Recent entries

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #501 Copy


    Is it some inside joke that Ben Olsen didn't want to be bridge 4? I'm very curious what led up to it. If you can share that's be awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He's a long time member of my writing group, and a good friend. If you watch the stream I did with Dan Wells a few weeks ago, Ben crashes the party and we tell stories about how he insists that none of us put him in our books--something that we kind of follow, and kind of don't.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #502 Copy


    Dear Mr. Sanderson,

    Given the motivation per the books that the Knights believed they were giving up their Surgebinding powers to prevent the destruction of Roshar à la Ashyn, in practical terms how did e.g. Windrunners break their bonds?

    Since they believed they were doing the right (honorable) thing wouldn't simply deciding "I'm breaking my oaths for the good of Roshar" not damage the bond (especially if Fifth Ideal Windrunners have [attitude] similar to Nale's comment regarding his bond)? Or can one break the bond by force of will or decision as opposed to betraying oaths in a practical sense?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is an explanation to give here, but it would have spoilers for Rhythm of War and Book Five, so I'll RAFO for now. Ask me in about three years and four months.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #503 Copy


     In Rithmatist, is the 4th of July still their American Independence Day, with the alternate history?

    Related question, is there a mechanical reason for inception being the 4th, or is it just cultural?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cultural. And yes, July fourth is still an important day though they might call it something else, with the monarchy being in exile in the colonies.


    Thanks! Are you willing to say why it's important in their world, or is that something where I'll have to RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's RAFO for now, as that world is in limbo for right now, and I'm not sure one hundred percent where I'll go.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #504 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    In the final design (as seen in the 10th anniversary WoK) the front row of bridgemen run with the front lip of the bridge, fully exposing them to arrow fire as described in the text.

    Fun fact: Parshendi and humans both use a specific type of shalebark leaf to fletch arrows, similar to wooden fletching. Various types of chicken scales are, of course, very rare and much too expensive for fletching. This does lead to accuracy issues.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #505 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.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #506 Copy

    Michael Whelan

    Just to clarify some misconceptions I've seen in Stormlight Archive discussions. That's not Dalinar on the cover of THE WAY OF KINGS.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Huh. I've been told (granted, second hand) that he intended it to be Dalinar and Eshonai--but then again, he wasn't as familiar with the series when he did that cover as he is now. He's mentioned before he wished he'd made the cloak blue.


    Is it possible Whelan could make those adjustments and a reprint can go out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think it's unlikely. Book covers aren't generally meant to be illustrations of the events of the book, and more a "poster" to give the right feel to those looking to pick it up. That's doubly true for a first book in a series. So I don't feel it needs tweaks, though it is a little confusing here and there.


    For me, it's only a bit confusing in hindsight, since the subsequent three books have obviously portrayed named characters.

    Selfishly, despite my love of the Way of Kings cover, I hope the not Dalinar-ness maintains so that he might be more pronounced on a future cover. He's my favorite and I am greedy for more.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think a Dalinar cover will be appropriate for the next book, so there's a very good chance that's the way we go.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #507 Copy


    /u/mistborn I know it's in cremposting, but [a cookbook] is an exciting idea and I'd love to hear whether it's something you'd consider.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would take a lot of work to come up with a full cookbook. But it's something people have joked about before, so I don't know. Maybe if the films/TV shows get big enough, we could do something like this?

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
    #508 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Six

    So, this little sequence with Kaladin, the lurgs, and tricking Leshwi was one I was VERY close to cutting from the book. Thing is, this battle between them has been going on pretty long at this point, and my gut says I've done a little too much of "Kaladin chases and fights someone through the air" in these chapters.

    I looked long and hard, therefore, at trimming this sequence for pacing reasons. In the end, I left it, and I don't know 100% if it was the right choice or not. I like how it gives a different kind of interaction for Kaladin on the battlefield here, and how it hearkens back to the flashback from book one with Tien.

