Jump to content


Photo

Q&A with Brandon Sanderson


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
135 replies to this topic

#121 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:11 PM

*
POPULAR

First time poster (and what better way to start than by asking the author of my favorite books some questions?) :D

Regarding Scadrial:

1. When Scadrial was closer to the sun, can we safely assume that the middle section of the planet was scorched clean of anything living? Could there have been some underground life thing going on? Anything cool or interesting sitting out there (like ruins or some lost technology)?


The middle section was scorched pretty clean. I know of a few interesting tidbits, but it's not technology. (The tech level before the Lord Ruler took over was nothing particularly special, early industrial era.) The cool and interesting things are on the southern continent.

2. What's up at the south end of the world (during the 'closer to the sun' phase)? Life there? Cultures? Allomancers? Assuming that there is some life down there, can we assume that we'll have some interesting 'culture clashes' in future books?


They will be known by the modern trilogy, so it's safe to assume that a discovery will happen soon. Either during the Alloy of Law era or soon after.

3. What's the closest that humans had gotten to the 'inhabitable' zone of the planet during the events of the first Mistborn trilogy?


There were groups who would go out there to escape the Lord Ruler, and the Final Empire in general. Survival was practically impossible. It's possible someone might have gotten across to the southern continent, but it would take a small miracle.

Regarding Roshar:

1. Dalinar ever getting an honorspren? :D


RAFO. (You knew I'd do that.)

2. Is there a functional/structural difference between modern-day Shardplate and the stuff the Radiants wore? Did the Radiants have to use infused gems to keep their suits going or could they just 'breathe in' Stormlight and feed the suit off of their 'inhaled' reserves?


Something is different. You will find out what.

Uhh...guess that's it. I'm sure I'll kick myself later for forgetting one, but I guess I'd never be done with this post at that rate. :D


Thanks for reading!
  • 54

#122 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:30 PM

*
POPULAR

Hey Brandon,

Okay, I have two questions I have thought about for some time. One is to satisfy my inner nerd, and the other pertains to your writing.

1) After reading The Way of Kings, I couldn't help but to wonder this: hypothetically if there were two equally skilled combatants in every way, one armed with a Shardblade and the other with a Lightsaber, and take magic and the Force out of the equation (except for the weapons themselves), who would win? And yes, the Shardblade would have already been summoned and the two are just squaring off in a dual. Have fun with it.


A lightsaber is actually a little more easy to wield than a Shardblade, I would guess. Shardblades were designed to fight something larger than another person; you don't actually need all of that size when fighting someone. So that gives a slight edge to you average Jedi. If it's someone like Szeth, who has a more modestly sized Blade, then I don't honestly know.

2) I am formerly a Sergeant in the United States Army Reserves. Having read all of your work except for your Wheel of Time additions, I couldn't help but to see that you have a good grasp of leadership displayed in your writing. When I finished reading the scene in The Way of Kings about Kaladin ordering Bridge Four to carry their bridge into battle in a way that would protect them, but ended up causing defeat for the rest of the army, you wrote a well described contrast between an NCO and a high ranking officer (not saying an officer would act like Sadeas by the means of using bridge men like he does), and how the two types of leaders look at battle. I was wondering, do you draw from your own experiences, or study others, or something entirely different you use when you write leadership roles in your characters and how they act in different situations utilizing that trait?

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!


That's very flattering to hear. I've made a study of leadership in many different areas, the military being one of them. It's a topic that fascinates me, and I try hard to get it right. I wouldn't say I have any practical experience in it, unfortunately--just a lot of study, questioning, and curiosity.
  • 55

#123 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:32 PM

*
POPULAR

One question really quick: What are the smoke-y spren that appear around a dead chasmfiend?


They are in a symbiotic relationship with the chasmfiend, and are part of what allow the creatures to grow to the size they do with an exoskeleton. (Along with a high-oxygen, lower-gravity world.)
  • 56

#124 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:36 PM

*
POPULAR

Brandon, I'm a huge fan of yours. Originally I found out about you after you were chosen to finish The Wheel of Time, and since then you've become my favorite author. I have a few questions regarding mistwraiths:

How intelligent is a mistwraith? Could you raise and train mistwraiths like dogs or horses, controlling what forms they take by the bones you give them? Would you be able to train yourself a horsewraith steed by giving it only the bones of a horse?


