Is there a specific number of the ideals that they have to do before they can get the Shardblade?
It depends on the Order.
Is there a specific number of the ideals that they have to do before they can get the Shardblade?
It depends on the Order.
The name 'Zahel' and 'nahel bonds' are both very similar so is it just coincidental or is it part of . . . ?
It is part of the linguistics. They are based off of similar suffixes. They're actually the same suffix I believe.
Can you hold more than one Honorblade at a time?
That is theoretically possible.
So, since I was doing other things. Hemalurgy-when you spike, you place the spike in a place that determines which charge the spike gets.
Through the heart seems to pick up universally.
It depends on where in the heart. It's like acupuncture. This was designed from acupuncture and you get very specific on which nerve you're hitting and things like that
So the spike will never pick up more than one power.
Well, the way they know how to do it.
Would the spike that has all four charges, could you actually reuse it and give a different person a different power, or even the same person a different power?
No. When you first spike. . .
It loses all the other ones?
No. Where you place the spike.
When you spike somebody, say a full Mistborn, with a steel spike, it could end up with four different charges. Does it get all four of them it just depends on where you place it?
Where you place it it can get all four. Spiking a full Mistborn wastes a lot of power and the way that it's known, I mean, it doesn't have to, but the way that it's known to do it right now.
Does Khriss owe Nazh a new coat?
Is Khriss owe Nazh a new coat? That little picture in there where it says 'you owe me a new coat'. I'm wondering if that's Khriss who owes the coat. Not going to tell me on that one either?
I'm gonna stay closed mouthed on Khriss.
So a couple days ago you mentioned this person called Khriss. Has he actually appeared or been referenced in any. . .
She has appeared, and . . .
She. I guessed as much because one of the pictures said 'Dear Woman' toward the end of the book. So she has appeared or been referenced.
Well, she has appeared in. . . if you ask around about Khriss, she has appeared in unpublished books.
Is Khriss the author of some of those Ars [Arcana] perhaps?
Oh I don't know. That's very interesting.
The Annotations is actually what got me started. And I was wondering do we have any Stormlight ones in the pipeline?
Yes I have finished Part I of The Way of Kings. That's not a ton, but I eventually intend to do the entire book. The problem I've run into is that I reference Way of Kings Prime a whole ton while writing them, because it's what is in my head.
And it's a lot a mixed content.
Yeah, and so it might be better when I can release Way of Kings Prime to accompany them, but I will be doing that.
I've been wondering if the heralds are Surgebinders without Honorblades?
That's a RAFO. That's a big fat RAFO.
Soulcasters that use the fabrial. Do they visit Shadesmar? Or do we see more about them? Because they are hidden and there is something about them that they get the stone face.
Yes. The actual Soulcasters. The use of of the Soulcasters is affecting them on one of the realms other than physical.
What do you make of, like you were talking about earlier, you're hoping to be nicer, whereas someone like George R. R. Martin or, what's his name?
Yeah. They tend to be very graphic.
I'm glad there is diversity in the genre. And I am glad that there is a lot for different people to find and enjoy. I personally feel that I want my books. . . I find that writing as I said to someone else *inaudible* and for John? I find writing about good people put in bad situations is important for me. And I want to read books about people that have admirable qualities that I want to--People that I want to hang out with.
What heightening is Hoid?
I don't know what you are talking about. Heightening? He's just the king's Wit.
With perfect pitch.
With perfect pitch. Yeah he does have perfect pitch.
Now that he has it. I noticed it now.
You're just obviously misconstruing that.
How does Kelsier meet Gemmel?
How does Kelsier meet Gemmel. Gemmel was directed to find Kelsier.
How many books are there going to be and how long is it going to take? I only have so long to wait.
It's two five book series: a five book arc which will come to an end, and then there will be a break, and then another five book arc.
In what time span?
I'm going to try to do them fast. It won't be as long between the first and second. Probably every eighteen months.
*inaudible* mention another Shardblade <is gone>. *inaudible* Does Nin still have that?
I would suspect that. . . yes. That's a very good question.
I believe you create merchandise for The Way of Kings and Mistborn. How's that going? Do you ever see people wearing your stuff out in the wild?
InkWing Arts (link here) is the business my wife Kara and I have put together to showcase the artwork I've created for Brandon's worlds. Right now we primarily sell bookmarks and t-shirts, but watch in the future as we add patches, art prints, and games. The goal there is to make cool things based on cool worlds. It's been a lot of fun to interact with fans in this way.
