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JordanCon 2016 ()
#51 Copy

Questioner

The next tattoo I'm going to get will be the Oaths from the Windrunners, because they are a huge part of my life. And I was just wondering if you'd be able to give me one of them? There's two more, right?

Brandon Sanderson

There are more Oaths.

Questioner

Or if you could tell me which books they're going to come out in, so I can plan on--

Brandon Sanderson

So that's a huge spoiler, and they're recording me right now. So I can, maybe, if you promise you're not going to share this on the internet... So I can give you Oath #3. That'll be it for a while

Questioner

Okay, that's fine. I appreciate it...

Brandon Sanderson

That's the wording as I have it in my head right now. I might not use the exact words, but that's okay because the Oaths are concepts and each person who speaks them will speak them slightly differently. Like you will see in future books people speaking Oaths you have seen before, they'll be slightly reworded to match their personality. But that's the concept. You might be able to see that it's a very important thing.

FanX 2021 ()
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Questioner

In The Stormlight Archive, will there ever be a point where we'll get to know what all of the different Orders are and all their abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the fifth book? Or is that gonna be at the very end?

Brandon Sanderson

It'll be at the very end. Basically, to preserve some of the excitement and discovery, you'll notice me just kind of cutting away before some of those powers get used, and things. Just so when the books about those people happen, I am more able to explore it on the page and have more fun with it.

Questioner

Is it gonna be like, after the fifth book, is gonna end those main characters and you're gonna show the next generation?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not next generation. It's the same characters throughout them all, but the back five will have different flashback sequences. So, the back five will have flashbacks from Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Taln, and Ash. Characters from the first five are still gonna be the main characters. But, like you didn't get, in this one, any Jasnah flashbacks; Jasnah's flashbacks are in the back five, and they'll be kind of - yeah. So... does that make sense?

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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BusinessCress

In Stormlight Archive, all three main characters, Dalinar, Shallan and Kaladin, suffer from various mental health issues. Is that a normal psychological condition for all Radiants or the lead three is an extreme example of how people break?

Brandon Sanderson

I am very interested in mental health, and the way that we--as human beings--react to and interpret the world around us in different ways. This is a theme of the Stormlight books, but it's going to take a lot of work to do it justice--and I want to approach it from different directions. So yes, it's a theme, and these sorts of issues were common for Knights Radiant.

But I'd point out that they are also common themes for being human. And one of the correlations between orders of Knights Radiant is people who overcome, persist, and push through very difficult trials.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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luxgladius

Do you already have a fully fleshed-out idea of all 10 orders of the Knights Radiant, or are you still coming up with them and their Ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

All ten orders are finished and worldbuilt. (I feel pretty good about them.) However, I could decide to move some things around as I write.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Brandon Sanderson

In fact, in the origin of The Stormlight Archive, the first Surgebinding things I did, every order of the Knights Radiant was going to be able to Soulcast. Be able to change things from one to another. It was just, you would be locked into the element that was associated with your order of Knight Radiant, you could turn that into anything else you wanted to. That was one of my original pitches. I eventually moved away from that, a lot of the Orders were just feeling too similar in what they did, but that core concept is still there in Stormlight, and Soulcasting as a concept is there because the series is about change.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner

Hypothetically speaking, if some of the main Radiants were to die at the end of book 5, go to Braize and then spend the time in between 5 and 6 there, would they age?

Brandon Sanderson

There are lots of problems with that question. If a Radiant dies, they don't go to Braize. A Herald would, but a Herald is a Cognitive Shadow, so there's inherent problems in there. When you're a Cognitive Shadow, aging is different there, because you're basically a ghost. Even if you've been stapled to a body, it happens weirdly. So there's all kinds of flaws in that question.

Tor Instagram Livestream ()
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Questioner

Could new Orders eventually be formed?

Brandon Sanderson

This is plausibly possible but highly, highly unlikely. A lot of things are possible in the Stormlight Archive that are highly unlikely. So I rarely say "no," because I built the magic systems of the cosmere to be able to do a lot of things, 'cause I knew I was going to be writing in a lot of different worlds. Which means that very few things are completely off-limits. But there's a lot of things that are unlikely to happen.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

When it comes to the epic-level spren on Roshar, like the Nightwatcher and the Stormfather-- Is the number of epic-level spren equal to the number of Bondsmiths that you can have on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm, is the number of epic-level spren related to the number of Bondsmiths you have? Well, I've said there's a maximum of three. And there are three Shards involved in Roshar. I'm not gonna tell you if that's a coincidence or not. Sorry.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Rah179

Could you give us a snippet about the Dustbringers? Or Willshapers?

