Why are [Cognitive] Shadows so much more prevalent on Threnody?
That's a good question. Which is a RAFO. Sorry.
Why are [Cognitive] Shadows so much more prevalent on Threnody?
That's a good question. Which is a RAFO. Sorry.
I know that Dalinar's story is definitely one you were looking forward to, but of the remaining Stormlight Archive books, whose story are you looking the most forward to?
Are there historical figures that were inspirations for Elhokar?
Dalinar is based very slightly on Subutai, the great Mongol general. Elhokar, no one specific. I thought of him when I was a kid, when I was, like, fourteen, I wanted to do a story about a weak king and his uncle who's a really strong figure, and that interplay, and that's where he came from.
Please write something new and interesting about Nebrask?
It is not the only portal to the chalkling world.
Could an Awakened toupee be commanded to act like real hair?
...Totally! Absolutely, yes!
Would it be convincing?
Would it be convincing? Yeah, I think that it would be. It depends.
It depends on the number of Breaths?
Yeah, it depends on factors, but I totally think that could be very convincing. Yes, yes, yes.
Could it also be given enough Breath to Command "Protect me?"
Yes, it could. That would be really weird. But yes.
What does chull meat taste like? Surf, turf, or both?
I would go both on that. Definitely both. A little bit of each.
How did you come up with Shardpools and travel between the worlds?
...So, what happened is (close as I can remember; it's been a long time now), close as I can remember, I wrote Elantris in, like, 1998 or 1999, and I, at that point, didn't really have the cosmere in place. I knew I wanted to do some sort of grand epic, I knew I wanted to do some sort of thing, but I just wrote that book-- Elantris is mostly a discovery-written book, rather than an outlined book. And I wrote this book, and that's when I started a lot of these ideas. I stepped away from it, and I started writing a book called Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. And then I kinda got into the dark age where I was trying to be George R.R. Martin for a while. And then when I came out of that, I wrote The Way of Kings [Prime]. And during those days, I was really looking for these tying agents. When I put the first Shardpool in, I had-- I'm just like "Here's a well of power. I don't know what this does." I was discovery-writing the book. By the time I sold Mistborn and Elantris, I sold those two in a deal in 2003, that's when I'm like, "All right, now I'm gonna do this for real." I've had all this trial run-- I'd written thirteen novels at this point, and I'd sold #6 and #14, Mistborn not being written yet... So, I sat down with Elantris, and I built out the cosmere, and I built out these things, like "Why do I have this pool of power? What am I gonna do with the pool of power in the next book? I want this to be a theme." And I started building out the cosmere from there. So, part of it was organic, part of it was by design.
If a kandra were a Parshendi, would he be able to take the forms?
The Forms? The actual-- To an extent, yes. To an extent, yes, but part of that is the spren bond. You're not gonna get everything. You could look like one, but there'll be certain things you won't be able to do, even with the Form. You couldn't take a form of power... You could pass.
Does any of the Sixteen actually like Hoid anymore?
The history of Nightblood, we know that it's created by knowledge of the Shardblades. Would you say that Vasher's first trip to Roshar coincided with a certain individual that tried to take over all of Roshar?
You're talking about Sadees?
...I'd have to look at the timeline, but it was not-- it is not something I have present in my mind. It could have overlapped. So, it might overlap, but there's not a cause-and-effect there.
So, Sunmaker and Vasher are sep--
Are not the same people, good question. Sunmaker is legitimately Dalinar's ancestor.
How do you come up with the David analogies and the metaphors?
