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Orem signing ()
#101 Copy

Questioner

So, Miles Hundredlives. If you were to spike his Allomantic gold out of him, would that change his Identity such that he could no longer access his metalminds?

Brandon Sanderson

That would not necessarily change his Identity, but it would change his Investiture. So if you took off the piece of his soul that could do Allomancy, and then gave him his metalminds. Well, no... No, this is more complicated than I was assuming. So you're saying if someone took away his ability to do Allomancy, could he still access his Feruchemy metalminds. Yes he could. He could still do that. That should work just fine. 

Questioner

Do the metalminds kind of have a pointer to his Identity, they don't have a copy of his Identity that they're keyed to? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... he is still him unless you spike him and do something with the Identity specifically. 

Questioner

So you could potentially steal his Identity.

Brandon Sanderson

That strays into RAFO territory, so we'll go ahead and give you a RAFO card. But simply taking it away would not change his Identity to the point that it would prevent-- Good question. Very detailed.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#103 Copy

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.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#105 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*reading a personalization request* Could a Rosharan be--

Questioner

Hemalurgically spiked with a gem or fabrial?

Brandon Sanderson

*presumably writes RAFO in book*

Questioner

*exasperated "ugh" sound*

Ben McSweeney

Haha.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#108 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if the size of a piece of metal determines the amount of Feruchemical charge that can be stored in it.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So how does that scale, like, in terms of the volume or mass of the metal or...

Brandon Sanderson

It-- So I've talked about this before, I'm trying to remember exactly what I've told people-- It does not scale as logically as you think it does. How about that? It's more like certain thresholds. You can have a-- You can store a Hemalurgic or Feruchemical charge even in very small pieces of metal, but larger pieces of metal will let you get more.

Questioner

So it's kind of like there are different classes of sizes?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, kind of like that.

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#111 Copy

Cadmium (paraphrased)

We've seen someone with a Hemalurgic spike communicate or under the control of Ruin or Harmony... Can other Shards communicate or control those individuals?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. Good Question. Yes...  They can certainly communicate...

Cadmium (paraphrased)

To what extent?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Not to the extent that Ruin did. The others could communicate but it'd be vague or faint, not as direct as Ruin was. He connects to us, well, them through the little bit of Preservation that he had or could touch. Because the spike pierces the soul.

Cadmium (paraphrased)

What about on other planets than Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It'd work the same way. but again probably vaguer or fainter. Might go unnoticed.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#113 Copy

Questioner

In Arcanum Unbounded, it said that a Hemalurgic spike could work in any world. So if I were to take a Hemalurgic spike and spike someone like Kaladin, would he die and then I have a Windrunner's power?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but there's a big asterisk on that. Because, with the spren being a third party in this sort of arrangement, weird things would happen.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#115 Copy

Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of Investiture in the first place.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#116 Copy

Questioner

You’ve spoken before how DNA exists on multiple different levels in your magic systems. I was curious about something else that I think I read that that the Hemalurgy system actually splices something into the DNA - so what does that imply for heritability of those?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it is not inheritable when it's Hemalurgic because it's splicing. It's basically ripping off a piece of the soul and spiking it on someone else's. So, it would not transfer.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#118 Copy

Questioner

As far as Hemalurgy, when you give that-- when it's done to somebody, would that create a new resonance?

Brandon Sanderson

It's possible that it could. Though I'm gonna say, most of the time, no... Lots of things are possible, but I'll give you a "mostly no" on that one.

Questioner

What about savantism? Is that possible with Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
#120 Copy

Ace_of_Face

How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?

Brandon Sanderson

There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of Preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of Preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.

Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#121 Copy

Questioner

Hemalurgy spikes lose power after they are taken out of a body, right?  So why did Vin’s spike still give her power after being so long out of her ear?

