Windrunner

Brandon Sanderson AMA 2015

553 posts in this topic

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse6e1v?context=10000

 

Q: As someone who would be eligible for it nearly every year, what do you think of the proposal for a Hugo for best saga?

A: I would approve of it, though there are problems. First, I think a saga can only be judged once it is complete--but do you expect voters to read an entire saga (multiple sagas, really) to vote? Also, are enough sagas finished each year to justify the award?
A hugo was once given to Foundation for "Best series" or something like that. I'd love such a hugo to be recurring, but maybe not every year. A way to reward things like Dark Tower, Wheel of Time, and Game of Thrones which have advanced the genre in significant ways.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse6i33?context=10000

 

Q: Did cultivation forsee honor’s shattering/death?

A: I'm RAFOing Cultivation questions, as I don't want to spoil things that will eventually happen with her in the books.
Q: Can an honor blade activate an Oathgate?
A: They could. Whether they still can is debatable.
Q: At any point did tanavast relinquish the power of honor to someone else?
A: RAFO
Q: What happened to Tearim?
A: I will be answering this in one of the Flashbacks, I believe.
Q: We know it has been stated that Adonalsium could have been shattered into 16 different intents. We also know there is a force out there opposing Adonalsium. Did it shatter into those 16 intents because it believed that was the best way to defend against this said force?
A: RAFO
Q: Is the keyhole to the OathGate a spren? Shallan says it is the same material as a Shardblade.
A: RAFO. (Sorry.)
So...lots of RAFOs for you, I'm afraid. You're trying very hard to spoil things for future books. (So you're asking good questions.)
 

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse6xja?context=10000

 

Q: I've only read the first version where Kaladin kills Szeth. When Szeth gets killed now, it's by the storm. What is it that specifically kills him since he can normally just evade the storm or even be healed by stormlight?

A: Good question! So, the idea here is that Szeth has given up, and wants to die. I wanted the storm to kill him, then, as opposed to Kaladin. What kills him is losing control in the storm, and being slammed into the ground.

The bigger change here was actually my desire to leave it at least partially clear that he's not dead, in order to avoid the 'fake out' ending. Having him be dead and reborn was important, but I felt in the first stab I erred on the side of pulling a fast one on the reader.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse7kz2?context=10000

 

Q: In Words of Radiance we find that Pattern is very literal-minded (at least until Shallan corrupted him), and mathematically-inclined. Even his real name is just a mathematical construct. And his head is a fractal. When I think of Pattern, I think "logic" and "truth", not "art" and "lies".

If all Cryptics are like this, then I wonder why they (and not artistic spren like Wyndle) are the ones attracted to the artistic Lightweavers. Is this just a matter of "opposites attract"? Are spren naturally drawn to people with personal qualities they themselves do not have? I am reminded of the Divine Attributes, and it seems like Shallan has the "Creative" side while Pattern has the "Honest" side. Is that a coincidence?
A: These things are not coincidences.
I have some very interesting rationals why certain spren are involved with certain orders. I never wanted it to be so straightforward as, "Oh, you control pressure? Here's a spren dedicated to that power." I feel there is more intricacy, and honesty, to a system that isn't so "on the nose" as we say in writing.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse7ly1?context=10000

 

Q: So you said how stuff is stuffed into the soul changes what a bond can give. Is that like the difference between a Spren bonding a Person and and maybe Hemalurgy forcing a bond or is it more like the difference with how Parshendi form bonds with Spren?

I guess a better way to say that is would the bond be different if a human created the bond with a Spren not a Spren Bonding with a human?
A: These things are all important parts of the system, and I'm curious to see where fans go in exploring the possibilities and theories related to it.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse7m9a?context=10000

 

Q: Could anyone pick up an honor blade and start using stormlight? Or does that person have to be "broken" or have any other pre-requisite?

A: They are usable by anyone.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cse83sw?context=10000

 

Q: Would Kelsier approve Miles Hundredlives objectives?

A: Objectives? Perhaps. Depends on where Kelsier is in his career.
Q: Will Kaladin learn to play the flute?
A: RAFO. :)

 

Somebody got a Szeth tattoo.

