Can spren die?
Spren can die but they are energy which cannot be destroyed. So dying means something different to them than it means to us.
Can spren die?
Spren can die but they are energy which cannot be destroyed. So dying means something different to them than it means to us.
Why do you do interludes? What possessed you to go that direction instead of just including it as another chapter?
I felt that one of the foibles of the large series epic fantasy genre is the tendency of authors to go afield down paths of side characters. It happened to Robert Jordan, it happened to George R.R. Martin. And so reading theirs I hoped to learn from them and say "I'm going to do this thing that gives me a pressure valve to tell these stories that are outside the main line but I'm not going to give myself enough room that I can just turn this into a full character, yet." That allows me to do goofy stuff around the world but have a form for it built into the book.
I was wondering when you first thought to put Nightblood in Words of Radiance?
Nightblood in Words of Radiance happened because... So I wrote the original draft of Way of Kings in 2002 and Vasher was Kaladin's swordmaster and I thought "This guy has a really interesting past, he's not natively from Roshar". So I went and wrote his backstory and that became the book Warbreaker. So he predates-- And then I came back and I re-wrote Way of Kings and I cut him out of it to save him for the later books. So when did I first think of it? Well 2003 probably? Was where that was happening.
Nightblood was our apartment's collective favorite character.
I have some other quote-unquote cons going on the fans so to speak that are going to be very cool when they happen.
What was the hardest part of finishing The Wheel of Time?
The hardest part, I would say, was the battle logistics.
So A Memory of Light took a while?
Yeah, A Memory of Light is all battle logistics, it was really hard. And the second half was really tough to get that all right. And just to work with the assistants and things like that.
I noticed in a lot of your cosmere books, like for example Elantris or Mistborn, they have something to do with some sort of subject matter or school or something. For example the Steelpush and Ironpulling in Mistborn is based on physics.
If you push too hard it's based on...
Vector physics, yes.
And then like Warbreaker is just like math, adding Breaths together. Did you intend that?
Not necessarily. I read a lot and I like science and I like philosophy and I like and things like this. And those spark most of my ideas. So yes in a term but I'm not like "Let's do this subject".
I would say Warbreaker, the big part of Warbreaker is the idea of sympathetic magic. Which is the idea that like affects like, which is a very common type of magic throughout all cultures on the planet, on our planet. When people believe in magic they believe in sympathetic magic. A voodoo doll is sympathetic magic. And that's where the idea came from.
So in Elantris, which is different and then--
Yeah that's basically fantasy programming, is where that one came from.
And then there is The Stormlight Archive, which basically violates all the laws of physics by just saying everything comes from spren.
Well no they still have arguments on that, are spren attracted to these things or do they cause them.
Yeah that's kind of weird...
Stormlight Archive was based on the fundamental forces, if you want go read on physics google fundamental forces.
I heard earlier, through people I know, that Syl will eventually develop her memories from before the Recreance. Does that mean any spren that are alive currently have been alive for that long as well? Or are they--
Not necessarily. Some spren-- The thing about spren is that when does the energy become conscious? So yes they will have all existed before but at what point is consciousness attained. That's kind of their birth. It happens much more rarely than it does on the other-- on the Physical Realm, like regular people and things like that. But there can totally have been spren who have been born since then. And they would count most of the spren that you see as not being alive, well not being born. Not conscious. What's the word for the difference between humans and animals, it's not just sentience, there's another word. Starts with a C. Sapient, you're right it starts with an S.
How has the fantasy publishing industry changed with the global popularity of *audio obscured*
It has changed, but really what we're seeing is what happened in the States in the seventies, the States and the UK following Tolkien, is now happening in a lot of countries that it hadn't happened in before. Which is cool. But it's not just Game of Thrones, since the Lord of the Rings movies, it's Harry Potter. The last ten years are wakening fantasy. See the thing about fantasy is we don't find fantasy doing well in developing countries. It's kind of the thing where if you are going to be reading about knights and wizards, you are not going to be somebody who's struggling for your bread each day. You know what I mean?
