Do you think you'll ever store Stormlight in a metalmind?
Do you think you'll ever store Stormlight in a metalmind?
What's your favorite book?
This is also kind of a hard one for writers, right? Or maybe not just for writers, maybe just for... my type of person, I'm sure a lot of you are like this, where it's like, my favorite book changes and varies, and so I kind of have some go-to answers, because they stayed my favorite book for a while. The book that got me into science-fiction/fantasy was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly and I often mention that. My favorite Wheel of Time book was book four, I often mention that. My favorite Terry Pratchett book is probably Going Postal, my favorite classic is Les Miserable, so that often comes up. What have I read recently that I really liked? It's now been over a year, but I really liked Jane Yolen's work, and she recently released a short story collection that I really liked. I recently finished Roshani Chokshi book, The Star-Touched Queen, which I really liked. Robert Jackson Bennett is good... I like a lot of different things I read.
So, in the scene where Kelsier has all the metal around him, and he's Pushing and Pulling on [parts of the metal that are] not center of mass, is that something more along the lines of savantism, or is it just Rule of Cool?
No no, that I was pushing toward... I wouldn't call Kelsier a savant, but I would say that there were certainly steps toward that, and it's something I actually wanted people who were really skilled with the magic to be able to do.
So it's not Rule of Cool.
I would not call that one Rule of Cool, I would say that I want that to actually be part of the magic, that I wanted there to be some level, particularly in Pushing and Pulling, of skill that lets you deviate from the normal. And I've tried to show in other places that people who are really skilled can do some different things like that, particularly with Pushing and Pulling, both on emotions and on metals. So no, not Rule of Cool there, I do occasionally do Rule of Cool stuff, but I wouldn't call that one.
Do you think you'll ever be asked to finish Patrick Rothfuss's series?
So, um... so no. And I would probably say no. My writing style is too different from his. I don't know if I can do the lyrical style that he does. If I were to try it I'd probably figure it out but it would take multiple years of practice and then it would delay the book even more. I am sure Pat will be able to release his book and we don't have to worry about that. Now, whether certain other authors will release theirs, I don't know, but I'm-- If I were a betting man I would put good money on Pat having his book out in the next decade.
Trell's been Investing in Scadrial, he's interacting there. Is he doing anything or will he do anything to influence a new magic system there... How much would a Shard have to do to get to that point?
So we know that there are Siah Aimian/human hybrids like the Natanans. Do Dysian Aimian hybrids exist and if not, could they?
*Makes face* I don't think the biology is compatible.
You said before that if a human ate an Aviar worm, it would not doing anything, right? Someone's tried that? What would happen if a baby...?
Still wouldn't work. The gut flora is too different. And they're not part of the symbiotic life cycle there. That system has evolved to the symbiosis that it has, and humans are too new to trying to make that work.
Humans are not new on the planet, but they are not part of that system.
Could they be trained into it?
Training wouldn't work
Not like training, but through generations.
Through generations, that would be theoretically possible.
Where did the idea for Girl Who Stood Up come from?
Girl Who Looked Up grew out of my love of folklore and fairytale. And the various incarnations of Pandora myths all around the world, in different societies, presented differently, would be my guess at the inspiration there.
At the beginning of Stormlight, when Gavilar gives Szeth a dark sphere, is that from Shadesmar?
I notice that the two most complicated Investiture systems that we know of, those being Hemalurgy and Forging, are both the Investitures of Shards whose names have a generally negative connotation. Is there any correlation?
I would say that is not an intentional correlation.
That is just a coincidence?
Would it be possible for an inanimate object that was invested to the point of sentience Ascend to Shardhood?
To become a Vessel of Adonalsium, or become a Shard through...? This is a tricky question because the power left alone will become sapient. And at that point, the distinction between being a Shard and a Vessel is fine but still extant. And I would say the power could not become a Vessel in the same way because it's defined as something different. But it is possible for the power to be left alone and to gain sapience on its own.
The example we were thinking of was Sel. It was stated in Arcanum that the landscape itself was invested to the point of.. Could the planet of Sel be the Vessel of Devotion?
At this point, it's playing semantics, and I would say no. But there are people in-Cosmere that would argue that the semantic distinction is irrelevant and that it is the same.
One of the Letters in Oathbringer suggests that the Shards had a pact to all go their separate ways. And some of them held to it and some of them didn't?
Out of all of them, how is it possible that one of the ones that didn't is the one whose nature is to obsessively keep your word at all costs?
He would argue that he kept his word.
Okay, so loophole.
He wouldn't even call it a loophole.
What would happen if someone carried Nightblood unsheathed into a perpendicularity?
