Shardcast Interview

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Name Shardcast Interview
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Date Jan. 23, 2021
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Entries 27
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#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Back when you guys said "What should we name ourselves?"

And I said, "Oh you should name yourselves the Seventeenth Shard. That's a cool little nod to something in the universe." Before anyone - you really don't know what they are even yet.

Chaos

Are we going to get something from them eventually?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah maybe, it depends if I'm able to write the Silverlight novella, because they would be involved in that.

#2 Copy

FeatherWriter

Especially with the livestreams this year, you get lots of questions from the fandom. How do you feel about the culture around Words of Brandon? Do you ever worry that the fandom takes them too seriously?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, yes, I do worry. I try to explain a Word of Brandon is not written in stone, and I think that people know this by now. A Word of Brandon is how I am planning to do it, but it's not canon until it's in the books. And things get changed as books are worked on and better ideas come around.

The thing is, I grew up in the Wheel of Time fandom. I am used to this sort of thing. I'm accustomed to it. It doesn't frighten me. I'm just used to dealing with it. It's part of fandom to me. And I would certainly rather have this than the alternative, which is no one paying any attention or caring. The opposite is far, far worse. But I do worry that sometimes people take them a little too seriously. Mostly the ones that I give off the cuff while I'm doing a live signing session, like when I'm at a book signing trying to write peoples names and phrases in their books while they're asking me questions. And I flub those way more often than I flub ones on a livestream where I'm not having to track people's names and things like that. But I will often answer the question I think people are asking, rather than the question they actually ask, because something's on my mind I've been thinking about, and they'll ask a question. And then I'll be like, "Oh yeah; bla bla bla bla bla bla bla." And they're like, "That's not what I asked..."And I'm like, "Oh. Sorry."

#3 Copy

WeiryWriter

In 1966, Ursula K. Le Guin coined the term ansible, for devices that facilitate faster than light communication. Since then the term has been used pretty widely in the science fiction genre, and by you in Words of Brandon. In Stormlight [Archive] you have the word fabrial and artifabrian for magical technology. How would you feel if fabrial escaped you? 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh that would be awesome, that would be really incredible. 

#4 Copy

Chaos

Has people knowing more about the Cosmere changed how you've written the books? Have you put in more connections or less than you planned?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I've put in more. I always wanted there to be more but my instincts said don't do it. Because people were pretty anti-continuity for a long time. They wanted continuity in a series, but this sort of stuff... it's a hobby horse of mine - a pet theory, that I think people becoming familiar with the internet, and becoming comfortable with fan wikis is what made the MCU possible, and is what made the Cosmere work. 

WandaVision - which I've just watched the first two episodes of - doesn't feel like that could exist in a previous incarnation without the internet for people to look up, 'Who are these people? What's going on here? Who are these cameos?' It's just too weird to exist in a pre-internet era, my gut says. 

My publisher was saying 'Don't do this, you don't want people to feel like they're diving into something too deep that will scare them away.' So I was really cagey with it at first as you can tell from the books. And it turns out we're in a different era. We're in an era where this sort of thing is not so threatening. Also my popularity has influenced that as well. The fact that the books sell really well, means that there are good fan wikis, which also means that there are people talking about the stuff behind the scenes in the books. It means I can be a little bit more free with that. 

I still want each series to have its own identity. When I do crossover things, I want them to use the crossover each in their own way. So it doesn't become a big hodgepodge of ideas. The further I've gone the more comfortable I've been making these crossovers happen, and I've been able to experiment and see which ones work best, and what people like. I've also come to better understand it's okay for their to be a chapter where Vasher explains deep cosmere magics. As long as that's not the core of the book people can read that, and people will be like 'he knows lots of weird stuff, oh well', and to them it reads like Star Trek technobabble. But to those who follow these things it will give some structure, and delve a little bit further into how some of this works. 

