that. It's actually pretty complicated. We have a nice big page explaining all of this stuff internally, to make sure that we're keeping it all straight. Because she has violated oaths and reconstructed them, is basically what's happening. And she is regressing, and she's doing a... 1.1 steps forward, 1 step back, sort of thing, kind of frequently.

#25 Copy

Shaed cloak

How do proper lighteyed women play instruments that require two hands?

Brandon Sanderson

With gloves. If they want to.

The whole thing breaks down, just like a lot of sexist societal constructions, when you actually start to pick at it. Because you'd be like, "She's playing a flute. That's 'one handed,' is it?" "Yes it is, look, she's holding it one handed and blowing." "And those fingers that she's using in order to make...?" "Oh, those don't count. That's still a one-handed art." "Why is that one-handed?" "Because we said so; haven't you read the book?"

#28 Copy

James M

According to Cord, Rock drew the Bow of Hours at the dawn of the new millennium. Roshar is at year 1173. Do Horneaters have a different calendar, or is Rock just really really old?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Rock is not really old, that's a different calendar. Rock is not old enough to have drawn that bow 74 years ago.

#33 Copy

James Smallwood

Can the Voidspren bonded by the Regals be killed and become deadeyes?

Brandon Sanderson

Voidspren bonded by the Regals, right, okay. I'll RAFO that for now. I haven't gotten into the mechanics of the Regals nearly as much as I want to eventually get into it.

Let's just say something weird is happening to make deadeyes. They didn't exist before the Recreance. There should be a relationship here that reminds you of something else you've seen in the Cosmere.

#34 Copy


Is it possible to Surgebind using gaseous Investiture other than Roshar's?

Brandon Sanderson

So here's the thing. It depends on your definition of Surgebinding. Surgebinding would be the Rosharan definition of all of the magics. They would call the Metallic Arts Surgebinding. You are binding the powers of creation, which the word "Surge" is that word translated from Rosharan into English, that's what the word means in Rosharan, is the powers of creation. The fundamental forces which inspired me to make this. So they would consider all of them to be Surgebinding. And that's just what you're doing, you are binding and using those powers.

Other people, including Khriss, would not agree with that definition. They would say: Surgebinding is specifically binding, through the Nahel bond, the spren, the specific manifestations of Investiture on Roshar, by using specific sets of oaths in order to gain access to those powers. So she would say: no, that is not Surgebinding when someone uses Allomancy. I would lean with her on that one, but the other one's a viable definition.

What you're really asking is, can someone, one of the Rosharan, the Knightly Radiant Orders, could they power that with a different form of Investiture from a different planet? And yes, this is possible, though there might be some difficulties in making it work, which I haven't explained entirely yet. But yes, this is possible. In fact, it is possible to power all of the different magics with the different forms of Investiture. That is a possibility

This is one of the reasons why Mraize and Thaidakar are so interested in Stormlight. Because if you could get Stormlight off, and you can crack that... just way easier to get Stormlight than it is to get the other ones. Like Breath, you could consider easy, but hard to morally harvest; in fact, perhaps impossible. If you want ethical, sustainable magic, then Roshar is a much better bet than some of the other places that you could...

Adam Horne

Does that mean Mraize and [Thaidakar] want an ethically sustainable...?

Brandon Sanderson

They're really interested in the sustainable part. I would say that they both would say "yes" to that question. They would consider their actions to be, on an ethical spectrum, at least in the neutral area, perhaps. Others would disagree with that.

Adam Horne

Where would they fall, philosophically speaking, like Kantianism, or?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd have to think about that. That's a good question. Certainly not as far on the utilitarianism side as someone like Taravangian, who's about as far as you can go. But Jasnah is pretty far on that side, also. Though she considers her version more of a "what is the greatest good I can do with any action I take?" (Which one is that? It's not Kantian, but you know what I mean.) That is a little on the utilitarian side. Not a little, that's... not as far as Taravangian, but that's definitely, yeah. They would maybe be in between those two, maybe. Depends. They're not the same individual, they would have different lines.