People in developing countries read more aspirational--
Yeah. So you see for instance as countries transition out of that you see a lot of fantasy and things. For instance it happened in Japan in the seventies. It happened in the US even earlier. It's happening now in Brazil and Taiwan. Those are two of the places where it is just appearing. India, it's just starting in India. Mainland China hasn't quite caught on yet but there's hints that it is going to happen. But it has been in Europe for quite a while.
So do you have translations of your books in Portuguese?
Yeah, I'm in 26 languages, or something like that. But you can kind of use that as a map for the places that read-- you know. Like the only South American country is Brazil, I don't have any other distribution in South America. Not a single country in Africa, except South Africa, the UK editions. None of those. Japan, China, Korea? Yes. Europe? Almost everybody in Europe.
Szeth says in the first Stormlight book that he can't heal from a Shardblade--
So when he got cut he couldn't heal that...
No. Not with his powers.
Not from an Honorblade.
Not from an Honorblade.
Is Cultivation alive?
How was Dalinar able to bond Taln's Shardblade -- Honorblade?
It's not Taln's Honorblade.
Is the sword given to Szeth at the end of the book [Words of Radiance] related to Nightblood from Warbreaker?
It's the same sword.
Is Hoid from Elantris, the same Hoid from The Stormlight Archive?
When Syl says in The Way of Kings that she had been with other men who have killed. Is she-- Why is she able to say that?
Syl's memories, the longer she's bonded the more access to them she has, from times before. She knows some of these things. She'll never get it all back.
From the time before Kaladin.
From before Kaladin, from before the Recreance, yes.
I love Writing Excuses and I'm actually going on the Retreat this year. I think the cruise is a good idea.
See Mary did the Steampunk cruise, and she just kind of asked "Wait a minute, what are people paying for this?" and it was less than we had to charge them for the retreat at her house, because of all the food and stuff we had to do. We were like "Wait a minute, you can do this for the same price or less? Why are we doing this at her house?"
Cruises are a blast.
I've been on several and I've enjoyed everyone of them.
The Alaska cruise has been one of the best experiences of my life. So it's going to be good for writing and inspiration.
My cruise story is the Taravangian interlude [in Words of Radiance] was written on a cruise with my family. I sat on the little balcony to our room typing while everyone else went off and did stuff where there were people. And I was by myself and it was great.
I am very convinced that Adolin, with the events that happen with the last book. You're sending him down a like a dark path. Is he possibly going to be a-- *questioningly* Antagonist? Protagonist?-- A bad, eventually? Or is he--
I'm going to say this, the things that Adolin did do not contradict some of the moralities on Roshar, in fact they follow them directly. Some of the moralities on our planet would say what he did is the right thing to do. I think treating it as a "dark path" is too reductionist to say. There are people who would seriously argue, and they would have a good argument, that what Dalinar was doing by leaving Sadeas around was a good idea. And then there are other people who would say "You know what Sadeas did was a challenge and it was rightly then responded to" and then there are people who would say it was absolutely immoral. So, it depends on your philosophy.
What would Honor say? Well, Honor's dead, so-- *lots of laughter* You know Honor would not have been behind that action, but Honor's dead.
My question has to do with the color of Shallan's eyes currently, because we've noticed over the books that Kaladin's eyes, as he's continued to use his Surge, changed to lighter and lighter blue. Whereas one could argue that Shallan is farther in her Ideals than Kaladin is, yet her eyes have not changed at all.
Right, 'cause they were already light.
'Cause they were already light? So it only affects lightness or darkness in the eyes, not necessarily any other color?
It's not like it is-- It's not like it's saying "Light minus 50%".
