Recent entries

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    How many character chapters is too many? ...My first book has three character chapters, my second has six. I'm wondering if that's too--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nothing is too many. It's good practice. You might lose control of it. My advice would be if you can keep those characters in clusters, meaning if you split them off into their own plots if they are together in one or two batches, it's going to be a lot easier. Adding more viewpoints is not too much harder when you're doing that. It's when they're all off on their own. But there's nothing that's too much, right? Even if it doesn't end up working out you will have taught yourself something.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    ...We saw in the [Arcanum Unbounded] that you can also travel without a perpendicularity to get to the different systems, but is that like an alien spaceship thing that we're going to find out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. You could get between them all if you used conventional space travel. It would take a long time, but you could get between them all. All the other methods use the magics in some way.

    Questioner

    But does it always have to be the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The ways that people know how to do it now are all related to the Cognitive Realm in some way. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's the way that everybody knows.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Overlord Jebus

    Has Eshonai left for the Beyond?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I'll canonize this. I'm sorry. 

    Overlord Jebus

    *sounds of horror and shock* Noooo, nooooo, RAFO it!

    Brandon Sanderson

    You wanted-- That was a RAFO-bait but, so I never intended that-- If you want to leave this one out there-- But I never intended Timbre to be Eshonai's soul. When people said that in the beta, I'm like, "Oh, I guess you could see that, but I mean that's not how spren work, right?"

    Overlord Jebus

    I was going to say, so you're saying Timbre is not Eshonai's soul.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I never even thought they would make that connection. Because we saw Timbre in the previous book... I mean, I don't want to kill people's fan theories. But that one kind of blindsided me in the beta. I'm like, "Well I guess we'll go ahead and let people think that but no." No.

    You can leave that one off if you want to tease people and things. Some people really want to believe that.

    Overlord Jebus

    I made a bet that Eshonai was not only still be alive after Words of Radiance, but would also become Radiant. And then the bet was if not I had to eat a shoe.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh no!

    Overlord Jebus

    So I've been trying to get out of it for like--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well you could eat a gummy shoe or something like that...

    But no, I didn't intend this. No. There are-- Yeah.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    How did you come up with the name of the parshman Kaladin journeys with, Sah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't remember. I was looking for Alethi names. Alethi has its roots in Arabic and Hebrew with a little bit of Chinese thrown in here and there, mostly with Arabic. So, not sure where I got that one specifically.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Overlord Jebus

    Can a spren willingly break their bond anytime between the First and Fifth Oath, with their Radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, this is possible--

    Overlord Jebus

    Essentially committing suicide isn't it though--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just ascribe to that question-- A spren could at any point break it. Can they break it safely? That's a different question.

    Overlord Jebus

    Can they break it safely? *laughs*

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are methods in place where it can be stopped. So yes it can be done. But once you've started into this, once you've chosen on both sides, it's a dangerous process. But yes it can be done, and it can be done safely.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Does Cusicesh the Protector have anything to do with the third Sibling at Urithiru?

    Brandon Sanderson

    See, you gave me too much wiggle room there. Because "anything" is a really broad term. So I could say yes, but not in the way you're thinking.

    Questioner

    Okay, hmm I have to rethink my theory then.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll say probably not the way you're thinking.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    So Hoid has a Cryptic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is heavily implied that Hoid is trying to get this Cryptic to--

    Questioner

    And Soulcasting in some sense or another transports someone into Shadesmar. So does he no longer need a perpendicularity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Hoid has been breaking certain rules along those lines for a long while. I guess he's not breaking any actual rules... He has found, by Stormlight, to do things in ways that others are not using. How about that?

    Questioner

    That is excellent.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is looking forward to having a spren bond that will make things like this easier...

    And, audio recorder, that one is not quite canon yet. The one about Hoid.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Overlord Jebus

    All the physical manifestations--solid physical manifestations we've seen of Investiture has been metallic. It's been atium, lerasium, Shardblades. Is that just a coincidence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's intentional.

    Overlord Jebus

    It's intentional so we're not going to see Investiture wood or Investiture plastic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, I mean technically, like, what do you call the Aethers? Those are not metal. But I do it as metal intentionally.

