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DragonCon 2019 ()
#51 Copy

Questioner

Can Hemalurgy be used to steal [Surgebinding]?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically, but since there are spren involved it's not gonna work the same way. It is possible but not gonna be nearly as effective, how about that? Basically since the spren can break the bond in certain instances, you can get it and then immediately lose it.

Holiday signing ()
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zas678

Why can a human be affected by Surgebinding but metals within their bodies cannot be Pushed or Pulled?

Brandon Sanderson

They can be Pushed or Pulled, if you're strong enough.

zas678

So is it just the Innate Investiture--

Brandon Sanderson

The Innate Investiture is interfering with things. Like if you look at it this way: So you're Surgebinding someone, I am touching him and sending the power straight into him. There's difference between there's something inside of him that I'm messing with and going through?

Holiday signing ()
#53 Copy

zas678

When Kaladin is Invested Stormlight specifically rises from his skin. When he is Lashed to a wall, what direction does it travel? Up to him, or to the world?

Brandon Sanderson

When he is Lashed to a wall where does the Stormlight go. So when it's puffing off him, and he's Lashed to a wall it will asc-- I think it will puff-- It will escape and go up.

zas678

Typical up.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, typical up.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#54 Copy

Questioner

So far all the spren that have bonded to humans appear to be emotion-based as opposed to nature-based. Is that true for all the Knights Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Well it depends. For instance: how would you define Wyndle?

Questioner

I struggled with that one.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh hm. So I would say that you are on the right track, that there is a definite inclination that direction.

Questioner

Towards Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There is.

Questioner

Is there other surges then, that are more Cultivation-exclusive or other Knights Radiant that are...?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll RAFO that, but the original Knights Radiant are more focused on Honor and his spren.

Holiday signing ()
#55 Copy

Questioner

Allomancy requires, you need to be either a Misting or a Mistborn to be able to do that. But Hemalurgy you just need to stab someone through the heart. So what would stop someone on Roshar from using Hemalurgy, because it's not Innate? Do you have to be in proximity to Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

Intent is a big part of a lot of the magics, including Hemalurgy, meaning that you need to know what you're doing. Or somebody needs to-- There needs to be Intent involved in what's happening to you.

Questioner

So like with Spook when he got spiked, where was the Intent?

Brandon Sanderson

The person who was driving that spike was being influenced by Ruin, and the Intent was there.

Questioner

So unless you knew what you were trying to do with a Hemalurgic spike, you couldn't do Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

You could not steal attributes no.

Questioner 2

Is it possible to steal Surgebindings.

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible to steal Surgebinding.

Questioner

Is there going to be crossover, like is someone going to have Feruchemical powers and also Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a Read And Find Out.

Minicon 2015 ()
#56 Copy

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

On a similar note, since Elsecallers can physically go to Shadesmar and have access to Transportation surge, can all Elsecallers worldhop?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, that is one of the Elsecaller powers.

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

In hindsight this seems like a really obvious question now *laugh*, but I think it's really interesting that Elsecallers can travel to other planets too--we didn't know that before.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There are hints in the names on the map of Shadesmar.

Holiday signing ()
#57 Copy

Questioner

I was noticing that some of the Aons from Elantris, have similar names to the Surges on Roshar. Like there's an Aon for Cohesion, which is a Surge. Does that have anything to do with each other?

Brandon Sanderson

Vaguely, yes.

Questioner

What about the ones with the names of Shards, like Endowment, which is a Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Questioner

Those are related?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

What do they have to do with each other?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a tangential relationship.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Pagerunner

I was at the Houston signing, and Brandon referred me to you on a few technical questions that I was asking him, since he he was quite "brain dead."

First was what Surges the Bondsmiths have. Based on the ordering in the Ars Arcanum in WoR and OB, they should have Tension. But the application of the shared Surge we saw for both Stonewards and Bondsmiths in OB looks to line up more with Brandon's previous description of Cohesion from the Words of Radiance tour. (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/223/#e6061, although he did identify it as a Willshaper Surge there.) Brandon believed it was an error in the Ars Arcanum, and that Bondsmiths do have Cohesion, but he told me to confirm that with you.

