Recent entries

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10101 Copy

    Argent

    Are there non-Invested (or at least not heavily Invested) objects that cannot be cut by Shardblades, or that offer more resistance than what we see in The Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're unlikely to find anything without high Investiture that can resist a Shardblade. By definition, to stop one, you're going to need something with a powerful spiritual component to it.

    zotsandcrambles

    Would [Ralkalest] (the unforgeable metal) be at all resistant to a Shardblade given its proven resistance to other forms of investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, but is a question you should be asking.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10102 Copy

    ceraius

    This is involving gemstones and their properties on Roshar. Given that Sapphire and Ruby are actually the same crystal - corundum - differing only in their impurities - how would you explain the differences in their properties, with respect both to their essences and their function in fabrials? For example, I am assuming that two identical fabrials, one made with a sapphire and one made with a ruby, would not function the same. To take it a step further, any corundum that is not ruby red is simply called a sapphire of whichever color it happens to be (blue sapphire, green sapphire, colorless sapphire, etc.). How does this play into things; would a blue sapphire have different properties than a green one or a colorless one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was a big part of the magic for me in working on Roshar, as I wanted the gems to work differently from Scadrials metals in order to avoid repetition. The fact that many gems are basically the same thing was one of the launching points actually. Let me say that you are on the right track.

    On Roshar, color of the gem is more important than actual crystalline structure.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10103 Copy

    Shadowglass0

    If someone used Hemalurgy to give Lift from Words of Radiance the ability to use Bendalloy Feruchemy, could she convert the nutrition she gets out of Feruchemy into stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Theoretically possible, I suppose.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10104 Copy

    Shadowglass0

    We've seen the drawing of a gigantic greatshell towering over a city in Way of Kings. Jasnah's book called it a voidbringer. How big was that compared to the Reshi islands greatshells? Do they look similar (proportions, etc.)? Are the Reshi islands greatshells really-really old? So old that someone pretentious enough to speak in all-caps could call them 'ancient ones'?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That picture is very, very inaccurate--by design. However, the Reshi Island greatshells were one of the models this illustrator in world used to create his fanciful drawing. They are, indeed, very long lived.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10105 Copy

    vorpal_username

    In mistborn you can't access someone else's feruchemical stores. However, what if feruchemist A stores something, and then hemalurgy is used to take A's ability and put into person B. Can person B use A's stores?

    Also, what happens when someone burns metal with a hemalurgic charge? Or stores/retrieves something in a spike using feruchemy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All RAFOs here, I'm afraid.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10107 Copy

    Argent

    On Roshar, certain people seem to be able to always see spren (Rock comes to mind). Are there people who can never see them? Similarly, can people from other worlds see them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those with Listener blood are more likely to be able to interact with spren who aren't currently trying to manifest.

    If they appear on the physical realm, then they're visible to all who can see.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10108 Copy

    Tellingdwar

    How did Hoid get to Scadrial? He didn't seem to know the location of Preservation's Shardpool until book 2, and I feel like him crawling out of the Pits of Hathsin would have created a bit of a stir... Unless he slipped out during the confusion caused by Kelsier...

    Brandon Sanderson

    In answer to your question, that IS a RAFO, but it's one I am planning to answer before too long.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10112 Copy

    mooglefrooglian

    If metals shape the Investiture in Allomancy, causing a Steelpush or whatever, how is it that the mists can be used to perform the same feat? What is 'shaping' the inhaled mists into a Steelpush, if there's no metal "nozzle" to do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Consistently through the cosmere, once you have the power in hand and it has permeated you, will becomes your nozzle. This can be seen in Warbreaker, where the power has been distributed and inhabits the people. The nozzle idea is important for Magics that are drawing power externally, as it keeps the power from overwhelming and destroying you. (Which, basically, happened to Vin at the end of the Trilogy--she got consumed by the magic. She became something new, now, so it didn't KILL her. It destroyed what she was, transformed her into something else.)

    So you see magics like on Sel and Scadrial where a specific nozzle is needed--as the power source is external, at least with Allomancy. Will and intent take a backseat, though still pop up on occasion. On Nalthis (and in a lesser way, Roshar) will and intent are more important, and what you are trying to do shapes the magic more directly.

