Brandon Sanderson

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An up-and-coming American fantasy author, born in 1975. He is oft-acknowledged for his Mistborn series, but most widely known for his selection to finish The Wheel of Time saga after the death of Robert Jordan.

His works are famous for their strict and innovative rules-based magic systems, to the point where his law[1] regarding the subject has been deemed notable enough for inclusion in That Other Wiki.

Extremely dedicated to his profession, he has released at least one Doorstopper-sized novel per year since his debut work (Elantris) and pursues various geeky interests in his spare time, including Magic: The Gathering, Conventions and Tabletop Games.

He also heartily embraces New Media to the point of providing his own Celebrity Blog, participating extensively in fan forums, releasing several ebook test balloons, and making his own write-your-own-novel Podcast Writing Excuses, co-moderated by his friends Howard Tayler, artist and writer of Schlock Mercenary, Dan Wells, author of the Serial Killer horror trilogy, and Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey and numerous short stories.

Has a wiki, one of several, and a better wiki here.

You can also check out his website here for lots of cool info about his works. And check out his major fan forum here for all your Brandon-obsession needs.

Works By Brandon Sanderson:
  • Elantris
  • Mistborn (Has one complete trilogy and a standalone set 300 years later)
  • The Alcatraz Series (Notable in that while they're aimed at the Children/YA audience, they still have his signature cool new magic systems, philosophical digressions, and a decidedly snarky sense of humor.)
  • Warbreaker (Available for free as a sample ebook on Sanderson's website.)
  • The last three volumes of The Wheel of Time (with a posthumous Robert Jordan, obviously)
  • The Stormlight Archive (First installment The Way of Kings was released August, 2010.)
  • Infinity Blade: Awakening
Brandon Sanderson provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Action Girl: Several, Vin of Mistborn being the most dramatic, although Vivenna of Warbreaker is an Action Girl in training, Sarene has moments, and Jasnah of The Stormlight Archive can kick serious ass if sufficiently motivated.
  • After the End: Used in both Elantris (where it's just the titular city) and Mistborn (where the whole world is post apocalyptic); from what's been revealed so far, his Stormlight Archive series looks to have elements of this as well.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Formulated rules of handling:
    1. Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: "An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic." (i.e. that is what allows it to avoid becoming Deus Ex Machina/Ass Pull; see also: Magic A Is Magic A)
    2. Sanderson’s Second Law: "Limitations are more important than abilities themselves." (abilities are used in resolving the plots, but limitations make the plots; includes plain "can't be done" limits, weaknesses, costs, and anything else, and applies to any sort of character capabilities, not just "magic")
    3. Sanderson’s Third Law of Magic: "Expand what you already have before you add something new." (see also The "Unicorn In The Garden" Rule)
  • Arc Number: Four and derivatives (eight, twelve, and especially sixteen).
  • A God Am I: Used in all his works; he's admitted up front that the idea of divinity fascinates him.
  • Author Appeal: Boy, does Sanderson ever love his fantasy cities...
  • Bigger Bad: Odium is shaping up to be this.
  • Character Development: No flat characters here- Sanderson makes certain that every POV character and important non-POV characters get their own arc.
  • Chekhov's Armoury Oh lord yes. Sanderson absolutely loves to use lots and lots of Chekhov's Guns
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Sarene, Siri, Vivenna, Jasnah, etc.
  • Evil Overlord: Elantris uses straight, Mistborn deconstructs, Warbreaker subverts.
  • Disc One Final Boss: So far, the character who is initially presented as the Big Bad is almost never the actual Big Bad in his works, and they may not even be that villainous period.
    • In Elantris, Hrathen looks like the Big Bad but is actually an Anti-Villain. The real villain is his treacherous, fanatical Dragon-in-Chief, Dilaf.
      • To be fair, unlike some of Sanderson's other examples, this is obvious from roughly the third POV chapter involving Hrathen (which is the second after the real Bad's introduction).
    • In Mistborn, the Lord Ruler is initially presented as the Big Bad but he's actually only as bad as he is (that is, an oppressive mass-murderer instead of a xenophobic Jerkass) because the real Big Bad, Ruin, has been toying with his mind while TLR's been keeping him imprisoned.
    • In Warbreaker, perhaps the most extreme example, God King Susebron is built up as potentially worse than the Lord Ruler but he's actually a perfectly kind and friendly figurehead. His secretary Bluefingers is the villainous mastermind.
