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Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#101 Copy

RayW2

What is the most powerful Radiant Order? Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

"Power" is related to situation, perception, and need. A Bondsmith can probably draw the most raw investiture, depending on the situation--but comparisons like this ignore the heart of the matter. I don't look at people in the cosmere as having a "power level," because I don't consider it to be a good measure of the way the stories will play out.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#102 Copy

ParshendiOfRhuidean

Is there a connection between the roles of a certain order of Knight Radiant and the singer form associated with their Platespren, such as artistic Lightweavers and artform both having creation spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a connection, a deliberate connection on my part there. It's hard to keep all of these things one-to-one because there are way more forms than there are orders of Knights Radiant and things like that, so don't read too far into it, but I do make those connections deliberately where I can.

Prague Signing ()
#103 Copy

Snoxcatko

Can people from another world like Scadrial or Sel become a Knight Radiant.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Snoxcatko

Is there some like special conditions in world?

Brandon Sanderson

Nope. You just have to be chosen by the spren. So because the spren are involved then the requirements are a little different for Roshar. But to became an Awakener, you just need to get the Breath so you could pick it up on Nalthis also pretty easily.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#105 Copy

Questioner

Can spren be put back together, through Bondsmiths rejoined, as Shards can be joined and combined?

Brandon Sanderson

That, um… so what do you mean by spren put back together?

Questioner

Could a Bondsmith combine spren in the way that Shards can be combined?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so the answer is they can be combined. Whether the Bondsmith is a method or not I won't say, but spren can be combined.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#106 Copy

Questioner

The Skybreakers, are they from the old Radi-- the old Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they've still been around. Not all of them. They aren't still alive-- The ones back then are not still alive, but they have an unbroken chain. The only Order that has that. They're the only one that didn't abandon their Oaths.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#108 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A full-blown Radiant can heal almost anything (cut from a Shardblade included) because of the way the magic works--their soul is literally bonded to Investiture, and it suffuses them in such a way that even the soul is very resilient to damage.

Honorblades are what you'd consider a "prototype" for what eventually happened with Shardblades. An Honorblade can be used by anyone, without need for oaths, which makes them very dangerous--but since the bond isn't as deep, they are far less efficient. They use more Stormlight, for example, and can't heal to the extent that a Radiant can.

So the difference is not in the device that did the damage, but in the method using to heal. Over the course of the first two book, the reader should be able to subtly pick out differences from what Szeth says is possible (in more than just healing) and what Kaladin experiences.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#113 Copy

Questioner

From what little we know about the Willshapers, I'm really interested in them. Is there any really tiny tidbit about that Order you could tell us? Even really small?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the first Orders that I developed when I was building the magic systems was the Willshapers... Very excited to do a story about them.

Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
#114 Copy

Jay

Do Szeth and Kaladin both belong to the same order of knights radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth isn't actually in an order of Knights Radiant. Something different is happening with Szeth that people have already begun to guess. And Kaladin isn't yet a Knight Radiant, but the powers he uses are those of the Windrunners, one of the orders of the Knights Radiant. Szeth is using the same power set. So your phrasing is accurate to that extent.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#116 Copy

Cemci

Have we-- I think you mentioned in a previous signing that we'd already met one member of every Order of the Knights Radiant.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I think you have.

Cemci

My question is, have we met two Edgedancers? And is one of the Dustbringers a viewpoint character?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the Dustbringers is eventually a point-of-view character.

Cemci

Haven't been yet?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not yet, I don't think. But it depends if you count the Heralds as members of their order.

Cemci

I don't.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, see I would, because they're kind of heads of their Order. If you don't count them you have not met some from every Order.

Cemci

Have we met someone from the Dustbringers?

Brandon Sanderson

Well-- Dustbringers are really complicated. Really complicated. So that's the weird one. Okay? So let's shelve that one. You'll see why it's really weird later on.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

When you were coming up with names for the Orders of the Knights Radiants, did you have any names that you liked but couldn't include?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the names I liked but discard were tossed because they sound too much like other compound words I've used, or other terminology in the cosmere. Shardbearer is already troublesome enough; I want to avoid others like this. The toughest one to name was Renarin's order, because most of the ideas I came up with over the years ended up being repeats. Others, like Stoneward and Windrunner, were powerful enough in my mind that when I wrote later cosmere books, I intentionally stayed away from terms that would sound too similar.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#118 Copy

Questioner

If Kelsier had been born on Roshar, would he have become a Knight Radiant and if so...?