Nightblood is the most ridiculously over-invested thing in the Cosmere, second only to the Shards?
Was this true from the moment of his creation, or did it grow in power over time.
Grew in power over time. Kind of answers a question that people have been wondering. But, yes.
You said that every rational being in the Cosmere who knows about Nightblood is terrified of him. Does that include Vessels?
There are Vessels who are scared, yes. That does include Vessels. Terrified might be a strong term, but yes.
Let's say a Bloodsealer got his hands on a Dakhor monk's bones. Could it still access the Dor. *Inaudible* Could they even be reanimated, and could they still be useful?
That's a really good question. So the bones are a conduit, much like Allomantic metal is. Allomantic metals are pretty easy to affect Investitures. I would say getting a-hold of a Dakhor monk's bones, likely, would work. Likely, they're not going to resist too much. But, I'm going to say harder to access the magic than you'd think, but easier than with regular bones.
So I'm going to give you a yes.
At the time of the Recreance, were there any Bondsmiths?
This is a plot point. You are supposed to be asking that question.
I was mostly trying to find out if the Sibling was bonded, and if the break in the bond is what caused the Sibling to go into slumber
Let's just say this is a RAFO with the promise that I intend to answer the question relatively quickly.
Does Vivenna/Azure's sword have a name?
Does Szeth ever get to figure out Nightblood's name, or does he just always call Nightblood, "Sword-nimi?"
That's a RAFO too!
Is there anything you can tell me about Maya that wouldn't be a [RAFO].
Oh wow, not a lot, let me think. You will see her again in Book 4. That's not a RAFO!
Is Hoid the secret weapon that Shattered Adonalsium?
No, good question!
If you fed a lerasium bead to an Aviar, would it become an Allomancer?
Oh, wow, what a great question! RAFO!
Was the wall around Elantris soulcast?
Ah, good question! It was not soulcast. Excellent question.
*Inaudible* find out later, maybe?
Their own magic was involved in the creation of Elantris. The local magic was involved.
Can you Soulcast hair?
Yes, if you can cut it with a Shardb...You can Soulcast even the body. Hair is much easier. While it's attached, it's going to be harder. Easier than Soulcasting a body, if you have the skill to just soulcast the hair.
While it's attached, treat it more like a body than you would not a body, but easier than a body.
I wanted to know one of your favorite foods.
Popcorn is probably... I don't know if that counts because it's a snack?
I’m wondering about the idea that you can block emotional Allomancy with an aluminum lined hat.
Okay. So I’m wondering how much aluminum is required. So like, an aluminum colander, versus an aluminum headband, versus…
Right. Alright. So, I’ll be honest with you. The idea of a tinfoil hat was so intriguing to me, basically, that I made sure this was part of the magic system. I say it has to be tinfoil, at least. Thicker is probably better, the way these things work. I’ll try not to do spoilers. When Hoid lets somebody use aluminum to block signals, he was going with something that you would be able to bend a little bit by pulling on it, but wouldn’t be able to fold it down. I’d put a bare minimum, if you want to be extra sure, on that, but lining your hat with tinfoil is viable. Particularly in the later eras of Mistborn, when some of the powers are decreasing.
You've talked about some of the correlation between Aviar abilities and Allomantic abilities. Are there any Aviar abilities that are not related to Allomancy, or what are some other abilities that we might see?
I'll RAFO that, mostly because I want to be free to pick and choose from my list as I canonize them. A lot of Aviar abilities are Cognitive type stuff, just from the way I built them so I can separate the magics. The whole Seeker/coppercloud thing, a lot of Aviar abilities are going to be riffs on that, or they're going to be riffs on glimpsing the Spiritual a little bit. And you see a lot of that in Allomancy. There are abilities that they have that you won't see in Allomancy.
The trick is Allomany is so broad. I built the main magic systems to be able to get a little bit of everything. You see the same thing in Stormlight. So seeing Aviar abilities that you haven't seen some version of it in Mistborn or Stormlight, it's going to be... Mistborn and Stormlight touch on all different parts of the magic system on purpose. But I think you will eventually see some that don't. But they're all going to work on the Cosmere magic, so you can say they're all related.
Where might we see them?
Aviar are known in the Cosmere but are very, very rare. But as you move forward in the future, perhaps you'll see them more often.
At the Pixel Project event, you talked about a further extent of Cultivation's magic than just the boon and bane? Are there any people alive at the end of Oathbringer who are influenced by that magic?
Yes, Lift. Well, I guess that's a boon, isn't it? Yes, there are. But nobody on screen that has Cultivation magic, other than boons or curses from the Nightwatcher. Yes, there is such a thing, no, there's no one else on screen. But what Lift does is a hint.
