You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?
Someone did exactly this in the original draft of Way of Kings, back in 2002.
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The metal used on Shardblades for training, is it made out of aluminum?
*laughing/smiling* That's a very smart question, well done, you're on the right track.
Is there a correlation, at all, between Awakening steel, a blade, and the revival of spren every time a Shardblade is summoned? I mean, I know Invesiture is Investiture is Invesiture.
So revival of the spren so--
Okay. So, are you talking about a live Shardblade or a dead one, or it doesn’t matter.
Awakening the steel, like that, Shardblades <are like Awakening metal> and stuff.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The big difference here is that in one you’re using a physical component, right, and Investing it. In another, a more pure Investiture is passing into the Physical Realm and taking on an embodiment, a shape. Does that make sense? And so, similar but different things. There is a correlation, but it’s not--yeah.
Why does Stormlight make things cold?
It’s not the Stormlight, it’s condensation because something is going directly from a gas into a solid. The coldness is caused by that, it’s not necessarily that the Stormlight is making things cold, but that the Shardblade is condensing.
Does a Shardblade work on Sel?
If Nightblood was on Roshar—for whatever reason—would it be a Shardblade essentially, like would it func--
Yes. They are exactly the same thing. [...] Nightblood is indeed a Shardblade, basically the exact same thing. Though he is a Shardblade that is twisted and he is a lot more powerful than your standard.
And there's one last question if I may: I'm really into swords and such. I couldn't help but notice king Elhokar's Blade. It's just... All the others are ornamented, and they may have some glyphs, but it is the only one where it is explicitly it is told that there are ten fundamental glyphs on it which are the glyphs of the orders. I read some of the chapters from Dalinar from Unfettered II, and I know how he got it for Elhokar. Is there also some more backstory to this Blade?
There's a backstory to every Blade and every one of them is special, that's the problem. But I will be exploring the origins of some of the Blades. Eventually. Not a ton, but a little bit.
As it is ornamented in such a way... Could it be related to a Bondsmith?
Bondsmiths didn't have Blades.
All of them? It's just... Maybe it was just the Stormfather...
No. That's a really good guess. Really good guess. I'm gonna RAFO Bondsmiths because you gonna learn a lot about them in the next book because it's the Bondsmith's book. That's a really good theory, but it's not true.
But maybe there is at least something to it.
But there's a reason to it, why it has all the 10 orders.
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?
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.
Related to Kaladin's abilities and their application to medicine, is a Shard-scalpel possible, or does a Sylblade of any kind have to do the whole burning-eyes deadened-limbs thing that Shardblades do?
(actually, I bet this is going to be addressed in the book, unless my memories of lore are insufficient and this is a silly question that is already answered if I look closely enough.)
It's not a silly question--and while it's not answered in the books, the topic (or at least ones similar to it) is discussed. So I'll RAFO for now.
Could you use steel or iron to Push or Pull off Shardblades or Shardplate?
Anything that's Invested resists, the more Invested it is the more it resists.
Okay, so you could technically--
--if it was not charged?
Well-- Certain objects just have more Investiture and are more purely of the Investiture. A Shardblade's going to be really hard, but it's possible, it's just going to be really, really hard. Even more hard than an absolutely full Feruchemical metalmind because the Shardblade is being created directly out of the Investiture, it's basically all Investiture, it's not a metal that is Invested. It's going to be real hard.
When, in Stormlight, Shardblade victims are described as having burned out eyes, do the eyes physically burn out leaving empty eyesockets, or is it closer to a surface burn, maybe just looking like they had burned?
Eyes actually burn. It is an oddity that I might some day explain.
If you were to try and Awaken a dead Shardblade with Awakening, like you can with a metal sword, would that be possible, or what would happen?
That would probably not work. Not probably. That would just not work.
Any kind of Investiture to make a Shardblade?
Not any but there are multiple methods. Some work better than others.
