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JordanCon 2016 ()
#51 Copy

Questioner

The Aons on Sel… they're all based on, I assume the Investiture in Elantris itself, all the sigils are based on the general shape of the landscape around Elantris. Could that magic work in other places based on the geography of the other places with high Investiture, or is that exclusive to Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an aspect of the Selan magic system-- Did I say Selian or Selan? I can't remember which one we settled on, Peter knows…

Crowd

Selish.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Selish, that's what we settled on, isn't it, yeah, Selish magic system. This is why we have copy editors *laughter* That's a feature of the Selish magic system that, so far as I know, no one has pulled out in any decent reason for. But there's a distinct reason that could be figured out, but it's one of these things that will make sense when I explain it, but I'm not sure if it's quote-unquote "intuitively obvious to the average reader". I don't think that it necessarily is that, but it will make perfect sense once it's explained.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#52 Copy

ROSHtafARian

There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your Shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#54 Copy

wicktacular

questioner's paraphrase, delete after transcription review: Based on the bit during the open Q&A about Odium splintering Dominion and Devotion and shoving their power into the Cognitive, and that blocking off the Spiritual, which makes Sel's magic so location (or Identity of location) based - if a Shardbearer traveled to Sel, could they still summon their Shardblade?

Transcription:

So from what you said about Odium sticking Devotion and Dominion in the Cognitive, if they *inaudible* Shardblade, well Shardbearer, and travelled to Sel would they *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh... what-- I'm going to RAFO that. I've never asked me that before. I guess I haven't really explained that whole thing before to people.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#58 Copy

Titan Arum

If a Hoed goes to the shardpool in the mountains, what happens to them in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you think happens to them?

Titan Arum

I want to say that the IRE, but I know they’re not because they’re really, really, really, really old.

Brandon Sanderson

I have...

Questioner 2

I have a theory that that’s how you get seons.

Brandon Sanderson

Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, what have I said about the Cognitive Realm on Sel?

Titan Arum

That it’s really, really dangerous.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Any guesses why?

Titan Arum

Because the Shards are Splintered so all the power of the Dor is kind of sloshing around and it’s basically like a highstorm there.

Brandon Sanderson

So, what would happen if someone went into there through the shardpool?

Titan Arum

It’s probably not as good as they think it is?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Titan Arum

Would they get splintered like that?

Brandon Sanderon

No they’d just...

Titan Arum

Would they get ripped apart?

Brandon Sanderon

Yeah. That’s why it’s really dangerous.

Titan Arum

Ouch.

Questioner

So the Elantrians are just dying when they go in...

Questioner

So when the Hoed or the Elantrians go in...

Brandon Sanderon

For the...let’s just say they’re cast into a very dangerous environment without any preparation for it.

Questioner

So how’d the Ire get there?

Questioner

They have gone before or they may have been properly prepared.

Brandon Sanderon

There’s some theories, that are theories that could totally be the case.  Or you could theorize others as well.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#60 Copy

zotsandcrambles

Have we seen any soul-stamped objects in any of the non-Sel books?

Brandon Sanderson

For you to have seen this, someone would have to have cracked the issue with Sel magics losing power greatly when taken from the planet.

zotsandcrambles

Is this a feasible task for someone like Shai or Hoid? We know the Moon Scepter is a Rosetta stone, so the task seems less daunting, right?

Brandon Sanderson

The task is less daunting for certain. I don't want to say more, however, as I think the clues are there about Sel's magic, and I want to avoid saying too much.

zotsandcrambles

Thanks for taking the time (again) to answer me!

Brandon Sanderson

So, here's the thing. The problem with magic on Sel is not one people are looking at the right way. And I'm really loathe to dig into it more, because I won't be able to write the books set on the world for a few more years yet.

Already, great moments in upcoming books aren't going to be as powerful to the hardcore fans, as they'll know the answers already.

But your theory, while very cool, wouldn't work--and stems from you attacking the problem in the wrong way.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#61 Copy

TheTetress

Some of the characters (I think it was Sarene) in Elantris mention that the constellations in their part of the world look like Aons. This seemed kind of odd to me. How significant is this, and does it play a role in how accessing the AonDor works (or do they just love astronomy)?