Oh, man, this is so much harder than you think it is. For those who haven't read them, the main character is really, really bad at similes. And where it came from is, there's actually a contest every year, where people intentionally try to write bad similes, and submit them. And every year it comes out and makes me laugh. Just-- I love it. And I started writing Reckoners, and-- Normally, you read this things as an author, to watch out for things to not accidentally do. If you read the bad metaphors, you can be like, "Oh, this is why you don't want to do this. You don't want people laughing." You get aware of this sort of thing. It's very good for you as a writer to watch. And, lo and behold, I'm writing a book series, and I wrote a metaphor, and I looked at it, and I'm like "That is really bad." And you do this as an author sometimes, and sometimes they slip in the books, you just write it and they're really bad. And I went to delete it and I'm like, "What if I ran with that?" This is because I tend to discovery-write my characters. So, I outline a lot for my settings, and I outline a lot of my plots, and then I go freewrite who these characters are, and then usually I have to do a lot of rebuilding of my plot after I figure out who's who. And in the Reckoners, I just ran with that, I did the whole sequence, I did the whole first chapter like that, and I'm like, "This is really fun." And then I locked myself into it, and it got so hard. Being bad on purpose is, like, ridiculously difficult. But it was also part of the fun. I would save them up, I'd be walking on the street, I'd think of something, and I'd be like "Ooh, how do I make that bad?" And I'd spend the next fifteen to twenty minutes writing a really bad metaphor. And sticking it in my pocket, because they all have to be bad in different ways. If they're all bad in the same way, then that's not any fun, you get used to it. So they all have to be bad in different ways, too. So, yeah, it was harder than I thought, but it was a blast.
So, most of your magic systems are limited to only a slight portion of the population. Is that a conscious decision? Are there any that are open to anybody?
Certainly, the Warbreaker magic is open to everybody, and that's part of what I was doing, was I wanted to contrast the other ones. And this is just because it makes for good storytelling, honestly. And when I do this, I'm doing it too much, I go the other way. That's why Sixth of the Dusk is open to everyone, that's why different things are done differently in the magics. But, really, when I'm working on the books, I'm like, "Well, we need something dramatic and cool." And I would argue that at least some of them, such as in Stormlight Archive, those are open to anybody if you can convince a spren. And you're sincere, right? And I like going that direction. Certainly, the kind of old standby of "you're born with it" is really easy. It's really, what we call in Sci-Fi/Fantasy "grokkable." You can instantly, kind of, get it. You're like, "All right, this is just like a talent. Some people are born with different talents. Makes sense." It doesn't take a lot of explanation, you don't have to worldbuild a ton up front. Where something like Stormlight, you gotta send a lot of worldbuilding words to explain how it happens, why it happens, things like that. But the trade-off is, it's in many ways more satisfying if you do it the other way. So, I do try to balance those. But sometimes those short-hands are very handy.
Forgery is a Selish magic system, so it is birth-based, tied to location.
My fiance and I have been reading through the books, I introduced them to her, she's been reading them in Mandarin. And, so, our question is about what level of enforcement/authority you guys have at Dragonsteel for things like translations, because the atium in the Taiwanese/Mandarin version of the book is translated as "sky gold." Which loses the connection to Ati.
Yeah, it does a little bit.
How does-- has that changed, since you started?
It has changed since we started, definitely. We try to involve-- Those were translated by Lucy, right? We try to stay really in contact with our translators and offer them as much as possible. Who translated that one? ...Oh, no, that's not Lucy, that's-- he contacts us, too, he writes to us. And, we do our best. But sometime we just don't make people aware of things early enough for them to be relevant. Like, they start, they get a book out, and then they're like "Oh, no, this need to be related." We try, and our translators try, and usually are really good at contacting us, but things slip through. I've worked with both of the Chinese translators quite a bit, actually; Peter does most of that. But if there are things that we get wrong, we love to hear about it, we pass along to translators-- the Chinese translator is a big fan of the cosmere. And sought out the project actively to work on it. So... if there are translation issues, just write to us.
Is there a specific mineral deposit around the Purelake? Is there a sacred enclave?
How much is a stone-weight on Roshar?
Uh... that is actually a question for Peter. I actually, often, will just write in brackets "this much," and he comes up with the weights and measures, because I can never be consistent in my first drafts. So, yeah, you ask Peter, he can get that for you. I do the same thing with spheres, right? I'm like, "This costs roughly 100 bucks in our world," and he'll go "All right, fine" and go look up all the things. I used to keep it all in the first book, but since then I just let him do it.
Why so many characters from Warbreaker [in Stormlight]?
'Cause Warbreaker is a prequel to Stormlight. I wrote Stormlight first, and then I actually went and wrote Warbreaker about Kaladin's swordmaster, but then that version of Stormlight didn't get published, and this one did, but they're very interconnected to me.
