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    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
    #7151 Copy

    Jazzy-Kandra

    I've noticed that the glyphs seemed to take inspiration from Arabic word art and calligraphy... Do you think you could talk a little more about how it inspired the making of glyphs and the art behind them? Did you draw from any other written languages (like Chinese calligraphy) when creating this system?

    Isaac Stewart

    Good question! The biggest influence was definitely Arabic word art and calligraphy. That's something Brandon and I wanted to do from the start with the glyphs, and I realized that in order to make both glyphs and word art work, I'd have to take things a step farther and figure out the building blocks of the glyphs. I can't think of any other systems off the top of my head that I drew direct inspiration from.

    The second biggest influence was the need for the glyphs to be symmetrical to reflect the holiness of symmetry within Vorin culture. I had an old iPod touch (it was new back then) and a simple symmetry app. When I found myself with a few minutes, I'd spend time sketching interesting shapes. I saved the best of these for use in The Way of Kings. Using those as a base, I started coming up with calligraphic shapes that would allow me the look I wanted, and over a bit of time, I developed a lexicon of shapes to use in the creation of glyphs. This helped keep the style mostly consistent from one glyph to another. Though there are levels of complexity in glyphs, I believe--everything from creating a glyphward for religious purposes to scrawling the shorthand version of a glyph on a map to indicate whose army is where.

    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
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    Argent

    How long did it take you to come up with this writing system? :)

    Isaac Stewart

    It took several weeks if not months at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 to nail down the basics of the glyph system. There was a lot of back and forth with Brandon at first as we both felt out what we wanted to do with it. In some ways, I feel like we're still filling in some of the blanks as we go, so it's an ongoing process.

    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
    #7153 Copy

    Argent

    • In analyzing the glyphs we've seen in the books, we've noticed that some of their "components" resemble the Thaylen symbols for consonants. The Thaylen don't have letters for vowels though - does that mean that glyphs also disregard vowels 100% of the time, or do vowels affect the way a glyph is written? For example, would "viv" and "vev" look exactly the same, or would there be some differences?
      • If vowels do affect the glyphs, do they affect them by somehow changing the consonant lines?
    • Our best theory for deciphering new glyphs is that the glyph "letters" actually correspond to two English letters - so writing "vev" is more akin to writing <ve> followed by <v_> (or perhaps <_v> followed by <ev>). How much of this is in the right direction?

    Isaac Stewart

    Good questions! The vowels don't affect the glyphs any more than the consonants do. I'm going to RAFO about the glyphs relationship with Thaylen. You're on the right track, however, on half of the word being written and then mirrored. That said, please remember that glyphs aren't meant to be read or even deciphered. They're learned in the same way that we can look at dozens of stylized pictures of cats and still be able to tell that it's a cat.

    Argent

    So, you've said that glyphs are not meant to be read several times, and I know that, but I think I've been misunderstanding you. I've been assuming they are just too complex and decorated - like an extravagant font. Are you saying they are not a hard writing system instead?

    There are obviously some rules to how the glyphs are designed, but does your reply mean that there is always a little bit of "I'll do what looks cool"? Kind of like how the band Koяn decided to flip the "R" - it's still recognizable enough, but there's no rule that says when you can and can't do that?

    Isaac Stewart

    Let's see if I can explain further. Glyphs are recognized rather than read. If you learn the letters in an alphabet and you come upon an unfamiliar word, you can be reasonably certain you'll know how to pronounce it if you're already fluent in the language. You can at least read it, and you might know from context what it means. Glyphs are different in that if you come upon an unfamiliar glyph you might be able to guess what it means by its shape, but until someone tells you "that glyph means 'soup'" then you're still guessing.

    The calligrapher's guild has rules they follow in creating glyphs, and there's a lot of artistic license, like the flipped R in Koяn, for the very reason that the guild isn't expecting people to read the glyphs. Those in the guild--and some scholars who are interested in how glyphs morph over time--might be able to decipher some of the glyphs for academic purposes.

    How's that? Any clearer?

    Argent

    It is clearer, yes :( I think we might still bug you every now and then, but I am coming to terms with the idea that we won't get anywhere near the level of understanding we have for the women's script, for example. It just felt so close, with the slight similarities between some glyph components and the Thaylen letters, you know?

    Isaac Stewart

    There's definitely a relationship between the Thaylen letters and some of the glyph components (although it's not the biggest part of what makes up the glyphs). Imagine if back in the middle ages a culture decided to use some latin letters as the basis for symbols so that it would be easy to mark things for people who don't read. This hypothetical culture threw in a smattering of other alphabets in there too. So, if that sort of thing developed naturally over time with phonemes and symbols getting added as the culture encountered other cultures, then you might get a bit of an idea of what's going on with the glyphs.

    ccstat

    I admit I'm still a little confused. The glyphs are recognized based on their shapes, but those shapes also appear to be highly mutable. I'm not sure how to reconcile those two ideas.