    • In The Stormlight Archive, the Parshendi appear to be the villains but while we still don't know much about them apart from their possibly being Voidbringers, the real villain is almost certainly Odium.
  • Fourth Wall Observer: In The Way Of Kings, Hoid (see The Verse, below) states that "I began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page."
  • Functional Magic: He's known for his elaborate Rule Magic systems.
  • Gambit Pileup: Intricate plotting and scheming is pretty common in all his works, with Warbreaker being the most extreme example.
    • This has lead to the coining of the phrase "Sanderson Avalanche" where he somehow manages to bring all these massive gambits to, generally, satisfying conclusions in a very small space. The last few chapters of a Sanderson book tend to move at breakneck speed. Probably one reason he was picked to finish The Wheel of Time.
  • Guile Hero: Sanderson seems to like smart characters in general- see Magnificent Bastard below.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Oh, so much. Especially Mistborn. Has a law regarding the trope named after him.
  • Magnificent Bastard: So far, at least one per world.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: See Guile Hero above.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: The Shards of Adonalsium. Each Shard embodies an aspect (Honor, Preservation, Ruin, Odium, Cultivation, etc.) of the now-shattered Adonalsium, and holds a portion of its former power; the Shards also act as the source of the Cosmere's various magic systems. Shards and their holders have significant power over the attribute they personify, but cannot directly work in other Shard's domains.
  • Playing with a Trope: Big time- Sanderson loves taking the typical tropes of High Fantasy and putting unique spins on them. In particular, Mistborn is a Genre Deconstruction, while Warbreaker explicitly has reversals of expectations (for both characters and the reader) as a theme, and so deals heavily in subversions.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Averted hard- all of his major female characters are feminine to a greater or lesser degree, and all end up Badass in their own way.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Most major characters in Sanderson's works have sympathetic motivations for their actions, though he'll usually throw in at least one Complete Monster for variety's sake.
    • He stated in an interview that he doesn't think of any of his novels as having villains, just characters who, for varying reasons, made the wrong decision(s).
    • Taking this into account, this just makes one of his Annotations calling the Big Bad of Elantris, Dilaf "an evil man" all the more meaningful.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Troperiffic: See Playing with a Trope above.
  • They Do / Good People Have Good Sex: It's very subtle, but only those characters who are married end up being mentioned as having sex during the course of the story. For example, there's some very slight implication about Vin and Elend being physical while they were dating, but it wasn't until they were married that they had sex. To make it even better, it was a time of peace and intimacy at an otherwise hectic point in the story.
  • Unknown Rival: to "Scalziiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!"
  • The Verse: Elantris, Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, Warbreaker, and several unpublished novels are in the one universe—the Cosmere. Much of what is known about the Cosmere comes from Word of God, and the hints about it in the books themselves tend to be less than obvious— with one exception, a recurring character called Hoid. Hoid has appeared as a beggar, an informant, a storyteller, and the king's Wit. Hoid's exact importance, motive, and true role is unknown, but he can definitely travel between worlds and knows more about the Cosmere than most other characters.
    • It is pretty much confirmed he was there at the shattering of Adonalsium as well, which means he must be thousands of years old. Whether he just has immortality, can body hop to travel between worlds and keep his soul alive, or something else entirely is still unknown.
      • He has some way of skipping forward in time so he has not actually lived all the years between the Shattering and the events of the novels, though he is also older in years actually lived then a normal human could manage.
  • Word of God: Sanderson is very good about interacting with his fans, and his website is chock full of interesting tidbits and trivia about current and upcoming books. He churns out annotations for each book where he comments on the writing process behind each chapter, and tends to drop pieces of lore or character traits that just didn't make the final cut or that weren't terribly obvious.
  1. "An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic."