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Q&A with Brandon Sanderson


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Brandon, I'm a huge fan of yours. Originally I found out about you after you were chosen to finish The Wheel of Time, and since then you've become my favorite author. I have a few questions regarding mistwraiths:

How intelligent is a mistwraith? Could you raise and train mistwraiths like dogs or horses, controlling what forms they take by the bones you give them? Would you be able to train yourself a horsewraith steed by giving it only the bones of a horse?

What would happen if you gave it a spike imbued with steel allomancy? I'm assuming that wouldn't be enough to grant it sentience but could it then use steel powers? Can you give allomantic powers to a kandra?

Whether or not any of my questions get answered, thanks for doing this.

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Hi Brandon, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Here are mine.

1. Is Honor the only one who created people on Roshar?

2. Since we generally don’t see inhabitants of your worlds refer to their planets by name, where do the names come from?

3. You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?

4. You’ve already given some information about the origins of the custom of a safe hand (feminine arts being those that can be done one-handed) but why the word “safe?”

5. Shinovar seems more earthlike than the rest of Roshar; does this occur naturally or was it somehow changed to be that way?

6. Will we see illustrations of Shardplate and/or blades in the next Stormlight Archive book?

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Thanks for doing this!

(spoilers obviously)

My question is in regards to the writing system. In Warbreaker, when Siri is teaching Susebron to read, she mentions the letter "shash," which we now know better as a Glyphair from WoK.

so onto the questions:

Are the two writing systems related, or is this a chance coincidence of names?

If they are related, did they stem from the same source? (i.e., do the people of Nalthis and Roshar both descend from a more ancient group of people?)

If I haven't gotten a RAFO yet, did the separation from these other people create the legends of being cast out of the Tranquiline Halls?

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Hi Brandon, thanks so much for this opportunity, and I'm absolutely drooling here at the chance to see you answer even some of these amazing questions. To throw a couple more into the ring (playing fast and loose with my definition of 'a couple') -

1) Will the fact that Roshar and the Silence Divine planet exist in the same solar system come into play at all in The Stormlight Archive, or is that only relevant for later books?

2) In the Mistborn trilogy, the base 16 Allomantic metals separate into different groups like the Enhancement metals, etc. Given that there are 16 Shards, do they also separate into different groupings as well? For instance, are Shards like Honor and Devotion part of one 'grouping', with Shards like Cultivation and Endowment part of another?

3) There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?

4) We're aware by now of eight of the sixteen Shards (Devotion, Dominion, Ruin, Preservation, Endowment, Honor, Odium and Cultivation) and seven of the ten core Shardworlds (the Dragonsteel world, Roshar, Scadrial, Nalthis, Sel, the White Sand world and The Silence Divine world). Given that you now how we love to obsessively speculate based on only the tiniest of information, and also given that it seems an endless source of amusement to you that we do, would you perhaps like to tease us with a smidgen of information about one of the remaining eight Shards or the three remaining Shardworlds?

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Here's a couple dumb questions that shouldn't be too plot-important:

Does the Physical Realm of the Cosmere have more or less the same structure as our own? It's obvious from Mistborn that solar systems function as they do in our universe, but it's less obvious if there are galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and so forth. Are there?

If the Cosmere does have the same structure as our own, are the Shardworlds all in the same general area (a galaxy, for example), or are they completely spread out?

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When Kelsier destroys the Pits of Hathsin in Final Empire, it is mentioned that they'll take something like 300 years to start producing Atium again. Do the Pits of Hathsin still exist in any form after Sazed reshaped the world, and is that timeline for them still valid?

In Alloy of Law, evidence is uncovered that the bad guys are attempting to breed a Mistborn. The time span of the gap between this and the original Mistborn trilogy, perhaps with the interval I vaguely remember being stated for between Alloy and the next main trilogy added, is suspiciously close to 300 years. Does the organization Wax's father is part of know the location of the Pits of Hathsin, or otherwise have access to Atium, either now (as of Alloy) or in the time period of the planned second trilogy?

And now some magic mechanics questions:

1) What benefit does compounding copper get? Exceptionally clear and detailed memories? Memories that can be split into a new coppermind while still remaining in the feruchemists mind? Something else?

2) How does Feruchemical luck work? If a chromium compounder tried his hand at day trading on the stock market, what would happen? Would it make him choose stocks that were coincidentally going to go up anyway? Would it change stock prices by altering the world around him? Would it fail because the required scale of action is too large? Something else?

3) This might have been specified in the books, I don't remember, but does Duralumin expend itself as well as the metal it's used with? If it does, I've got this theory that its effect is actually just to cause a regular flare, not a superflare, but it affects itself in a feedback loop that keeps forcing the flare higher until it runs out.

And some silly:

1) What benefit does an aluminum savant get? Yes, I know this would normally never happen because aluminum burns itself up. Suppose a mad scientist with a willing Mistborn test subject shoved a feeding tube down the Mistborn's throat to pump in a continuous stream of aluminum, replenishing it steadily so there's always a new unburned supply. Add another tube to pump out excess water if necessary. What would he discover? Alternatively, what would Sazed with his Shard-granted knowledge know?

2) What about a Lerasium savant? Or would that require so much Lerasium that the person attempting it would ascend to become a new Shardholder?

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Hello Mr. Sanderson, thank you so incredibly much for taking time out of your schedule for your fans, it is actions like these that make you a favorite author of your fans.


1) Are all of the orders of Knights Radiant human?

2) Are there non-human races on Roshar, or non-humanoid races that are sentient?

3) You said that Preservation created the Terris Prophecies. Why couldn't ruin see into the future and counter Preservation's plan? Is it because Ruin's intent has him focusing more on the present than the future, while Preservation (wanting to preserve forever) looks more into the future for that goal.