    Questioner

    They could be a metal with very low boiling point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the vine ones are--

    Overlord Jebus

    Well we've had liquid, we've had gas, the solids all seem to be metallic, so.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is intentional, it's just one of those little laws of the cosmere, that's not meant to mean anything

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Are both of Kaladin's maternal... grandparents darkeyes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Good question. I think you're the first one to pull that out of me...

    There's one question, or two questions in [the signing line], that I know are driving your brains crazy, that are not as clear-cut in my answers as you might assume they are. One is about Kaladin's mother.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Mraize's Basement Emporium. Is that more like a trophy room or a "In case of emergencies" room?

    Multiple people

    Or a bank vault?

    Or a weapon's vault?

    Or both?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yes...

    I mean, he can't use the Aether, right? ...He can't use the Aether, he doesn't have an Aether. But the sand, the sand does stuff. So a handful of sand is a really useful amount of sand to have if you're not a sandmaster. Because sand reacts to Investiture. So if you let it fade and you take it somewhere, as soon as Investiture goes kinetic, it'll turn white again. So you'll be able to use it to tell who's using Inve-- it works just like a Seeker, like bronze pulses...

    So having white sand, having sand around is really good. If you can keep the little beasties that are growing on the sand around, they will react to basically the Investiture equivalent of radiation. So that's handy.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Lightweavers are radios, aren't they? Lightwaves are radio waves? Light and-- they're the same thing, aren't they?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...They can do sound too, yeah. So you're saying lightweaving with illusion, can it?

    Questioner

    Can transmit radio waves? As in, communicate over long distances, it's one of the most important things in battles, right? In war...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had someone in one of my very early books irradiate someone with Lightweaving, I think.

    Questioner

    Oh that's right you've got multiple kinds of Lightweaving.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    You talked about Mistborn being the space traveler ones. I was wondering if you were going to utilize some of the speed bending into that, into the travel with it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see what I do when I do that... The biggest problem is, for you physics majors, how we make sure that we're not breaking causality... So breaking causality is kinda my big no-no. For instance, I have right now that moving between Oathgates goes at the speed of light. But technically we still break causality, right, with Shadesmar stuff... But the issue--the way we can do it in Shadesmar is because it breaks causality, but there is so muc-- Like if you were able to go into Shadesmar, move at the speed of light, come out like, you could break causality but it's, in practice, impossible, because the difference is so slight.

    We also break causality with the Spiritual Realm, but I can control that.

    Questioner

    Also you can just kind of like, mulligan that off.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...If we were having instant speed, communication and things like that... yeah if we have an ansible, that's how we're not breaking causality. How we're not doing the train thought experiment which breaks my brain...

    So that's the big thing I have to worry about once we get to the Mistborn era, the space travel and stuff. Like, right now I don't break causality, or at least if I do, it is indiscernible to human ability to realize it. Once we get to actual space travel, and actual FTL, then I want to have rules in place, even if it is just like the rule for red shifts. On speed bubbles, where I say, "Yeah it just doesn't happen." Letting you know. But it would be no fun. Even if it's just that. But I at least want to have that in hand.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Is there any effect on a Shardblade if the deadeye is really far away from where the Blade is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Define really.

    Questioner

    The one that's trapped on the ship. Let's say they're taking him to the far side of Shadesmar, but the dude that owns that Blade lives in...

    Brandon Sanderson

    We will deal with that in the books. There is an effect, but that's not enough of an effect.

    Overlord Jebus

    Considering no one says that their Shardblade is acting weird in two and a half thousand years.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That happens all the time in Shadesmar. If you were able to get it off the planet, it would have an effect.

    Questioner

    If you as the owner of the Shardblade were offworld and you tried to summon it, that would be the effect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Either way. But you can't take spren off-world. I mean, you can, but you can't really. Really all that I have in the notes for it to do right now, is to add slightly more time. So you're like, "That's weird that felt like not ten heartbeats, it felt like twelve." But it's like, you're on another planet, then it's suddenly speed of light type stuff. So suddenly it's like, "This is taking three years instead. That's a pretty big deal!"

    ...So I've got a few weird speed of light things mixed into the cosmere, and that's one of them.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Is there a center to the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There isn't a center in the cosmere... I keep calling it a dwarf galaxy but I think they decided it's a cluster, instead of a dwarf galaxy.

