So I'm finally able to report back from the signing. First off, I'd like to thank everybody who showed up, you asked great questions! Because of the issues with recording audio without consent, we opted for writing down all WoBs right on the spot. So we got prime seats next to the signing table, I pulled out my laptop and typed away. A special thanks goes to Rhapsody and Sorana for helping me fill in any gaps and also going over the WoBs we collected again.
The signing went pretty great overall. Due to our position, we were able to constantly pester Isaac with questions and it was great to perpetually chat with him.
The reading was from a revised version of the first chapter from SA 4. It turned out quite a bit different and I've already uploaded it to Arcanum for transcription.
So, without further ado, here are my compiled notes from the event:
Sorana: Would a spike charge if I threw it at someone with the intention to spike something out of him and hit the right bindpoint? Brandon: Yes. Sorana: So spike darts are a thing. Brandon: Yes, and spike guns are a thing as well.
Rhapsody: If I took a fabrial to Shadesmar, would it work and what would happen to the Spren trapped in it? Brandon: RAFO
Sorana: Is Soulcasting volume- or mass-preserving? Brandon: It's mass-preserving, but there are some strange things going on and that's why we don't get as much explosions as we should. You can see a bit of what is going when Jasnah Soulcasts air, there are some little reactions, but not as strong as you ought to get.
Rhapsody: You have described Ettmetal as some kind of Super-Cesium. After the reaction with water, is there residual Ettmetal hydroxide and what are its properties? Brandon: Yes, it does. There's the potential they'll find it and use it, but as far as the properties are concerned, you get a RAFO.
Paleo: Are the Ashynite magic system and the Old Magic related? If so, does the "Old" part come from that? Brandon: Yes, they are related, but the name comes from the magic actually predating Spren bonds.
Paleo: Since your books are "translations" from another language and "Hierocracy" is a foreign word in English, is it also a foreign word in the original language? Brandon: No, but good question.
Paleo: There's symbols in the temple at the end of Bands of Mourning which none of the characters recognize. Are they from any writing system known to us or did Kelsier make them up? Brandon: RAFO
Paleo: Is Wisdom a Shard? If so, how bad does it want to survive? Brandon: There is a shard with a similar Intent. The Shard has realized that survival might not be the most desirable/important.
Paleo: Have Rosharan mathematics advanced far enough to know Julia sets? Brandon: Yes, they know Julia Sets. Some of the mathematics are farther along at this time than ours, some are behind. Kinda like abstractionalism is a centuries-old art style on Roshar, calculus was discovered way earlier.
Paleo: What symbol will be on the Warbreaker leatherbound? Brandon: He referred as to Isaac, who showed us several designs which are not finalized, but they are confirmed as Tears of Edgli. Rhapsody posted the picture already on the general Germany signing thread. The cover will feature Nightblood.
Questioner: What happened to Elhokar's body? Brandon: It was burned with honors.
Winds Alight: In SA the Stormfather refers to several people as "Child of Honor", but only Kaladin as "Child of Tanavast". Is there significance to that? Brandon: Yes, there is.
Questioner: Can the survival Shard hide in a person? Brandon: RAFO
Questioner: Do people celebrate their birthdays on Roshar, because Kaladin doesn't seem to care? Brandon: Yeah, there are celebrations like birthdays and others as well, but I can't put everything in the books. Some people care more, some - like Kaladin - less.
Questioner: Do we know who built the Steel Highway in Mistborn? Brandon: Some people know, but it's not general knowledge.
Questioner: Can a Mistborn use the Investiture from a Highstorm? Brandon: It takes some effort to convert the Investiture. They can burn metals from other planets, though.
Questioner: Is Nightblood an aluminium-titanium alloy? Brandon: No, he's something else. RAFO
Questioner: What inspired the Shattered Plains? Brandon: Little Wild Horse canyon and others in southern Utah. That's what inspired the chasms.
Questioner: Any tips on creating a Magic System? Brandon: Focus on what the powers can't do instead of what they can do. It's the boundaries that get interesting. Lookup Sanderson's Laws.
Paleo: Will the Warbreaker leatherbound contain the Nalthis essay? Isaac: No, but the Arcanum Unbounded Leatherbound will contain it.
Questioner: Is Doomslug capable of using Hypertravel as well as taking matter with her? Brandon: RAFO. Doomslug will be very important to the next book. She's very relevant to the events of the book coming out in December.
Questioner: What's the most challenging part about art? Isaac: [partial answer] Getting things to look realistic. Took a lot of practice.
