Both of these scenes end with a transfer of Breath. That's intentional; I placed these scenes together on purpose. I love the parallel of one transfer bringing life and hope, the other bringing death.
Both of these scenes end with a transfer of Breath. That's intentional; I placed these scenes together on purpose. I love the parallel of one transfer bringing life and hope, the other bringing death.
Vasher and Denth's Climax
I wanted to offer Denth the chance for redemption here, though there was no way he was going to let himself take it. His response is honest. He doesn't feel he deserves it. He has done terrible things; to wipe away the memory of them would be cheating. Better to just get it over with.
There's a very good chance that after killing Vasher, Denth would have walked over, picked up Nightblood, and let the sword drain his life away. He wouldn't have been able to live with the guilt.
But that doesn't happen. When I first designed this magic system, I added to it the idea that taking a lot of Breath shocks you and sends you into a small seizure of pleasure. This is lifted from the magic system in Mythwalker, the story from which I drew Siri and Vivenna. I added the component to Awakening not only because it fit, but because I liked giving one more little nod to Mythwalker.
However, the moment I began writing it, I knew that this twist of giving someone Breath, then killing them, would be an awesome way to pull a reversal with the magic. So I built into the story the entire arc of Vasher beating Arsteel mysteriously, and Denth wanting to duel him to prove that he couldn't win a duel.
Denth was right. Vasher cheated.
Lightsong's Climactic Scene, with His Vision of the Boat
Lightsong's vision and eventual death in this chapter are another of the big focus scenes. In fact, I'd say that this little scene here is my absolute favorite in the book. It's hard to explain why, but I get a chill whenever I read it. It's the chill of something you planned that turned out even better than you expected. (As opposed to the planning for the Siri/altar image, which turned out poorly and so had to be cut.)
I worked hard to bring this scene in my head to fruition. No other section of the book has been tweaked more in drafting—everything from changing it so Lightsong grabs the God King's hand as opposed to his foot, to reworking the imagery of the ocean. (That imagery, by the way, came from my honeymoon while standing on the cruise ship at night and staring into the churning white froth above deep black water.)
Many people on my forums called this event ahead of time—Lightsong healing the God King. I'm fine with that. It did seem like a very obvious setup. One character with powers he cannot use until healed, another with the power to heal someone one time. Sometimes it's okay to give people what they expect—particularly when the result is this scene. I hope they didn't expect it to be as powerful as it is (assuming readers like the scene as much as I do). I want this one to be very moving.
It's the final fulfillment of Lightsong's character. Note that even in the end, his sarcasm and irony come through. He told Siri not to depend on him because he would let her down. Well, Lightsong, you're a better man than you wanted us to believe. There's a reason why so many are willing to rely upon you.
Vasher and Denth Spar; Vasher Gets Stabbed
I love scenes in books (when I read them) that imply a great weight of history that we don't get to see between characters. It gives me a sense that the story is real. That these characters lived before the story, and that they'll continue to live afterward (or, well, the ones who survive).
When I built this book, I knew that the Vasher/Denth relationship needed a lot of groundwork to give it that sense. I wanted them both to be complicated characters who have a twisted past. It all comes to head here, in this chapter, and we get the ending of a story over three centuries old. Will I ever tell those stories? Probably not. Like the story of Alendi and Rashek in Mistborn, I think the story between Vasher and Denth is stronger as it stands—as something to lend weight to this book. We will go more into the Vasher/Arsteel relationship (particularly as we deal with Yesteel) in the next book, if I write it.
By this point, you should be wondering just who Vasher is. He's been alive since the Manywar, and Denth implies that Vasher himself caused the conflict. There's obviously a lot more going on with him than you expect.
Siri Is Led Up to a Room with an Altar
Well, welcome to my favorite chapter in the book. (Of course, I do tend to say that about the climactic chapters of each book.) For me, this is the kind of chapter that drives one to write a book. The chance to get to it, and to have things start coming together, is the biggest thrill I get in writing.
The "sacrifice Siri on the altar" image was one of the original ones I'd planned for this book, but by the time I got to this place in the novel, it just felt lame to go through with that. It's such a clichéd image. That's kind of the point—Bluefingers is trying for something visceral and exaggerated—but I felt that the imagery of it could undermine the entire scene.