#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Usually I try to have a couple of things that have been very well foreshadowed that you are able to expect, and then hit you with that left hook of something that is foreshadowed but kind of in a hidden way. Like what happened with Taravangian at the end [of Rhythm of War]. Theoretically after the fact it should feel inevitable that that's where it went, but can still surprise you. My goal is to have some of those in every book, but those get harder and harder to do as the fandom learns my tricks, and people have more time to philosophize. This is why Stormlight is two sets of 5 instead of one 10-book arc. Even though some of the things will persist into the second 5. I needed to get all the stuff that I properly foreshadowed dealt with, so I can start foreshadowing new things. And kind of let you have a mind reset button on the plot arcs that we're talking about. It's not a reset really, the story continues on. But because I'll be able to reintroduce things in book 6, it can feel like a new series to an extent and can therefore start brains working a different direction.

#6 Copy

Ian Weiry Writer

You killed Rayse this book. Could you talk about why you decided to kill him off, and have Taravangian be Odium instead. Was that always part of the plan?

Brandon Sanderson

I always work in a way where I have different options and opportunities. Was it always the thing that I was absolutely going to do? No, I keep myself open on some of these things. 

The reason Rayse needed to go: he had been essentially defeated at the end of Oathbringer, when Dalinar does not go over to him. All of his rage, and everything he's trying to do cannot make that happen. He's defeated, at least in a philosophical sense. Now you can bring a defeated enemy back to be a threat again. You can find a new way to make them a threat, but I knew - in this book - Kaladin was not going to fall to him either. But once you've had two books in a row with the characters machinations not - things stymied by the heroes. I needed a different villain at that point.

And I also think that [al]though a lot of deep into the cosmere people are interested in the original Shards and getting their stories, for the average reader Taravangian is a much more identifiable villain. And I've been building him from book one to be not just really scary, but a philosophical opposite to Dalinar. These are all the reasons this book needed to go the way it did.

It has benefits and costs. The cost is Odium stops being the evil you don't know. The evil you don't know is a very powerful force in fantasy literature. The evil you do know does different things. And I lose that evil you don't know though you still have a bit of it, because the power of Odium - the Shard itself - I wouldn't say has volition completely, but it's still there and its a thing. It is constrained by Taravangian and directed by Taravangian, but it's the rage of a deity separated from its morals should be a scary thing. In the hands of someone who is essentially a fallible mortal, should be an even more scary thing. Rayse had gotten to the point where I no longer felt - if I was going to write the books the way I did. This basically became inevitable when I swapped and made Dalinar's book book three. [host reactions: OHhh sure!] I knew something big needed to shift, but fortunately I had several options. There is a version of The Stormlight Archive, where this doesn't happen. I think it's a worse version, but until something is written no matter how much something is in the outline, it's not canon even to me. I like to be willing to reassess what I'm doing.

Talking the other direction, the foreshadowing I put in the books the more I foreshadow, the more I do, the more that locks in what I need to do going forward, because I don't want to undermine that foreshadowing. 

There's a longwinded perhaps a little wishy washy answer to you. I can tell you why I made the decision, but I can't - the outlines are these things that are really organic, because I'm always working on them, and will often have lots of division points, these are different places it can go - because of the way I write characters.

I'm sure this will cause contention. But I did not decide in the original outline, who Shallan would end up with, or who anyone would end up with. I write character relationships as I feel they are appropriate on the page, and I revise the outline to match from that how things are feeling and how it's going. I know there are some shippers out there who are like 'that means there was a version of the ship I wanted, and you didn't do it. It was the nefarious beta readers who forced you not to! [Chaos denies] It was ?Calin's fault!' [hosts laugh]. I'm sure you've heard that before. I don't want to fuel that because these decisions are made not necessarily based on beta reader feedback. These decisions are made based on me giving life to the characters, and feeling where I feel they would legitimately they would go. And rebuilding my outline to match.

While I outline a lot more than my contemporaries, I am not a slave to the outline. I will change major things such as moving Dalinar's flashback sequences to book three which had ramifications all down the line. Or deciding I need to do more with Eshonai and Venli earlier in the series, which had other ramifications to their viewpoints later on because I feel it makes the best story.

