Recent entries

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Czanos

    Does every metal have a Feruchemical and Hemalurgic property? If not, are there metals which have Feruchemical or Hemalurgic properties which do not have Allomantic ones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every metal has a Feruchemical, an Allomantic, and a Hemalurgic property. The godly metals each also do something else. There are several interesting Feruchemical powers yet to be discovered and revealed in the next series. Feruchemy is less widely understood because there were so few practitioners in the modern era, and a lot of the time they were too afraid of capture to really study and use their powers.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Czanos

    Preservation can fuel Allomancy, (minus atium.) but can Ruin fuel Hemalurgy? (Or atium?) And could Sazed fuel all three Metallic Arts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Both gods could, if they wanted, fuel all of the Metallic Arts. Preservation is stronger at fueling Allomancy, Ruin stronger at fueling Allomancy or Feruchemy when it has been given via a spike. Both are balanced when it comes to Feruchemy. But this rarely comes up in the books, as it required expending power in a way that the gods were hesitant to do.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    GreedyAlgorithm

    Brandon, I'd like to see a timeline of when you fleshed out the parts of the cosmology we know about. I'd imagine Allomancy came before you fit it into the bigger picture, right? What was your method, come up with a cool image of hammering spikes through a living being, figure out how to integrate that into a larger picture, and then think about the implications of your new cosmology? Or what?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, this is a hard one to ask because it's been such a LONG process. There were bits of all of this popping around in my head almost twenty years ago, so it's going to be hard to define where what fit into place when.

    Allomancy and Feruchemy were originally planned separately. I linked them together into this book when I realized that the 'focus' items that could store attributes could be metal, and therefore work wonderfully with the Mistborn book I was planning.

    Hemalurgy came from the image of Inquisitors first, then developed as a need to integrate it in with the other two in a way that evoked the power of "Ruin" rather than the power of Preservation. I figured that Ruin would steal, and it was a great way to add a third magic without having to overload people with a whole new set of powers. The process of writing this series, since I did all three books together, was an interesting one, and I made a lot of connections as I went. Some of the latest things on the timeline were figuring out how to fit atium and the Preservation nuggets into the already built framework. But I don't know if I can give you an exact list. Partially because there would just be too many spoilers in it.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    FirstRainbowRose

    I just wanted to add in my two cents and say it was absolutely brilliant... and I think I'm starting to be able to breath again (crying that much hurts)...I also really loved that there's an "cameo" for Kelsier at the end... that made me really happy to see.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Glad you liked the book, Rainbow!

    You may want to note that the moment Preservation dropped out and let the last of his consciousness die, someone was waiting in the Cognitive Realm to seize the power and hold on for a short period until Vin could take it up more fully. You'll find him using it to whisper in moments of great stress in the book, to one person in specific in two places. (I'll bet someone on here has already found them.)

    He never could just let things well enough alone....

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Xandeis

    Is there anyone out there other than me that would pay to see this in theaters??

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I'd sure pay to see it in theaters! ;)

    To be more serious, I think this series—particularly the first book—is quite cinematic. I'd love to sell movie rights on it, assuming I can find the right people to work with. So if you have any contacts, let me know.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Kaimipono

    Did Zane get spiked intentionally? Did someone else (Straff?) know about hemalurgy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Zane spiked himself. It was...a very twisted and messy process. Note that Ruin tries to get Spook to do something similar. It's much easier for him to work with someone to get them to spike themselves than it is to arrange the exact circumstances where someone gets spiked.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Kaimipono

    Why exactly do some spike removals kill (dual eye, or central spike) but most don't?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For the same reason that a bullet through one part of the body will kill you, but getting shot somewhere else won't. The physical form of a person who has undergone a Hemalurgic transformation is no longer what we think of it. The direct connection to Preservation starts keeping them alive. (Imagine stapling someone's soul to another person's soul, their life essence, then stapling that to the power of creation itself, giving you a conduit directly to power, letting you leech it and steal it.) That power keeps you alive, despite the wounds. Some of the time, the other staples are enough to keep you alive, even if one is pulled out. Others are too important.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Kaimipono

    Allomancy is fueled by Preservation's body? How exactly does that work? And how does that interact with Atium—it's fueled by both gods' bodies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The powers of Ruin and Preservation are Shards of Adonalsium, pieces of the power of creation itself. Allomancy, Hemalurgy, Feruchemy are manifestations of this power in mortal form, the ability to touch the powers of creation and use them. These metallic powers are how people's physical forms interpret the use of the Shard, though it's not the only possible way they could be interpreted or used. It's what the genetics and Realmatic interactions of Scadrial allow for, and has to do with the Spiritual, the Cognitive, and the Physical Realms.