    I opted, instead, to trim more extensively through the whole combat--taking out words and sentences, rather than this entire scene. But it was a tough call. And even in the very last revision, I went back and forth on it. If I'd been forced to trim something here to make a film come in at the right time, this part would have gone--but one of the luxuries of writing epic fantasy in novel form is that I can be a little more self-indulgent. (So long as I don't let myself go too far.)

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #509 Copy


    The Reshi King from Rysn's interlude is probably trans. This statement is based on a few points

    1: Everybody but Rysn (who's whole thing is that she's extremely green and unaware of the world) uses He/Him pronouns to refer to the reshi king.

    2: When Rysn first meets the king, She genders him as a man, until she notices that he has breasts. This suggests that he has taken measures to present more masculine.

    3: When Rysn refuses to call the king "king" his son loses his temper and tries to send her away. Up until then, he had been firm, but that was the point where he outright tells her to leave.

    There is one line in the text where The king's son says "gender is irrelevant" in response to a question Rysn has about the king's gender.

    I will say that this was written before the Author stopped using Gender and Sex interchangeably according to the WoB database.

    Beyond that, I doubt the language they were speaking (thaylen) would have a robust understanding of sex and gender.


    /u/mistborn was this your intention with the scene if you can confirm it? Or was it more the Egyptian style Hatshepsut-like others are mentioning?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I love Hatshepsut as an interesting quirk of history, and have long thought about ways to incorporate something similar. I did have that partially in mind when I was writing this, but more in the way that the culture was trying to understand him, rather than his own view of himself.

    The king sees himself as male, and wishes to be treated that way--not just in title. In fact, in the coming months, you will see this character again briefly in some scenes I've already written, if you keep an eye out.


    ooh are we going back to the Reshi Isles? Will we get a beach episode?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. RAFO. :)

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #510 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    There are days when my job is just... really much more fun than ought to be allowed. Isaac came up with all the ideas, but he let me go off on my own for Horneater White and the One-Armed Herdazian. I drew up the head for Chazmfiend and contributed "Sweet Scalespray" flavour, but I think RAFO Soda was all Isaac and Adam. It might be my favorite, too. That or the HW frontside, I had a good time painting that.

    I posted a slightly nicer resolution on the Horneater White coaster last week when it was first revealed, but this is the first time folks are seeing the finished set. I did the "stained" versions for a giggle by using the same texture layers I had archived from Shallan's sealogged sketches. If y'all wants 'em, y'all can has 'em... but I feel we could also just print them clean and then have the fun of staining them honestly. Though I'd love it if the textured ones were like, 1/100 variant cards given away randomly at events or through the store, that'd be fun too.

    I almost never get to indulge my weakness for alliterative copy. You know you want to TASTE the Four-Scream Fury of CHAZMFIEND!! Chase it with a fistful of Cremling Crisps, their satisfying salty crunch swears to satiate your sense of FLAVOUR!!!

    It's like a birthday, every day. :)


    There was one Brandon had a good laugh at on his stream, a Dalinar coaster with "What is the most important drink? The next one."

    Is there any chance of you guys doing a coaster like that?

    Amazing work BTW, really hope we hit the goal!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I love it as a joke, but I don't think we'd do a coaster because it might be a little tone deaf to twist the oaths of a former alcoholic to encourage the next drink. Normally, I'd have no problem with that, but there are some people who use Dalinar's words to keep them going in their own personal struggles with addiction.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #511 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.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #512 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.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #513 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.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
    #515 Copy