Peter Ahlstrom

What power did you see in the book that Bondsmiths and Stonewards share?

Pagerunner

In Chapter 38:

The Shardbearer pressed his hand against the incline leading up to the Voidbringer, and again the stone seemed to writhe. Steps formed in the rock, as if it were made of wax that could flow and be shaped.

...

"And that Shardbearer I saw? A Herald?"

No. Merely a Stoneward. The Surge that changed the stone is the other you may learn, though it may serve you differently.

Which seems to align with how Brandon has previously described Cohesion in the past, as opposed to Tension.

I assume this Surge is what Dalinar used to repair the temple of Talenel in Chapter 59, but that's not actually essential to the point.

Peter Ahlstrom

I think this has to be an error in the text.

Pagerunner

Sorry, which do you think is the error? The order of Surges in the Ars Arcanum? Or the Stormfather's statement to Dalinar?

Peter Ahlstrom

The Stormfather's statement.

Peter Ahlstrom

I have verified with Brandon that what the Stormfather said here is wrong and will be corrected in the future.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
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Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Are there Surges that could be considered as God Surges, like the God metals on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Progression and Adhesion, perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, but they could be considered as such.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Questioner

Can you tell me anything about Tension or Cohesion?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't truly written these magics in yet, so they might change as I actually write the scenes. But they are... Tension is the ability to take something flexible and make it rigid. Which you think sounds simple, but there are so many cool things you could do with that.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#70 Copy

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.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Overlord Jebus

So I've noticed a pattern in the way that the Radiants learn their surges. They seem to learn their anti-clockwise surge before their clockwise surge?

Brandon Sanderson

They do.

Overlord Jebus

Excellent, everyone thought I was a crazy person!

Brandon Sanderson

They do tend to-- Now, I'm gonna give you some behind the sausage stuff on that. That is partially for writing expediency reasons.

Overlord Jebus

How do you mean?

Brandon Sanderson

I designed that partially because I didn't want to overwhelm people with too many magic systems at once so I came up with a little bit of a pattern so that I could have a little bit of an in-world reason why we were slowing that down. It's not a hard fast rule, it's something that I've kept to in order to not overwhelm readers so it's more of form following function than the other way around.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

[questions being asked on behalf of Alyx, a.k.a. FeatherWriter] About Renarin's Surgebinding. Are [his visions] influenced by Voidbinding instead of Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Questioner

And then if they are influenced by Odium the way that Dalinar's are influenced by Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. I'm not going to talk about stuff like that! I have dropped some very blatant hints, and that is enough for me right now.

Argent

I asked pretty much the same thing last time, and you pointed me to a certain page. Can I tell her what the page was?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are certain things going on with him that I feel are very blatant. I think he [Argent] is going to point them out to you.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

For a Windrunner, if he had enough heating fabrials and enough Stormlight, how high up could he get?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You could exit orbit. Windrunners, remember they're gravitation and pressure. So if he knew what he was doing, we have actually factored how long it would take to get to the various moons.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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BlackEyedInterloper

So, I've been wondering for a while, which does Surgebinding classify as? Surgebinders don't use their own native investiture to power magic so I suppose that's the case for being classified end-positive, but they do have to go get some investiture and once they use it it's gone and they have to go get more, so that almost seems end-negative. Thanks in advance for any answer even if it's a quick RAFO!

Brandon Sanderson

The more picky scholars would argue it is end neutral, because the power must be in the system before the Magic can initiate. But others would admit that the spheres are a delaying response for an end-positive system. You're looking too much past the mark with your read. Look at the work done as part of what is in the system. Investiture is not leaving the system in surgebinding, it is doing work, creating potential energy in most cases.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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Leinton (paraphrased)

Can Breath be used to power Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They are very similar Investitures, and most of the magics can be powered with the other magics if you are capable of making that happen.

