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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#51 Copy

ParadoxicalWims

Could the Heralds be considered the splinters or would it be the Honourblades they once held? Or perhaps are they something else entirely?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, more because I don't want to dig into the nature of the Heralds until the second five books, and would rather not have people's eyes on them too much right now.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#53 Copy

Extesian

I'm loathed to ask two questions but this is a clarification - it was reported way back that you confirmed that the ardent in the Palanaeum is Pailiah. Are you willing to confirm?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a Herald in close proximity to Taravangian, but she's not anyone in his immediate inner circle seen commonly on screen.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#55 Copy

luke.spence (paraphrased)

Are the Heralds actually aware that Taln is back?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Are the Heralds aware that Taln is back? Uh, you're implying that this person actually is Taln. *smiles* Which is not guaranteed. It's not guaranteed. However, the return of the Voidbringers does indeed indicate to them, in their mind, that he would have returned.

darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

So they assume because the Voidbringers are returning--

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Because the Voidbringers are returning, would be a clue to them that Taln has returned.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#56 Copy

Questioner

The man that gives Nightblood to Szeth at the end of Words of Radiance, I don't understand who he is.

Brandon Sanderson

...Oh Nale, oh you mean Nale. Nale's one of the Heralds.

Questioner

But I thought that those guys left? At the be-- In the prequel, at the beginning of The Way of Kings.

Brandon Sanderson

They abandoned their swords and went about the world, but did not return to the place where they were supposed to go, which was off-world.

Questioner

So they just die?

Brandon Sanderson

They did not die.

Questioner

So they're all still out there?  Somewhere in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It can be assumed that they are all still out there unless some of them died since then. It was 4,000 years ago.

Questioner

But the one guy that stayed, went crazy because--

Brandon Sanderson

The one guy they abandoned was left in their version of hell, and the rest of them were supposed to return and didn't.

Questioner

Every day?

Brandon Sanderson

Every time they die they're supposed to go back. Or every time the war is over. You are asking good questions, they're questions that will make more sense as the book progresses.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#57 Copy

Questioner

How do the Heralds come back? As Cognitive Shadows, how do they a physical body?

Brandon Sanderson

That system will be explained in the coming books, so that is a RAFO. I'm gonna dig into it pretty deeply. It's relevant for multiple reasons...

In the original version, Taln ended up in someone else, like they would get a body from someone else, which was part of fueling the "Is he crazy, is he not," because people were like, "I recognize this guy!" I don't use that system anymore.

Questioner

That's what I was wondering, because the Fused--

Brandon Sanderson

They use something kind of more like the Fused in the original draft, it's not that process anymore.

Questioner

Is that gonna give us lead-ins to how it worked with Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe. Maybe. You shall see.

ICon 2019 ()
#58 Copy

Questioner

Does Gavilar and Amaram know that Nale and Kalak are the Heralds and that all the other Heralds also...

Brandon Sanderson

That's a spoiler. Can you talk around it?

Questioner

Yeah. So did they know that the people being met, who were they and also if they knew, why'd they still continue on the missions?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say that information is not being shared clearly and succinctly between different groups that are interacting in the prologues of the Stormlight books. How about that.  But the cat obviously got out of that particular bag that you're asking about and the ramifications of it are in the first prologue. You'll find out. When this book comes out, your question will get answered pretty clearly so just know that you'll get your answer in about a year.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#59 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned that the Heralds could sense each other's location--

Brandon Sanderson

Only in that version of the story... In that version of the story he actually gets his sword and it lets him sense and it leads him, not to the other Heralds, but the other Honorblades. He was mistaken even about that power because they have never separated from them before. And so, he thinks that he's going to find the other Heralds and he just finds their abandoned Blades.

It was very cool in the context of that book. But of course, where the other Honorblades are now is not necessarily a mystery anymore. It doesn't kinda work in the current continuity.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#62 Copy

Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#63 Copy

Questioner

Are we going to see any other viewpoints from the Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you will see-- I mean, Taln and Ash are both main characters, right? But you should see other viewpoints of other Heralds as we progress. The ones that survive long enough to get viewpoints.

Questioner

Are they gonna be viewpoints in this current timeline?

Brandon Sanderson

You will see more in this current timeline. I know specifically several that are going to be interludish sort of things coming up.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#64 Copy

Questioner

And then the curse Kelek’s Breath, is that a clue as to the origin of some of the Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson

Erm… Explain why you think it might be.

Questioner

Uh, well, Warbreaker. The use of Breath… It seems like they have similar strength to somebody who has extra Endowment. So I’m wondering if they come from-- I can’t remember the name..