    Condensed 'essence' of these godly powers can act as super-fuel for Allomancy, Feruchemy, or really any of the powers. The form of that super fuel is important. In liquid form it's most potent, in gas form it's able to fuel Allomancy as if working as a metal. In physical form it is rigid and does one specific thing. In the case of atium, it allows sight into the future. In the case of concentrated Preservation, it gives one a permanent connection to the mists and the powers of creation. (I.e., it makes them an Allomancer.)

    So when a person is burning metals, they aren't using Preservation's body as a fuel so to speak—though they are tapping into the powers of creation just slightly. When Vin burns the mists, however, she'd doing just that—using the essence of Preservation, the Shard of Adonalsium itself—to fuel Allomancy. Doing this, however, rips 'troughs' through her body. It's like forcing far too much pressure through a very small, fragile hose. That much power eventually vaporizes the corporeal host, which is acting as the block and forcing the power into a single type of conduit (Allomancy) and frees it to be more expansive.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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    Kaimipono

    What was Vin supposed to do at the end of Well of Ascension? How exactly did not-using the power, end up releasing Ruin? I still don't get how that all worked. Can you explain it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What was she supposed to do? Well, this is difficult to answer, since the prophecies have been changed and shifted so much. Originally, the prophesies intended for a person to go take the power every thousand years and become a protector of mankind for a period of time. Someone to keep an eye on Ruin in Preservation's absence and watch over the world as he would have done. Imagine an avatar who arrives every thousand years and lives for their lifetime blessing the people with the power of Preservation, renewing Ruin's prison, and generally being a force for protection. (Note that Ruin wouldn't have gotten out if the prison wasn't renewed, he'd simply have been able to touch the world a little bit more.) Obviously, it changed a LOT during the years that Ruin was playing with things.

    What should she have done? Well, Ruin's release was inevitable. Even if she hadn't let him go, the world would have 'wound down' eventually. The ashfalls would have grown worse over the centuries, and the next buildup of the Well might not have come in time for them to do anything. Or, perhaps, mankind would have found a way to adapt. But Ruin was going to get himself out eventually, so the choice Vin made was all right. There weren't really any good choices at this point. She could have decided to take the power and become a 'good' Lord Ruler, trying to keep the world from falling apart. Of course, she would have had to make herself immortal with Hemalurgy to make that work right. And since she was already tainted, chances are good she wouldn't have ended up any better than the Lord Ruler himself.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    With covering the safehand for women, how does that affect how left-handed women are treated or perceived?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Left-handed you are trained- Well it's not a big deal for darkeyes because they wear gloves. Lighteyed women are trained to use the right hand, even if they're left-handed; which does cause some problems, but that's how they are trained.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    Dalinar. A lot of people have theorized that his armor has glowed because he's channeling stormlight. I don't believe that's accurate. Is that right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not going to answer much about the armor. The armor, you will have to find out about.

    Questioner

    Alright, because my theory is that he's actually fulfilling the actual role of the Radiants—that's protecting people—therefore that's why his armor is glowing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Interesting. Now which armor are you speaking about specifically?

    Questioner

    The Shardplate.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Shardplate but which one?

    Questioner

    Dalinar's armor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar's Shardplate. In which scene?

    Questioner

    In The Way of Kings. Several times.

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Disingenuously* I know nothing about what you're talking about.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    I'm reading into that the timing of The Alloy of Law is roughtly about when we would expect the Pits of Hathsin to start regenerating--

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Disingenuously* Oh imagine that...