What inspired the idea of the lenses from Alcatraz?
The Alcatraz books really did come from me wanting stupid things that I do to be superpowers--and I've always worn glasses, and even when my friends got Lasik or contacts or something, I was like, "Bah, I like glasses, I like how they look; I want to wear my glasses!"
So I wanted glasses to be cool. And so I made a whole bunch of magical pairs of glasses. There is really...If you're questioning anything in Alcatraz, and saying, "Why did you do this," the answer is almost always, "Because I wanted something dumb I do to be cool."
The Fused were looking for something at the palace at Kholinar at the end. Were they looking for Hoid's Cryptic?
Yes they were. Good question! Did people think they were looking for the black gemstone? That would be the other big guess. But they were looking for the Cryptic.
How many times did a Herald break and let the Fused return to Roshar?
Oh, so how many Desolations were there, total?
Between the Oathpact and Aharietiam?
Not as many as people say there are.
More than fifty, less than fifty?
I would guess offhand more than fifteen, but not much more. That's the sort of thing I just have to look at the timeline on. You're catching me flat-footed on that one. I would have to go look. Not as many as they think, but more than fifteen.
More than fifteen? Okay, because I actually asked more than fifty.
Oh you asked more than fifty. More than fifteen, less than fifty.
Does a region's cultural identity ever have anything to do with their Spiritual DNA?
So, like, people expect Alethi to be tall, so they are more likely to be tall?
Oh, what you're saying like that? No. Not that part. You're saying like, how someone...does ex...I don't have it working like that right now. That would take more... I will say no on that. Yes, but no.
And then the final question. At the beginning of Words of Radiance, the assassin Liss, is she Chana?
*Evil laugh* I will RAFO that. Sorry!
Taln, did he give in to the torture around the events of Way of Kings?
I'm going to have to look at the...So he should have given in to events in the current version of the book right before...Let's just say around Way of Kings. I'm not going to canonize that, though. In the version of Way of Kings that I wrote in 2002, he'd been around for a few years before he showed up in the narrative. And in the current outline, I don't have that be the case, but I haven't written his book yet. So for canon, but it's a Word of Brandon canon, I'm going to say, he's only been around for a couple of months before he shows up at the city.
Harry Potter is a really interesting example because it tends to be, in a given book, pretty hard; and then across the entire continuity it lets itself be soft. And so, what you end up having is a given book is really tight with the use of magic, though again... I don't know if you want to get into this, but when we talk about a hard magic system, there are many things we mean, and I think as a writer it's good to separate out internal logic versus external logic. If you want a hard magic system... Lee likes the external logic to really work, meaning you're asking where is the power coming from, how does it realistically affect the economics, how can I explain to someone outside the system how this magic is actually working, how does it not break the laws of thermodynamics.
And internal logic means that it's consistent. And so for instance, you can look at a lot of superheroes as a good example. Some superheroes do not try external logic. They just say "This person has this power, and it works this way." The further they've gotten along, the more external logic they try to add. "Oh it's the X-gene" or it's, you know, "You get the power from the sun" or things like that. That is a very different thing from the internal logic of a story, where you say, "This character has this power, it works like this. And It always works this way. We don't explain how realistic it is, but we are consistent." Two very different things. Both very important to think about for your story, but you can have a story with only internal consistency, and Harry Potter is pretty good at this. She doesn't tell us "Oh, where does the power for magic come from, and what are the laws of things," no, but it can be very consistent, particularly within a given book. Internal logic.
For me a great magic system is one that fulfills your goals as a writer in your story. And they fill lots of different holes, and they all don't have to look the same, they don't have to do the same things. This is more, for me, about when I pick up the book, is the magic in the world enhancing the type and style of story it is, the subgenre it is, and that sort of stuff. Though, if we're asking what magic system inspired us, I will say, I still think the best magic system in fantasy is the Runelords by David Farland.
Is there an origin to how you designed [the Mistcloak]?
Yea, there is an origin to the Mistcloak. It was actually gonna be in the video game that didn't ever get made.
*crown groans* I know, I know. But I will eventually use that some day. There's been talk of just doing a graphic novel of this character that I had written a story for. I wrote something like 20,000 words of story for the video game that didn't end up getting used ,so we might turn that into a graphic novel or we might make a video game out of it or something. But that was the origin.
How did Magic: the Gathering come into your life?
