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Q&A with Brandon Sanderson


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Just letting all of you know that Brandon recently did a signing in Orem, where he answered many of the general questions that we'll hear here (har har har).

Here's the link, if you want to hear what Brandon had to say about things like the release dates for various books, some writing process, and some Cosmere clues.


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Hey Brandon, it’s Eric. I can’t tell you how amazing it is for you to actually come here. I really hope you enjoy 17th Shard. We did, after all, build it for you and for Brandon fans everywhere. Hopefully, you approve. (I’m actually totally terrified the site will go down with all the traffic with you here. I highly doubt it will. But hey! At least we won’t get DoS’d again.) It is such an honor for you to join us.

I have just a few questions for you. Cosmere, of course. What else did you expect, though, deep in the den of the crazy theorizers of 17th Shard? :P

1. Is Splintering a Shard permanent?

2. In the Ars Arcanum of the Way of Kings, next to the Essences are listed ten Body Focuses. Are these Body Focuses the focus (in cosmere terms) of Surgebinding?

3. Is there a cosmere-specific term you use to describe, say, a Shard’s power inside someone? For example, people on Scadrial had little bits of Preservation in them that made them sentient (and, with enough Preservation, Allomancy). This obviously doesn’t make these people Slivers or Splinters, so I was just wondering if you had a word for it.

4. A lerasium Mistborn’s kids would surely be Allomancers. If such a lerasium Mistborn traveled to, say, Nalthis, fell in love and had kids with a native Nalthisean, would those kids be Allomancers? Or something else?

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Hello there ^^. I have four questions. Two are serious, and two are not. I care the most about the first one, so if you can only answer one, please answer that. Thanks for coming to answer our questions.

serious Questions.

Does the intent/personality of the Shard affect the personalities of the humans they create?

What do you call a human from each Shardworld (demonyms like Scadrialeese) ?

not serious questions.*

Have you seen or heard of the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica?

Is Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, or Twilight BEST PONY?

*It isn't really neccessary to answer these, but I want to know. As for the others, who I know want to downvote this post so bad. Deal with it. I can ask the questions I want.

Edited by Emeralis00
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Hey Brandon! It's Kerry. Thank you so much for doing this! :D I have a rather random-looking assortment of questions for you:

  • How does Snapping work after Sazed changed it? If you don’t want to reveal it all right now, are there any hints you can give us?
  • Can obligators marry?
  • Can anyone with access to Shadesmar learn how to worldhop?
  • In your books, we see a lot of really interesting and diverse world elements that make these places and cultures really come to life. What are some of the world elements you’ve had the most fun creating, and what do you like best about them?

Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy it here! :D We're crazy, but we like it that way.

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It's so cool that you're doing this, Mr. Sanderson. Thanks so much! I know this will fuel discussions for at least the rest of the year.

(For the record, you should totally check out the chatroom.)

1. So, those things on the inside cover of WoK. Crabwasps, or crabdragons?

(These guys, for clarification.)

2. Just after the Shattering (but before they started created humans or something), did all Shards have roughly the same amount of raw power?

3. Can Demoux burn malatium?

4. Does Forgery use the Dor?

Edited by Sweetness
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Hey Brandon!

Thank you so very much for coming here to answer our questions, I know this'll probably be taking some time away from Stormlight 2, so I appreciate you being here very much. You're my absolute favorite author, the logic of your magic and the way your stories and characters ring true is beyond compare in my opinion. I've got 4 questions, but if that seems like too many feel free to skip the later ones. Thanks again so very much :D

  1. Can all Investitures be classified as end-positive, neutral, or negative?
  2. Why does Devotion's Shardpool act so differently from Preservation’s?
  3. Did people exist on Nalthis prior to Endowment's arrival there?
  4. Is the Dor made up of both Devotion and Dominion’s power?

Also the TWoK nerd in me is totally embarrassed that I didn't ask any questions on that.(It was the first of your books I read, and my favorite) I can't wait for Stormlight 2 though, and will hopefully be at the release!

