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[OB] Creating Stormlight Glyphs: A JordanCon Workshop with Isaac Stewart


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1 hour ago, sylspear said:

Thanks for sharing!! Now I need to go to a signing more than ever!!

@Sylspear,  Why?  Just curious. If it is a signing with only Brandon, and you ask him a glyph question - he'll tell you to contact Isaac.    So if you have one, I suggest writing to Isaac directly.   You can do that via the "Contact Us" button on the website. 
Isaac is only at few signings, mostly the major release parties, and some cons.  

Edited by DeanaMCW
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11 hours ago, Argent said:

But let's move on to the two glyphs here not designed by Isaac. These two come from Deana, but have Isaac's stamp of approval. They read "happy birthday":


I'm afraid I don't know what they sound like. 

I'll try to pick apart the phonemes, reading from center and up to out and down, in order of what I think is most likely. The first one consists of

1x k/i/e (Only plausible vowel)
2x ch/f/d/j
1x h/m/t

The second one:

1x th/d
1x k/e/i (It's the only plausible vowel)
1x th/d
1x h
1x r

Trying to make something Alethi-sounding from this:

Checheh Thetheher?

Chichih Theherth?

If pseudo-phonetic English, like with the women's script samples:

Heffi Herthde?

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Thanks @Argent for the tags.  :-D

As for the how the Happy Birthday glyphs sound - they were made prior to this class.  So they are boring old English letters turned into glyphs.   
I see a smile and a two-tiered cake in the glyphs, but to each his own. 
Re: the Birthday glyph. The top tier is "day" the bottom tier is the "birth."

If I do them again, I would ask my Hebrew speaking relatives for the phrase and translate the sounds. 
Now that we know the base inspiration for the words, I'll stop trying to see English words inside the glphys.  

I'm not seeing rule 1. 
Rule of Cool -  Looking cool, trumps readability. 

Edited by DeanaMCW
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@DeanaMCW I know, but as we in the fandom start glyphing each other, we'll probably start out by using the phonemes as crutches. I've glyphed my SO a few times and since there isn't enough canon to memorize from, using the phonemes lets us construct some consistent glyphs that we can later modify or simplify :) I particularly like how you can see the evolution of the khakh glyph as it transitioned from phonetic to memetic. I don't dare to cross the strokes like that when glyphing yet - since the reader still has to use the phonemes - but I try to still form evocative shapes like you did here.

I like how you can find your username phonetically embedded in the braid glyph you're using as a profile picture, assuming you read CW as "Ch" :) Intentional, or just a favorite glyph?

Edited by Tobbzn
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  • Pagerunner changed the title to [OB] Creating Stormlight Glyphs: A JordanCon Workshop with Isaac Stewart

@Tobbzn, Isaac made the glyph for me after a long conversion we had about the glphys several years ago at JordanCon.   I actually never tried to break it down.  Until recently, I didn't have the knowledge of how. 

It reminded me of the braid and weaving diagrams I sent him after the convention.  So just enjoyed the visual impact of the glyph.  :lol:

So thank you for pointing out that my name is hidden inside it!   <3
I'll have to send another round of thanks to Isaac.  

Edited by DeanaMCW
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@DeanaMCW  You should be proud, it's a good glyph. I wouldn't be able to *derive* your full name from it, but it's quite recognizable when you look for it. Also, I wrote an msc on topics related to braiding theory in mathematics, and your glyph is a really good at representing that topic as well - it wouldn't look out of place decorating the front page of a thesis.

Edited by Tobbzn
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Quick heads up, folks! Isaac saw the write-up and had a couple of things to say about. Most importantly, the final image I had up, the one with the glyphionary translations, was never meant to be shared publicly (one of the reasons being that the translations themselves were not quite finalized), so I've taken it down from both this post and the corresponding gallery. If you saw it, I'd urge you to treat anything on it as even less canon than the other not-quite-canon images still up. If you downloaded it, obviously there isn't anything I can do, but I ask you not to share it (you can also rename it to something like argent_messed_up.png). Much of what makes our little community amazing is the implicit trust Brandon's team puts in us, and I would really hate it if my screw-up tarnishes that trust.

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On 5/5/2018 at 4:20 AM, Argent said:

You can see the similarities between the original sketch and the final version. Full disclosure, if Isaac were to put glyphs like this in the canon, he would "straighten them out and clean them up more before they wind up in the books." Interesting trivia about this particular glyph is that, like many other glyphs, it derives inspiration from (ancient) Arabic and Hebrew. For this one, Isaac drew on these languages' words for "family" - 'aylah (Quora told me it might be عائلة, but I have no idea!) and baith is how he pronounced those words respectively, but he also acknowledged that he is probably saying them wrong. A quick check with Peter, and we have abara.


