Recent entries

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Locke219

    I know it's a RAFO, but how the eff did Wyrn see into the future? That seems above even a Shardholder's abilities! I bet that sucker's tapping into the Shadesmar. But I digress...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha, wow, that is indeed a RAFO. Note that we have seen temporal abilities in the cosmere before. Most of the time these are related directly to the pure essence of a Shard or to a Splinter.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
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    Questioner

    So, you teach classes at BYU. Is there any chance of you ever actually teaching an online class, or like a class outside of BYU?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is there a chance of teaching an online class, or a class outside. There is a chance. It's not a likely one. Just because an online class sounds miserable to me. I'm sorry, it just does; I like face-to-face interaction and one of the reasons I teach the class is to get out of my house. Because most of the time I'm just alone in there working on stories, so getting out and interacting directly with aspiring writers is very important to me, it's very fun to me. I can see myself doing that at other universities, being invited as a guest lecturer for a semester, and things like that. I can totally see that happening in the future. But I do put all of my classes online.

    Questioner

    I know, I've watched all of them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you've watched them. The other thing is, I do kinda do some things like this, sometimes at conventions. So, if you get me invited to your local science fiction convention, I will do that. I've come to two of them, no, three of them in Texas before, so I do do that. I also do things like the Writing Excuses retreat and things like that. So I do try to make myself available, but I have to be careful. I could spend all of my time doing that instead of writing. And that would be a bad idea, because writing is my first love. Teaching is my second love, I do enjoy teaching, which is why I haven't let go of the class. But I would hate to sacrifice everyone's books for me running around blabbing. I do enough of it on tour.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
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    Questioner

    What was your favorite book you wrote?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...That I've made? Um, it's hard for me to pick my favorite book or my favorite character from my books, because it's kind of like trying to pick my favorite child. And I can't do that. I like them all as I'm working on them.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    I notice how in the different worlds you have different sets of powers. Elantris has two gods in it, two Shards, and there are four powers that we've seen, and we've seen three powers on Scadrial. Do you have kind of a formula or general rule for how many magic systems there are in a place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I was looking at this and decided that what people call a magic system is more a human construct of etymology and categorization than it is an actual true magic systems. You could claim that all the magics on Roshar are just one magic system: applying the powers of nature through the Knights Radiant and stuff like that. You could say that is just one magic. You could say that the magics on Sel, Elantris' world, are all the same magic. People divide them into systems saying "these are Aons and these are with the Skaze" but those are kind of the same thing, it's just different powers. So that's a human construct just like saying animal, vegetable, mineral, mammal, non-mammal. That's a human construct. Yes there are Laws in nature that we are using as our guidelines but those are our constructs.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Locke219

    When Dilaf is instructing the monks in how to kill the Elantrians, he mentions purification rites that need to be spoken. Do the rites have to do with the Dor? Or are they purely religious/ritualistic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are mostly ritualistic, but a lot of what the Dakhor do is strongly influenced by the Skaze. Read into that what you will.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
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    Questioner

    I loved Firefight... what happens to Houston?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, what happened to Houston, yeah! *laughter* One of my favorite things is, like, destroying my favorite cities. I do this in my epic fantasy. If you've read The Rithmatist, I turned my hometown in Nebraska into the dark tower that all the evil comes out of. And Chicago, one of my favorite cities, has turned to steel. I just melted Houston. Because it's hot here, it kinda made sense to melt, but yeah. Sorry. *laughter* I apologize for melting you. But, y'know, you-- You probably got out. *laughter* You were smart enough to go "They're all evil. I'm going to go somewhere else." It was all those people from the political party you don't like that melted.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Locke219

    Can Returned have children? If so, who was the first Returned to do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to RAFO that one because it's a big RAFO question for the world. In-world, it is believed both that they cannot and that they can. Mythology speaks of it happening, yet many Returned by their own experiment have not been able to have children.

    Footnote: Brandon does confirm in the annotations for Warbreaker that it is possible for Returned to have children, but there are certain requirements that are not currently known.
    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Nightfire107

    Does the sand storytelling Hoid uses in Warbreaker have anything to do with your future possible trilogy "White Sand" written about in a recent blog?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it does not. This is a storytelling method that Hoid developed on his own. It does have a relationship to The Liar of Partinel.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Joeh42

    In Warbreaker, is Clod the Lifeless body of Arsteel? I like this idea because Arsteel would have had some Breaths within him when he died, as this is how Vashir defeated him and Denth, and this could help explain why he seems to be a little more self-aware than most Lifeless. Could you respond to this idea?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I confirmed in the Warbreaker annotations that Clod is Arsteel.