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Hello, Brandon! Thank you for doing this.

Here are my questions (all serious):

1. Is it possible to give cats intelligence with Hemalurgy? Or transfer cat's identity to a human?

2. How is heat a mental attribute in Feruchemy?

3. How much power does a Breath and a freshly charged Hemalurgic spike have relative to each other?

Fourth: Tell us something new about Cognitive Realm, please :)

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Hey Brandon -

Just wondering, are you ever going to go back and write about The Further Adventures of Lestibournes? I think his character is pivotal to the Mistborn trilogy and felt cheated that the trilogy mostly focused on Vin, Kel, Sazed, and Elend. I would like to know more of his backstory and how he became the stud that he is.



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Hi Mr. Sanderson.

Thank you for doing this, you're awesome :) . My questions:

1.) Are there any racist jokes in the Mistborn world?

2.) What do the Terrismen who aren't stewards or breeders do? Are there castrated Terris craftsmen around in the Terris dominance? what do the terriswomen who aren't breeders do?

3.) If there's really no upper limit to feruchemy for practical reasons* , why didn't Sazed just fill steel at ridiculous levels for a few minutes in WoA, and then go back to running instead of leaving his steelminds there?Say, being some 100,000 times slower than he would normally be for about a minute. Meaning that a feruchemist should be able to fill a given metalmind in very short periods of time if you fill at a high enough rate.

4.) If tapping heat means your own body gets hotter, does it also mean you become immune to hot temperatures so long as you're tapping it, or should you fill heat and grow colder for that to happen?

--*(yes, you have the limit of how much you can store in a given metalmind and for how many metalminds you can carry on your person, but those are probably too high to really be taken into account in more "normal" circumstances)

Thanks again, you're super mega awesome, sir.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts
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Hey Brandon, thank you so much for doing this :D

Would you be willing to write a Ketek in High Imperial? It's just something that's been going around in my head for a while, I think it'd be pretty cool XD.

On a slightly more serious note, are we going to be seeing Eastern Slang/High Imperial throughout the whole of the mistborn sequence? How about on any of the other shardworlds?

Is there any relationship between Hemalurgic bindpoints and the body focuses in Surgebinding? Specifically, the eyespikes and the eyes being a body focus in Surgebinding?

Can a misting burn the god-metal alloys of their metal? If not, do the god-metals even 'exist' if there are no full mistborn?

Thank you for being so amazingly awesomely fantastically great. Liek srsly the greatest!


PS: what do you think to a Sadeas and Zane pairing? Not many people seem to like the idea, but I think they'd get on swimmingly :P

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Thanks so much for being so involved with your fans, it really means a lot to us. :)

1. How has writing Shallan as the focus character been compared to Kaladin in the last book? Easier? More difficult?

2. Will the point of view characters be the same as Way of Kings?

3. Can Knights Radiant of one Order see the spren of someone from another Order?

4. If a Shardblade was used on an awakened object, would it physically harm the object, destroy the Breath, or a combination of the two?

Edited by Nemuri
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Dear Brandon,

First of all: I love your books and the original magic systems.. Your worldbuilding is something I prefer in my campaigns as a Dungeon Master: complex, which turns the traditional themes of the genre upside down.

And the questions:

1.A few years ago you posted a long post about your future plans on your website:

Do you plan a post like this again or could you perhaps describe the current version of your plans right here?

2. According to the Second law of Sanderson your characters have flaws, weaknesses. What is the reason, that in a lot of them (Vin, Elend, Kaladin, Dalinar, Spook, etc) the most significant weakness is the lack of self-confidence?

3. And related to this last question: most of your heroes are true traditional "heroes", because they want to be useful for the family/society/other, and they often lack selfish, "dirtier" motivations. Will we sometimes see characters, who are not villains but are rather egocentric?