Brandon Sanderson

I think there’s a possibility that some of the orders might want him, but it really depends on what period he was born in, and what he’s up to, because Kelsier's got this dark edge to him where he could go villain very easily, depending on what’s going on with him. *pause* That’s kind of how I view Kelsier’s defining attribute, if channeled correctly he’s a great force for good, but he’s like right on the line.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#119 Copy

AndrewHB (paraphrased)

Is Niccolò Machiavelli's political theory--the ends justify the means--incompatible with the Knights Radiant's First Oath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. Although many of the Orders of Knights Radiant would find Machiavelli's theory, that the ends justify the means, incompatible with additional oaths and/or values of that Order, there are some Orders who could accept a Machiavellian. (Brandon said that the Skybreakers are where a Machiavellian could find a home.)

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#120 Copy

Very Nice Name 16

Do you ever plan to update the Knights Radiant quiz, when we've seen all the Orders in the books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I could imagine us doing that once you've seen all the Orders. But we used a lot of information from me and my wiki and my knowledge of those Orders to make those, but the Orders could tweak as I write them, so it's totally possible that we will change things.

That would take quite a while, because it's basically saying, by Book Ten we maybe will have changed some of these.

YouTube Livestream 8 ()
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Questioner

Did you do any research into the Knights Templar when you were preparing to write about the Radiants?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. I find the Knights Templar fascinating, and I've often read about them and been interested in them. When I was coming up with the Knights Radiant, the origins of them didn't have... I didn't even call them the Knights Radiant in the first draft, the first version of Way of Kings. So some of these connections that now seem pretty clear with the ancient order that has fallen away and is being restored, and even the titling, didn't really exist in the early ones. I would say they're there in the back of my brain, certainly, and would be an unconscious influence. But a lot of the things that you might say, "Hey, these came from the Knights Templar," didn't. But were more of a parallel evolution sort of thing as I figured out what I wanted the Knights Radiant to be.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#122 Copy

Questioner

Does the Shard of Ambition have anything to do with the Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

Shard of Ambition have anything to do with the Bondsmith, no, good question. Oh! I see what you guys are getting at. Who's the third Bondsmith... So, uhh, this is a RAFO. I will eventually start talking about the third Bondsmith. I'm gonna RAFO all questions about it for a while though. So just warning you guys.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Doc_John (paraphrased)

Hey! If you had the correct Intent in mind, could you Command a Lifeless to follow a Knight's Radiant Ideal? Like could you command it to "Protect those who cannot protect themselves"

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, this would be possible, though it would depend on the Lifeless and circumstances on how good a job they do at it. The command is a little abstract, and could end up not working as well as you want it to.

JordanCon 2021 ()
#127 Copy

Questioner

Could a retired Radiant actually have just like, passed their bond to their kid or to a squire or something?

Brandon Sanderson

So this is tricky because the spren's involved, and the person's own disposition and things like... you can't just pass it on, they would have to be saying the oaths, they would have to be right for the Order, the spren would have to be on-board. I would say there is a better chance that a family member would than a random person, but it's not guaranteed.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#129 Copy

marcos

As of Words of Radiance, are there two groups of Skybreakers running around claiming to be Skybreakers?

Brandon Sanderson

Nale’s group is the only one I think I’ve had on-screen, so yeah I think there’s only one. Why would you ask that?

marcos

Was the group that Helaran joined the actual Skybreakers?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I get what you’re saying. Okay. Yes, there is one unified group that call themselves the Skybreakers, good question.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#130 Copy

Snote

Would you be willing to confirm if Skar is a proto-Radiant (on the same level as The Lopen?)

It is implied by his statement of "We protect those who cannot protect themselves", which is obviously an affirmation of the oath, if not an outright swearing of it. I could see it being either/or. He's a good man that did what he thought the order, and he himself, wanted or he just became a Radiant on the same level as Kaladin during the Battle of the Tower.

Thanks for your time. I understand if you can't/won't answer that at this time. It's simply a curiosity, so I get it if you're a bit too busy to answer. :p

Brandon Sanderson

By the end of Book Three, I'd put Skar very close to (though not quite at the level of) Lopen along the way toward full Radiant-hood.

General Reddit 2011 ()
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gunslingers

The number 10 seems to be a recurring theme in this world. Are the "ten fools" the antithesis of the ten orders of the knights radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, ten is a number of mythological import in the world. The Ten Fools are, essentially, the opposites of the Ten Heralds--who each represented an ideal. (Those ideals were later adopted by the orders of Knights Radiant, so yes, there is a connection--but there's a step between them.)