Can you Forge a Shardblade?
To Forge a Shardblade, meaning make a regular sword through Forgery into a Shardblade, would require so much Investiture it’s like asking if we can make lead into gold using a particle accelerator. Yes but it's horribly, horribly, horribly inefficient.
If the spren turn into any weapon how come all the dead spren are Shardblades?
Read And Find Out?
It is a Read And Find Out.
So... Shardblades are modeled after Honorblades. Are Honorblades modeled after something else?
The Honorblades were provided for the Heralds. The person doing the providing was aware of certain things. So, yes, but not really. I think it is-- I can answer a "yes," but it's more like a big asterisk.
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.
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.
So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.
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.
How many smacks would it take from a Shardblade to break, say, a metalmind.
A metalmind? Depends on how much it's invested.
Are the Shardblade practice guards... Are they made of aluminum?
Good question! RAFO!
You've said that Shardblades can be made in other magic systems. So if it's not like a Shardblade from Roshar, what makes it a Shardblade?
The "Shard" refers to the heavy Investiture of a Shard of Adonalsium. Most of what you’ll see will see are the Roshar ones, but it is technically possible to make them out of the other magic systems. It's going to be a heavily invested magical weapon, is kind of how I would define it.
So are the Bands [of Mourning] one?
I would not call them one, but they are close. They're not Invested enough.
Would Allomancy affect Shardplate or Shardblades?
It cannot affected Shardblades. Well, "cannot" is a strong word. Things with innate investiture are much more difficult to affect with any of the magics at all. Which is why it's very hard, for instance-- Szeth is not able to bind people, or Lash people wearing Shardplate to the ceiling. In the same Allomancy would not be able to Push on it without some help. Duralumin and a really strong [Steel]Push could probably do it.
I was just wondering if it's actually metal.
Oh yes. It is metal-ish... it is metal enough for Allomancy to work on it.
So could somebody using maybe a duralumin Push or Pull, or just a strong Allomancer, take control of a Shardblade?
The more heavily Invested something is, the most-- the more <release?> other forms of Investiture? But as we have proof in Mistborn you can Push and Pull on metalminds, you can Push and Pull on even a spike that’s inside of somebody. If you have the strength. So it's kind of pushing against the strength of the Investiture.
Why do the Shardblades in The Stormlight Archive have the effect on flesh (human tissue) that they do?
He originally wrote the scene in the prologue with the assassin Szeth using a traditional sword, but it was so bloody and gruesome that Brandon was actually disgusted. He had to find a way to avoid that and so he came up with a new way for the swords to behave.
Could a shadow from Threnody be manifested as a Shardblade?
Does hair that is still attached to a person's head get cut if a Shardblade passes through it? If not, if that person had the Royal Locks could they change the color of the hair "below" the cut?
Yes, hair gets cut. It counts as dead in my mind--but not to someone who has the Royal Locks. They could only change below, as you state, and wouldn't get their hair chopped off. (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I Think I've mentioned in Stormlight before that you can cut things like shells on living animals with a Shardblade, but then it doesn't cut the flesh.)
With the Royal Locks, the individual would be able to change the color in the bit between the cut and the scalp? (In my original question I had meant "below" to mean the bit between the cut and the end whereas your answer uses it the opposite, I think?)
Distance between scalp and cut, yes you can change that. Otherwise every time you got a haircut, you wouldn't be able to change the hair. Maybe I don't get your question.
So just for clarity's sake is the following correct:
Let's say Siri's hair is two feet long. A shardblade passes through the hair exactly in the middle ("dividing" the hair into two one-foot sections). In your previous answer you said that while usually the shardblade would just sever the hair (leaving only a foot attached to the head) with the Royal locks the entire two feet would remain attached but only the foot on the "head" side of the cut would be able to change color.
Thank you, I just want to make sure there is zero doubt in what is actually going on.