4. Do you plan a magic system which enables the character to manipulate the four elements with their will? I mean not so bounded, like Allomancy with Pushing or Pulling but shaping/summoning the elements according to the wishes of the person. I ask this, because in the whole fantasy genre I rarely find something like this (except: Arc Magica RPG), so I had to develop it myself at home . But from the authors I know you are the person who has the creativity to do this without doubt.

5. Are the intelligent sprens like Syl the “seons of Roshar”?

6. As Dalinar gave his Shardblade to Highprince Sadeas, was his motivation only to free the Brigdemen as “Thank you” for the help? Or did he already plan to build a team from soldiers who are loyal only to him?

7. When will be see the whole Cosmere-concept (Shards, the plans of Hoid) at the level of the books? In the third Mistborn trilogy or earlier? In which books do you plan to finish the “hidden story” which connects all your earlier books?

8. A bit RAFO but: Is Szeth bounded to the Oathstone (master) with magic/force or just with his honour? As I can remember, in the end of WoK he nearly killed Taravangian.

At last, I want to say thank you for your work, for your wonderful books.

Balázs, a Hungarian fan of yours

Edited by Arcanist
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Hey Brandon thanks so much for this!

1. When did the events of Elantris occur relative to mistborn, centuries before? or was it earlier? (Just read a transcript where you answered that :P

2. What would happen if you allomantically burned an awakened piece of metal?

3. Would an Archivist who was sufficiently practised be able to store memories at different strengths? (Keep a vague recollection of the memory as well as a stored copy which would degrade faster)

Edited by Voidus
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Hiya Mr. Sanderson! Thank you very, very much for doing this. :D

  • Does aluminium have any effect on the other Allomantic metals aside from iron/steel and zinc/brass? If yes, does that include god metals and their alloys?
  • Are there more kinds of kandra blessings than just the four we've seen?
  • Did Sazed do anything with the bodies of Ati and Leras after he ascended?

And finally, thank you for your wonderful books that we've all enjoyed so much!

Edited by InsurrectionistFungus
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Hey Brandon,

Thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to ask some questions. Love all your novels, can't wait for Stormlight 2, and I have to thank you for visiting Australia. I, unfortunately, didn't get a chance to see you, but one of my friends got a book signed by you for my birthday as a surprise. Hope that the next time you're in this sunny little country I get to see you in person ^_^

Now, to the questions.

1) Before Adonalsium was shattered, was there magic in the Cosmere and what form did it take?

2) With Stormlight being in your mind 2 five book arcs, is there still a single "through-line" so to speak (aka, the Everstorm, A clash with Odium, or the like).

3) Are there any other shards on Nalthis aside from Endowment

Thank you again!

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Wow, thanks for taking the time to let us ask questions! Your books are awesome and it's always a pleasure to read them- I can't wait for Stormlight 2!

Are the Parshendi of Honor?

If Kasbal hadn't been trying to kill Jasnah, would him and Shallan have gotten together?

Are the lighteyes descendants of the first people who took the Shards after the Knights Radiant abandoned them?

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Hey Brandon, Will here. Welcome to the humble little den of inanity that has somehow become home to a growing portion of your fanbase. We're delighted to have you, and thrilled stupid that our members have this opportunity. I wanted to have a special graphic done up for this - and still might manage it, if the day magically extends to include about seven extra hours and I develop the ability to operate Photoshop while asleep - but my classes have made all other arting virtually impossible.

Now, I know everyone is expecting me to ask something enlightening about whether or not waffles on Roshar have retractable syrup or confirmation on the Theory of the Epic God Metal, but I had something different in mind. (Although feel free to give any insights or secrets on waffles in the cosmere; any information will aid in the development of the all-important Wafflematic Theory).

• A few months ago, I discovered listening to classic jazz just really got me into the mindset for my current novel, and I think it might be because the story is set in a time similar to the America in the 1920's; do you ever try to match the music with the setting of a specific book or scene? Is there any one artist or style of music that works no matter what?