    Questioner

    Okay yeah, does that mean that atium is still important, or is there a new element for Sazed that you might be able to expect.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    I was just re-reading The Way of Kings when Kaladin meets Hoid, and Hoid mentions the stone that he's named after? Are we gonna find out more about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, though the 17th Shard probably can answer that for you right there *points, presumably*.

    In the very first book that I wrote with him that I finished, his nickname in that book was "Topaz".

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    Is energy [i.e. Investiture] interchangeable between worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To an extent.

    Questioner

    So like Breath could be used instead of stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It might require some hacking to achieve. Some cases it will not. For instance there's a certain sword that feeds on Investiture. And he'll feed on whatever Investiture he can get, and if he doesn't have any he'll just suck your soul out and feed on that.

    Questioner

    On the other hand if someone were to require Breaths and there were nobody giving out Breaths in that area, then...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Then theoretically that's the same sort of system, but I have no idea who you could be talking about.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Willshapers have to have Cohesion, because Cohesion is the "grab something solid and melt it and push it in any direction you want..." it's the weak atomic force.

    It's, you can take this and push your hand into it and leave a hand print, or things like that, and that's a Willshaper thing, not a Bondsmith thing.

    Footnote: In the context of looking at the Radiant chart
    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    We've seen that the "Sylblade" can change shape to fit Kaladin's needs. Is there a limit on the size of the blade that Syl can become?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Okay. And can you share with me what the upper limits on those sort of things would be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Upper limits of hers are about human-sized.

    Questioner

    Is it always going to be something that has to be a fighting utensil, or does it have to...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's going to RAFO. You'll have to see.

    [...]

    I will say this. You have seen Syl changing shape from the first time she appears onscreen and she is frequently not a weapon.

    Footnote: Edgedancer answers this fairly unequivically with the shard-rod and shard-fork
    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    Peter actually said on the 17th Shard that we should ask you about this, we'll see if I get RAFO'd or not.

    Would you share with me how Vasher lost his sword to Nale?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How Vasher...?

    Questioner

    Well uh "Zahel".

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, oh. *having far too much fun with this*

    So how Zahel lost his "sword"...

    Questioner

    We're talking about the same thing here. So Nightblood. How did that get in-- how did that transfer over?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure why Peter's telling you to ask that, because--

    Questioner

    Well he said something about that maybe you could share a little bit about, I don't know...

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be a lot of information in the book Nightblood about how some of these things came to transpire.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Jerich

    After what Adolin does at the end [of Words of Radiance] are there still Radiant orders that would take him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there would be. In fact, yes. Definitely that's possible. I'm not going to say that he becomes one, but yeah.

    Jerich

    So like the Skybreakers or Dustbringers or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Skybreakers might have trouble because it wasn't legal. But there are others who would be like "oh that was totally the right thing to do."

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Jerich

    Is the Hoed from Elantris similar to the state of [dead] Shardblades? If so is it possible to awaken a Shardblade if the bearer speaks the oaths of the Knights Radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The status is... I would say not as similar as you're probably thinking, but it does have a similarity in that two bacteria causing a disease are both caused by a bacteria, so there is a similarity there.

    I can imagine a sequence where a Shardblade would be reawakened, but I think it would be very difficult.

    It's not the same that they're in the middle of a transition, like in Elantris.

    Jerich

    Oh, okay. So you have to actually... it'd be harder.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It'd be harder, yeah. It's not the same, they're not in the middle of a transition. They have had something ripped from them, and it's very painful and it's left them mostly mindless.

    Jerich

    So they have to have that something added back?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So what you've got going on: the spren gain-- the bond lets them have sentience in the physical plane, like they can think and all these things, and when that was ripped away from them-- imagine... (this is a very bad metaphor, it's the first one coming to my head though): imagine you had wetwear, you had a head-jack or something like that, and someone just ripped it out of your head. 

    Jerich

    *stunned/horrified*

    Oh.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Instead of surgically operating it out. Like that's what's happened, a piece of their soul's been ripped off.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    Why was Drehy the first one to speak up for Kaladin from Bridge 4 in The Way of Kings. They were heckling him and he said "lay off of him."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Drehy was a little less beaten down than the others at that point. He was a little newer to being a bridgeman, was part of it. Also also he's one of those people—he's based off my friend Ryan Drayer—who is a big guy, tall, and is very used to sticking up for people, that's part of who he is. And I put his personality into the character a bit.