There's gonna be (let's just say) future books that explore Thaidakar's relationship with that. But you have seen in other books the lengths that Thaidakar is willing to take in order to achieve his goals. He is not far off from Taravangian in some of those things that he has done.

#35 Copy

Drew Berg

Is Tien's spren still around, or are they recovering like Syl did after her prior Radiant's death?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll RAFO that for now. Tien's spren is not going to be a deadeye. Tien didn't break his oaths, Tien was killed. So we'll RAFO what's up with his spren for now. But you can rest assured that it's not any of that.

#36 Copy

Jeremy Mahieu

If Adolin said the First Oath to Maya, would the Stormfather have to accept it if Maya did?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Not necessarily.

There's more going on here. Even if Maya would... Does he mean the oath? Is he wanting to be part of that Order? There are so many things in that that could prevent... And even, would the Stormfather be the one answering, in that case? Which would probably be a "no."

All kinds of versions of "no" to that question, though it is a good question.

#37 Copy

Asha'man Rich

Why was Kaladin called Stormblessed even before he became Radiant? He wasn't surprised that people called him Stormblessed before the highstorm.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't use it very often this way because it would be confusing, but it's a not-unheard-of term for "lucky" or "blessed" in Roshar. An antiquated one, but not unheard of. You're not likely to see me using it very often, because it's become a title for him. And indeed, most people on screen know of him and now know that as his house name. So the word is shifting in meaning, but he was called that because they thought that the storms favored him. Certainly once he survived the highstorm; it was more proof to some of them who had already started thinking it.

#40 Copy

Adam Horne

Do you reserve the right when you answer one of these questions, to change your mind later?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it doesn't happen that often, but I do mention that, on occasion, that Words of Brandon are not as strong as the book continuity. You have to understand when I'm answering these things, I'm answering as I feel right now, and there are times where the book demands rewrites to not-yet-canon things in the books. Occasionally it requires rewrites to small canon things. Like when we decided, "When Brandon wrote Way of Kings, he used too many metaphors that they just wouldn't use." And we went ahead and tweaked some of those. That's a thing we don't like to do very often, but there are certain times where the book can just genuinely be improved by changing and tweaking a few things. We do sometimes take those steps when we're doing an updated version for the leatherbound or something like that.

But I don't really consider the things that I'm telling you as Words of Brandon to be canon. I consider them insight into the development process of the stories at their current state, and there are things that I will change. This just happens when you're writing a book, where you're like, "Wow, that thing I was planning; that was a bad idea." I can either keep consistent with what I've said and what I was planning and make a worse book, or I can make a stronger book. I try to consider the books as they're written to be canon, revising at that point. Except for ways I have tricked you and things like that (I try to avoid that), but I do not take much into consideration what I've said. I do take it into consideration, but it's not going to prevent me from writing a better book, how about that.

#41 Copy


Is there's a real life analog to what the singers sound like when they're speaking to the Rhythms?

Brandon Sanderson

Let me get back to you on that. This is actually, that's a RAFO, but it's a RAFO with an explanation. I have tried to find one that I like. I have not yet found one that I like. I'm sure it exists, or I have faith that it exists, but I haven't gotten one I like. We will definitely have to have one when we make the television show or movie, which I am fully confident that someday we will. So if I were to say yes to that now, and talk about some of the ones I think are kind of closer, then we may have to change that entirely when we make the television show.

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Brandon Sanderson

I do consider Stormlight television more likely than film, which is why I say it like that, but who knows? I mean, there is a world where we could conceivably do Way of Kings as a film, a longer film, two and a half hour sort of film. The big streamline that would have to happen is: Jasnah would have to be at the Shattered Plains, not at Kharbranth, and Shallan would have to find her there. And become her ward, and we see Dalinar's story through Shallan's eyes as she is going through her plot, rather than having quite as many... Dalinar doesn't become a viewpoint character in that version of the book, we see him through Shallan and Adolin's eyes, basically, mostly through Shallan. And we'd do our A story as Kaladin and our B story as Shallan. But that is not unlikely that we would do, even if we did a television show, we would just then expand those parts. Everyone agrees, I'm sure they all agree in the chat, it just works better as a nine episode miniseries in this new style than it would.

