Recent entries

    Tel Aviv Signing ()
    #851 Copy

    Questioner

    When are you gonna finish the Scribbler [The Rithmatist] - and just by the way I'm a huge fan, and like all of your books are amazing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thank you so much!

    Uh, so Scribbler we will probably finish... eventually but I don't have a specific date. It's a side project, it has to squeeze in between the other books. When I feel a little ahead on something, that's when we'll see me doing it.

    Questioner

    Is that how you work? Just whenever you have strength you just...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, normally I'm very good at planning all of what I'm writing and the books that are coming, but side projects like that... like, I will finish Stormlight 4, I'll write Wax and Wayne 4 and I'll write Skyward 3, and then we'll see if I have time right then, and if I do I'll slide in a side project and if not I have to go straight to Stormlight 5. So like, Stormlight, Mistborn, Skyward right now are the things I have to have deadline on and be regular. Side projects is whenever the time happens.

    Tel Aviv Signing ()
    #852 Copy

    Nextorl

    In Elantris, we know the Shards Aona and Skai influenced the large religions, Shu-Korath and Shu-Dereth. When Odium came to Elantris to shatter... to Splinter them, did he make the [Jeskeri] Mysteries cult?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...]

    Oh, the Mysteries, the Jeskeri Mysteries? I'll RAFO that for now.

    Tel Aviv Signing ()
    #853 Copy

    Nextorl

    My question is about Bavadin. Is she a hive mind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, hive mind isn't the right word for it, but...

    Nextorl

    So she's not an Aimian or something like that...

    Brandon Sanderson

    She's not an Aimian. That's - that's a good question. No, she is not.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #854 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The linguistics there, with the... for the Aonic... so, I had a couple of inspirations there. By the time I was writing this book, I was looking to do a little bit more interesting linguistics, I was looking to explore linguistics, and I like that one of the ideas I had is... I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints - Mormon - and I served a two year mission in Korea. While I was in Korea, I fell in love with the relationship between the Korean language and the Chinese language.

    If you're not familiar with how that is, in a lot of Asia, Chinese was the writing system for years. For centuries, people wrote in Chinese, even if they didn't speak Chinese, because Chinese is a logographic language, it's not phonetic. When you write the character, the <Hànzì>, you can pronounce it in any language. It can be written... read in any language - we can read them in English, you can read them in Hebrew. They just mean a concept, it's like hieroglyphics, right?

    But what this means is, it's really hard to learn to write, because you just have to memorize every symbol and they're very complex, very intricate. So, around... I think it's 1400, someone will have to look that up to make sure, but... the king Sejong of the Korean people, who is remembered as their favorite king, he came in and said "My people are illiterate because Chinese is just too hard to learn. We aren't Chinese, we don't speak Chinese, we're trying to use their writing system for our language. Let's develop an alphabet."

    They got a bunch of scholars together and they built an alphabet by which you can write Chinese in Korean, in an alphabet that's a Korean alphabet. It's really fascinating linguistically, because they create Chinese characters that are phonetic to take the place of Chinese characters in their language and then surround them with grammar only in Korean. So, you have like "Chinese character, Chinese character, Korean grammar... Chinese character, Chinese character, Korean grammar..." and you could replace those characters with Korean ones if you want, or you could just leave the Chinese - really cool.

    I wanted to develop a language that had these symbols that would also have... that were from an old language... that would then have grammar around them in another language. It was really interesting to me and that's where the Aons came from, this kind of language that predates their culture, predates their linguistics in Arelon. And that they have developed alongside and that they use in their writing system... and if you were to read Aonic, you would see these big Aons and then little Aonic text between them that is bridging all these ideas together with actual linguistics.

    So, the Aons I wanted to stand out, I wanted to... when you read them in English to be able to say... and I experimented with making them all caps and it just looked really weird, but that that would be the way that... then you would have to have "RAO" and "den", "RAO" would always be in caps and "den" and readers had real troubles with that. It just read... it looks like you're screaming, right? So, people would read the name *loud* RAO- *speaking normally again* den, *laughter from audience* which is not what I wanted to say.