So I was, I believe, a senior in high school - it was '94 - and my brother came home with a deck. The local... so this would have been the late spring, early summer of '94, just when Revised hit. My brother came home from the little... back then it was called Cosmic Comics - was where we bought our fantasy novels and comics, and they had started stocking this game. And what they would do was, to get people interested, they would open the starter decks, and they would put the rares out with the starter deck, so you could pick it based on the colors of the rares that you wanted, because nothing was worth anything back then, you could do that. And you could pick the ones without the lands, because lands were dumb. Though when I ended getting it, I ended up getting a sealed one for whatever reason.
But he'd picked the green one, so he'd gotten the Force of Nature and the Cockatrice, so he was like "ooh, big green." And I went and I bought a starter deck and didn't know what it was, and I looked through the cards (you couldn't tell what was rare back then, right) but the last card in the pack, the one I settled on I thought was rare, was a Royal Assassin, and I'm like, "This is lame. His is an 8/8 and mine is a 1/1." But of course as soon as my Royal Assassin killed his Force of Nature one time, a control player was born and I realized "Oh, this is what we do."
Back then we played with all the cards we had in a big pile, that's just what you did. And I was the first one in our little group to realize how great a Demonic Tutor was when you have a deck of 400 cards that you're playing from. So I played 19 Demonic Tutors, I traded for everyone else's, so that I could actually find some of my cards now and then. That was my experience starting off Magic.
I bought one pack of Legends the week it released, I had gotten into Magic a little earlier. So I guess you can find out exactly when I started playing, because I walked into Cosmic Comics and they said "We've got Legends in." I'm like, "What's that?" They're like, "You want some. It'll be gone within an hour." So I took my money I was going to spend on fantasy novels, and I bought one pack of Legends, and... I can't even remember, I might have even got a Chromium in it, but then they were gone within an hour. That was back when a set came out, it was gone that day, and you didn't see any more of them.
To my knowledge, canned foods were the main export of Scadrial?
They were definitely a... yes, they had an important part of their export economy.
What would the imports be?
I'll RAFO that for right now.
Can you tell us when more books are coming... as far as Alcatraz?
Yes, Alcatraz 6 is halfway done. It is moving along really well. I wrote a chunk of it and didn't like it, went to a friend of mine whose a really good writer and said, "I can't get Bastille's voice down, can you help me out?" And so we've been kind of going back and forth and sending things back and forth to each other and it's finally really working. It's snapping right together, and so I would imagine it's less than a year away. I don't know for sure. Not far.
On Threnody, the Shades, their eyes turn red when they get really mad. Is that the same thing as with the Voidbringers and all the other ones?
I have a subtheme in the Cosmere of the redness and it's supposed to be intentional.
So it is the same thing?
It's the same theme. But I do not mean to imply that it's the same Shard.
But it's the same effect?
Yes. I'm doing it intentionally. Red eyes specifically are meant to mean something but I use it a few other ways [the same way?].
In Stormlight with the way the Radiant's armor works, is it going to be similar to in Aether of Night where it grows? Or do they summon it like the Shardblades?
Mmmm, someone's read Aether of Night! RAFO! You should find out before too much longer. I've been working very hard to keep that mechanism hidden until we can have some things like this happen on screen. But it's getting increasingly hard.
What's the thing you're most excited about doing for Stormlight 4?
I've got a really cool thing set up for Wit's epilogue that I've been planning to do for a long time. So the Wit soliloquy at the end is going to be a little extra special.
I think the Ghostbloods and the Set are related?
I will RAFO that; but I will give you a card.
Has Kelsier done any worldhopping?
Kelsier is bound to Scadrial the same way that a spren is bound to Roshar, because of the level of Investiture and the type and the way it happened. It is possible to get off-world but he does not know what it is.
So, how much of an idea do you need before you start working on a book?
It depends on your writing style. For me, I need multiple ideas that are interacting in interesting ways. Some writers, no idea is required at all. They just start writing and see where it goes. Stephen King sometimes does that, when he writes books. We call it pantsing versus outlining, and I'm more of an outliner. I like lots of cool things that are interacting.
The people who are from the future...*inaudible* I was thinking maybe they were from Scadrial?
I will not confirm or deny it. It is someone from the Cosmere from a world you've seen before.
Some of the names in the Stormlight Archive, sometimes they almost seem a little French to me.
Oh yeah? Names from Stormlight are mostly coming from Hebrew or from Arabic. A lot of Arabic, a lot of Hebrew. I studied French in high school, so you never can tell. But Kelsier ("Kel-see-ay"), Demoux, and Vin are all from French in Mistborn.
Is the torture of Kaladin's love life just going to be an ongoing theme throughout the books? Is that what you're going to do?
Relationships are not really his thing, let's just say that.
Dalinar has a task to "Unite them". Is it's ultimate purpose applies only to Roshar or it could go beyond Roshar, to the greater cosmere?
This could be interpreted that way.