Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
Logged In (0):
Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,
If a returned gives away his/her breath they die right? So why doesn't Vasher die after he gives his to Denth?
They will die the moment they run out of breath to harvest. Once a week their body needs a breath in order to survive. Each Returned has one single superpowered breath. Imagine it as one breath that propels them up through the Heightenings, but it is only a single breath. It's what we speak of in Shard world terminology as a Splinter. And when the seventh day comes, if a Returned does not have another breath for his body to consume to keep him alive, his body will actually eat his divine breath and kill him. So they don't die immediately after they get rid of the breath, they're sort of put into a state of limbo where if they don't find more breath by the time that their feast day comes, then they will die. (Vasher did not give his Returned breath to Denth, just a number of normal breaths.)
I was wondering how the animation of the lifeless statues worked, in regard to the use of Susebron's Breath. If they were lifeless, then vasher wouldn't have been able to take his Breath back out of them, nor would susebron have needed such a great deal of breath to revive them—he just would have needed a password. But if they were simply Awakened, no password would have been necessary to animate the statues, just Breath and Command.
It seems like the statues could be neither lifeless nor awakened. Are they unique, because of the use of bone, or am I missing something? The only other explanation I could think of was that they were lifeless, but Susebron's breath wasn't used to activate the statues, he simply had it passed down from vasher, in addition to the statues. If that's the case(and then I've simply been confusing myself with unnecessary, convoluted logic), why was it necessary to keep the breath safe for all these years?
Wow, there are a lot of questions in there. If you follow the drafts, I think you can see the evolution of what became of the Lifeless army. Originally I had planned for the statues to simply have been placed there so that you could Awaken them—just in my original concepts, before I started the writing—and then that became the army.
I eventually decided that didn't work for various reasons. Number one, as I developed the magic system, Awakening stone doesn't work very well. You've got to have limberness, you've got to have motion to something for it to actually be stronger. So a soldier made out of cloth would be more useful to you than a soldier made out of stone, if you were just Awakening something. At that point, as I was developing this, I went back to the drawing board and said okay, I need to leave him a whole group of really cool Lifeless as the army. But that had problems in that the ichor would not have stayed good long enough. Plus they already had a pretty big Lifeless army, so what was special about this one? Remember, I'm revising concepts like this as the book is going along. You can see where in the story I could see what needed to be there. So I went back to the drawing board again.
I think the original draft of Warbreaker you can download off my website has them just as statues, though at the time when I was writing that I already knew it would need to change. I was just sticking to my outline because I needed to have the whole thing complete on the page before I could work with it. A lot of times that's how I do things as a writer—I get the rough draft down, and then I begin to sculpt.
I eventually developed essentially what you've just outlined in the first part, before you started worrying if you were too convoluted. I said, well, what if there's a hybrid? What happens if you Awaken bones? Can you create something? The reason that you can't draw the Breath back from a Lifeless is because the Breath clings to it. If the Lifeless were sentient enough, it could give up its own Breath, but you can't take it, just like you can't take a Breath from a person by force. You have to get them to give it up willingly. So it sticks to the Lifeless. A Lifeless is, let's say, 90% of a sentient being. The Breath doesn't manifest in them, because they aren't alive, yet they're almost there. A stone statue brought to life would be way down on the bottom rung.
Is there something in between? That's the advancement I had Vasher discover—what if we build something out of bone, but then encase it in stone to make it strong, and build it in ways that the bone is held together by the force of the Breaths? That's really what you're getting at there, that you need a lot of Breath, a lot of power, to hold all that stone together. There are seams at the joints. What the Breath is doing is clinging there like magical sinew, and it's holding all of that together.
Vasher left the Phantoms Invested with enough Breath to hold them together but not to move. You needed another big, substantial influx of Breath in order to actually make them have motion, to bring them enough strength to move and that sort of thing. So it's kind of a hybrid.
The "You must give up all of your Breath, not some" line was mostly perpetuated by Denth, who is saying it to Vivenna to stop her from giving away her Breath to all the people she passes. It is a lie. Now, it's a lie that's commonly accepted by a lot of people. But it's still a lie — as we find out midway through the book, you can stick some of your Breath in an object and bring it to life, and then recover that Breath. So it's very easy to give some of your Breath to someone if you know the logical steps to take. Invest most of it into an object, give what you have to someone else, then pull back what you Invested. So it's flat-out proven in the novel that what Denth is telling her is wrong. Now, he could dance around that lie by pretending to be the ignorant mercenary — he's just perpetuating a falsehood that many people believe. But it is a lie. In fact, a lot of the things people believe about BioChromatic Breath isn't true.
One of the things I was trying with this book was to take a few steps back from Mistborn, where so much was understood. I feel that the approach I took in Mistborn is right for that book, and yet people have so much superstition regarding all sorts of science. I worry sometimes that there isn't enough superstition in my books, regarding magic as science. What people believed and what people knew and what people understood was so varied and confused throughout most of history, that I worry that I lack realism in that. Vasher brings up at several points in the book that they don't know a whole lot and that people perpetuate a lot of myths and stories and lies.
Vasher has learned to suppress his Returned Breath. When it's suppressed, it's as if it doesn't exist to him. He's Invested it into a place within himself, much like you can Invest your Breaths into a shirt, and when he gives away the rest of his Breaths, he doesn't give that one away. He could split off others of his Breaths if he wanted to — he's learned to do that, so that he could give a few Breaths and not all. It's just a matter of practicing as long as he has. But even people who aren't as practiced as him do it all the time when they Invest an object with not all of their Breath but just enough to bring it to life.
