Recent entries

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #152 Copy

    Windrunner17

    It seemed like from the story there is a strong connection between the larkin and the ancient lanceryn. Would you be willing to answer whether these are the same species by two names or if there is some evolutionary step between them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was a tad vague on purpose, but you're looking at it the right way. It's KIND OF the same species.

    WrenElsewhere

    Like a pokemon evolution? Most Larkin are charmanders, Chiri-Chiri is a charmeleon, lanceryn are charizard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Have to RAFO it from here out. I'll get into it eventually, don't worry.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #153 Copy

    LewsTherinTelescope

    In the Liar of Partinel samples, we see fain life is covered in skullmoss (and iirc seems to have it inside them, from a few mentions of eating fain-touched animals being deadly). If a fain being were to Ascend, would their body retain this skullmoss when they drop (I mean, Leras and Ati seemed to retain their clothes, so it wouldn't surprise me), or would it be killed off by the process?

    (Actually, I'm curious about this with microorganisms and such in general with Vessels, but the fain life is what made me think of it.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Imagine the body that drops after a Shard dies being the essence being recreated out of energy. It wasn't there all along--it was absorbed into the power, then drops back out as a kind of husk. But it's not literally the same atoms. There has been some strange E=MC2=Investiture shenanigans going on.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    Interesting. Is this similar to transitioning in and out of the Cognitive through a Perpendicularity?

    And does this recreated thing include microorganisms (like the stomach bacteria or something), skullmoss, foot fungus, clothing, etc? Or just the minimum required to count as the body itself? (Leras and Ati tended to appear dressed, as well as Leras having his knife, but them choosing to appear in the Cognitive might not be the same thing as that body.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll RAFO it here. Good questions as always, though, LTT.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #155 Copy

    ArgentSun

    Now, I can share the Dawnshard theory I am currently running with, and you can super RAFO it (while also providing a cryptic teasing hint that will frustrate for years?). But before that, thank you for this book. It's not quite Secret History level stuff, but it's fantastic in a very similar way, and I am genuinely happy, and giddy, and also not a small amount of confused :P

    But theory. So, I am thinking that the Dawnshards are Commands in the way "Let there be light" is a command, and the four of them are enough to explain everything. If one of them is Change (something into something else), then other plausible options might be Create (something from nothing), some form of Destroy (something into nothing), and... Stasis? Maintain? Remain? something like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Super RAFO! Nice theory.

    trimeta

    Ooh, another "identity of the Dawnshards" theory, triggered by OP's "Let there be light" comment: I don't suppose the Dawnshards are in any way related to Maxwell's Equations (of which there are four), which govern electromagnetism? I used to have a t-shirt that said "And God said: <Maxwell's Equations>. And there was light," which is what got me thinking.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a big old RAFO, but mostly because I'm trying to stay tight lipped on the subject of Dawnshards.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    SamsonOption48

    They are not native to Roshar and yet they fit among the Rosharan cremlings so perfectly... so was Rosharan fauna based off of another planet? or are the crab species on Roshar invasive and from wherever the sleepless are from? or are only Rosharan sleepless made up of crabs because they melded with the local species? or do living things in the Cosmere evolve into crabs alarmingly often just like in our universe and its a coincidence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The ones on other planets will look less like cremlings. Realize that a swarm is always evolving. The first swarms hordelings were more spider-like when it first came to Roshar.

    therealdavegreen

    The theme of generations is also a thing we see with the Kandra, who can also disguise themselves. Were the Kandra perhaps modeled after the Sleepless? Or is there any relation at all between the two?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No direct relationship here.

    Phantine

    Was Aimia originally terraformed to be more like their home ecosystem (just like how Shinovar is like the human home ecosystem)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO!

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #158 Copy

    asmodeus

    Can you tell us a little bit more about what these things are? The book itself gives us a lot in very little, so it'd be nice to get some perspective on how you think about these. Not necessarily fishing for more information, just... clarity on what we just learned.

    Brandon Sanderson

    By "these things" do you mean the Dawnshards? In this case, I can't say more, I'm afraid. They're plot points in future books, and I maybe already explained more than I should have.

    asmodeus

    I was mostly wondering what happened in the cave. It's... it feels like the Command to change, to remake, was somehow imprinted or passed onto a mural, and then when Rysn looked at it, it passed back onto, and perhaps into her.

    Where I'm a little confused is... is the Command, the Dawnshard, "binding" to her as this thing outside of her, or is it becoming a part of her? Or are these two cases, depending on how you look at this, the same thing?

    Also, curious based on how the mural was described in terms of four fours, but is the number of Shards being 16 a function of how the four Dawnshards were used to Shatter?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mostly RAFOs, here, I'm afraid.

    To those in-world, she now IS the Dawnshard. Whether that's what the community thinks is another story.

    Phantine

    Would that make Hoid a "Dawnsliver", or is there some other fancypants terms for it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on a variety of things, Phantine. But I'd be okay with that terminology. It's basically accurate.

    Gale_Emchild

    Does that mean that before she became the Dawnshard that the wall was?

    Brandon Sanderson

    More the mural. But yes, that would be the implication. Note that it was not an ordinary mural.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #159 Copy

    ArgentSun

    Can a single Sleepless swarm (say, Nikli, or Arclo) form 2+ humanoid bodies and essentially pretend to be two people at the same time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Possible, but difficult. Splitting their consciousness risks accidentally birthing another Sleepless, and splitting them into two people permanently. It's much easier if one of the bodies doesn't have to interact in an intelligent way.

    Mystonic

    Is this the only way for a Sleepless to create a new Sleepless? Splitting an existing one into two, where each of the two retain some personality/consciousness of the combined, but different enough to be two distinct individuals? Is the process extremely painful and hence prevents them from trying to create more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's all RAFO material indeed. I will get into it eventually.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #161 Copy

    tvchurch2701

    Wait - there are Sleepless on other worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes indeed.

    Have you seen them? RAFO. (Note that non-Rosharan ones can't imitate humans.)

    m4gE321

    Would the non-Roshar ones have hordelings that look similar to the Rosharan ones, or would they have bred completely differently?

    Also, can the sleepless communicate with the ones on other planets? Do they do so often?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would look completely different.

    RAFO on the second question.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #162 Copy

    i_am_barry_badrinath

    Do you need to read it [Dawnshard]? Like, I went back and read Edgedancer, but it definitely wasn’t required to read the main books. Is this the same, or do you def need to read this to understand ROW?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I write something as a novella, I consider it non-required reading. It will expand, add context, and will usually give more backstory to a side character or two. Consider them extended interludes.

    blazingwhale

    Will it be coming to audible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, eventually--probably not for a year or so.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    LewsTherinTelescope

    I'm curious - they said there's 20 Sleepless working together in this group. Can you give a (possibly rough) estimate of how many Sleepless are on Roshar, in that one group or not?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nikli is the youngest (and the twenty-fourth) swarm on Roshar. Originally there was only one Swarm on Roshar. All the rest came from it.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    Does that mean there are 3 rogue ones (the text mentions 20 still accept the authority of the First)? Or is the First counted in that 20 and there are 4 rogue?

    Edit: the "true traitors", plural, are mentioned. So are the Sleepless factions on Roshar the 21 serving the First, 2 "traitors", and Arclo rogue on his own?

    And why did Arclo tell Lift:

    “If you ever encounter another of the Sleepless, tell them you’ve spoken with Arclo. I’m certain it will gain you sympathy.”

    if he's rogue?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They like Arclo--he's not an "enemy." He just disagrees with them, but they don't hate him.

    That's also a pun on his part. In that they'll be sympathetic that the person had to deal with Arclo.

    I meant twenty including the first, though it's not clear the way I phrased it, is it?

    LewsTherinTelescope

    So this means 4 that do not obey the First? Are all 4 still alive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All four are still alive, and one is Arclo.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    How many of the "true traitors" mentioned are there? (I'm assuming that means traitorous Sleepless.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. Keep an eye out in Rhythm of War. (Actually, you don't have to keep too much an eye out. It's kind of obvious.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #164 Copy

    Illuminatesfolly

    What is your favorite portrayal of Hive Minds in SciFi?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite group mind is from A Fire Upon the Deep, which will probably come as no surprise to people.

    Hive mind...to be honest, Unity from Rick and Morty was a really interesting take on the concept, and is the one that springs to mind right now. But I don't know where the internet is on Rick and Morty these days. First it was cool, then I think it became cool to hate? Still, I enjoy the way the show took some of standard science fiction concepts and give them a much-needed shake up.

    Aradanftw

    How about the Formics from Ender's Game, particularly the sequels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I enjoyed them just fine, though I never felt there was anything super distinctive about them. Just a well done hive mind.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #165 Copy

    Nanotyrann

    Kaladin's new occupation raised a discussion about the use of shardscalpels against tumors in Daniel's Discord, can you clarify what happens with a tumor when it is stabbed with a shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    With training, it could be made to cut out a tumor--but that wouldn't be the natural result.

    Cosmere surgery stuff is going to be...odd, at least on the magical side. How the person views themselves and the disease could influence things in interesting ways.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    ArgentSun

    If Rysn's Dawnshard is about Change or Remaking or something like, how do we refer to it? The Dawnshard of Change? The Change Dawnshard? I am asking purely from a semantic standpoint.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't honestly decided yet, Argent. I am playing with several themes for the Dawnshards even still.