    Footnote: A lot of confusion/clarification, it's been slimmed down
    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    So what are the chances, once that last Stormlight comes out, that you might open up that worldbuilding wiki up for viewing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You don't know, I might do that. That's feasible.

    Questioner

    It seems like it might be a cool way, other than like waiting another 3–4 years for it to be edited into 2 or 3 atlases or whatever, in this day and age a wiki seems like a good way to do that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. The fun thing is, it's now like 15 years old, so it's got all the old stuff from the original write in it as well.

    Questioner

    Which would also be kind of cool to see.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which would be cool to see how I've changed things. There's stuff in there before spren were even part of the world and stuff like that.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    In Allomancy, aluminum won't be able to be pushed or pulled, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right.

    Questioner

    So if you put a piece of steel like a gun barrel, and then you surround it with aluminum, can you still push the gun barrel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The aluminum will add some interference, it's gonna depend on how thick the aluminum is. It's probably unfeasible. That is a viable concept, I don't think it's feasible on a gun barrel.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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    Questioner

    I kind of want to make one of Navani's fabrial bracelets but I've got some questions. 1: Are they all heliodors or are they polestones or what?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They will change, yes. They are not all heliodors.

    Questioner

    What's the significance of the different number of prongs on each gemstone? [...] Like some of the gemstones have two prongs, some have like *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    On the picture? The picture there is no significance, I simply gave artistic license to Isaac to do as he wished.

    Questioner

    Here I was trying to match up the numbers because they were the double eye with the Radiant chart and..

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope, that was simply done by him.

    Footnote: This references Navani's notebook pages, which can be found here
    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    Leiyan

    Can you tell me which is the most massive moon [of Roshar]? Not the biggest, but the most massive moon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think the biggest is the most massive. All three moons are much closer than our moon is.

    Leiyan

    Yes, I gathered that. And so is that Nomon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Leiyan

    How big is Nomon on the night sky, compared to our moon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Larger than our moon, but not dominating of the sky.

    [Interruption]

    I do believe Nomon is, I told Peter, bigger. But he had to run the actual calculations, so he may come back and say, "No Brandon, that's not possible." But I believe it is bigger than our moon in the sky. You're supposed to be able to see moderately well by Nomon.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    Questioner

    We were talking that it's kind of a shame that Dalinar doesn't have his own "real" spren. I think it's an upgrade, is there a way I should think of this? Is it a cool thing or a bad thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a very cool thing, but it's also a very dangerous thing.

    Questioner

    Well [the Stormfather] controls the highstorms ... follow-up question: if he dies, does that affect the spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dying, as long as the oaths are not broken, does not affect the spren in a very terrible way. There are effects.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    Questioner

    If Taravangian made the Diagram, and telling the future is of the Voidbringers, is that a bad sign?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on if you're speaking culturally or actual magically.

    Questioner

    Magically, I guess.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because he would claim to you that he did it all with strength of mind and no magical influence other than enhanced mind. That's what he would tell you. And so in that case it would not be—culturally they'd look very weirdly at it, but spiritually he would say it's not of the Voidbringers.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    Questioner

    Based on what we know currently about ten heartbeats, why does Szeth require ten heartbeats to bring forth his Honorblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Perception is a very important part of how these things all work, and remember the Honorblades work differently from everything else. Everything was based upon them. Why don't you read and find out what's going on there, but remember that the characters's perception is very important.

    Questioner

    So then that's why at one point Shallan requires ten heartbeats and now she doesn't?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, it's the exact same reason that Kaladin's forehead wounds don't heal. Because he views himself as having those somewhere deep inside of him and he can't heal until that gets away. And it works for the same reason why in Warbreaker when you bring something to life, your intention rather than really what you say is what matters. It's all about perception.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lightsong Feeds on the Child

    Why a child? It doesn't much matter, truthfully. An adult, or even someone elderly, could provide a Breath that would keep a god alive.