Questioner: The Voidbinding chart has a red ruby with two imprisoned voidbringers who have no connection to the voidbinding skills. Is this the because they are imprisoned or are they in need of the other Voidbringers to unleash their powers like the lightnings are trying to illustrate? Brandon: RAFO
Zykai: Did the Shin use Honorblades in their invasions? If yes, did they also use Surges? Brandon: Yes and yes.
Questioner: Ambition wasn't splintered in the contest with Odium. Is there a reason why he hasn't chosen another Avatar yet? Brandon: Yes.
Questioner: How is Ashyn earth-like given its orbit? It should be even less habitable than Roshar. Brandon: The Rosharan system was manifactured for a specific purpose. The position of the moons isn’t stable and even the continent itself might eventually vanish.
Questioner: Was there a good reason for Elhokar to not speak his First Oath earlier or was he just plain stupid? Brandon: He wasn't ready yet. It can take a long time and he was hung up on his insecurities.
Questioner: Why did Adolin kill Sadeas? Brandon: He's young and hotheaded unlike Dalinar.
Sishal: How was Glys corrupted? Was the process similar to the lesser spren, like painspren? Brandon: It is similar, but Glys is self-aware, so slightly different process, but similar. It is through Sja-Anat. Sishal: Did Sja-Anat have to convince Glys to corrupt him then? (This previously said "Will we see other Radiant spren?", but @Sishal contacted me to have it corrected) Brandon: RAFO
Questioner: How do you write the beginnings to your books? Brandon: Beginnings are hard. Usually I write one, trash it and come back to it when I finished the book. After I finished the book, I try to find the perfect beginning.
Questioner: Are there certain topics you want to avoid in your writing? Brandon: There certainly are some topics I'd never cover, like certain types of abuse.
Questioner: [inaudible - something about Shallan's personalitiies] Brandon: At the end of Oathbringer, she works really hard to supress her other personas and she will be a lot more stable.
Questioner: Will there be a Rithmatist sequel? Brandon: There will eventually. I was working on that when I was offered WoT and just couldn't get back into it yet.
Questioner: Do specific colours have an impact on Awakening in Warbreaker? Brandon: Not usually, you just need a certain amount to Awaken. But there can be more due to various reasons connected to the Cosmere. It is connected to the significance of eye colours on Roshar.
Questioner: Will Vivenna, Vasher and Nightblood reunite? Brandon: RAFO
Questioner: Do you want to build up Hoid to be a character like Randall Flagg? Brandon: RAFO
Questioner: Did Aginor reappear after the cleansing of Saidin? Brandon: Ask Maria, the continuity person.
Questioner: Are you involved with the WoT TV show? Brandon: Yes, I get to read the scripts and give feedback. I get to push the characters in the direction I want them to go. The first screenplay was really good.
Questioner: Have we seen Ghostbloods in action outside of the Rosharan system? Brandon: You have seen proto-Ghostbloods, but not after the their actual initiation.
Questioner: Who did the Crownlands historically belong to before there was a king and what purpose do they serve now? Brandon: At the moment the Crownlands are the property of the king and work for him, to earn money or to give them away to a lord. Before Gavilar, they belonged to some princedom.
Questioner: How has Sunmaker's sword ended up with Dalinar? Brandon: Initially, it belonged to one of the highprinces. After that it went through a lot of people.
Tidbits from the interview
No news about book adaptations. Hopes for his series with the advent of WoT and Witcher. WoT first screenplay is phenomenal.
German writers are all outliners.
Already scrapped earlier first chapter from SA 4. Read new version, but will obviously be revised again. -> Recording
Q & A
Questioner: The map of Kholinar looks like a lion's head. Is that an allusion to Caemlyn? Brandon: It was not a conscious decision to make it look like Caemlyn. The city shapes are based on Cimatics patterns that have deep-rooted origins in the history of Roshar. I may make a lot of unconscious allusions, but something like the Misted Mountains are a conscious reference.
Rhapsody: Will the Threnody book take place in the homeland? Brandon: The book is tentatively called "The Dust Brigade". A group wants to free the homeland of the evil. It doesn't go well for them. Opening scene is all ships sinking and people washing up on shore.
Questioner: Shadesmar is an inversion of Roshar. In the Physical Realm, planets are disconnected, but in Shadesmar you can reach one from the other. Is there a point in Shadesmar where I can instantly cross between diametrically opposed points on Roshar? Brandon: Yes, technically there is, but oceans etc. are problematic since there's not enough minds there. There are points, but the transition is more steady than instantaneous. It will be hard, since you're basically leaving the planet when you go far enough. If you just went south, you'd end up on another planet. Kind of yes. Shadesmar gets funky because you end up in no man's land. We'd need to do the exact maths on that one.