Edited by Argent
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Argent, thank you so much for keeping tabs on the thread and collecting these answers.

 

ETA: Kaladin the flute player. Yes we wants it precious, we wants it.

Edited by Zea mays
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Argent, thank you so much for keeping tabs on the thread and collecting these answers.

 

Somebody is going to have to put all this stuff in the interview database. That sounds like a lot more work to me. In a way I am taking the easy way out :P

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I wonder why he RAFO the question on Tearim... I guess it means he will become more relevant in the future, but still strange for a named unimportant character.

 

Could Tearim be this named minor KR Brandon said we would meet in book 3?

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Argent, you got your second quote mixed up a little! You switched the answers for the Honour/Tanavast question and the Tearim question.

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Argent, you got your second quote mixed up a little! You switched the answers for the Honour/Tanavast question and the Tearim question.

It actually looks like he missed a whole question in that quote. There are five out of the six

Q: Is the keyhole to the oathgate a spren? Shallan says it is the same material as a shard blade.

A: RAFO. (Sorry.)

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Wow. Not only did I miss copying it, I don't recall reading this in the first place. I'll update... =\

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csfilfm?context=10000

 

Q: Did the Lord Ruler just have everyone call him The Lord Ruler, or did he actually tell people his name was Alendi?

A: He actively impersonated someone he was not.
Edited by Argent
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Yea that list of six questions was mine. I was hoping by asking a lot of difficult questions we would at least get one or 2 good answers but I guess they were too spoilerish

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More questions answered by Brandon (stealing Argent's thunder :))

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csgmlq2?context=3

 

Q. When a Returned who has lots of extra Breath gives them away without suppressing his Divine Breath, does the Divine Breath stick to the regular Breath as they are transferred to the receiver? Will the receiver find himself suddenly possessing a Divine Breath? Or does it still vanish after healing the receiver?

 

A. Divine Breaths don't work quite like others. However, losing one is kind of a "Last resort." You'll give away all the others first, and then, if you push you can give it away as well. It never sticks around and makes the person you choose returned.

 

Q.Could you use it to heal Preservation's mind? (potentially with the Well)

Asking for a less-hypothetical-than-I'd-prefer scenario in the RP I'm running.

 

A.Depends on what you mean by "Preservation's Mind." Do you mean Leras? During the events of Well/HoA he's WELL beyond the help of such a small bit of investiture, as available in a single Divine Breath. With the help of the Well itself? That's more realistic, but the real reason that he was suffering from such degradation was due to persistent attacks by Ruin.

 

Q. I'm thinking about how Leras sacrificed his consciousness when making Ruin's prison, and how using the Well's power does something with renewing the binding.

The goal is to tip the balance so rather than Ruin very slowly winning, he's instead very slowly losing. (And not to release Ruin at all, since that's a bad idea :) )

So the idea is to use the well to turbocharge a Divine Breath (tossing in his normal Breaths too, not that it probably matters), with an intent along the lines of healing the little fragmentary "wisp" of mental capacity that remains in the Mist Spirit, or patching a Divine Breath into the effort imprisoning Ruin (which might free a portion of Leras' consciousness from the trap).

I've got a player who loves to go for the big sacrifice play, and he's a Returned. This seems to be the flashiest way he could attempt to use a Divine Breath, so that's what I'm expecting :).

 

A.In your continuity, I'd say go for it. You don't have to conform to what the actual cosmere is capable of doing.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csgmqsk?context=3

 

Q.We've seen people Ascend. If it were in the position to do so, could Nightblood take up a Shard?

 

A.This is a RAFO, as I'm not specifically willing to comment on whether or not power that has become self-aware (Seons, Nightblood, Spren) can Ascend or not.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csgmx2o?context=3

 

Q.1) So we know both Cultivation and Honor have shardpools on Roshar and we also know that Odium is around somewhere on Roshar, does this mean he also has a shardpool somewhere on Roshar?

2)What would happen if a spren went to Scadrial would they act or look differently then they do on Roshar.

