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    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will reach my potential

    Elsecaller oaths are, like those of the Lightweavers or Skybreakers, themed toward the individual. In this case, the theme is progress—becoming better with each oath, seeking to explore their true potential and reach it. Because of this, the Order is open to many different types, so long as they want to improve themselves.

    Thoughtful, careful, and cautious, the Elsecallers are generally regarded as the wisest of the Radiants. They seek self-improvement and personal betterment in their lives, but aren’t limited to one specific theme or set of Ideals. This makes them one of the most open and welcoming of orders, though they do tend to attract those who are less flamboyant. They have their share of scholars, and often a large number of theologians, but also attract those who are interested in leadership. They are good at encouraging others, but some are known to set their sights upon the things they want and then seize them. In the Knights Radiant, they tend to be among the best tacticians, and are logistical geniuses, aided in part by their abilities to create food and water for armies, but also their ability to move in and out of Shadesmar.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will speak my truth

    Lightweaver oaths are an oddity, perhaps because their spren tend to be the oddest among all Radiant spren. Instead of speaking specific words, or even words along a certain theme, Lightweavers speak truths about themselves—things they must admit to themselves in order to progress as people. It is theorized that because Lightweavers live on the line between reality and fiction, it is important for them to be able to separate the real from the lie, and only with the proper ability to do so can they move forward.

    Lightweavers are the Radiants most interested in the arts, including all kinds of visual arts and theater. They range widely in personality from the quiet and introspective painter to the outgoing and gregarious stage performer, with everything in between. What unites them tends to be a love of art, though there are some few who are more interested in intrigue, secrets, and espionage. They are the spies of the Knights Radiant and are often untrusted by others (such as the stoic Skybreakers) for their love of subterfuge. They have a reputation for having looser morals than other Orders, but the Lightweavers are quick to point out that their personal values are strong. They just don’t feel they need to match what other more hardline Orders tend to require. They can be vague with oaths, and many say there is far more Cultivation in them than Honor. (Others dispute this, saying that all Orders have an equal mix, despite some spren naming themselves “honorspren.”) Lightweavers tend to be free spirits, and many among their Order see the importance of entertainment, beauty, and art in a person’s life, and strive to make sure that the world doesn’t just live through the Desolations—because mere survival isn’t enough unless there is something to live for.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will seek truth

    Truthwatcher oaths are themed around seeking to find ultimate truth and sharing it. They are very concerned with knowledge and the proper exploitation of it. Note that this should not be confused with the Lightweavers, whose oaths are themed toward personal truths about themselves, said for reasons of self-actualization. Truthwatchers are more concerned with the fundamental truths of the universe, and whether or not those in power are being truthful with the people they lead.

    The Truthwatchers are seen as quiet, largely known as the most scholarly Order of Knights Radiant. They tend to attract scientists primarily, but also scholars or thinkers of all types. This extends to some who might not normally be known as scholarly but instead as someone often consumed by their own thoughts. In general, they tend to be reserved, particularly in person, though a small minority of Truthwatchers are greatly concerned with the actions of the powerful and might be likened to investigative reporters. These make their opinions known loudly and forcefully, particularly if they think someone in power is abusing that power or lying about fundamental truths. Note that, as with all Knights Radiant, there is great disagreement within the Order about what is the truth. However, Truthwatchers tend to approach these discussions with enthusiasm, even if they generally prefer to write their opinions rather than speak them. Among the Knights Radiant, the Truthwatchers tend to be those who hold the knowledge and secrets of Surgebinding and are the ones to discover many of the newer advances in things like fabrial technology.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will remember

    Edgedancer oaths are themed around remembering the ordinary people of the world—those who aren’t powerful generals or Radiants. Too often, the actions of the powerful have terrible effects on the people with no voice, and the Edgedancers consider it their solemn duty to remember that the people are the ones they truly serve.

    The Edgedancers are known as being caring and graceful. Among the Knights Radiant, they see it as their duty to care for the people and are often less interested in war than they are about trying to improve the daily lives of the common folk. Often, a mid-sized town would have an Edgedancer or two on permanent assignment, where they’d use Regrowth to provide healing and would work for the common good of the town.