    A little direct manifestation in this is found in the subtle differences between Allomancy and Feruchemy. In Allomancy, when you enhance the senses, you just get a blast of power--and all senses are enhanced, whether you want them all or not. In Feruchemy, you can be more precise, and pick a specific sense to store. The power is internal here, and therefore more limited in how much you can draw--but you can also be more precise with its manipulation.

    Note that Roshar Surgebinding is a special case, as the magical symbiosis there is stronger than it is on other worlds, as much of the magic involves bits of power who have become sapient.

    uchoo786

    How much crossover is there in use? Like if one "breathes" in the mists they can use it to power their allomancy. Could an Allomancer utilize stormlight to power his allomancy as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the magics can be hacked together in one way or another, but some are easier to interchange than others.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10114 Copy

    focoma

    Is there a quantum of Investiture? Just as how the photon (the quantum of light) is the force carrier particle of electromagnetism, is there a force carrier particle for Investiture, and do you have a name for it? (My follow up question would involve string theory, but I'll leave that one for later.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a quantum of Investiture, though it acts very oddly in the cosmere.

    True Investiture is a purely Spiritual Realm thing. In the cosmere, there are two alternate planes of existence, with their own specific laws. Some of them, as you've undoubtedly notice, behave similar to ideas in String Theory.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10115 Copy

    uchoo786

    I was wondering, if one were to take an Honorblade to Nalthis (I think that's the Warbreaker planet?), would it function like a minor version of Nightblood?

    And could one fuel one of these Shards with other forms of Investiture, not gas-based like Breath and Stormlight, e.g. burning metals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shardblades will not lose or change functionality when taken off of Roshar.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10116 Copy

    unknown

    Hey Brandon! If you're still answering these...what would happen if a Surgebinder absorbed Voidlight? (Or whatever's powering the Everstorm)

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. (Sorry.)

    Argent

    Is Voidlight a good name for it? We've been playing with the words "void" and "odium", stitching them together into Voidlight, Voids (as opposed to Surges), Voidspren, Odiumspren, etc. Are any of those accurate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It may not be accurate, but it is a valid conjecture. Afraid I won't say more right now.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10117 Copy

    Argent

    When you were coming up with names for the Orders of the Knights Radiants, did you have any names that you liked but couldn't include?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the names I liked but discard were tossed because they sound too much like other compound words I've used, or other terminology in the cosmere. Shardbearer is already troublesome enough; I want to avoid others like this. The toughest one to name was Renarin's order, because most of the ideas I came up with over the years ended up being repeats. Others, like Stoneward and Windrunner, were powerful enough in my mind that when I wrote later cosmere books, I intentionally stayed away from terms that would sound too similar.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10118 Copy

    Argent

    There seems to be a certain parallel between the naming of Elendel and Luthadel. If the former is named after Elend, is the latter named after somebody called Lutha? Luthad? Who is (was?) that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good Question! Yes, there is a person this city is named after. But I'm not ready to give specifics.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10119 Copy

    marnsvi

    The visions that have Dalinar and Renarin are very different. This is related to the type of their spren ? One related to Cultivation who allows to see the future and other related to Honor who allows to see the past ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Afraid this is a RAFO.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10120 Copy

    Yourigath

    Can you access the Dor while on other planets? Can you, I don't know, "tell the Dor" that you are on Roshar using an Aon that doesn't have the base on the map of Sel but in the world of Roshar and use Elantrian magic there? An Aon with an spiral pattern with the right lines, dots, etc... that tells the Dor "I'm here. This is Roshar. And I need your power to do X"

    Brandon Sanderson

    Great question, and one integral to the workings of cosmere Magic! No, you cannot currently access the Dor anywhere else. The Dor is a big part of why magic on Sel is distinctive.

    Yourigath

    If an Elantrian worldhops does it returns to a normal human pre-Shaod state? If this Elantrian goes back to Sel it recovers his Elantrian powers or he keeps his pre-Shaod form?

    Brandon Sanderson

    An Elantrian away from Sel would still be an Elantrian--but many of the visible signs would fade away, much like something florescent that stops glowing when moved away from a Black Light.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10121 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    What are your current plans with regards to the Jasnah novella you wrote last summer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Jasnah Novella is for my eyes only, unfortunately. It was needed so I could work out mechanics of what was happening, but I don't like releasing it for various reasons.