Brandon Sanderson

They decay, but it's not a really fast decay. And it also kind of works like a half-life thing. Does that make sense?  So you get an initial just "that's bad" but that had happened to hers long ago when she had taken it out for the first time, right? And then over time, like if that had sat out for hundreds of years you're going to end up with something like Wax's earring that's like-- it gives a bit, but it barely gives anything. But as long as you're kind of keeping it in and out you're going to be a lot better off.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#122 Copy

Questioner

Supposing that a skilled Hemalurgist got hold of some a Shardblade or some Shardplate, how would he best use it assuming that the best way isn't to put it on and kill people with it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's probably the best way, to put it on and kill people with it. I'm not sure why a Hemalurgist would want one more than anyone else would because the metal is already Invested which means its not useful to him.

Questioner

So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, that's what you're saying. You want to grab something off the Spren? That's gonna be way harder than grabbing one that's not already made into something. So I don't see why he would want the Blade, just go grab it from them. Even then its going to be worse then, probably in most cases, a person. Maybe its possible that spiking yourself with a Spren would be valid, but you don't want to take it out of the Shardblade. That's gonna be harder, but you would probably have to go to the Cognitive either way to make it work, so yeah.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#123 Copy

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Okay, next question. The Hemalurgic bind points for the right and left eyes - are they the same?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

In terms of...?

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Like, the Inquisitor spikes, is it the exact same process for either eye? Is it interchangeable?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They're slightly different.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

And on bind points... are these something that we could figure out ourselves one day, through analysis and guessing? Or is it something we'll just have to wait and see?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They're... it would be a lot of trial and error, but it's... possible? And you need Intent, so... it would be a lot of trial and error. It wouldn't be easy. Probably not.

Orem Signing ()
#125 Copy

Questioner

Can Hemalurgy be used to steal other...like, the Stormlight...

Brandon Sanderson

It could. It's very complicated, particularly with surgebinding, because the bond with the spren is a voluntary thing. So, you could steal the power, but you would also be stealing the sprenbond which the spren then has autonomy over. So, it might not turn out really well for you. It might not turn out well for anyone involved. Much easier to steal things where there isn't an autonomous being involved in your gaining of the magical powers.

GenCon 2017 ()
#126 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

If I wanted to Hemalurgically acquire a power from First of the Sun, which metal would the spike need to be?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is going to be pretty complicated, but several metals would work.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Would it involve Connection between the person being spiked and the bird?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well it would be even harder than on Roshar, where you need to somehow spike the spren and also the Radiant. You would need to spike the bird and steal the power, but also spike the person and steal Connection.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#128 Copy

Questioner 1

What would happen if you used lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy? Um lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy--

Questioner 1

Would it work or would it just not work?

Brandon Sanderson

No I mean it would work--

Questioner 1

If you were to place a lerasium spike would you transform into a full Mistborn as opposed to--

Questioner 2

Well it can also steal powers, not just grant them, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, right. The thing about it is you're trying to Invest something that is already very Invested, which always has weird effects. So while you could do it, it would be a gross waste of the potential. It's like using a nuclear bomb as a paperweight. It is functional but--

Questioner 1

Does that mean it would be hard, for example, to make Nightblood stick something? Because--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it would be very hard to make Nightblood stick to something. The amount of Investiture in Nightblood is--

Bystander

Astronomical?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Larger than most things you've seen. So Pushing on Nightblood, really hard.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#130 Copy

Oversleep

If a spike was covered in blood - stopping the Hemalurgic decay - and then split into smaller spikes, would there be power loss or not?

Let's say the splitting took place in a bathtub full of blood, so that the spikes would be covered in blood at all times.

Brandon Sanderson

The split should work.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#131 Copy

Tehdren

For instance, a person's spiritual component knows how old they are.

Wow. Has this been talked about before? This kind of seems like a big tidbit. Now we have some idea of how Hoid changes his age?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't said if this is a method Hoid uses or not, but it's part of the reason the Lord Ruler turned to dust when he lost his metalminds. (His body tried to match the age his spirit said he was.)

Phantine

If they somehow killed the Lord Ruler in a conventional manner, would he still have turned to dust?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The metalminds would have stopped being tapped, and the spirit of the matter would probably still have had this strange effect. Not it didn't happen to the bodies of the shard vessels who died.