    Edgedancers tend to be among the more religious of Radiants and are the Order where you’re most likely to find former religious leaders who end up bonding a spren. During wartime, they often act as the mobile medics, eschewing actual combat to heal or pull out the wounded or those trapped in terrible situations. However, there are some renowned for their graceful and skilled prowess in combat, occasionally used as scouts or special forces troops in conjunction with a team of Windrunners or Skybreakers. One should never assume the Edgedancers are in any way base just because they often ignore high society; they are renowned as some of the most refined and graceful of Radiants.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will seek self-mastery

    Dustbringer oaths were themed toward responsibility. They were led to understand that the powers they used needed to be properly channeled, much as their own desires and wills needed proper form and shape. As a Dustbringer moved through the oaths, they were taught greater powers of destruction—and are one of the only orders where their abilities weren’t all available at the beginning, but instead were delivered slowly, as they made the proper oaths. Each oath led to a greater understanding of power, the nature of holding it, and the associated responsibility.

    Dustbringers—though they sometimes objected to the common name for their order, preferring instead to be called Releasers—are living contradictions among the Knights Radiant. They believe great power requires a strong will to control it. They often attract tinkerers who like to dig down into the shape and soul of a thing, break it, and see what makes it work. However, their oaths are themed toward control—that they need to be able to control, contain, and channel the terrible power inside them. They tend to object to those who focus only on their destructive sides, as they argue that in order to create, one must understand the pieces of the thing they are trying to make. They don’t see themselves as being about destruction—though their powers are the most destructive of any order of Knights Radiant. They instead see their nature as being about control, precision, and understanding. In the Knights Radiant, they tend to act as the equivalent of artillery in a modern army. If you want a large swath of land destroyed or burned, you call in the Dustbringers. However, they were also often used as sappers, engineers, and strategists.

    They attract anyone who likes to take things apart, who likes to know how things work. They also attract those who are a little foolhardy at times—brave soldiers who see themselves as containing and controlling terrible destruction so it won’t get out of hand and hurt innocents.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will seek justice

    Skybreaker oaths are themed toward justice, fighting for causes, and enforcing social rules. They generally reinforce the importance of moral codes, legal structures, and similar boundaries that protect civilization.

    The Skybreakers were the enforcers of the Knights Radiant, often tasked with keeping the peace, policing the other Orders, and making certain that dangerous or dark forces in the world were contained. This sometimes gave them a bad reputation among the more free-thinking Orders of Knights, but the Skybreakers (at their best) were not merciless. They were the ones who believed that nobody, not even a Radiant, should be above being questioned. They were the ones that did the sometimes tough job of making certain that the Orders didn’t abuse their power to become tyrants, as the Skybreakers saw that those with powers could easily oppress those who had none.

    They tend to attract those who believe in the importance of legal code, those who have strong moral codes of their own, and those who think the best defense against anarchy are things like patriotism, moral fiber, and rules to govern behavior. Note that the current incarnation, led by the Herald Nale in his madness, is more rigid than the ancient order, which understood that the law was not perfect, but instead represented an ideal to try to reach over time. Anyone believing in finding true justice, in defending the innocent, and in punishing the guilty would be welcome in the Order.

    The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    I will protect

    Windrunner oaths are themed toward protection, particularly defending innocents or those who are unable to protect themselves.

    The Windrunners tend to attract “big sibling” types, who seek to protect the defenseless, but also enjoy action and fighting for what they believe in. They’re primarily scouts, though they often work as special forces groups, able to deliver teams of Radiants behind enemy lines for secret missions. They tend to be the most like conventional soldiers, believing in structures of command, team dynamics, and the importance of a squad of brothers and sisters. They often have larger numbers of squires than other Orders and focus more than any other Order on mastering their weapons.

    YouTube Livestream 8 ()
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    Adam Horne

    This next one is from Paleo. They want to know what's your opinion on the term Cytoverse for the Skyward universe? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I like that.

    Adam Horne

    They were hoping to have a dedicated term for it, and I thought that was a pretty good one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll go with it. Thumbs up. Cytoverse I'm on board. Good job. I can totally buy that.

    Footnote: While Paleo was the one to ask the question, the term was originally coined by thegatorgirl00.
    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Ben McSweeney

    Stuff like this [Minecraft Urithiru] is why I wanted to draw orthographic views of the tower-city. :) The dimensions on Shallan's page are rough, but they will line up.