    Overlord Jebus

    Even a dwarf galaxy is still really big.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, still too big. So we had to call it a cluster. Because we only wanted like what, we came up with 50 or 100 stars? So it's a cluster. Or a really dwarf galaxy.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Silasary

    So Nightblood drains investiture from people. How would it operate on Sel?

    Questioner 2

    Oh yeah, because the investiture's in the ground, practically.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...On Sel-- I mean Investiture is in everything, right? So I don't imagine it having a difference on Sel in the Physical Realm from what you normally see.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    What's the deal with silver? Why does it not fit cleanly into the Allomantic metals, why is aluminum a special one and not silver. Why is it silver powder and not aluminum powder on Threnody? These kinds of questions.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do you want the in-world answer... or the writerly answer?

    Questioner

    Well really I want the in-world answer.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...The in-world answer is that people are not sure yet.

    Questioner

    Well, that's not the in-world answer. That's the in world answer from Khriss, right? What about the in-world answer from--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's the in-world answer--they're not sure yet...

    The writerly answer is that we started with silver in place of tin. And by the time I swapped it out, aluminum was already its thing. If I had to do it over again, I might make silver aluminum, but I wanted what aluminum does to be rare, and silver isn't. So I might not have. I love what aluminum does because it's super-rare pre-industrial, but you hit industrial and it's everywhere.

    So it allowed me to do, when we get to modern era, to have real checks on Allomancy as Allomancy gets more powerful.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Why is Kaladin so proficient-- Like naturally born to wield a spear. Is that a weapon he likes or is it a destiny for him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So destiny is a strong term... I would say he has natural aptitude, but no more so than a normal person who has a natural aptitude for something. But the way the Spiritual Realm works in the cosmere and the way Connection works, there were certain things that were happening to Kaladin before they happened...

    It's like Syl says in one of the books. "You didn't know me then, but I knew you then. Even though we hadn't met yet, I still knew you." You see some weird Connection things too. And these are mostly just for fun sort of cosmere connections. Like when you see Syl take on the look of Shallan standing on the beach. There's gonna be a connection there. It's forming, it doesn't exist yet, but all things are one in the Spiritual Realm, and we're just kinda seeing echoes of that. It's not meant to be destiny, it's more meant to be, "Hey there's little connections happening".

    I would not say Kaladin is any more naturally gifted in that than your average professional sports player is naturally gifted in what they do.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    nIBLIB

    Did the Lord Ruler move the mountains North, or the Well of Ascension south? I couldn't figure it out and it bugged me

    Brandon Sanderson

    Technically, it's a little of both. What the Lord Ruler did was tilt the planet's crust until the Well was where he wanted it, then put the mountains in place as misdirection.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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    Caderade24

    I was wondering in which ways has the LDS religion/theology influenced your writing? I mean, aside from trying to keep your books relatively clean and accessible. For example, it seems like the oaths of the Knights Radiant have some similarity to LDS covenants.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think being LDS can help but influence my writing, though I personally follow Tolkien's philosophy: I stay away from specific allegory. I just try to write the best story I can, staying true to what the characters believe (or don't believe.)

    So while I don't doubt that people can find parallels, I leave that for readers to theorize about. Most are not intentional, but that doesn't mean they aren't real.

    Jofwu

    Are there any specific ways you feel like it has shaped your writing in a more general sense? An obvious example, I expect, is the general avoidance of explicit language and sexual content. (something I, for one, appreciate) Does anything else like that come to mind?

    Of course I mean that in a roundabout way. It would be rather strong to say that Mormonism directly affects the writing you produce. I'm sure you don't write explicit sex scenes because you are not comfortable with it (or whatever) rather than because the church says not to. But certainly it has shaped who you are, and you shape the stories. So I assume it's possible to trace a few lines from one end to the other.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're right; I think these things are possible to trace--and the example you give is a good one. I've described the lack of sex scenes in my books the same way you just did.

    I'd say that certainly, the sense of hope in my books is shaped by my faith. I didn't do it intentionally, but if you look at Mistborn, you find lots of quotes about faith in the face of trials--which is a very religious way of looking at the world. Some of my more secular friends might point out a fallacy in this thinking; they'd say that while determination is an important human emotion, doubling down on something just because you want to believe is the opposite of being self-reflective.