    Clod is more self-aware than most Lifeless. There is something left of Arsteel within Clod. The Breaths that Vasher gave him when he killed him do have an effect on this.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Ghero6

    In Vahr's case, did collecting Breath from other rebel-minded people strengthen his determination and resolve?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would have had an influence on him, but you would need the numbers of Breaths that he had for any effect to manifest. It's basically a non-issue in the current book, but it could be an issue in some of the things that will happen in the next book.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    What gave you the idea to use chalk in Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I cant even remember. I was just wanting to play magical Starcraft on the ground and chalk made the most sense.

    Questioner

    With the chalk *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do not believe right now, but the study of actual chalk composition is a relatively new science that they have not paid enough attention to.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Rose Greene

    We are all fans of all of Brandon's stuff in our house, but we are particularly taken with Alcatraz. And I'm very alarmed by the publisher description that Shattered Lens is the "fourth and final book." Because the story isn't over yet! End of comas? Altar of encyclopedias? Attica?? Please, PLEASE reassure us that there is indeed another book coming out. Because otherwise we might have to picket Scholastic's offices or something!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd be happy if you would picket—though I say that mostly jokingly. I didn't want them to put that on the book. It's not the last book. But those who know what's happened behind the scenes know that Scholastic and I have not seen eye to eye on how the Alcatraz books have been packaged and distributed.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Secret history gave a lot of answers but a lot more questions. Will we get more answers in the next Mistborn book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The next Mistborn book will have some answers but not Secret History level answers. It is still mostly focused on Wax and Wayne, Steris and Marasi, and finishing up their stories. By the time we get to third era Mistborn we are gonna start seeing a lot more creep in of some of this stuff. Its really fourth era were gonna see the most. The further we go in the Cosmere the more things will creep in. Mistborn; there be a lot more creeping in than in Way of Kings.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
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    Questioner

    Since you have such extensive worldbuilding in your books, and you have that whole connected thing, I was just wondering, do you have a book that you just have all your stuff planned out in, or do you add things as they come up in your stories and build a universe that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I have a "world book" to keep everything, or do I add things to my stories and keep track that way? I do a little of both. We have a wiki. I say "we" 'cause I have several assistants now who help me maintain this. It is a personal wiki, you can't go get into it anywhere, and it used to be just a big file, and the file was about a thousand pages long. It used to be a big file, now it's in the wiki. And we spend time-- Every time I-- It doesn't have everything, even the thousand pages don't have everything for the cosmere, it can only barely touch on it, but any time I add something to the books, they add it to the wiki, and periodically I go to the wiki and be Wikipedia Article Guy on the pages, and add what's in my brain onto there.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Tyran Amiros

    Also, when is Book 5 coming out?? I want to know how Bastille comes back to life.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Book 5, I'm going to wait and see what happens with the movie deal. By the way, DreamWorks did not renew their option, so it's back on the market. We'll see what happens. I also want to see what happens with Scholastic. They so far have not asked for a fifth book. If there is no activity by about this time next year, I will look into writing the fifth book and either just releasing an ebook or selling it to Tor or something like that. The fifth book will come.

    And by the way, this is from me, Brandon, and not from Alcatraz: The fifth book is the one that includes the altar scene. I'm more trustworthy than Alcatraz is. That scene is in the fifth book.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Whats up with Hoid? He's not a Shard. Is he good? Evil? Indifferent? I'm starting to question whats going on with him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has his own unique motivations. There are definitely people who would call him good and definitely people who would call him evil. He was around at the Shattering of Adonalsium but is not a Shardholder or a Vessel for a Shard of Adonalsium. 

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Tyran Amiros

    Why does Bastille say they're speaking Melerandian in book 1 and Nalhallan from book 2 on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I originally wrote Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians, I put that in there partially as a throwaway joke. Melerand is one of the main kingdoms in Dragonsteel, and I thought it would be amusing for them to be speaking that language somehow filtered into this world. By the end of the book I decided that Alcatraz could not be anywhere in the same continuity as Dragonsteel and that I was probably wrong for including that. Though there are other jokes in there relating to my other books—it's much like the scene where Quentin speaks in Spook's dialect. Those were just jokes, inside references to my other books.

    Remember that Alcatraz was written as a writing experiment, not as something that I was intending to publish. As the series grew more serious to me, meaning that I developed what I actually wanted to happen—which with me usually happens as I write book two of a series, when I sit down and build an arc for the entire series—I "realified" Alcatraz's world a little bit, if that makes sense, made it its own substantial thing. So at that point it wasn't appropriate for them to be speaking Melerandian anymore.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Joeh42

    In the Alcatraz series, Alcatraz is very worried about letting down so many people. Is this semi-autobiographical and perhaps speak to your fears of letting down the WoT fans? (maybe it's subconscious!)