    David-El

    It seemed from the way the mural was done in the book that you were implying that there are four Dawnshards, one for each four of the shards, considering the sun was split in four, then each quadrant was then further split into four more.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid. As I said somewhere else, this was written as it was deliberately--but also somewhat vague on purpose.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #167 Copy

    Jarescot

    Jasnah is married? I may have misread it, but I'm pretty sure she refers to her husband in the negotiations

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think you might be mistaking Jasnah and Navani, as Navani refers to her husband (Dalinar) during negotiations. Jasnah doesn't appear on screen, though she does have a few lines via spanreed.

    It's a little confusing because by this point, Dalinar and Navani have started using king/queen for themselves in reference to Urithiru as a separate kingdom. Jasnah is queen of Alethkar, but Navani is also Alethi and a queen--but not of Alethkar...so once in a while, I found alpha/beta readers getting tripped up by the terminology.

    Phantine

    So Dalinar dropped his 'I must never be king' resolution? Kinda weird, that felt like an Oath to me.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're referring to young Dalinar realizing that he couldn't want the throne, lest it lead him to turn against his brother? I didn't intend that to be a capital O oath.

    For what it's worth, in the months after Oathbringer, he realized that as long as he wasn't putting himself on the same level as the others, they would worry he wanted more. So being named king was a way for him to calm the coalition.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #168 Copy

    HazelCharm47

    Let's say we have a hypothetical situation with Miles Hundredlives. In this scenario, he is wearing a gold metalmind filled to the brim with stored healing power. He is then spiked with a cadmium spike and loses his gold allomancy.

    Now, if I recall from various WoBs, he would be able to heal using the gold metalmind and regain his gold allomancy. I could be misremembering and he cannot heal it, but I believe he would be able to since it is part of his Identity.

    However, one question I have never seen the answer to is this: what happens to the ability in the spike? Is the allomantic ability still contained in the spike, leading to a duplicate? Or is the spike's ability lost? Or maybe I have this whole thing wrong and Miles could never have regained the ability in the first place.

    If the ability duplicates (which I doubt), that could lead to some crazy things. Also, this applies to any Twinborn with gold Feruchemy, I just thought Miles was a good example I guess :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd like to see the exact WoB's here to make sure I'm being consistent, as I don't know that I confirmed you could regain lost powers--only that you could heal from hemalurgic soul damage. Most likely, what you'd end up with is a person who has been healed and can remove the spike from their body without damage, and without needing it to hold their soul together--but who has lost the ability in the spike.

    Regardless, though, what you want here (the mass production of spikes charged and even blanked) is possible with the right levels of investiture. It's an energy, like things in our world. The difficulty is finding out how to 1) get enough investiture and 2) key it to the right people and/or magic.

    Hope that's a little more clear.

    That said, a lot of times people just ask me if something is possible--and a lot of things are possible, but just very difficult. And with the right boost of investiture, in the right circumstances, it WOULD be possible to regrow lost (to spikes) powers. It's just highly unlikely.

    I'm not sure if the questions people are asking me are ones I've qualified, or not, in these instances. Also, this is all something I'm playing with still behind the scenes as we enter the modern age of Mistborn.

    HazelCharm47

    As requested, here are the WoBs I believe are related. They might be obsolete, however. And I assume things will get changed a lot before Era 4, but hey, it's fun to ask anyways :)

    WoB #1:

    https://wob.coppermind.net/events/331/#e9434

    This one states that as long as Miles still has his Identity, he would be able to use his Feruchemical metalminds after being spiked and would be able to heal.

    WoB #2:

    https://wob.coppermind.net/events/102/#e983

    This one says that Miles would be able to heal his soul using Feruchemical healing and regain his gold Allomancy (assuming he survives the spiking). I think this is the most essential one!

    WoB #3:

    https://wob.coppermind.net/events/76/#e6335

    This one is only somewhat related - implies that the Feruchemical and Allomantic powers are spiritually part of him.

    WoB #4:

    https://wob.coppermind.net/events/7/#e6435

    Also tangentially related - damage to the soul from Hemalurgy can be healed (Although this might just be a Hoid thing). I guess the question could be expanded to include non-Feruchemical healing as a way to repair the soul after being spiked.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I don't think any of those are specifically inaccurate. I just didn't quite understand what people were trying to get out of me. A lot of times, I don't know quite what people are trying to get out of me. I can see now they're trying to figure out.

    I see now, and I appreciate you putting this all together for me so I can see what the fans are trying to figure out. So the answer is a cautious yes. The problem here is that he'd need to compound a TON of healing first--but yes, it would work. You could theoretically turn someone like Miles into an invested spike factory.

