Will there ever be an Allomancer trying to burn a Hemalurgically charged metal?
Will there ever be an Allomancer trying to burn a Hemalurgically charged metal?
Can Allomancers be anemic?
Will we see the Sibling?
Yes, you will see him before the end of book 5
Is he the same as he was last we saw him?
The Sibling is in the same form as he was before.
Given the Sibling, and the Death Rattle about how "Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns", was there a third Shard on Roshar with Honor and Cultivation prior to Odium's arrival?
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.
My editor in America made me cut out half of the kolo's – what did you translate "kolo" as?
"Kolo." 'Cause you know, it's foreign language, so I just preserve it as it is.
Yeah. He made me cut half of those. He was so annoyed by my kolo's. You don't to understand, languages use these little verbal tics, that are very common – I don't know if Hebrew has one, but, like, they're very common, like - Korean has one - <Kuritzu?> - which people put at the end of a lot of sentences, and they just mean "Isn't that so?" or "Am I right?" or... it basically gives you a moment to think while you're talking, and a lot of languages have them. So, this is one of the examples of: fiction happened to be less realistic than real life, because in a lot of real-life texts you would have one of those every other sentence. And I use them like, you know, once a page, and my editor is like, "This is way too much."
Does a Shardblade work on Sel?
Of course the Parshendi wanted to play their drums. Of course Gavilar had told them they could. And of course he hadn't thought to warn Navani.
"Have you seen the size of those instruments?" <Hratham> said, running her hands through her black hair. "Where will we put them? We can't..."
"We move to the upper feast hall," Navani said, trying to project a calm demeanor. Everybody else in the kitchens was close to panicking, cooks running one direction or another, pots banging. Gavilar had invited not just the highprinces but their relatives. And every highlord in the town. And he wanted a Beggar's Feast. And now... drums?
"We've already set up in the lower hall," <Hratham> cried, "I don't have the staff to..."
"There are twice as many soldiers as usual loitering around the palace tonight," Navani said, "We'll have them move the tables." Gavilar never forgot about things like posting extra guards. Projecting strength, making a show of force? He could always be counted on for that. For everything else, he had Navani.
"Could work, yes," <Hratham> said. "Good to put the louts to work rather than having them underfoot. Alright, deep breaths."
The short palace organizer stumbled away, narrowly avoiding an apprentice cook carrying a large bowl of steaming shellfish. Navani stepped to the side and let the cook pass. The man nodded in thanks. The staff had long since stopped being nervous when she entered the kitchens. She'd made it clear to them that doing their job sufficiently was superior praise to her than a bow. Fortunately, this staff was the kind of middle-ranked lighteyes who understood the need for a little practicality.
They seemed to have things well in hand now, though there had been a scare earlier when three barrels of grain had been discovered with worms in them. A little creative thinking had reminded them that Brightlord Amaram had stores for his men, and Navani had been able to pry them out of his grip. For now, it seemed that with the extra cooks borrowed from the monastery, they might actually be able to feed all the extra people Gavilar had invited.
"I should leave some of the tables set up in the lower hall," she thought, slipping out of the kitchens and into the palace gardens. "Who knows who might show up with an invitation." At the very least she might need to feed some of the military officers who couldn't be seated in the main feast hall.
She turned to hike up through the gardens and entered the palace through the side doors. She'd be less out of the way and wouldn't have to dodge servants if she went out here into the gardens. Maybe she could...
Navani slowed. The Kholinar palace was brightly lit tonight, with spheres adorning every hallway and all of the garden walkways. By that light, Navani could easily make out Aesudan, her daughter-in-law, Elhokar's wife, standing just near the fountains. The slender woman wore her long hair in a bun, which was lit with a gemstone of each shade. All those colors were gaudy together. Navani preferred a few simple stones themed to a color, but it did make Aesudan stand out as she chatted with two elderly ardents.
Storms bright and brash. Was that <Grushu Kris>, the artist and master artifabrian? When had he gotten into town? Who had invited him? He was holding a small box with a flower painted on it. Could that be one of his new fabrials? Navani found herself drawn toward the group, all other thoughts fleeing her mind. How had he gotten the heating fabrial to work? What had captured the flamespren? How did he make the temperature vary? She'd seen drawings, but to talk to the master artifabrian himself...
Aesudan saw Navani and then smiled brightly. The joy seemed genuine, which was unusual, at least when directed at Navani. She tried not to take Aesudan's general sourness around her as a personal affront. It was the prerogative of every woman to feel threatened by her mother-in-law, particularly when the girl was so obviously lacking in talents. Fortunately, Elhokar liked her, and she was of a good family. Navani smiled at her and turned, trying to enter the conversation and get a better look at that fabrial. Aesudan, however, took Navani by the arm.
"Mother! I had forgotten completely about our appointment. I'm so fickle sometimes. Terribly sorry Ardent <Kris>, but I must make a hasty exit," Aesudan tugged Navani forcefully back through the gardens toward the kitchens.
"Thank Kelek you showed up Mother. That man is the most dreadful bore."
"Bore?" Navani said, twisting to look over her shoulder.
"He was talking about gemstones, and other gemstones, and spren, and boxes of spren, and... storms, what a night! You'd think he would understand I have important people to meet. The wives of highprinces, the best generals of the land come to gawk at the wild parshmen. Then I get stuck in the gardens talking to ardents! Your son ditched me there, I'll have you know. When I find that boy..."
Navani extricated herself from Aesudan's grip. "Someone should go entertain those ardents. Why are they here?"