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it is, it's subconscious. Remember, I wrote the first Alcatraz book in 2005, before even Mistborn was published. The only one that I wrote after the Wheel of Time decision was made was book four. The previous ones had been written already. So there probably is a subconscious fear of letting down my readers, but it wouldn't be specifically related to the Wheel of Time in those books.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Could Nightblood theoretically be turned into a Hemalurgic spike?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The problem with that is that Nightblood is already invested, so it depends on your version of ' Hemalurgic spikes'. Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere, but ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different... we're talking about two different things, right. So there's the.... so what is a Hemalurgic spike? For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike. Making a new Invested spike by ripping off a person's soul, that's a different process and a little more difficult to accomplish and requires some specialized knowledge.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Maru Nui

    What happens when you break a Hemalurgic spike or metalmind? What happens to that power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hemalurgic power can be split among multiple spikes and reforged, but remember that the longer a spike is outside of a person, the more the power is going to decay. Things like splitting it will decay it even further. Metalminds can also be broken and still be accessed

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Maru Nui

    What does aluminum do in Feruchemy? What does malatium do in Hemalurgy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. We'll be releasing a chart eventually that includes all of the powers. I don't want to speak until I have everything nailed down exactly the way I want.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Mike Potts

    Are any secondary The Way of Kings characters likely to become more major in the next book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Jasnah, Navani, and Taln all have expanded parts in the series to come. I won't say specifically in which books, but all three of those characters will have larger roles. Several of the members of Bridge Four have larger roles; they will basically remain secondary characters, but may have expanded viewpoints

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    I heard that in one of your books two people from the actual 17th Shard got married as members of the 17th Shard in your book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, shes right there. That's Mi'chelle, she's a beta reader. She and her husband met at a signing at a Barnes & Noble of mine. So they met at one of my signings, and they eventually got engaged at my class in BYU so I put their wedding in a book.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Mike Potts

    What's the general time line on Stormlight Archive releases? Do you plan any major gaps in the series, or will books 2-10 likely be your main projects for the next few years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote a blog post on this back in October.

    After I finish A Memory of Light, my major novel publishing schedule will be Stormlight Archive books two years in a row, followed by something else the next year. This pattern should continue until the series is finished. That doesn't count shorter exploratory side projects like Alcatraz or The Rithmatist (formerly called Scribbler), which comes out in 2012. I'll do one or two of those every year when I take a break after finishing a major novel, and not all of them will get polished to publication standards. Those deviations are largely to keep me from burning out.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Oscar816

    I saw an interview of you talking about Way of Kings before it came out/before I read it. In the interview you mentioned the ten knights and each book will focus/be about one of the knights. After reading book one I can honestly say, I have no idea which Knight was supposed to be in book one. Is this by design? Or did I miss the point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure what the question means. Do you mean the Heralds? Or the ten orders of the Knights Radiant? The symbol stamped into the front of the first hardcover represents the Windrunners because of Kaladin's awakening as a Windrunner. Also because of Szeth, but mostly because of Kaladin.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Can Kandra blessings be any spikes or just the four.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They were created specifically to do what they do.

    Questioner

    So you couldn't have a Kandra with, for instance, Allomantic powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't go that far, I will say the Kandra spikes are specifically created to do what they do and the Kandra don't know how to make ones that do other things.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    I was wondering if the Tranquiline halls, if that's in the spiritual, the physical, or the Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... that's a big fat RAFO, because that's actually a false dilemma, there are other options than those three. One of which just being that it is a mythological piece from their theology and not an actual location.

    Questioner

    So it's not an actual place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a fourth option for the three, does that makes sense? So its a bigger RAFO even than that, it's a RAFO in that I'm not going to confirm that its one of those three. Good question.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    I want to know if Taravangian, the Ghostbloods, Amaram, is there any kind of like connecting... are they working together or anything like that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Taravangian, so the Diagram, the Ghostbloods, is that the two you mentioned? Amaram is Sons of Honor; Amaram and Gavilar are Sons of Honor. These are three different groups who are aware of what is happening and have different philosophies on how to deal with what is coming. They have opposed views, for example, the Sons of Honor are trying to bring back Voidbringers because they believe it will return the heralds as well. Where as the diagram has his plan... y'know, I wont give them away. Some of the are hinted at, you can read. He talks about it, but you can see what he's doing. The Ghostbloods, they have not talked about their motives very much. They have different motives. The Sons of Honor are the easiest to figure out and they are also the most wrong, right. If you read what Taravangian says you can probably see what the Diagram is trying to do.