    How would Adolin fare against the greats like Lan, Rand, Galad, and how would Kaladin and his spear fare against Mat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s really hard to say this, because what are different characters’ skill levels and things? For instance, I generally count Lan as the strongest and the best. My [Wheel of Time] books that I wrote show that. I think Lan would beat Adolin. You just can’t replace the twenty years of intense practice that Lan has, and the wisdom, no matter how talented of a rookie you are -- even though Adolin is not a rookie. I think Lan could go toe-to-toe with anyone non-immortal in the cosmere, because a lot of the cosmere people have an advantage, right? Taln has spent 4,000 years practicing with weapons. Granted, he spent a bunch of that time being tortured as well, but you know. He has many lifetimes behind him, and has been able to be killed making mistakes and never make those mistakes again. That is a leg up on someone like Lan or like Adolin that is just of a supernatural level. And so, while I think Lan would beat any swordsman in a fair fight from the Cosmere, I would count anyone who has a greatly expanded lifespan as an unfair fight. Like, I don’t think Lan would be able to stand against the better duelists among the Heralds or even against Vasher. Vasher’s got multiple lifetimes of practicing with the sword.

    How would Kaladin do against Mat? It depends, Mat’s luck is a very big wildcard, and how is the luck on Mat’s side and how is karma working in Mat’s favor or against him in that given moment? That’s part of what makes Mat fun. So Kaladin is a soldier, again, not a duelist. Kaladin is really good with a spear, but his training is in war, his training is to be a battlefield captain. What even is Mat? Mat has been trained by fate itself with weapons, which is just really hard to play. Let’s call that a tie, edge probably to Kaladin.

    Lan beats Adolin or basically any duelist but you put him up against the Heralds and he has a much harder time.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
    #516 Copy


    Would Adolin or Dalinar have a heron-marked blade if they were in Randland?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adolin would, Dalinar would not. Dalinar is not a duelist, Dalinar is a destroyer. Dalinar is someone you let loose on a battlefield and couldn’t -- he does not care if he has a heron-marked blade, if he’s considered a swordmaster. He will use any weapon he can get his hands on, and is proficient in a lot of them. What he is most proficient at is striking terror into your heart and laying waste (this is young Dalinar) to everything in his path. Dalinar is a general and a warlord, not a swordsman. 

    Footnote: “Randland” refers to the Wheel of Time universe in this context, where swordmasters are given marked with a heron.
    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #517 Copy


    What happens if you try to summon a Shardblade, but there is a wall where it would appear? What about liquids in the way, or person, and what if Shardplate is in the way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Generally, the Blade isn't going to appear inside of something solid--and will appear (shoving aside) in liquid. It can be hit or miss on people, but generally doesn't work--and Shardplate would stop it from materializing.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #518 Copy


    Ooh, I think that's a really good point, Marsh probably should have flared steel or iron or something? /u/mistborn ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you're right. Good catch, /u/Thevulgarcommander! I believe we caught this already, however, and tweaked future printings.


    So does this mean that tin doesn’t enhance Allomantic senses when burned? You’ve said before that windwhispers can store Allomantic senses, so I’m surprised at the difference there

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just think the passage is confusing, and was better of being tweaked. The new version, if you find it, makes it clearer--I believe he flares both tin and steel/iron.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #519 Copy


    I'm reading my Stormlight books in anticipation of the newest and I noticed Teleb being an Oldblood - a detail that I hadn't noticed or remembered the first time around. A search on Coppermind shows that you said they were simply a previous dynasty that ruled Alethkar back in 2014.

    I wonder if I'm reading too much into it - but are the Oldbloods perhaps descended directly from the Knights Radiant whereas other Lighteyes are descended from later non-Radiant Shardbearers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not reading too much into it--Oldbloods claim to be able to trace their lineage to Knights Radiant, but don't talk about that aspect of it as much because of the poor reputation of Radiants until just recently.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #520 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.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #521 Copy


    Hey, you've mentioned before that for the Lord Ruler to be able to be a Mistborn and a Feruchemist he had to alter his spiritweb in some way because a person can't normally hold all 32 powers. What about a Mistborn Ferring? Would it be possible for someone born with all 16 powers of Allomancy to also be born with a Ferring power? What about a Ferring Mistling? Thanks

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is possible now, when it once wasn't, but would be very unlikely.