    Each tier has approximately 18 floors, each floor is roughly 15' (interior ceilings vary from 8' to 14' unless they're incorporating the next floor). Total tower height is just over 2700'

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    What kind of revisions [do] Brandon's fourth drafts usually incorporate?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The fourth draft is the final substantial revision. It's the one where Brandon looks at the feedback from the beta readers and his writing group and makes the book better. Sometimes there are new scenes written during the fourth draft—in Words of Radiance, Brandon wrote the Sadeas POV scenes during the fourth draft, and maybe one of Adolin's duels.

    Note, no beta readers ever said "I want some Sadeas POV scenes." Brandon decides when the book needs something because of the overall synthesis of the pre-reader comments plus his own feelings on how the book has stood up in the couple months since he wrote the third draft.

    Sometimes chapters also get moved around during the fourth draft. This happened with Words of Radiance but not with Oathbringer.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Please give us a full novel about Shai!

    Brandon Sanderson

    No promises--but I do have another novella I want to write about her.


    Wow, that's exciting! Previously you've said that you don't want to write a sequel to The Emperor's Soul, as you were worried you might devalue that perfect story by adding something that isn't so perfect. Has something changed your mind? Or would this novella be something other than a sequel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I simply had a really strong idea that I think would compliment the first story. Assuming I can pull it off.

    YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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    Can Skybreakers vow to follow a code of rules some might consider outlaw-ish, like the Pirate Code. Are they obliged to adhere to changes in the law after their vow?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and yes.

    What you're running into with what's happening right now, the Skybreakers are under the thumb of someone who has a much more rigid interpretation of what they should do than is necessary for the Order. And so you could totally be a Skybreaker who is not of this group, and this group would not look kindly on something like the Pirate Code necessarily. (Though the Pirate Code kind of works for them, because it's in international waters, so even with the current crop of Skybreakers you could probably argue the Pirate Code, and they'd probably be okay with it.)

    But you could have even less, codes that's like, "I'm going to follow the code of the criminal underground. I'm going to follow the Mafia code." Current crop of Skybreakers, that would not fly with them. But in the Order in general, and the way that highspren work, and things like that, you would totally be okay.

    Which is kind of dangerous, yes. But you would have to follow the code as the code changes. So that could get you into trouble, also. Skybreakers, they've got an interesting way of going about all this. Hopefully, all the Orders do; that's one of my goals with them.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Was really Evi the voice that Dalinar heard when he opened Honor's perpendicularity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. (You knew it was coming.)

    So here's the thing--I'm never going to confirm or deny anything from Beyond the Spiritual Realm. Because it is unfair for me to do so. I believe there is an afterlife in our world, while others (quite rationally) conclude there is not.

    The Cosmere has systems in place for ghosts and things to be real, yes, but I want it to always be possible for intelligent people to disagree about things like Evi's voice. Spiritual Connection creates visions in the Cosmere that are quite realistic (like all the ones Dalinar experienced.)

    What Dalinar heard here could very rationally be a version of such a vision. That's what the Death Rattles are, for example.

    Or, it could be his dead wife speaking to him from beyond the grave. Navani would say that's what it is; Jasnah would say it's the first. I try very hard (despite my personal biases) to not undercut the viewpoint of someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife. It is vital to me that the author not sweep in and say, "Yeah, it's cool some characters are Atheists at all who doesn't believe in an afterlife...but nudge nudge, we both know there is one."

    The existence of an afterlife (not Cognitive Shadow style, but in the Beyond) in the cosmere is subject to your own personal interpretation. Everything that happens like this CAN be explained by Realmatic Theory, with very valid examples from the books.

    YouTube Livestream 8 ()
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    Who would win in a fight: Sadeas or Amaram?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am going to say Sadeas, at his prime. And this is because Sadeas at his prime was more aware of his weaknesses than Amaram was, if that makes sense. And Sadeas was more aware of his strengths and his weaknesses. Where Sadeas runs into problems is: Sadeas did not have the help and the sort of beginnings of cosmere awareness that Amaram had. Amaram had access to way more resources and way more... he was in a better position than Sadeas was because of the allies and friends that he had. Sadeas's vision was too myopic in the series, while Amaram's vision was bigger, but he, himself, did not have quite the capacity.