Moving Shallan to the Shattered Plains, I think, is a good move regardless of what we do. Because even if we do a television show, The Way of Kings audiobook is, like, 50 hours; and a television show would be 9 hours. You still need to shrink a whole bunch. When you guys see the Wheel of Time television show, they did a fantastic job; they still had to cut out a ton. Even with 8 or 9 episodes (I think they're doing 8), you just can't fit it all. I do kind of feel like that would be a good move, but we'll see. That is why I won't do it, most likely, until Mistborn has been done, because Mistborn is the proof of concept to get everyone on board for Way of Kings.

And people say, "Do Way of Kings as animated!" While I'm not opposed to the idea (I think a good animated version could be done), if we made an animated version of Stormlight Archive, it would play only to our fans, and to animation fans, perhaps. It would not gain a larger audience. The unfortunate truth is that animation for adults does not gain audience, right now. So we could do a cool one just for the fans, I'm not saying no to that. Or perhaps someone else breaks out the genre and makes it, with these new animation studios that are doing things for Netflix, to the point that it does become... I should say animated non-comedies, because of course something like The Simpsons has proven that you can do it. But animated dramas for adults just do not break out of their fanbase. Some ones for teens and younger have, and Last Airbender is of course the shining example of something that became a cultural phenomenon through an animated drama. But people just don't watch them as much as we would like. And the main reason for me to make a television show of Stormlight is to try to reach a different audience, a larger and different audience of people who are not willing to pick up a 400,000 word book but who would enjoy the story quite a bit. That is one of the purposes of doing a new medium, in my opinion. And so I am hesitant about animation for that reason.

It's an unfortunate aspect, I wish it weren't the case, but it is the case right now, which means that we would not get the budget that we would want. Even for animated, we would not get the budget that we want, we would not get the promotion that we want, and we would not reach the people. We would reach you guys, who want to see it, and that might be enough of a reason to do it, don't get me wrong. That's why I say it's not off the table. But I would want to see what a Final Empire film does, and the reception, first, of that. If that doesn't work for some reason, then I might say "Let's just make the best Stormlight animated that we can, so that we have it as a fandom, that I can just make this cool thing." And then maybe we would do that. But I'm hoping that what happens is that we're able to do a Mistborn film that is successful, and then I can use that to say, "All right; let's do a television show." You might say, "Brandon, people are doing Witcher, people are doing Wheel of Time, so couldn't you sell that first?" It is a possibility, it could happen. The problem is, people read Stormlight and they say, "Number one, this is huge; and number two, all of these spren and things are gonna cost a lot of money." A lot more money than The Witcher costs, because the Witcher you can go film on scene.

Now, something's changing in that regard. The Mandalorian is changing some things in, I think, exciting and good ways. And I really enjoy The Mandalorian, I think it is really well made. But we're not going to talk about the narrative aspect of it, we're gonna talk about the aspect that The Mandalorian is basically all CG with very small sets. They definitely do build physical sets, and they're really good at blending the practical effects, the physical effects, with digital effects, to the point that you're never quite sure, is that CG or is that a set? But much more of it is CG than we expect, and I think what that is doing is opening the doors for much more fantastical worlds done in the same manner. Because basically all of Stormlight would have to be CG, just almost everything about it. You could maybe get a few shots in southern Utah in some of the canyons, but maybe not. I think that anyone looking at that says, "This is basically all a giant CG thing," and that's expensive right now. But if those costs come down because of new technology, CG is coming down in expense over time, then perhaps. But right now, when I go to Hollywood and I say, "I have this cool thing called The Stormlight Archive, let's make this a television show." They come back and say, "This is too expensive for us to justify right now." So that's why there's not one yet.

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Kevin Andres

In the vision Dalinar had in Way of Kings where he was flying with another Radiant, he asks how to summon his armor, and the Radiant he's with acts confused and tells him to talk to the quartermaster, or something along those lines. Did Radiants lend out their armor to lower rank Radiants?