    Just as getting a Mistborn nowadays is very unlikely but that hasn't stopped people from trying ;) ;)

    Follow up, having past a certain number of medallions doesn't work currently in world. Is this because of this same issue? Or is it more of a technical hurdle with the medallion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The core root is the same issue, but it's not insurmountable with technological improvements.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
    #522 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adhesion allows you to bind things together.

    Gravitation allows you to change the direction and strength of an object's gravitational attraction, including that of yourself, which essentially gives you the power of flight.

    Division allows you to manipulate the rate an object decays.

    Abrasion allows you to make objects, including yourself, frictionless.

    Progression and Regrowth allows you to heal organisms and alter their growth.

    Illumination allows you to create illusions.

    Transformation allows you to soulcast objects from one material into another.

    Transportation allows you to travel between the Cognitive and Physical realms.

    Cohesion allows you to alter the shape of solid objects.

    Tension allows you to alter the stiffness of objects.

    Footnote: This information is only shown on the results pages of the Official Knights Radiant Order Quiz.
    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #523 Copy


    Hello, I hope this message finds you well. I was wondering if you might be able to answer a question. Was going back through the Stormlight books in prep for Rhythm of War, and I realized I didn't actually understand what was happening with the Stormlight when someone used a Basic Lashing. What actually happens to the Stormlight in the creation and maintenance of a Basic Lashing? (Especially when someone is Lashing themselves?)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whew. It's complicated. Basically, the magic is persuading the Lashed object that it is not actually bound to the gravity of the planet--but to the gravity of a supermassive object in the direction indicated. (But which doesn't actually exist.) Imagine it as a Lightweaving that creates an illusion, but the illusion is of something massive that only is seen by the Spiritual aspect of the Lashed object/individual.

    It works pretty well inside of the cosmere's magical framework, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you approach it from the physics of our realm.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #524 Copy


    How long after Warbreaker does Way of Kings take place? I know you usually don't finalize timeline details until they actually are stated in-book, but are you willing to say how far apart the books are, in the current plans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have Warbreaker happening a few generations before, right now.  However, I'm very likely to move Elantris up in time, so it's a little in the air at the moment.


    Thanks! I assume asking why Elantris being moved affects how far apart Warbreaker and Way of Kings are is a behind-the-scenes thing and/or RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it does.  The big linchpin is going to be when I need Sel and Scadrial to align when big crossovers start happening.  We'll know in a few years; there are things I intend to write that I could imagine needing to change, after they're finished, that will influence the timeline structure.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #525 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.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
    #526 Copy


    Hey Peter,   I've been meaning to ask you about this since Alice's article on the Heralds went up. In it, she lists each Herald's role (e.g. Jezrien is the King, Battar is the Counselor, Kalak is the Maker, etc.), and I noticed that those same roles were listed (but not used) in the Radiant Quiz as the archetypes for each Order. Some of these show up in the books, but a few don't, and the source for those appears to be an old old email from you. I wanted to know how canonical these are, and whether I can include them in the Coppermind (and if I can, it would be nice to know what they are - roles, titles, archetypes?)

    Peter Ahstrom

    These, along with Jester, are the names of the Photoshop layers for the faces on the chapter arches. Since the words themselves don’t really appear in the books, I couldn’t say that they’re canon. In our internal wiki we call them Face/Title. I don’t have an opinion on putting them in the Coppermind.

    Footnote: The roles, starting with Jezrien's and going clockwise, are: King, Judge, Guard, Healer, Scholar, Artist, Counselor, Maker, Soldier, and Priest.
    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #528 Copy


    Just like hiding a safe hand it can become sexualised if it is always covered in public.

    Ben McSweeney

    Amusingly enough, not intended to be a sexual taboo, as it was written.

    Fans did that all by themselves.


    I mean it was explicitly mentioned that whores in the Warcamps had their safe hands uncovered, or wore gloves with the fingers cut off.

    Ben McSweeney

    Something can be taboo, and signify taboo behavior, without it being explicitly about sex. I made a mention of lacy gloves being equivalent to lingerie at Brandon years ago, somewhere between WoK and WoR, and as I recall he told me, "Safehands are not a sex taboo".