    Calamity Denver signing ()
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    PhotoFrog (paraphrased)

    If all of the atium was burned at the end of era one to destroy ruin, how has Marsh survived into era 2?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Not all was burned, all that was in the well was, but there was a bag of atium left and some people had some other little bits of atium

    Direct submission by PhotoFrog
    Calamity Denver signing ()
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    PhotoFrog (paraphrased)

    What types of Investiture can be stored in an Investiture mind [metalmind]?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Any, but some types are harder than others (they take more finagling, but technically any)

    Direct submission by PhotoFrog
    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    I was just thinking about how Shadesmar and the Cognitive Realm as a whole is mirrored from the Physical Realm, as was wondering if there is a WoB or any other answer on how the Reshi Isles appear in Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're...odd. I'll get to them eventually

    YouTube Livestream 6 ()
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    Are you going to do a sequel for Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be a Warbreaker sequel eventually. I am confident that I will write it; I know what it's going to be about, and what the plotline of it is, and who the characters are, and all of that stuff. I just have to make sure that it slides into the right place.

    YouTube Livestream 6 ()
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    You mentioned once upon a time that you had an idea for a book based on certain viruses, bacteria, illnesses giving characters powers. Has the current crisis of COVID-19 given you any new ideas or inspiration for said idea to blossom and build on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has, it definitely has, and it's been really kind of helpful for that reason. I think I'm more likely to write Silence Divine than I've ever been before. But I've learned I have to really be careful to curtail my side projects, particularly when a Stormlight book is due, and a Stormlight book is due on July 1st. That is creeping up real quickly.

    I actually got an email from someone today that just is begging me to release Rhythm of War now, while they're trapped in quarantine, because they need something to read. If by some chance you (the person who sent me that email) are watching, the book's just not ready! I can't release it, it's not done. I'm not holding it back because I'm cruel. These books, we go right to the deadline on these books, and this book will be turned in like the hour that is it required to be turned in and not before. The last hour it can be turned in and still be printed and shipped is when we will we turn the book in. There's just lots to do - going through all the beta reader comments now, and while several of the plot lines work just fine, there's some of the plot lines that need some work. You're going to be a much happier person with this book with me doing that. I cannot stop and write Silence Divine right now, I gotta keep my eyes on the goal.

    YouTube Livestream 6 ()
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    Do you plan a novel for Renarin, Lunamor, or even Lopen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do plan a Lunamor—that's Rock—novella between [Stormlight] books four and five. That is very likely to get done. I would like to do a Lopen novella that's set between books one and two. That one's not guaranteed, but I do plan to do that.

    YouTube Livestream 6 ()
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    I want to know if Kalad's Phantoms made it to Idris to stop the Lifeless.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a spoiler—it spoils Warbreaker—so I have to be very careful, but what appears to happen at the end did happen.

    TWG Posts ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    One thing to note now--I wasn't very satisfied with Glimmer's dialect myself, and DavidB's comments tipped me over the edge.  I'm now thinking of going with something more like this:

    Aether. a voice said in her mind.  It was light and airy, like a voice carried on the breeze, and felt lethargic.  King.

    Yunmi glanced down at the rose-colored crystal embedded into her forearm just above her wrist.  King Theus? She thought.

    Aether. the voice responded, dull, slow.  As always, Glimmer's voice was accompanied by images in her head, filling out the single word.  This time, the image was of a dark black crystal set into a man's hand.  Theus's hand, which had been covered by a glove when Yunmi had met him.

    So Theus does have an Aether, Yunmi thought.  Did you speak to it?

    Unresponsive, her Aether replied. Old.  In her mind, Yunmi saw the Theus's Aether as Glimmer did--as a thing ancient, barely capable of putting out Aetherpulp.  A thing tired, yet forced to continue living on, attached to the king's flesh.

    Also, I don't like Glimmer's name, so consider that a placeholder right now.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    Art director Isaac here with an art reveal today. Recently Brandon, Kara, and Adam have been discussing publicity for Rhythm of War, and one thing that Tor has asked for is a simplified symbol to represent the Stormlight Archive on certain marketing materials.