"Don't ask me," Aesudan said. "Gavilar wanted them for something, but he made Elhokar entertain them. Poor manners that is, really."
Gavilar had invited one of the world's most prominent artifabrians to visit the palace, and he hadn't even bothered to tell Navani? An anger stirred deep inside her, a fury she kept carefully penned and locked away most of the time. That man. That storming man. How could he...
Calm, Navani, the rational side of her mind said. Maybe he intends to introduce you to the ardent as a gift. He knows how interested you are in fabrials. Perhaps that was it.
"Brightness!" a voice called from the kitchens. "Brightness Navani, oh please, we have a problem!"
"Aesudan," Navani said, eyes on the ardent who was slowly walking away toward the path to the monastery. She could catch him. She could spare a few minutes. "Could you help the kitchens with whatever they need. I'd like to..."
But Aesudan was already hurrying off towards another group in the gardens, one attended by several powerful highlord generals. Navani took a deep breath, shoving down another stab of annoyance. Aesudan claimed to care about propriety and manners, but she'd butt into any conversation between men without even her husband with her as an excuse.
"Brightness!" the cook called, waving to her. Navani took one last look at the ardents and then set her jaw and hurried back to the kitchen, careful not to catch her skirt on the ornamental shalebark. "What now?"
"Wine", the cook said. "We're out of both the <clavina> and the ruby <bench>."
"How?" Navani said. "We ordered..." She shared a look with the cook, and the answer was evident. Dalinar had been at the wine again, it appeared. "I have a private store," Navani said, pulling her notebook from her pocket. She gripped it in her safehand through the sleeve, scribbling a note. "I keep it in the monastery, with Sister <Nana>. Show her this, and she'll give you access."
"Thank you Brightness," the cook said, taking the note. Before the cook was even out the door, however, Navani spotted the house steward, a white-bearded man with too many rings on his fingers, standing in the stairwell up to the palace proper. He was fidgeting with his rings on his left hand. Bother.
"What is it?" she asked, striding over.
"Guests have started to arrive, Brightness, including Highlord Vamah, who was promised an audience with the King regarding the border disputes. You know the one..."
"...about the misdrawn maps, yes," Navani said, sighing. "And my husband?"
"Vanished, Brightness," the steward said. "He was seen with Brightlord Amaram and some of those... uncommon figures." That was the term the palace staff used for Gavilar's new friends, the ones who seemed to arrive without warning or announcement, and who rarely gave their names.
Navani ground her teeth, thinking through the places Gavilar might have gotten himself to. There were a few rooms he tended to use. He would probably be angry if she interrupted him. Well, good. He should be seeing to his duties rather than just assuming she'd handle it all. Unfortunately, at the moment… well, she would have to handle it all. Brightlord Vamah couldn't be left waiting.
She let the anxious steward lead her up to the grand entryway where guests were being entertained with music, drinks and poetry while the feast was being prepared. Others were going with master-servants to view the Parshendi, the night's true novelty. It wasn't every day that the King of Alethkar signed a treaty with a group of mysterious parshmen who could talk.
She dealt with Vamah, offering apologetic words, even going so far as to promise to review the maps herself and write him a judgement. From there, she was stopped from locating Gavilar by a line of needy men and women who had come specifically to get the King's attention, a privilege that was growing more and more difficult these days, unless you were one of the 'uncommon figures.' Navani assured Brightlords their petitions were being heard. She promised to look into injustices. She soothed the crumpled feelings of those who thought a personal invitation from the King would mean they'd actually get to see that King. It was emotionally taxing work, but nothing new to her, and fully within the Queen's expected duties.
Navani didn't resent her station. Perhaps some day she'd be able to spend her days tinkering with fabrials and pretending that she was a scholar. For now, she had duties. The only thing that truly bothered her was the fact that she shouldn't have to do those duties alone. She was unsurprised at asking that more guests were indeed still indeed showing up, ones that weren't even on the list an annoyed Gavilar had provided for earlier that day. Vev's Golden Keys! Navani kept her increasing fury under control, painting an amicable face on for the arriving guests. She smiled, she laughed, she waved. Using the cheatsheet she kept in her notebook, she asked after families, new births and favorite axehounds. She inquired about trade situations, took notes on which lighteyes seemed to be avoiding others. In short, she acted regal.
She always felt like an imposter, and with good reason. She hadn't been born to this station. Gavilar, Navani, Sadeas, Ialai, they'd taken these mantles upon themselves. And however prestigious their ancient lineage, Navani had to work hard to suppress the anxiety that whispered she was really just a backwater country girl wearing someone else's clothing. Those insecurities had been stronger lately. Calm calm, no room for that sort of thinking.
She rounded the room and was happy to note that Aesudan had found Elhokar and was chatting with him for once, rather than other men. Elhokar did look happy presiding over the pre-feast gathering in his father's absence. Adolin and Renarin were there in stiff uniforms, the former delighting a small group of young women, the latter looking gangly and awkward as he stood by his brother.
And there was Dalinar, standing tall. Somehow taller than any man in the room, but with those haunted eyes, simmering with passion. He wasn't drunk yet, and people orbited him, like they might a fire on a cold night, needing to be close, but not daring to step up and risk the true heat of his presence. Storms. She complained to her current conversation partners that she was feeling a little faint and, after assuring them that she would be fine, made a brief exit up the steps to where she wouldn't feel so warm.