    My belief in what makes someone heroic, or a good leader, is probably also very directly influenced by my upbringing and belief.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Zantis

    Was Elhokar going to be a Windrunner squire or was he going to be a different Order?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was actually going to be a Lightweaver.

    Zantis

    Interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. And some interesting story with him because--here's a little tidbit for you... In the original draft that I wrote in 2002 I pushed him far enough that Dalinar had to kill him. It came to blows. And I never quite liked how that turned out, so in the 2010 version we had a different path for Elhokar. But he's been doomed from a long time ago, poor guy.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Zantis

    Let's say Lift received two Hemalurgic spikes: one for Allomantic bendalloy and one for Feruchemical bendalloy. Then she eats a bunch of pancakes, stores the nutrition in a piece of bendalloy, burns it to compound nutrition. Can that nutrition be turned into Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.  Yeah, but remember she didn't have to be-- so basically what that-- Is just a really complicated way for her to turn Allomantic Investiture-- so that it can allocate Allomantic Investiture into Stormlight. That would be a complex method of doing that. Just transferring one type of Investiture into another. It's just basically drawing from Ruin and she is then turning it into Stormlight-ish? It's a complicated thing, but that's basically what happens, just really crazy.

    Zantis

    Okay, so-- but it is the same sort of thing, right? *hesitant nod from Brandon* And--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I hope that eventually in the cosmere they will find easier ways than that.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    So I wanted to ask how Count Dooku was?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Count Dooku has passed on to the Beyond for plants.  I know, I know. Count Dooku-- The funny thing is, this isn't even a picture of Count Dooku. The joke with Count Dooku was Count Dooku was actually not a potted plant-- he was a plant that lived in a glass sphere, with just the roots into the water. Now that was a joke when, you know, Alcatraz put the joke about the potted plant in there--was given to me by a friend of mine. But Count Dooku has since moved on to the great Beyond for plants. So we had to use a different picture. We didn't have an actual picture.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    So we know some Orders are of-- Radiant are of Honor and Cultivation, right? So Jasnah is more logical and is definitely kind of, you know, set in stone about her ways. But Shallan, she's got a lot of personal growth and I know-- So I'm wondering is Shallan like one of the Orders that is of Cultivation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In their-- They would theorize that's more Cultivation than Honor.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    When you get, like, bonded with a spren-- the type of spren that is bonded to you, it depends on your personality and beliefs, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, mmhmm. The spren kind of choose, but they-- It's not a hundred percent choice. More like if they're drawn to it, things like that. So who you are, what your beliefs are, what your kind of moral code is can influence what type of spren you would get.

    Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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    greaterbookwyrm

    What happens when you cut a kandra with a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So a kandra is going to react basically the same way, in that the Shardblade's going to be hitting at the soul and severing it and things like that. They are not immune to Shardblades. But because they have mutable shapes, there will be a little bit of weirdness involved in that. You'll get to see that happen eventually.

    Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I have the last quarter of this year earmarked to write the final Mistborn (Wax and Wayne) novel, which leaves me around six or seven months to play with, and I'm hoping to finish another book in the Skyward series. However, before I dive into that, there's a certain novella I need to write. We're listing that as "Secret Project" and it's not anything you're probably guessing. I'll reveal it when the time is right, but for now, it's not cosmere, and is not something I've talked about before.

    Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    White Sand has an interesting background. Many of you know that it was the sixth novel Brandon wrote–Elantris–that was picked up by Tor and published as his first novel, but by the time Tor released Elantris in 2005, Brandon had written more than thirteen novels. Mistborn, which came out a year later in 2006, was Brandon's fourteenth.

    But White Sand was Brandon's first novel. His third novel–Lord Mastrell–was a sequel to it. When Brandon wrote his eighth novel, right after the infamous Dragonsteel, he went back to White Sand Prime and Lord Mastrell and rewrote them both from the beginning, combining them into the White Sand we now give away for those who sign up for the mailing list. I believe this was also the novel that got his agent Joshua's attention, and while Joshua didn't offer representation just yet, he did offer some suggestions for a revision. Brandon also had a list of things he wanted to accomplish were he ever to have the chance to return to White Sand and revise it. But when Elantris came out, turning around and revising an old novel was just not in the cards.