    If he didn't have enough healing stored, though, he'd end up with a healed soul but a gap (like a scar on his soul) where his spiked-out abilities were. That could theoretically be healed with application of more investiture, depending on things like how he views himself, and if you could get the right type of investiture.

    Dawnshard Annotations ()
    #169 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Huio is based, partially, on someone I met while touring. I had a driver who was from Pakistan, originally. (It's not uncommon for the publisher or convention to assign me a driver to get me to all the places I needed to get.) We had a good time chatting, and I discovered he had a Ph.d. in mechanical engineering. However, for various reasons, his life in his home country was really difficult--so he took the chance to start over in a new country with a new life. (More, he wanted to get his children out of a bad situation. I believe he was Sikh--though he might have been Jain--and his family was suffering some persecution for it.)

    He couldn't get work as an academic, despite being a professor, as his mastery of languages was really bad--and couldn't teach in his new country. He couldn't get a job in his field either, since both the language barrier was a problem, and also he had trouble getting businesses to accept his credentials since they didn't think highly of the programs in his country. (At least, not the ones he'd attended.)

    So here was this man who was obviously WAY smarter than I was, doing an entry-level job. And he considered it an upgrade for certain personal reasons, but I could tell he was really frustrated by the language holding him back. I've always remembered the experience, and the lesson it taught me about assumptions I sometimes make.

    Dawnshard Annotations ()
    #170 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Sleepless are one of the very first fantastical races I developed, and they made an appearance in Stars' End (my second--very bad--novel, which never was published.) I migrated them to the Cosmere after I started designing it, as I wanted some truly alien species. I was interested in an entity that could have "generations" within its own swarm of beings, breeding to evolve parts of its body, and spreading consciousness across a large number of individual pieces. I'd seen a lot of hive minds, and some group minds, in science fiction--and wanted to play with something that was a hybrid between the two.

    However, in order to properly integrate them into the Stormlight story, I decided to make them be able to imitate humans. (And through these efforts, they are slightly more humanoid in the way they perceive the world.) That made them able to play in the events of Roshar more directly.

    There are plenty of swarms in the cosmere who are not connected to those on Roshar, however.

    Dawnshard Annotations ()
    #171 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid was a Dawnshard at some point in the deep past, and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people, or even eat meat, is related to the changes this made to his spirit. (Consider this the same fundamental principle as savanthood.) The few of you who have read Dragonsteel know that him being a Dawnshard was also the source of his immortality in that book, though the terms were different back then. (The word Dawnshard was never mentioned, for example--though the primary story of Dragonsteel (which is no longer cannon) was about several people who unwittingly become Dawnshards.)

    And a preemptive RAFO to all questions on this point. :)

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
    #172 Copy

    Jory Michael Phillips

    You feel as strongly about Dawnshard's relevance to the series as you did about Edgedancer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a little of an odd duck, in that it's super relevant to the cosmere, but less so in relation to Stormlight. Unlike Lift, Rysn's story isn't directly intertwined with that of the main Stormlight characters.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #175 Copy

    jurble

    So there's speculation in this thread about whether the Singers have a Fishform relating to the Thrill getting tossed into the sea...

    and that makes me wonder - are all Singer forms predetermined by whatever deity created them or evolution, or can new ones arise spontaneously when new spren are created?

    Brandon Sanderson

    New forms could exist.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
    #176 Copy

    zhbidg

    Related to Kaladin's abilities and their application to medicine, is a Shard-scalpel possible, or does a Sylblade of any kind have to do the whole burning-eyes deadened-limbs thing that Shardblades do?

    (actually, I bet this is going to be addressed in the book, unless my memories of lore are insufficient and this is a silly question that is already answered if I look closely enough.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not a silly question--and while it's not answered in the books, the topic (or at least ones similar to it) is discussed. So I'll RAFO for now.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
    #177 Copy

    Haverworthy

    What would happen if you tried to soulcast a shardblade-wounded limb back to regular flesh with a heliodor? Would it regain function?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a partial RAFO, I'm afraid. Soulcasting to flesh is complicated, and the level you're asking for is well outside the skills of any living soulcaster. Most likely, you'd end up with a lump of nondescript meat instead of an arm.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Oversleep42

    I got a question about this and last week's epigraph.

    The metals Fused use. How come nobody knows, guesses or even suspects that aluminium and its alloys are Investiture resistant? They know you can Soulcast something into aluminium, so they should also know it's impossible to Soulcast aluminium into something else.

    And once they know about metal that cannot be Soulcast, they start experimenting with fabrials - they used that in construction of Fourth Bridge - and then the logical step is to test it against Shardblades.Probably experimenting with alloys of aluminium, too.

    Yet the metal Fused use to make weapons resistant to Shardweapons is a mystery to them?