Brandon Sanderson

The characters in Elantris claiming that constellations look like Aons is mostly akin to us thinking that constellations look like animals--if you're looking for patterns, you'll find them.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#62 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering with Emperor's Soul-- it's in the same world as Elantris.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But it's a completely different magic system.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

Do you ever see The Emperor's Soul, like, that magic system in further Elantris books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you will see more of that. Elantris-- So what Elantris is very-- is interesting-- is Sel, the planet that is, that each region has basically a way of accessing the magic, and they're all, in my mind, programming languages. And you use different things to program, and call functions basically. And some people etch into bone, some people draw in runes, some people make the soulstamps. You can do it through a tai chi-like thing in one of world-- in one of the lands. So it's like a-- region-based for reasons that cosmere magic experts I think have figured out by now.

Questioner

Well it's like there were two deities, I think, Invested in that planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep... The reason is-- and we have announced it-- the reason it is is, so on Sel-- somebody killed the two deities there, right? And then stuffed their corpses, which are just huge magic reservoirs, just *inaudible*. So all their power stuffed up into what we call the Cognitive Realm, the realm of the mind, which is location dependent. So all the magic is getting filtered through that, it does weird things to it, it makes it region-locked. So yeah.

Questioner

Is it the only world that has many different ways that magic is--

Brandon Sanderson

Well a lot of them have different ways. For instance, for-- on Scadrial we've got Feruchemy, and Allomancy, and things like that. So most worlds have different interpretations, and things like that. Sel's the only one you've seen where it's region dependent.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#67 Copy

Questioner

So I've got a question about the Selians in Secret History.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Questioner

It seems... It seems pretty clear that they're Selians. Or people from...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

...the planet Sel. Is that the right term? Selian? I don't know...

Brandon Sanderson

Um... *sigh* I get this one mixed up. Peter knows. I know I've called them Selish before, but I think we went with Selian because it sounded too much like "selfish". But we did canonize it, and it probably is in the essays, I think. But Peter knows the canon term.

Questioner

Okay. What era are they from? Are they from like the... are they from the... the original...

Brandon Sanderson

They are old! [very drawn out "old"]

Questioner

Were they part of the society that built Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson

So, someone asked me this coming through the line, and I RAFO'd them. But they are old.

Questioner

They are old.

Brandon Sanderson

They are oldold people. Here's the thing. You give me the opportunity to wiggle around, because I could say, "No," if anyone has joined them since then.

Questioner

It's true.

Brandon Sanderson

Does that make sense? 

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Not canonizing anything right now, but that question is so wiggle-aroundable. And I took the opportunity not to wiggle around it and just tell you they are old

Questioner

They are old. Got it.

Brandon Sanderson

The organization is old. And some of the people that you meet there are very old.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#68 Copy

Questioner

Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is.

Questioner

And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--

Questioner

Yes. Like Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

--and all of this stuff. I would say one of the things is that Roshar is a little bit easier to get to than some of the others, but it's not that it has been breached there so much as it's a little bit easier to get to.

Questioner

Yes, I'm assuming it has something to do with the Cognitive Realm but then objects going through the Cognitive Realm is kind of tripping me.

Brandon Sanderson

Hehe… *long pause* There are places in the Cognitive Realm that are somewhat nexus-like, like you're talking about. Yes there are places like that. ...So Roshar might actually be the easiest place to get to in the cosmere, like from planet to planet. Sel is probably the hardest, right now. For a long time Taldain was very hard, but not anymore.

Oathbringer release party ()
#69 Copy

Questioner

Could you build Aons or something similar to Aons off of the natural landforms on Roshar, like the Dawncities and the other cities that are sort of symmetrical?

Brandon Sanderson

The Elantrian magic system, the Selish magic systems, are the ones that don't work very well-- don't interact very well with other worlds... Other ones are a lot more easy to interact between worlds.

DragonCon 2012 ()
#70 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#71 Copy

Botanica

How does the Moon Scepter actually look like? In what shape is it?

Now we have two understandings of the word "scepter" based on different ways of translation:

1) 杖: It shapes like a common wand/staff/rod/cane/stick, usually seen in Western countries. [Mainland translation]

2) 笏: It's kind of a flat scepter of Chinese origin, shaped like a tablet, usually held before the breast by officials when received in audience by the emperor. (Very rarely, the emperor himself holds it.) The officials can take notes on it. [Taiwan translation (I believe the translator once showed you around the Taipei Palace Museum.)] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaku_(ritual_baton)

Could you tell us which one is closer to the original design? Thanks!