Brandon Sanderson

Dustbringers never liked their name, and tried hard to get people to use another title for them.

awakenedtassel

Was there a mechanical reason they weren't able to effect the name change, or was it just because the new name didn't catch on?

Brandon Sanderson

The latter.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

All right. So...things do get confusing whenever I'm trying to circumlocute spoilers. I could have smacked myself for forgetting to mention "no spoilers" before the Q&A. I keep forgetting that there are many readers who are not as sensitive to these things as I am. (Though one woman did gasp in the row behind that guy asking the question--as his original one mentioned Sadeas's death, I believe.)

I will say that there are multiple people I'd consider well on the path to being Radiants by the end of Book Three, and several of these would--shall we say--dispute KR traditions from the past, specifically on this subject matter. (What makes someone eligible to become a KR.) So this discussion is relevant for multiple reasons.

I wasn't trying to drop any bombs about Adolin, however, as I remain very solidly in RAFO territory about his future.

Enasor

Thank you for taking the time to clarify this one Mr Sanderson.

This WoB created a massive shock-wave all across the fandom and many readers were taking you had officially confirmed Adolin was "well on his way towards Knighthood" which I was personally convinced was very deeply into the RAFO territory, as it should be.

Perhaps in order to also settle some additional debates, would you say Adolin would challenge what has traditionally made someone eligible to become a KR or is this within RAFO territory too? Readers can never seem to agree on how perfect Adolin actually is. We seem to find rationals for both.

Brandon Sanderson

I hate to use terms like "perfect" or the like. It's even difficult to (when not speaking in world) use some of the terminology the KR have used in the past--as we have to reconcile several things.

How do you decide what is a mental illness and what is simply a person's unique brain chemistry? Usually this comes down to two factors--the person's own feelings on it and the advice of medical professionals. Even language like "Well-adjusted," as I used before, is dangerous territory because it's so subjective. One need look only to the deaf community to find examples of people who challenge an outsider's perspective of what is a disease and what isn't.

So I generally prefer to talk about this through the character's viewpoint, the lens of historical commentary (which is in world, and may not therefore be accurate--but at least offers a perspective,) and the context of the book.

And in that context, I like Adolin being a RAFO. I believe that using the text, there are multiple directions one could go in discussing him.

Holiday signing ()
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Questioner

If you were to place yourself in the...  what Knight Radiant-- what Radiant Order would you be?

Brandon Sanderson

Mmmmm.

Questioner

It's a hard question.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that is a hard question. I probably naturally, I think the best fit would be Lightweaver but it could be Bondsmith depending on what mood I'm in. You'll have to read that one… Dalinar becomes one at the end.

Questioner

We don't know much about them yet. What do they do? There's only three though, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right now? There's-- yeah. But there's also Lift, who's an Edgedancer--

Questioner

No, I mean three Bondsmiths.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah. There aren't very many, ever.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

I know Hemalurgy [has to go to mix and match powers], would it be possible to use Feruchemy for Connection to hack into multiple Knights Radiant, kind of act as a Squire to more than one at the same time.

Brandon Sanderson

Great question! I think you could make this work. I think it would take a little bit of legwork, but I think what you're wanting to do could indeed work. More likely in that case though, you could probably be a Squire to multiple Orders. *Hesitantly* Yeah...I think that would work, but I don't think it's the easiest way to do what you want to do. I think there are easier ways.

YouTube Livestream 14 ()
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Clayton

I think you said you started with the Surges and worked from the bottom up. So what was the hardest Radiant Order to conceptualize in terms of virtual or ideal and powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Cracking how I wanted the Dustbringers to work was probably the trickiest of them all, because I knew that we were going to have (not to give spoilers) some things happening with the Dustbringers that would predispose readers toward them in a certain way that I did not want the Radiant Order to exemplify. And I wanted to be sure what I thought the distinction was and why it was possible that they could go in a different direction. (Trying to circumlocute all of these things to not spoil you.) They were the hardest, probably.