    I feel like I'm missing something here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're getting to answers here. Problem is, metallurgy just isn't a big science on Roshar. I feel it's one of those things that is more easy to see externally than internally--and do remember that there are things like god metals (Shardblades, for example) that also behave strangely around investiture. They have far more experience with those than aluminum, which is more of a little historical oddity to them than a big revolutionary part of science. Add to that the fact that some of the metals the fused are using aren't aluminum, and...well, I don't think it's as obvious a leap as you're making it out to be.

    ImBuGs

    So the Fused's fabrials are not 100% aluminum based? Or they are and they are struggling to reach that conclusion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think what you're asking will be answered in the book, so I'll RAFO for now.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Harbournessrage

    That line, about Kaladin trying to take on ardent job, then general one, and then on running away. Did you mean surgeon job being in certain way the running away way for Kaladin? Or you will leave it for readers to decide?

    p.s. to me it felt like very sad decision tonally and probably the lowest point of Kal's regression.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, right now, Kaladin views this as somehow giving in. That he should have been able to find a better option, a way to keep doing what he'd been doing. It is supposed to be sad tonally because Kaladin is sad about it.

    However, this is partially Kaladin not being quite able to see clearly. So I suggest waiting for a little bit and seeing what happens next.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Shandycapped

    You’ve mentioned a few times the concept of the “in-between” book. Did you plot the events of that time skip out in detail to give yourself the starting point when planning RoW? Or did you just know where you wanted the characters and the world to start from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not as detailed as a full book outline, but at the same time, it's more than just starting where I felt was right. So kind of between the two ideas you offer?

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
    #182 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eighteen

    All right, so I talked earlier about the odd structure of this book. You can see it manifesting in this chapter, and the next one, which are the last chapters of the part. In a regular Stormlight Book, at this point in the novel we'd be pushing toward a more action-oriented or mystery-oriented climax (such as Shallan's confrontation with the Midnight Mother in Oathbringer.)

    The reversed structure of this book's first part--which began with the climax of the "in between" book we didn't see, instead comes to a more calm, character-oriented climax here with Kaladin making his decision to become a surgeon. (Along with, in the next chapter--which is a calm, introspective Navani chapter to end out the part.)

    We released the Syl Interlude early through my newsletter (that comes after the Navani chapter) and tried to edit out any big spoilers--but forgot one line that indicates Kaladin has become a surgeon again, so I suspect many of you have been anticipating the decision Kaladin makes here.

    Still, it's an important moment for Kaladin, one I've been pushing him toward for a while now. Though he's always been the surgeon's son, he hasn't had a chance to truly be a healer, and see how it fits him as an adult.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
    #183 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen

    As I was working on the annotation for last week’s chapter, I realized it was touching on something I wanted to talk about in a more substantive way. So I decided to put that annotation off and make a separate, longer and more in-depth, post about it. This WILL have some small spoilers for the book, specifically some things to do with Jasnah and her sexual identity. If you’d rather just read it as it comes up in the story, then I’d suggest you head away now--and you can come back to this in a month or two after you’ve read Rhythm of War.

    However, good communication with fans--particularly when it comes to expectations--is something I consider a foundational principle of my career. During the beta read, I had the chance to get a glimpse of how readers might respond to some aspects of Jasnah, and at that time I determined I’d do a post like this before the book came out.

    So, here’s the problem: through the course of the series, people have been asking me about Jasnah’s sexuality. Gay, Bi, Straight, other? I usually answer with some variation of the following: “Jasnah would prefer you focus on other aspects of her identity, rather than her sexuality.”

    I said this for various reasons. First, I felt it is in line with the character, and what she would want. Second, I’ve avoided talking too much about Jasnah as a general rule, since I plan her to be a major (perhaps the major) character of the back five books, and so it’s best to keep focus off her for now. There will be plenty of time for discussions about her later. Third, I generally don’t force relationships upon my characters as I write. It depends on the character, of course. (Navani/Dalinar, for example, had a romance planned as a main part of their storyline.) But for many characters, I give myself wiggle room to see what I feel works best as the story develops.

    The end result of me being vague on this, however, was that I seem to have led a lot of people to think I was playing the Brandon game of: “If he won’t say anything about a topic, it must be mysterious, and therefore something we should theorize on a ton!” This is, obviously, my own fault.

    I’ve heard a lot of different things via email and in person from people that have made me realize that a lot of people are wanting some mutually exclusive things from the character in this regard. As I started work on this novel, I decided I should say something in the book in order to pull back the shroud on the mystery a little, as I never intended it to get as big as it did.