It was probably a bad idea to leave. They were lacking a King, so if the Queen vanished too, questions were bound to arise. But surely everyone could get on without her for a short time. Besides, up here she could check one of Gavilar's hiding places. He would probably come this direction, away from both the guests and the location of the new feast hall.
Parshendi with their drums passed nearby, speaking a language she did not understand, though one of the young interpreters was with them, so Navani could have asked if she'd wanted. Instead, she twisted her way through the dungeon-like hallways. Why couldn't this place have been a little more light, had a few more windows? She'd brought the matter up with Gavilar but he liked it this way. It gave him more places to hide.
There, she thought, stopping at an intersection. Voices.
"Being able to bring them back and forth from Braize doesn't mean anything, Gavilar," one of them said. "It's too close to be a relevant distance."
"It was impossible just a few short years ago," said a deep, powerful voice. His. "This is proof. The Connection is not severed, but can be warped to allow for travel. Not yet as far as you'd like, but we must start the journey somewhere."
Navani inched forward, looking around the corner. Yes, there he was, right where she'd expected him to be. In her study, a place she rarely had time to visit but also a place where people were unlikely to search for the King. It was a cozy little room with a nice window, tucked away in the corner of the second floor. He'd left the door cracked, and she inched up to peer in.
Gavilar Kholin had a big enough presence to fill the room all by himself. He wore a beard, but instead of being unfashionable on him it looked classic, like he was a painting come to life, a representation of old Alethkar. By wearing the beard, some had thought he might start a new fashion trend, but nobody else had been able to pull off the look. Others simply didn't have Gavilar's strong features. Beyond that, there was an aura of distortion around Gavilar. Nothing supernatural or nonsensical. It was just that... Well, you accepted that Gavilar could do whatever he wanted, in defiance of any tradition or logic. For him, it would work out. That was just the way of things.
The King was speaking with two men that Navani vaguely recognized. 'Ambassadors from the West' were what they'd been called, but no kingdom had been given for their home. They were simply among Gavilar's uncommon visitors.
A tall Azish man with a birthmark on his cheek, and a shorter Alethi man with a round face and a small nose. The Azish one leaned back against the bookcase, arms folded, face completely emotionless. The Alethi man wrung his hands, reminding Navani of the palace steward, though this man was much younger, somewhere in his twenties, maybe his thirties? No, he could be older…
On the table between Gavilar and the men were a group of spheres. Navani's breath caught as she saw them. They were arrayed in a variety of colors and brightnesses, but several seemed strangely off. They glowed with a color that seemed somehow an inverse of light, as if they were pits of violet darkness, sucking in the color around them. She'd never seen anything like it before, though gemstones with spren trapped inside them could have all kinds of odd looks and effects. Those spheres… they must be for fabrials. And Gavilar was talking to two strangers about them? She was reminded of the artifabrian in the gardens. What was he doing with spheres, strange light, and fabrials? And why couldn't Gavilar talk to her about…
Gavilar suddenly stood up straight, then glanced towards the doorway. Their eyes met. She couldn't tell how he'd spotted her, as she hadn’t made any sound. As soon as she was seen, she pushed open the door, acting like she had been on her way in, anyway. She wasn't spying, she was Queen of this palace, she could go anywhere she wished, particularly her own study!
"Husband," she said, "There are guests missing you at the gathering. You seem to have lost track of time."
"Gentlemen, " Gavilar said to the two ambassadors, "I will need to excuse you for the moment."
The nervous Alethi man ran his hand through his wispy hair.
"I want to know more of the project, Gavilar, plus you need to know something else. I think another of us is here tonight. I spotted her handiwork earlier."
"I have a meeting shortly with Meridas and the others," Gavilar said. "They should have more information for me. We can speak again after that."
"No," the Azish man said, voice sharp. "I doubt that we shall."
"There's more here, Nale!" The Alethi man said, but his friend towed him out the door, protesting. "This is important! I want out! This is the only way!"
"What was that about?" Navani asked as Gavilar closed the door. "Those are no ambassadors. Who are they really?"
Gavilar did not answer. With seemingly deliberate motions, he walked back to the table and began plucking the spheres one by one and placing them into a pouch. Navani ducked forward and snatched one off the table.
"What are they? How did you get spheres to glow like this? Does it have anything to do with the artifabrians you invited – without telling me, I might add – to come visit you?"
She looked at him, waiting for some kind of answer, some kind of explanation. Instead, he held out his hand for her sphere.
"This does not concern you, Navani. Return to the party."
She closed her hand around the sphere.
"So I can continue to cover for you? Did you promise Vamah that you'd mediate a dispute tonight, of all times? Do you know how many people are expecting you? Did you say you have another meeting to go to now, before the feast even begins? Are you simply trying to ignore our guests?"
"Do you know," he said softly, "how tired I grow of your constant questions, woman?"
"Well, perhaps try answering one or two of them, then! It’s a novel experience, answering someone, treating them like a human being, rather than a machine built to count the days of the week for you!"
He wagged his hand, demanding the sphere be returned. Instinctively, she shied back, holding it.