Building up how to make the Surges work, I would say that building up how I wanted the strong force and the weak force, and turning them into fantasticalized versions that basically have very little to do. Like, I even went kind of the surface tension, and things like that. Those were the trickiest. Like, gravity was pretty obvious and ended up working pretty well. I didn't one-to-one move the fundamental forces, by the way. I just took the idea of fundamental forces. But I wanted there to be nods to most of the fundamental forces in the Surges, just because that's where the inspiration was, and because I was gonna be using gravity, quite obviously, because that's the one that made me most excited, and as you can see the Windrunners and the Skybreakers were two of the first ones that we dealt a lot with.

EuroCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

Hi. I have two questions about the Cosmere. The first one is if a Radiant can have a bond with two spren, and the other one is if Truthwatcher spren are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so RAFO on if a Knight Radiant can have two spren. But the second question was, "Are spren of Cultivation?" One more time?

Questioner

If the spren of the Truthwatchers are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher? Or both?

Brandon Sanderson

So, most of the sapient spren that form the Orders of Knights Radiant are related to a mixture of Honor and Cultivation. Some lean one direction much more than the other, and the spren of the Truthwatchers leans toward Cultivation.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

How about the other way around? Can a Parshendi bond a Knights Radiant spren?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Historically, the Parshendi were not made Knights Radiant, or the parshmen weren't.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Can they become squires maybe?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Historically they did not, but it's not impossible.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Questioner

Why are there so many Kholins that are Radiants? Is there a story reason or...

Brandon Sanderson

There is a story reason, kind of. So the Kholin family is in Alethkar, which was the hereditary-- one of the homes of the Knights Radiant. It's still kind of in the forefront of the-- how shall we say-- the collective unconscious and things like this. Plus there's--

Questioner

And then they are on the forefront of that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I mean-- Yeah. And so the spren, some of them are naturally looking for where a lot of Radiants used to be. So it's just a higher concentration of spren around the area, if that makes sense?

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

What is the First Ideal of the Elsecallers?

Brandon Sanderson

The First Ideal of all the... all of the Orders is the same. She's actually asking what the Second Ideal is and the answer is actually a RAFO, which means "Read and find out". I will reveal that... when... eventually.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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twixttwists

What would happen to Syl, say, if Kaladin dies? Can she transfer the bond to someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

So long as Kaladin did not forsake his oaths, Syl would be traumatized (as one might imagine) but be capable of forming another bond.

twixttwists

Good to know she can form another bond. I'm guessing she'll be a little more mindless in the interim, though? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, without a strong tie to the Physical realm, she would have trouble thinking here if she pulled through to exist here.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
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Questioner

At the end of Oathbringer, or near the end, Kaladin is talking to Syl about not getting Shallan or whatever, and he says that she really just reminded him of someone, who is it that she reminded him of?

Brandon Sanderson

She reminded him of Tien, his brother, because his brother was a burgeoning Lightweaver, and Lightweavers, you'll notice, when they're around someone, that person starts to act a little bit more like a little bit of their best self. There's a bit of, also, counteraction to feelings of darkness and despair, it's just a natural Lightweaver sort of thing. And so, part of what Kaladin was drawing from Shallan was that feeling. I think it could've totally become love. And he's now cutting that off, he's saying it couldn't at all have become-- it could have. But that was part of what was drawing him in.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Blightsong

What did Ivory mean by the Skybreakers living in death? 

Brandon Sanderson

Ivory likes contradictions, they fascinate him. And he is saying that they live in death in that they kill a lot. It's a philosophical sort of thing. He's making an Ivory observation, it's not something you're supposed to take as a pronouncement of nature or reality. 

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

Dalinar Ascends, right? Like, right then, there.

Brandon Sanderson

I have RAFO'd that. Whether he is Ascending or not is a RAFO.

Questioner

Okay, because I know he kind of mentions from that, I don't know how to say his name but the older guy who has the Diagram--

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, yeah. Whether that deserves to be a capital "A" or not is a matter of argument. It can be disputed.

Questioner

I guess my main question would just be Dalinar's now able to pull Stormlight and give it to people now.

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely can. That is a Bondsmith power, so.

Questioner

That is a Bondsmith power, okay.

Brandon Sanderson

That is specifically a Bondsmith power.

Questioner

Because my roommate was saying well, the Stormfather was surprised he could do that or was the Stormfather surprised that he was able to bridge--

Brandon Sanderson

He was surprised by what was happening to Dalinar as a whole.