#7 Copy

Chaos

How much do you plan in the cosmere? There were a few things in Rhythm of War [that went in] a different direction, like anti-Investiture, that black sphere Gavilar had in the prologue being anti-Investiture, and Testament and Shallan, were those always part of the plan or options?

Brandon Sanderson

Those were always options. Anti-Investiture has been pretty core for a long time, there are a couple reasons for this. Number one I need to get certain resources into the cosmere for use in the future, and anti-Investiture is one of those. Another reason is I want to push Stormlight Archive more towards magic-tech, because I'm pushing Mistborn more towards Earth analog with Earth technology and then some cool fantastical things thrown in, but when you're using the technology. When you're using a radio on Scadrial, it's a radio. You know what a radio is. It works based on radio principles, and maybe you can do some wacky things with weight, but an airship is kind of an airship to them where as I want Roshar which is on the opposite end of that spectrum. Where an airship on Roshar is not an airship like you would imagine. Its not being propelled in normal ways it's working off all these weird magical things. And anti-Investiture was an important thing to get into the series for the future for that reason.

From book one I knew I needed magical healing for Roshar, [for] the stories I wanted to tell to work. And I needed some really powerful magical healing. Particularly for the Knights Radiant, because of the stories I wanted to tell, this meant I was going to be very much under cutting the danger of physical violence in The Stormlight Archive as we move forward as the characters became Radiants. It is really hard to kill a Radiant in combat and there need to be foils to that. 

Beyond that from the first chapter of the first cosmere novel Elantris, death has not been the end. [hosts laugh] We start the first book with someone being resurrected. That's one of the main themes of the cosmere is a second chance at life. This is Raoden's story, this is Lightsong's story, this is Kelsier's story, this is a major theme of the cosmere, and I needed to be introducing into the cosmere a "dead is dead" mechanic. And I considered Shardblades for that for a while, before I even released Stormlight. No, it can't be Shardblades, because I can't have every battle - once lots of people have Shardblades then there's no purpose to the magical healing. So I needed another tool for the late part of the cosmere, when people have figured out Cognitive Shadows; How do you destroy a Cognitive Shadow? Well there are ways, but throw some anti-Investiture at them and that's guaranteed, you are gonna kill that Shadow, and I'd been pushing towards where to get this in, and this book felt like the right place. It was either this book or book five, and where it settled into this book is where I finally made the decision that I was gonna let Navani be a main character, which she had been pushing to be for a while, and I'd been pushing back. No, I deserve to have a scientist, an actual straight up scientist main character in The Stormlight who can dig into some of this stuff. I can self-indulge by doing that, as long as I balance it with Kaladin behind enemy lines fight sequences and things, for a more traditional structure. Because Navani's scenes do not have a traditional structure. They're like "we're going to do science now! But we're making up the science also?!"

#8 Copy

FeatherWriter

The Navani and Raboniel storyline was one of my favorites in Rhythm of War, and I'm really sad we're probably not gonna get any more Raboniel for now?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's an anti-Investiture death, so yeah. She's gone, I'm sorry.

FeatherWriter (paraphrased)

Fingers crossed maybe Herald's flashbacks we might see a little more [Raboniel]? Maybe my favorite new character in Stormlight that we've had introduced later on.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, right you can see her in Herald flashbacks, definitely as somebody you can see back then.

Well the other thing I wanted to do with this book, was really get some Fused to show their viewpoints on life, because it's not something I've really been able to do yet. I've had her waiting in the wings in order to - basically as Rayse/Odium became, in my mind, less of a threat because Dalinar had just completely defeated him. I also I needed a more personal antagonist for this book, that we could approach in a different way. Rayse is the unknowable evil, I wanted the knowable antagonist. Not even necessarily evil, evil-ish in Raboniel. I was really looking forward to be able to write her, and one of the decisions by being able to make Navani a main character, by saying "Brandon I'm gonna let you do this" to myself. Let me pull off that dynamic between them, that was extremely fulfilling to write.

#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

In fact the original draft that I submitted to my writing group didn't yet have that scene where he go-goes. I was like "I'll get around to it eventually." They almost revolted. They're like, "WHAT? He's still alive?" I was like "No no. He will go-go. I just have to find the right way to write the scene." So they didn't actually get to read that scene with El and [Lezian].