"Why? Why do you continue to shut me out? Please just tell me…"
"I deal in secrets you could not handle, Navani. If you knew the scope of what I'd begun…"
I didn't know the whole cosmere when I wrote Elantris. In fact, a lot of the things I put into Elantris, like the shardpool, I put in feeling like I would connect them later on, but I had no idea how they were going to connect. By Mistborn, I did have all the cosmere. I have an advantage in that, because I took so long to publish, I was able to do a lot of practice books, and it let me really settle in on what I wanted to do, and I was able to build the cosmere... For instance, Dragonsteel (which I wrote after Elantris) is Hoid's backstory and his origin story and things like that. (And also has Bridge Four in it. Back then, they were on a different planet.) I was able to really experiment in Aether of Night with what shardpools meant, and the gods and the Shards of Adonalsium. You can read that one, that one's on the internet just for free. I think the easiest way to do it is to go to my forums and ask them for a copy. I told them they could give it away. It's not very good. It's not terrible, but it does have a lot of shardpool stuff in it, so if you're interested in that.
So by the time I wrote Mistborn, I knew what I was doing with all of this. And I think kind of retrofit to make sure Elantris still fit it all. Hoid still had an appearance, the Shardpools worked the way I wanted to, the magic systems were based off the cosmere magic, the realmatics were all consistent, and things like that.
People ask me a lot, "Where did you get the cosmere?" It was a gradual evolution during the unpublished novels, and then was done by the time I wrote Mistborn.
Will we get the poly triangle we deserve?
I could see a world where Shallan and Adolin would go for it, but Kaladin is as prudish as I am, so I doubt you'd persuade him. :) For now, we'll have to leave that to the imaginations of the fanfic writers.
The cultivationspren at the bank in Celebrant was also a bundle of vines like Wyndle. I wonder if it has something to do with the bond or if she is different in the Cognitive Realm because Adolin thought of her as different (with him speaking to her often).
Mayalaran is described as being a woman while other cultivationspren are described as being vines. I was just wondering if that was an inconsistency on (Brandon's) part or if there was a reason behind it.
She's made up of vines (visually, this kind of looks like a person with the skin removed--showing muscles--but not quite.) I mention it some places in the text, but because her skin is a darker brown (with the vines a different color) it's a little harder to see on her, and the eyes tend to distract people and draw their attention first.
So she's kind of a female Groot rather than a vine covered woman?
No, more vine covered woman. Or woman made from very small vines tightly wound together like muscles. If you saw her on earth, you would think, "huh. Cool cosplay. Wonder if that latex is uncomfortable" not "holy cow, that is an alien."
There was a really neat recent post that showed how they use a rotated Copper symbol like we use the "cent" symbol ¢. Are there any other examples in your mind?
I'm glad someone noticed that we took copper and rotated it to mean "clip." Since Scadrial is the closest planet to being like Earth in the Cosmere so far, it's fun to do little things like that. I could see us doing something similar with one of the other symbols to use it to mean a boxing, maybe the symbol for Gold.
The Steel Alphabet is interesting in that each symbol represents a letter, a number, and a metal. When a Scadrian is reading a sentence with words, numbers, and metals, how do they know which of the three each symbol refers to?
It's all related to context, similar to how we usually know which "they're, their, or there" is being used, even if we sometimes don't know how to spell each.
I'm getting "Taln's scar" tattooed on my right shin to cover a scar. Any input on the size/shape of the galaxy? (more than just the star map in the front of arcanum)
That's pretty cool! Well, Taln's scar is going to look different from different vantage points in the Cosmere. From the vantage point used on the Arcanum star map, it looks like a curved string of red stars. Elsewhere it's straighter. From some vantages, it will be horizontal, and others it will be vertical. There will be the sides of some planets that won't see it at all, kind of like how the North star isn't visible from the southern hemisphere of earth.
Are just the stars red? Is there cosmic space dust around them that's also red? Like a Nebula, but also red?
I honestly don't know if the stars are red or if there is space dust around them making them appear to be red. This is a question better asked of Brandon. However, I don't think you can go wrong making the stars red themselves as they appear on the chart, especially since most of the Cosmere views them as red, too.
Does Nazh work for Khriss because she's hired him, or because they share common interests?
They share common interests, and Nazh is fiercely loyal.
Nazh is, presumably, well aware of Hoid. Have they met, and how does Nazh feel about him?
Nazh and Hoid have met. I suspect that Nazh is just fine with Hoid, though he wishes he would say things in a more direct way. Nazh doesn't care much for riddles or flowery language and wishes people would just get to the point.
When did Nazh and Khriss meet?
What was the process that you went through for designing the various "solar" system charts from Arcanum Unbounded?
I loved making those star system charts for Arcanum. I found an old system chart that I thought looked really cool and combined it with the style of an old Arabic manuscript that caught my eye. I bought vellum, inked the start charts on there, and started painting them. It didn't turn out how I expected, so I scanned the inked lines, turned them into brushes in Illustrator, and created the charts again from there, painting them later in Photoshop and adding textures from the physical vellum projects I'd tried earlier.
Okay, that's just cool.
How accurate would they be in-world (they are obviously not to exact scale, but what about planetary colors and look)?
I would say that they're relatively accurate when it comes to the big stuff, but they are also done in a style that would suggest the people of the Cosmere still have a lot to learn about astronomy. Some planetary colors are right, some are just guessed at, so the simple answer to this question is: Your Mileage May Vary.
The specific instance I was thinking about was the depiction of the 10 Rosharan Gas Giants. Discarding the glyphs and the names, were the colors of those giants in the star chart a cultural projection, or does it have physical basis in how they appear in the Rosharan sky?
All these maps are products of the cultures and eras they came from. The mapmaker in this instance is probably using reference from all over the Cosmere, and the reference he used for this system came from Roshar itself. Since it's unlikely that the mapmaker has visited all the planets in all these systems, he has to rely on others for much of the information. I suspect he has the same questions you do about this particular map, though he rendered it based on the best information he could find. :)
Can we expect to see in world drawings or depictions of the various Parshendi forms at some point?