    I tried a few different things to see what worked and was most genuine for the character. In the end, I settled on what I felt was best and most in-line with how I view Jasnah. For those who want to know, and I’ll put this next part behind extra spoilers. Jasnah is asexual, and currently heteroromantic. Her feelings on physical intimacy are very neutral, not something she's interested in for its own sake, but also not something she's opposed to doing for someone she cares about. I tried several different things with the character, and this is what really clicked with me--after getting some advice, suggestions, and help from some asexual readers.

    One of the reasons I wanted to make this post is because I wanted to address some of the people who are going to be disappointed as I worry that I (by making her a blank slate in this regard) accidentally led a lot of people to theorize and attach ideas they wanted to her--and so I’ll inevitably disappoint these people. (Though, hopefully, others will find the depiction I ended up with in line with the characterization and with Jasnah’s overall character mode.)

    For the main body of the annotation, I wanted to talk about how Jasnah came about, and my inspirations. So if you’ll forgive me for a moment, I want to walk you down that path--and I think it might explain some of why I ended up making the decision that I did.

    When I was first working on the Stormlight Archive back in 2002, I decided early on that I wanted a character like Jasnah in the books, as I was dealing with some gender politics and social structures. (I actually pitched Jasnah to myself as “The woman Serene thinks she is.” No offense to Serene, she’s just young--and I wanted to take a stab at a true scholar and master of politics.)

    This decision made, I dove into reading a lot of work from feminist authors--and made certain to talk to some of my feminist friends in depth about how to accomplish an accurate depiction. A lot of times, when I’m developing a character, one or two things will leap out at me from readings, and I’ll start to use that to make up the core of the personality. (Much like the idea of Kaladin came from the idea of a surgeon, trained to save people, being sent to war and being trained to kill.)

    Jasnah’s atheism was one of these things--specifically I wanted a rationalist humanist character as a counterpoint to the very mythological setting I was developing with the Heralds. I was extremely excited by the opportunity to have a character who could offer the in-world scientific reasons why the things that are happening are happening.

    At the same time, one key takeaway I got from these studies was this: several authors and friends be frustrated with the idea that often in media and discussion, people pretended that a feminist couldn’t also be feminine. As it was explained to me, “Saying you shouldn’t have to play into society’s rules for women shouldn’t also mean no women should ever decide to play into some of society’s rules for women.” It was about choice, and letting women decide--rather than letting society pressure them. This was central to my creation of Jasnah.

    And so, fundamental to my view of the character is the need for me to not force her down any path, no matter how much some fans may want that path to be the right one. Jasnah being as I’ve written her was just RIGHT. I’ve always viewed her as sharing some aspects with myself, and one of those is the clinical way I approach some things that others approach emotionally. While I wouldn’t say I identify in the same way as her, this part of me is part of a seed for who she is and how she acts. And with help from betas, I think I found her true voice.

    All of that said, the people I’m most sad to disappoint here are those who I know were hoping for Jasnah to be gay. Out of respect for these readers, and to be certain, I did try writing the character that way in this book--and I felt it didn’t quite fit. Obviously, this is a character, and not an actual person--and so it’s all a fabrication anyway. I could absolutely write Jasnah as gay, and it wouldn’t undermine any sense of choice for a real woman.

    However, it didn’t feel authentic to me. Plus, now that Way of Kings Prime is out, you all can know that a relationship with a man (Taln) was a plot point to her initial characterization. (I can’t say that I’ll stick with this, to be honest. It will depend on a ton of factors.)

    When I discussed all this all with a good friend of mine who is far more involved in feminist discourse and the LGBTQIA+ community, she suggested that I make Jasnah bisexual or biromantic. I resisted this because I knew the only planned relationship I had for her was with a man, and it felt disingenuous to try to imply this is how I see her. (Though, in your head canon, there’s certainly great arguments for this.) The problem is that Shallan is leaning very bi as I’ve written her more, but she’s in a relationship with a man. I don’t know if this is a big issue in fiction, but it would feel somehow wrong to for me to write a bunch of bisexual characters who all only engaged in relationships with people of the opposite gender. It feels I could do more damage than good by trying to pretend I’m being inclusive in this way, without actually giving true representation.

    This all might beg another question: will there be other characters in the Stormlight Archive (or cosmere) who are LGBTQIA+. Yes. (Including major viewpoint characters.) However, I worry that by talking too much about that here, I would imply a tone where I’m trying too hard to deflect. (One person I chatted with about this warned me not to send the “wrong message that queer characters are like representation tokens that we can exchange for each other for equal credit.” I found that a very astute piece of advice.)

    I am quite happy with Jasnah’s depiction in this book, and while I’m sorry she can’t be everything everyone wanted, I’m excited for her development as a character in the back five books. My promise to you remains the same: to make the Cosmere a place where I explore all aspects of the human experience. And a place that represents not just me, but as many different types of peoples and beliefs as I can--depicted the best I can as vibrant, dynamic characters.