    So I went back, but I still wanted these... So, I used the two long vowels sounds. Whenever you hit a name, they're all gonna have two long vowel sounds in them that are stressed and then an unstressed Aonic portion pushed onto it. So it's /ˈɹeɪ.ˈʊ.dɛn/ [Raoden], where you've got a-o, and you've got /iːniː/ [Ene], /sɑː.ˈɹiː.ˌniː/ [Sarene], and things like that. And even Elantris... I say /e.ˈlɑːn.tɹɪs/ [Elantris], they would say /ˈiː.leɪn.tɹɪs/ [Elantris], and things like that.

    I built this just, like, have... I love it, when in fantasy, the form and the function meld together, so that what you're putting on the page actually enhances in all ways the culture and the magic together, but it did make for a difficult reading experience. My first review I ever got for Elantris [...] My first review that ever came in was "This book is great, but the names are terrible. Brandon Sanderson can't name anything. Keep him away from naming things, because the first book he published might be the most linguistically challenging, let's just say."

    ICon 2019 ()
    #855 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, what's going on here is that when I was writing Elantris... number one, Elantris is my only book that I wrote not knowing if it would get published. For those who don't know, Elantris is my sixth novel and I wrote thirteen before I sold it. And so, I was finishing my thirteenth unpublished novel when Elantris finally sold and so Mistborn is number fourteen. I didn't publish any of those other ones.

    So, Elantris was the only book that I wrote without a professional team behind me. And even those early Mistborn books, I did have assistants and things... For instance, I now have a team of fifteen people that work for me, of which nine are full-time. The Brandon Sanderson business is... we take this very seriously and I have two full-time editors who work on my staff in addition to my editors at the publishers.

    When I wrote Elantris, I didn't have that whole team backing me, it was just me. So, when we did the tenth anniversary edition, I said, "Let's look and see if people can actually walk in the time I say to the places I say. Let's make sure you can actually see the things they say you should be able to see". And lo and behold, they're like "You say he looks out of his window and sees Elantris, but you put his house over here and there's stuff in the way" and things like this. This is the sort of stuff that, as a writer, it's just really hard to do without a team specifically looking to ask "Can a person walk to... this distance?" and things like that.

    Now that I have those resources, I was able to just update it. All the changes to Elantris, none of them change the story, but all of them were meant for these reasons: People can't actually walk this distance or it takes them too long. Like, it would take fifteen minutes, you say it takes an hour... what happened? It's just easier to say "No, it took fifteen minutes", right, and stuff like that. So, those are what the updates were mostly.

    With me adding the scene - I don't know if you guys put in the bonus scene - *affirmative from the interviewer* the bonus Hoid scene in the back, which... the story of Hoid, if you don't know, is... he's the character that connects all the Cosmere. When I first started writing, Elantris was the first book ever I put him in and then he appeared in Dragonsteel, which is an unpublished novel, and in White Sand and in Aether of Night, but just little, tiny cameos.

    My feeling was - early on - that people wouldn't put up with this <false> behind the scenes continuity. I thought it would scare people off of the series and things like that. I don't want someone to pick up Elantris and be like "Oh, to understand Elantris, I have to read all of that". I just wanted them to be able to enjoy Elantris, but I found out very quickly: fans, number one, loved it. They weren't intimidated by it. Plus, the MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe] has done way more of that, right? *laughter from audience* When I started, the MCU wasn't out yet. People were not used to, you know, dealing with continuity between different series and things like that on the level they're willing to now. But I found that, even with the early books, there were at least people like "No, you can trust us more, you can give us more of this. It won't turn us off to the books if we know that Hoid is around" and so, I've started... like, you know, I wrote into Elantris a little bit more Hoid for a bonus scene at the end, stuff like that.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #856 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will speak up... I do like the American cover. Some people don't and I can understand... there's like... a lot of people who don't like it say that it looks too sci-fi. And Stephan Martinière was a concept artist for science fiction movies and the book, the cover feels too sci-fi for a lot of people.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #857 Copy