This is a great idea! I'll make a note of it. No plans currently, but now you never know!
Can you shed some light on how you went about designing Roshar's symbol?
We knew that we wanted the Double-eye to be part of the symbol. So it was a matter of finding the right shape for the eye. We went through dozens of ideas of how thick the lines could be, what parts to emphasize, etc. We also knew we wanted swords to be a part of it, so we tried several ways of incorporating those until we wound up with what we currently have. Someday, I'll share the different iterations we went through to land on the current symbol.
Although I know something similar has been asked before, but could you please share a fun tidbit about Nazh?
Okay, things we know about Nazh: Scottish-like accent, he likes fried Eggplants because they remind him of a similar vegetable from Threnody, he's grumpy, he looks like a young Peter Capaldi (in my opinion). I'm not sure what else I've said about him. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you that his home town will probably be called Cianalis, or some variation on that spelling.
We asked Brandon about gem cutting tech levels on Roshar.
He hedged some. But did let us know that while it was still labor intensive, it was not as bad as Renaissance Europe. That yes, they do have an edge. But would not state what the edge was. Even with us making jokes about Shard scalpels to make the cuts.
Writing my fight scenes, biggest challenges I have. One of the things I learned when I was a brand-new writer, approaching fight scenes, is that the fight scenes I loved in movies didn't translate well to fiction. I can sit and watch Jackie Chan punch and kick people for an hour and a half, and I'll just be happy. But if you tried to write that in the book, even done as dynamically as Jackie does it on the screen, it'll just get boring. "He kicked him. He punched him. He kicked him a different way. He punched him a different way." Just strict narratives of a fight are generally not very exciting, unless you make them very true-to-life and make them very short. You can certainly do just a straight fight narrative if it's a three-minute bout. But if you have somebody in battle, and it's going to stretch forty-five minutes or longer and you're gonna have this big, long, epic thing...
One of the things I learned very quickly is that the advantage we have as writers of fiction is we are inside the characters' heads. And that's an advantage that we have over film. So while they can make kicking and punching really interesting for a long time, we can focus the reader's attention by having the character have distinct goals they want to achieve, show their emotions, and show their reactions to what's happening around them. So, my biggest advice to you would be: look at your character. Decide on what you're character's goals are for this fight. Treat the fight like it's own sort of chapter, it's own sort of narrative, with beginning, middle, and end. With the character trying to achieve things, and either succeeding or failing. And trying to just filter it through their pain, their anguish, their confusion, or their excitement. Whatever their emotion is for that chapter. And keep your eyes on the character. Less on trying to have a spectacularly visual action scene, have a spectacularly emotional action scene.
I was working on a book called The Rithmatist, and had just finished it in 2007, when I got a very interesting phone call. The phone call was from Harriet Rigney, who was Robert Jordan's widow, a week after his funeral. She called and said... I'd never met him or her. I'd seen him once at a convention. I didn't know them. And she asked, "Will you finish The Wheel of Time?" Just like that. I didn't know I was being considered, it just came as a phone call. And I said, after much deliberation and thought, I said "Blaeah. Yes. Absolutely." And that required me dropping everything I was working on at the time. Throwing everything into working on that. Any time I did have, I then spent on Stormlight, because I knew I wanted to release Stormlight around the same time I was doing Wheel of Time books. I thought it would be the best calling card that I could do for Wheel of Time fans. What that meant is, three projects I was working on at the time... Several of them actually. The main ones were: The Rithmatist which I just shelved. I said, "We can't publish this yet." The other one was Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians. And the other one was the Legion stories.
I have finished the Legion stories, after a 5-year delay on The Wheel of Time, and then a longer time delay of just being in a different mindset. I have Alcatraz Six, which is being written by Bastille, almost done. It's 45,000 words out of the 50,000 words it will be. So that will be out next year, I would guess. Somewhere around there.
The big cliffhanger, then, is The Aztlanian. Which, I tried writing. I tried working on it a few years ago. It just did not work. The outline that I had for it was wrong. And there was a certain amount of reading and study I needed to do before I felt I could do the book justice. The first one turned out well, but there's certain things looming over me on the first one that I think I did poorly that I want to correct in doing a sequel. And it's still looming over me. I still feel that I need to get it done. It's, like, the biggest promise so far I haven't fulfilled is getting that done, now that I have Alcatraz Six on the way. So, I will do it. But I can't really promise when. Because, there's certain things I want from the sequel that haven't filtered through my brain about exactly how to work yet. I do have confidence I'll do it.
But this is part of the price that I paid by saying yes to The Wheel of Time, was I had to shelve basically all my side projects. And I had to, for a while, dedicate myself only to the mainline Cosmere books and to The Wheel of Time. Sorry about that. But it will happen.
If I could go back, I would revise that ending to make it a little less cliffhanger-y.
Let me go down all the movie rights stuff.
Reckoners is still owned by Fox. Shaun Levy's company, 21 Laps, producing. He's the guy who made Night at the Museum. He's one of the directors on Stranger Things. Really great guy, I really like Shaun Levy. They called recently and said, even though there was a lot of turmoil at Fox right now, they were still interested and wanted to keep working on the thing. They just had a new script come in. That's where we stand on that. So, they're enthusiastic, they like it. I worried that The Boys coming out, which is a similar idea, would make our chances less. They think it makes our chances more, because The Boys turned out really well and everyone likes it, and we have a more family-friendly version of basically the same premise. So they think that that will still work. So I'm very hopeful on that.