Can a Drab Return?
A Drab can not Return as the Returned are known, and there are things about the Drab that are not completely understood. But a Drab without a Breath, it’s going to be very hard. Drabs do not Return. Good question, by the way. No one has ever asked me that before.
Do Breaths inherently possess the ability to interpret and carry out commands, or does the Awakener need to impart that decision making ability on Awakened objects?
If the Awakener does need to impart the decision-making ability, then does Awakening consist of an Awakener copying a portion of his/her Cognitive aspect (as determined by his/her visualization and verbal Command) onto the Cognitive aspect of the object being Awakened, with Breath then providing the "juice" for the object to actually follow its Command: powering both physical motion and "cogitation" based upon the copied Cognitive aspect?
-If so, is that copying what drains color?
If Denth had let Vasher erase part of his memories, would he still retain the skills he had learned during that time?
To an extent. He would still have the reflexes and such, but skill isn't entirely reflexes, so he would lose the parts actually associated with memory. It would be easier for him to re-learn, due to his already having the reflexes, but he wouldn't be nearly as good at these skills without the memories or re-learning them. As a side note, Denth almost did it. Like really really close. He decided not to because he felt that he would be losing part of himself. And he would be right.
If you used Stormlight to Awaken, would you drain color or create frost?
You'll have to see if this happens in the future! (Note that mixing the investitures is usually not easy to do.)
A while back someone asked if Hoid's sword is Nightblood, you said that was interesting. Is it similarly Invested?
I'm going to RAFO that. It is a very interesting question.
If Endowment were killed, would the Returned still come?
Somebody needs to hold the magic. If no one holds the magic, the magic will start to gain sentience. Interesting and bizarre things happen then, so I would say yes, but with the caveat that with whoever picks up the power or what happens with the power could end up changing that.
Can Breath be used to power Surgebinding?
They are very similar Investitures, and most of the magics can be powered with the other magics if you are capable of making that happen.
What would happen to the Breath?
The Breath would be consumed in the same way that Stormlight is. A renewing resource, much like Atium is.
It depends on your definition. Is Windrunning its own magic system, or is it a division of a larger magic system? Are the ten different Surges each their own magic system, or are they all the same one?
If you assume the surges are all one.
Well then you would have Surgebinding, and the Old Magic, those are two at least, and there are things that are not explained in those at all, and how do you count creating fabrials? Is that a science and not a magic? Is that its own magic system?
It's a science, because anyone can do it.
So Awakening is not a magic, then? Awakening's a science? Because anyone can Awaken if they get the breath.
That's something that stood out to me, because in all your other magic systems that we've seen so far there has to be some sort of snapping to occur, and that's unique, because- [...] Is there an active magic system on Threnody?
Threnody has a non Shard-based...it depends on what you call a magic system. Do spirits coming back from the dead count as magic? It's science to them, but, it's goofy science.
I appreciate the time you take to communicate with your fans and your prolific and consistently excellent work.
1. In honor of Sir Tery Pratchett's passing, which of his works has most impacted you as a writer?
2. What has been your favorite Magic draft format?
3. At what point did you first realize that you had fans scouring your works for hints of the Cosmere?
4. Can an Awakened form a nahel bond with a spren on Roshar?
5. Are spren bound to Roshar or can they travel to other worlds? Could they do so if they were bound to someone that traveled to other worlds?
6. Will we eventually see a collection of short stories from various worlds in the Cosmere like Shadows for Silence and Sixth of Dust?
1. I'd say The Truth, which was the first Pratchett that really got its hooks into me. Something about newspapers, the quest for what was true, and the themes of writing.
2. If cube counts, cube. If not, triple ROE followed closely by Innistrad. (Have set cubes of both, now.) Shards block was fun too, as was original Ravnica.
3. Right around Mistborn Three's release--while I was working on Warbreaker, I think--where people started to realize this "Hoid" thing was relevant.
4. Depends on the spren!
5. RAFO. Excellent question, though.
6. Yes, you will. Tor is trying to pin me down on one as we speak, actually, but I'm not sure when I can promise one. (I'd want a collection to have at least one new story, original to it.)
Hey Brandon! It was so great seeing you in Seattle a while back.
I actually had a couple questions:
**SPOILERS FOR WARBREAKER******
First of all, it seems that when Returned give their blessing that requires their life, to do so is to give up all of their BioChroma. Well, there was a time where Vivenna can't sense Vasher because he was a drab. Since that would mean he put all of his BioChroma somewhere and is SPOILER one of the Returned, why isn't he dead?
Also, it seems as if only the royal family has the ability to change their hair color. However, when Vasher kills Denth, his hair flashes through a ton of colors before he dies. What are his ties to the family? Is there something I missed? Will there be another book explaining this?
Thanks for all your hard work!
I did mention these things in the annotations, as has been pointed out, but boy--it's been a while. I don't remember what I wrote in the annotations and what I didn't.
All Returned are, in a way, "related" to the royal family in their investiture. (The magic they hold.) Vasher has some specific and powerful control over his own powers, which I didn't go into much in the book. But if you delve into the annotations, you'll get more.
Which are…? How would we find what those are?
How would you find what those are? Spend a lot of time researching the Cosmere, have some conversations with Khriss, and come up with some theories! There’s a bunch of them written in the books and indicated, so yes.
Well, see, the stored identity would definitely mess with it, but it wouldn't ultimately be the same identity. It would definitely have an affect.
*to questioner* I wonder if the Command would have a greater affect, or if it's simply because the metalmind is charged with investiture-
I haven't revealed what charging investiture does either.