    Nimrod Rappaport

    In Arcanum Unbounded you mentioned that Sel is one of the biggest planets. You also mentioned that there are three empires on that planet. In Elantris 2 two will we get... You also mentioned that they are largely ignorant of each other, will we get a book in which those empires interact? Maybe in Elantris 2

    Also, can you please specify on their nature and maybe some inspirations you got when writing and thinking about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, sure. Sel wears its inspirations quite blatantly on its sleeve, right? It's not that obvious for instance in Stormlight that the Alethi are based off of Mongolians, because there's so much more in the mix there, that it's not quite as obvious. But in Sel, it's a little more obvious. You know, basically the idea came to me that what if the vikings had united behind a very hierarchical religion like Catholicism, and we had Catholic vikings, conquering the world. What would the world look like and that is where the entire religion came from.

    Actually the truth is it's like, there was this priest, right, and one group became Buddhist and the other became Catholic vikings and, you know, Buddhist Renaissance... Italians is kind of where we got there and of course, the Rose Empire the inspirations are a little bit more Eastern and Middle Eastern. For instance, the Grands are based on Babylonian influences and I'm kind of looking at a lot of Babylonian, a little bit of Syrian. But of course Shai is very very clearly based on East Asian cultures and specifically China.

    So, the empires and things like that... for there you might have noticed that we've got a Europe centered one, and an Asia/Eastern centered one, so you might be able to theorize where the third empire's inspirations might be or at least a list of possible candidates.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #858 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I wanted to ask. It wasn't translated to Hebrew yet, but one of your stories has a loosely based magic system based on Shabbos.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Very loose! It started stricter, it got very loose.

    Questioner

    Very loose!

    Brandon Sanderson

    *explaining to audience* Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell.

    Questioner

    I was wondering, on the same planet, are there more magic systems or is this magic system going to be expanded upon and built, to keep it in the religious theme?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. There is more and it is... all the magics that I'll do there, they are takes on sort of religious concepts. We'll do more. Threnody is really messed up, I'm just gonna warn you. *audience laughs* You haven't even seen how messed up it is.

    Commenter

    *in humor* Half of the place is called HELL, how worse can it get?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it's worse outside of Hell. Hell is nice. *audience laughs*

    So, yeah, that's my theme...

    Questioner

    Will it keep the Jewish motif?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it will keep some more Jewish motifs, and things like that, because I find them fascinating, so, you will find a things like that, yeah.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #859 Copy

    Questioner

    So, we know in Mistborn there is this running... you can say, motif about Ruin being associated with the color black and Preservation with the color white, we see a lot of very subtle and a lot of very unsubtle...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yes.

    Questioner

    Is such a motif present in any other books? I think I see it in Stormlight.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, in Stormlight you can see it. So, Ruin is a red-gold... not Ruin, Odium. Odium is a red-gold. Honor is a blue-white and Cultivation is green, obviously. So, those motifs stay, when you... when you see a red or a gold, it's a reddish gold sort of thing, either of those colors, it's going to be Odium.

    Questioner

    Even when we something we might suspect to be outside influence in other worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not necessarily, because red can also mean corrupted Investiture in the Cosmere. So, I would call Odium's real color gold, because you're going to see red when Odium is corrupting other things, so...

    Questioner

    It's not necessarily on Roshar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not necessarily Odium. So, you're asking for the invading force on Mistborn, it doesn't necessarily mean Odium because it's red. So red just kind of means corruption. I've talked about that before, so. Not necessarily, not definitive, yeah.