Krios: If you have a form of manipulating your Identity and a form of healing. Are you able to shapeshift or even evolve your body like growing wings? Brandon: You'd have to do some real work on your spirit web to make that work. It'd take more work than you're implying, but the Parshendi for instance are doing this. It'll take a little more work, it's not just blanking your Identity. Hemalurgy would make it very easy, but also very evil. But what you want to achieve is possible.
The Forumlurker: If a Radiant tried to Soulcast directly with the Stormlight from the Highstorm, what essences could they create? Brandon: They could basically do whatever they want. There wouldn't be any limitations, but only for Radiant Soulcasters.
Questioner: How do you choose Worldhoppers to depict in your books? Brandon: There's couple of ways I choose Worldhoppers. The background story plays a big part, but some Worldhoppers I just want to be immigrants. Some people you meet, you'll notice they're from a different planet but aren't involved in any schemes. They just wanted to get to another planet. There's groups like the Ghostbloods, but there's also just trade between places like Roshar and Nalthis. I have to be careful to not make everyone an easter egg from other worlds. That would strain plausibility very easily.
Paleo: How is Dark One coming along? Brandon: It's coming along very well. It's like Harry Potter from the perspective of Voldemort, where the good guys want to get the bad guy. It's like Narnia was trying to assasinate those who come over to their world to destroy it. The outline is really great, we pitched it across Hollywood. We had a really great response, but no contracts are done. We're planning to release it as an audiobook original. We haven't closed the contract on that yet, but we have an offer.
Questioner: Your stories are always so unexpected. Do you plan these things or do they develop as you discover the story and the characters? Brandon: Parts of it are from the outline, but sometimes I want to develop the characters further and make more organic decisions.
Questioner: Do you plan to do something like Arcanum Unbounded again? Brandon: Yes, eventually there will be AU2. I need to write more short stories before that. I'm hoping my novella this year will be on Rsyn. Theoretically I will continuing going that, showing little glimpses of places around the Cosmere.
Questioner: What idea sparked Stormlight for you? Brandon: The very first seed for everything was a man who's brother to a king. The king gets assassinated and the nephew becomes a bad king. How he copes with that is what I started thinking about. We all have somebody in our family . That became Dalinar and Elhokar in SA.
Questioner: Was Shallan's ability to draw intentional just so you could have her draw all the maps? Brandon: Yes, basically that was the seed for her. I was inspired by people from history like Darwin who was a scientist and did drawings. That was part of the concept that made me put Shallan into the books. All those drawings are intended to give you a sense of immersion.
Questioner: Would magic from one world work on another and if so, how? Brandon: Generally, magics in the Cosmere work on different planets. But it depends on the magic. Things like the Dor on Sel are locked to the geography, so it gets difficult. The metallic arts work pretty much universally though. Making Surgebinding work on another planet would require Stormlight and the spren are bound to Roshar, so getting them off planet is quite hard. So the magics kind of work differently depending on whether a sentient being is involved, how the magic works and how it's powered. It would be very easy to take some Breaths off of Nalthis, which is a problem for them. It gets very complicated. Questioner: Can there be a mixing of magic? Brandon: Yes there can be.
Questioner: Do you know what the next big series will be? Brandon: Right now, my job is to finish things. I won't start anything before that. There's some other big books I want to work on in the Cosmere. I will finish Wax and Wayne and Skyward 4 after SA 4, then comes SA 5.
Questioner: Is Iyatil from Scadrial? Brandon: Her heritage is from Scadrial, but she actually is from Silverlight. It's more recent than my heritage from Denmark.
Questioner: Now that Hoid has bonded a spren, is he locked on Roshar? Brandon:Yes, that is a problem. Something will happen that is relevant. RAFO
Questioner: Do you use consultants? Brandon: Yes I do, but it depends on the book. For instance, we apparently got longswords wrong in the last book and a consultant would have helped there.
Questioner: Do you prefer writing epic fantasy or young adult? Brandon: My first love is epic fantasy, but if I only did that, I'd go crazy. I have to change basically every other book and like to be able to jump around.
Questioner: Where have we seen proto-Ghostbloods? Brandon: RAFO, but you guys are pretty close to figuring that out.
Questioner: Is Rock lying about his birth order? Brandon: No, he is not. There was a change due to deaths in the family, but he did not lie.