It's not like Honor is blue and--
No. It is not. It is just kind of the way that the changes the Stormlight is making the body and certain people are already descended from people who had repeated, over time, changes by the body which stopped physically... That's not to say that all lighteyes that's where they came from. There are some that are natural mutations.
You said in an earlier interview that the glittery things in Elantris...
I believe that you said that the seons on Roshar would bond similarly--
Would that work in the opposite direction?
Meaning what? Someone from Roshar could they bond a seon? Oh, would spren bond-- Yes that could happen.
Speaking of interfering, if you shot an aluminum bullet through a time bubble, what would happen?
Ooooh, that's a good question. I'm gonna RAFO that one. It's an excellent question.
Speaking of time bubbles, can iron and steel and emotional Allomancy go beyond the boundaries of time bubbles; like if I'm inside a time bubble can I just like super Steelpush outside?
Oh, time bubbles interfere with almost all forms of Investiture.
So is that the same thing with Commands, are there like ideals that are Commands?
This is more of a-- For you to interface with the magic, you need to be able to comprehend it. And so forming a Command-- The same thing happens in Elantris, you know they don't accidentally draw runes, right? The intention is part of interfacing with the magic. So it's like your mind reaching into the Spiritual Realm and you have to like conceive something.
So, could you give us some examples of how the ideals that spren represent work in other magic systems, like we have Forging where you get plausibility, or Returned how they're beautiful or any other systems?
Okay, one more time on that.
Okay, so you know the ideals the spren are manifestations--
How-- Do those have impacts on other magic systems?
Yes, yes, in the same way the Returned- that's the exact same system at work there.
Is it the same reason why the Lord Ruler has to die of old age, and why you can't heal yourself into being an octopus or something?
Um... Yes, that is all connected in the exact same way.
Okay, so it's all like these highfalutin Spiritual ideals?
And are there like, median Cognitive ideals that gradually kind of influence these, or--
Yeah, they transcend between the three. I mean the original concept for the Three Realms is Platonic philosophy.
So it goes up *makes absurd reverse-waterfall hand gesture*
Yeah, it goes up and it comes back down. A lot of the Cognitive is-- So like, the Cognitive has a bigger effect on how you can heal and things like that. Does that make sense?
But the power to heal is a actually a Spiritual thing.
So it's like the Spiritual says "I want to be like this" and the Cognitive is like "Okay I'll try really hard to be like that, but I have a limit."
Right. Right. Filtered through how you see yourself, yeah.
When you finish a book how do you celebrate?
I usually, unless I have a really tight deadline, I pick a video game and I play the video game. Usually once a year I'll do that and I'll take like two weeks off and just play through a game.
I like that idea. I'm trying to finish up my master's thesis and deciding what I can do when I've finished it.
Oh okay, I don't know if you can take two weeks off. I can.
Well I've already told my boss I'm going to take three weeks off. But I'll probably go somewhere.
See traveling, I travel so much for work that I don't really want to go anywhere. I just want to stay home where I don't have to do anything. I played Skyrim, I broke it out over the holidays. I hadn't ever played that one. That's my latest.
So are the rumors true are you [and Pat Rothfuss] going to write a book together?
No, but every time we are on a panel we are like "AH we should write a book together." It's highly unlikely, that we would ever do anything together. Just because our writing styles are so different. Pat's writing process-- It's not so much style it's the writing process-- is so different. But you can hold out hope. Perhaps some day I will have a pitch for Pat or something like that. But I would hate to inconvenience his fans by distracting him with something else.
Can I generally ask what the plot is somewhat like for Wayne and Wax [in Shadows of Self]?
Yeah, so there is a murderer in town who is not human.
So I'm in the middle of Hero of Ages, and I'm noticing there are constant parallels between Vin and the Hero of Ages and Elend and the Lord Ruler?
That's done intentionally.
Is it going to hurt?
Is the ending going to hurt? The ending is the right ending. It's going to be satisfying, but it also might hurt.
Did I read that they were going to make a movie out of Mistborn?