Questioner

Oh okay, that's what I thought because I was like, because I felt like the Stormlight, that power would be a Bondsmith power.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say that the Stormfather and Odium were seeing something in Dalinar that, perhaps, the average person watching even who is knowledgeable about Surges would not completely understand... But he will be able to use that power and Bondsmiths in the past have used that same power.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Questioner

In Stormlight, with Kaladin and his brother Tien, is there a connection or a reason why, whenever his brother finds a rock, that keeps coming up several times?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, there's a couple themes going on here. One is just the subtle theme that Tien tends to find beauty in things that Kaladin finds dull. That's, of course, kind of the metaphor. But Tien also was a budding Lightweaver, and he saw color and light a little bit differently than other people did. And he has the same general effect that you'll see Shallan having on people, which is how the Lightweaver views you influences a little bit more how your mood is, and things like that... And there is a magical element to that, as well. There's both a metaphoric reason and an in-world reason.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

Why is it that Allomancers and Feruchemists get either one or all of the powers? Radiants / Surgebinders being limited to two Surges makes sense, because it depends on the type of spren they bond with, but Allomancers?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not ready to answer this one yet, I'm afraid. So it's a RAFO.

Argent

Fair enough. Is this something we'll see explored in future (far future?) books, or will we need to bug you about it during signings / AMAs every few years?

Brandon Sanderson

It will explored in far future books, most likely.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Questioner

One. Can there be Nahel Bonds with more then ten types of spren because we have ten Orders.

Brandon Sanderson

Meaning, are there other possible spren that could form other Orders of Knights Radiant that are not the ten? This is theoretically possible, but that is basically what you could argue is happening to Renarin. So now if you want to say... if you want to throw out the exception of spren who were one of the ten who got changed, then this is theoretically possible but right now currently wouldn't work.

YouTube Livestream 7 ()
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Rafael DePaulo

What Knights Radiant orders would Rand, Mat, and Perrin belong to?

Brandon Sanderson

I built the Knights Radiant orders so that people could naturally fit into multiples. And so, for instance, you could very easily see Mat as a Lightweaver. I just totally think that that is a natural and nice fit for Mat. But it's not the only thing that will work for Mat. But it is definitely where I would place him most naturally.

Where would I put Rand? Rand, if you look at kind of his powerset and his theme in the stories, is probably Bondsmith. That's probably a very good match for Rand's narrative theme. He is probably very Windrunner in his characterization through a lot of it. There are lots of arguments.

And Perrin's kind of naturally going to either be another Lightweaver, because of the art aspect to Perrin, making and creating. But probably is gonna be a Stoneward or Willshaper instead. In fact, Willshaper fits him really well for various thematic reasons. So I'd probably stick Perrin in Willshaper. Working with the stone, plus moving and traveling to Shadesmar, or being able to see into Shadesmar, just kind of fits him really well.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Questioner

Soul Forging. Emperor's Soul. If one created the stamp properly, could you, using it, say, Windrunner you stamp, rewrote past to be Lightweaver. Possible?

Brandon Sanderson

That is possible and a little easier than a lot of other things. It's gonna run into problems... in that the Oaths are gonna be hard to align.

Questioner

Probably require some very fine crafting on the stamp.

Brandon Sanderson

Very fine crafting on the stamp. And there are certain people that they're just gonna have a hard time fitting into certain Orders. This is a lot easier though than just taking a random person and making them into one, because you're gonna already have Investiture that they've got.

Questioner

And have the basis of the First Oath.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So this is not as hard as it might at first sound. It's the sort of thing that people in the cosmere are looking at. Like, being able to transfer magics between-- and things like that is one of very much interest in the cosmere.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Questioner

Kaladin kind of went back on his Oaths in the second book, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He started down that path.

Questioner

How could Shallan or Lightweavers go back on the truths they make? And did Shallan do any of that in Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the Cryptics-- remember, how the spren is viewing this is very important. The Cryptics have an interesting relationship with truth. Harder to break your Oaths in that direction with a Cryptic. Harder to move forward, also, if you're not facing some of these things and interacting with them in the right way. But, while I can conceive a world that it could happen, it'd be really hard to for a Lightweaver to do some of the stuff. Particularly the ones close to Honor, you're gonna end up with more trouble along those lines, let's say.