    Footnote: The following scene is from the novella in question: https://www.tor.com/2014/08/06/stormlight-archive-scene-after-words-of-radiance/
    Sources: Reddit
    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10122 Copy

    mooglefrooglian

    My question is, what 'causes' an effect in the end for Allomancy? You've got Investiture being filtered through a metal, but does putting it through the metal turn the Investiture cause a Steelpush, or is it putting the Investiture through your soul that causes it? At what point do you turn Preservation's Investiture into a Steelpush, or is there no one 'point' where it happens?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, imagine you've got one of those play-dough machines you can stuff with dough, then press a handle on the top to make a little snake-like tube of play-dough squirt out.

    Those have appendages you can affix to the front to change the shape of the tube that comes out. The metals are the appendage that determines the shape of the power released, but only certain souls can unlock those metals and use them.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10124 Copy

    ceraius

    Unless I have overlooked something, I have noticed that lifespren tend to show up only due to plant, or perhaps non-animal life. Is this a simple mislabeling by Roshar's inhabitants (vegetationspren?), or is there something significant to this discrepancy - and if so, is there any comment you can make on the subject?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Technically, you'd be right. Lifespren, as they are called, are more "things are growing here" spren. I mean, if you think about it, most emotion spren are "life spren" in that they're only around when sapient beings are drawing them.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10125 Copy

    Kurkistan

    Does Forging work by some kind of "procedural generation"? So Shai says "make me a stained glass window with a swirly pattern" and (assuming it's plausible) a window is "generated" without Shai having to go into exacting detail about its form? If so, what are the templates/guidelines that this generation is based off of?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's somewhere between the two things you mention, and the guidelines are somewhat quantum in nature--meaning, what's the most likely pattern she'd have created if she'd actually gone about creating it.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10126 Copy

    Argent

    Why is it that Allomancers and Feruchemists get either one or all of the powers? Radiants / Surgebinders being limited to two Surges makes sense, because it depends on the type of spren they bond with, but Allomancers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not ready to answer this one yet, I'm afraid. So it's a RAFO.

    Argent

    Fair enough. Is this something we'll see explored in future (far future?) books, or will we need to bug you about it during signings / AMAs every few years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will explored in far future books, most likely.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10127 Copy

    RenegadeShroom

    You said earlier that Parshendi are primarily asexual, does that extend to all Listeners -- parshmen, and those descended from Listeners, like Horneaters and Herdazians -- or is it just the Parshendi?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most Listener forms are asexual, but several forms are different, including slaveform. Horneaters and Herdazians are not, as a rule, though there are higher instances of asexuality among them.

    uchoo786

    I was actually wondering about how Parshmen would reproduce if they are only in slaveform? I thought one had to be in mateform in order to reproduce?

    Also, could Horneaters and Herdazians change forms as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For the first, mateform is not the only form capable of producing--any more than warform is the only one capable of swinging a sword. The forms are specializations.

    For the second, RAFO.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10129 Copy

    sonofstannis

    At the end of Words of Radiance, does Nale resurrect Szeth using the stormlight obtained from Lift earlier in the novel or does he have another method?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nale uses the same power, but has a specific hack that lets him accomplish it, when he otherwise would not be able to.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10130 Copy

    sonofstannis

    Regarding the sibling relationships of Yesteel/Arsteel and VaraTreledees/Shashara, were either pairing Returned simultaneously? If so, how did they know they were siblings? And do any of the four know their original birth names? Finally, is it coincidence that there are two pairs of siblings in the Five Scholars or is there something more at work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do intend to delve into questions like in your first point when I return to that world, so I'll RAFO for now.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10131 Copy

    zotsandcrambles

    I've always wondered why Hoid stole the Moon Scepter from The Rose Empire. He is collecting investiture, so it must be pivotal.

    Is it possible that the Moon Scepter is connected directly to Dominion and Devotion's investiture (maybe via the moon-rocks?). If you have the Moon Scepter, you can get around the pesky proximity problem of the magic system(s)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll talk about this eventually, but it IS related to the proximity problem--just not in the way you're assuming.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10132 Copy

    uchoo786

    Last question, are thunderclasts just voidspren animating dead greatshells that have bee turned to stone by crem, kind of like Kalad's army? And could light eyes who have been turned to stone by soul casters be reanimated, either by Vasher or by voidspren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thunderclasts are animating stone itself. Reanimating someone turned to stone would be more easy than simply animating the stone, but animating stone is tough, so that's not saying much.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10133 Copy