I think I did one draft with her tied down to it, but I revised that out pretty quickly. It was far too Snidely Whiplash for me. I like this version much better, where we find out what Bluefingers is going to do, but Siri stands up to him and bullies him into letting her die with dignity. I also went back and seeded the stories about Hallandren and killing people on altars as a superstitious rumor that some Idrians believe. (There were stories about the Mormons, back in the day, claiming that they sacrificed women on the altars of their temples then threw the corpses out the window into the Great Salt Lake. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but in eras without as much media, people can believe some pretty crazy things.)
Denth Finds Vasher and Forces Him to Duel
Note that Denth, way back many chapters ago, mentioned that he felt the only way to defeat Vasher was to get him to draw Nightblood. Denth knew that would leak away all of Vasher's Breath and thereby leave him unable to use Nightblood any further. (This exchange with Denth and Tonk Fah happened in the D'Denir garden after meeting with the forgers.)
Denth has been planning to find a way to force Vasher to draw the sword and use it. He was hoping that the sword would consume him, which he felt would be a fitting end for Vasher, considering that Vasher killed Denth's sister with Nightblood. When he didn't die from pulling the blade, Denth decided that killing him with a dueling blade—as Arsteel should have—would be a fitting end instead.
Vasher Fights the Soldiers and Finally Pulls Nightblood
In my annotations, I've often talked about focus scenes. These are the scenes of a book that I imagine cinematically before I sit down and write the novel. They're part of what drives me to want to work on that book in particular, and I need a few really good ones before I'll write a book.
This was one of the primary focus scenes for this book. I had this in mind before I developed a lot of the rest of the story. I'm glad that I was able to write to a point where I was able to use it. Vasher, Awakening a rope to save himself, then fighting alongside Awakened sets of clothing. Then finally, at long last, drawing Nightblood. You probably knew that had to happen in this book. I certainly built up to it long enough.
I originally imagined the pulling of Nightblood from a body a little like a dark "sword in the stone" moment. I don't think that quite made the transition to the final book, but hopefully the image of a black sword leaking smoke is visually potent for you. I ended the scene in my head with Vasher standing amid those puffs of black smoke that used to be bodies, Nightblood at his side, feeding off of him with pulsing black veins.
Vivenna Saves Vasher—Kind Of
Vivenna has a few things going for her here. First off, Denth has gotten rid of his Breath. He doesn't want to have it as he tortures Vasher. It made him too aware, too pained. Being a drab as he does it is easier for him. With Tonks dozing, that means that nobody in the room has enough life sense to notice Vivenna hanging outside.
Secondly, Denth doesn't really like what he's doing. He feels he took Vasher too easily, and the torture isn't satisfying. He'd much rather kill Vasher in a fight, as he later realizes. So there's some hesitance to him in this scene, as you might notice. He doesn't just stab Vasher or Vivenna. He goes to free Tonk Fah, then hesitates before turning back and challenging Vasher. Denth was actually hoping that something like this would happen. (Plus, he does care for his friend Tonk Fah. Again, Denth is far from purely evil, no matter what he would like people to assume.)
Denth is the better duelist. Even if Vasher hadn't been beaten and tortured, Denth would have won. Except for the trick Vasher was planning, which Vivenna interfered with. But we don't know about that yet . . .
I don't know if you remember that Vivenna put a whole bunch of Breath into Tonk Fah's cloak accidentally, but it happened during the time when she found Parlin. It might be just a little bit of a stretch here, as I don't know that people will remember it. As I consider it, I should have mentioned what she'd done one more time.
Also, I hope that you don't mind the line that goes something like "Vasher is plunging to his doom from a three story window—of course he'll live!" It's a little bit self-aware, and I'm not trying to break the fourth wall. Denth has simply known Vasher for a very, very long time, and knows that something so simple isn't likely to kill his old friend. That, mixed with Denth's penchant for sarcasm, produced this line.
When is Emperor's Soul set chronologically in relation to Elantris? Because if its around the same time Teod and Arelon might not have to stand alone against the Fjordell Empire.
My other question is also a timeline one. (There are a lot of those tonight haha) I heard you had to move The Way of Kings a little bit due to some plot constraints. So does Warbreaker still fall around the same time as The Alloy of Law or has that shifted as well?
Thanks for the kind words! Emperor's Soul is after Elantris, but not too long after. It is before Mistborn.
Second question is that I've moved things so that The Way of Kings is around the same time as The Alloy of Law, forced by some behind-the-scenes events. Warbreaker now happens before The Alloy of Law.
Will we see another book with Waxillium Ladrian? His story doesn't appear to end with The Alloy of Law. And will his story be directly related to the next Mistborn trilogy? This has been eating away at me since finishing that book.