Brandon Sanderson

The Heralds--  You’re wondering if the Heralds come from Nalthis?

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

The Heralds do not come from Nalthis, but that is an excellent question.

General Reddit 2011 ()
#68 Copy

gunslingers

The number 10 seems to be a recurring theme in this world. Are the "ten fools" the antithesis of the ten orders of the knights radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, ten is a number of mythological import in the world. The Ten Fools are, essentially, the opposites of the Ten Heralds--who each represented an ideal. (Those ideals were later adopted by the orders of Knights Radiant, so yes, there is a connection--but there's a step between them.)

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#71 Copy

Questioner

The second set of Stormlight books, [six] through ten, will that-- will those be more focused on the Heralds' point of view, is that the idea?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, so Taln and Ash, who are both Heralds, are going to be main characters, and they'll each get books dedicated to them. The characters who survive the first five will still be main characters as well, but it's gonna turn more on what happened with the Heralds and things like that. The first five are turning more on what happened with the Knights Radiant and then the last five are more what happened with the Heralds... 'Cause we'll get flashbacks to the time of the Dawnsingers and things like that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#73 Copy

keleks_breath

1) In their place of torture, are the Heralds able to communicate with each other or with other people/spren outside of that place? E.g. how is Ishar able to maintain his threat of severing the Nahel bond if he is being tortured for hundreds of years? 2)When the Heralds return to Roshar, do they appear like Schwarzenegger in Terminator (nude) or do they appear with the clothing they wore when they signed up for the Oathpact? 3)Are the Honorblades involved in the torture of the Heralds? Again, thank you for taking the time to interact with us fans and readers.

Brandon Sanderson

I have to RAFO questions along the lines of what you're asking. These are things that are relevant to books 6-10, which probably won't even be written for a decade. Talking about them too much now would be counter-productive, I feel. Sorry. :(

Miscellaneous 2020 ()
#78 Copy

Argent

Hey Peter,   I've been meaning to ask you about this since Alice's article on the Heralds went up. In it, she lists each Herald's role (e.g. Jezrien is the King, Battar is the Counselor, Kalak is the Maker, etc.), and I noticed that those same roles were listed (but not used) in the Radiant Quiz as the archetypes for each Order. Some of these show up in the books, but a few don't, and the source for those appears to be an old old email from you. I wanted to know how canonical these are, and whether I can include them in the Coppermind (and if I can, it would be nice to know what they are - roles, titles, archetypes?)

Peter Ahstrom

These, along with Jester, are the names of the Photoshop layers for the faces on the chapter arches. Since the words themselves don’t really appear in the books, I couldn’t say that they’re canon. In our internal wiki we call them Face/Title. I don’t have an opinion on putting them in the Coppermind.

Footnote: The roles, starting with Jezrien's and going clockwise, are: King, Judge, Guard, Healer, Scholar, Artist, Counselor, Maker, Soldier, and Priest.
Steelheart Seattle signing ()
#79 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is the Palanaeum named for Palah?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. In fact, it was named based on—it was Greek in our world—the Athenaeum? It was based off of that.

Wetlander (paraphrased)

Did we see Palah?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I believe every one of the Heralds is mentioned or shown somewhere in the first book.

Wetlander (paraphrased)

Someone was wondering whether the old woman who was wandering around the Palanaeum was her.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That is a very good guess. I won't say specifically, because some of them are intended to be more obvious and some of them are intended to be red herrings. So, that was a very good guess.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#80 Copy

Ray745

You have stated that each Knights Radiant Order gets their own unique ability, for lack of a better word, due to the combination of their Surges. For instance, you have stated this ability for the Windrunners is strength of squires. My question - is this due to the Nahel bond, or just inherent in the Surges combining. Would a non-Radiant get these abilities from the Honorblades, or would they be out of luck due to no Nahel bond?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! The unique abilities have more to do with the powers interacting, same as how Twinborn will often manifest some odd side effects of the powers interacting. But there are limitations. For example, Jezrien didn't actually have any squires, as none of the Heralds did.

Boskone 54 ()
#81 Copy

Steeldancer

The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Shardblades [pretty sure he means Honorblades here] were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Steeldancer

Like Vin and Elend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Steeldancer

The second part of the question is, what would happen if they were directly powered by Honor and they were holding Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#82 Copy

Blightsong (paraphrased)

Is it normal for people to become Connected to an area after being there for a bit, like with Kel and wherever he was when he found the Ire, or is something special going on?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is normal for a cognitive shadow to get stuck to places, because they exist through investiture it is normal for them to get tied to an area. Kelsier was still in Scadrial when he found the Ire. This happened with Odium and the two shards on Roshar, Preservation to Ruin, and the Heralds.