    If an established glyph can be stylized into a crown, a skyeel, or the other shapes that highprinces use as their symbols, how does someone associate the new shape with the standard one with which they are familiar? Does the stylized version preserve some core recognizable shape (since the constituent graphemes alone wouldn't be enough to decipher the meaning)? Or does each instance of a glyph have to be learned separately?

    Isaac Stewart

    I agree that those two ideas are hard to reconcile! Let me see if I can explain it a bit more without giving too much away.

    There's a calligrapher's guild that creates (and I suspect controls to a certain extent) the official glyphs. If a new glyph needs to be made, they do it in a way they see is proper, based on canonized rules that have developed over time.

    That doesn't keep amateur glyphmakers from creating things from time to time, and there's certainly a shift in shape as glyphs morph through the ages. The Guild is probably a lot like the Oxford English Dictionary folks, occasionally canonizing popular but unauthorized glyphs that get used so much that they become ubiquitous.

    Usually it's just guild members who are morphing glyphs into poems and such. If a nobleperson wants a glyph for their house, they go to someone authorized by the guild, and they'll stylize things into a crown, a hammer, etc. A good example of this will be seen in one of the pieces of art in the new book. We've seen Dalinar's Tower and Crown. Watch for the Sword and Crown and compare the shapes inside the Sword with the shapes inside the Tower. Maybe that will help with some understanding.

    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
    #7154 Copy

    meramipopper

    Could your ever imprint one of your maps onto a coin?

    Did you ever think of a Mistborn map coin?

    Issac Stewart

    A Mistborn Map coin would be cool! (But probably too detailed, not to mention canonical at this point.) I did draw inspiration from the old maps I did to try to tie the design into the world, if even a little bit. A series of coins based on maps would be really cool, and if simplified enough, they might just work. It could be quite the series, even if they wouldn't be canonical, just collectible. If that ever happens, let's look into sending you one, definitely!

    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
    #7155 Copy

    meramipopper

    How difficult is it to come up with a design that pops on a coin?

    How do you draw something that factors in the contours that will be on a coin?

    Issac Stewart

    Designing for coins wasn't difficult because Brandon had already created great descriptions. The real trick was to not make it too detailed for the engraver at Shire Post! I think he did a great job bringing our intricate designs to life!

    Factoring the contours was something I worried about a bit, which was one of the reasons I brought Ben onto the project. I described to him what we wanted, and he painted some grayscale depth to the coins so Shire Post would have an idea of what we were envisioning.

    Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
    #7156 Copy

    Oudeis

    Someone told me once that there's apparently a secret hidden in Nazh's name, but I've yet to determine what it is. Recently finished Shadows again, paying attention to names, and couldn't really find any sort of conventions. The only name given any relevance was the surname Forescout, and that doesn't seem connect to Nazh.

    Issac Stewart

    I hadn't heard of something being hidden in Nazh's name. I'll have to look a little closer....

    Footnote: Oudeis is likely referencing a comment made by Brandon in the afterword for Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell in Arcanum Unbounded, where he references the fact that he has not yet revealed Nazh's given name (Nazrilof is his surname).
    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7157 Copy

    uchoo786

    So just for clarification, once Nightblood consumes investiture, that investiture gets recycled? That's what I've always assumed. That it enters the cognitive/spiritual realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The investiture he consumes is not gone forever--it's not leaving the system, so to speak.

    Orem signing ()
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    Questioner

    Did Harmony give Ironeyes full Mistborn powers, or anything other than what he has with his spikes...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just what he has with the spikes, I believe. No-- okay let's say this: Harmony did not do anything... That doesn't mean that Marsh hasn't done things himself.

    Orem signing ()
    #7164 Copy

    Mason Wheeler

    Kelsier said to Vin, "Always make sure to burn off your metals before you go to sleep," because of toxicity issues. And when we get to Second Era, that just makes me think, because cadmium is truly nasty stuff. And most metals to burn them off, that'll be just fine. But with its effect, it would mean that trying to burn it off would shorten the night and you don't end up with any time to sleep. How does Marasi deal with this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You measure very carefully and you deal with the side effects of being an Allomancer.

    Orem signing ()
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    Questioner

    Was it moral for Adolin to kill Sadeas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which morality scheme are you looking for?

    Questioner

    Yours. Your personal morality.

    Brandon Sanderson

    My personal morality. It depends on the day. That one's on a line. I would say yes. There's a little bit of-- there's enough chaotic good in me. I would generally put myself in neutral good. But there's enough chaotic good in me to say, "Yeah, that guy asked for it. He betrayed you, he was threatening your family." I would side on Adolin's side, I think.