    Footnote: When Sanderson said "you're asking about the invading force on Mistborn", the questioner made a guilty "caught red-handed" shrug.
    ICon 2019 ()
    #860 Copy

    Questioner

    When can we expect Elantris 2?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Elantris 2... Elantris 2 has to be done by the time I do Era 3 of Mistborn, which is the contemporary era. There are certain things that have to be in there before I can finish that series. So, right now - what it's looking like - I will finish Stormlight 4, I will do Wax and Wayne [4] and Skyward and then I'll do Stormlight 5. *applause* And then, what I'll probably do is, I'll try to - this is not a promise - but this is what my goal will be because Mistborn and Elantris books are about each half the size of a Stormlight book, I can probably do one a year, where Stormlight takes me about one every three years. So the goal will be to go, Mistborn Era 3 book 1, then Elantris 2, then book 2 of Era 3, then Elantris 3, then book 3 of Era 3.

    Questioner

    So it will be a trilogy, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris? Yeah. But the trilogy of Elantris is not the same. It's the story of the world more than just the story of characters, so you'll find about the characters and things, but don't expect... Sarene and Raoden will not be the main characters of Elantris 2. There will be a time jump. Elantris 2 is probably Kiin's children who I've seeded to be main characters for the sequel and book 3 will probably be somebody else, right? So, keep in mind that that's how the Elantris books are intended to go.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #861 Copy

    Questioner

    The Emperor's Soul was intentionally on Sel or was it just picked up as...

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it was intentional, because the magic system... the way I build the magic systems in the Cosmere is very deliberate and certain planets have certain themes for their magic. And Sel's magic systems are all basically computer programming languages and when I was designing that magic system, it had to be on Sel, it couldn't work on any of the other planets for various reason.

    Questioner

    And another question, is the Shaod random or is there a purpose beyond it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is not completely random. *laughter from audience*

    ICon 2019 ()
    #862 Copy

    Questioner

    Also, The Emperor's Soul, will we see Shai in future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see Shai in future books. *applause* I came up with a really good idea for a sequel for her, also. I don't know if and when I can write it, but there's a really solid idea I have for one, so, we'll see. But she'll make appearances, she is around.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #863 Copy

    Questioner

    We've heard a lot about the lighteyes' ranking system, but less so about the darkeyes. I would like to ask you about what would happen to, like, tenth nahn, the lowest of the lowest.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, tenth nahn is easy, because that's the slaves. So, it's the middle ones that get really interesting. And actually, in some ways, the top ones are interesting because the nahns, the top of the Alethi darkeyes, would be analogous to how in the early 1800s, you saw a rise of a merchant class - that actually started back in the 17, maybe 1600s - but the rise of a merchant class that were not noble, but more powerful or richer than the nobility in almost every situation except for some legal situations. And that's what you're seeing there. That's really interesting.

    The middle nahns are also really interesting because they have the right of movement, which is an Alethi right that you can leave a city and move to another city. You basically can't be a <share cropper>, you can't be required... you can't be a serf. And that power can be wielded over the lighteyes, by - if the lighteyes is terrible, they can call upon the right to move, leave to whatever city and that lighteyes is demoted, right? Because your lighteyes rank can be influenced by how important the people... your civic rank, you could actually become a lower dahn because of that, or at least lose a lot of prestige because of that.

    And then the lowest of them are basically serfs, they don't have the right of movement, and the right of movement is a big dividing line. There is a nahn that doesn't have the right of movement that isn't a slave, also, and these people have pretty dismal lives.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #864 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is connected to an acquaintance of both of us. Namely, a lovely, lovely Australian named Shad, who is an expert in weapons and medieval warfare. It is very easy to criticize books and everything about *interjection* because we have the real things in the world, but in all of your books, you have created magic systems that are so... real. How is the initial thought when you create a new world, what is the initial process of creating a new magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, so first off, <I'll point you toward> my essays called "Sanderson's Laws", which are basically stepping through the rules I follow to make a magic system. There are just three of those. I would recommend going and reading those.