Edited by JamesW
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Wow... there's so many good questions here. Since it's probably going to take you a really long time to answer, I'll stick with something simple that's been bugging me.

Since allomancy is powered by burning metal, isn't Scadrial going to eventually start running out of metal?

Hmmm... is that why there's a space trilogy? They have to mine asteroids and other planets for their metal?

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So some of us happened across a line in Mistborn 1 that gave us pause. It's in the chapter 19 epigraph:

Not so Kwaan. In a way, he is as unlikely a prophet as I am a hero. He never had an air of ceremonious wisdom - nor was he even a religious scholar. When we first met, he was studying one of his ridiculous interests in the great Khlenni library - I believe he was trying to determine whether or not trees could think.

This sounded to us like Kwaan the Terrisman might have been looking into or might have known something about Realmatics, like for instance knowing of the realms and that things have aspects in all three. Is this the case? If so, was such knowledge common among his people or Scadrial?

Oh and is Hoid an older Alcatraz Smedry? (This is a joke I know Alcatraz isn't in the Cosmere but with Hoid being present at the Shattering and Alcatraz's Talent being braking things... That could include Gods.)

P.S. There's also been a long standing debate on whether an Allomacer could burn the One Ring, stance on that?

Edited by Nesh
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Thank you for answering some of our questions.

For the modern day Mistborn trilogy, have you decided on whether the Nicrosil Misting main character will be male or female yet? I haven't seen you mention it anywhere.

Did Amaram ever find out who the Shardbearer that Kaladin killed was?

Nightwatcher's curses all appear to be neurological in effect, are the boons limited in any particular manner?

Is it hypothetically possible to Awaken an object using a Divine Breath?

If a character bears multiple Shardblades, can they summon them all in the same 10 heartbeat span, or does each Shardblade require a separate summoning? Dying doesn't count.

Does Hoid have a safety-deposit box somewhere, or does he carry all his souvenirs with him?

Do you ever plan to continue "I Hate Dragons"? I have a theory that Skip does not have a separate knack to make him smell delicious to dragons, but rather that he is high in levels of human magical potential, which the dragons need in their diet.

Edited by Cheese Ninja
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Hey Brandon, you are an awesome writer, I love your books, I'm a huge fan! The Way Of Kings is my favorite book, not only yours or of fantasy, but my all time favorite.

Are you planning to include a gay character in the second book of the Stormlight Archive? I know there is that bridge guy, but I mean a character with some weight on the book. Would be cool.

And I saw on facebook about the discussion about the name of the second book. This is more like a request, please, keep the name of it being The Book Of Endless Pages. That title is awesome! Oh and another suggestion, please, keep making huge books! Now, after reading your books, I expect books to be at least 600 pages, so you can see I get disappointed quite often lol

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Hello Brandon,

Thanks for doing this and answering all these questions. I am personally the most immersed in the world of Scadrial and thus I have the following questions.

1. When an Allomancer burns atium does that alter the Spiritweb of said Allomancer?

2. After Sazed changed the Allomantic table (restoring cadmium and bendalloy to the table, after Preservation had replaced them earlier with atium and malatium), do atium Mistings no longer exist?

3. Within the Mistborn Adventure Game I noticed that Hemalurgy had a pattern of the raw metal (iron, tin, copper, zinc) having a human trait and the alloys (steel, pewter, bronze, brass) stole either a Allomantic or Feruchemical trait. Yet when we moved onto the Enhancement and Temporal metals the pattern is broken. I am wondering if it's a happenstance pattern, or if this was done on purpose, and broken on purpose.

4. This is more a curiosity than a serious question, but what is your favorite food within the cosmere?

Again thanks,


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Hi, Mr. Sanderson. Thank you very much for doing this Q & A - I concur with the sentiments of many before that it is much appreciated. Assuming I haven't run out of time, (roughly 10:00 MST here), I have a few questions I'd like to ask.

So, onto the actual questions

1. Assuming Hemalurgy walks across multiple shardworlds, what would happen if a Hemalurgist were to kill a Returned God, and spike themselves with the resulting spike, given Hemalurgic decay?

2. If Sel is so dangerous to move to via Shadesmar, how is Galladon able to worldhop?

3. What would happen if an Awakener were to give their breath to an Allomancer? Would the Allomancer be able to use it for anything? What if the same thing happened, only with a Surgebinder instead of an Allomancer?

Edited by Deoradhan
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Hey Brandon! Thanks for taking the time and God bless you and your fam!

1. Are there any plans to revisit the characters from Legion and wrap up some of the unresolved issues, specifically regarding Sandra?

2. What’s your favorite Ravnica Guild?

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Hey Brandon, it's really great to see you here, and I hope you enjoy your stay :). I'm Matt, the Canadian (one of a few). As my signature suggests, most of my admin work is done over at the Mistborn RP.

Anyways, I'll cut to the chase, here are my questions:

1. Would it be possible to get a general timeline of the following events, in relation to the time of the Lord Ruler’s Ascension and to each other: the birth of the Second Generation, the time period when kandra were hunted down and killed by Mistborn, the creation of the contract system and of the creation of the latter generations?

2. How much do the Terris people in the breeding programs and the obligators who work with them know about Feruchemy?

3. Could a Seeker who was properly trained and experienced detect AonDor or Breath?

4. What is it exactly that a seeker is detecting?

And to finish, just for my personal interest,

5. Have you or Peter ever read the Mistborn RP (Mistborn: The Inquisition that is) and if so, do you have anything in the way of thoughts, opinions or advice? As someone who's writing as benefited enormously from working the site, I'd also like to personally thank you for giving us such an amazing world to play in. Thank-you.

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