Questioner

So then, what happened with the Lightweavers during the Recreance? Did they break their Oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

They did break their Oaths. I mean, breaking your Oaths as in "walking away from the first Oath" will still do it, regardless of what Order you are. You can actively say, "I am breaking my Oaths and walking away." Anyone has that option. But you also are holding the life of a spren in your hand.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Lift as an Edgedancer. Doesn't seem very coordinated, which seems to be the preeminent part of being an Edgedancer. Was Lift actually maybe better for another Order?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that, in the eyes of some of the spren, taking somebody who maybe doesn't quite fit the mold for your Order but has the heart that fits it is a better choice. And I think Lift and Wyndle and some of the texts may be comparing what someone at the beginning of the journey to someone near the end of their journey. So let's just give her a little time.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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drabgod

In Words of Radiance we find that Pattern is very literal-minded (at least until Shallan corrupted him), and mathematically-inclined. Even his real name is just a mathematical construct. And his head is a fractal. When I think of Pattern, I think "logic" and "truth", not "art" and "lies".

If all Cryptics are like this, then I wonder why they (and not artistic spren like Wyndle) are the ones attracted to the artistic Lightweavers. Is this just a matter of "opposites attract"? Are spren naturally drawn to people with personal qualities they themselves do not have? I am reminded of the Divine Attributes, and it seems like Shallan has the "Creative" side while Pattern has the "Honest" side. Is that a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

These things are not coincidences.

I have some very interesting rationals why certain spren are involved with certain orders. I never wanted it to be so straightforward as, "Oh, you control pressure? Here's a spren dedicated to that power." I feel there is more intricacy, and honesty, to a system that isn't so "on the nose" as we say in writing.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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Ghodicu

The pocket companion states that there are three spren that can bond a person to make them into a bondsmith, the Stormfather being one of them. As far as I recall the books implied that the number was low, and implied heavily that it was around that number in an epigraph, but didn't actually have a straight confirmation. So, should I take that as canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you can take that as canon. They came to me for that information.

yahasgaruna

Sweet. I guess it hasn't been canonized which three spren these are? I seem to recall that the prevailing theory on 17th Shard was that Nightwatcher was one of them, and the third was that weird spren with too many faces that Axies the Collector looked at in the tWoK interlude.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. :)

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

So we know some Orders are of-- Radiant are of Honor and Cultivation, right? So Jasnah is more logical and is definitely kind of, you know, set in stone about her ways. But Shallan, she's got a lot of personal growth and I know-- So I'm wondering is Shallan like one of the Orders that is of Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson

In their-- They would theorize that's more Cultivation than Honor.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Were the ideals of the Knights Radiant consciously chosen, or did they happen naturally?

Brandon Sanderson

*apprehension*. This is one of those vague ones in that yes and no. They are a natural outgrowth of the spren, but the spren are a natural outgrowth of human's perception of natural forces, but the spren are sentient, so I would say it's a little more by instinct than not. For example two Knights Radiant in the same Order might speak the words differently, but the concept is the same. You will see this happen in a future book, where a Windrunner will speak the oaths. It's a slightly different take on the same concept. Some are moreso, like Shallan's oaths are very individualized truths, so.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I actually wanted to get a tattoo of the Truthwatcher symbol. Are there any-- are there narrative reasons you would go against that?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, no.

Questioner

Are they-- would they be an order that's about using knowledge to help people?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Could I get an Ideal if possible?

Brandon Sanderson

Of them? I can't do 'em because I don't want to canonize them yet, I have to do that when I actually write the books.

Questioner

But it is broadly speaking knowledge and help?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Truthwatcher_17.5

Are you ever gonna make an official quiz that sorts people into Knights-- Knights Radiant? 

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I'm less likely to do a quiz and more likely to do a list of-- kind of attributes and traits and requirements. I feel that some people are more likely to be able to sort themselves than a quiz sorting them. Granted, it does depend on the spren also, so there are two parties in this. And so, you don't have absolute influence over which order you might end up in. But it is possible to be viable as a candidate for multiple orders and it also is going to depend on the spren.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

What's the relationship between the Knights Radiant and their opposite gender spren? Is that important or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah it is slightly important.

Questioner

I have to RAFO it though?

Brandon Sanderson

It's more important narratively than it is in the world. It happens more often but it doesn't mean anything when it doesn't happen, does that makes sense? So it's slightly important, partialy it's a narrative trick. I want to keep some gender balance and it's a lot easier to play off someone different than yourself, and things like that so I naturally do that. It doesn't necessarily mean anything when I don't. It depends on the personality of the spren.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

Do the Dustbringers have a propensity toward evilness?

Brandon Sanderson

I would not call them evil, but certain members of the Knights Radiant would say they're on the edge, and did not get along with them. Let's just say Skybreakers have not gotten along with Dustbringers, even though they are very near each other in a lot of ways.