    The process is really me trying to create something that is both different and unique and something that approaches the theme of the story the right way. Like, I want a magic system that accents my story, not one that contradicts my story. And these things all come together into it: I'm looking for interesting flaws, interesting costs, interesting powers, and interesting connections to the rest of my world.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #865 Copy

    Questioner

    I read the Mistborn series in audiobook form and it was just such high quality. And I was wondering if that was specifically your decision and if so, what made you choose to make it so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, if you're thinking of the Michael Kramer version. That came about because I loved him and Kate's readings of the Wheel of Time audiobooks. And I just... they were my favorite audiobook readers. When they came and said "Who do you want for your audiobooks", I said "Please get Michael and Kate".

    If you're thinking of the full cast audios... the full cast audios are done by a group called Graphic Audio and they just do high class work, that's why we picked them. I listen to a bunch of things they've done and I have nothing to do with how great they are, that's all on them.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #866 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to ask how were the Realms created and does their creation have anything to do with Adonalsium and the Shattering?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, good question. The Realms predate the Shattering of Adonalsium and are part of the fundamental physics of the cosmere. So they would have been created at the equivalent of the cosmere Big Bang when time was created and things like that.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #867 Copy

    AviH

    So, the Shades on Threnody, they're enforcing the Three Rules. Would something bad happen if they weren't enforcing those rules?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm gonna RAFO that. The book on Threnody will not take place in [the Forests of] Hell, it will take place on the continent where the Evil is, but I hope to get into some of the rules for Hell when we're there.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #868 Copy

    Questioner

    I just wanted to know what you think about writer's notebooks and do you have one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, mine's... I have two, I have a little... whatever they call them... the little leatherbound ones that I put in my pocket. That's if I'm working on a specific book. If I'm not in the outlining stage on a specific book, which I'm not right now because I'm writing prose on something. At that point, it's just my phone and I email cool ideas I have to myself to put in my file. It used to be called "Cool things that need to be used some time", but it was just too weird a title, so now it's just called "Working ideas".

    ICon 2019 ()
    #869 Copy

    Questioner

    When I read Wax and Wayne, I have in my head, "That's how Batman would look like if Brandon wrote it." When I read The Rithmatist, I think "That's how Harry Potter would look like if you wrote it." My question is: Do you have this in mind when you write such stories and is it intentional?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It wasn't intentional for Wax and Wayne, but my pitch for Rithmatist to my publisher was, "The Muggle at Hogwarts." The Rithmatist is the person with no magic, who's a superfan of the magic, who gets to go to the magic school. So for The Rithmatist, it was actually part of my original pitch and concept, so yeah.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #870 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a question about emotional Allomancy and ways it can affect things that aren't from Scadrial. Specifically, I had a conversation about what it would do to Lifeless.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Emotional Allomancy would have a more compelling effect on Lifeless than on a regular person.

    Questioner

    Like breaking Lifeless with Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh... to break Lifeless. This... I'll RAFO that for now, just because the actual details there I'm gonna RAFO. So, you're really asking, "Can emotional Allomancy bring back the person behind the Lifeless," and that I'll have to RAFO.

    Questioner

    I meant like breaking the Command.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, breaking the command of a Lifeless. Ohhhh... I'll still RAFO that. *laughter and applause from audience* That's not nearly as difficult a question, but yeah... I would say if you're doing that in a roleplaying game, I would call that a viable use of the magic as currently understood. So you could make that happen and have my authority to do it.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #871 Copy

    Questioner

    We know that on Sel, it's incredibly difficult to worldhop there because of a certain dangerous factor in the Cognitive Realm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep.

    Questioner

    Is it possible to worldhop by means that are not through the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You wouldn't call it worldhopping, but if you could FTL there, you could get there without having to go through the problems. I call worldhopping mostly using non-physical means, but we haven't gotten there in the Cosmere really yet, except for, like, Sixth of the Dusk and things. So, the fan terminology may include worldhopping as jumping in your ship and FTLing over. But... nothing would prevent that. If you had a ship that could FTL using one of the magic systems in the Physical Realm, you would probably be okay, getting to Sel.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #872 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did the Elantrians came to Roshar in the first place? Because the question came up after I reread Elantris, so...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Are you talking about... specifically... the old ones? Yeah, why were they on Roshar? So, those specific individuals - the Ire, as we call them - are a group of Elantrians that are not representing all Elantrians. They were there. The one you've met is there for a specific reason. The Ire are involved there. They're mostly... where you've seen them, is on Scadrial so far, but they're interested in Roshar. You are talking about the lighthouse keeper, I assume? So, the lighthouse keeper, wouldn't... would be counted, I guess, as one of the Ire and is there for a specific purpose, but it is not related to their general purpose, that they're trying to achieve.

