I've been itching to do a quick update post on my Stormlight Archive Timeline as I've hit a big milestone. In my last post on the timeline I mentioned wanting to convert from a spreadsheet to a database. And I've done it!
Link to the newest version: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zq5bJoKE83ggDCjH43i1hZi0CIpB2iAx7v37zQPVFK0
Back End Changes
Previously, every entry in the timeline utilized a single row in the spreadsheet. This put some restrictions on how the date was calculated and it meant my list of sources were jammed together. In my database I've broken everything down into three tables. An "event" is simply some event that occurs (along with a category for sorting and any book chapters that the event occurs in). Next is a table of "intervals" which define the number of days (and any range of error) between two events. Lastly is a table of "sources" which link any relevant sources and my notes to each interval.
Now I can make a date dependent on multiple intervals (it uses the average, more or less). This is very useful for something like Gavilar's assassination, where we several potential date ranges based on different sources. The database is able to find the average date and the overlapping error range so that we get something as specific as possible. I can also create a new record for every source I use, which makes them a lot easier to organize and sort through. One downside is that I simply have a local copy of the database, and updating is a manual process. If I make changes, I have to export new spreadsheets and paste them in on top of the old copies. This isn't as bad as it sounds though, because I wanted to separate the presentation from the calculations regardless. The final product now is mostly just text, which means the Google Sheet loads up and operates a lot faster. Conditional formatting slows it down, but that was going to be there regardless. (And I can always spit out an unformatted version for maximum speed.) It also means you can use Ctrl+F to atually search the document, which is super helpful!
Front End Changes
In this latest version I've added a few more events than I had previously, and made a few corrections. All small stuff for the most part. The most notable additions are some Pre-History events which are very speculative. But we DID get some more details on the Desolations via WoB, and after some good conversation in the "History of Roshar" Shardcasts, I felt like there was enough information for it not to look stupid.
I've also added a few "filter" options. Under the "Spoiler Filter" sheet you can check/uncheck boxes to control which event categories are displayed. Theoretically this can be used to hide spoilers, though obviously you can use that however you want. More interesting is a filter (in the top right corner) which allows users to filter out events that are below different levels of "confidence". The color of event ID numbers gives a hint at how confident I am in their date. Something marked 1 is absolutely known with explicit support while something marked 5 was pulled out of thin air for the sake of putting something on the timeline. You can now use this little dropdown to hide events below a confidence threshhold.
One other change is that the event numbers act as hyperlinks to cells on other sheets. If you click the event ID number for something on the timeline, it will pop you over onto that event's row(s) on the References sheet. So you can instantly jump over and see what sources were used to nail down each event.
Lastly, there's an Ages sheet, which lists the age of each character (with a known age) next to each event. The Ages column on the Timeline sheet references these numbers, though it can also be used if you want to directly compare characters side by side.
I've still got some Oathbringer events missing, so the next notable update will happen whenever I can finish those off. Many of those that are missing simply didn't have enough information (that I could find) to place the event. The good news is that Tor's Oathbringer reread posts have been listing dates for each chapter based on the gamma read timeline. I'm not assuming these are canonical, but they make for a great basis in lieu of something more specific. So I'm currently working through these, trying to reconcile our timelines.
The bad news is that the Tor Reread only moves at 1 or 2 chapters per week, and they're only about 2/3 through the book! Also, I don't agree with every date provided. There are occaisional small discrepancies that I think will need to be adjusted on Karen's end (and other cases where mine need adjusting, but that's easy to fix...). In and of itself this isn't a big deal. The problem is that I don't know how the gamma timeline is CONNECTED, so if one date is wrong I have no way of knowing how a change there will impact subsequent dates.
So it's going to be a while before (1) Tor's Reread reaches the end of the book and (2) I am able to finish filling in my timeline with that information. Most of the holes in my timeline are from Part 4, so I'm looking forward to that. I very well may update my timeline periodically, if I feel like I've added/changed anything significant. I will update the version number in the spreadsheet's title when I do this. But I likely won't mention those updates here or in the forums as it will just be dates added/changed. When I AM totally caught up I will probably update my timeline post in the forums. I'll also probably make another blog post that covers any discrepancies I think I've found, either with the gamma timeline or with contradictions in the book itself.