This is feasible. One thing to keep in mind is that mistwraiths are people who have a blockage between the physical and the cognitive realm, messing with their ability to think. Think of them as mentally-stunted people. There's enough there to train, but then you have to dig into the ethics of it...

What would happen if you gave it a spike imbued with steel allomancy? I'm assuming that wouldn't be enough to grant it sentience but could it then use steel powers? Can you give allomantic powers to a kandra?

Whether or not any of my questions get answered, thanks for doing this.


Hemalurgy can give allomantic powers to a kandra. The process to do so is not known to anyone but Harmony.
  • 57

#125 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:40 PM

*
POPULAR

Hi Brandon, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Here are mine.

1. Is Honor the only one who created people on Roshar?


RAFO

2. Since we generally don’t see inhabitants of your worlds refer to their planets by name, where do the names come from?


From world-hoppers, Shards, and those who know about the cosmere.

3. You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?


Someone did exactly this in the original draft of Way of Kings, back in 2002.

4. You’ve already given some information about the origins of the custom of a safe hand (feminine arts being those that can be done one-handed) but why the word “safe?”


It grew out of the culture and linguistics somewhat naturally; nobody 'named' it that.

5. Shinovar seems more earthlike than the rest of Roshar; does this occur naturally or was it somehow changed to be that way?


RAFO

6. Will we see illustrations of Shardplate and/or blades in the next Stormlight Archive book?


Shallan will likely be doing some sketches from dueling grounds where Sharbearers fight.
  • 57

#126 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 07:39 PM

*
POPULAR

Thanks for doing this!

(spoilers obviously)

My question is in regards to the writing system. In Warbreaker, when Siri is teaching Susebron to read, she mentions the letter "shash," which we now know better as a Glyphair from WoK.

so onto the questions:

Are the two writing systems related, or is this a chance coincidence of names?

If they are related, did they stem from the same source? (i.e., do the people of Nalthis and Roshar both descend from a more ancient group of people?)

If I haven't gotten a RAFO yet, did the separation from these other people create the legends of being cast out of the Tranquiline Halls?


There are interesting connections around the cosmere between linguistics and some cultures. Though different groups of humans were created on different planets, the Shards all share a single point of origin. However, the Tranquiline Halls legends are not related to a Nalthis/Roshar connection.
  • 54

#127 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 27 September 2012 - 07:45 PM

*
POPULAR

Hi Brandon, thanks so much for this opportunity, and I'm absolutely drooling here at the chance to see you answer even some of these amazing questions. To throw a couple more into the ring (playing fast and loose with my definition of 'a couple') -

1) Will the fact that Roshar and the Silence Divine planet exist in the same solar system come into play at all in The Stormlight Archive, or is that only relevant for later books?


It's mostly relevant for later books, but there are some things here and there.

2) In the Mistborn trilogy, the base 16 Allomantic metals separate into different groups like the Enhancement metals, etc. Given that there are 16 Shards, do they also separate into different groupings as well? For instance, are Shards like Honor and Devotion part of one 'grouping', with Shards like Cultivation and Endowment part of another?


Good question.

...

RAFO

3) There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?


Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.

4) We're aware by now of eight of the sixteen Shards (Devotion, Dominion, Ruin, Preservation, Endowment, Honor, Odium and Cultivation) and seven of the ten core Shardworlds (the Dragonsteel world, Roshar, Scadrial, Nalthis, Sel, the White Sand world and The Silence Divine world). Given that you now how we love to obsessively speculate based on only the tiniest of information, and also given that it seems an endless source of amusement to you that we do, would you perhaps like to tease us with a smidgen of information about one of the remaining eight Shards or the three remaining Shardworlds?


Ha. If I give you this, what will you speculate on in the future? :) I hate to do this, but I'm going to RAFO that one for now. Sorry.
  • 59

#128 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:27 AM

*
POPULAR

Here's a couple dumb questions that shouldn't be too plot-important:


Does the Physical Realm of the Cosmere have more or less the same structure as our own? It's obvious from Mistborn that solar systems function as they do in our universe, but it's less obvious if there are galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and so forth. Are there?