Let's see, what else is in development. I just got an offer on Alcatraz. Can't say a lot about that yet, but it has been offered on. Legion is still under option for a television show by Cineflix up in Canada. The Cosmere rights, I'm still working on DMG on part of those, and I'm working with other people on other parts of those. The Cosmere rights are kind of in flux right now, we're looking at a bunch of different things. Nothing I can announce yet.
Of course, the big one that is not mine, but that I am a producer on, is the Wheel of time. Harriet, I asked her first. I'm like, "Harriet, tell me if you would be uncomfortable with me being a producer." Because this is not mine, I don't want to take it over. And she said, "No, no, I want you on it." So I said yes to being a producer. That basically comes down to, they are showing me the scripts, and I am offering feedback. I have liked what I have read so far. The first script is spectacular, and the second one's pretty good. (They warned me ahead of time, the second one needed a little work, so I didn't ream them too much on it. Actually, there was a lot good to it, but the things they said needed work did need work. But they knew it already.) I was able to offer a few (I think) very helpful pointers. I can't say a ton, because I'm under NDA. But I will be flying out to Prague in October, and I hope to represent all of you Wheel of Time fans and get some photos and things that I can release and what-not. I think the Wheel of Time show is in good hands. Rafe, I really like Rafe. He's the showrunner. Every interaction I've had with Rafe has been extremely positive. He loves the series. He has his own vision for it. So I will warn you that. Any adaptation you get is filtered through the eyes of the showrunner, and this is going to be filtered through Rafe's eyes. And there are certain things he wants to do that are bold, but are good choices. So just keep that in your mind. That's what I would say.
Otherwise, let's see. I think that's about everything on there. I'll keep my fingers crossed on the Fox thing. Like I said, I really like Shawn Levy. His adaptation of Real Steel, the Richard Matheson story. If you guys haven't seen that, it's spectacular. I really like it. It's got Wolverine making robots punch each other. It turned out to be a really touching story, really great adaptation. That was one of the main reasons I said yes when they came knocking.
Theoretically, Christmas next year is when I play to do this [Stormlight Four]. We're at 52% right now. You can follow on my website.
That 52% is assuming that the book is 400,000 words, which is where I would hope that it would land. Oathbringer's first draft was 540,000 words, edited down to 460,000 in the final draft. So, who knows where this one will go, but my goal is, hopefully, next month, now that I've got a month without travel, to hit it hard during September and get a little catch-up done. You can read, I did a whole post on Reddit a week or so ago that talks about where I am with the book, and things like that.
Is there any [books] that were really hard to write?
Yes. Mistborn Two and A Memory of Light were the two hardest to write.
If I had any questions at all, I would say: ramp? Stormlight Archive, as it's going forward, like super power creep issues. The characters get so powerful so quickly, and it's gonna be a 10 (hopefully) book series.
Remember, it's two sets of five. And we will be... how about this. We're just gonna RAFO you now, because I'm being recorded. I'm not gonna give you any hints about the future. Just... I've got it in hand.
I was able to write three books about Rand al'Thor at the height of his power, so I'm pretty convinced I'll be okay.
How far out do you plan some of the magic systems? When I was reading Mistborn, you hinted the Hemalurgy stuff so early on.
I like, for a big series, to have a really tight outline, for the worldbuilding in particular, for the whole series. Mistborn, I had an advantage, in that I was able to write the whole thing before the first one had to go to press. I was early enough in my career that they were not rushing my books out. So I wrote the whole series, then went back and did all the revisions in the first one, and sent it in. Hopefully, you will be able to get the same sort of things out of Stormlight.
Thaylen and Shin bread are the only ones that have white gluten flour?
Yeah. I mean, the others are flatbreads. What we're not gonna see is rising. They're gonna have yeast in those, that's the big thing they're seeing, is the yeast.
Soba noodles and buckwheat would be...
Yes, absolutely, yep.
What would be Rock's favorite ingredient in his stews?
Chili powder. Their version of a chili powder. It's gonna come out a little bit like a haemultang. So, they use a gochu powder. Rock would want to stick in the Rosharan chili, he's gonna make it super spicy.
The sequel to Elantris. Sometime in 2020?
Probably not. Probably, right now, I'm planning the Elantris sequels once I finish Stormlight Five. Most likely, 2020 will be Stormlight Four. 2021 will be Wax and Wayne Four. Then we'll look at getting Stormlight Five done. It's in there. I mean... the Elantris sequel isn't even the same characters, so I don't feel as urgent on that. You'll hear about them, but... yeah.
I'm sure you have characters that you maybe don't quite like, that may be based off of real people. Does it ever help you to understand them by writing out what you think they were like?
It absolutely does. That's one of the main reasons why I write, is to try to understand people different from myself, and even people that I may not understand before I start writing.
What I'm probably going to be doing next is: Stormlight Four. Wax and Wayne. If I can sneak in a standalone of something new in there, I'll do it. Then we'll do Stormlight Five. And after that, it's Mistborn Era 3. And the Elantris sequels.
Warbreaker sequel in there too, yeah, probably.
So how - what unit of sphere does Vasher have to consume the day *inaudible*
We're actually calculating this right now, so I'm gonna RAFO you for now. But it's a RAFO along the lines of, "I've actually hired somebody." I need to have actual joules measurement for what the things can do, because we're ramming together more and more. So, we kinda have to look at, how much does it cost to boil a milliliter of water, how much does it cost when we're lifting people, and then we're gonna have to apply that across the magic systems, and it's gonna be a big pain. But once we've done it, then we'll be able to answer that, all right?