    When Dynamite proposed a three-part graphic novel several years ago, Brandon met with Team Dragonsteel and laid out his vision for White Sand. We pulled out his revision notes along with Joshua's commentary from so long ago. We re-read White Sand and made our own notes, and together as a team we fleshed out what Brandon would have liked to have done were he to revise White Sand today without the luxury of rewriting the book from the beginning. We clarified character motivations, we strengthened character arcs, we changed the gender of one of the main characters, and we brought in stronger elements from the cosmere at large. Together, under Brandon's direction, and with Dynamite's help, we crafted this into the canonical version of White Sand.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
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    Kellosian

    If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.

    foomy45

    I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
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    Cryokina

    Today I saw a paperback copy of Arcanum Unbounded and remembered this reddit comment, in which we're told we might get a Nalthis essay and map around the paperback release or around Oathbringer. Since both those times have passed, is there any hope we might still see it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dang. I'd totally forgotten. I'll have my assistant put it on my list of things to do, and make sure to write one out in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll stick it in the newsletter.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
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    Jeimaxx

    I do have a question, while listening to New Spring today, I realized that a channeler using the One Power sees and hears much more vividly, similar to people invested with breaths from Nalthis. Was the magic of Nalthis partially inspired by the One Power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that was an inspiration from the WoT. I always wanted to take that concept RJ had used and see if I could make it a fundamental and quantifiable part of a magic system.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
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    Only4DNDandCigars

    I was reading Elantris, with my passive work being Jorge Luis Borges "Book of Imaginary Beings". The chapters are encyclopedic and short, and are meant to have a kaleidoscope style of reading. With Cosmere on my mind, I can across a really interesting entry:

    Sylphs For each of the four roots or elements into which the Greeks divided matter there was a corresponding spirit. In the words of Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss alchemist and physician, we find four elementary spirits: the Gnomes of the earth, the Nymphs of water, the Salamanders of fire, and the Sylphs or Sylphides of air. The words are Greek origin. Litre has sought the etymology of "sylph" in the Celtic tongues, but it is most unlikely that Paracelsus would have known, or even suspected the existence of, those languages. Today, no one believes in Sylphs, but the phrase "a syphlike figure" is still applied to slender women, as a somewhat cliched compliment. The Sylphs occupy a place between that of material beings and that of immaterial beings. Romantic poetry and the ballet find them useful.

    I don't think it is a far stretch or much of projection when I say that reminds me of a certain Spren. Either way, it made my day to come across this while reading.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you poke around a bit, you can probably find where the names of some other spren (like Notum) come from. In a lot of their names, I'm looking for something similar to what I did with Syl. My rationale is that if you heard her name in-world (which might not actually be the exact sounds Syl) you'd have the benefit of local traditions, word roots, and mythologies. You'd hear it and say, "Huh, that sounds like a word for wind." So, when the books are "translated" to English, the translator creates names in English that evoke the same feel in readers here.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
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    Leveros

    So as I was rereading Mistborn, I realized something that I hadn't deemed important before. Assuming that Rashek doled out the original Allomancy beads to create the first Mistborn, who did he give them to? Obviously, he couldn't give them to his fellow packmen because then they would have the same compounding abilities as him. Additionally, it stands to reason that he would not have given the beads to any of Alendi's entourage because of his deep-seated hatred for all things Khlenni. All in all, I'm just confused about the actual origins of the noble houses.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually intended to dig into this in the video game--which happened several hundred years after the event, but which would talk about the origins of the houses and things like that. It's possible we'll still do this some day.

    Phantine

    Did you end up doing a lot of writing for the game before it got cancelled?

    Depending on how much there is, it seems like handing it to Crafty for them to make a RPG module could make sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I didn't--but I had a lot of ideas.

    My current goal is to hand it over to Ben (who does a lot of the artwork for Stormlight Archive) and see if we can turn it into a graphic novel. (Note that we wouldn't start on this until White Sand is done, though, as I don't want to have TOO many projects in the works at once.)

    Chris King interview ()
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    Chris King

    Will Southern Scadrians have their own series? Or will they just be something mentioned in the next Mistborn trilogies? Does anything major take place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We will have to see. Originally they did not have a series but it will depend on how much time I spend deviating with interesting Mistborn side-stories before I jump up into the second trilogy. Because by the second trilogy, this has all been discovered and it's a different world. I have loosely plotted a smaller series visiting the southern continent.