Recent entries

    Calamity release party ()
    #8251 Copy

    Questioner

    Marsh is still alive hundreds of years after.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh-huh.

    Questioner

    He's got, like, Lord Ruler level healing powers. Why does he still have a crushed eye socket?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So all healing in the cosmere has to do--or almost all has to do--with your perception of yourself.

    Calamity release party ()
    #8252 Copy

    Questioner

    So in the Rithmatist... The constable had acid wash over him and it destroyed the thing that possessed him. The professor who got acid dumped on him did not have the thing expelled. Why the difference?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out in the next book.

    Questioner

    Ah, got another read and find out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Calamity release party ()
    #8253 Copy

    Questioner

    How many magic systems have you written?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh... You know, this is a hard one, because do you count each Order of the Knights Radiant, or each Surge as their own magic system, or...

    Questioner

    I have never read those books, so I don't know.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... probably a dozen. Maybe two.

    Questioner

    Why so many? When so many people just stick with one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, because it's fun.

    Calamity release party ()
    #8255 Copy

    Questioner

    Who owns all your copyright for all your symbols and logos and everything else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I own the copyright on most-- almost-- on all of those. 

    Questioner

    On everything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep, yep. And that is something we did intentionally after noticing that... sometimes, like the Wheel of Time--they weren't good at keeping track who owned those, and it was really problematic when they wanted to do t-shirts and things. And so I just bought the rights when I did them.

    Questioner

    That's awesome. Cause I've, uh, looked at licensing and royalties and other things like that with some companies, and it's...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I don't think you want to do something like that. Now cover art you don't want to buy outright. The artist needs to be able to use that for other things. But the symbols you can... most artists will sell you those outright.

    Calamity release party ()
    #8256 Copy

    Questioner

    What are the chances that one of Megan's alternate realities could secretly be the cosmere, but we'll never see it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Heh... Um, I would like to keep these two separate. But if you believe in infinite variety then I suppose...

    Questioner

    If I believe it hard enough! Okay, alright. But they're-- But they're meant to be separate.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are meant to be separate. I will do other things with that-- within-- kind of that idea of multiple dimensions and things like that.

    Questioner

    In the Reckoners? In that world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
    #8266 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    In order to use magic from one world on another world, do they need a bit of [the first world's] Shard with you?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It helps a lot. But there are other ways to do it. What's going on in the Cosmere is people have 3 sets of DNA. They have Physical DNA, Spiritual DNA, and Cognitive DNA. Their Spiritual DNA is what encodes the magic system into them, their Investiture. So if you can find a way to rewrite your Spiritual DNA, you can do all kinds of funky things. That's what Hemalurgy does. It rips off a piece of someone else's soul, staples it to yours. So if you went with a Hemalurgic spike to the right place, ripped off a piece of someone's soul and stapled it to yourself, you could create short circuits that will let you do all kinds of goofy stuff.

    Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
    #8268 Copy

    Chris_from_Warrenton (paraphrased)

    Would it be possible to Soulforge Nightblood and change the command that was given to him when he was Invested?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    That is possible. That would actually not be a very difficult Soulforge. The problem is, he's Invested. So reInvesting him, which is what Soulforgery is, is really hard. So you'd have to figure out how you could use Forgery on something that is already Invested. But Forgery can get through some of those hoops a lot easier than some other magic systems can.

    Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
    #8277 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Given that Investiture is Investiture, would there be potential Investiture of like, kandra to Parshendi using Hemalurgic spikes?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Hemalurgic spikes can be used on any planet.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Would it be potential for Parshendi to develop a form using the spikes?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Wow, that would be a really weird hack of the magic system that would be theoretically possible. But that's a really weird one. I had never even considered that one. Parshendi adopting other Investiture could happen, the spikes is not one I've considered.

    Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
    #8287 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    In Shallan, in the beginning and middle of the book it's 10 heartbeats, and in the end of the book it's none...?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The 10 heartbeats is required to revive a dead Shardblade.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    But he wasn't dead the whole time.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He wasn't.  But perception-- all magic systems in the Cosmere are based on perception-what you think you can do. For instance, Kaladin can't get healed because he sees himself as having a wounded forehead with the scars and that can't vanish because his perception is in the way.

    Calamity release party ()
    #8288 Copy

    Questioner

    So... that's "[Aon] Ire"...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it is.

    Questioner

    ...and that's the symbol for Ire in Secret History.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    I was wondering if-- Is this just an in-world depiction of an out-world symbol, or does this actually have some kind of metalurgic value?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Isaac?

    Isaac Stewart

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    <I may> refer to Sir Isaac.