    Now, to be clear, we love the original Stormlight Archive symbol, and we are in no way abandoning or replacing it. Many readers have bought shirts and decals or have even gotten tattoos of it. We are using it in The Way of Kings leatherbound and will continue to use it as a chapter icon in Rhythm of War and future Stormlight books. So rest assured that we are not retiring this tried and true iconic symbol.

    However, the symbol is complex, and it doesn’t read well at small sizes, so at Tor’s request, we’ve sought a simplified design. During this search, it occurred to Brandon and me that eventually we’ll need simplified symbols for all of the Cosmere worlds—symbols that will need to be easily recognizable from far distances—basically, space-era versions of our current symbols.

    So, after hundreds of drawings and thumbnails, we’re unveiling to you now the space-era symbol for the Stormlight Archive.

    We’ve built this on the skeleton of the original symbol, preserving the relationship between the sword, circle, and main focal point. Instead of extra swords, we have rays of light. Instead of the complex double-eye of the Almighty, we’ve chosen the burst of light from the original Cosmere symbol.

    Going forward, we will actively use both this symbol and the original in promoting the Stormlight Archive, and eventually you can expect space-age versions of many of the current Cosmere planetary symbols.

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    My friends and I were arguing over on Discord over who’s who on the Bridge 4 Movie Poster made for the Kickstarter. We were wondering if you could help clear things up.

    Isaac Stewart

    The text at the bottom is the key to those at the top. Starting with Kaladin, it reads clockwise. So, Kaladin, Teft, Hobber, Lopen, Rock, Renarin, Leyten, Sigzil, Moash, and Skar. On the plateau L->R: Lopen, Leyten, Skar, Kal, Moash, Teft, Sigzil, Rock, Hobber (missing Renarin).

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    I'd not realised Isaac had written some of the broadsheet stories - if anyone can trick me into believing something they've written was written by Brandon, then that makes them an awesome person!

    Ben McSweeney

    The broadsheet columns are usually a mix of four people: Brandon, Peter, Isaac, and myself. Though I mostly write ad copy.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    I didn't see Rlain [on the poster for the Way of Kings Leatherbound Kickstarter].

    Brandon Sanderson

    There were reasons relating to upcoming books that I didn't want to put Rlain in this. I agree, it would be great with him, but for now, I left him off intentionally.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Majority of authors 'hear' their characters speak, finds study. 56% of the writers surveyed reported visual or other sensory experiences of their characters when they were writing, while a fifth had the sense that their character was occupying the same physical space.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Doesn't really happen to me, though I do have a lot of times where I feel I am the character. That's kind of the point; I write to explore the world through other people's eyes. Have never had any kinds of hallucinations as the title of this post describes.


    Interesting! Would you say that you dive so deep into a character that you "become" that character for a time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I always have solid separation of myself and the characters, though I can "pretend" on the page. It gets close enough that I think I can understand characters for whom that imagining crosses a line. Wayne, from one of my series, is like this--he's someone who can take it a step further than I do. I can get close enough to sense what it would be like, but I never really feel myself becoming them.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Lift can drink EVERYONE under the table.

    It's established that stormlight can heal the toxic aspects of alcohol, thanks to the misadventures of Veil. It's established that shortly after consumption, Lift can metabolize caloric value into stormlight. Alcohol is VERY high in caloric density, on par with sugar and fat, well above complex carbohydrates and vegetables. So Lift, once she gets around to trying booze, should be able to quickly turn the calorie value of alcohol into stormlight which then cures the drunkenness. Indeed alcohol might well be a good way for her to keep her reserves, since it keeps very well, can be produced from sources that don't work as food, and is so calorically dense. It also means she can beat Rock at a drinking contest, even if they both start with the same amount of stormlight in gems. This should happen.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup, I think this is accurate. interview with Isaac Stewart ()
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    Drew McCaffrey

    Your input on the Cosmere goes beyond just the art—you wrote some of the Mistborn Era 2 broadsheet articles. Is there any plan for you to write more small-format things like that, continuing Nazh’s errands for Khriss?

    Isaac Stewart

    I wrote the Allomancer Jak story from Shadows of Self and the Nicki Savage story for The Bands of Mourning. Currently, we have an origin story for Nazh planned, which takes place on Threnody, as well as a few stories with Nicki Savage plotted out. It’s likely Nazh will probably show up again to torment her with his enigmatic grumpiness.