So, I'm a native Hebrew speaker (I'm Israeli), and I find it a bit odd that Isaac used the word "בית" (baith/ba'eet) for family, since when I think of family, I think of משפחה - mishpacha, and בית is house, or home. I asked my classmates for what they would translate בית to in English, and family to in Hebrew, and they responded the same way, family - mishpacha, baith- house/home.

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On 5/8/2018 at 6:44 AM, Shallan314 said:

I find it a bit odd that Isaac used the word "בית" (baith/ba'eet) for family, since when I think of family, I think of משפחה - mishpacha, and בית is house, or home.

Does it retain the idea of household? That is, if I said "This is House Kholin," would that word apply?  (Or to get Biblical, is it related to "House of Israel" phrasing?)

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14 hours ago, ccstat said:

Does it retain the idea of household? That is, if I said "This is House Kholin," would that word apply?  (Or to get Biblical, is it related to "House of Israel" phrasing?)

Yeah, it does. After reading your response I decided to look at biblical Hebrew, to see what the word בית would be, and found that it's that way (I had immediately thought of modern Hebrew, whoops). I was also a bit thrown off by how Isaac had pronounced the word, since the spelling of the pronunciation he used seems to be the one that means house, and not house of (בַּיִת - Baith/Ba'eeth, which means house, versus בֵּית - beit/h, which means house of), unless, of course, I'm reading the pronunciation wrong.

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I'm sure he simply didn't look that closely at the meaning. I definitely got the sense from the workshop that the idea wasn't to blend the perfect words into something Alethi. It's more that they simply want to get a certain feel. The idea of using the "correct" words is more like a convenient place to start than a goal in itself. If that makes sense. :)

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I got some follow-up questions for Isaac answered today.

First of all, the Highprince glyphs:

Highprince Glyphs.png

With the following clarification: "Keep in mind that these were drawn by Vandonas, who knew little about the creation of glyphs and might've taken liberties in his interpretation of them. That said, the general shapes of the glyphs are correct." I assume this is referring to two things: the way that Isaac has since simplified the glyph creation process since WoK; and the fact that Thanadal used to be named Yankler, and his was drawn using those phonemes. (As a matter of fact, I have the Standard Y from Thanadal in my post-OB glyph notes; you can clearly see it in the bottom corners.) Isaac also said he wasn't sure on Sebarial and Bethab, but since we have Sebarial explicitly identified in WoR, at the Battle of the Tower troop map, it looks like he got it right.

The second item was asking about calligraphic phonemes. I thought I had figured out five of them; here was his response: "I'll confirm that you are correct on 4 out of 5 of the phonemes you sent my way, though the root shape of each might be slightly different than the elongated and stylized shapes you attached."

Here were my five guesses:


There's the "G," which I see in Gesheh and Evgeni

The "E," which I saw in Evgeni and Zatalef


The "I," which I see in both Evgeni and Kirilov

The "N," which I see in Kholin and Roion

And the R, which I think I saw you draw in the workshop!

I'm leaning towards the E as my mistake, because I see it the Kholin glyph attached above, and there's no E in Kholin. I almost left it out and only made four guesses... maybe I should have. Oh well!

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@Pagerunner I think the highprince glyphs are much more based on the Fundamental Glyphs than the phonemes. Some of their names are kinda reminiscent of historical figures too. 


Looks like half the highprince glyphs are "upside-down". I'll put those in underscore. Some of the names or Heraldic glyphs also sound kinda like kingdoms or places.

1 Ruthar - Windrunners/Jes - ? - Yaezir + Azir
2 Roion - Skybreaker/Nan - ? - Natanatan
3 Sebarial - Dustbringers/Chach - ? - (Cha-)Narak & Arak
4 Vamah - Edgedancers - Vedel - Valhav & Vedenar
5 Sadeas - Truthwatchers/Pai - Sadees the Sunmaker - Paimia, Palaneum, Panatham & Sunmaker Mountains 
6 Hatham - Lightweavers/Shash - ? - Savalashi & Sela Tales (Together with Taln? She seems to be somewhat infatuated with him.)
7 Bethab - Elsecaller/Betab - Battar - Babatharnam 
8 Kholin - Willshapers/Kak - Kelek - Shin Kak Nish & Kholinar
9 Thanadal - Stoneward/Tanat - Taln - Thaylen/Sela Tales
10 Aladar - Bondsmith/Ishi - ? - Iri, Alethela x Sesemalex Dar?