Chaos

Definitely one of those Brandon ending scenes that are just like "Wow there's some weird stuff going on here."

FeatherWriter

So many new questions.

Brandon Sanderson

All these weird Fused who've been around way too long. The guy [El] that they gave his name [Vyre] to Moash.

#10 Copy

Chaos

In Rhythm of War, when we see Veil in the scene in the bar when she's expressing interest in women. Was that meant to confirm Shallan is bi[sexual] in-text?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That was meant to be read as Veil legitimately - I realize you can read that as she's just joking around, but that was Veil expressing interest in the ladies.

Chaos

Well I suppose, what some people were saying, maybe Veil is bisexual and not Shallan.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that they are both, and maybe Veil kind of in a way to make less threatening to Shallan has started really only talking about women that way. Partially for Adolin's comfort and for Shallan's comfort. If that makes sense. It's more of a safe place, because for them they know she would not go and act on those if it were about men or women, but it would be more threatening if she were talking about men that way. 

FeatherWriter

I definitely got the vibe that Veil is more the sort of person who was willing to say those sorts of things, but knowing that a lot of the speculation about Shallan went back to book one, before Veil had even become a character, this has been with Shallan for a while way back when.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think Shallan would express it. She might be too culturally biased to even acknowledge it, but Veil? No.

#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

But now since Veil has been incorporated, so Veil is Shallan now, again. Which is one of those things that as I was doing it, I recognized could be controversial in the D.I.D. community, because there are various different opinions about whether incorporating alters is good for the individual, or not. The decision I made on this is, it was good for Shallan in that circumstance. Using my best understanding of the psychology, and the treatment recommendations, and knowing both sides of that argument. It was the right thing for Shallan right then. That doesn't mean necessarily that she has to incorporate Radiant in order to be healthy. I will just point that out.

#12 Copy

WeiryWriter

In a lot of Navani's viewpoints, Navani is very uncertain of how genuine is Raboniel being. Beyond the obvious deceit considering her true intentions. Did she really not know about Sunraiser being Elhokar's Blade, how true was her grief over her daughter's death, and with Venli what were her intentions, revealing the survival of the listeners and dismissing her from service. I just love Raboniel. I want to know everything about Raboniel.

Brandon Sanderson

I will only answer one of those. Her grief over her daughter's death was completely authentic, as was her desire for bringing an end to the war. That part of her is completely authentic and legitimate. Her motive is to make sure [the war] can't keep going; whether she's right in that, wether it can keep going or not, is a subject for discussion. But she believed this was the best way to make sure the fighting ended, that was her primary goal, and that was at cross purposes even at times even with Odium. So that is legit. Some of the other stuff I will leave subject to reader interpretation.

#13 Copy

Chaos

There has been a question in the fandom ever since [Rhythm of War] Part One, where we learned that the Thrill got tossed in the ocean.

Brandon Sanderson

They, at Jasnah's suggestion (which came through Hoid), locked it in an aluminum box and threw it in the ocean. The argument for this being that anywhere they could hide it, the enemy could get to. And an Unmade would be pretty easy to find in the Cognitive Realm. You can't hide an Unmade very easily. Aluminum's gonna help a ton with doing that. So, what you have to do is try to make it as inaccessible as possible. And the most inaccessible thing they could do is lock it in an aluminum box and throw it in the ocean. If they had kept it anywhere in the city or what-not, then the enemy would have been able to find it very easily, even inside an aluminum box. This method was their best guess at being able to keep it out of the enemy's hands. It is not a great solution, unfortunately. There just isn't one that they could find. As we talk about a certain other Unmade who is somewhere locked in a gemstone that might come up in the next book maybe, we'll talk more about this.

#14 Copy

WeiryWriter

What made you decide to canonize not one, not two, but FOUR new Shards? A whole quarter of Adonalsium in this book?

Brandon Sanderson

It had been long enough. I had been coy with them long enough. I had worked out enough of the outlines moving forward that I knew what Shards I needed and things like that, and they had gotten locked in enough that I could just do it. And they would mention it. We're getting to the point where if I didn't start mentioning them I'd have to do verbal gymnastics in the stories to not. 