3) Did the lord ruler have kids at any time during his rule? and if so what happened to them? (I sort of suspect he had them killed though i'm not sure why)

4) What would happen if you created a lifeless with more breath then is necessary? Would they be more or completely human or just a lifeless that's holding more breath?

 

A.1) Shardpools, as they are called, are a natural effect of a Shard spending a lot of time on a world.

2) RAFO. :)

3) I believe I talked about this in a previous question.

4) Lifeless with more breath are an interesting situation. It's quite possible for the BREATH to start taking on a personality, much like a cognitive shadow, related to the individual. Whether or not it is actually them, though, is a big question. Note, this doesn't always happen. Often, dumping a lot of breath in them is like sticking it in an inanimate object with no command.

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Some more answers today.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cshiuew?context=3

Q.1) In their place of torture, are the Heralds able to communicate with each other or with other people/spren outside of that place? E.g. how is Ishar able to maintain his threat of severing the Nahel bond if he is being tortured for hundreds of years?

2)When the Heralds return to Roshar, do they appear like Schwarzenegger in Terminator (nude) or do they appear with the clothing they wore when they signed up for the Oathpact?

3)Are the Honorblades involved in the torture of the Heralds?

 

A.I have to RAFO questions along the lines of what you're asking. These are things that are relevant to books 6-10, which probably won't even be written for a decade. Talking about them too much now would be counter-productive, I feel. Sorry. :(

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cshm9o7?context=3

Q.

  1. Do you mind telling us what the average number of Knights for a Knight Radiant Order were (barring Bondmiths) and possibly how close the different orders worked together?

  2. I know Invested objects and people are harder to effect with magic, but does that also apply to indirect magic, like using Aon Daa to strike someone in Shardplate?

  3. If you were to use Forgery for brainwashing, say turning a criminal into a law abiding citizen (not practical but hey it is a what if) would they not remember who they had been? Or would they just not care?

A.

  1. It varied very widely, and depended on many factors. At their highest, some orders had members in the low thousands.

  2. It all depends on how the magics are trying to interact. In the case you mention, there would be little interference.

  3. Depends on the extent of the Forgery. If you reforge someone so their body and soul think they got amnesia, then had a certain set of experiences (very hard to do) then no, they wouldn't remember. Most often, it doesn't work this way, and you simply add memories you don't really have.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cshtotd?context=3

Q.

  1. Since Stormlight and Breath are both investiture, would it be possible to use Nightblood with the former rather than the latter? Would it be possible to store Stormlight in metal using Feruchemy?

  2. Has Vasher ever been to a world other than Nalthis or Roshar, or was this his first time worldhopping?

  3. Are the Ones Above the only active spacefaring race when Sixth of the Dusk occurs, or are they simply the only ones the inhabitants of First of the Sun have encountered?

A.

1.Mixing the magics is possible, but some are easier and more natural than other. Feeding Stormlight to Nightblood is easy. Storing stormlight in metal is tough.

2.Vasher has only been to Roshar and Nalthis, beyond places in Shadesmar.

3.They are the only ones met.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/cshtsde?context=3

Q.Without necessarily naming the particular Shardworld, could you describe what the Cognitive Realm looks like in a Shardworld other than Roshar? Again, you don't have to say which one in particular, and it could even be a Shardworld we haven't seen before.

 

A.Hmm... There is a place where it's an empty wasteland of near-nothingness.

Edited by Kelek's Breath
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Very interesting so a Feruchemist that can breath in Stormlight could potentially store it in metal very interesting. I missed that one earlier.

Plus one for beating Argent to it. 

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Argent has been World of Warcraft-ing hardcore the last few days, so that's at most plus 0.4. 

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Argent has been World of Warcraft-ing hardcore the last few days, so that's at most plus 0.4.

You abandoned your station? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Now I'm wondering if Feruchemical Metal would lose Stormlight like a gem, or be a perfect container...

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You abandoned your station? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Now I'm wondering if Feruchemical Metal would lose Stormlight like a gem, or be a perfect container...

Now that's interesting.. a cache of stormlight filled metal somewhere haha but that's pretty cool

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And the answers keep coming...