    Questioner

    Alright, thank you very much.

    So the question is...

    Isaac Stewart

    Okay.

    Questioner

    So this is the symbol for "[Aon] Ire".

    Isaac Stewart

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And this is the symbol in Secret History for the part called "Ire". And what I'm wondering is... Is this just an in-world representation of an off-world symbol, or is there some kind of metalurgic... in-world meaning to the symbol outside of it. They're just too close to be coincidence.

    Isaac Stewart

    There is a... Obviously there's a relation between the two. I would say that, as far as we know, there is no <metalurgic> connection.

    Questioner

    So as far as we know there is no metalurgic connection, but that could change in a future book. Potentially. Or not. That's all you got for me?

    Isaac Stewart

    Um... I'm trying to figure out what I should say <about it>. And I think... The first thing is obviously they aren't on the planet that they ought to be on.

    Questioner

    Obviously. I mean, not even in the Realm that they ought to be in.

    Isaac Stewart

    Right. And so... It's more symbolic of "this is not in the Realm that it ought to be, but it's taking on attributes of the Realm that it's in."

    Questioner

    So the Realm that it's in is Shadesmar. But it's more near the Scadrial...

    Isaac Stewart

    It's the Scadrial edge of Shadesmar.

    Questioner

    And so it's taking on attributes of that area that it's not supposed to be in but it is in.

    Isaac Stewart

    Right.

    Questioner

    Okay. 

    Isaac Stewart

    There may or may not be intersignificance *inaudible*.

    Questioner

    I will pay attention to that.

    Isaac Stewart

    Pay attention. We may-- we may do something with that. It may just be a fun little thing.

    Questioner

    A fun little thing just there, right. So for now it's at least an interesting in-world representation of an off-world thing, but it might at some day be *inaudible*. Cool!

    Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
    #8291 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Do you have an adviser for the science?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I usually run things by my editor who's very big into science, but mostly we go find an expert and have him read.  The thing about it is, I have to hand wave a lot of things.  Like the laws of thermodynamics, I can't, you know..  There are quantum physics in here.  I'm trying to handwave as little as possible but we are breaking fundamental laws of physics, but even in terms of things like the laws of conservation.  Energy is being conserved, but there's a supernatural source.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8292 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    What Bluefingers Knows

    Siri meets with Bluefingers, who surprises her in the bath yet again. In this little exchange, Bluefingers is being very careful, as he doesn't want to let on how much he knows. As well as Siri is learning to deal with court, she has nothing on Bluefingers, who has spent his entire life there—and who was trained by a Pahn Kahl steward before him. He has been planning his coup for a long time and was actually very frustrated when Vahr started his little rebellion—drawing eyes toward the Pahn Kahl. It was partially due to Bluefingers's manipulations and information leaks to the Returned that Vahr was captured in the first place.

    Here, he lets Siri think he doesn't know that the God King is mute (he does know, and has known for most of his life) and that he is worried about the replacement of the Pahn Kahl servants. (That would be a setback, but not really the main problem.) What he wants most to do is drive a spike between Siri and the priests, and he's succeeding gloriously. He almost leaped for joy when Siri offered her little "You get the God King and me out of the palace" offer. It makes his job a lot easier if/when he decides to assassinate the God King himself.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8293 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Is Confronted by Blushweaver

    This is one of those little scenes you put into a book that isn't foreshadowing anything specific. I don't mind if people home in on this confrontation and worry that Blushweaver will take action against Siri, but I don't go there with the book. Blushweaver here is just jealous. She knows enough to recognize that in herself, however, and won't let it push her much farther than her little warning here.

    I like what this shows about Blushweaver's character, and I like that it illustrates how she sees Lightsong. Yes, she's in love with him. Quite deeply, in fact. She brought him into her plots and schemes here partially because she trusts him, and partially because she wanted to show off for him—and perhaps finally convince him to accept her as a lover.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8294 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Watches the Priests

    I took a bit of a risk here, having a little scene where Siri admits that all of the troubles and problems in Hallandren excite her. I hope this doesn't seem out of character; I think I foreshadowed well that she'd react this way. Back in Idris, she was always making trouble, partially (even though she wouldn't admit it) because she found it exciting. I think that's common for those who end up in trouble a lot of the time.