I did misinterpret your original question. As a shardblade cut is likely to be wider than a piece of hair, I doubt you could cut the royal locks lengthwise.
If this is all but a guaranteed RAFO question, but, does the fact that the honorblades needing ten heart beats to appear have to do with Szeth's perception on shardblades needing ten heartbeats (like Shallan's case). Or does it have to do with some more innate rule of nature.
It is a RAFO.
Shardblades are essentially spren that have died--
Not all of them have died but yeah.
Oh, my question was if they could be revived?
Um this… According to the understanding of those in-world it would require the same person who broke their oath. So it would be possible if any of them were still alive. I'm not ruling out other ways, but that's how it's understood by--
It would be the traditional way.
Were Shardblades influenced by lightsabers?
Yes *long aside about how everyone in the last 40 years was so influenced*, but not sure how direct of an influence
The meteorite metal that they talk about that blocks Shards, is that aluminum?
Uh, so-- yes.
Can I ask you real quick: Where Warbreaker falls in Stormlight Achive?
Warbreaker is before Stormlight Archive. Vasher, before Warbreaker, had been to Roshar.
Okay, that's what I needed to know. Nightblood.
Nightblood was patterned off of things that Vasher and the others saw on Roshar.
What was the reason for choosing the base form of Shardblades as blades, why not another form? Was it because of the spren?
Why was the base form of Shardblades chosen to as blades, as swords? It is because the Shardblades were devised... They were devised as imitations of the Honorblades, which were created and given to the Heralds. And so since the original pattern was the Honorblades, they were built to feel like the Honorblades.
So Honorblades: Can they actually be bound? ...Can you bind to an Honorblade or not?
Yeees you can, but it's not exactly the same thing.
It's not exactly the same thing as a regular Shardblade?
Yeah... In some ways they're more powerful in some ways they're a prototype, if that makes sense.
I've always wondered, how do you determine where the line between "Word of Brandon" and "Read and Find Out" is? Has it ever caused issues where you've said something, but later that thing changed when it went into a book making your first statement now false?
Thanks so much for writing as much as you do, I'm looking forward to all your upcoming books, keep up the great work!
Boy, this one is an art, not a science.
I've several times said something that I later decided to change in a book. I've always got this idea in the back of my head that the books are canon, and things I say at signing aren't 100% canon. This is part because of a habit I have of falling back on things I decided years ago, then revised in notes after I realized they didn't work. My off-the-cuff instinct is still to go with what I had in my head for years, even when it's no longer canon.
An example of this are Shardblades. In the first draft of TWoK in 2002, I had the mechanics of the weapons work in a specific way. (If you wanted to steal one from someone, you knock off the bonding gemstone, and it breaks the bond.) I later decided it was more dramatic if you couldn't steal a Shardblade that way--you had to kill the person or force them to relinquish the bond. It worked far better.
But in Oathbringer, Peter had to remind me of that change, as I just kind of nonchalantly wrote into a scene a comment about knocking off a gemstone to steal a Shardblade. These things leak back in, as you might expect for a series I've been working on for some twenty years now--with lore being revised all along.
So...short answer...yes, I've contradicted myself a number of times. I try very, very hard to let the books be the canon however. So you can default to them.
As for what I answer and what I RAFO...it depends on how much I want to reveal at the moment, if I'm trying to preserve specific surprises, or if I just want people to focus on other things at the moment. Like I said, art and not science.
In WoR, Navani muses to Dalinar about how the gemstones in the Blades could be the focus that allows the bond with the Blade to exist. If this theory is correct, it would follow that someone could damage that gemstone and thus be able to steal the Blade with it then having no intact bonding mechanism, right?
I guess I'm having trouble seeing how the example you describe isn't possible.
The gemstone is needed to create the bond and operate the bond's functions. If you remove the gemstone, the person the sword is bonded to can't summon it or dismiss it to mist. But neither can anyone else. If they eventually pop another gemstone in and try to bond it themselves, they will fail, and the original person can then resummon their Blade. The bond is with the dead spren of the Blade, not with the gemstone. The stone facilitates the bond.