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0odd?context=3

Q.I'm reading the preview chapter of Shadows of Self and I'm really curious. Where does the gasoline for the cars in the Wax and Wayne books come? If Harmony remade the world, did he make crude oil too? Does that then mean he can see that far into the future?

A.There are clues about this in the upcoming text itself.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0osj?context=3

Q.Any updates on the Steelheart film? http://deadline.com/2015/01/reckoners-book-series-movie-shawn-levy-fox-1201351867/

A.That article basically says everything that I can say.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0qsn?context=3

Q.Bronze has always been my favorite allomantic metal. Could a Seeker learn to sense familiar pulses? Could Marsh, for example, have felt the bronzepulses of pewter, and been able to tell the difference between some Thug he'd never met and his friend Ham? Or is pewter is pewter is pewter?

A.If he recognized something about the burning, it would have to be in the personal way someone was burning the metal. However, Bronze is capable of sensing other types of investiture. Expand from that as you wish.

 

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0rs3?context=3

Q.Hi Brandon! I know this is old but I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your work. I was disappointed earlier this year whenever a snowstorm resulted in canceling your signing here in Philadelphia - are there any plans to come back up this way any time soon?

A.Yes! Either with the Mistborn tour or soon thereafter, I plan to get to Philly again.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0tcg?context=3

Q.

  1. Could a Full Lashing bend the path of bullets? Or do they have to much momentum?
  2. Did Vin remember/think about her sister and her mother at all? Or did she not care about it?

3.Do Nicrosil and Chromium effect other magic systems? Or is it just Allomancy?

4.Do Awakeners of the Fifth Heightening up age at all or are they immortal and running around like Vasher and Denth were?

and on a non-cosmere note have you watched FullMetal Alchemist?

 

A.

  1. It could.
  2. It isn't that she doesn't care, it's that she never knew them.

Haven't watched fullmetal alchemist yet, but my assistant Peter swears I will like it.

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0u82?context=3

Q.

  1. If i enter a shardpool, could i use it to fully enter the Cognative Realm?

  2. I have been wondering...what would happen if all of the Seons in Elantris entered Devotions shardpool.

A.RAFO

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ytg2h/im_novelist_brandon_sanderson_ama/csk0w36?context=3

How far does a forger need to understand a particular skill in order to replicate that skill in their forgery? For example:

  • To forge a painting, it's implied that Shai had to learn painting skills from a master. But it's obviously unfeasible that she has to get as good as the master to forge from it.

  • To forge her 'warrior' personality, Shai had to go train with the actual warriors, at least for a while. But obviously she wouldn't need to get as good as when she's imprinting herself, otherwise she wouldn't even need that imprinting.

It's said that the effectiveness of forgery lies in the feasibility of changing its history. Does that mean that all she has to do is learn enough to make it feasible for her to extended that training over a much longer period?

As for the painting, does it mean that she didn't really need to train in painting skills, she just needed to make it feasible that the particular piece of canvas or whatever would have been painted on by the artist instead of the original canvas? Or does she need some skills to produce something a bit closer to the original so that the change is more feasible?

 

A.Yes, you are thinking along the right lines. The more feasible it is for something to work, the easier it is to Forge that thing. This is similar to what happens with the Breaths in Warbreaker. The closer you can make something to seeming alive, the less Breath it takes.

Edited by Kelek's Breath
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Q.Without necessarily naming the particular Shardworld, could you describe what the Cognitive Realm looks like in a Shardworld other than Roshar? Again, you don't have to say which one in particular, and it could even be a Shardworld we haven't seen before.

 

A.Hmm... There is a place where it's an empty wasteland of near-nothingness.

 

We're assuming this is Sel?

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We're assuming this is Sel?

Dor is (part) Cognitive. If anything, Sel should be a burning furnace or raw power.

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I think that was Brandon trolling a little bit. I took that as a RAFO

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I assumed it was Braize.  We know its also called Damnation and its where the Heralds go between Desolations.  Its possible there is other life on it or creatures of some kind, but if any Shard world is cognitively represented as a wasteland of near-nothingness, that would be my guess.