Can you confirm the identity of Azure.
Yes, I can.
Is it Vivenna?
Nalthians seem to do a really good job of passing as Rosharan. Are they just better as disguising themselves, or do they naturally look like residents of Roshar?
...Nalthians have some innate abilities that allow that.
The hair, of course.
Not just the hair.
Did Adonalsium (or its Vessel) leave a Cognitive Shadow behind? If so, where is it?
In this world, assuming that [Roshar] is as old as it appears to be, wouldn't it be that the creatures that have gemhearts in them, as they die their body would rot away but leaving the gemstone? So wouldn't fossil beds exist with layers of gemstones in them from the passing of the ages?
Yeah, that's why-- yes.
That's how they mine them?
They do mine them. What you've got to remember is, in my opinion these things are going to collect in certain ways in certain places.
Densities and stuff.
Yeah. But yeah. Because there's no tectonic activity on Roshar, so.
Just the buildup of crem over time slowly covers things.
Do you think we'll get to see Shallan worldhop onto Nalthis?
RAFO. RAFO. Such a big RAFO. Enormous RAFOs!
So I have a question about surges. So in this book they use this very Spiritual Adhesion. Do all of the surges have applications in each of the different realms?
To an extent yes, but some of them are more focused on it than others, on different levels.
I want to know if we're ever gonna get to see Hoid and Jasnah and the journey back at the ends of Words of Radiance, 'cause I was so hyped to read that and then they didn't interact at all.
I will promise you some interaction in book four but I won't promise you a flashback...
The singer forms of power: Do they utilize fabrial magic?
Um, no. Similar—they're based on the same kind of foundation—but no.
Are we gonna see Hoid on any other planet with his new little friend?
Oh that's a RAFO.
The last Unmade, the one that's hypothesized to Dai-Gonarthis. It looks suspiciously to me like Cusicesh, because of the feeling of being drained, because it's a large spren-- Is there something to that or is the feeling just because Cusicesh is a large spren?
I'm gonna RAFO.
There is an expensive steel chain in the shops in Celebrant. Is there anything significant about that.
*Hands over a RAFO card* That is such a big RAFO. Super-big RAFO.
I actually wanted to get a tattoo of the Truthwatcher symbol. Are there any-- are there narrative reasons you would go against that?
Are they-- would they be an order that's about using knowledge to help people?
Could I get an Ideal if possible?
Of them? I can't do 'em because I don't want to canonize them yet, I have to do that when I actually write the books.
But it is broadly speaking knowledge and help?
So Honorblades: Can they actually be bound? ...Can you bind to an Honorblade or not?
Yeees you can, but it's not exactly the same thing.
It's not exactly the same thing as a regular Shardblade?
Yeah... In some ways they're more powerful in some ways they're a prototype, if that makes sense.
Hoid gets his tooth knocked out while in Kholinar. He prompts somebody else to help him with that. Is that because he has issues hurting not only other people but himself?
And then he considers healing that at a later point in time. Which magic system does he consider using to heal that?
A magic system that predates-- predates any of the others.
Is it common knowledge in the cosmere—and on Scadrial—that Ironeyes and the Survivor are brothers?
*Pause* Kind of yes. Yes. I would say yes that is common knowledge.
The Tranquiline Halls: are they real?
They are—well they're a real place... They are actually the planet that's referenced [in Oathbringer]. But whether mythologically they're real or not that's more a debate for scholars.
So my dog's name is Vin. I was wondering if there was any sort of story behind that name and how you thought of it.
Wine in French. Because building the whole region off of French-sounding names—Kelsier and Demoux and things like that. And I just really like... the sound of it. I know it's kind of like a guy's name, but I just really like the sound of it.
What comes first chronologically in the Cosmere series: Mistborn or Stormlight Archive?
Mistborn, for trilogy one.
Will we have to wait until the end of Stormlight Archive to learn about Hoid.
So like a dozen years.
Yes. You'll get little bits and pieces, but you won't get the whole thing until I do his trilogy, which is the next thing after Stormlight.