Wax's story was indeed directly related to the second trilogy, but I was intrigued enough with his time period that I find myself wanting to do more with him. I probably will.
We were kind of joking about it that in the original Mistborn trilogy Kelsier, you notice that he--we kind of had a little joke about it that every once in a while he’d raise his eyebrow, and we were like “How many eyebrow raises did you count this time?” And in the Secret History, we were both kind of like “Did you notice any?” and there weren’t any. And I was just a tiny bit disappointed that he didn’t get a--
So what happens is--
We were just curious if you got some kind of feedback that told you to stop that...
No, writers start to notice what their tells are, and so your tells will shift. If you go look through the Mistborn books another one is “maladroitly”, I use that one all the time. And all that happens is the copyeditor notices them and starts bracketing them over the course of “Oh I use this too much” I don’t usually mean to cut them all, there should have been one or two. And it just meant they got bracketed and I was “Oh this one isn’t appropriate” and I just took a bunch of them out.
Will we see more of the god metal alloys in the future?
I want to know more about the character Steris, like what was the inspiration for her, because watching her evolve has been one of my favorite things in the Mistborn series.
A couple things. One was I’d never written anyone as directly on the autism spectrum as she was, or she is, and I wanted to see if I could get this right. She also, I wanted to have a contrast between her and her sister. And that’s part of what I wanted to have, these two things. And I want to kind of pull the reversal on the reader, where this assumption when you go into a book is these two main protagonists are meant to hook-up, and I wanted to kind of twist that on its head because I didn’t think they should *audio cut off*.
Did Thunderclasts exist on Roshar outside of Desolations?
Yes. They can. They did not normally, they theoretically can, okay?
Would setting Stormlight lanterns around a wounded person make them heal any faster?
No. Not your average person.
And regarding that healing thing, I’m going to have to back up on that one just a little bit because there would be nominal effects in the same way that if you’re sick and you go sit in the sunlight. That makes you feel--Stormlight has, not the same effect but it would have a nominally similar effect…Does that make sense? Or a similarly nominal.
Did Cultivation foresee Honor’s Shattering?
That’s a RAFO.
As of Words of Radiance, are there two groups of Skybreakers running around claiming to be Skybreakers?
Nale’s group is the only one I think I’ve had on-screen, so yeah I think there’s only one. Why would you ask that?
Was the group that Helaran joined the actual Skybreakers?
Oh, I get what you’re saying. Okay. Yes, there is one unified group that call themselves the Skybreakers, good question.
Did the Knights Radiants create the Shattered Plains?
That’s a RAFO.
Is there a relationship between the santhids and the chasmfiends?
Besides them existing in the same place?
Oh, direct relationship? No, but in the family trees there is, y’know.
Do you have any plans to write a series of short stories about, like, very minor Epics?
It is possible, since I did Mitosis, that I would do something like that again, but I can’t promise. The next series will take place in one of the parallel dimensions that Megan saw.
Which one of your Epics did you find the most fun?
Most fun? Larcener was really fun to write, because of his personality, but probably Regalia. I would go with Regalia.
So there are many--According to Sixth of the Dusk, there are many commonly known aviar talents, can you give us a couple? Like examples we haven’t seen yet?
Those are from the notes, I’d have to dig them out. Let’s just say they’ll be very useful for navigation in the future.
How does Silence butcher deer? Because she serves venison.
You can do these things if you don’t do it in the wrong way, at the wrong time.
Are there any animal Shades?
Would Cognitive shadows that travel to Threnody automatically turn into Shades?
Uhh… No. Good question.
Did Theopolis turn into a Shade?
That is a-- I’m going to RAFO that just in case I do another book.
A Parshendi heartbeat, is it thump-thump thump-thump like a human?
It is very human-esque.
What is Wyrn’s or Hrathen’s seons’ names?
Um that is--
Or if you don’t know the name off the top of your head then what the Aon translates as.
Right. It’s been ten years, it’s in the notes. It will be important when I write the second ones.
If a seon were on Roshar, could it still communicate instantly with seons on Sel?
So, let’s just say the Cognitive Realm is bounded by distance, and the Spiritual Realm is not. So it depends on how that mechanic is working.
Can seons be harmed by a sword-blow?
Regular sword, no.
There’s a point where Ashe is distracting some soldiers and they’re swinging their swords, and I was wondering was that clever of him or was that legitimately brave. Like was he actually risking himself.
He was not actually risking himself. He’s the same...it wouldn’t... Yeah.
Where’s Gretgor, the first Wyrn’s sword?
