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    Now that Rysn has secrets to keep, where do her alliances lie? She seems slightly skeptical of the Radiants, so would she be more patriotic to Thaylen City and potentially share her information with Queen Fen? Or maybe even Vstim?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Her loyalty is most likely to her babsk and others who have proven, in person, to her their merit.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    I am a bit sad Lift didn’t tag along to Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was actually going to send her on that mission, and wrote this chapter with that intent. Then I re-read what I'd written, and decided, "There's no way on Roshar Dalinar and Navani would send her on a delicate diplomatic mission." So I forced myself to revise the outline so Lift stayed in the tower.

    There are some things that just stretch plausibility too much.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Speaking of sending Stalins to jail, will Dalinar ever face any consequences for his act of genocide in Rift?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unfortunately, no. (Other than his strained relationship with Adolin and his own personal guilt.)

    Problem here is that by our standards (and now, Dalinar's own) this was a terrible act of destruction. But by the standards of his society, this was just business as usual. A city in open rebellion against the crown? That's basically an invitation.

    It's a tricky scene because the awful truth is that in our world, these sorts of things were extremely common in warfare--even up to and including the modern era. It wasn't until very recently that this sort of action was seen as a the war crime that it is.

    To be more accurate, I probably should have had this sort of thing happen dozens of times in Dalinar's past. But I felt that wouldn't have made the point any stronger, and felt that one time was bad enough. That said, however, it's not the sort of thing that most rulers through history would have to bear any consequences for.


    Has Vasher/Zahel done anything like this? Is that why he is as we see him in the Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now, but the responses below this do have valid points [Manywar and Nightblood].


    Would something like the 1474 trial of Peter von Hagenbach be possible on Roshar? And if yes, would this be something Skybreakers would get behind? It always seemed to be that they'd be interested in the idea of 'make law, not war' (I got that quote from Ben Ferencz).

    Brandon Sanderson

    This sort of thing would have been possible (and indeed inevitable in a situation like that) during the days of the Radiants. Not so much in recent history. Old Skybreakers would have been behind it entirely, new ones have some...different ways of looking at things.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    One question I've seen arisen about Taravangian I'm hoping for clarification on: Is he basically retreating from public eye whenever he's not having a "good" (smarter) day?

    Navani notes in the chapter that he's dispensed with the doddering old man act, but we the readers know he's just as likely to have a not-smart-but-emotional day where he's not allowed to enact policy, and that could be on the day meetings with the monarchs occur. How is he managing his condition with being so much more in the public eye now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is more help with this in his perspectives, so I'll leave this at a RAFO for now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So once Huio swears the ideal and the bargain is made, why not use the Oathgate? Did I miss something here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The group isn't certain yet if they want to expend the military (particularly naval) might to secure the location just yet. It's not something you make on a whim; and now that the Sleepless have agreed not to attack them, Windrunners can fly back in a matter of hours, so they don't have to decide right now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    There's going to be more dawnshard stuff in the rest of the SA right? Like I couldnt bare it if you introduce this cool as hell concept of the literal words of creation, and then I have to wait like 10 years for more dawnshard goodness to show up.

    So for the sake of my sanity can you just confirm that its not gonna be another decade before we hear/see more about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be more, but not much more in the first five.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Since when did your start to plan this specific development for Rysn? Was it something that existed from her inception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rysn wasn't in my very first outlines; I decided upon this path for her when working on Words of Radiance, as I realized I really wanted one Interlude character that I returned to, and showed a longer story across several years for.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people

    This point still confuses me. He quite handily puts Kelsier on his rear in The Well.

    So he can harm someone if he's provoked? Or is it because he knows that regardless of what he does to Kelsier it won't actually harm him?

    And a lot of "harm" is in the mind. Even without a corporeal body, it would still register as pain, thus harm?

    And wouldn't it still be considered physical harm, if Hoid was there physically? Applying physical harm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you re-read that scene, Hoid himself is shocked he's able to do what he does there. Let's just say he himself doesn't quite understand the issue as much as he once assumed.