    Orem signing ()
    #7167 Copy

    Questioner

    Sah-zed, that's how you pronounce it, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it depends on who you are. You can say it however you want. It's said all different ways in the books. Because he is Terris, and everybody's just kind of saying his name, right?

    So Kelsier says Say-zed. But in world, he would say something more like Sahz-d, not Say-zed, himself. But I say Say-zed. You can say Sah-zed.  Some people would say that.

    Orem signing ()
    #7169 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you pronounce Szeth's name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Zeth. 

    Questioner

    Just the Z?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. There's a little bit of s...

    Questioner

    And Sazed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, he says something more close to Saze-d. But Kelsier says Say-zed. And people just kind of go with what Kelsier does. I say Say-zed also.

    Orem signing ()
    #7171 Copy

    Questioner

    Hypothetically speaking, if some of the main Radiants were to die at the end of book 5, go to Braize and then spend the time in between 5 and 6 there, would they age?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are lots of problems with that question. If a Radiant dies, they don't go to Braize. A Herald would, but a Herald is a Cognitive Shadow, so there's inherent problems in there. When you're a Cognitive Shadow, aging is different there, because you're basically a ghost. Even if you've been stapled to a body, it happens weirdly. So there's all kinds of flaws in that question.

    Orem signing ()
    #7174 Copy

    AllomancerSam

    ...When a Shard vessel dies and they've held the Shard for a thousand years, how much do they remember about what they've done?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on the shard. Usually, everything or most everything. It is not implausible that there are Shards that don't want to remember certain things. They have a large and vast mental capacity for remembering things.

    AllomancerSam

    Would Ruin be one that would be more likely to want to forget?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think all of them would have things they might want to forget. It depends on whose personality would be more likely to make that actually happen.

    Orem signing ()
    #7175 Copy

    Questioner

    Would you be willing to admit the name of the Vessel of the Shard on Obrodai.

    Brandon Sanderson

    *gives RAFO card*

    Footnote: The questioner is likely referring to the newly formed "avatar" of Autonomy referenced in the letters in Oathbringer.
    Orem signing ()
    #7177 Copy

    Questioner

    So is there a connection with K's? Where the characters...

    Brandon Sanderson

    You mean names with K's?

    Questioner

    Yes...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to say it's more coincidence. It has to do with what I like to name people. Kaladin's original name was Merin and it was just bad. So I eventually settled on something I liked. I just like the sound of it.  If you dig down into it, most of the names in the cosmere do not have similar linguistic roots. Some do. I'm just going to chalk it up to coincidence.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7178 Copy

    Chaos

    If you could take a Shard, what would be the one that you would want? If you were forced to take a Shard, you couldn't refuse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Mmmmms for a time*

    Chaos

    Feel free to name another one if you want to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've only got a few left that you guys don't know about.

    Chaos

    There's six.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah okay. So I haven't said-- yhm. *laughter* I would take one that I haven't talked about, probably. But, of the ones I've talked about--

    I don't know-- What one would be the most fun? Endowment would be pretty fun. Autonomy? No, probably not that much fun. A lot of them aren't very fun. Let's go with--

    Chaos

    You mean Autonomy isn't fun? Splitting into different aspects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that is fun, I suppose. Yeah. *unenthusiastic* Yeah...

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7179 Copy

    Chaos

    Is Uli Da a Sho Del?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Chaos

    Can we post that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah you can go ahead and post that. That's fine.

    Chaos

    I figured that from the...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, the naming convention makes it really obvious. 

    Chaos

    But that's not posted on the Dragonsteel sample so...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. But that's canon. It's pretty obvious to me... And so it's fine with me canonizing it. I mean, I've been coy with it for years. But when I say there are Shards that aren't human. There are three races on Yolen... Adding the math together is going to get you a pretty obvious answer.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7180 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if Sleepless-- the Dysian Aimians-- if they could hold a Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Could the Sleepless hold a Shard? Could they be a Vessel? Is what you're asking?

    *hems and haws* There is nothing innate about the Shards that prevents any one with a-- I have to phrase this very carefully...

    Non-humans can be Vessels. Non-humans have been vessels. Certain sapient creatures in the cosmere, could not be. But that's an asterisk, not the rule.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    When Marsh and Sazed go to the Conventical of Seran, Marsh kind of tells Sazed, "You go do whatever you want, I gotta go do something, I'll be back." What was Marsh's purpose there? Why was he there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I intend to do some Marsh stuff, from his viewpoint, eventually. I don't know if I'll ever get to it. There is actually something there. There is something that I intended to leave a place for me to play later on with. So the answer is a RAFO, but a legitimate RAFO. Not a "I'm trying to lead you on," or a "I don't feel like answering this right now."