The question is-- Somebody bought the rights. The question is whether they are actually going to use them for anything, and that I can't say. I really like the people who have them.
Would you be involved in it if--
Yes. I would be involved.
The contracts say I have to be able to go to the set at any time.
You wouldn't be helping writing the screenplay?
Oh I don't write screenplays, it's a different skill. I think you do an expert do what an expert does. But so far they have sent me all of the stuff they've done and I've given feedback and they've taken it. It's a good sign.
In your opinion what percent--
--that they are going to start it.
That's high. I think that's very high for this business. My agent says one out of 30 gets made.
So what's the criteria they would--
Investors, if there are people who are willing to give us a 100 million dollars... So if you happen to know anyone willing to sink a 100 million dollars into a film we could do it tomorrow.
I'm 66 in a couple months and I want to make sure I live long enough to read the whole Stormlight--
Am I going to?
You'll definitely make it through the first five. The thing about it is I'll break in the middle, but the first five come to a natural climax, and then there's an in-world break of 15 years. Not 15 years away for us but an in-world break. And then I'll do another trilogy. I think you'll make it through them all. I think you'll easily make it, you look very hale and healthy.
Can a Returned like Lightsong go to Roshar and form a bond with a spren?
Investiture interferes with other Investiture.
And they have a lot of it.
And they have a lot of it. That is not-- It's not completely-- For instance you can Push on Invested metal, but it's hard. There's a resistance, the more Invested the harder-- So a bond for instance-- forming a bond-- It's, yeah-- It can be done--
I mean Sazed took two of the powers up, right? But I kind of imagine what he did as a nuclear reaction. Where breaking an atom is hard, unless you are in the middle of a sun. And he was in the middle of the sun. At that point--
There was a lot of stuff going on around him that facilitated.
Yes, definitely. But when you've got that much power you'll-- In other words if there is a lot of power going around, these things become easier.
So, possible but difficult is--
Are there any other end-negative magic systems out there other than Hemalurgy?
Have we seen either the system or the world one of them is in?
RAFO? As in literal RAFO?
Does Lift turn food into Investiture directly or is it similar to the metals on--
Similar to the metals.
So like a gate?
Okay, that's good to know.
She can metabolize-- She can draw-- It's not actually the food, it's-- It's not like the metals, not exactly. It's not-- What she can do is she can metabolize into Investiture instead of sugar. Does that make sense?
We metabolize food into sugar. She can metabolize it into Investiture. Does that make sense?
That makes a lot of sense. So if she eats--
She's got to have a blood sugar spike.
So if she eats like a cake it will give her more Investiture--
Faster. It will give her faster.
Whereas if she eats a vegetable...
Vegetable... More calories is going to equal more. But the better comparison would be a sausage and bread. Because bread is a fast blood sugar spike and the sausage is not. And that's how I'm working in my head. It's kind of a magical version of a blood sugar spike and I have it happen to her faster than it could happen. Like normally you eat a piece of bread and your blood sugar spikes in a half hour, it's going to go faster for Lift.
Hers is like five minutes.
Hers is like five minutes, but a sausage would be slower.
Can a sentient object be created on Roshar? By just-- In a way similar to how the Scholars created Nightblood?
No I wasn't saying no I was saying well that's kind of what the Shardblades are.
Can Nightblood damage or kill a Shard? Is he that powerful?
Nightblood is not powerful enough for-- *makes weird/hesitant ehhh sound*
Can it damage?
Damage? Yes. How damaging? Is a subject to discussion. Nightblood contains a lot of Investiture.
Renarin, his visions of the future are they connected to one of his Surges? Both of them? Are they a side-effect of his order?
Like I can kind of fit in the two of them...
Alright, how much of a spoiler do you want on this?
All of it.
Is that even a question for me?
Do you want to know something secret that you then can't post?
*sighs* How-- Is it something that is going to come up in Book 3--
It comes up in Book 3.