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Nor did he specify if it was a minor/major Shardworld so i'm guessing that there is barely, if any cognitive function on the world itself

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Nor did he specify if it was a minor/major Shardworld so i'm guessing that there is barely, if any cognitive function on the world itself

 

 

This is a good point, but could it be that if there wasn't any thinking life on a planet, that it wouldn't be in Shadesmar? (I'm slightly confused by this WoB.) 

 

I'm going for Sel, because WoB (see all links) indicates that the Dor is in the Cognitive Realm there, wreaking havoc. It's very dangerous. This and this might be helpful. 

Edited by Curiosity
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This is a good point, but could it be that if there wasn't any thinking life on a planet, that it wouldn't be in Shadesmar? (I'm slightly confused by this WoB.) 

 

I'm going for Sel, because WoB (see all links) indicates that the Dor is in the Cognitive Realm there, wreaking havoc. It's very dangerous. This and this might be helpful. 

 

See, when i think of the whole 'Sel is dangerous to get to/travel in via Cognitive Realm', I see it like the Netherstorm area of the Outland continent in World of Warcraft, which is basically a large amount of huge floating rocks scattered in the sky with a few interconnected floating islands/small continental plates which are packed close together and linked by small bridges forming the main area, with massive lighting storms in the area (mainly background). In the case of Sel, I see it as a little more drastic that that, with these storms being crazy powerful given the current states of the splintered Shards (as LabRat said, a burning furnace of raw power) and perhaps the kindoms/countries in the physical being represent by these plates. (You may argue that this does seem like an empty wasteland of near-nothingness but that statement to me screams of a place suffering from a nuclear fallout or a large bland desert that just goes on and on and on and on...etc.) I am curious as to which world it is though

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Q.Bronze has always been my favorite allomantic metal. Could a Seeker learn to sense familiar pulses? Could Marsh, for example, have felt the bronzepulses of pewter, and been able to tell the difference between some Thug he'd never met and his friend Ham? Or is pewter is pewter is pewter?

A.If he recognized something about the burning, it would have to be in the personal way someone was burning the metal. However, Bronze is capable of sensing other types of investiture. Expand from that as you wish.

This is the answer that was most interesting to me. There has been a lot of discussion in the past about bronze sensing different types of magic use, as well as innate investiture along the lines of the life sense granted by heightenings of breath, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested that a skilled Seeker could sense the difference between the innate investiture held by different individuals. Note that this tells you more than just what planet they are from, but specifically if this skaa is your friend or that guy from the next plantation over.

This makes me wonder if (for example) someone on Nalthis could track down the specific breath that originally belonged to a particular person. Brandon has hinted in the past that Breaths are not entirely fungible. On the other hand, there is this from earlier in the AMA:

Lifeless with more breath are an interesting situation. It's quite possible for the BREATH to start taking on a personality, much like a cognitive shadow, related to the individual. Whether or not it is actually them, though, is a big question.

Maybe the information flows both ways? Or maybe the body the soul is in is the important factor?
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Hasn't it been implied in the book that Awakeners used a lot of Breaths to Awaken Lifeless before the one-Breath Lifeless Command was discovered? Does that mean the very first Lifeless had some sort of personality? I suppose people would prefer their undead soldiers not having any personality whatsoever, so that's another advantage of the single-Breath Lifeless Command (aside from the obvious economic reason).

Edited by skaa
typo
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Hasn't it been implied in the book that Awakener's used a lot of Breaths to Awaken Lifeless before the one-Breath Lifeless Command was discovered? Does that mean the very first Lifeless had some sort of personality? I suppose people would prefer their undead soldiers not having any personality whatsoever, so that's another advantage of the single-Breath Lifeless Command (aside from the obvious economic reason).

 

I doubt it was all that many Breaths. In the prologue, Vasher Awakens the straw figure with either 50 or 100 (I forget which) Breath. That's a straw figure, not a corpse with muscles and veins and eyeballs and other things. You can't get more perfectly human in shape than a corpse.

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