I mostly see the shirts at Brandon's signing events. But my eleven year old son came to me the other day and said he saw someone wearing one of our shirts at the grocery store. He thought that was pretty cool. So did I!
What are some of the books you've been a part of, and what exactly were you in charge of?
I’m responsible for all the maps and symbols in the four (so far) Mistborn novels as well as all the symbols, chapter headings, maps, color end pages, and Navani's notebook pages in Brandon's Way of Kings. (The other artwork in the book was done by Michael Whelan, Ben McSweeney, and Ben Call. I'm thrilled to be showcased in the same book with these amazing artists.)
On the design side of things, I've been designing self-published books—covers and interiors—for a while, but recently had the luck to get into the business professionally with the book design for Bryce Moore's YA novel, Vodnik. I've also done covers for some ebook re-releases of some science fiction and fantasy classics from the 80s.
In addition to Brandon's maps, I've also worked on maps in the re-release of Robert Silverberg's Nebula-winning novel A Time of Changes and the upcoming reprint of his very-enjoyable Downward to the Earth.
On a similar note, The Way of Kings has a lot of symbols associated with different aspects of the book. Were you involved with creating those, and if so, how did you design them?
I created forty-plus symbols for The Way of Kings. Many of these are found in the color charts in the hardcover version of the book (link here). My absolute favorites are used at the beginning of each Part (one of them is debossed on the book's hardcase beneath the dust jacket). I used Arabic word art and the shard blades as inspiration for these. Many of the originals were drawn on an iPod Touch and later brought into Photoshop for clean up.
I know some of us have heard the story of how you came up with the symbols for Mistborn, but tell those of us who haven't how they came about.
I'd drawn about a half dozen pages of symbols inspired by my first reading of the book. Pages with dozens and dozens of tiny, intricate symbols—maybe someday I'll write a post about the process: Failed Allomantic Symbol Designs. But nothing was really working for me or Brandon.
I'd collected a lot of reference material for the steel inquisitors—nails, railroad spikes, those sorts of things—and one day when I was looking at a picture of a rusty pile of bent up nails, I saw the symbol for iron. It was a Beautiful Mind experience. The symbol just jumped out at me. Glowing and everything.
After that initial experience with the symbol for iron, it was easy to come up with the others. The bent nail part eventually became the crescent shapes used in the final book.
You've been involved with some pretty big projects over the last few years. Tell us what it's been like working on the art for novels such as the Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings.
Writing, art, and book publishing have always been my biggest interests, so working on these great books has been very fulfilling.
I get the manuscript early on in the process, print it out, and go through the whole thing with a pencil, marking it up with notes about artistic details and tiny maps marking places in relationship to each other. Then comes my favorite part of the process: working with Brandon and his assistant Peter to make sure that my vision melds with Brandon's vision for the book. We usually do a lot of revisions and emails to get to the point where we're all happy with the results. I cannot say enough good about Brandon and Peter; they are both gentlemen to the core.
Is Shallan's father her actual father?
Ah! People asked if her mother were her mother. No one's asked yet if her father were her father... Yes, it was her father. Yes, I will give you that, yes. Her mother and father as presented in the stories were actually her mother and father.
Hoid says [in Warbreaker] that he learned stories from a place where gods have died. Is that Roshar?
RAFO. I will say this. A god has died on Roshar. Only one, that we know. So, "gods" would not be plural.
How does Susebron love sweets if he doesn't have a tongue?
The fact that your tastebuds are all in one place is actually untrue, scientifically. You have tastebuds all through your mouth.
What Jasnah did, in the first book, with Shallan in the alleyway and what happened at the end of this book... between Adolin and the other character [Sadeas]. Would you put them on the same level? Or would you say that what Adolin did was maybe a little bit darker?
I would say that what Adolin did was less dark, personally... It just depends on your perspective, but personally I say what Adolin did was something that needed to be done and no one else was capable of doing.
Would you say that it's going to have any ramifications for him down the line? With how it was handled?
Oh it's definitely—how it's handled, definitely there are ramifications, lots of ramifications. And there are certain characters who would think that what he did is totally, totally, totally wrong.
Can the Unmade be bonded?
Wow, plausible... Yes, or possible, I should say.
Before the Recreance, there were three Bondsmiths. Did they all bond "superspren", or is Dalinar an exception?
They did something similar.
So, Sigzil is Hoid's apprentice.
Sigzil claims that Hoid is his master.
Cool, very cool.
Well, you didn't ask me any questions. You just made a statement.
Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Is Sigzil a worldhopper?
Sigzil is not a worldhopper. Sigzil spent some time with Hoid during one of Hoid's visits.
Is Shallan's mother, the one that she kills, is that her birth mother?
It is. Good question. Good question. You had a theory there that I may have just killed.
Can you tell me anything about Tension or Cohesion?
I haven't truly written these magics in yet, so they might change as I actually write the scenes. But they are... Tension is the ability to take something flexible and make it rigid. Which you think sounds simple, but there are so many cool things you could do with that.
Why does Hoid show up in all your books?
Because all the books are connected, and he's searching for something.
Okay, so he can go on another world?
That is possible.
Syl's inspiration came from a lot of different places. I'm not sure if I can point to one thing. The spren are inspired by Japanese mythology, that everything has a soul. That is the original inspiration for it. But Syl as a character, I'd been toying with forever, and I think she came about as a counterpoint to Kaladin's darkness; a figure of light that I knew that the story would need.
Is the term 'babsk' reserved exclusively for merchants?
No, not exclusively. I think I even used it one place in Words of Radiance for a non-merchant master.
One of the things I love so much about your books are the illustrations and the maps, even though I'm really bad with maps. So I guess I was wondering, do you have a really clear vision in your head for what you want them to be or...?
It depends on the book. In some cases I do. In some cases I'm more vague and I work with my illustrator through several iterations then decide what we want.
If someone was using an Honorblade, would they be able to bond a spren?
It is indeed possible.
Possible. It doesn't block it in any way.
It does not block it. Good question. You do not have to bond Honorblades. Honorblades work with whoever holds them.
I was thinking about the Shardplate in Dalinar's first vision and how it looks different than any other plate now. Would that be like how Syl could only transform after he said that second round... or was it third round of oaths, so is the Shardplate just like the next set, or would that be a totally different set of...?
I'm totally going to RAFO you. Look you've got a RAFO. You are asking good questions.
Could you use the Feruchemical ability to store Identity to heal damage done to you in the Cognitive Realm?
Um... yes, but it's gonna take a roundabout method to make it happen... Yes, but Identity can be very useful for all sorts of things like this.
For Feruchemy, can you only inherit that? Or is there another way to get it?
Yeah, you could obviously get it through a Hemalurgic spike.
Yeah, but that’s kind of a different thing.
It is hereditary, but it came from somewhere. Which is a RAFO, but it’s not a big RAFO. There’s not something you missed in the books, or anything like that. It originally came from Preservation long ago. And there are other ways to get it, but you have not missed any major plot points regarding that. Good question.
As an English teacher, what inspired you to be a fantasy writer?
I was inspired by the book Dragonsbane which was given to me by an eighth-grade English teacher at Lincoln East High School, who was convinced I was reading below my level and felt I needed to be stepping up my game a little bit. And she took me to the back of the room and had me browse on her little shelf of books that she'd read, that she'd recommend to me. And that book worked for me. It probably shouldn't have - it's about a middle-aged woman having a midlife crisis - but I loved it.
I knew I'd have to deal with it sometime, and it finally caught up with me today. My Master Cosmere Timeline spreadsheet has far too many relative dates, and not enough absolutes.
Roshar's date system
The biggest reason I have put it off is that the date system Brandon made up is both supremely logical and at the same time totally crazy. A year has five hundred days, but there's also a thousand-day cycle with different highstorms around the new year. In each year there are ten months of fifty days each. The months are broken into ten five-day weeks. The date indicates what year, month, week of the month, and day of the week it is and looks like this: 1184.108.40.206. It is impossible for me to do the math in my head to decide what the date would be 37 days ago, so I don't use the dates in my reckoning, and only calculate them as an afterthought. This dating system is also a hassle because two weeks in our world is almost three weeks there, and a month there is almost two of ours, and when writing Brandon doesn't even pretend to pay attention to those differences.
Day numbers in The Way of Kings
But then we have to talk about my relative date system. The timeline of The Way of Kings is a mess. The story for Shallan starts more than 100 days earlier than Dalinar's storyline. And Kaladin is roughly 50 days different from that. So for that book I had to pick a day when I knew there was crossover between the viewpoints and work forward and back from there. So a date in The Way of Kings might be marked on my spreadsheet as D 23 or K-57.