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Algafi

I also have the theory that Huio will swear Dustbringer oaths (taking spanreeds apart to see how they work and a badass Shardhammer). And I want to get my first RAFO so:

Can a KR swear 2 order oaths after obtaining a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

YouTube Livestream 26 ()
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Joe Collins

What was your inspiration for the Knights Radiant

Brandon Sanderson

I prefer stories about magic awakening and magic being discovered and investigated. So the idea of these Orders of Knights whose powers were lost, and people are now recovering them, was really cool to me. You certainly would have to point at the Jedi as a theme for that. Like, I grew up in the '80s and '90s; there's no way that Star Wars wasn't a huge influence on everything that I did. I wouldn't say that I thought it was the single influence, but you cannot separate someone of my generation, so steeped in pop culture as I was, from Star Wars as a deep cultural influence.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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CephandriusTW

We know for previous WoBs that Truthwatchers are worried about knowledge and helping people with it (wob#8500). In the test you recently released, the new info about them says that they are worried about the use of the knowledge and the leaders trying to deceive the people they lead. So, I think they have some things in common with Windrunners and Edgedancers, because the three Orders are more worried about the common people than about the elite. Protecting those who can not protect themselves, remembering those who had been forgotten; both of this Second Ideals refers to the common people, that people that the leaders don't really care about.

Considering all of this, and following the example of the Second Ideal of Windrunners and Edgedancers, which are the most worried about the common people with no epic powers, I wrote a theoric PURE (without corrupted sprens like Glysn) Second Ideal for Truthwatchers:

"I will seek truth, to prevent others from being deceived."

I know you are RAFO'ing this, but I would only like to know if my approach of the Truthwatchers Order is correct.

Brandon Sanderson

[That] is, I'm afraid, a RAFO as I don't want to talk too much about the oaths of given orders until I write books about those orders, as it would constrain the story a little too much. Your theorizing is sound, however.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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lupicorn

I had a question about what it means to swear the Ideal of Law. Several fans have told me it means to define the law, in the Nixon, "when the president does it, that means it is not illegal," sort of way. I interpret it as becoming the embodiment of the law such that they can't willingly violate any law without breaking their oaths.

Do either of these interpretations hit the mark? Nale seems to follow the law more so than most and that doesn't just seem like a personal preference.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that both of these interpretations could work for a given Skybreaker, which is why there is disagreement among the order itself. Perception is a big part of the oaths.

I wouldn't want to squish this discussion by offering too much on one side or the other, as this is exactly where I want the conversation to be going right now.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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ThingsThatMakeMeMad

Dalinar insists that honorable men would not fight their allies, when Adolin wishes to spar. Would the knights radiant spar one another, or would they generally agree with dalinars point of view?

Brandon Sanderson

Some would agree but many would disagree. Do note there is a difference between sparring and prize fighting or dueling.

YouTube Livestream 7 ()
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Spencer Walther

Lopen clearly states he doesn't consider himself a broken character, like all the other Knights. Do you consider him a broken character?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not. And, again, "broken" is a term with a lot of baggage, let's point that out. I would rather use the terminology that a given person is comfortable with, and let them put definitions on that themselves. Because the way I view it, I don't really view most people as "broken," even if they may use that terminology. What they might have is, they might have certain mental health issues that they haven't yet figured out how to work with that are integral to who they are. But not broken, just still practicing. And that's how I would define a lot of people, but I don't get to define it for those people, if that makes sense.

And one of the things I like to do is to have a variety of viewpoints in my stories, to make sure I'm kind of running the gamut on this, and I think some of the characters in my stories would say, "Yeah. Something in me's broken. You can talk about all the funny business you want, Brandon, about just needing to practice. Something in me's broken, and I need to learn to deal with that. Either fix it, or learn to not let it ruin me." And there are people that I've talked to, that that's how they've described it.

I've talked to other people who say, "No, I'm not broken. 'Broken' implies I'm a less valuable person, because of that phrasing." That is something that I never want to imply. And so it is a dangerous word to use. I let people in fiction use it, because people in real life use it. But just wanted you to be aware of that.

So, the idea that a person needs to be "broken" to be a Knight Radiant is a part of the world that a lot of people talk about. I actually intend Lopen to be a counterargument to that. But people in-world would disagree with me. They'd say, "No no no, he's got some of these things." But if Lopen has them, we all have them. So there are no not-broken people, which also makes the word "broken" just completely wrong phrase to use, if that makes sense.

So, that is how I view it. But I admit that some of my characters would disagree with me.

Warsaw signing ()
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Questioner

If someone out of Roshar knows the Immortal Words, and he's, for example, a kandra, can he become a Knight?

Brandon Sanderson

So, becoming a Knight Radiant is up to the spren, right? Saying the Ideals, swearing the oaths, these sorts of things, you have to convince a piece of sapient Investiture that you deserve it, and that's the main thing.

Questioner

And the kandra?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the kandra would have to lots of fast talking, and there are a few more difficulties involved, but this is theoretically possible. For instance, taking some pieces of Investiture offworld are difficult.