    Many thanks to those in the LGBTQIA+ community who have written to me with suggestions, criticisms, and support. And thanks to everyone for being patient with me, and this series, as I continue to shape it.

    YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    There are certain things that I do in Stormlight Four that I will not give as spoilers, but they're gonna make the writing of Stormlight Five particularly difficult.

    Poor Karen. That's all gonna be stuff for Karen and me. It's gonna be headaches for us. Not as much for you [Isaac].

    YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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    Questioner

    Where did the idea of pooping in Shardplate come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because I wondered how it happened with knights on the battlefield and thought, "This is the sort of thing that just doesn't show up very often in fantasy books."

    Adam Horne

    Or in history books, probably.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's there in history books. The historians are very interested in this sort of thing.

    One of the ways that I wanted to ground some of the conversations in Stormlight was to talk about some of these things. And it turns out that Shallan and Adolin's conversations tend to be very good places to talk about this sort of thing.

    YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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    Zarin

    What is your favorite part about worldbuilding?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably the magic system. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    That, or finding connections between different stories I'm working on. I really enjoy when I can make the worldbuilding for one book be foreshadowing for the worldbuilding of another book, and things like that. And where I can sneak in combinations between things in the cosmere, and stuff like that. That's really satisfying for me. I don't know why, but it's one thing that really excites me.

    YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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    Questioner

    Is there an update to the combined volume of White Sand?

    Isaac Stewart

    This has been a hectic year. We've had a lot of things going on. I've had to prioritize things like the Kickstarter and the manufacturing of all of the goodies for that. In addition, I've had Rhythm of War and all of the art and art direction that comes along with that. It's just been a really big year. As things are tying up (as far as my involvement on the manufacturing side of things, we're getting close to having everything approved and in process there), I will be able to spend more time on the omnibus.

    In the background, though, I have kept the letterers working and the artist working as much as I could, and I think all of the minor fixes... a lot of people know, there were electric lamps. And I hired my brother (who is also an artist), and he, in the latter half of those, erased a lot of those. There was a modern IV in one scene that we needed to erase. But I think that changes to the art, small things like that, are pretty much almost done.

    There are a few other things that need some attention, and I'll be able to turn my brain to that here soon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're adding some pages and things, right?

    Isaac Stewart

    Yeah, there will be 38 more pages and a prologue to introduce characters a little bit more. Those are almost completely done. The writing on those is done.

    There are some pages that are more world-building that are written by Khriss, and I have to find out where we have room for those so I know how many of those that we have, and then write out some of the worldbuilding. And that's what I'm in the process of doing right now. Getting really close to being done with that.

    So that's where we're at on that. And as soon as that's done, we will discuss that with Brandon's agent and with the publisher and figure out where to go from there.

    YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I originally had planned Starsight to be something that had "Fort" in the title, or "Fortress" in the title. "Star Fortress," or something like that. And the publisher came back and said, "That sounds too fantasy-ish. And it's science fiction." And they just didn't like the sound and feel, and so I came back with Starsight, and they liked that, and I liked that, so we just went with it.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    CiberneitorGamer

    Would it be possible to break a Shardblade?

    If one breaks, what happens to the spren? Could this somehow kill the spren/Nahel bond?

    Can it be reforged?

    What happens to the Investiture stored inside of the sword?

    Could a living spren regenerate the lost part?

    What could cause this breaking?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    BennParr

    Has Balat been healed? He isn't mentioned using a cane in the chapter, and he's in guardsman training? Did he get a session with Renarin or somethng?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not healed (wound is too old) but has access to much better things like physical therapy, and a little strength training to help. Plus, he's doing much better mentally.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    therealkami

    The main concern I saw with people on this chapter [Rhythm of War Chapter Sixteen] is the whole thing with where The Thrill ended up. Do we just lack info, or did Jasnah allow something that powerful to be simply tossed away and hope no one finds it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Betas had some questions about this too, and my team keeps pushing me to put more info about it--but I haven't found the right place. It's more secure than you'd think.

    YouTube Livestream 20 ()
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    Bob

    I am wondering if it is possible for a person to take the power of a Shard and then later decide the whole god thing isn't working out. Can they retire and go back to being a person? Or are they immediately sent to the Beyond?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible that they could retire as a person. Wouldn't be the first thing that would happen.