Day numbers in Words of Radiance and Oathbringer
For Words of Radiance I started over at day 1 for that book. Those numbers count up until the new year which is day 71. Oathbringer starts just after the new year, so I used the day of the year for my book-specific day number. Of course switching systems at the start of each book made it hard for me to calculate just how many days there were between events in WOR and OB. So I put in another column which indicated a relative number of days counting before and after the arbitrary date of the end of WOR.
The next problem I dealt with were the line items that say something like "five years ago" for their date. With more than a year of onscreen time from the first chapters of The Way of Kings to the end of Oathbringer, it's really necessary to note that it's five years before what event with a solid date. Once I have a date to assign to it, I also have to decide how exact the date is. When I come back three years from now I will need to know whether this date is firm, or if it would be okay to put it three or four months on either side.
Putting it all together
When Peter found an error in the spreadsheet one day, I decided to match a serial number to each date after the year 1160 (which makes for easy calculating), and make that my absolute day number from here until forever (though I'll probably still make a book relative date, since it's a useful way to talk about things with the rest of the team). To find the Roshar dates from the serial numbers I made another spreadsheet with a vlookup table for the dates and serial numbers, then translated all the dates from the three books into that single new system (finding several more errors as I went).
I just finished the timeline for Oathbringer, and thought you might like to hear about the process. (Spoiler warning: There may be tidbits of information in this article about the plot of Oathbringer, but I have specifically made up many of the examples I use, so you can't count on any of it as fact.)
I know that some of you think, "Brandon posted that he had finished writing Oathbringer months ago. Why do we have to wait until November before it's on the shelf at the bookstore?" This is a natural question. I asked it myself years ago when I heard similar news about a Harry Potter book. The timeline is one small part of the reason, but it will give you a small glimpse of what is going on at a frantic pace here at Dragonsteel trying to get the book ready to go to press.
You may know that I'm Brandon's continuity editor. I keep records of every character, place, spren, and piece of clothing to name just a few. The next time a person appears, I make sure they have the right eye color and eat the right kind of food. There's so much more to it than that, but it gives you an idea of the level of detail I try to be on top of.
Another thing I track is the timeline of each book. I have a massive spreadsheet called the Master Cosmere Timeline (I can hear some of you salivating right now, and no, I won't let you peek at certain corners of it).
In some of Brandon's books, there are a few main characters who spend most of their time together in the same place. For those books, the timeline is simple. Take The Bands of Mourning for instance. It's about four days long. Nobody goes off on a side quest. The timeline only takes up 32 lines in the spreadsheet because there are that many chapters. On the other hand, the current spreadsheet for the Stormlight books has over 1100 lines.
Here's a sample of the timeline spreadsheet. The white columns are the dates, which I have an entirely separate post about. In column F we have an event that happens in the book. Column E tells how long it has been since the last event. Then I have the quote from the book that I used to justify the timing, the chapter the quote appears in, and whether the event happened on the day of the chapter, or sometime in the past or future.
The timeline for Oathbringer starts on day 4 of the new year, and ends on day 100. (Which, for those of you who keep track of such things, makes the date 1220.127.116.11). My day count could change by a day or two here and there, but I'm pretty happy with how I got the different groups of people to all end up in the same place at the same time.
Why bother? Well, sometimes Brandon writes a flashback and someone is looking at a cute baby. It's important to tell Brandon that this particular kid wasn't born for another four years. A character might think to themselves, "It's been a month and a half since I was there," and though it has been 45 days, a month on Roshar is 50 days long, so it hasn't even been a single month. Brandon often glosses over those conversions in early drafts.
The most important purpose, though, comes when two groups of characters are apart for some length of time. Let's take Kaladin and Dalinar in The Way of Kings. Kaladin was running bridges for battles where Dalinar and Sadeas cooperated. Were there the same number of days in Kaladin's viewpoint between those battles as there were in Dalinar's viewpoint? The answer is no. I was assigned this job after that book was finished, and as much as we squashed and fudged, there is still a day or two unaccounted for. An interesting tidbit from The Way of Kings‘ timeline is that Kaladin's timeline has 50 days in it before Dalinar's starts. Chapter 40, when Kaladin recovers from being strung up in the storm, is the same day as the chasmfiend hunt in Chapter 12.
Going back to Oathbringer, sometimes I'm amazed at the power I have. As I go through the manuscript, I can take a sentence like, "He spent four days recovering," and simply replace the word four with two. Brandon gives me a general idea of how long he wants things to take, and I tell him what it needs to be to fit. It's a big responsibility, and sometimes I worry that I'll mess the whole thing up.