When Harmony is trying actively to figure out what happened, and who they all are, and where they all are. It was time for me to go ahead and stop dribbling that. The reason I was dribbling is there were still a few I was still deciding upon. And now that they're all locked in. There's no reason to hold it back.

I don't hold things back from you guys out of glee. I hold things back because narrative drama, and because things are not locked in yet.

WeiryWriter

So there's still two [Shards] we don't know. Do you have those locked down or are those still...?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are a little more vague, like I haven't picked the words for them. I look for the right word, and sometimes I have the word that's the wrong synonym. Odium in this case would be Hatred. Calling the villain Hatred doesn't work in the same way that calling the villain Odium works. I'm looking for those right words.

#15 Copy

FeatherWriter

Looking toward book five; is the prologue with Gavilar going to be enormous at this point? Trying to wrap up all of the rest of the threads? 

Brandon Sanderson

I do need to wrap up a lot of threads in that one.

Chaos

20,000 word prologue?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll see. I haven't written it yet; we'll see how long it gets. I hope I'm not straying into Robert Jordan prologue territory. 90,000 word prologue? Oh really...

#16 Copy

Chaos

In Dawnshard we learned that Intent and Command are two different things, whereas in Warbreaker Vasher is clearly conflating these two into just saying it's the Command. What's the difference between Intent and Command?

Brandon Sanderson

Intent encompasses more understanding. Command is specifically narrow. A lot of times, these things are gonna be conflated, because they basically can be. Like, if Vasher creates an awakened thing and says "go get me those keys." The Intent is: "I need the keys to get outta here. I want to be free." The Command is: "Go fetch keys." Those are two different things, but they are working toward the same goal. It is important in cosmere terms that the Intent is understood, even if sometimes the words that can speak 'em are clunky and smaller in scale by nature than the Intent.

Let's say the Intent of a Shard encompasses more than the word that the Shard is described by. It's a similar thing that the Intent of a Command is often vaster than the actual words spoken. And the magic can grasp the Intent, not just the Command, depending on the magic system and how good you are at it, and things like that. The words are there to focus Intent. How about that?

Chaos

Bringing the old word "focus" back into it. Let's talk about body focuses; what's going on there? (That's a joke.)

Brandon Sanderson

I'll throw you a kernel on that one in the fifth book if you watch for it. That old Rosharan philosophy will actually be relevant for a small thing happening in the fifth book.

#17 Copy

Weiry Writer

Kelsier and Thaidakar. At what point did you decide Kelsier would be part of The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

Thaidakar isn't; his minions are! Pretty early on, there's a whole lot of Kelsier in Era 3 and as soon as I decided that when I outlined the original nine books as I was working on the original Mistborn trilogy I knew that there needed to be some more of him influencing the world/universe at large. He is a really fun character to write because he does not fit in boxes very well. He does like meddling. There are a lot of things I want to do with Era 3. 

One of my big concerns when I was building the outline with Kelsier, when I was building the outline for all 9 books before I added the Wax and Wayne books, back in 2004 when I was doing a lot of the big outlining for the cosmere - Emily's got to dig out that paper I once wrote out for her - I guess that would have been 2004 to 2006, because I got married in 2006, and it was 2007 where I drew that thing out for her. No actually it was summer 2006, because I didn't have my laptop with me which I wasn't allowed at the family reunion, so I instead had a notebook, because if I'm not allowed my laptop, I will have a notebook, and that's why we have a physical copy of this thing.

But when I was doing all that one of my big concerns was how to make sure people kept interested in Mistborn while I was potentially spending years and years away from it, at that point in the outline I was going to write Dragonsteel before Stormlight. And I started trying to do that in 2007, either way we're talking 5 to 10 years away from Mistborn at that point. How can I make sure that this stuff-? So I outlined Secret History that I could release in the meantime, and a potential Secret History follow-up. That I've mentioned before that I don't know if I'll ever write. It wasn't until 2010-2011, that I was like "why don't I write some short stories in this world to keep people focused on it?" And I tried one and it was bad, and I'm like "what if I just wrote a little novel?" I can do a little novel, right? And that's where Alloy of Law came from.