Questioner (paraphrased)

What would happen to the Breath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The Breath would be consumed in the same way that Stormlight is. A renewing resource, much like atium is.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Zenith

Szeth mentions that Lashings don't work with shardplate (on?). Is there any way to get around this (As in, lashing with Shardplate on, or lashing people with Shardplate on), and, if so, does it have anything to do with the Knights Radiant and/or their Ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

This has to do with the nature of the magics in the cosmere. They interfere with one another. Something that contains a lot of power--we call it Investiture--resists the efforts of magic to influence it. A strong spirit can interfere as well.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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BenFoley

You have stated in your blog that Mistborn had three magic systems (Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalurgy) and also that The Way of Kings will have upwards of 20. For comparison, how many magic systems would you say the Wheel of Time series has? Two (One Power and the True Power)? How do you classify other abilities (not necessarily related to the One Power or True Power) such as Dreamwalking, viewing the Pattern, Wolfbrother-hoodness, and changing 'luck' or chance? Would you classify these abilities as a magic system in and of themselves? Has your chance to see the background material Robert Jordan left changed how you view these abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

This kind of gets sticky, as it's all up to semantics. Really, you could say that Mistborn had a different magic system for each type of Misting. But at the same time, you could argue that something like X-Men—with huge numbers of powers—all falls under the same blanked 'magic system.' And take Hemalurgy in Mistborn 3—is it a new magic system, or just a reinterpretation of Allomancy and Feruchemy?

So what do I mean by twenty or thirty magic systems in Kings? Hard to say, as I don't want to give spoilers. I have groupings of abilities that have to deal with a certain theme. Transformation, Travel, Pressure and Gravity, that sort of thing. By one way of counting, there are thirty of these—though by another way of grouping them together, there are closer to ten.

Anyway, I'd say that the Wheel of Time has a fair number of Magic systems. The biggest one would be the One Power/True Power, which is more of a blanket "Large" magic system kind of like Allomancy being a blanket for sixteen powers—only the WoT magic system is far larger. I'd count what Perrin/Egwene do in Tel'aran'rhiod as a different magic system. What Mat does as something else, the Talents one can have with the Power something else. Though I'd group all of the Foretelling/Viewing powers into one.

Sounds like a topic for a paper, actually. Any of you academics out there feel like writing one?

Let's just say that The Wheel of Time has a smaller number of larger magic systems, and I tend to use a larger number of smaller magic systems. Confusing enough? ;)

Orem signing ()
#79 Copy

Questioner

The Fused that wield, like--their Lashings can be a lot faster than Kaladin's are. Is it because it's based on a different planet than the Radiants?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin can go faster, but they are more-- they are faster over a large span. What's going on with the Fused is they have-- The way their Investiture works, it doesn't leak and they are able to use it for much longer periods of time. But they don't have access to the number of times that Kaladin can Lash himself directions and things like this, and the speed with which he can pick up speed. So in the short Kaladin is favored, in the long they're favored.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
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Questioner

You're also famous for your magic systems, do you start with the effect you want to achieve or the mechanic you want to use?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on each magic system, they're all different. Sometimes there's just a really interesting-- Mistborn's a good example of this. I built Mistborn because I wanted a different power for each thieving crew member and I had in the back of my mind a few cool powers to use, but others I just developed. I'd be like, alright, we need something for the fast-talker. So therefore you get the thieving-crew and the classic thieving-crew elements, and I wanted something to improve every one of them. So while I had the Pushing and Pulling already, because that was really interesting and I'd been working it out in my head, I didn't have all these powers set out for the team, so I developed those.

In other cases it's just, you know The Stormlight Archive started with the fundamental forces in physics and extrapolating outwards from them until I had ten fundamental forces because I wanted to do fantastical fundamental forces. So that one started in physics.

The magic for Warbreaker started because my editor called me, true story, and said "ah, after Mistborn and Elantris you've done some very dreary settings, very nice but very dreary, let's do something with more color in it". More color it is!

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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LoneWarmonger

If you take Bondsmith Honorblade, will you be able repeat Dalinar's Perpendicularity trick, or it is something special only Dalinar can do for a different reason?