In the flashbacks in Oathbringer, to when we're with Dalinar, it talks about how horses aren't good for distance, and that they would rather run over distance. Why is that the case, when, like, that is not the case!
Actually, in our world, men have beaten horses at the long-distance run. Like, they have a race now. It involves a lot of turns, which makes it hard for the horses. But humans have won long-distance races with horses in most cases. Horses are sprinters. So, humans can outrun horses. On Roshar, it's even better, because it's a low-gravity, high-oxygen environment. So, even more so, humans can outrace horses in long distance. This is also partially because horses are not adapted to Roshar. A lot more stone and things like this. So, you've got, like, three different factors. Number one: normally, they have to cheat a little bit by making more turns in it. But humans can still usually outrace. And then you add on those things, and, in-world, humans can usually beat horses.
Now also remember, they don't have thoroughbreds, right? They've got destriers, they're bred for war.
Oh, and their strength situation's gonna be totally different than a distance running horse.
Yes, exactly. So, if you were able to get the best thoroughbred, maybe they'd think differently. But there's a whole host of factors that are going into that in Roshar.
Have you ever thought about doing children's books?
I have. Actually, the thing that I want to do... The Girl Who Looked Up? We've been thinking of doing a picture book of that.
At what point when writing Dalinar's character did you realize that he was going to become the <champion>?
Ah, I am not going to answer that, because you're asking about future books. Sneaky, sneaky. There you go, that's not confirmed yet.
Are you still going to do the ten-year release for this series [Stormlight Archive] as well, for the leatherbound?
In fact, probably, the plan is to do it as a Kickstarter. The reason for that being, we can offer a few little options of how you'd like it. I'll probably do a novella along with it. There's some people who will just want the novella, some want the story, some want both. So, it's really easy to track on Kickstarter.
So that's the plan. Next summer, if it all works out, we'll do a Kickstarter for it.
Do you have any leatherbound plans for the Reckoners series?
Yeah, I plan to do Reckoners. What we haven't decided yet is if we'll just do three in one volume. That's what I kind of want to do. My team's like, "We don't know if people will like that as much." So we're just kind of asking around, the fans. You would prefer it in one volume, right? 'Cause, together, they're about this length, right?
Maybe the Mitosis side story as well.
Oh, we definitely would find a place for that.
About the Reckoners board game. How involved were you in that process?
Not terribly. I approved the names, and gave them some of the names and some of the writeups on the Epics. But I am not a board game designer, so I just left that to them.
Are there any scenes (or just things in general) you wish you could have included art for that for whatever reason could not make it into the publications?
This is often the case. Like a kid filling their plate way too full at a buffet dinner, I often have too many pieces of art I'd like to do compared to how much space or time we have to realize those pieces of art. Sometimes the hard part comes when an artist sends you too many amazing pieces and you have to just pick which ones work best for the context. For example, Dan dos Santos gave us several options for the Warbreaker leatherbound endpapers. And every one of them was beautiful! It was an extremely difficult decision to make since we could only have two endpapers, front and back. We wound up picking the art that worked best as endpapers, even though some of the options he presented us with would've made even better works of art to hang on the wall. Dan always makes the decisions difficult because he's one of the best artists working today and is just so storming good.
Well, that just begs the question:
When are we going to get an "Art of the Cosmere" book that has all these left out pieces in it? Hahah
We want to do an artbook! It'll probably happen at some point after Stormlight 5.
How's the Nicki Savage story going?
Thanks for asking about this! The Nicki Savage story has been plotted and planned and is almost ready to be written. It was derailed for the time being, however, by Taldain needing a little love.
Are you going to tie that to the events of any of the existing Mistborn (or Cosmere?) stories, or will it be like the Allomancer Jak ones, where it exists in isolation?
The Nicki Savage story I've got currently planned deals with Nicki in the real world as opposed to her serialized persona. While it's not in the main sequence of novels, it is not as isolated as the Allomancer Jak stories.
Hi Isaac! This might not be a question you can answer, but will there be any Herald art in SA4 similar to those in OB?
Wonderful question. The answer is a definite yes.
Has Brandon ever wanted an image of something that you had to tell him wasn’t possible to do for whatever reason?
There's a map we've been discussing since Words of Radiance that we want to put in the books at some point, and it almost made it into Book 2 and Book 3, and it's looking unlikely for Book 4. But we just don't have the information yet to make the map work, so that's really the closest experience to what you're mentioning.
Every Newsletter, I like to sit down and write something for you that will be a little different. Something that gives a window into what I’ve been doing lately, or things I’ve been thinking about.
Today, because of the White Sand release, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between Brandon the writer from the late 90’s (when the book was written) and today. I was 19 when I wrote the first draft of White Sand, and 24 when I wrote the second version (the one that was turned into the graphic novel.) Looking through it again, there is a lot about me and my writing that has changed.
The magic system is one. White Sand has a very cool magic system, where people control sand with their mind. The magic is powered by the water inside the person’s body, which is a neat system. You need to drink a lot in order to have power over the sand--but it’s on a tidally locked planet, where the sun never sets on that side of the world. (In fact, the sun recharges the sand’s power.) So everything is connected in a cool way. Sunlight recharges the sand, a person gives water to the sand (it’s actually a microscopic lichen-like substance living on the sand, and giving it its white color, that creates the magic. The Sand Master gives water to the lichen, fueling its magical life cycle, which in turn releases power that allows the Sand Master to control the sand.) But the sunlight also makes you more likely to dehydrate, which in turn stops you from being able to power the magic.