Brandon Sanderson

It's not a Shaku, it's a Ruyi, actually. That's an excellent question, though. It does actually come from my visit to the museam, and while I'm aware of shakus, I hadn't heard them called scepters. But I guess they are!

Either way, I imagined it as the wavy shape of a Ruyi. (如意)

Botanica

Whoa what an amazing answer! Thanks so much for the explanation! I once thought of Ruyi when flipping through some reference materials and now it becomes canon! Hooray! Another question if you don't mind: (Someone just asked this a moment ago.) Why is it called Moon Scepter? Does (perhaps) one side/end of it resemble moon? [Full moon or crescent?] Or is it colored like moon? Or does it contain some moon pattern? (Also a fan art question, sorry ;P)

Brandon Sanderson

It has to do with the differences in religion between Shai's people and the Rose Empire. It is colored like the moon, but there's a little more to it than that.

Botanica

Ah, I see. Thank you! So what color is Selish moon when we look at it? (I suppose there's only one moon?) Didn't find any specific descriptions about its color in books. Can we assume it is similar to our moon?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say it was the color of Sel's moon...

Just kidding. It is, and there is only one. It's a pale white blue, a little more blue than ours, but similar.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#72 Copy

XS-Terrain

Is there anything that we don't know about the Expanses right now that you'd be willing to tell us?

Brandon Sanderson

I think I've told you about all of them. Is there one I haven't told you about yet?

XS-Terrain

Um, I don't know, I've checked the words of Brandon before I wrote these questions. I think we know that um one of them is... Scadrial, and one of them is Warbreaker--

Brandon Sanderson

So Densities is Sel. We put that one on, right, Expanse of the Densities? So, if we didn't you now know, Densities is Sel.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#73 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics are unaffected by being taken off world, though still subject to their own inherent flaws. Stormlight seeps out. Sand loses its glow. Metal can only be used by one with the right genetic code. Note that the magic from Sel is different, and is location dependent for reasons I don't think fandom has quite teased out.

zotsandcrambles

I assumed the shard Dominion was the reason why magic's are geographically and/or geopolitically based. Is there a different, essentially unrelated reason?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a different reason.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#75 Copy

Questioner

On Sel, it seems like a lot of the magic is tied-in to the location on the planet. Could you take something like Soulforging and do it on another planet, or is it just tied into Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

It is tied into Sel, and there's this distinct reason for that, and it has to do with one of the big differences between the magic there and other places that people haven't picked out of me yet.

Questioner

So is that tied into how you can get Investiture there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's all tied in. I’ve only made it vaguely - It's not obvious, but I think you could pick it out if you worked at it.

Footnote: We now know that the reason magic on Sel is tied to location is because the investiture there comes from the Cognitive Realm (where location is important), and not the Spiritual.
/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#76 Copy

Windrunner

Why does Scadrial, which has two Shards, only have three manifestations of investiture, (Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy) but Sel, also with two Shards, has five manifestations of investiture (AonDor, Dakhor, ChayShan, Forgery, and Bloodsealing)?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel's magics are much more regionalized than Scadrial's. Each area has its own manifestation, but they're all actually the same magic. So really there is one magic on Sel--much as Windrunning and Lightweaving on Roshar are kind of different magics, but also kind of the same.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#78 Copy

Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

How was the Fjordell Empire not aware of the existence of the Rose Empire during the time of Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The connection between the two will be explained in future Elantris books, but a quick answer is this:

Fjorden was aware of the Rose Empire, but doesn't consider the location to be holy, so they didn't really care that much about it. There is also no easy natural way to travel between the two. If you remember, Shai did run into the Fjordell ambassador.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#79 Copy

Questioner

With the AonDor seems to based on the geography of the place, could there be AonDor based on other geographical features, like Kholinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… *hesitantly* Yes, but it's-- There's something weird about Sel that is making that happen that way on Sel. So...

Questioner

But you could have it in other places on Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

You could-- Yes, it does exist in other places on Sel but yeah.