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FAQFriday 2017 ()
#51 Copy


Why didn't Dalinar get the powers of a Stoneward when he bonded Taln's [Honorblade]?

Brandon Sanderson

Some readers have already figured this out, so I don't think I'm engaging in too large a spoiler to dig into this one here.

There are several oddities going on here. The most important one relevant to this question is the Blade in question. If you compare the descriptions of the sword described in the epilogue of The Way of Kings to the one that traveled with the madman (allegedly Taln, the Herald) to the Shattered Plains, you'll find they are different.

The one that the characters obtained in Words of Radiance is NOT an Honorblade. It's an ordinary Shardblade (as ordinary as one of those can be called.) I'm not going to say specifically what happened to the Blade Taln arrived with at Kholinar, but I will say that it IS a different weapon from the one in Words of Radiance.

The other issue here is the somewhat lesser question of whether this character is actually Taln, the Herald, or not. Some characters in-world don't believe that it is, though his viewpoint in Words of Radiance strongly implies otherwise. This isn't specifically relevant to the conversation for reasons I'll talk about below--but it is tangentially related. Because in the cosmere, Intent is important to many of the types of magic. It's theoretically possible to hold an Honorblade and not realize what its powers are, and therefore be unable to access them.

As an aside, this character was actually the primary protagonist of the version of The Way of Kings I wrote in 2002. A man who woke up, with lingering memories of madness, and claimed to be a Herald when nobody believed him--as he couldn't manifest any powers, seemed to have lost his sword, and lore said the Heralds weren't coming back anyway.

When I wrote the new version of The Way of Kings in 2009 or so, one goal was to focus the storyline. I'd included so many characters in the 2002 version that none of them progressed very far in their arcs, creating a strong setting and interesting characters--but a bad book. During the new version, I decided that this character would be moved to the later books, and I'd explore him there.

In the 2002 version, the text was very dodgy on whether or not Taln was a Herald. Confronting the fact that he might be crazy was a major arc and theme of the book--however, as I've worked on the new version, I've realized that it would be dangerous to be too vague on this. Stringing people along with the question for a book or two is one thing, waiting until book six or eight to do a character's arc, and leaving the question of whether they're a Herald or not all that time, seemed unfair.

So the text is going to be making manifest fairly quickly who this person is. You'll have confirmations long before we dig into his viewpoint in the later books.

So, a recap:

1) The swords WERE swapped somehow.

2) Someone could hold an Honorblade and not realize they had access to powers.

3) This character may or may not actually be a Herald--but the text is going to make the answer clear, and I'm not trying to trick you.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#52 Copy


So Truthless are kind of pretty rare, right, in the Shin society?

Brandon Sanderson



So how did they come by the [Honorblades] that Szeth's got?

Brandon Sanderson

They, historically, kept all of them.


Oh, ok. I wondered if that was the case. Interesting. Does that have anything to do with why they think stone is sacred?

Brandon Sanderson

You will find out more about that as time progresses.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#55 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

If a non-Windrunner picked up Jezrien's Honorblade would they gain Windrunner powers as well?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)


Questioner (paraphrased)

If a Windrunner picked up that blade, would their abilities be enhanced?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There would be some compounding but strength is not as much an issue with Surgebinding as is the strength of the spren bond and how much Stormlight you are using.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#57 Copy


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. :(

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#59 Copy

Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

Can you confirm if the scene with Taln at the end of Way of Kings is entirely in Hoid's perspective? There was some discussion that it might not be, since Taln's Honorblade was called a Shardblade.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That entire scene is in Hoid's POV, and the reason for it being called a Shardblade is because Honorblades are Shardblades.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#66 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Can someone bond more than one Honorblade?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Honorblade?  You can't bond an Honorblade, though it can be given to you. Shardblades, however, come from a spren bond and it is possible to bond more than one.