I'll bear the burden.
You'll bear the burden meaning I can tell you?
I'm going to pause this actually... *Audio paused*
Awakening and Surgebinding, Stormlight and Breath seem really similar in some aspects--
--except Breaths seem to stick to things better--
--than Stormlight. So when you are holding the Breath it doesn't expire when you put it in something it doesn't go away. Can you tell me something about why that's happening?
Part of this is kind of inherent to the Shard and the power it's coming from. I mean the power of Endowment is just going to stick, that's part of the nature of its magic. Does that make sense? But it also kind of has to do with how the ecosystems are working. For instance the Stormlight is essential to the ecosystem of Roshar, it needs to be expended, it needs to get out and-- It's like evaporation, does that make sense?
Recycling? Not the recycling but the cycle of--
Yeah, yeah like the cycle of water. And so just part of the way the nature of it works, it has to get out, it has to leak out, it has to run out. I mean it leaks even from spheres, right?
And when you lash things it's temporary--
Yep. And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can't. Like it is just not the way that it works.
Can they just hold it better?
They can hold it better. It's not permanent. Now there are things that can do it permanently but--
Like the black sphere for example?
Well we are not going to... The black sphere is something different. You guys have guessed what the black sphere is, right?
Well we have some ideas. I support that it holds an Unmade. Am I wrong?
I'm not going to answer that.
But you said--
I'm just curious what the theories are. Book 3 the black sphere is-- Everyone who reads the books will know what the black sphere is by the end of Book 3.
Do you set out to write a specific-- like a teen book or an adult book? Or are they just--
I usually do set out these days. Originally I was not as cognizant of it, but I do think keeping audience in mind is an important attribute of writing. The thing is when you are doing a teen book it's not about writing down it's about dealing with issues, like it's the type of conflicts that really make something a teen book in my opinion. And those conflicts can transcend into adult books but-- I don't know it's just there's a feel for it.
I really like your idea with the whole Mistborn series, taking it further in history and we are both PhD physicists.
I always think about that and I was wondering if you were worried about going that sci-fi fantasy route? Like for instance--
I'm not worried about it, I'm just excited... In my mind all of my books are sci-fi as well as fantasy because I'm making weird new branches of physics and trying to adhere to as many of the laws as I can.
Yeah that's one of things I love about how well thought out the magic systems are.
Like I-- You are actually not the first physicists to come through another one came through earlier tonight and talking about the quantum mechanics that are in The Way of King.
At the end of Firefight when it says that if you overcome your fears that the corruption kind of ceases to exist. Does that mean an Epic's weakness is resolved also?
That is a question for the sequel.
So would that imply that maybe David has a power but he doesn't know it because he overcame the water fear?
That's entirely possible... You're asking good questions.
Is there any possibility of the novellas being released in like a bound--
Yeah, we will eventually do-- Tor really wants to do a collection of all the cosmere novellas. So like... *Brandon stumbles over the words* Shadows for Silence, The Emperor's Soul, Sixth of the Dusk. But I was trying to say Shadows for Silence but I almost said Shadows of Self, that's going to be a problem for me going forward, using "shadows" in two. But all of those in one collection is what we're probably going to see.
You are releasing a graphic novel version of White Sand, which one is going to be canon to the Cosmere, the graphic novel or the novel you originally wrote?
Oh definitely the graphic novel. The book I originally wrote has its problems, and I never released it. The books don't become canon until I release them. This will be the canon release of White Sand. I don't think-- If the graphic novel does well we are not going to write novels, I'm going to do the second one as a graphic novel original. That's just how we are going to do it-- is my plan right now. There are things when we went back to it that we tweaked, for instance Hoid's appearance in the original novel was only a reference. He was mentioned by, what did I end up calling him, Eis? Ais, I had both names for a while, it was only a reference to one of his old cases, that's his only appearance. And we're like "Ehh people are going to expect more now". So we are writing in a better appearance for him. Stuff like that, I feel Khriss' character needs better development than the novel had, so we are working on that. Stuff, you know. Things you would do in a major revision.