Technically speaking these are all solutions to the same problem, which is people can't forget about Scadrial it's really important. They can forget to an extent about Sel; it's still important, but it's not important on the level that Scadrial is gonna be. Scadrial has so many fingers in the technology of the future. So this was another method to make sure we had some Scadrian influence happening while I was in other worlds. Turns out we ended up getting ALL of them, we got Secret History, and The Alloy of Law, and the little fingers in The Stormlight Archive. But it was important to me that the fingers in The Stormlight Archive be through the frame of reference of The Stormlight Archive. 

Chaos

I definitely think Shallan learning about cosmere stuff is a good intro for Stormlight-only readers to get interested in the cosmere, kind of like Mistborn: Secret History is for Mistborn-only readers.

Brandon Sanderson

In Roshar if you learn "hey there's more planets out there," and they see Roshar as something with a very valuable resource. That's enough of an intro to the cosmere to make it work in Roshar, and to make you prep for the future. That's why I did it the way I did. And also knowing people were more okay with this. But also I needed to get it in, I almost should have done it earlier. I saw people guessing that one by Words of Radiance. But by the time I was releasing Words of Radiance I was seeing fan theories that were like "what if this."

Chaos

So like throwing darts on a dart board. "Ah like this person's this other person."

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it might be that. The whole philosophy of the Ghostbloods was suppose to dove-tail with Survivorism. Survival of the fittest type stuff very much. I'm hoping from the things they've read in that they were able to connect the philosophies rather than throwing darts at a dart board, but it could have been the dart board thing.

FeatherWriter

It's funny because we already recorded the Kelsier podcast, but it's gonna come out after this one. You've put me in a very weird situation, because loved the Ghostbloods. I guess I still love the Ghostbloods, I have a terrible villain crush on Mraize, he's one of my favorite characters and Kelsier drives me crazy. So finding out they are intrinsically linked I'm like "Noo! Kelsier is ruining my favorite thing." But it does make sense I have to admit.

Brandon Sanderson

It's okay. Mraize does not have to do what he's told, and Iyatil who - that's the other thing once I dropped Oathbringer, and this is a southern continent Scadrian running around, this is pretty obvious connection to Scadrial. I had to eventually canonize that. Iyatil is - 

Don't consider people in the Ghostbloods flunkies. That's not a very Ghostblood-ish philosophy.

Chaos

I guess that makes sense, they're all trying to backstab each other. Well no I guess not.

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're not allowed to backstab each other. [too many people talking at once] [Ghostbloods have]? specific rules, because they need them to be very strong specific rules. If you have an organization of people who are drawn to the way Kelsier works you need some really strong rules. [Hosts laugh] When he is just with his crew, his force of personality, and the people he individually picks you're not gonna have that problem. 

I always imagine-you can relate it to Tor Books, they're all assassins. When Tor really functioned well, back in the 90s, it's because Tom Doherty could keep a close eye on everything. And he liked his editors being a little bit in competition with each other. And he structured his organization so that if you picked an author who did well, you got bonuses, based on how well the authors did which is just a way of working that could really lead to an unhealthy office environment, if you think about it. But if you have Tom there making sure that that doesn't become the case, and if you have Harriet watching and making it a good incentive, not a bad incentive, then it all works really well and you have one of the strongest sci-fi publishers that's ever existed, because everybody was incentivised to find really good stuff. But they we're corralled by Tom Doherty and kept it from becoming toxic. But now that Tom retired I think they're changing a lot of that, because its grown too big for one person to watch over.

And it's the same thing with Kelsier, in an immediate organization of Kelsier's you're gonna find a well bonded crew of people hand picked who are going to work together as a team, and you aren't going to have to worry about too much about backstabbing - less than average for the type of organization that they are. But if his structure is outside of his direct manipulation, the type of people who would be attracted to the organization he makes...

Chaos

...are not gonna be nice.