Oathbringer is the first book in the Stormlight series where I worked with a list of the storms from the start. Peter tried on Words of Radiance, but Brandon wrote what the story needed and expected us to fit the storms in around that (A perfectly reasonable process, even if it makes my job trickier). In Oathbringer though, the Everstorm and highstorm are each on a much stricter schedule. We need such exact timing in some scenes that Peter (with help from beta reader Ross Newberry) made me a calculator to track the hour and minute the storms would hit any given city.
Yet another thing we needed to calculate is travel time. How fast can a Windrunner fly? How many days does it take to march an army from here to there? Kaladin might be able to do a forced march for a week, but what about Shallan or Navani? How long could they manage 30 miles a day?
Hopefully now you can see why we've needed months of work to get this far, and will need months more to get it finished in time. At some point, we're just going to have to call it good and turn the book over to the printer, but even though you think you want to get your hands on it now, it will be a much better read after we have the kinks worked out.
While talking with EUOL today I had asked about Hoid being Midius from Partinel.
He said he had many names, but avoided a yes or no answer.
I then asked if Hoid was a shard.
He said no and then said something about how no one has read the end of Partinel due to its not being written well and the plethora of spoilers it contains. . . .
He then told me that Hoid was there when Adonalsium was shattered.
Vin has a nickname, in a way. Valette. Part of my vision for this series was to get across the 'heist' feel to the book by giving everyone in the crew or related to the crew two names--their real name and their nickname.
Sazed: Saze (I say his name SAY-zed, by the way. A lot of people say SAH-zed, which is just fine--only the nickname doesn't work as well.)
Elend: El (I say EHL-end, not EEL-end. So, his nickname is pronounced simply like the letter L.)
Vin: Valette (Doesn't work as well, I know, but I liked her having another name to keep on theme.)
OreSeur: Lord Renoux
Also note that while Mare was an Allomancer, she wasn't what one would call a "dangerous" Allomancer. She was a Tineye, which isn't one of the top tier martial powers. She couldn't have used atium, and even if she HAD somehow found [tin], she'd simply have been able to hear and see better. Which would have made her better at finding the atium.
The Allomancers to keep out of the Pits would have been Lurchers or Coinshots (who could have destroyed the crystals), and to a lesser extent Thugs (who could be difficult to control.) Mistborn, of course, needed to be kept far, far away, lest they get their hands on atium.
There's more going on here, of course. If I ever write the Kelsier short story that talks about him discovering the Eleventh Metal, I will get into why the Inquisitors weren't given Mare as they wanted. The Lord Ruler specifically chose to send her to the Pits rather than handing her over to the Inquisitors. (Note: She wouldn't have ended up on a hook. Inquisitors had other...uses for skaa Mistings they captured. See book three.)
I can't say too much without spoilers for Mistborn 3, but suffice it to say that if I were to write more books in this world, I would want to do some new things with the magic. Some events at the end of Mistborn 3 have large ramifications on the way the magic works and the way the setting would proceed.
This one got introduced late in the editing process as I was shuffling around several plots. In the original, way back planning stages of the series, Clubs was going to be a Seeker and Marsh a Smoker. I swapped that, but I've NEVER been able to shake it from my subconscious. Kind of like the way that Tin used to be Silver. (I worry about getting that one mixed up in places too.)
Huh. Was Clubs going to be the one who became a Steel Inquisitor?
No, it was always going to be Marsh who did that job. I actually made the swap because I realized I couldn't send the Smoker away from the team to infiltrate. I actually added that plot line a little bit later in the development process. These were all things I changed before I even started the first page of actual writing.
Anywho, I was going to ask what type of clothing you were thinking of with Elantris and Warbreaker?
Elantris: Renaissance Europe
Warbreaker: Early Mediterranean.
Yes, it's looking like my next series--after Warbreaker, which is looking like it will be a two-book cycle--will be set in the Dragonsteel world. I'm revamping the setting significantly, mashing it together with Aether of Night, which always had a cool magic system but a weaker plot.
I have some sample chapters done, actually. Dragonsteel is now the series name, and the first book will be titled "The Liar of Partinel." (Probably.) The book you all read (now tentatively titled "The Eternal War") will be the third or fourth book in the series, and we will wait that long to introduce Jerick, Ryalla, and Bat'Chor. "Liar" will take place some five hundred years before "The Eternal War."