    But I kinda knew it would be like this, so... maybe he's seen my point. I haven't asked about it since then.

    I don't recall as there's any scenes of Adolin's heart racing 'cause he got a glimpse of Shallan's fingertips. Dalinar doesn't wax on about Navani's knuckles. I might have missed it, but I feel fans have taken this much further than any Rosharan culture.


    He may not have initially intended for them to have been, but he certainly has pivoted that way, I don't recall the exact wording, but when Adolin walks in on Shallan, and when Shallan is talking to Tin about non-vorin cultures, she compares it to walking around naked, having her breasts out, and being in her underwear at various points.

    Ben McSweeney

    I will say that when we first talked about it, this predated stuff like safehandhub and every picture of a left hand getting an NSFV tag. It's possible that his view has changed over time as he sees what I saw then (because he is pure of heart, and I am... not). Even if it wasn't a sex thing, people will make it a sex thing.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #529 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    It's one of the few strict mandates for all interior illustrations, across most of the Cosmere main books (with a very few exceptions).

    We work to make sure they all appear diagetic in nature, representative of some in-world document or imagery. You don't just look at a map, you look at Dalinar's map. That's not just a picture of the tech or the wildlife, you look at Navani's notes, Shallan's drawings. We did something similar with the Era 2 broadsheets, using mockup in-world documents as a means of adding details, secrets and general flavor to the book.


    What are the exceptions?

    Ben McSweeney

    Arcanum Unbounded had much more traditional chapter illustrations that just depict a scene (or the feel of a scene) from the following story. Chapter icons in Stormlight are not meant to be diagetic (though I think the archway Herald sculptures might be). And we don't follow the rule when it comes to covers (also worth noting that we don't do the covers, that's the publisher's privilege).

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #530 Copy


    Exciting news - Brandon just confirmed via livestream that the Leatherbound Tenth Anniversary Edition has an official piece by Ben McSweeney showing off the bridges - presumably it'll be similar to the one I linked, but more shiny.

    Brandon Sanderson

    At some point soon I think they’ll share a digital scan, or add it to the Way of Kings gallery on the website in a similar quality as you see the others.

    It is not a Shallan piece, but rather a study by another ardent. It’s a little more mathy than Shallan’s work. I don’t think Shallan ever witnesses a real bridge run. By the time she reaches the Plains, Bridge 4 is part of the Cobalt Guard.

    But yes, for everyone still confused, or confused in the future, by the mechanics of the bridge run, we got you covered. And a little something for the cosplayers as well. :)

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #531 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.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #532 Copy


    It does seem like Shallan's trauma came later than [8 or 9 years old], but it's possible there was some event farther back in her past that we don't know about.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    All Radiants are broken somehow before they become Radiant. And Shallan became one at a quite early age.


    Brandon has sort of hedged on whether being broken is just an in-world theory or not. Are we talking about a matter of degree, then? Or whether he thinks the word "broken" is appropriate?

    I'm thinking of this WoB and ones about Lopen:


    How was Shallan able to bond with Pattern before she was broken?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She was open to him even before she went through a lot of that turmoil


    I thought everybody had to be broken in order to--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, that's their philosophy in-world. But I'm not going to say whether it's correct or wrong. I will imply that there are other means as well.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Well, I will bow to Brandon's comment there.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #534 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.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #535 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...

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #536 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: 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.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #537 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.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #538 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.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #539 Copy


    I could see [Captain America] being a Windrunner, definitely, but also a Stoneward too. Maybe a Willshaper, especially considering Civil War, or a Bondsmith, seeing as he was kind of the unifying force for the Avengers.