    Can we assume he cannot harm a LIVING being, but Kelsier is at that point not a living being?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the conclusion Hoid came to, so it's a pretty solid assumption.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nineteen

    So, this brings us to the end of Part One, and you can fully see the reversed shape of the story here. Explosive beginning, contemplative ending. I went back and forth on whether I should end with Kaladin or Navani, as his decision to become a surgeon was the larger of the narrative arcs--but Navani's section better matched the thematic end of the part.

    I fully expect some readers to be a little indignant about the fact that Taravangian is walking around free, while Szeth is imprisoned. I agree--it's unfair, but I also believe it to be (unfortunately) accurate. Taravangian is, despite his unassuming mannerisms, one of the most powerful people in the world. While it would have been great to toss Stalin into jail for his crimes, it wasn't really an option--and during the war, the allies needed him.

    That isn't to say Taravangian is untouchable. Only that I felt what you read her to be one of the more likely outcomes to his outing. His argument that he didn't do anything worse than Dalinar did is a pretty solid one; if there hadn't also been suspicion he was working with the enemy, it's likely there would have been no relevant consequences to his assassination orders.

    You'll be getting his perspective on all of this soon, as he has an interlude after each part of this book. (Like Szeth got in the first book, or Eshonai got in the second.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    How much have you thought about the evolution of the biology on Roshar? It seems like the creatures we saw in Dawnshard attacking the crew (Sleepless aside, they're a whole other can of cremlings) are basically amphibious chasmfiends? Or some descendent of larkin? Or even an offshoot of hordelings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I imagine there's a lot of aquatic Rosharan megafauna, as many prey species on the planet have literal sources of energy inside of them that (with the right biological adaptations) can be turned into calories. Mix the low gravity, high oxygen, environment--and the possibility for bonding spren for other adaptations--and there's some real fun to be had.

    Rosharan Sleepless, as a species who can self-evolve over internal generations, have managed to interbreed with some species of cremlings to come up with specialized hordelings to do some remarkable things.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    When the Sleepless refer to 'Surgebinding' with the Dawnshards do they mean it specifically in the Rosharan sense, or just because that is the word Roshar has for magic.

    I.e. if this occurred on Scadrial would they still call it 'Surgebinding' or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Surgebinding is kind of a catch-all for cosmere magic here, as you're assuming. Literally binding (using) surges (a word for what we would call types of magic.)


    So, Rosharans would look at an Allomancer or Feruchemist and say, "Yep, that there is a Surgebinder," correct?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Many Rosharans. Many would also just think of them as some kind of voidbringer or other mythological figure, from local lore.


    Wait, have mistborn been to roshar or am I reading this wrong?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I mean is that someone like from, say, Bavland might have different stories they tell about creatures in the night than someone from Rira. So while they might call someone who uses strange abilities a surgebinder, they are probably more likely to talk about the local equivalent of something like a fae creature from local British lore.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    With savants, the more they use the magic (the more Kaza Soulcasts, the more Spook burns tin), the more pronounced the effect. Is there something similar going on with the Dawnshards? Would Rysn change more and more as time goes by? Savants do, Vessels do...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, she would change more as time goes by.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Do the Sleepless name themselves? Seems like they would since they spawn from "lost" swarms. Would they think of themselves as the original swarm at first? Would this would bring in all the scifi clone identity problems where the clone doesn't own it's identity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now. I'll get into their society some other time.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    When the Sleepless communicate, are their words being transmitted to each other instantaneously or is the transfer of information limited in speed to the speed of light? Like if one Sleepless was on Ashyn and they communicated with one on Roshar, would they be able to converse normally or would there be a time lag while the information was being sent from one planet to another?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have to RAFO this for now, as there are certain relativity related things I don't want to get into quite yet in the cosmere.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Wait, Hoid can't eat meat, despite the fact that he loves bacon? That poor, poor man.

    Makes me wonder if this extends to Soulcast meat, though.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's usually part of the joke when I mention his love for it.

    There's a cognitive aspect to it, though--but whenever he's around food, you'll often note him acting a little oddly.


    So does that mean he was extra mean to the Alethi because he had to show up to all their feasts as Wit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, taking on the Wit persona was his choice.