    But the Breaths of those who are aged aren't as vigorous as those of those who are young. If Lightsong were given one of those to feed on, he'd survive for another week—but he wouldn't feel as vibrant or alive as he does after feeding on the child's Breath.

    The people of Hallandren are faithful. Even if Lightsong himself doesn't believe, they do, and they want to provide the best for him. Hence they use children. Old enough to know what they are doing, yet young enough to give a powerful, vibrant Breath to their god.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Three - Part Two

    Llarimar

    Llarimar is based on a friend of mine, Scott Franson. Back when I was working on Hero of Ages, my local church group had a service auction for the local food bank. The idea was that church members would offer up services—like a car wash, or some baked cookies, or something like that—and then we'd all get together and bid cans of food for them.

    Well, I offered up for auction naming rights in one of my books. The idea being that if you won the auction, you'd get a character named after you and based on you. It was a big hit, as you might imagine, and ended up going for several hundred cans of food. The guy who won was Aaron Yeoman. (And you can see him in The Hero of Ages as Lord Yomen.)

    Well, the other major bidder on that was Scott. He's a fantasy buff, a big fan of classic works like Tolkien and Donaldson. (Though he reads pretty much everything that gets published.) He really wanted the naming rights, but I think he let Aaron have it, as Aaron was very excited and vocal about wanting to win.

    About a year later, I discovered that Scott, being the kind soul he was, paid for Aaron's cans himself and donated them on the younger man's behalf. I was touched by this, so I decided to put Scott into Warbreaker. It happened there was a very good spot for him, as I'd already planned Llarimar to have a very similar personality to Scott.

    I decided that Franson wouldn't work for the name. (Though you do see that one pop up in The Hero of Ages as a nod to Scott as well.) Instead, I used Scott's nickname, Scoot. I thought it worked pretty well, as it's only one letter off from his first name, and his brother claims that they always used to call him that.

    So, there you are, Scott. Thanks for being awesome.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    First Line and Lightsong's Origins

    Lightsong's character came from a one-line prompt I had pop into my head one day. "Everyone loses something when they die and Return. An emotion, usually. I lost fear."

    Of course, it changed a lot from that one line. Still, I see that as the first seed of his character. The idea of telling a story about someone who has died, then come back to life, losing a piece of himself in the return intrigued me.

    The other inspiration for him was my desire to do a character who could fit into an Oscar Wilde play. I'm a big fan of Wilde's works, particularly the comedies, and have always admired how he can have someone be glib and verbally dexterous without coming across as a jerk. Of course, a character like this works differently in a play than in a book. For a story to be epic, you need depth and character arcs you don't have time for in a play.

    So, think of Lightsong as playing a part. When he opens his mouth, he's usually looking for something flashy to say to distract himself from the problems he feels inside. I think the dichotomy came across very well in the book, as evidenced by how many readers seem to find him to be their favorite character in the novel.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Three - Part One

    Similarities Between Warbreaker and Elantris

    And finally, we arrive at my personal favorite character in the book. Lightsong the Bold, the god who doesn't believe in his own religion.

    I had the idea for Lightsong a number of years ago. My first book, Elantris, dealt with the concept of men who were made gods. However, in that book, we never actually get to see men living as gods. The gods have lost their powers and have been locked away.

    This time I wanted to tell a different story, a story about what it is like to live as a member of a pantheon of deities. Yet I didn't want them to be too powerful. Or even powerful at all.

    I realize that there is some resonance here with Elantris. I hope that the concepts don't seem too much alike. What I wanted to do with this story was look at some of the same ideas in Elantris, but turn them about completely. Instead of dealing with gods who had fallen, I wanted to look at gods at the height of their political power. Instead of dealing with people who were ridiculously powerful, I wanted gods who were more about prophecy and wisdom.

    I made it so that the Returned couldn't remember their old lives as a way to distinguish them from the Elantrians. However, I can't help the fact that the ideas had the same (yet opposite) seed. But I'm confident that there's plenty of room in the idea to explore it in a different direction, and I think this book comes out feeling very much its own novel.