• Sort of following up on one of Kerry's questions, what aspect of a new setting do you find to be the most difficult to develop?

• Finally, do you have any of the Power Nine, and if so, which ones?

That's all for me. Thank you again for this opportunity. We know you're a busy guy, but the fact that you're taking the time to do this makes you all the more awesome.

(...yes, guys, I know I said I would only ask one, but the Power Nine question is important! :P )

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Brandon, thank you again for writing such truly wonderful books.

a ) Now that you have finished writing WoT, how does it feel going back to telling your epic story that you have wanted to share with the world and being able to write a story naturally without the outside constraints that came with WoT?

What if anything has been the biggest challenge getting back into writing Stormlight Archives after working so hard on WoT?

b ) What are the chances of another tour here in Australia in the next five years?

Keep writing and we'll keep reading!

Edited by Brendan
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Heyy Brandon

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of these questions! We will all be very appreciative I am sure

1. When Dalinar and Honour are having a "chat" at the end, Honour says "I don't know who you are, or how you found your way here." Does Dalinar visit the Spiritual realm in his dreams then?

2. Does the world map in the Way of Kings show all of the landmasses of Roshar? Does that make the continent on Roshar a Pangaea-like supercontinent? And as I think about it, are there tectonic plates on Roshar?

3. You once told me that Roshar is the name of the planet from the cosmere-literate point of view. Were the dawnsingers cosmere-literate?

4. Is there any use to being a Copper compounder, from a feruchemical point of view? I think the same point would also apply to an Aluminium compounder.

Thanks again!

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Hey Brandon,

first, let me thank you for giving us this occasion. Unless you're planning to come to Germany in the next few years it'll be hard to ask my questions.

If you're going to answer all of these questions it probably will take much time (even knowing that lots of them will get RAFOd) so if you don't it will only permit you to continue with the Stormlight Archive 2, which will be very good as well.

- is one of the symbolhead-spren (or maybe all of them) responsible for Shallan's ability to Soulcast (in the way that Syl is responsible for Kaladin's Lashings)?

- When Surgebinding, the person is Binding a Surge (the elemental force). Are those Bindings (the spiritual link) the focus for Surgebinding on Roshar?

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Dear Brandon,

I have many questions, and I'll try to get all the best ones out.

1. Do Stephen's aspects exist in the way bonded spren exist (independent Spiritual and Cognitive aspect but tied to a human.)?

2. Did Razon's camera use the same spiritual gravitational anchors as time bubbles?

3. If two people grabbed the hilt of a Shardblade at the same time and then it got knocked out of their hands, which one could resummon it?

4. How do worldhoppers communicate on all the Cosmere worlds? Is there one universal language? Do they just learn a new language for each world?

5. What would happen if Nightblood and a Shardblade hit each other?

6. What would happen if, right after someone died, they were made into a Lifeless, and then Endowment tried to Return that person?

7. Is Soulcasting mass-conservative (Soulcast a 1kg goblet, you get 1 kg of blood.)?

8. Could vampires survive on Soulcast blood?

9. Does chocolate exist in the Cosmere?

Just remembered two more:

1. Is it at all possible for Kelsier to be reincarnated/posess someone/show up as a ghost/whatever and become a character in a future Mistborn book?

2. Can a Feruchemist store an attribute in a metalmind that someone else has already stored in and if so, do the charges affect each other in any way?

Edited by Rubix
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Thanks from yet another fan for your wonderful writing.

1) Do Honorblades have the same sort of relationship to Honor (possibly to a much greater degree) that Shardblades do?

2) Is it necessary to touch a Shard -not necessarily to become its Holder, but to at least touch it briefly- to Splinter it?

3) Some dictionaries list two meanings for the word "odium": the feeling of strong hatred, and that which provokes hatred from others. Do both of these apply to the Shard with that name?

4) Does the Shard Odium seek to separate things, much like the Shard Honor seeks to bind things together?

5) Can a Shard tell the difference between itself and its current holder?

Edited by Millennium
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