Brandon Sanderson

This did happen in the past.

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Did Shallan kill Tyn with Pattern or Testament?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna let the fanbase theorize on it a little longer. I think this one is pretty clear, but I'm gonna let you guys work on those timelines, and eventually we will release our timeline, and we can see how well you did. But this is one of the things I expected people to theorize on once the book came out, and I would like to see how good a job I did. If there are holes across these ten years of writing this series that I did not consider, that you guys find, cause you totally can do that. I am definitely not flawless when it comes to these things.

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Link Law

Who is Renarin's crush?

Brandon Sanderson

Should I answer this? How about this, it is not supposed to be... I'm not trying to be tricky. If you think it is someone hinted at by the book, that is who it is. I'm not pulling a fast one on you. Basically, I am letting the characters come to their own realizations as they move through the story. But I have liked how it has grown, and I am not planning to change it, and I am not playing to be tricky with you about this.

Adam Horne

And I think you were subtle enough and obvious enough, because many people in the chat have guessed. People are saying it.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, they're saying lots of things, I assume.

Adam Horne

They're not.

Brandon Sanderson

So Adam just undid my RAFO. I can't see the chat, but as Robert Jordan says, this should be intuitively obvious to the casual observer. I expected this one to be obvious; I'm not trying to trick you. But the characters have not reached the same conclusions that their emotions have, yet. Does that make sense?

This should come out in book five, so you shouldn't have to wait till the back five for anything to happen there.

Footnote: The person that everyone in chat guessed was Rlain.
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bb m

Has Hoid ever used Allomancy on Roshar or in The Stormlight Archive.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. On screen he has. I've mentioned times when he's pulled on emotions, or pushed on emotions? I think he... I'd have to look at the scene and see which one he's doing. But he is playing with people's emotions using Allomancy in a very obvious way. There are other places. He doesn't do it a ton. Wit, as you can see in Rhythm of War, considers too extravagant use of the various arts to be cheating to an extent, because it makes things too easy. There are other reasons to not do it, though. He would become visible very quickly to entities to whom he wishes to remain non-visible if he were aggressively using Allomancy. Allomancy is not a very quiet skill.

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You mentioned having to pull in plot from the future books for Rhythm of War, because it was originally going to have more flashbacks. What sorts of things got moved up?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see... what was I thinking of when I said that? So, there's been so much rejiggering. The Kaladin scene I mentioned [Kaladin jumping off the tower to save his father] was originally in the third book when I outlined it. It was not in the fourth book. It didn't fit the third book, and it's much better here. That old outline... I'd have to think about what did I actually... I'm sure I was thinking of something, a plot thread that I pulled in while I was doing it. But I don't know what it necessarily was. 

It was not the Taravangian stuff; that was planned for this book all along. I don't remember what it was. I'm sorry. This is just me; I'm sure I was working on a scene where I'm like, "Oh yeah, I'd planned to do that later, and now I'm doing it here."

I have no idea what it was. I'm sorry. 

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What happened to Plamry in Dawnshard? When he and Nikli were stranded to keep them from interfering.

Brandon Sanderson

He was not involved in any of it. He got left when his friend and superior melted into bugs. He's probably having a hard time with that. He was left there and then recovered at the end of the book, after the last chapter. I believe that's what your asking. Plamry is okay physically. What it does to various people to watch people you have known melt into bugs... depends on the individual.

I've been waiting so long to do more stuff with the hordes. They are one of the very first science fiction races that I developed long ago. They actually appeared in Star's End (which is my second novel, which is terrible). I quickly moved them to the cosmere once I developed the cosmere, because I love them. I think they are lots of fun. They do all kinds of cool things. I really like that there's a really legit species that you refer to as "it," because that's what they are. That's how they see themselves; the swarms. They're one of my favorites, but they did not match being part of the main narrative of The Stormlight Archive for lots of reasons. There is already lots of weird stuff in The Stormlight Archive. They're mostly around because I want to use them later. I was really happy to be able to write a book where I inserted a viewpoint.