    How's that for being vague? I'm sorry.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #873 Copy

    Questioner

    So, yesterday on the metal panel, you talked about how creating aluminum revolutionized our society. So ever since yesterday, I wondered if you one day can see some kind of... like you know, the Empire from Star Wars? Like, a society like that, probably from Scadrial that is made entirely out of aluminum and things of that nature.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I totally can. Absolutely, I can see that and it's going to be pretty cool, if I can get it all to work.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #874 Copy

    Questioner

    We were talking about Nightblood. How do you go about creating characters that are inanimate objects, but come to life? Because it seems a lot different. Also, gods... like, things that are otherworldly, because characters like real people, it's easy to write that. But considering gods and inanimate objects, that's beyond, sort of.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, fortunately, for us writers, nobody among our audience will be able to contradict us. Right? So, in some ways, writing something that nobody has ever experienced is a lot easier than writing something that a fair percentage of the population has experienced but you have not. And so, I just do my best. Being a writer is about learning to, "fake it." To pretend you're someone you're not, to pretend to have the experience that you don't, so that character sounds authentic. And faking something that no one can call you on is actually fairly easy.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    In the world of Stormlight, we have the Weeping season, where there are no large storms [highstorms], we don't have any new Stormlight. How did the Knights Radiant deal in the past? Like, how did they handle this time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, there's a couple of things, some are spoilery for the books. Large gemstones can keep the Stormlight, though. Some dealt without and just didn't have it. In some cases, they had the large gemstone reservoirs. It was a thing they planned for and there were a couple of other little hacks that are not obvious in the beginning of the series. So, you actually get a RAFO on that.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner (A wheelchair user)

    Have you had any negative feedback from other wheelchair users about Rysn's storyline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did go to a bunch of them to ask, so I've been trying. But if you have negative feedback to give me, I would love to hear it, because I had two beta readers in wheelchairs give me the best advice they could. But I obviously do not have that same disability, so there's things I'm going to get wrong.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    How do you think you did? How did you do [on Wheel of Time]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How did I do on Wheel of Time? I think I did as close to as good a job that I could have done. There's a few things I'd change if I could. I think I dropped the ball <on the one time thing>, in retrospect, and my Mat, particularly in Gathering Storm, was... I got there on Mat, I feel, as best as I could do Mat, which is not as good as Robert Jordan could, by the time I got to A Memory of Light, but it sticks out a little bit. But he just had a big event in his life, no spoilers, just a big event. Just pretend he's off kilter because of the big event.

    Those are my two biggest regrets on that. I think I got pretty close to as good as I could have done. I don't think I did the job that Robert Jordan could have done. By definition, his would be better.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    If you were in the Reckoners books, what kind of superpowers would you have and what would be your weakness?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm canonized in the Reckoners books and the Reckoners board game as Quicksand. My weakness is early mornings.  Wake me up too early and my powers go away.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    Does Gavilar and Amaram know that Nale and Kalak are the Heralds and that all the other Heralds also...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a spoiler. Can you talk around it?