    Kraków signing ()
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    Questioner

    Any chance of any new Wheel of Time materials?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not likely... not definitive, it's up to Harriet. I'm worried that he wouldn't want us to do anymore.

    Questioner

    <Yeah, that's the thing>

    Brandon Sanderson

    And so, I have told her that I don't think I would want to do anymore, but if Harriet came out and said "I really feel we should do the prequels", then they could happen, I think it's very unlikely, but...

    Questioner

    The prequels were <written> by Jordan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, he did, he has a little bit about them, not very much but a little bit. He did want them to come out sometime, so it’s possible.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Dr. T

    In plotting an epic like The Way of Kings, to what extent do you outline the whole story? How does that compare with the outline and notes provided by Robert Jordan for the remaining volumes of WoT?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan and I plot differently. In the notes he tends to talk about scenes that he's working on at the time, whereas I tend to plot out everything, kind of in reverse order. His outlines do end up looking like my outlines in some ways, in that he talks about important moments and I tend to plot backwards, starting from those important moments and moving backward from them. He seemed to be much more of a "I work on this scene because I'm passionate about it" writer, where I am a "I build a framework for the entire book and then start writing" writer.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    I have a question about Nightblood. What are all the powers the sword has and how much is he going to be involved in the next few books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are total RAFOs. I mean, I could tell you the powers you have seen him have on screen so far, I'm not going to tell you he has others. What you have seen on-screen that he can do is he absorbs Investiture completely and he will rip it out of any object he touches, and everything has Investiture, leaving behind basically... how you see it is he turns everything he touches into black mist, it just disintegrates everything. He also has the power that people who see him, he has an emotional effect on them, one of several emotional effects depending on how they would want to use him. If you watch for when he is seeing people you will see how it is.

    Questioner

    All fighting over him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not the only effect he has though, he has other effects.

    Questioner

    Does he bestow any effects on his wielder? Like Szeth's original Shardblade gave him the same powers as Kaladin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood... that's a RAFO but Nightblood was created on a different planet, so.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Jemaclus

    In The Way of Kings, the [epigraphs] indicate that the year is 1174 (or thereabouts). In the Prelude, the date is indicated as 3000 years ago. What mechanism is used to delineate the epochs? Obviously in the Prelude they wouldn't refer to their date as -2174. In other words, what are the B.C./A.D./BCE equivalents for that series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to RAFO that

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Andrew B

    Was the symbol of the Ghostbloods the same symbol that you used to move between different scenes in The Way of Kings' chapters (the three diamonds in a triangle pattern)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Ghostbloods' symbol has interconnected diamonds. I didn't ask Tor for a specific scene break character; that was a design decision on their part.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Why, in your books, are your characters so often, per say - before they get the powers they become broken first.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a narrative reason and an in-world reason. The narrative reason is characters in pain are more interesting to write about. This is just a rule of thumb for writing. Find the person whose in the most trouble, things are going the worst for and that's generally your easiest character. In the stories, the actual Cosmere, the mechanics of the magic finds, this is only one way to describe it - its not the only way - might not be one hundred per cent accurate but it's an easy metaphor, cracks in the soul allow the magic to seep in and that's how you end up with a lot of the different magic systems.

    Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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    Duiker8

    Is the fact that The Way of Kings and rest of the books in the series are going to focus each one on a different character connected in any way to the fact that both The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight focused each one on a pair of characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not really. Most of my plans for The Stormlight Archive go back years and years to before I was working on The Wheel of Time. I would say that the The Gathering Storm/Towers of Midnight character split happened because of the book split, less than any real planning on my part. I had the character arcs and decided which ones would fit well together if I was only going to be releasing one batch of them at a time.

    So the answer is no, but with the caveat that with the way my mind works, it may have been working in the same way in both cases.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    So you said that different Investitures from different worlds can fuel different Investitures, right? Would that mean that you could potentially use Stormlight for Allomancy and/or Feruchemy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, a little harder with the metallic arts than, for instance, Nightblood is the easiest example. He can just feed on whatever investiture is around.

    Questioner

    Could he feed on the Dor from...

    Brandon Sanderson

    He could totally feed on the Dor.

    Questioner

    Would you need to have a special sheathe to do that or?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, what you would have to do for him on Elantris is you would have to open some conduit to the Dor that's persistent, like a light or something, and he will suck through that, he would probably end up sucking the whole aon.

    Questioner

    Sucking Elantris itself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sucking Elantris itself would work, yeah, but you're gonna be in trouble if he sucks up the whole thing, which is totally possible.