    Is that inability to eat meat and harm people related to the Intent of the Dawnshard he took up? Is he like a Sliver in a way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid. But these are the right questions to be asking.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Would Sleepless be the 3rd race native to Yolen? Man, Dragon, and Sleepless?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Sho Del are the third race from Yolen.


    I've heard you mention the Sho Del a few times, though only that they were the third race on Yolen. Is there anything else you could reveal about the Sho Del that's not too spoilery?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The big thing happening on Yolen (and major plot points of both Dragonsteel and The Liar of Partinel, neither of which I decided to publish) is two competing ecologies on one planet. An entire invasive ecology (called "fain") and the regular one, familiar to us. The Sho Del fill the niche in the fain ecosystem that humans fill in ours.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    I also have the theory that Huio will swear Dustbringer oaths (taking spanreeds apart to see how they work and a badass Shardhammer). And I want to get my first RAFO so:

    Can a KR swear 2 order oaths after obtaining a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson


    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    What are your current thoughts on Silence Divine? The setting and magic are some of my favorite to visualize so I'm always crossing my fingers you'll want to do something with it. It just hits all the right checkboxes for "cool" and with Dawnshard's release, well I was hoping it might be on the radar...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's on my radar, yes, as are the two other Cosmere novellas I want to write. (A sequel to Emperor's Soul and one to Sixth of the Dusk that I've actually started.)

    Problem is, it's hard to find slots for these things. We'll see. Not forgotten, certainly.


    I don't know why, (an old WOB?) but I thought we would only be dealing with Sixth in the background from now on, so a sequel is awesome to hear.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Sixth sequel is him exploring Shadesmar. I have a scene done, but it involves some pretty big spoilers for space age cosmere, as within a few years of the story that happened, there is a lot more going on in relation to other worlds. So I'm not sure if it's wise to continue it at this point.


    I know I'm a minority in this, but I love normal humans in a magic world. While Sixth has no investiture, the world is still fantastic and has the air of mystery.

    Will we see other cosmere settings where the people don't have magic, but the world does, like in Sixth, and shadows?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you will see more like this. (Many of the settings that involve Aethers can be like this, for example.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Can you tell us the equivalent Heightening she [Rysn] now has? She seems to be at least Third Heightening equivalent but I'm not sure how much else she has gained from holding a Dawnshard. Do ALL Dawnshards grant these Heightening-like effects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All Dawnshards would grant the same effects in this regard.

    As for specifics, I think I'll leave that as what is mentioned in the text, for now. (Sorry.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    The Sleepless presumably do not want her to swear a Radiant oath because she would be able to use the Dawnshard in conjunction with Surgebinding, and we know that that combination already destroyed one planet in the system so it's pretty understandable.

    But there were a bunch of Soulcasters lying around and they didn't seem bothered. So is this one of the differences between Radiant Soulcasting and Soulcasting via the fabrial? That the Dawnshard cannot be used alongside the fabrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the Sleepless ARE capable of Radiant bonds. (I believe the back jacket of the first book implies as much, if I remember correctly.) However, things they at first thought were great are making them increasingly worried, for reasons that will come up (not related to them specifically) in this book and the next.

    Soulcasting via a fabrial is way, way less dangerous than Radiant Soulcasting--which is in turn far less dangerous than unbound Soulcasting (meaning without oaths.)


    We've seen that the interpretation of the oaths is largely up to each individual spren (to the point that we've seen an entire Order of Radiants change their allegiance). Would it be possible for there to be a "sociopathic spren" that has interpreted the oaths so radically differently from the rest of their kind that it appears, to an outsider, that they are unbound in the same way the wielder of an honorblade is unbound? Or is there something essential about the nature of spren that prevents this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that spren could go further than we've seen so far, and indeed, many of the older Skybreakers might be horrified by how far their order has gone. However, there are SOME fundamentals that even a spren with a very different interpretation wouldn't be able to abandon.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Are these kinds of threads fun to watch as they run with every little tidbit and try to figure out things that you haven't even fully decided on?

    I feel like there's a little bit of "hehehe, look at them try to understand" along with the the compounding second-hand excitement of watching people be excited about something

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm rarely going "hehehe." Though sometimes they touch on things I haven't decided upon, or things that I hadn't considered. That's not uncommon, honestly.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Could Rysn "use" her Command power and change change the nature of a Shard (e.g. make Odium not evil)

    Can the Dawnshards be combined a la Ruin and Preservation?

    And on a scale of power who would win: someone welding a Shard of Adolnasium or a Dawnshard? Does it depend of the SoA?

    Nikli referred to Adonalsium as "it" and not "him" or "her". Was Adonalsium a being or a general force?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFOs all around!

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Does this mean that Rysn is immortal now? If so that's going to start causing some questions if she stops aging.

    Also, would Hoid be able to tell that Rysn bears a Dawnshard? Solely from having born one before? (Maybe he'd be able to sense it with Breaths or some other mystery Investiture.)

    I also want to see what would happen if you stabbed a Dawnshard (/Dawnshard bearing person) with Nightblood.

    Brandon Sanderson

    These kinds of questions are why I gave a preemptive RAFO. :)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    IRL there is a condition called aphantasia where someone doesn't have the ability to use their visual imagination. How would that affect Lightweaving, and possibly other forms of Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's actually something I've read up on, and something I find fascinating. Like face blindness, it asks some very interesting questions. It would affect Lightweaving, but not really handicap it. Just make it different.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Are the Sleepless a race that predates the Shattering? And with the Big A namedrop by Nikli, does that mean we'll see them in the future with any future Yolen content?

    Edit: Now I'm wondering if the Rosharan Sleepless are able to communicate to Sleepless on the other side of the Cosmere

    Brandon Sanderson

    Great questions!

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    From Rysn's observations in the epilogue, it seems like she has a lot of the same aspects of a Fifth Heightening/Returned at the least. Is this because her Dawnshard is particularly connected to Endowment or because the effects of a certain level of Investment result in similar effects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The latter.


    Interesting. So are actively Surgebinding Radiants or metal-burning Allomancers just not Invested enough to gain those passive effects, or do they not experience perfect pitch/color/etc. because their Investiture is just not as tightly bound to their Spiritweb as Endowment's Breaths or a Dawnshard would be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Be aware that the two groups you mention don't generally hold much Investiture themselves, at least not in large quantities over time. More in Surgebinding. Almost none in Allomancy.

    But RAFO to specifics.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    And as a transgender woman, thank you so much. To see that little detail of the Reshi king transitioning using Stormlight made me so happy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted to make sure I got the Reshi king another cameo at some point because it feels to me there would be a disproportionately large number of trans people among the Knights Radiant, considering the journey of self-discovery they go on in their lives.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Do you think the Worldsingers will eventually get some time? That's who I'm most curious about. It's just so cool to see new parts of the world/cosmere.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Possibly. Someday, I hope to be able to do more with the connection between them and other groups with oddly similar names across the cosmere.


    I always wondered if there was a connection between Worldsingers and Worldbringers. Can I take this as confirmation there is one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a connection.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So, the third ideal of the Windrunners. Is it about protecting those you hate or is it more broadly about going against your instincts/wants in order to protect others better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For most people, it's going to go along the hatred lines--but it extends all the way to what you're implying. Mostly, I think of it as, "I'll get rid of my caveats about those I'll protect."

    You're likely to see the more extreme examples as I write out the oaths for others, particularly in-scene, as I don't want it to feel too repetitive. But you can assume that for most of the original members of Bridge Four (who are slowly hitting this ideal) that it had to do with agreeing to protect a group that they in some way dislike. (So long as it's right to do so, as defined by themselves and their spren, of course.)


    At or near the endgame of SA do you think you'd release a guide on the specifics of each orders oaths, so that the fans could personalise their own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, if I haven't gotten to them all by then, I will release them all.


    Will we find out Sigzil's or was it just a fleeting mention? If so, are we going to get a personal 3rd ideal story from every Bridge 4 member?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Afraid we won't have a chance to see each and every one of them.