I believe Gretgor is in the capital somewhere. He’s enshrined, he’s there.
Yeah. He’s there.
So Drehy in Bridge 4 has been described by multiple people as long-limbed and lanky which reminds me of another type of person not from Roshar. Was he born on Roshar?
That right there is me describing my good friend Ryan… that we always joked was the missing link, and that’s a joke for every time he sees it, because he has long limbs. So that one is not-- that one is just an inside joke with me and my friends.
Okay, because the eunuch Terrismen are described like that--
--so I thought maybe.
That's a good question, but no, that’s just there because every time he reads the book he will crack up.
If someone on Nalthis had an aviar like Kokerli, would an Awakener’s lifesense work, or would the person be perceived as drab?
Yeah, the life sense would not work. Good question.
Have we seen Vathi in any of your published works besides Sixth of the Dusk?
Umm… No... I believe not.
Have any other Shards--if the Shards were split, for some reason, to I guess protect, why is it that some of them clumped together, like Ruin and Preservation, and Honor and Cultivation?
Some are more naturally like that, but at the same time they also had personalities driving them, and it’s mostly the personalities.
Friends would have gotten together in the same place kinda sorta?
Yeah, or business associates how are “We can do something cool together”. Before Odium just hunted them done and y’know… But the personalities are driving most of that.
Have any other Shards been combined, like Harmony was combined?
That’s also a RAFO.
What was the relationship between Skai and Aona prior?
That’s a RAFO.
For the White Sand graphic novel, is it going to be a book for each novel?
It’s actually three books for the first one. Because graphic novel--turns out my longwindedness, even trimmed down, takes a lot of pages. So once we finish those three, if people like them, we’ll do the second.
So when do we get the Hoid backstory?
It’s called Dragonsteel, and it will be after The Stormlight Archive is finished.
Finished? So it’s going to be a little while.
At the end of Words it was talking about--I think, Teft was talking about how Bridge 4 was lighting up during the battle. So are they affected by Kaladin? Or are they going to become...
So, they are what we call squires right now.
Okay, so they are squires.
So yes. They are affected by Kaladin, right now.
Are we going to get Soonie pups?
Someone offered to make them, they wrote to us, but it just seems like it is so much work that we're not planning it right now, and we would only do it if you can have a stuffed dog that you could turn inside out into a blob monster. That was my requirement and I don’t know if it’s actually going to happen.
Is one of the guys that is looking for Hoid in the Purelake Galladon from Elantris?
You’ll have to find out. He’s part of a group called the Seventeenth Shard, who have kind of been recruited from different planets.
If Wayne was inside of a speed bubble and punches somebody who's standing outside it, what's happening with his fist and them: are they like sucked into the bubble, or what?
So, I have... So exiting a speed bubble, while it's going, has weird ramifications on lots of things. It would be really hard to punch somebody through a speed bubble--
So would the surface like distend around his fist--
*Illustrates with fist "stretching out" invisible film*
It's going to steal your momentum, but if you actually managed to do it, then-- yes. Anything in the speed bubble that's touching through is counted as being as part of the speed bubble.
Okay, so his bubble would end here *Draws invisible surface in the air* and his fist would be out there *Illustrates by "punching" arm through the fake surface, demonstrating the fist extending past the bubble while he arm is within*, but still fast?
Oh okay, thank you.
That's how I've imagined it so far.
But the bubble does end at [the same place still, with the fist extending out past its boundary].
The bubble does end, yes.
*Makes pleasantries and goes to leave*
And when you're punching through, it's going to-- your momentum is gonna'-- you're going to lose momentum and get a ricochet, because you're lurching from-- *notices Kurkistan (very foolishly) acting like he's about to leave* anyway... I'll let you figure that one out on your own.
Are flamespren, are they all doing their own thing, or is there some Ideal of "Fire" sitting in the Spiritual Realm that they're all based on?
Each spren is based on the Ideal of Fire.
And is that sitting in the Spiritual Realm?
Yes, we're using sort of a Platonic Ideal, and that concept is in force, so *sounds hesitant* "yes", but [spren] are manifestations of it.
So these Ideals in the Spiritual Realm: Divine Breath, does that heal by accessing some Ideal of Human Health: so a guy who had never had a tongue and doesn't know how to speak all the sudden has a tongue and can speak?
You are... *LONG pause* You are, um, on the right track.
Because the Breath is... eh. How can I explain this? You are, yeah... So... So each Breath is a shade of deity, right?
And each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the deity Endowment, correct?