Questioner: How do you name your characters? Brandon: It depends on how much work I've done on the linguistics. Some planets I haven't done a lot of work on that. On Roshar I've built out the linguistics a lot, so I build names out of that. On Scadrial, however, I went more with real world inspirations or stuff I liked, like "Wax and Wayne", which is a pun they can't really understand. Names like Elend or Straff are Germanic in origin, Vin, Demoux or Kelsier are French. Paleo: Is Wax's name pronounced French in Scadrian? Brandon: Yes, it is. I can't even pronounce it. [Various people pronounce Waxillium with a French accent]
Questioner: Shallan's and Adolin's relationship felt sort of rushed at the end. Was there a reason you developed it like that? Brandon: Shallan and Adolin are very young and madly in love. The marriage partly was for state reasons. They're really unlike Dalinar, who was in denial for 15 years about loving Navani.
Questioner: Can you burn Cadmium to trap air and move in space like that? Brandon: That's a plausible extrapolation, but I'll give you a RAFO on that. You're thinking along the right lines.
Questioner: When you design a new world. Do you give Isaac all the details for the maps? Brandon: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I may give him notes on how I want it to look like, but sometimes I just let him do what he wants.
Zykai: Squires and people wielding Honorblades use more Stormlight than a regular Radiant. Who uses more? Brandon: The further you progress, the more efficient you become at consuming Stormlight. They're never as efficient as the Voidbringers, since humans leak too much.
Sorana: Do you have any tips regarding drawing the symbols/glyphs? Isaac: I always have to copy them myself. I did design a handscript of the allomantic symbols. You might get to see them later.
Paleo: Will the Steel Alphabet change further with the later eras of Mistborn? Isaac: Yes, it will. I've already got some designs that look very sci-fi-y.
Questioner: Will the WoT show be from the POV of the Aes Sedai or the Ta'veren? Brandon: I can't spoil you on that as I'm under an NDA. They went with some unexpected decisions, which I really liked though.
The Forumlurker: Can a Windrunner use a Basic Lashing on a specific body part? Brandon: Yes, but it works the same way a Steelpusher could push on a specific part of metal. Usually, you'd just affect the whole body, because of its Identity and Cosmere magic not working as well on parts of something that considers itself a unit. When you're very skilled, you can isolate a hand, like Kelsier could push on specific sections of metal.
Questioner: Are there Windrunners who are afraid of heights? Brandon: Yes there are. You can see with Kaladin that a lot of them would see the sky as their domain, but there are some with a fear of heights. It's like being a left-handed woman in Alethkar, there are some things you just could end up with.
Questioner: We see Nightblood consuming both Breaths and Stormlight. Earlier you've mentioned conversion between types of Investiture. Is Nightblood doing that? Brandon: Nightblood can feed off of any source of Investiture. If you're a Mistborn, burning a metal while wielding Nightblood would directly feed him. So you stay alive for as long as you have metal left.
Questioner: Why do Vorin women have to hide their left hand? Brandon: Originally, a woman wrote a book about female and male arts, which claimed women could do things like art with one hand while men needed two for their arts, like fighting. Eventually, it evolved and just stuck as a taboo, but it's a cultural thing. It's similar to how some things are perfectly fine in our Western culture but would be frowned upon in, say, Korea. I wanted to add some weirdness to their culture, something that is pretty normal to them, but strange to us. Taboos usually are strange.
Questioner: Are there parshmen Heralds? Brandon: No, there are not.
Questioner: Will Michael Kramer read SA 4 as well? Brandon: Yes, at the moment it planned that he will do that.
Questioner: At the end of Oathbringer Kaladin says that the oaths are about perception. So what would happen, when a crazy person bonds a crazy spren? Is there a hard limit to what the oaths allow or could they just go on a John Wick style rampage? Brandon: Perception will get you a very long way, like Nightblood proves. So you can go beyond the oaths, but there will be a hard limit. Although it will be hard to find a such fitting pair of human and sprend.
Questioner: Do you sometimes draw inspiration from real world people? Brandon: Yes, I do. Usually it's a conflict a person has which I want to depict. Most of Bridge Four are friends of mine.
Questioner: What happened to Hoid after he met Kelsier at the Well? Brandon: He went to figure out Feruchemy. When Vin found him beaten up, it was because he got more involved than he should have.
Paleo: Is Tashi a Herald and if so, which one? Is Nun Raylisi Odium? Brandon: Yes to both. I think the Herald is Ishar, but I'd have to double check.
Sorana: I've got a last question from a friend of mine. Could the light at the end of Oathbringer have been seen by another Surgebinder? Brandon: RAFO Sorana: I expected that.
We tried to reproduce them verbatim, but it's pretty hard to get everything right. Thankfully, people were willing to repeat their questions and answers when we didn't catch them, so we should be as close to the truth as possible. Nevertheless, all WoBs have to be considered paraphrased.