So, you can haul around a de-gemstoned Blade with you all the time and successfully steal it that way. But this makes it very easy to steal back. You'd have to kill the holder of the bond in order to rebond it. Which is no different from usual.
And in general, if you can get close enough to a Shardbearer to steal their Blade, you are also close enough to kill them anyway.
So that scene where Dalinar crushes the gemstone and hands the Shardblade over, he's also doing some sort of mystical de-bonding?
Or is it just 'if you WANT to give it up, you gave it up'?
Yes, if you want to give it up, you gave it up.
If nobody is currently bonded to it, does the attuning still take a week?
Otherwise it seems weird people would figure out putting a gemstone in hilt lets you summon it, since nothing would happen without a week of bonding time.
Not that weird. One of the books (WoK, I think) mentions that many years passed before the gemstone bonding was discovered. Shardblades were still really valuable, though, and even more vulnerable to theft, so it makes sense that people would have kept them close at hand long enough for the bonding process.
Other than that, all you need is someone to accidentally decorate the blade correctly, which is something that took a long time to happen, but was probably bound to happen eventually considering how key infused gemstones are to the world.
Is the rapier a weapon that somebody who doesn't have a Shardblade would use on Roshar?
Why do you ask that?
You know why. Because of the last scene in Words of Radiance. The weapon was an unusual weapon that, well, she needed. *inaudible* odd form *inaudible* If it's common then you can understand why someone would have a Shardblade of that type.
Yes, so... you are on to something.
So that's a read and find out?
Yep, read and find out. You know how to read and find out. I'm not going to answer it, but *inaudible*.
<I asked if, in the future, he would have Lift use a trident as her main Shard weapon.>
There may very well be a trident in the upcoming book.
Just realized what Shardblades remind me of..
In my head, they remind me a lot of Keyblades from Kingdom Hearts. The blade appearing out of nowhere when you hold out your hand seems rather similar. They're also both highly coveted in their universes and for both types each blade is different from the next (I think). Just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this or if I'm just crazy and have had way too much time to think waiting for Words of Radiance.
Shardblades aren't inspired by keyblades specifically, though there is a core inspiration that might be shared by both myself and the creators. While I did play the first kingdom hearts game when it came out, the first draft of The Way of Kings was well under way when the game was released.
However, I did play all of the final fantasy games--I had the first on original Nintendo, so get off my lawn, you kids. The origin of Shardblades relates to fantasy games and art in general, and the concept of the stylized sword which is also horribly impractical.
In a lot of my writing, I react toward or against the fantasy archetypes of my youth in the 80s and 90s. When designing the Stormlight Archive, one of the things I asked myself was, "Can I make a situation where these oversized, over-stylized blades are actually practical? Why in the world would you need a weapon like that? And how do you actually use one?"
Making the blades summonable seemed one of the only ways that carrying one around would be reasonable.
Szeth has an afterglow because his soul is lagging behind his body slightly.
So if he was moving fast enough, could a Shardblade pass through his physical body and not cut the soul?
Ummm, that sounds like the sort of thing-- I'm going to say, the soul is more stretchy, so I don't think that's possible. But you could do some weird things where you're cutting the soul and not the body.
What connection is there between Lifeless and Shard-severed limbs?
They are similar, but different. With Lifeless it's due to the soul being drained away, shrinking to nearly nothing. With Shard-severed limbs, that portion of the soul is sheared clean away.
The dead shardblades, could you possibly get Stormlight into them to reawaken them?
Dead shardblade could you pump enough Stormlight into them? That alone would not be enough.
So you would have to find someone to re-swear with oaths?
There is something broken on the Spiritual Realm because of the broken oath and simple Stormlight will not fix that.