    Questioner

    Yeah. So did they know that the people being met, who were they and also if they knew, why'd they still continue on the missions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say that information is not being shared clearly and succinctly between different groups that are interacting in the prologues of the Stormlight books. How about that.  But the cat obviously got out of that particular bag that you're asking about and the ramifications of it are in the first prologue. You'll find out. When this book comes out, your question will get answered pretty clearly so just know that you'll get your answer in about a year.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #880 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is about, especially in the Stormlight series, I noticed that you use a lot of different languages and that when people speak in languages that is not their mother tongue, they use different phrases and they make mistakes that really remind me of the mistakes that we Israeli do when we speak English. Do you speak multiple languages and can you tell us a bit about languages in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yeah. I do speak... poorly... I studied French all through high school and my French is really bad. And I was a missionary in Korea and learned Korean and my Korean is slightly less bad. *speaks Korean* I said, "I don't speak Korean very well, I speak about as much as a rat's tail," which is a phrase in Korean. Learning another language was really helpful for writing fantasy books. Going and living in another culture? Really helpful for writing fantasy books.

    Languages in the Cosmere are going to vary based on my needs for a given book. I spend my worldbuilding time on what is relevant to the characters and story. So, for instance, the linguistics in Elantris were really important to the story. The linguistics in Mistborn were not as important to the story and so I spent more time on the languages for Sel than I did for Scadrial. I did spent a decent amount of time on the languages for Roshar because all the different cultures and things like that having conflicts with one another is a big part of the story.

    Worldbuild in service of the story, is my suggestion to you guys. Spend your times on things that are going to be relevant to the characters.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    Is Hoid named after the Sephira of Hod? Like with an Ashkenazi pronunciation? The Kabbalistic thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, the Kabbalistic thing. Not consciously, though the Double Eye is based a little bit on the Kabbalah tree of life, consciously. That's the illustration on the front cover of the first Stormlight book. And I have read a bunch of Kabbalah, so it's totally possible that it ended up in there on accident.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Brutal_murder

    How was it that the Lord Ruler was able to speak into the minds of the Terris and ask them if they want to become kandra while he was wielding Preservation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lord Ruler... able to speak with the minds of the kandra...

    Brutal_murder

    At least TenSoon said in the text that he spoke directly into their minds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Send that to me, I want to go to Peter for that one. I think we have an answer for that one, but I want to make sure I'm getting it right.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Nameles36

    Why was it that Vasher was able to throw Nightblood while fully drawn but Szeth couldn't even drop him

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it may have been part to why Nightblood has less an effect on Vasher in general than the other people, but there's also a little of a bit a measure of experience... but there's some other stuff going on with Vasher.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I often, when I'm building languages, there are a lot of different ways that I go. I am not a philologist like Tolkien was. I'm not a linguist. Peter is, my editorial assistant, but I am not. I have had a little bit of schooling in linguistics, but not enough to be creating complete con-langs out of nowhere. So I'm usually using a few tricks to develop my language, one of which is to look for historical languages and seek inspiration from them.

    And the pitch for myself on the whole thing, in Fjorden, was what if the Vikings had created a very hierarchical religion like Catholicism, and had instead of conquering the world as Viking, Nordic destroyers, they had become a religious group. They're really based off of the Geats, which is Beowulf's people, which are Nor--are British, they're British Vikings, basically. And so when I was developing them, I was using a bit of Nordic--old Nordic and things like that--and I'm using a bit of old English, and just trying to get that feel. In Beowulf, because in Beowulf they have some Danes and you have some people from the British isles, and there's this crossing over, and things like this, and it's this interesting sort of mix and hodge-podge of cultures and languages, from, 1000AD, and i really liked that feel, I really liked that linguistic flavor, so to speak, and so, I was really reaching towards lots of names out of Beowulf as inspiration.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was first naming all the characters, I did this--it's a very classic mistake new writers make. And sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. And this is to name the characters things that relate to their role in the plot. So I was naming all these characters and I was basing their Aons on their personality. Which if you think about, doesn't make any sense. Parents could not name their characters after the trait the characters was going to eventually exhibit?