And so each Breath you hold brings you one step closer to becoming like that, and so what you're saying is... is "yes", kind of true, yes.
But it's like within the Breath, not sitting off by itself-
Yes, yes yes exactly.
If I get a Slider, a Pulser, and a Nicroburst in a rocket with a lot of metal, do I have FTL?
Hehehehe. You're getting closer but you haven't figured it out yet.
Are Legion and Emperor's Soul contained in their own worlds or are they part of the universe of The Stormlight Archive, etc (anywhere with Hoid in it. lol)
The Emperor's Soul is set on Sel, the world of Elantris. It's far off, though, so you have to have your eyes open to catch the clues. Hoid shows up in a deleted scene, and is referenced in the story.
So while writing two massive books in Memory of Light and Stormlight 2 you found time to write (at least) four novellas? I'm not going to ask how you manage it, I just want to know how you stop your fingers falling off?
Well, two of these are older. (The ones that are free on my website.) The other two I wrote while traveling, when it's difficult to manage something as in-depth as the WoT/SA.
But the real answer is that if I spend too long editing, and not enough time actually writing, I find myself burrowing down for a week and wanting to write something new. This is where a lot of these side projects come from.
The obvious question is probably, "Why isn't your New York publisher doing these?" Well, to be honest, these books aren't right for Tor. They're just too short, in my opinion, for a traditional bookstore release. (Though I originally did do one of them with Tor.com.) I wanted to release nice collector's edition print versions and cheap ebooks at the same time. It's not something that is profitable for a large publisher, and so is better suited to doing myself. (EDIT--Note, with Legion and The Emperor's Soul, I'm working with very talented small presses for the print editions and am self publishing the ebooks. I don't want to take credit for what Subpress and Tachyon are doing, as they've been fantastic to work with. I love the Tachyon cover.)
I'm not sure if this means I officially get to join the indie writers, or if I'm already too far entrenched in my place to ever be considered indie. However, considering the company, it seems like a great place to be. I'm a firm believer that both indie publishing and big-six publishing will have a place in the future of books, and that both serve very useful roles. Seems like this is one of the best times in the history of publishing to be a writer, with more opportunity for more people and more voices.
I'll ask you... about how you took the pretty minimal description from Brandon's books (I think we just knew that the Lord Ruler's face was on one side, and Kredik Shaw was on the other) to full coin designs.
As for designing the coins based on Brandon's descriptions, I brought it up at one of our Dragonsteel work meetings. We discussed what the coins ought to look like, I looked up old coins for inspiration, then I worked up some really rough designs and got them approved by Brandon. You can consider these designs to be canonical as to how they would've looked in the Final Empire and later on in Elendel.
For TLR, I actually started from the basis of this piece, but aging him further so that he appears more mature and regal.
The design for Kredik Shaw is an amalgamation of different versions I've done. I would expect that the building on the coin is merely the "main palace", and possibly only part of that. The Kredik Shaw palace complex would be much larger.
My favorite is actually TLM (Spook) "revealing the Elendel Valley" after the Catacendre. It came out much better than I anticipated.
I loved Nazh's "cameo" in the [Nicki] Savage story of Bands of Mourning. I especially like the touch of the map with the ripped edge in the book. Did the events really happen in the book as she describes in her broadsheet piece, or was the actual meeting punched up a bit for drama?
Thanks for your kind words on the [Nicki] Savage story. I hope we get to see her again. Since she's learning the art of storytelling from Allomancer Jak, I suspect her version of events was slightly embellished. :)
Well she has been in two of the stories so far, so fingers crossed!
I'm blanking on this just a little bit. Which was the second story she was in?
In Shadows of Self, there was a broadsheet article about a woman in the southern mountains who ran into a strange red and black person by a placid pool. Her name was [Nicelle] Sauvage, and I admittedly made a bit of an assumption that she and [Nicki] Savage are the same woman.
You are exactly right! She did appear in the Shadows of Self broadsheet. Thank you for reminding me of that.
The name adaptation threw me off, I only picked it up this last time I read through it in my epic-cosmere-re-read leading up to Oathbringer.
I do have to admit, while pretty cool, the dashing stranger who tried to kill a nice woman and destroyed public property in the sky above a metropolis using unknown arcana seemed... a little out-of-character for Nazh as we've otherwise seen him.
[Nicki] added some extra drama to her version of events to make it more interesting. I don't think Nazh would've tried to kill her, though he might want her to think that he was. He's easily annoyed by those who get in the way of his missions, even if they're just nosy adventurers. :)