So a lot of your books are very cinematic in nature and lend themselves very well to other forms of media and I was wondering if you had to choose what would you do-- video games...
I would want to do all of those.
All of the things?
Yes, I would love to do a big cross-media sort of deal. Whatever I can get away with, right? So we're doing a White Sand comic book right now, you probably know about that. White Sand, my unpublished novel, we're doing a graphic novel of that. I'm working hard to get the movies made, I will do anything I can get made. Just because I love storytelling in all its different weird varieties.
There's the Mistborn dice game, do you know of anything for The Stormlight Archive? If they're ever going to do something with that?
I think the thing we are going to do with Stormlight Archive-- We're going to try a chasm assault board game. Where you put together chasms and bridges and things like that. That's what we think would work really well. We have a developer-- well game designer who wants to do one of those so we're going to work with them and try to get it made.
How did you sort of develop and write the character of Vin? 'Cause her upbringing is so different from anything we-- that I have experienced and I'm guessing you had a similar experience. So did you have a model or somebody you could talk to?
I-- Not really. Now I did have two sisters, which helped, but my sisters were not raised in such a manner. It is more just trying out personalities, like I talked about in my speech until I got one that worked. Lots of practice if you want to be a good writer, lots and lots of practice. Try writing people very different from yourself and try to get them right. Give it to people and have them see if anything "Yes this feels right" and things like that. Just do lots of practice.
Do you get a cameo in one of your books when it gets adapted to a movie?
Yes, we actually had it written into the contracts that I get to have a cameo.
Where did you come up with the idea for Allomancy?
It's a combination of several things. One is I started with wanting a group of powers that would complement a gang of thieves. So I designed the powers to work within the roles of a thieving crew. The burning metals came from reading about biology and metabolism and it felt very natural to me because that's how we get our energy as human beings. The whole connection of the metals and the visualization stuff came from mixing the periodic table of the elements with alchemy. All of those things kind of spun together to make it.
Assuming that it's possible-- There are alternate Physical Realms, is Shadesmar common between them?
Yes... They don't always call it Shadesmar.
Sure, but there is one Cognitive?
Yes. There's one Physical too if you think about it.
Well... Between the books...
Yeah but there's one Physical-- There's one universe, it's all the Physical Realm, just like there is one Cognitive Realm.
The symbols before the chapters [in The Well of Ascension], are those alloys for the god metals?
No, the symbols before the chapters are the same symbols as in the first book from a different era. Same thing for the third book, they are the exact same symbols from a different era.
Is there any possibility Vin and Zane are half-siblings?
Is there any possibility? No.
Was Vin's mother under Hemalurgic influence?
Vin's mother was under influence of Ruin.
The epigraphs from The Hero of Ages say this: "The point, however, is that people with unstable personalities were more susceptible to Ruin's influence, even if they didn't have a spike in them. That, indeed, is likely how Zane got his spike." In the annotations Brandon confirms that the same applies to Vin's mother.
In, I believe it was, Well of Ascension, when Hoid-- Vin was going to talk to Hoid and get information but she sensed something.
Yes, she did.
Can you reveal anything about that.
But you can have a RAFO card... Do you have a theory?
No, I don't.
The clues are all there. They're very obscure.
*mock-annoyed* Stop theorizing! I shouldn't have said anything.
Can someone be sacrificed for both Hemalurgy and the magics of Dakhor simultaneously?
So this is going to require the soul being ripped apart, so it depends on what pieces of the soul are left and how easily you can capture them. That's a theoretical possible-- possibility... Know that most of the horrors of Dakhor are twisting a soul not stealing a soul.
Can Hemalurgy steal other manifestations of Investiture?
Yes. If it is part of the soul, Hemalurgy can steal it.