    uchoo786

    You have mentioned before that there are several groups on Roshar who have Parshendi blood, like the Horneaters, but are there any that have Aimian blood? And are Aimian's more beings of the cognitive realm than humans and listeners, since their shadows go towards the sun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What Rosharans call Aimians are two different races, neither of which is particularly human, despite how they may look. More will be revealed eventually.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10134 Copy

    uchoo786

    I know that Nightblood is technically a shardblade (invested sword), but can one use it without being bonded to a Spren since on Roshar the only way to breathe is stormlight and use it is by being bonded to a spren? Would Nightblood also work like a shardblade, in that it severs the soul instead of consuming it when it touches a person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Remember that the Honorblades do not require one to be bonded to a spren to use, or gain access to powers. Nightblood goes one step further, vaporizing and destroying on all three realms.

    uchoo786

    So, if I understand this correctly, Nightblood will act like an Honorblade and allow Szeth to breath in Stormlight? Will his surges be completely different than anything Roshar has seen before, or will his surges be those of the Skybreakers since Nightblood's purpose is pretty similar to theirs?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll have to wait and see.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10135 Copy

    AndyC50

    Hey, Brandon as a big fan of the Stormlight books. I'm wondering what is the ratio between dark eyes and light eyes in the country where Kaladin is from. Sorry if this was mentioned in the books and I just forgot.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Weighted toward darkeyes, though the lighteye/darkeye disparity is not nearly as great as the noble/peasant disparity was in our world.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10136 Copy

    ThingsThatMakeMeMad

    Dalinar insists that honorable men would not fight their allies, when Adolin wishes to spar. Would the knights radiant spar one another, or would they generally agree with dalinars point of view?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some would agree but many would disagree. Do note there is a difference between sparring and prize fighting or dueling.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10138 Copy

    RobotAztec

    can spren go thru walls like ghosts too?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on the spren, and how strongly they've been pulled into the physical realm.

    RobotAztec

    so the ones that cant are the ones people can trap in gems for fabriels?

    do they catch them with big butterfly nets and thrwo a gem into the netting? or is it like poekmon where they just throw gems and hope they hit??

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. No, neither one. This is a RAFO, I'm afraid.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10139 Copy

    BartimaeusTrilogyFan

    Have you included (or do you potentially intend to include) any asexual characters in your published works? Asexual characters don't seem to be very common in fiction, and I'm sure it would be fantastic for people that identify as such to feel in any way represented by one of your characters!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I originally conceived the asexual nature of most Parshendi (from the Stormlight Archive) forms after reading a very thought-provoking article written by someone asexual. The idea of a primarily asexual race was a fascinating idea to me, and you will see this more in future books.

    RobotAztec

    can somene be born half-parshnedi or maybe even half-spren??

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Horneaters and the Herdazians are both descendants of Parshendi/human interbreeding.

    Spren do not reproduce biologically. As such, the term "half-spren" is basically meaningless. You could argue that the Parshendi, when bonded to spren, are part spren--as are many creatures on Roshar, if they have a spren symbiosis.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10144 Copy

    TallRedditor

    Is there a specific reason as to why Lift can synthesize food into stormlight? Or is she just special?

    Have we met/Will we meet anyone else that can take in stormlight in a different way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She is unique, and was not born with the ability.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10145 Copy

    Pillotsky

    What's with the Stormlight Chapter symbols, and their similarity to other Cosmere symbols? I guess this is specifically talking about Kaladin and Shallan's symbols, and their resemblance to an Allomantic symbol and an Aon, respectively.

    Is this just showing Roshar's place as significant in the Cosmere? Is there a reason those specific symbols were chosen for those characters? Anything you'd want to share, I'll take.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The meaning of Kaladin's symbol will be made manifest eventually. The connection to an Allomantic symbol, however, is mostly coincidental. (Both were drawn by Isaac.)

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10146 Copy

    The__Good__Doctor

    Hi Brandon! I wanted to talk about the revised ending of Words of Radiance.