The following is a complete Brandon Sanderson Bibliography, published and unpublished. Prime indicates an early attempt at a book which was later redone. (Note that when I redo a book like this, it isn't a 'rewrite.' Generally, it's me taking some elements from the setting and writing a whole new book in that setting, using old ideas and mixing them with fresh ones.) Published books are in bold.
1) White Sand Prime (My first book, took two + years to write. 1998)
2) Star's End (Science fiction. 1998)
3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime. 1999)
4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy. 1999)
5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Science fiction. 1999)
6) Elantris (2000. Published by Tor: 2005)
7) Dragonsteel (2000)
8 ) White Sand (2001)
9) Mythwalker (Never finished. 2001)
10) Mistborn Prime (Stole the magic system and title for a later book. 2002)
11) Final Empire Prime (Stole a character, some setting elements, and title for a later book. 2002)
12) The Aether of Night (2002)
13) The Way of Kings (350,000 words. Took a long time. 2003)
14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (2004, Published by Tor 2006)
15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (2005. Contracted to Tor for 2006)
16) Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians (2005. Contracted to Scholastic for 2006)
17) Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2006. Contracted to Tor for 2007)
18) Warbreaker (2006. Tentatively to be released by Tor for 2007)
19) Alcatraz vs. The Scrivener's Bones (2006. Contracted by Scholastic for 2008)
20) Dragonsteel: The Liar of Partinel (Unfinished. 2007?)
21) Alcatraz vs. The Knights of Crystallia (Planned. 2007 Contracted by Scholastic for 2009)
22) Nightblood (Planned. 2008)
23) Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens (Planned. 2008)
24) Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent (Planned. 2008. Contracted for Scholastic for 2010)
I'm not sure if I got all of those dates right, but the order is correct. I'm finished with all the books up to Dragonsteel, though Mistborn 3, Warbreaker, and Alcatraz 2 are all only in the third draft stage.
You DON'T have to have read the other Dragonsteel to understand this. The other Dragonsteel will never be published. Some of the plots and characters in it, however, will eventually become book three of this series. Not because I'm doing a 'Dragonlance' type thing, but because when I sat down to work on this project, I realized that I'd rather start back in time a few hundred years. In other words, I'm writing the prequels first, if that's possible.
In worldbuilding this, I realized that I missed a big opportunity in Dragonsteel Prime by not dealing with fainlife all that much. It was a powerful world element that got mostly ignored. By writing a book here, where I can slam a city in to the middle of the fain assault--before people learned really how to keep the alien landscape back--I think I'll be able to focus more on the setting.
One thing that always bothered me about Dragonsteel Prime is that it felt rather generic for me. I like more distinctive settings, with more distinctive magics. Yet, Dragonsteel Prime had a fairly standard fantasy world (though one set in the bronze age) with magic that didn't really get used all that much in the first book. The idea here is to add the Aether magic in, which is a 'day-to-day' magic, and to enhance the originality of the setting by using fainlife more. Microkenisis, Realmatic Theory, Cognitive Ripples and Tzai Blows, and all of that will STILL be part of this world. I've simply folded the Aethers in as well, and hopefully I can make it all feel cohesive.
I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.
Yes, actually. I want to focus more on Jesker, and the Mysteries, as well as the original religion that spawned both Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath.
Jesker is very important, as you have noticed, since it's the religion tied to understanding the Dor. It's actually much older than the other religions, relating back to things that happened long ago. Because of this, it retains hints of things such as the origin of the Seons and the like.
Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, mostly noticeable in retrospect. Raoden represents my belief in the power of optimism. I'm an optimist. I can't help it; it's just the way I am. And so, a hero like Raoden often grows to represent my beliefs. His conflict--that of being cast into the most horrific place in the kingdom--is an outgrowth of me trying to devise the most hopeless situation I could, and then make the conflict for my character the attempt to retain hopeful in the face of that.
Sarene represents an amalgamation of several people I knew in my life, most notably Annie Gorringe, a friend of mine in college. Not that Sarene acts just like her, of course--but that some of the conflicts in Annie's life, mixed with some of her personality quirks, inspired me to develop a character that ended up in my book.
Hrathen is as much a piece of me as Raoden. I served a mission for the LDS church, and while I did so, I thought often about the 'right' way to share one's beliefs mixed with the 'wrong' way. It seemed to me that focusing on the beauty of your message, mixed with the needs of the individuals you met, was the way to go. When you start to preach just to be preaching--or to convert not because of your concern for those around you, but because you want to seem more powerful--you risk beating the life out of your own message.
So, in a way, Hrathen represents my fears of what I could have become--a warning to myself, if you will.