And then, it has the oddball--Sand Masters ALSO have the power to turn sand into water. I did this because it was cool to my then-writer brain. What if people who lived in a giant desert could make water? Wouldn’t that be useful? I use this to great effect in the story, and yet, it doesn’t fit the narrative. The modern me would never have added this power. It doesn’t fit into the entire system in a cohesive way. The rest makes logical sense; this (though I tried to justify it with worldbuilding behind the scenes) just doesn’t.
But in some ways, the old me was more willing to take chances. This is important to realize as well--I can't become so certain I know the way that things SHOULD be done, that I fall into doing the same thing over and over. I don't think the power to turn sand into water, ultimately, works in the novel. (Let me know what you think, if you read it.) But the fact that I was willing to add screwy, out-of-the-box powers to magic systems back then is a reminder that not everything in life is neat, able to be tied up with a bow. As much as I like playing video games, I don't want my books to feel like a video game--and that's a danger when every piece of the book, magic, and setting fits together to the point that it loses any sense of feeling organic.
A good lesson to learn from my old self.
I find a lot of the things I do in my writing now were there in these older books like White Sand, they just weren’t fully formed yet. I can also see my early self striving very hard not to fall into cliches, or to do just what was safe or expected. One of the book's two main protagonists, for example, is a black woman. I was trying hard to make sure my books weren’t only about white dudes. And yet, I was still young in my understanding of how to make a book feel real and vibrant, full of people who see the world in unique and different ways. For example, while I have a strong female protagonist, in the first draft she was basically the only only major female character. I did this a lot in the past--focused so hard on doing one thing well that I forgot to expand it to the greater story. (As a note, we changed one of the characters in the graphic novel version to be female, to help balance this out. It worked very well, and she's now one of my favorite characters in the whole book.)
It's hard to see past your biases in books though--and this is still something I fight against. I think great fiction somehow expresses the way the world truly is, the way the writer sees the world, and the way that people NOT the writer see the world, all at once. In this book, one of the main protagonists is dark skinned,. And yet, if you read the book, you’ll find that some of the villain groups are stereotypical, faceless, dark-skinned savages. While that same culture has some main characters who have real depth and characterization (thankfully) that didn’t stop me from relying on tropes for some of the broad brush strokes of the story.
Writing is a constant struggle of managing clichés and tropes, and figuring out when they serve you, and when they don’t. And the more you write, the more you become aware of things you lean upon--not just tropes like the ones I mentioned above, but things that are individual. I’ve been wondering a lot about these things with my own writing. At what point does, "Inventive magic system, religious politics, and people faced with difficult moral decisions" become a cliche to me any my writing? How can I push in new areas, doing new things, while preserving what people love about my writing?
Well, I'm still thinking about all these things. I'm very fond of White Sand, and when I was going back through it, I often found myself smiling. remember with great fondness the time I had back then to just write. There were no tours, no interviews, and nothing to distract me. I wouldn’t go back for anything, (I like actually having people read my books!) but there was something pure about that time, when I wasn't writing to deadline, I was just writing whatever I felt like at the moment. That's another thing I try to preserve today, the freedom to do odd projects now and then. Without it, I think I'd get very boring, very quickly.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy White Sand! This book needed far less revision to bring into graphic novel form than I thought it would. The dialogue was snappy, even after all these years, and the world was one of my more inventive. 20-years-ago-me wasn’t nearly as bad a writer as I sometimes pretend he was!
What writing system are the squiggles around the circumference of Oathbringer's Oathgate map? Do they have any relation to glyph components?
The squiggles are related to Dawnchant. Probably several generations later as the script started to evolve. And yes, they have a strong relation to the glyph components that we start seeing through cultures later on.
What do they actually say? Silver Kingdom names?
I think someone somewhere has figured out what they say exactly, but you're on the right track.
I sorta wanna find out what a hemalurgic bindpoint would be and get it tattoo'd there... I asked Brandon once and he vaguely pointed to spots, but it didn't seem like he really considered it canon.
it's one of those things kept purposefully obscure. There's no real benefit in being specific about it. Was a whole discussion we had internally when we did this illustration for the tapletop game. Even there we're being obtuse through style.
What time period do you think the Mistborn series is most reminiscent of? I get a feeling of 1800s England but more brutal in their politicking.
Industrial-era France, with some variables based on TLR's rigid control of technological development. Skaa on plantations look more pre-industrial, Nobles in the city are more post-industrial, and so forth.
That's the era Brandon instructed me to look towards for visual reference while designing for the MAG, so that's what I stick with. Mind you, the visual culture of Luthadel is different from that of the other Dominances.
Second Era is specifically equivalent to about 1910 U.S.
Has Brandon said that the Shardblades are based off of the swords from Soulcalibur/Final Fantasy. (You know, those stupidly huge swords?) Or are they just normal swords when it comes to the shape and size etc?
Shardblades come in many shapes and sizes, but are often larger than normal swords, in order to fight larger-than-normal enemies.
Not always, though. Szeth's Blade, for instance, was about the size of a scimitar.
There is no single source or work from which the inspiration was drawn. It's a refection of a common trope, instead. Isaac and I created a few dozen silhouettes, and Brandon chose the ones he liked best, and we've been extrapolating from there ever since.