Legion Release Party ()
#83 Copy

Questioner

Can a Returned be made from Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

How would you count the Heralds?

Questioner

I haven't read much, so I don't really know what you're talking about.

Brandon Sanderson

In the Stormlight books, there is a set of people who are constantly reborn, into full sized grown bodies that are being created for them. Would you count that as being Returned?

Or do you count Returned...What's your definition, right? You can create something that is Returned-like. But your definition of what is Returned and what is not, is going to be involved in that.

Celcius232 ()
#84 Copy

Javi (paraphrased)

I'm really curious about Aimia and I hope to see more about in the fourth book. Have the Heralds or Hoid been there and will they reveal some stuff about it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, the Heralds have been there and yes, Hoid has been there. However, I don't think there will be info about Aimia in book four, but in a novella I'm planning to write, like Edgedancer. The story will be about some characters travelling to Aimia.

Skyward Anchorage signing ()
#86 Copy

Questioner

Do the Heralds know about Aons? I am asking specifically about Shalash. Shao, Ale, Ashe. Transformation, Beauty, Illumination.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say that some of them do and some of them don't. The question is "do the Heralds know about Aons?" How cosmere-aware are the Heralds? It depends on the Herald.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#87 Copy

18th_Shard

Does a Herald using an Honorblade consume the same "dangerous" amounts of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades are less efficient; this doesn't change when a Herald uses them. (But they have other advantages.)

uchoo786

Are Honorblades closer in power to Nightblood than they are to Shardblades made from Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to say. They're all similar, but at the same time, very different. And in a way, Nightblood is what you might call a "Third Generation" blade.

uchoo786

Ah gotcha. And in this analogy, Honorblades would be 1st gen and Sprenblades would be 2nd gen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#89 Copy

Maximus (paraphrased)

None of the Heralds mention or address the Almighty in the opening scene of [The Way of Kings]; it's a little strange, considering they are his champions. Have they seen or spoken to the Almighty?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, the Heralds have spoken with the Almighty. They also feel that what has been done to them is partially his fault. They are all broken in some way and aren't really honorable anymore.

Maximus (paraphrased)

Was that how and why the deal with Odium showed up?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO.

San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
#90 Copy

Questioner

The Heralds seem to be insane in the ways of their Divine Attributes, at least somewhat. Is this because they're Heralds? As Cognitive Shadows, they're subject to people's perception, like how spren are?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a very astute question, and yes, that is influencing them quite a bit. I'm doing something here with the Heralds. Like, I want the Heralds "madnesses," as we call them, to be magical diseases. And the contrast of something like Kaladin's depression, which I'm trying to treat very real-world. I'm trying to treat them as these things that couldn't exist in our world. They're fantastical mental diseases, like we have fantastic physical diseases in Elantris. So I did make them thematic, and I would say part of the reason for that is people's perception of them and their mental state reacting against that. And that should be a theme among all of the Heralds.

Skyward release party ()
#91 Copy

Questioner

On Roshar, if a Herald were to die, to not-really-come-back die, would it possible for someone to take up the mantle of that Herald?

Brandon Sanderson

You're gonna need to read and find out, because this is the first time that happened was at the end of Oathbringer.

Questioner

Because he is dead--

Brandon Sanderson

He is dead dead.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#92 Copy

Questioner

Is that theory correct where, like, the Heralds are basically, like, reversed now. Kind of going against their thing or...

Questioner 2

*laughs* He won't tell us. 

Questioner 1

I know, I know. That was my question, which I knew you wouldn't *inaudible*.

Questioner 2

I just wanna know more what Szeth and the stone is?

Brandon Sanderson

You get-- you get a RAFO card. There you go.

Oathbringer release party ()
#93 Copy

Questioner

The amount of Heralds that we have seen so far. Two? I had thought Wit was one.

Brandon Sanderson

Wit is not one, but you've seen Ash, you've seen Taln, you've seen Jezrien and Kalak in the prelude, you've seen Nale. Yeah, he was chasing Lift, among other things. You've heard of several others, but the others are going to start getting more and more obscure from there. I don't think there's any others.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#94 Copy

Rybal

Can the Heralds Surgebind without their [Honor]Blades, and if not are they under the same restrictions the Radiants are?

Brandon Sanderson

[...] I will say that the Heralds without their Blades are incapable of the powers you are familiar with. It doesn't mean there aren't other things they can do, but they are incapable of the powers you are familiar with throughout the book.