    Here, what she feels is that same sense—only a more mature version. She's excited by politics, by being in the middle of things, by having a chance to change the future of the city. I think this is a valuable attribute for one in her position, as long as it isn't taken too far. By having Vivenna constantly frustrated by her situation and Siri thrilled by hers, I wanted to show a contrast and have the reader come to the same conclusion Siri does in this scene: that Vivenna wouldn't have made a very good queen to the God King. She'd have made the expected queen, and would have done what everyone anticipated her doing. But she would have let herself be a martyr the entire time, which would have been a self-centered way of approaching her duty.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8295 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anyway, as I've said before, I wasn't intending this to be a book to parallel the state of the United States and the war in Iraq. It just kind of came out as it has, and I think the main reason is one of pulling a reversal upon myself. You see, Mistborn was a book about a bloody revolution instigated by the protagonists. We don't see a lot of the death it caused, and fortunately much of the bloodshed was averted by a timely speech given by a certain young nobleman, but the fact remains that I wrote about overthrowing a government.

    That seems to be a popular topic for novels. And anytime I notice that something is popular in the genre, I start wondering if I could write a book about the opposite. In this case, I began thinking of a book where the protagonists were trying to stop a war instead of start one. Where they wanted to stabilize the government instead of destabilize it. The opposite story of Mistborn, in some ways.

    I had the name of the book, Warbreaker, long before I even knew who the Warbreaker would be or what the rest of the book would be about. I'm glad we were able to keep it, though my editor complained just a tad that he thought it didn't indicate the right sense of epic fantasy for the book.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8297 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Takes Vivenna Captive

    Now things are finally starting to move! My books, I know, can be kind of slow sometimes. That comes from the fact that I, myself, like to read books that are kind of slow. These two chapters were very important ones. Vivenna admitted something very important about herself, then in a way took the wrong sort of responsibility for her life. Siri realized something about herself, then took the right sort of responsibility for her life. A little bit of reversal going on, as the two sisters live their parallel—yet so different—lives in T'Telir.

    But it was certainly time for a shake-up. The next Vivenna chapters turn a lot of things on their heads.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8298 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Agrees to Learn Awakening

    This has been a long time coming. Sorry to make you wait; in some of my books, I like to use a lot of magic from the start. In others, I like to build out the setting first, letting the characters learn and explore more slowly.

    I've long wanted to call a magic system "Awakening," by the way. I tried it out originally in The Way of Kings as the name for the transformation-based magic system in that book. But it never worked. You didn't really "awaken" things. I was just using the term because it sounded good.

    So I put it back in the file to be recycled someday. As I began to plan this book, I developed a magic system that could be called Awakening. Bringing objects to life seems to fit that just perfectly. So yes, the word came first—though I'm not sure how much I grew the magic system around that one word, or if I was feeling I wanted to do a "bring objects to life" magic system and realized I could use that great name I'd come up with earlier.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8299 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Admits the Real Reason She Came to Hallandren

    I've been pushing toward this for a long time in the narrative. Vivenna didn't come to Hallandren to save her sister—that's a front. That's what she told herself. But the real reasons are more deep, more personal, and less noble. She had to come because of how much of her life had been focused on the city. Beyond that, she came because of her hatred of Hallandren. She wanted to find ways to hurt it for what it had done to her.

    It was partially her pride. She was the one who was supposed to deal with Hallandren. Her pride wouldn't let her stay away, wouldn't let Siri do the job that Vivenna was certain she could do better.

    She has kept her hatred in check quite well, but it's always been there, driving her. I hope my readers always thought that coming to save Siri was a flimsy reason for Vivenna to come to T'Telir. The term love/hate relationship has become a cliché, but I honestly think there is some real psychology to it, and I feel that I explained one aspect of it here, for Vivenna.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #8300 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Three

    Vivenna and the Mercenaries Wait in the Safe House after the Lifeless Attack on the Slumlords

    Why does Jewels bother sewing up Clod? Why fix Lifeless at all? Denth's answer is a fairly good one, but it could use some more explanation.

    You see, when one makes a Lifeless, the reason the Breath stays and won't come back is because the body of a recently deceased person is too "sticky" for Breaths. One Breath attaches to it, and because the body so clearly remembers being alive, it can use that Breath to power it. (Assuming you have the right Commands and can picture them correctly in your head when you make the Lifeless.)

    However, the more the Lifeless is damaged, the less like the shape of a living person it is, and the more difficult it is for the Breath to keep that body going. Powering a body with only one Breath is hard—it requires the body to work mostly on its own. When you power a cloak or something like that, the Breaths need to provide a lot of energy, since there's no real muscles to use or skeletal structure to rely on.

    So the more wounded a Lifeless becomes, the less well its Breath can keep it going. Eventually you'll need to stick a second Breath into it, then a third, all the way up until that Lifeless is nothing more than a bunch of bones you've Awakened. At that point, you might as well be using sticks or cloth.