    Questioner

    But it's like a mystical thing! Maybe determined or fates...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you could say that. But at the end of the day, if you could look at the back and be like, "This one means Traitor. That character probably is the traitor!" It worked for Star Wars, right? He named Darth Vader, "Dark Father," in German, and none of us got it. When I went back to the books and I looked him over again, when I was editing it, my editor said, "Do you really want to do this. Do you want to name the character this, because they can just look in the back and find out what the character's name means." And I realized no parent would name their kid, "Traitor." I thought it was cute but it was actually just dumb. So I went back and changed it all.

    Questioner

    Who was it originally and what was his name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm trying to remember who I named, "Traitor." I named one of the nobles, "Traitor." I'm trying to remember who it was.

    Questioner

    Probably the traitor one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah probably the traitor one. It was more than that. I named all of the nobility these names based on what their role in the plot was.

    Questioner 2

    *Inaudible* Ahan maybe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. That's who it was, yeah.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    If you could meet any author from history, and you could meet with him and ask him a question. Who would it be, and what would be the question?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to guess God doesn't count?

    Audience

    *laughs*

    Questioner

    Moses!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Moses, I could go with Moses. *sighs* Would it be Moses? Would it be Abraham? It's gonna be one of the bible writers, right? It might just be Isaiah, or one of the ones like... It would probably be Daniel and I would be like, "Let's go over that dream. Right?" *laughter from audience*

    "Let's go over that dream and you can tell me exactly what it actually means. You can trust me, I won't tell anyone." *audience laughs and claps*

    Questioner

    So, *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary answer would be "Robert Jordan" and "How did I do?"

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    In Warbreaker, the royal family's hair can change colors based on their emotions. Why is it only natural colors? Is there a reason for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's only natural colors, they could go further than natural colors. Basically, their perception is what's influencing that. They can actually change more than just the color of their hair, but as in a lot of things in the cosmere, the way you view how your abilities work shapes the actual abilities.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    Are you going to put a gay character in your book as a major character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes! Someday I will, I want to... I'm easing my way into it because my specific culture and biases, I think would lead me to do it poorly, until I've... until I kind of ease my way in. There will be main characters who are LGBTQ in the future. I'm getting there, be patient with me.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner

    About the end of Secret History... We see that Saze is being very shy with Kelsier. Seems like he is afraid of what he's gonna do. Can you tell us about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *carefully* Sazed believes in Kelsier more than Kelsier does.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is there a Dawnshard in Aimia?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes. Well, there definitely has been a Dawnshard in Aimia in the past, that is why it has been protected so well, obviously. Maybe it is still there and maybe not, that is an open question for now.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Nextorl

    Well, in Elantris, we saw two people get in the Shardpool, right? We saw Riino, who we later saw in Oathbringer, and we saw Saolin- the warrior. Will we see him again? Like, will we see a cameo?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible that you will, but I will have to RAFO it. You'll have to wait to see.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Kalanit Taub

    When Jasnah picks up the bead for the palace, is that the same bead that Shallan picks up in Oathbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Kalanit Taub

    Is that a coincidence or is there something else...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, whenever things like that happen you can assume there's little bits of Connection going on that's changing the probability a little bit. You're not meant to read much into it, but the probability is increased because of thing like that.

    And you'll find, if you look really closely, there are connections between the characters that are really subtle that I'm doing, that anyone who's touching the Spiritual Realm or thing like that. For instance, in the second book, Syl turns into Shallan while Shallan is washed up on the beach while Syl is talking to Kaladin somewhere else. There's enough Connection going on that you see Syl change shapes, and Kal's like, "It looks like she's walking on a beach!"

    It's just Syl... because through all of that, is turning into... You'll find things like that <happening> all through the books, really subtle, really small. There's just meant to be, one of the things in the Cosmere is Connection. Your Connection to people, Connection to things, places, influences probability a little bit.

    ICon 2019 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    That was maybe a half or two thirds of the prologue. Um, like I said, hasn't gone through continuity yet, and they are sure to find things that contradict things that I have written in previous books, so don't hold me too hard to first draft, really in first draft I'm trying to lay down emotional beats, and some of the story beats, and then we will worry about continuity.