    Nicki’s broadsheet story reads like an old serialized novel. In-world, she’s writing these things to be very sensationalized and bends the truth of true events to fit the needs of her story and to entertain her audience. Nicki’s novella is mostly plotted out. I just need to write it. It won’t be a first-person sensationalized newspaper serial, but the epigraphs will have pieces of the sensationalized stories. So you’ll read a chapter, and then the epigraph of the next chapter will be her sensationalized version of what happened in the previous chapter.

    Drew McCaffrey

    A new Mistborn Era 2 novella—that’s awesome! Do you have any of your own writing projects going, which you can talk about?

    Isaac Stewart

    Most of my own writing right now is in the Cosmere. I’ve been hard at work on some fun things for Taldain that we can’t quite announce yet, but I’m bursting at the seams wanting to share the cool things that are going on there. Rest assured that as soon as we’re able, we’ll make some announcements. interview with Isaac Stewart ()
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    Drew McCaffrey

    Going hand-in-hand with the maps is the character Nazh, who annotates many of the in-universe maps. How much of Nazh was your idea? What about him appeals to you?

    Isaac Stewart

    The story behind Nazh is, I was in Brandon’s writing group when we were workshopping The Rithmatist. And there’s a character named Nalizar in that book. I could never remember his name, so I kept calling him Nazrilof. So it became this running gag with Brandon, like… “Nalizar and Nazh are different people. Nazh is your alter ego, Isaac, and Nalizar is a character in The Rithmatist.”

    When we got to The Alloy of Law, Brandon and I were firmly in the camp of including maps that are artifacts from the world. And we thought, where are they getting these? And who’s labeling them? Diana Wynne Jones wrote a book called The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and there’s a map in the front that basically says that if a location is labeled on the map, then by golly you’re gonna go to the place during the course of the story. Fantasy maps have gotten this reputation of being kind of spoilery.

    So when we got to the map of Elendel, we were looking at it, thinking if we only labeled the places that were necessary for the story, then we’re falling into this trope of fantasy. So how can we subvert this a bit? So, if the novel is compiled by Khriss, presumably, then maybe she has somebody who goes and gets the maps and labels them for her with pertinent information. It might still feel a little like “these labeled things are the important parts” but at least there’s an in-world reason why that is. That allowed us to develop a character around that. Brandon said, “Why don’t we have Nazh do this?” to which I agreed, and Brandon said, “Isaac, welcome to the Cosmere.”

    Since then, Nazh’s role has grown into basically a sidekick for Khriss. Now, when working with Nazh, we think of him as a grumpy James Bond.

    YouTube Livestream 7 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    You wanna know a cool story, guys? When I was just, like, fourteen, maybe twelve, we went to Jackson Hole and you [Brandon's dad] bought me my first ring. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but you bought me a ring that had a big topaz in it. (Big for my age.) And when I started writing my very first book, I named a character Topaz. Which is still one of Hoid's aliases, that's where his first name came from, was the topaz that my father bought for me.

    If any of you have read Dragonsteel (someday, I'll let everyone read it), that's why he's named Topaz in that. Well, he had a topaz, that's where he got it in-world. But name came from my father buying me a ring that was a really cool looking ring that I always kind of thought about and then named a character after.

    Adam Horne

    People want to know if you still have the ring.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do not still have the ring. I wish that I did. We had a rough time where we moved from Nebraska to Idaho, and a lot of things got lost. A lot of my items (I was not there, I was in Korea at the time) got carefully and delicately packed up my brother, who was very, very kind. But somewhere in that, the ring didn't make that transfer.

    YouTube Livestream 6 ()
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    Your original five-part Tor pitch when they first signed you. You posted three on the blog way back in the day: Elantris, Mistborn, and Oathshards. What were the other two? And can we see 'em?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oathshards... is that what I called Stormlight Archive, before it was Stormlight Archive? It probably was. That might have been what I pitched them as the name of the series. I only vaguely remember that.

    What else did I pitch to Tor? We're stretching back 20 years now. I have no idea. I literally have no idea. It was probably Dragonsteel, would be my guess. And probably White Sand. It would've been two other cosmere books, so the only other one is Aether of Night. And I didn't really have any other big cosmere books planned in my head, other than those, at that point. I've since added the Threnody novel, but that's a newer thing. So, probably that. Man, I have no idea.