    YouTube Livestream 20 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    With Dawnshard, what was going on [with revisions], there was some big things that I needed to do, and some of them I was aware of. And because the book... basically, it was written in July, and we did the beta read in August, and I'm doing the revisions in September/October; it has a really accelerated timeline. Which means that the beta read wasn't as clean as I normally like a beta read to do. I really like a beta read to have seen a book after I've done revisions that the alpha read has caught all the big problems. Or that I've had time to layer things in. Like, there is a whole aspect of this book that I knew needed to be in the book, but I just didn't have the time, the brain focus, in the first two drafts to put in. So they all had to read and complain about this thing that I knew I was going to put into the book, but they thought I'd just completely missed. In that case, I had this thing to add in; but, still, giving their feedback helped me decide how to add it in. In other cases, there were characters that just needed some expanded screentime and stuff. I can talk about it better during the spoiler stream.

    But also, I had multiple people who are themselves paraplegic read the book that I had written primarily from the viewpoint of a paraplegic woman. And they had just a ton of really great information on how to be more authentic to the life experience of someone like themselves, and also some of the pitfalls that authors often fall into that I hadn't known about. Really handy stuff.

    And we will be releasing, with the Kickstarter (because we hit the stretch goal), all the different drafts of Dawnshard, along with the beta reader document, that you'll be able to just read what everyone said and see what I took from that. You can go read, like, the 3.0 and be like, "All right, I read the 2.0; I read the beta read document. Now I can read the 3.0 and see how Brandon changed things based on what the beta readers said."

    And I do have a little document of the main things I'm changing and why that will go along with it. Hopefully, that sort of thing will be very helpful to you because this is the sort of thing that's really hard to explain because it's an instinct you pick up as a writer over time.

    YouTube Livestream 20 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    As Brandon has mentioned, we have some scenes from The Lopen viewpoint [in Dawnshard], and I'm going to show you The Lopen chapter icon.

    I don't know if this will wind up in the actual main books, but if we have a Lopen chapter, we might.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So far, for Lopen, we've been using the generic Bridge Four icon, because usually what's happening is I have a whole section where we get a bunch of different Bridge Four viewpoints, and it makes more sense. But we needed one for The Lopen.

    YouTube Livestream 19 ()
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    Questioner

    Will you ever consider writing someone with dyslexia into your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would, in fact. Haven't found the right place for it. My son is dyslexic, and he has a big challenge with school. Dallin is just smart as a whip, but has real trouble with school, because he is very dyslexic. He just loves it when he finds out... like, Dav Pilkey, who does the Dog Man books, is dyslexic. When he finds an author who's dyslexic, it means a lot to him.

    And finding a way to get dyslexia in... I would probably want to do it in a book with a word-based magic system. Because that would be an interesting thing, because having someone who's dyslexic who interacts with words differently than everyone else would be a really fascinating story when there's a conflict related to the actual worldbuilding.

    But we'll see; we'll see if I can ever find time to do that. There's a lot of things to do. And dyslexia is one of those harder things to get across in fiction, because people aren't spending a lot of time reading in most books. So it is a character attribute, but it's not the sort of thing that comes up in the story all that often unless you construct the story in a way that it will.

    YouTube Livestream 18 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    It is hard for me to keep in mind more than one big change for a book [while revising]. I can do it, but it's hard; it's a challenge. And fortunately, the way I write books is, generally I only have one big change per plot cycle or per viewpoint. Like, I can say, "For this viewpoint character, my big focus change for this is changing this part of who they are. This character needs to be more proactive." That's one of the ones that I had for the new Stormlight book, is there was a character that just wasn't proactive enough. And I'm like, "I need to change the way that they're viewing their life, and add a few scenes in appropriate places that up the character's proactivity."

    That was separate from a different character, where I had approached some of the mental health things the wrong way, and early beta readers were able to point me the right direction on how to do it better. And that character, I didn't change structurally their plot; I changed their response to it, and then a few places where that response did require some major changes. But I could have them on mind: this revision, I'm doing this for this character.

    And I had, like, three of those in my 4.0 draft. And for all the other characters, I could say, "In this, we are just focusing on tightening-normal-prose sort of cleaning." And that way, when I went to the 5.0, if there were things for those other characters, I could feel that I had already done the prose tightening for them, and I could get into some more of the problems they needed, and I was able to keep the big changes in my head for the other characters. And then, in the last draft, I was able to do the prose tightening on their viewpoints. And that worked really well for this specific book.

    YouTube Livestream 18 ()
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    Questioner

    Is there going to be a physical release planned for The Original at some point in the future? Or is it going to be audio-only?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would anticipate that we would, eventually, do this. It was written for audio. I know we've just kind of briefly said "yeah, probably." But it's not like we've made any plans. It's not like we have a release in mind.

    Mary Robinette Kowal

    The conversations that we've had are basically, like, "Yeah, that would be awesome if someone wanted it." And also, I'm like, "And there needs to be some rewriting." There are scenes where we're relying on the narrator, and it won't play on the page.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So the answer is "Yes, probably." But we can't say when. And we have no specific plans yet.