    Do you have an official designation for him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't, but I think each of your suggestions here would be arguable.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #540 Copy


    Could Shallan or Jasnah, with the help of a Bondsmith, take a bead from the Cognitive Realm back into the Physical Realm, thereby creating a version of remote controlling something in the Cognitive without having to go there in the moment?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is RAFO territory for now.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #541 Copy


    Was the LongPen [from Margaret Atwood] an inspiration for Roshar's Spanreed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not specifically. You find me wanting as far back as Elantris to have improved communication methods in my fantasy worlds. This one was a natural evolution of the magic system.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #542 Copy


    Something that I’ve been interested in while reading TWoK Prime is the different names and the different spelling for names (like Dalenar) compared to the canon-TWoK. What made you want to change names and spelling when rewriting TWoK?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For a lot of them, the names just evolved in my mind the longer I used them. For others, I never quite liked them, and tried to find new names to evoke the proper feel.

    In Dalinar's case, it was more that I just have had the name in my head for years, and wrote it out differently when I started typing again.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I bet Brandon changed Dalenar to Dalinar so it wouldn’t be pronounced as two syllables. Maybe his brother Jordo kept pronouncing it wrong on purpose. After all, that’s how in White Sand we got Kerztian instead of Kershtian.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #543 Copy


    Women flirting is like men raping? "Using a fetching face to make men do as you wish is no different froma man using muscle to force a woman to his will..." I get that BS likes his women prudish but damn try to convey this in a way that doesn't so stupidly and unintentionally wrong

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that line doesn't read well upon a second look.

    For what it's worth, I wasn't thinking rape when I wrote it. I was thinking more about a situation where a stronger man forces people to do what he wants (like, obey him) through threat of violence. Basically, I was trying to say that in Jasnah's opinion, "Buy me that thing or I'll punch you," isn't far off from "Buy me this thing, or I'll stop paying attention to you." Whichi itself is intended to say something about Jasnah. But it's easy to accidentally mess expressions of power dynamics in language, and I certainly did so here.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #544 Copy


    Anyone know if WoK Prime is more or less a complete/conclusive story? I’m just wondering if it’s like a stand-alone or if it gives the sense of “this is part 1 of X more books to come.” I’m actually nervous about cliffhangers and such never being resolved—alternative storyline or not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm afraid there are some. It's worse than the published Way of Kings in that regard, I'd say. It IS a complete story; it doesn't just end in the middle. But it also is obviously part of something larger that I will never now write.


    Will you be releasing a general over view of what you intended with the cliff hangers?

    Also was Taln going to remain dead?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's been a LONG time, so remembering exactly what I was going to do will be tough. But Taln was going to be proven a Herald, so he wasn't DEAD dead.


    I was left with three implied backstory questions with no equivalent in the published SA, dunno if either can be answered without spoiling published SA:

    What happened "17 years ago" around the end of the conquest war, around the time Merin/Shinri/Renarin were born, that reawakened the ancient powers?

    Who killed Nolhanarin (sp?) and why. Was it Ishar? (who we know lied about it)

    What's the deal with Meridas' mysterious past?

    As for other stuff (such as what the hell are the Shin leaders up to, who is in cahoots with Odium and who's just a bastard, what's the endgame, etc), they're somewhat similar to published SA so I'm guessing RAFO.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, I'm stretching here because it's been a LONG time.

    But I believe what happened is that the other Heralds did something that caused the return to begin, and the powers to reawaken. This was related to Taln being abandoned, which he didn't realize had happened.

    Meridas was involved in something very similar to the Sons of Honor, and much of his mysterious past relates to that.

    I don't remember who performed the murder.


    Was it also related to Jarnah's/the Shin Invasion, which also happened 17 years prior?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. The Shin had a much stronger cavalry in this edition, and had a little more of an Aiel feel to them. I eventually started to go a different direction, because I realized I was subconsciously leaning on Wheel of Time with the Aiel invasion.


    So sorry to bug to you, but I just finished Prime and I had one burning question at the end. And I don't think it will ever be answered in the current iteration of the Stormlight Series.