Brandon Sanderson

...you're gonna have some problems. Mraize would not say that he's not nice. [hosts laughs] Mraize would just say that his niceness is an analogous threshold that does not intersect with the threshold of competence and capability of things he's trying to achieve, those things don't need to overlap in his life.

He'd say he's a very nice person. He was very nice to Shallan by his definition. [hosts laugh] He was very nice to Lift by his definition of things. Think of all the things he could have done with Lift, and what did he do? He gave her as a present to an ancient being who ruled the tower, who could properly take care of one such as Lift.

Chaos

Mraize is very nice.

FeatherWriter

You heard it here, it's canon. Mraize is nice.

Brandon Sanderson

Mraize is nice, and he also wanted to keep is fingers and he felt that was a better way to keep his fingers, was to make sure Lift was someone else's problem. He got what he wanted, which was being able to capture her, which was not that easy, he would say. So he deserves to have whatever reward, because it was quite a difficult enterprise on his part. She is not easy to capture.

You know those Scadrians gotta keep an eye on things, they like to meddle.

#18 Copy

FeatherWriter

I have to ask about using the word "avatar" for Thaidakar sending avatars... does Kelsier actually have anything resembling a real avatar or is he just using the word and lying through his teeth?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, he's mostly lying through his teeth. Basically — this is not canon, because I might come up with a better [idea] - but in my head, I have him with a large cloak with a Seon on top indicating his face [hosts laugh] It was something along those lines. He wants them to think that he is capable of getting to Roshar in a meaningful, physical way.

Spoiler! he can't get off Scadrial, and it's really annoying to him. At least by this point in the continuity, in fact a little past it, because the Wax & Wayne books...

*multiple people*

[Tangent where he forgets where in the timeline Wax & Wayne actually falls, and Chaos corrects him. Answer ends up being that it takes place after Stormlight 5, as he has usually said.]

Brandon Sanderson

As of the Alloy era, he is still unable to get off of Scadrial.

Chaos

Guess we'll learn about that in Era 3, if it's all Kelsier stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Era 3 will definitely involve some Kelsier stuff. Let's just say he's perturbed.

#19 Copy

Weiry Writer

Why are Seons stuck as floating balls of light in the Cognitive Realm, while true spren get to be people shaped? I feel that is unfair.

Brandon Sanderson

That is a little unfair isn't it. Boy, Sel has all sorts of unfair things going on. But they can leave Sel, so there's some sort of clue there. But lots of unfairness to everybody from Sel in various ways. But the thing that is not unfair is: they're able to get places.

Chaos

Just gotta escape the deadly plasma, you know. No big deal.

Brandon Sanderson

If they can escape the deadly Investiture plasma covering the Cognitive Realm... not even covering, like... suffusing the Cognitive Realm where they are, the Expanse of Densities. If they can escape that they can go places. 

I'll be honest. I couldn't decided if I should use a seon there at the end or a Tamu Kek. In one draft it was a Tamu Kek, and then I thought, "Eh, seons are way more interesting because they have volition. Tamu Kek is just a bone." It was a Tamu Kek originally, and then it was a seon, then back to a Tamu Kek, and then I released it as a seon. 

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Brandon Sanderson

I'll release [Dragonsteel Prime] for the Words of Radiance Kickstarter.

Basically there's not a whole lot that's canon in that anymore. The Sho Del are, the dragons are, and the Tamu Keks are. But all the Hoid stuff is not really canon anymore. He'll get a completely new book backstory. I have really done some work lately on the aethers in ways that I really think is working. So I think I can start canonizing aethers, sneaking [them] into the mainline cosmere books. Whether I can ever write the book about the aethers is another question, but you should see more than just little cameo pieces now that I'm sure about some of the ways they work. I made some major breakthroughs in how I wanted that to all connect.

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Chaos

Do you ever worry, like, when you actually need to write Hoid's backstory that it... That's a lot of pressure, in a way, Hoid's backstory..

