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Writing for Charity Interview


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So I (semi) recently went to the Writing for Charity conference to see Brandon Sanderson. I arrived at the tail end of his presentation, and I really enjoyed it. There was a signing afterwords, and I sat next to him as questions were asked (including a question asking if I was Brandon's son!) After the line ran out, I was able to ask him some questions:

Zas: So if you want, I went through the Ultimate List of Questions Thread

Brandon: Oh no.

Zas: And I pulled out a couple, pulled out quite a few.

Brandon: All right, all right. I’ll give you your top 5.

1. Zas: This one is from Terez, about WoT. It says“Does Moridin have anything to do with the Knife of Dreams?”

Peter: She thinks that his name (insert name, sounds likePedroni?) translates into Knife of Dreams in WoT

Brandon: (slightly surprised) Oh. If that is the case Terez,which it very well may be, I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s mostly because Idon’t do anything with the Old Tongue- I let Alan handle it, because he’s sogood at it, I pretty much just refer to him. The only thing I tried to name on my own was Perrin’s hammer. And even that, he had to fix a few little things tomake it work right.

So I won’t kill that theory, but I can’t confirm it either.

2. Zas: In Well of Ascension, there are two strange“voice in the head” experiences. One of them is with Sazed and Marsh are fighting, and Sazed realizes that he can burn the metal rings that are now inhis stomach. But the other one is with Elend, when a voice comes, and he’s not sure where it comes from. It says something like “If you have a dagger, theonly way to win is to go in for the kill”

Brandon: That one, where it came from, is – I know what youare searching for, but it’s actually just an old (something) from weapons training. He’s just dredging- he’s not sure where it came from because he neverthought he would need any of it, he thought he was just going to be a scholar.But his father did have him trained in weapons, so it’s just instinct that he got from one of his old mentors infighting.

So there’s nothing to see there, so no, he’s not (something).

Zas: Okay. We were just wondering if it was Preservation, or Kelsier.

Brandon: Nope. Unfortunately, no. I do that on occasion, but this time

3. Zas: There is a debate on what to call Shallan’s Symbols, so we don’t have such an ambiguous term for it .

Brandon: The Symbolhead?

Zas: Yeah, the Symbolhead, Shallanspren,

Brandon: (laughter)

Zas: We don’t really know what to call them.

Brandon: Do I want to canonize this yet?

Zas: You don’t have to canonize it yet.

Brandon: I don’t know if I want to canonize it yet. But I willsay this. They are spren, that should be pretty obvious. They are the sprenconnected to what Shallan is capable of doing. But I don’t know if I want tocanonize it yet. Truthspren is as good a name as any, and I would suggest you use that until further notice.

4. Zas: A question related to that. There’s an ideagoing around that all the spren that can Nahel Bond, all Knight Radiant sprenare called Honorspren, and then Nohaden talks specifically about Honorspren. Is that the case? You know, is it just the Windrunner spren, or is it all the spren?

Brandon: I’m going to deal with this in the next book. So I’ll just go ahead and let it be a literal RAFO. It is coming.

(interruption, leading Brandon to lose his train of thought)

So what we are dealing with here is that all Spren are indeed all pieces of the one who has gone, so those spren are all- except the Windrunner spren, the spren like Syl, have certain umm.

Zas: Nohaden mentioned that “All the spren aren’t as discerning as Honorspren.”

Brandon: So there has been dissention among them about who gets to call themselves Honorspren, if that makes sense, and there is some disagreement among scholars about which ones are really, you know “This is what defines an

But the spren you are running into are all (something) ofeither Honor or Cultivation, or some mixture between them. And you can usually tell the ones that are more Honor, and the ones that are more Cultivation. That should be able ot be (something).

5. Zas: Here’s an interesting one. Why do some Breaths flare when people die? Vasher mentions it in the book.

Brandon: I will answer that in the next book, if I ever get to it.


Brandon: Okay, give me another one. We’re way over 5 now.

Zas: True. (Although it’s not! Haha!) Why did OreSeur signup for Kelsier’s plan. Was he forced to because of his contract? Or did he actually want to do it?

Brandon: All kandra want to be back in the Homeland. Thatsaid, OreSeur, he as a kandra, likes challenges, and was a real method kandra, a lot of them are, but he truly was. And you can see that in him. So for him, the contractand the role he plays

Zas: Are more important than what he actually wants.

Brandon: Yeah. Even though he had spent all this time doing this stuff. So he was part of it, but for him, his role was being this person. If I may.

Zas: That’s interesting.

Zas: Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier arehalf-skaa, half-noble, both natural allomancers, both end up overthrowing theLord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.

Brandon: Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing whatthey were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you’re looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulateand easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren’t paid attention to as much by the ministry, because the ministry didn’t know about them .

So it’s mostly coincidental for what Ruin’s trying to achieve.


Zas: A question that has it’s roots in Dragonsteel. When Ruin changes words, is he actually changing words,or is he changing what people see?

Brandon: Did we canonize this question Peter? I’m pretty sure we did. I thought we answered this one already.(It’s not in our records if he did)

Let’s just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said.

Zas: That’s pretty interesting.

Brandon: So the easiest time for him is when a scribe is writing in a new book, he’s copying a new book down, and he just pops in and changes the words.

Zas: Okay. That makes sense.

Zas: Oh! Did Ati- We see Elend and Vin in that kind of holding pattern with Sazed at the end, did Ati perish?Or did he also stay in the holding pattern.

Brandon: Ati perished. He is gone.

Zas: How about a confirmation one? We have a secondhand report from Miyabi actually, that says that Hoid was at the Shattering of Adonalsium. Was he there?

Brandon: Yes he was.

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I agree Yados that's truly incredible. It's actually changed my preconceptions about what Surgebinding is... The fact that Honor has been Splintered into spren and Cultivation has spren implies that she may be all or partially Splintered. If she is dead, it happened after Honor "recorded" (for lack of a better word) Dalinar's visions. The melding of different spren is fascinating too. Why did Honor and Cultivation's power combine? Did they do it on purpose or is this an affect of Investiture's possible tendency to eventually re-coalesce?

If it's some kind of natural affect then it could possibly explain why the Dor (if you don't believe the Power of Creation theory) seems to be composed of both Devotion and Dominion. I wonder why spren typically aren't sentient but Seons are? Do the Seons have some sort of physical aspect allowing them sentience that the spren lack? Are the Cultivation spren the ones that are less discerning? How many of the Radient spren are partially made of Cultivation? Does Cultivation have a spren based system too? What's Stormlight and who's power is to for crying out loud? This just added a crazy new level of complexity.

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