If the person were still alive and could re-swear the oath then yes.
[...] the Spiritual Realm?
It is not outside the realm of reason but it would be very very very difficult.
So Nightblood is basically a Shardblade from a different god-Shard--
--is that how it works?
Are there going to be-- Are there Allomantic Shardblades?
Not yet... And the Nightblood experiment has been an interesting experiment.
So Shardblades. When they cut off the victims, the eyes burn up. And deadeyes have their eyes scratched out in Shadesmar. Is there any relation between them?
There is indeed a connection there.
Is it RAFO?
It's a RAFO, but there is a connection. You got something out of me there.
What would happen if a Mistborn ingested the metal of a Shardblade/Plate?
A Shardblade is Invested. A Mistborn isn't likely to have a tie to that type of Investiture. So probably nothing would happen…
You mentioned that human can’t bond Honorblades, but Nalan tells Szeth that his bond with his Honorblade has been broken. Can you clear this up?
Humans CAN bond Honorblades. There's a crucial difference between Honorblades and Shardblades. When you drop an Honorblade, it does not disappear, even if it has been bonded. A Shardblade will disappear when dropped.
What would a Shardblade do to [a "zombie" Elantrian]?
Um, a Shardblade would...oh boy. A Shardblade...a Shardblade would still be dangerous to them, um, the trick is, um, the Shardblade's gonna treat them half alive, half dead. So, it probably would be kind of a flicker, so it depends on when you hit them. It might cut the arm off.
It might cut the arm off...
And it might just leave it dead.
I was wondering, if one were to take an Honorblade to Nalthis (I think that's the Warbreaker planet?), would it function like a minor version of Nightblood?
And could one fuel one of these Shards with other forms of Investiture, not gas-based like Breath and Stormlight, e.g. burning metals?
Shardblades will not lose or change functionality when taken off of Roshar.
*referring to a personalization request* That is a R A F O, but you do earn a card for your RAFO... Now let me just say--
I'm not asking about Nightblood, I'm asking about the Shardblades.
Yeah-- Oh, OH. You're asking-- okay. You're not asking what other Shardblades made, but if somebody brought a Shardblade to another pl--
Like if Kaladin went to Nalthis.
Okay, his Shardblade would manifest exactly-- it would do exactly the same thing.
With Adolin you say there that he feels a connection to his sword. And all the other Shardbearers, when they touch a Shardblade they get the screaming in their ears. Does that mean he’s not going to be a Radiant.
It means he's- number one he's not on the path to being a Radiant, that's the main thing that means.
When spren die, they kind of become part of everything, so why did, when the Knights broke their oaths, why did they stay as Shardblades?
They had been bound into that form by those oaths. The oaths are broken, but it's like they’re cracked. Does that make sense? Like, there's still something holding those spren and that's what made them *inaudible* It would have been better if they had actually died, does that make sense? But they couldn't-- they're bound in that form.
But their consciousness is still, like, gone?
They still have a consciousness, some of them. To an extent.
That's why the screaming happens.
Silly Shardblade question: Dick Cheney's artificial heart was a continuous flow model, which meant he had no pulse. If you gave him a Shardblade, how would summoning it work?
You know, I've actually had to think about this. (Not because of Cheney, but because of cosmere applications.) Just as blind people dream differently from people without visuals, I feel a Shardbearer without a pulse would end up having another method of representing the way their soul reaches toward a dead Shardblade and summons it. But it would vary based on the individual.
Are there non-Invested (or at least not heavily Invested) objects that cannot be cut by Shardblades, or that offer more resistance than what we see in The Stormlight Archive?
You're unlikely to find anything without high Investiture that can resist a Shardblade. By definition, to stop one, you're going to need something with a powerful spiritual component to it.
Would [Ralkalest] (the unforgeable metal) be at all resistant to a Shardblade given its proven resistance to other forms of investiture?
That's a RAFO, but is a question you should be asking.