When Dalinar repairs temple does he use Bondsmith power or...something else? If first, which Surge does he use?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

LoneWarmonger

I expected to get RAFO...But is Oathbringer a Bondsmith book or Skybreaker book? I know it was supposed to be Szeth/Skybreaker, but changed to Dalinar/Bondsmith. And still we learnt more about Skybreakers than Dalinar and his strange abilities. Will book 5 have more of Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Books 5 will have a lot of Dalinar. Once it is out, you'll be able to see why it could have been a Bondsmith book--but I think it's better this way, with Book 3 being the Bondsmith book.

LoneWarmonger

Thank you, Mr Sanderson, I'm pleased with the choice, but I guess, I just wanted to learn more about Dalinar's powers in his book, he's my favorite character. Even after HIS book, his abilities are a mystery. But I'm exited to hear I'll get more in the future. Please, don't keep Dalinar on the background, he's the best.

Brandon Sanderson

Note that book four may see less of him, as he steps back a little (like each of the characters will for a book or two here and there) but book five has him as a focus again.

Orem signing ()
#82 Copy

Questioner

So far there hasn't been a lot of the Stonewards in the books. Are they going to come forward in the next few?

Brandon Sanderson

...Yes. One of the reasons I built the structure of The Stormlight Archive the way that I did is because I knew it would be easy to overwhelm with the number of magical abilities, and to let myself get distracted by some of them and not do them justice. So I've been very careful, perhaps more careful than I need to be, and when I show like a Fused using a power, I focus more on the ones you know about and things like this, intentionally to keep the reader's attention on what they know as I expand. 

Questioner

Can they shape stone? In one of the flashbacks they kind of melt it and it becomes sand.

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, my original pitch to myself on Stonewards, one of their main powers--I mean, everybody has two--but this power you're talking about was the ability to grab matter and just kind of-- like what if the whole world were clay to you. Not just stone, not just rock, but if you could just pick something up and stretch it, whatever it was, that was my original pitch for that order.

Questioner

So architects or combat engineers fill that order?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, stuff like that, but also, just kind of like you need to get out of a room? Well, let's mash ourselves a doorway here and step through, or just all kinds of stuff. 

Questioner 2

Can they do that to living flesh?

Brandon Sanderson

No. That's the general, the more Invested something is the more it resists, and Stoneward powers are highly resisted by things... Even a small amount of extra Investiture is gonna prevent them. Like if you stuck Stormlight in [an object], say a Windrunner did, a Stoneward wouldn't be able to change that.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#83 Copy

Questioner

When does a person become a Surgebinder? Cause Kaladin talks about when he was a child, talked about it being a familiar feeling, and Shallan obviously was younger. Or is it when they speak the Words?

Brandon Sanderson

The bond starts forming before the Words are spoken, but if the words are never spoken that bond will eventually evaporate and get broken. But the bond will start forming before. Just like an emotion attracts a spren, acting in the way that the spren you would eventually bond will start drawing them toward you and that will start to create that bond.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#84 Copy

Questioner

When it comes to regeneration, what's the limit-- when Lift resurrected Gawx, was he actually dead?

Brandon Sanderson

He wasn't dead.

Questioner

So, you can't actually bring the dead back from the dead.

Brandon Sanderson

If you could bring someone back with CPR, you can bring them back with-- does that make sense?

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So for Soulcasting—-I talked a lot about those ideals that a lot of things are based on—-is that also like there's an ideal of stone that when you Soulcast stone if you don't do anything special, it just defaults as that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there will be a default of all of them.

Kurkistan

And that's the same exact thing as spren and why the Lord Ruler dies of old age and all that stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

That is-- Yes, that's the same sort of concept. Yes.

Tor.com The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview ()
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Jasuni

When Szeth walked through an area he had lashed in Interlude-9, could he have decided to let himself be affected by his own full lashing? How does this extend to other surgebinders?