If the Cosmere does have the same structure as our own, are the Shardworlds all in the same general area (a galaxy, for example), or are they completely spread out?


Good question. I designed the cosmere to have much the same structure, but imagined the action happening in a compact dwarf galaxy. Still a lot going on, but far, far fewer stars and systems than our own.

Edited by Brandon Sanderson, 28 September 2012 - 12:32 AM.

  • 58

#129 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:30 PM

*
POPULAR

When Kelsier destroys the Pits of Hathsin in Final Empire, it is mentioned that they'll take something like 300 years to start producing Atium again. Do the Pits of Hathsin still exist in any form after Sazed reshaped the world, and is that timeline for them still valid?


RAFO

In Alloy of Law, evidence is uncovered that the bad guys are attempting to breed a Mistborn. The time span of the gap between this and the original Mistborn trilogy, perhaps with the interval I vaguely remember being stated for between Alloy and the next main trilogy added, is suspiciously close to 300 years. Does the organization Wax's father is part of know the location of the Pits of Hathsin, or otherwise have access to Atium, either now (as of Alloy) or in the time period of the planned second trilogy?


You are on the right track

.

And now some magic mechanics questions:
1) What benefit does compounding copper get? Exceptionally clear and detailed memories? Memories that can be split into a new coppermind while still remaining in the feruchemists mind? Something else?
2) How does Feruchemical luck work? If a chromium compounder tried his hand at day trading on the stock market, what would happen? Would it make him choose stocks that were coincidentally going to go up anyway? Would it change stock prices by altering the world around him? Would it fail because the required scale of action is too large? Something else?
3) This might have been specified in the books, I don't remember, but does Duralumin expend itself as well as the metal it's used with? If it does, I've got this theory that its effect is actually just to cause a regular flare, not a superflare, but it affects itself in a feedback loop that keeps forcing the flare higher until it runs out.


So, I've said before that I want to hold off on talking about different forms of compounding and types of twinborn until I can address them in the series. So I'll have to RAFO the first two. However, in answer to the third one, yes you DO expend Duralumin in the process.

And some silly:
1) What benefit does an aluminum savant get? Yes, I know this would normally never happen because aluminum burns itself up. Suppose a mad scientist with a willing Mistborn test subject shoved a feeding tube down the Mistborn's throat to pump in a continuous stream of aluminum, replenishing it steadily so there's always a new unburned supply. Add another tube to pump out excess water if necessary. What would he discover? Alternatively, what would Sazed with his Shard-granted knowledge know?


Ha, that IS a little silly of a method. However, on the extreme end of aluminum, I have in the notes the possibility of cleansing the spirit of unwanted effects of other investitures. You'd get really good at this, and maybe even be able to cleanse the body of other impurities.

2) What about a Lerasium savant? Or would that require so much Lerasium that the person attempting it would ascend to become a new Shardholder?


Basically, this is what ascension is.
  • 56

#130 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:40 PM

*
POPULAR

Hello Mr. Sanderson, thank you so incredibly much for taking time out of your schedule for your fans, it is actions like these that make you a favorite author of your fans.

Questions:

1) Are all of the orders of Knights Radiant human?


Yes.


2) Are there non-human races on Roshar, or non-humanoid races that are sentient?


The Parshendi are not human, but you probably already knew that. The two races of Aimaians are not human either. There are many races of sentient spren. From there, it depends if you call something like Ryshadium sentient or not.


3) You said that Preservation created the Terris Prophecies. Why couldn't ruin see into the future and counter Preservation's plan? Is it because Ruin's intent has him focusing more on the present than the future, while Preservation (wanting to preserve forever) looks more into the future for that goal.


Looking into the future was not something Ruin was good at doing. That ability is confined to certain shards, and not others.
  • 54

#131 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:41 PM

*
POPULAR

Wow... there's so many good questions here. Since it's probably going to take you a really long time to answer, I'll stick with something simple that's been bugging me.

Since allomancy is powered by burning metal, isn't Scadrial going to eventually start running out of metal?

Hmmm... is that why there's a space trilogy? They have to mine asteroids and other planets for their metal?