Connecting anecdotes:
1. Ruthar is blue-eyed like the glyph, and despite his rank he's not particularly formal. His colors are Red and Light Blue.
2. Roion was killed by a Skybreaker, and literally broke his body by falling from the sky, trailing a wisp of Stormlight (Smoke is the second essence) while screaming (exhalation being the Body Focus). He violates the Divine Attribute "Confidence". I wonder if there's red in his colors.
3. Sebarial is rather "brave" in his defiance of political expectation, aligning much more with one Divine Attribute than the other. Yet, when Dalinar appropriately called for an expedition to Narak, he obeyed.
4. Sadeas mocked Vamah's fashion sense, whereas Historical Edgedancers were refined. Vamah has Light Grey eyes, like the Vev glyph, and the Eyes are the body focus. 
5. Sadeas was described by Jasnah as a man of intelligence, aligning with the Divine Attribute Learned. He was Highprince of Information and abused his position. His colors are green (and white, apparently? I didn't remember that, but it's on Coppermind) like the Pai glyph. Ialai has green eyes and specifically dyes her hair (Hair being the body focus). When Meridas Amaram-Sadeas takes over, his colors are green and burgundy, and here we see both the red coming into it and the violation of the Divine Attribute of "Giving". EDIT: Also, "Sadees the Sunmaker" is theorized to have Nalthian connections due to his name sounding very much like "Tredees" with a Returned title, refusing to wear a crown like Vasher refuses his Returned nature, etc. Notably, Endowment's number is "5", as is Sadeas' in this model.
6. Hatham is shrewd at political maneuvers and deception using Ardents and overly polite mannerisms, violating the Divine Attribute of Honesty. 
7. Bethab is a mercenary-using dullard*, violating the Divine Attributes of Wise and Careful. 
8. The Divine Attributes of "Resolute Builders" describes Dalinar and Gavilar pretty well. Ever-resolute Jasnah Kholin soulcasts a Bronze Wall, which is associated with Kelek and the Willshapers. Also I have another theory regarding her weird powers in my signature. The Kholin color is blue, but Navani and Jasnah's eyes are appropriately violet.
9. Thanadal stubbornly refuses to move to Urithiru from the Warcamps, violating Taln's essence of Dependable. His colors are Red & Brown, like the Taln glyph.
10. Though more Obedient than the others, he's also a good politician and doesn't use his own shards. His colors are White and Dark Green.


"Jasnah didn’t think much of Thanadal, Bethab, or Sebarial. The first she called oily, the second a dullard, and the third outrageously rude."

I *almost* put Bethab down as Oily since that's the 7th Body Focus. 


"Hatham was listed as a man of delicate politics and careful planning." 

Perhaps Bethab and Hatham would be better matched to their Divine Attributes if they swapped?

For most of these there's probably no big conspiracy other than incidental etymological convergence, but perhaps one or two of the connections are intentional? It could just be for thematic reasons, of course.

EDIT2: Roion's name sounds more like the second half of Jezroion than Ruthar. Perhaps... Some Highprinces are pairwise mixings? Bethab is clearly only Betab, of course.

Roion - Jezroion? (First to die, both among Heralds & Highprinces)
Ialai - Shalash + Pai? (Aid + Giving? Odd. Could she literally be Pailiah? She did have that ominous scene where the thinks about what the future will bring just before Sadeas gets himself killed.)
Kholin - Kelek + nin? (Resolute builder + Just and Confident? Good fit for the entire house, I'd say.)
Thanadal - Chanarach + Talenel + Vedel? (I find no evidence he's anything but stubborn, but just saing Talenel might be oversimplifying)
Aladar - Shalash + Ishar? (Pious in his beliefs yet Honest with himself. Sh is notably the Script-dual of d.)

Other cosmeric anecdotes:

Sebarial: "Seb" was Siri's nickname for Susebron. Aon Ial is "Aid", specifically the Aon was used for Ial Plantation. Guess who's planting the Shattered Plains? Sebarial.
Ialai's name is odd in the light of both Aon Ial meaning "Aid" and Pai meaning "giving". 
Aon Ala is Beauty, Aon Ashe is Light/Illumination. Shalash was a Lightweaver using the surge of Illumination, and was known for her beauty. Selish ancestry? Sela Tales? 
Ruthar - Luthadel minus Vedel plus Ishar? R and L are similar in the Vorin Script.
Hatham - Pits of Hathsin?

Edited by Tobbzn
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