    What was the real drawback of Merin using his Windrunner powers? Your book kept on hinting that pain was just merely a side effect and not the real danger.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Real danger was, I believe, drawing the attention of the enemy. (Book two was going to start with his home being attacked because the voidbringers--can't remember what they were originally called--had picked out a budding Radiant and as soon as they Returned, sent everything they had to kill him.)


    Was Vasher supposed to be Jarnah the Conqueror in disguise? Is this why one of Vasher's friends said that Dalenar was a liar? That maybe Dalenar didn't win the duel at all, but Jarnah decided that he was wrong about the Return and gave up?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll be honest...I don't remember. (Sorry.)

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #545 Copy


    I was sorted into Dustbringer/Windrunner. Before I choose I'd love to know, are the Dustbringers going to be as bad ass as they sound?

    I'm a martial artist and the thought of controlling your power speaks to me. But perfecting your weapon is also windrunner.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They will be--but it will take a few books into the back half before we really get into them and their ways.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #546 Copy


    Sort of off-topic here, but it would be super cool to see all 9-10 Stormlight novellas (assuming you do one between each main book as hinted) bound up into a single leather-bound collection.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll consider it, though I think it's likely we do an Arcanum leatherbound--so I wouldn't want to ask people to buy two copies of the same story. But maybe we could eventually bind them all as a different option for people.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #547 Copy


    If you have the time, I’d love to known how the writing process for Book Four has compared to other Stormlight books. Now that you’re in the meat of the saga, has it been more satisfying to see story threads come closer to resolution? Is it more stressful now that the cast of characters is more fully realized?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's been very satisfying to see things coming together, but the work to maintain continuity has grown exponentially. (Mostly because of the way I include non-linear narratives, like the flashbacks, which have to interweave.)

    Book four was, I'd say, about an average amount of work in revisions. Less than Book One, more than Book Two, similar to Book Three.


    This is kind of an odd question but how in depth are your Stormlight outlines? I know for Skyward it was more bullet points, but for Stormlight do you outline every chapter bit by bit and what you want to do/ accomplish in it? I’m asking for my own stuff, as I’ve found it’s a very hard thing to grasp just what you should include in the outline vs what just flows naturally.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight outlines aren't as neat or organized as ones like Skyward. I've been working on this series far longer, and it's more complicated, so it's harder to put into a shape where others can understand it. But the latest one I sent to my team was mostly me talking about each character, and what I wanted to accomplish with them in this book, asking the team if I was missing anything. From there, it was a big mess of plot threads, reminders, and narrative sketches of arcs.


    How often would you say you forget to put something of relevance in an outline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Quite often, but it's rare I forget something in the final draft. (More often, things are in, but the draft gets tweaked to the point that they either get cut or get de-emphasized.)

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #548 Copy


    I am curious about your process of writing the Ars Arcanum (Ars Arcana? Ars Arcana.) for each book, Stormlight ones in particular; I don't think I've seen you talk about that. Obviously you use them to explain or recap some of the things going on in the book, but there's also potential teases for the future, and there's some worldbuilding. So, I wonder, how do you go about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the past, they were more a glossary--but that turned out be kind of a hold over from my days reading pre-internet, where we needed large glossaries in some books to keep everything straight. Now, one can just look up a website with all that information.

    So these days, I look at them as scholarly essays in-world to help with immersion, and to expand understanding of the magic systems, digging in a little deeper for the cosmerenauts who want specific mechanics to think about.


    I appreciate all of your ars arcanum. I know you can find it on the internet, but it’s way too easy to accidentally spoil stuff doing so. Like someone can look up “what’s a windrunner” and accidentally find Kaladins entire background

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I keep thinking we should do some kind of official app that has you put in your current place in the books, then creates a glossary for you that lists only what has happened to people up to that point.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #550 Copy


    Larimar, a rare blue stone found in only one place on Earth, the Dominican Republic, it reminds of a tropical Ocean!

    Name inspiration? I would definitely think it fits the Hallandren aesthetic!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I believe this had an influence on the name, though it's been a long time.