There's an ardent in Way of Kings who's like described as short and he's at a party and he uses the word "soil". Do we know who he is, is he Nazh?
That is specifically a worldhopper. I don't think I've revealed who he is. But I'm still gonna RAFO just in case that is somebody.
Has stormwater tasted metallic always?
Even pre-Shattering it would get a metallic taste, that's the crem. So. That is an indication of Investiture and things. But it was there-- it was in place first, before.
Can I ask you real quick: Where Warbreaker falls in Stormlight Achive?
Warbreaker is before Stormlight Archive. Vasher, before Warbreaker, had been to Roshar.
Okay, that's what I needed to know. Nightblood.
Nightblood was patterned off of things that Vasher and the others saw on Roshar.
The meteorite metal that they talk about that blocks Shards, is that aluminum?
Uh, so-- yes.
The capital 'u' in Unity at the end of Oathbringer, is that important?
Can Regrowth do-- accomplish more for healing than Feruchemical gold can?
*Pause* I haven't decided yet.
Was aluminum weird before the metallic arts were created?
What is the Command of Vivenna's sword?
Insert Cultivation's Vessel's name here.
What's this sword's *points at replica of Jezrien's Honorblade* name? Do you have-- have you named Szeth's blade?
Various people have named the swords various things. I just-- I'm not going to canonize it right now, but it's had many names over the years...
Can you give me one of them?
...I mean-- just "the Assassin's Blade."
Glys. Is that a full name? Or is that a nickname like Syl?
Yeah, Glys is a full name.
So, in Allomancy, most of the metals are in pairs, they're equal and opposite, pushing and pulling, Rioting, Soothing, that kind of thing. The god metals have always-- lerasium and atium, have always struck me as kind of unbalanced in a way. Like, lerasium gives you the power to use all these metals, plus atium being one of them. Is there a reason for that?
Yes, there is, and it kinda has to do with Snapping and some of the fundamental rules of the Mistborn world and the fact that people have Preservation and Ruin inside of them and all these sorts of things. So, the answer is yes.
Partially, narratively, I built that in partially just 'cause I wanted atium to seem odd in the placement, right, when people got to it it's like "What? Why is this one-- This one doesn't match the others. This doesn't really work." When I was building Mistborn, one of the big things I wanted was this idea of a periodic table that was, kind of a flawed construct, that, as you read the books, you came to understand better and better. And that was something I executed-- I don't think I executed that 100% right, but I'm pleased with the general concept and how it plays out. And so I wanted atium to stick out like a sore thumb.
The other thing is, I knew I needed some good foreshadowing for Fortune, for people being able to kinda see the future or versions of the future, for the whole cosmere to work. And, so, I built in atium specifically to do those things. And I built in lerasium to have, kind of, the ultimate sort of benevolent endowment sort of thing. (Not Endowment the Shard, you know what I mean.) But I also wanted to show these two magics were intrinsically tied together on Scadrial because the way that humankind was created. We're getting into some deep stuff, I'll just leave it there. But that was what was going through my mind as I was building those things all out.
So, in Oathbringer, the way that Veil and others are treated as separate people themselves. Is there any similarity between that and Feruchemical Identity?
Uh… Yes, but it's pretty tenuous.
In Sixth of the Dusk, are the Ones Above Scadrians who invented faster-than-light travel?
You know, I haven't-- I danced around answering that one, just because I don't quite want to get into it yet. I like the Ones Above being somewhat mysterious. But I have said it is someone you know, right? It is part of the cosmere in the very future. So you're not going to be surprised, because there's a limited number of options. But I haven't said-- 'cause I might do more in that world, and I just want to leave them mysterious for now.
[In Secret History] there was a key scene with a character named Drifter. And, uh, that was the first time that I felt like there was a sense of malevolence with this character. And I was curious if that's something that I should state with that punch? Or was this just a particular thing?
I would say yes. Drifter is an ancient entity who has very, very many sides and that is accurately one of them. That said, in that particular scene, there are certain personalities that play off of each other poorly, in real life and in books, and you happened to catch one that-- Drifter and this character do not-- Let's just say they rub each other the wrong way. But I would definitely say that is an aspect of his personality.