Brandon Sanderson

Using a full lashing to stick yourself to something is inherently inferior to changing the gravitational pull and being able to move on that plane instead. So I see very rare instances where you would want to. But it is within the scope of the powers to be affected by it if he wanted to be. It will still affect other Surgebinders, and they will not be able to not be affected, unless there is a specific ability or item that is preventing it.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

I was wondering if a Hemalurgic spike would take surges, or if it could take a spren bond? Would it interact at all for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy can interact with every one of the magics. I designed it specifically in writing Mistborn for future use. Because some of the magics are so limited by their planet I wanted one that transcended all of them and Hemalurgy is very important to the entire cosmere. Its invention is a thing of great power and great danger to the entire cosmere.

Rithmatist Albuquerque signing ()
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StormAtlas (paraphrased)

Why can Kaladin Surgebind with any gem type but Jasnah and Shallan need specific types?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

A lot of that will be explained as the series comes along. It is really the difference between Soulcasting and the other forms of Surgebinding. It's more a quirk of Soulcasting than it is something that is different about about Kaladin. So you've kind of got it reversed a little bit though; Soulcasting has this additional restriction that the other ones don't.

Stuttgart signing ()
#92 Copy

Krios (paraphrased)

At the end of Oathbringer, Kaladin says that the Oaths are about perception. So, what would happen when a crazy person bonds a crazy spren? Is there a hard limit to what the Oaths allow or could they just go on a John Wick style rampage?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Perception will get you a very long way, like Nightblood proves. So you can go beyond the Oaths, but there will be a hard limit. Although it will be hard to find a such fitting pair of human and spren.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Argent

My understanding of the... spren is that they grant powers based on what they understand to be fundamental? Ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. I wouldn't 100% go with that. I would say these are the fundamental forces-- They aren't as scientific as our fundamental forces, but I would say it's more than just what the spren view and what the humans view in that case. But they are more philosophical than scientific, in cases.

Argent

Other cognitive beings, could they-- A spren on Earth. Would it grant electromagnetism surge, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

That, I would say yes.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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ebilutionist

Regarding Soulcasting, I have a question - why do people continue to use it post-Recreance? Would it not have been seen as a betrayal, given that the Radiants abandoned them? Why this Surge but not others? Was it simply the only Surge available and people would have kept using the others anyway? I guess it's a matter of practicality but given how devout Vorinism can be it does seem odd.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. You'll notice that Soulcasters aren't the only fabrial that access a Surge, however. They're just the one most commonly used.

There are plenty of rationalizations. But it comes down to this: they are too useful to give up.

ebilutionist

Ah yes, now that I think of it Navani's conjoined-gem fabrials seem to utilize Gravitation and perhaps the heating one uses Abrasion(?) to produce heat. Or are there others I did miss?

Brandon Sanderson

I was referencing a Regrowth fabrial, actually, which I believe has appeared several times.

ebilutionist

Isn't the Regrowth fabrial incredibly rare? I was under the impression it disappeared with the Recreance and only Nin's reappearance brought it back. AFAIK, only a Radiant in Dalinar's vision and a Herald have actually used it so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Their rarity depends on the time period in question. But yes, I'd list them as incredibly rare.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

The Division Surge: does it actually split atoms or does it split the bonds of molecules?

Brandon Sanderson

It splits the bonds of molecules, it does not split atoms.

Questioner

That would be completely overpowered.

Brandon Sanderson

I have done an atom splitting magic originally in Dragonsteel. And wooow it was overpowered. So really, this is fiddling... You'll see what it does when I use it, but we'll not be splitting atoms. We're not creating nuclear reactio... or fission, so.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

Another “physics” question: We have the Surges of Cohesion and Tension. And I'm really not sure what the difference is in that.

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see when I do this. It's a RAFO. And I play with them anyway a little differently in each order anyway. So what they do... I'll let you figure it out.

Questioner

It's just like when you enhance the tension of a water surface... (..)

Brandon Sanderson

Surface tension is what you're talking about. I'm gonna RAFO. But you're theorizing in correct directions.