Phantine

Would koloss spikes turn off when they die too, so dead ones shrivel up like raisins?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy changes the spirit. So not necessarily.

Calamity release party ()
#133 Copy

Llwvyn

Hoid has said that what he does, when he heals or comes back to life or whatever, heals the soul

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Llwvyn

But Hemalurgy is like ripping off a piece of the soul. Could he heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible. Well, his particular brand of healing is very Spiritual Realm based. And so, it would-- he could. Not all brands of healing are capable. It depends on what's happening, and things like that. But yes, he would. Most Shardbearers [Surgebinders?] when they're in the throes of their powers would heal spiritually. *brief pause* Not all of them. Not all healing will do that, though.

Llwvyn

Yeah. Because I was thinking that maybe you could spike him multiple times and compound his power.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Spiking him could do some weird things though. But spiking can do weird things to anyone.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#134 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin and Zane Watch Outside the Tent

Zane's cutting has an interesting evolution in the story. At first, I added him cutting himself simply because–well–it made a cool scene. Zane, cutting his own arm in front of his father, primarily to make the other man uncomfortable.

However, there's more behind this, and the cutting worked very well into the interaction of the different magic systems in the book. Particularly Hemalurgy. The pain makes the voice in Zane's head weaker. There will be more on this later.

I'll admit that I didn't originally intend to make the Zane-Kelsier connection with those scars on his arms. However, when writing this scene, I couldn't believe I'd missed seeing what a great opportunity I had. Vin already associates Zane with the Survivor; letting her see the scars on his arms gives her another powerful connection, particularly since she misinterprets where they came from.

Orem Signing ()
#135 Copy

Snipexe

Would a primate be turned into a koloss if the spikes were placed in the correct bindpoints?

Brandon Sanderson

Something like a koloss, but you would not call it a koloss.

Snipexe

Would they lose intelligence or gain, if they were?

Brandon Sanderson

You could do it either way.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#139 Copy

Questioner

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of-- am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the Investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike...

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
#141 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

If you have a series of Inquisitors, like a family of Inquisitors having children for generations over...

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Would the Hemalurgy influence the sDNA of the children? Is that what you are asking? That is a hypothesis that has merit in the way the magic system works (grin). It is not a supposition to be discarded out of hand.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#142 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.

#tweettheauthor 2009 ()
#144 Copy

Czanos

Would anything interesting happen if an Allomancer Burned a Hemalurgic spike, or a Feruchemist Tapped one?

Brandon Sanderson

Er, well, it’s possible. But you’d have to be burning a Hemalurgic spike that killed you and took your power…

Just like you can’t gain anything by burning a metalmind unless you infused it yourself.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#147 Copy

yulerule

Have all the spikes been collected? You have a bunch of dead Inquisitors, you've got the koloss at the end of Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Have they all been collected?

yulerule

Or are they just lying around, or did they--

Brandon Sanderson

There are some that have been lost.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#148 Copy

Questioner

Question for you, regarding Nalthis.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Do priests use-- to extract the divine Breath and hoard.. Do they use a sharp object to get the divine Breath and hoard from the God King?

Brandon Sanderson

The divine Breath what?

Questioner

Divine Breath and hoard. Can you get it away from him by using a sharp pointy object?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the-- like you're asking like--

Questioner

Hemalurgy as an option.

Brandon Sanderson

It is not, but that's a good question. That is a really good question. I'm surprised no one's asked me that before.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#149 Copy

Questioner

Can you Hemalurgy Aviar? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You could. 

Questioner

So you could take a Aviar Hemalurgic spike and put it on a cat and make a Aviar cat?

Brandon Sanderson

See, this is where it gets-- you heard the asterisk in my-- These sorts of things-- It wouldn't do what you wanted to. But this is possible. 

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#150 Copy

Questioner

Are Hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are koloss and kandra also something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, actually.

Fabrial means specifically a bit of Investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else. Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity. In most Hemalurgy, Investiture keyed to the Identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul. Not the same, though I can see the confusion.

Koloss and kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an Invested spike. In the cosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (Spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.