    Alcatraz Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    Again, I hope you enjoyed reading this book. Seriously, I think it was one of the most fun books I’ve ever written. It was as obsessive a task as I’ve ever participated in–I sat, working furiously and writing pretty much every day for sixteen days until it was done.

    Since then, people have called it brilliant, meaningful, silly, and all kinds of wonderful words. However, for me, it’s just something that I had to write. It still means a lot to me that people are so willing to read my books. Thank you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Alcatraz ProjectBook One: July 2005-January 2007

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Untold millions screamed out in pain.

    The last page was one of the jokes that I gleefully entered. I know that a lot of people out there love to look at the endings of books and see how things turn out, if only to reassure themselves that nobody dies.

    That’s a horrible habit, I must say. We authors hate it when people look at our endings without reading what led up to them. It gives us shivers to even contemplate. Drama becomes melodrama without proper emotional investment. If I’d wanted the ending first, I’d have written it that way.

    Wait. I did.

    Either way, I put this in so that you’d be chastised. So there! Ha! Hum.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I came for you, as promised.

    And, of course, I had to end with a lead-in to the next book, along with a final potshot at Harry Potter. You were all thinking it, weren’t you? You were worried I was just going to leave him there.

    I’ll admit, that’s how I originally wrote the ending–not to be like Harry Potter, but because I really wanted Alcatraz to get back and read the note from his father. However, after I wrote the ending, I was dissatisfied with it. There needed to be something more, something to make it seem less cliché. I didn’t want to end in the same way I’ve always mocked the Harry Potter books for ending. That’s when I decided, “Hey, why not go ahead and make fun of that ending?”

    So, here we have a fitting ending to the book. I hope you enjoyed it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Alcatraz, everything we do is about seeing!

    We end off here with some final talk of morals from Grandpa Smedry. I know that we’ve had a lot of lessons in this book, which is kind of an irony built in by me complaining so much about meaningful books.

    However, I like it when things fit. I like it when things come together. And things came together really well in this book. The final conversations here round out the ideas, concepts, and themes of the novel.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    You understand the lies the Librarians are teaching.

    Grandpa’s explanation for why Alcatraz was left to grow up in America is mostly true. As far as Grandpa knows, it’s completely true. The Free Kingdoms do need more people who understand the way that the Hushlands work.

    I took the way that Grandpa and the others don’t understand America from my time in Korea. Even the most fluent Koreans I met still had an accent, and the Americans who lived there never quite understood the way that Korean culture works. It’s all too different. Not a reason not to try, of course, but I think that the exaggerations in this book aren’t as much of an exaggeration as you might think.

    Anyway, there are other things going on, of course. Having Alcatraz grow up in America was a decision Attica and Shasta made together, and both had various reasons for wanting it to happen.

    Either way, I think–personally–that the Sheldons have been much better parents to Alcatraz than his biological parents ever were or will be.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    What do we do now?

    This is a nice, fun denouement. Alcatraz’s guard is down now, and he’s finally to the point where he can ask serious questions about his family–and Grandpa Smedry is willing to answer.

    I hope that the Ms. Fletcher reveal was a nice one, though with the amount of foreshadowing I laid down on that one, I won’t be surprised if you got it early. I mean, come on. Can you really have a book about orphans without at least wondering when one of the parents will show up in the text?

    This series is really about Alcatraz and his experiences with his parents. Book two is essentially a quest to find Attica.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty

    All right. It's true. I lied to you.

    I really am going to get to that scene with the altar. I promise. It’s not a gimmick. Or, uh, it’s not just a gimmick. You’ll find out more in book two, but let’s just say that an Oculator’s blood mixed with glass when you forge a lens will make it so that anyone–not just Oculators–can activate it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Alcatraz The Leader

    This chapter is important because of how it gives rounding to Alcatraz’s character arc. We see him acting decisively here–making decisions, leading the group even though his grandfather is there. He is a natural leader, when he can get over his hangups.

    However, one short experience isn’t enough to change him completely. He’s still got a lot to learn. As a nod to this, he breaks the sword by accident when leaving. It’s a metaphoric indication that he has only taken the first step in his journey.