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Brandon Sanderson

One of the big revisions I did to Dawnshard was: I didn't have viewpoints from him originally, Nikli, because I wanted to maintain the mystique of them [Sleepless]. I realized after the beta read that the coolness of seeing through their eyes was more important, and indeed there was an issue with Dawnshard. I expected, because people had read Oathbringer, and the scene in Oathbringer, that they would immediately pick out who the horde, the Aimian, on the crew was. The tattoos were suppose to make it very obvious what was going on. 

The emotion I was looking for in the book was not mystery, but instead suspense. These are two kind of complementary emotions, and suspense is - at least as how I'm defining it right now - "Oh no! This terrible thing is going to happen. How are they going to deal with it?" And mystery is "What terrible thing is going to happen? And who is going to cause it?" These are two different emotions.

If you go into Dawnshard with mystery being your primary expected experience, then what happened to beta readers is, they're like, "Well, Brandon's always tricky about these things. So the fact that he has a person with tattoos on this says that's not the person. That is not the Aimian; that's too obvious. So let's watch and see how he tricks us about who the Aimian is." When my intent was "Here's the Aimian. Be scared because he has a good relationship with Rysn, and terrible things are probably going to happen." That's sad and scary and tense. I realized after reading the beta read, "Oh this is not landing. I need to add a viewpoint as early as I can realistically get it in the story that says 'No, no no no. This is the Aimian. This is the horde. You're right, you're suppose to be worried about that. Not questioning about that.'" So I added that scene. I'm really glad that I did, because I enjoyed writing it. I think it adds a lot to the lore, and it is a fun scene to read, I think.

I'm very happy for the beta readers being confused on that point, because I think the story landed way better for a lot of the readers, because they could let go of wondering who the Aimian is and focus on the emotion the story is actually stoking in them (or it's trying to), which is the suspense of watching what's going to happen when it happens. 

This is the reason why I really depend on beta reads, is for reasons like this. When what I'm trying to do doesn't land. A lot of the people talk to the beta readers, I hear, and say, "Why did you talk him into changing this thing that I love!?" That's not what beta readers do. That's not what they're there for. They are there so I can see if what I'm trying to do actually lands, and if it doesn't I can reassess and find a way to make it actually land. Because if you read all of Dawnshard, thinking that the mystery of who is the Aimian is suppose to be the big reveal, and then it just turns out to be the most obvious person, you'd be like, "Wow. That mystery was lame!" Hopefully instead if you read it saying, "Oh, there's an Aimian on this crew. I see who it is. They are gonna try to kill the people on board. That's sad. Hey! I'm kind of liking this character. That's even sadder! How is this ever going to get resolved?" Hopefully that's the emotion you had.

Footnote: Scene in Oathbringer is I-4: Kaza
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Dallen Powell

Is it easier to travel in the Cognitive Realm because people in the Physical Realm don't understand the immensity of space, and their lack of comprehension condenses the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say that's a factor, yeah. Definitely a factor. I think it's impossible to comprehend the immensity of space even with all the visualizations I've seen.  Yeah, definitely. Good question. 

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Adam Coventry

Is the important part of the fourth oath of the Windrunners forgiving yourself? Kaladin had to accept that it wasn't his fault for the people that died, and it seemed that Teft was going down a similar path.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I can expand on this one, it doesn't mean that every one of them will take exactly the same shape, but that is a major component in that oath. Speaking those words involves that for most Windrunners. How about that?

I like the oaths being a little more flexible along those lines, just because they work for more people that way. I like that the oaths express the individuality of the person, and the specific things that they are working on, and getting better at, and learning through the process.

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Benjamin Susla

Did Hoid confirm that Cultivation is a dragon?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if Hoid did. I can confirm it for you. Cultivation is. 

If I RAFO'd that one, everyone would be "Oh it's a secret still." It's not. I could RAFO it so people continue to theorize, which I sometimes like. But it's not suppose to be a secret.

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