It could happen. However, it's not really a danger with the current population of Allomancers. There just aren't enough of them.
  • 53

#132 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:43 PM

*
POPULAR

So some of us happened across a line in Mistborn 1 that gave us pause. It's in the chapter 19 epigraph:



This sounded to us like Kwaan the Terrisman might have been looking into or might have known something about Realmatics, like for instance knowing of the realms and that things have aspects in all three. Is this the case? If so, was such knowledge common among his people or Scadrial?

Oh and is Hoid an older Alcatraz Smedry? (This is a joke I know Alcatraz isn't in the Cosmere but with Hoid being present at the Shattering and Alcatraz's Talent being braking things... That could include Gods.)

P.S. There's also been a long standing debate on whether an Allomacer could burn the One Ring, stance on that?


Realmatic theory was part of the ancient Terris religion.

Re: Alcatraz. Ha!

Burn the One Ring, eh? I think it's such a powerfully invested object that it would be very, very dangerous to try.
  • 58

#133 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:47 PM

*
POPULAR

Thank you for answering some of our questions.

For the modern day Mistborn trilogy, have you decided on whether the Nicrosil Misting main character will be male or female yet? I haven't seen you mention it anywhere.


I have him as a guy right now, but that could change. (It has before.)

Did Amaram ever find out who the Shardbearer that Kaladin killed was?


Yes.

Nightwatcher's curses all appear to be neurological in effect, are the boons limited in any particular manner?


Yes.

Is it hypothetically possible to Awaken an object using a Divine Breath?


Yes.

If a character bears multiple Shardblades, can they summon them all in the same 10 heartbeat span, or does each Shardblade require a separate summoning? Dying doesn't count.


Separate summoning.

Does Hoid have a safety-deposit box somewhere, or does he carry all his souvenirs with him?


He has a home base.

Do you ever plan to continue "I Hate Dragons"? I have a theory that Skip does not have a separate knack to make him smell delicious to dragons, but rather that he is high in levels of human magical potential, which the dragons need in their diet.


Perhaps. I've got a few more chapters than I've posted. Including some viewpoints from the most powerful magical sword ever created. Most powerful...in that he has the most powers. Thousands of them. All useless.
  • 61

#134 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:48 PM

*
POPULAR

Was it Shallan's brother, by the way?


RAFO
  • 58

#135 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:56 PM

*
POPULAR

Hey Brandon, you are an awesome writer, I love your books, I'm a huge fan! The Way Of Kings is my favorite book, not only yours or of fantasy, but my all time favorite.

Are you planning to include a gay character in the second book of the Stormlight Archive? I know there is that bridge guy, but I mean a character with some weight on the book. Would be cool.


I've tried to be more GLBT aware in recent years, but I want to be careful. Doing it poorly could be more insulting than doing it not at all. Having Ryan, the real world Drehy from Bridge Four, as a friend does at least give me access to someone who can give early feedback and tell me where I might be going wrong. So let's just say maybe.

And I saw on facebook about the discussion about the name of the second book. This is more like a request, please, keep the name of it being The Book Of Endless Pages. That title is awesome! Oh and another suggestion, please, keep making huge books! Now, after reading your books, I expect books to be at least 600 pages, so you can see I get disappointed quite often lol


I will keep the books, in this series at least, long. It's what the story demands. As for title...it does have a certain charm, but I worry that it just feels wrong to too many people. Three out of four laugh when I mention it. That doesn't bode well...
  • 62

#136 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

    Author

  • Team Sanderson
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
3,367
Bondsmith

Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:02 PM

*
POPULAR

1. What is the relationship between blood and the Spiritual Realm? (Since Hemalurgy needs blood to graft the sDNA in a spike into someone else's sDNA)


The blood being in motion is part of it.

2. Why does Preservation fueling Allomancy not weaken Preservation compared to Ruin?


Because the power, once used, returns to him--much as water, after passing over a turbine, continues on in its system.

3. Why aren't Seons affected by the lack of a chasm line in their Aon?


If they tried to actualize their Aon, it would have an undesirable result. In addition, the chasm broke their bond to the humans they were tied to, and you can see the result of that. So they were affected.
  • 63




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users