Brandon Sanderson

It is a lot of pressure, yeah. I am not worried about the book being great, because the story that I have for it is a great story. What I am worried about is: what random things have I said in books that I didn't write down in the wiki that I need to make good on? That he's mentioned doing at some point. Those are the things I worry about. The actual story is really solid for Dragonsteel, the new one. And I think people will really like it. I think it does cool things. But we will see. We'll see if I can.

The longer it goes without me writing it, the more expectations there will be on it. And so I should be telling people, "Look, it is just a book like the other ones." It is hopefully a great book that you will really love, but it is just a book. Once I write it, it can no longer be all the things you're imagining it to be, and I apologize for that. I do want to do it, but it is just a book. It's going to read like a lot of my other books. It will be in first person, which is the only planned first-person cosmere series. That will set it off and be distinctive in ways I think will be cool.

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FeatherWriter

Can I ask about Glys and Tumi, which are Rlain and Renarin's spren. Obviously they have some weirdness from Sja-anat, but they seem very, very different from the other mistspren we see, whose name is Dreaming-though-Awake. And sometimes they seem like they talk like inkspren, with that focus on the "be" verb at the end of sentences, and things like that. Is there a reason why they are so very different - I mean we've only seen one other mistspren, but... 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there are reasons indeed. I will give you more as the series progresses. Remember, Renarin has (right now) in the sequence book 7, and so you are going to have an entire Renarin book with its own flashback sequence that you can look forward too. It'll be Renarin in his thirties; he'll be older, he may be wiser. We'll see.

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FeatherWriter

I'm super psyched about the Rlainarin reveal that we've had recently. It was one of those things that reading Rhythm of War I'm like "Oh wow! There's a lot of cool chemistry here. And I don't think it's ever gonna be canon, but I'm gonna just love it quietly in my heart and tell other people that I think it's cool." And then finding out...

Brandon Sanderson

It goes back to Oathbringer too if you go back to Oathbringer.

FeatherWriter

It has! The scene in Rock's point of view. I'm just so glad it's actually happening. It warms my little Renarin loving heart.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. I looked for a place to get it into this book, I actually wrote scenes that "should I put this in this book?"  and they're like "No, if it will feel clunky just do it in book five." 

FeatherWriter

I think it was there enough, that a lot of us readers, got that the chemistry was there, and it could work very well.

Chaos

I think you can really do it justice, doing a same-sex relationship and do it really well. 

Brandon Sanderson

Well having two viewpoint characters - that's kinda one of my go-tos, right? To avoid tokenism, try to make multiple characters who think differently. One of the worries was: with Renarin being autistic, I don't want to conflate these two aspects of his personality. But having Rlain there lets me have diversity among a given representation in a single book. Just way more comfortable for me to write, because it lets me make sure that I'm making people their personalities, and not their defining attributes. Kaladin has depression; Kaladin is not depression. And that's a really important thing.

If its something that I'm less familiar with personally, it's more important that I have a variety of viewpoints. Even if its something like making sure that Jasnah is atheist and Kaladin is agnostic. And that I'm approaching their different worldviews from their personalities rather than as a cliché of some sort. 

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Chaos

In Oathbringer, Rayse refers to a group called the "Tisark" that are supposed to secure the Oathgate. What does that term refer to? I thought they were gonna be one of the types of Fused, and so I was just surprised that that was not the case.

Brandon Sanderson

I will canonize that later. It very well may be one of the types of Fused, we'll see... theorize. Go ahead. It doesn't have the right suffix.

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WeiryWriter

Every day in Kasitor, Cusicesh emerges from the bay at 7:46 in the morning. If the Iriali started practicing daylight savings time, would Cusicesh emerge at the old 7:46 or the new? Would it make a difference if all of Roshar was changing?

Brandon Sanderson

They would not change their time based on the clocks being changed.

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FeatherWriter

We've had some discussion, people wondering whether Taln actually broke the Oathpact, or did something else happen? Like he just got too crazy to be able to hold the Oathpact back or something else, or is that all totally off track?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! There are scenes in the stories talking about that, so it is a question I expect people to be asking.

Event details
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Name Shardcast Interview
Date
Date Jan. 23, 2021
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Entries 27
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