    So, it looks like Kaladin won't be actually delivering the killing blow to Szeth any more. I think that Kaladin was entirely justified in doing this, since it was a fight to the death, and Kaladin was protecting not only Dalinar but his entire squad below. Kaladin even seems surprised when he lands the blow, expecting Szeth to block it like he had been doing the entire fight. The killing was not done in vengeance or with malice, unlike what Adolin does later. Having the storm kill Szeth seems like an anti-climatic way to end the scene, since it takes away Szeth's decision to die by the sword, and means we no longer have an example of why the spren Shardblades don't immediately kill people.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I woud be fine having him do it, though I think killing a foe who has given up was against this thematic plot. But what pushed me over the edge to change was the sense that I was pulling too many fast ones on the reader with people coming back to life. I wanted it clear to readers that Szeth was not dead, so this scene wasn't a fake out, which would weaken Jasnah's arrival later.

    Dancingedge

    Um, Mr. Sanderson, I don't mean to be disrespectful as you probably have the scene better in your head than I do but how is a man without Stormlight falling from a very large hight, while in the middle of two Highstorms coliding and throwing entire platoos in the air expected to survive? Maybe I don't have the right persective on this given that I saw both Jasnah (the body disapearing is just as much a give away as it never being shown in my book) and Syl (Pattern outright said Sprens can be revived) coming but unless you severly change the fight scene I don't see how being stabbed actually matters for Szeth survival chances.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The idea is that the reader didn't see him die, so there's a psychological trigger--one that says "Ah, I didn't see a body. He's probably not dead."

    Yes, Szeth totally died from that fall--just as the young man that Lift revived had died from what he suffered. We know that Stormlight can fix the body and bring back the dead, so long as very little time has passed.

    The import of the tweak to me is allowing some question in the reader's mind, so that the return is not a betrayal.

    The__Good__Doctor

    That is a lot more understandable. Having too many reveals at the end could be problematic. I agree that Jasnah coming back felt like pulling a fast one right at the end. However, I think the suprise of Szeth coming back was really well done, especially with the reveal of Nin (Nale, Nalan? This dude is so old he has three names!) at the very end with his special sword friend. I feel like that was the real zinger that should have closed the book.

    I was a little underwhelmed with Jasnah coming back, not because I dislike her, but because I thought she was well and truly dead. She died so early in the book that I was completely accepting of her death by the end, and her coming back in a 'gotcha' moment felt a little hollow. Perhaps this could have happened about a hundred pages into the next book? I don't know the entire story like you do, of course, but as a reader it felt like Szeth and his rebirth should have been the final closing image.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This all came about, if you're curious, during the detailed plotting of the second book. Originally, the outline did not call for Jasnah to leave, but I was having real trouble getting Shallan into a place--emotionally and experience-wise--where she could do the things she needed to do while Jasnah was around. I determined that Jasnah needed to pull a Gandalf, and let her ward alone for a while, and I'm glad I did it--the book is much, much stronger for it. However, the side effects of the last-minute change in the plot required Jasnah's reappearance, which sent a few waves through the book. (Szeth's death and survival being the main one.)

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10147 Copy

    2dark_22

    RAFOed I'm sure, but you said you are planing 2 arcs of 5 books each in Stormlight Archive. Having read all of your published works (and some unpublished:)) I know your storytelling pace is astronomicaly quick. I'm positive you will end current desolation story in the first 5 books, since as I understod, other 5 books will be set in near future in SA universe. So I guess my question is; can you drop any hint will Odium survive to see 6th SA book:)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, Odium will survive. Now, whether the one HOLDING that power will survive...that's a different question. :) (Not quite a RAFO.)

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10148 Copy

    participating

    In Warbreaker, Vasher makes the claim that Nightblood's personality is essentially static, that he'll never change. How true is that? Assuming Nightblood managed to stick around for thousands, or millions of years, could he grow in even the smallest of ways; develop a legitimate sense of right and wrong and figure out what's really going on around him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher believes it's true. Vasher has been wrong on occasion, but he is a fairly authoritative source.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10149 Copy

    tisces

    Do you keep a timeline for your Cosmere books? I'm assuming the events from books such as Elantris and Warbreaker happen before the Stormlight Archives but I'm curious about how much time has passed whether it is months/years/centuries.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Centuries have passed. I think we're closer to a thousand years covering events you could place on the line, with closer to ten thousand years since inciting incidents.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10150 Copy

    A_Dunyain

    This is just a stab based on perceived hints, but is Yolen the most "Earth-like" planet in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Scadrial is, actually. Sel isn't too far off either. Yolen has some strangeness to it. Two competing ecologies, and some strange geography. But I have wavered on how to convey all of this, so none of it is set in stone yet.