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Chaos

    Is atium Invested?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is atium Invested? Atium is Investiture distilled into the Physical Realm, right? So is electricity electric? Or is it--

    Chaos

    Well I think the question Sharders had was if it's Invested, how can people Push and Pull on it. That was the struggle.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Atium breaks a lot of rules, in the same way that you will see other things break rules. Atium plays weirdly. When you get distilled Investiture, you're starting like-- My kind of rule for myself is it's kind of like when you start going on the quantum level, the rules just start playing weirdly. Because it's like, what Realm does atium exist in-- is another thing. Because-- Pure Investiture like that is like a mini black hole, right? It's like existing in three Realms at once. Kind of, and things like that... There's lots of weirdness.

    The writerly answer is there is lots of weirdness because when I built atium, I didn't have the rest of the cosmere built, right? And so it breaks a lot of rules that I later set up that everything else has to follow, right? So the writerly answer is we just have to accept that atium and lerasium and some of these other distilled Investiture things are going to play very weirdly with the magic systems. But that's okay. Nightblood will too, and some of these things that were built even after the cosmere was coming together.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    Speaking of Rosharan calendar-- So seventeen year old Kaladin, is he the equivalent of a seventeen year old Earthling?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's 1.1, I think is what is it. Right, they're 10% older than their accounting system. So no.

    Questioner

    So Adolin is 27, true?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner

    So then a year is obviously a lot more than 1.1 but--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well no. The years are 500 days, but they're 20 hour days. Keep that in mind. So when you run the calculations kinda together, you end up with around 1.1.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    Do you have, like on-- Like the actual gem inside a Stormlight sphere, do you have an idea of how large it actually is and--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we do have an idea of that, and how much it can hold, and things like this. And that's all known so that's going to start with the basis. But it's going to take math, it's going to take real math.

    Chaos

    Math is hard!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, math is hard! And we're going to have to look at things like-- Yeah just make stuff up then make Peter shake his head.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    Do you have-- Or have you determined an equivalency between how much Breath it takes to make a certain gem's worth of Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have recently assigned Peter to this task, and he is feeling overwhelmed by it. It was actually during the writing of Oathbringer where I finally said, "Yeah we need to standardize this, so start working on it." So it was like, "Oh great". Which means he has to read through all the books for references and start figuring it all out. And we're going to need like an equivalent of a jewel or something like this, right? *gestures to a sphere that a fan made* And we've been putting it off because it sounds like an awful lot of work. 

    So the answer is no, we don't have it yet. It's something I've known for years we're going to need. And on this book, I just started saying, "All right.  I'm going to have them do all the stuff they need to do. And then you're going to tell me how many spheres they need to start with." Right? Like, I write the book, and then we retrofit how many spheres they needed to have how much Stormlight, so that we could be consistent with that.

    But we haven't done across magic systems calculations, yet.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    In our universe, mass and energy curve space. I was wondering if Investiture does the same or something similar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does something similar. It draws the three Realms together. So it's got like-- Imagine a gravitational pull piercing Realms. Right? Of kind of--

    Questioner

    And that's how a perpendicularity works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not the only way a perpendicularity works, but one surefire way to create a perpendicularity is a massive collection of Investiture in the Cognitive or mostly Physical realm. But Cognitive's weird, doesn't always work the right way. But there are ways to do it that way too.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    So Roshar is pretty small on the map. Are there other species on the planet that we don't know about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Roshar is primarily the one continent. There are no other continents.

    Questioner

    No other continents?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No other continents... There are no other major landmasses on the planet.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Questioner

    I was wondering, with resonance. Is that a sort of constructive interference?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Constructed? No. Resonance is more about the way-- It's more of a natural interference.

    Questioner

    So what I mean like, you have two waves, right? And if their troughs, you know--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, is that the formal term? For the constructed.-- Oh constructive? I thought you had said-- yeah. So yes, I would say that that is an accurate phrase. I mean obviously it's not exactly the same thing. But yeah, that's what I was looking at when I was building it, was kinda things like this with waveform patterns and whatnot. So yes. At least, it was inspired by this kind of idea.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I once--don't do this--I once lit a book on fire. Because I was reading at night, and my mom kept turning my light off so I got out a candle and I was reading by candlelight. And the book started on fire. Yeah, so don't do that.

    Orem signing ()
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    Questioner

    What was your inspiration for Jasnah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had done several times, when I was designing characters in the cosmere, someone who kind of thought they were an awesome scholar but really wasn't. That's the kind of thing with Sarene and a little bit of the thing with Shallan. They're young people who haven't quite made it there yet, whose opinion of themselves is kind of beyond their actual skill level. Who would be, like, the scholar? Like, the ideal Rosharan societal scholar? And I built Jasnah out of that, and then took her in a way that would allow her to also be in conflict with that at the same time. Always a good source of writing a character.