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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#102 Copy

Argent

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

zotsandcrambles

Would [Ralkalest] (the unforgeable metal) be at all resistant to a Shardblade given its proven resistance to other forms of investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, but is a question you should be asking.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#103 Copy

Questioner

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Questioner

As it is ornamented in such a way... Could it be related to a Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

Bondsmiths didn't have Blades.

Questioner

All of them? It's just... Maybe it was just the Stormfather...

Brandon Sanderson

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. 

Questioner

But maybe there is at least something to it.

Brandon Sanderson

But there's a reason to it, why it has all the 10 orders.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
#105 Copy

TomereK

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?

Brandon Sanderson

There is indeed a connection there.

TomereK

Is it RAFO?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a RAFO, but there is a connection. You got something out of me there.

Firefight release party ()
#109 Copy

Kaladin al'Thor

I noticed my last time reading Words of Radiance that there were several times-- vines that were on Adolin's shardblade as he summoned it. So I was wondering if maybe the Radiant who used it had was an Edgedancer?

Brandon Sanderson

You are right.

Kaladin al'Thor

You mentioned before that it would be possible to revive a dead shard[blade], but it would be very difficult--

Brandon Sanderson

Very difficult.

Kaladin al'Thor

Like I think what you said is that it would have to be the same person that broke the bond?

Brandon Sanderson

That would be the-- Yeah.

Kaladin al'Thor

So if it was an Edgedancer's blade if he made those same oaths could potentially he…

Brandon Sanderson

That would most likely not be enough. Something else would have to happen. Good guess though.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#111 Copy

wicktacular

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

Transcription:

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

JordanCon 2016 ()
#113 Copy

Questioner

This actually came out of a panel today. You'd originally said that Nightblood is way more powerful than a regular Shardblade, but at the time that question was asked of you we didn' know about live Shardblades, we only knew about dead Shardblades. So is that still true, now that we know we have at least two--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh he is more powerful than a regular Shardblade. *groaning and laughter* that is 100% still true.

Moderator

How does Nightblood compare to a more living Blade?

Brandon Sanderson

More living Blade? Hehe, you’re asking the same--

Moderator

No I'm asking a different question. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Well, let's just RAFO that one.

Bonn Signing ()
#115 Copy

Excelsius

What's the biological reaction of a limb cut by a Shardblade, because they don't start to rot after being cut?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah they don't start to rot, so the bloodflow is still happening. The limb is still attached, it's not going to rot off, but the soul is dead. This is a thing that can happen in the cosmere that can't happen here. Because you have Spiritual, [Cognitive], and Physical DNA. Your soul's been severed in that part, and it just flops around. You can't feel it, you can't control it. It's something that, again, couldn't happen here.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#116 Copy

Questioner

Would Allomancy affect Shardplate or Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

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. 

Questioner

I was just wondering if it's actually metal.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yes. It is metal-ish... it is metal enough for Allomancy to work on it.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#117 Copy

Questioner

If the spren turn into any weapon how come all the dead spren are Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question.

Questioner

Read And Find Out?

Brandon Sanderson

It is a Read And Find Out.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#118 Copy

WeiryWriter

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.)

WeiryWriter

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?)

Brandon Sanderson

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.

WeiryWriter

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.

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#120 Copy

Argent

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?

Brandon Sanderson

Eyes actually burn. It is an oddity that I might some day explain.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#123 Copy

Questioner

So Honorblades: Can they actually be bound? ...Can you bind to an Honorblade or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeees you can, but it's not exactly the same thing.

Questioner

It's not exactly the same thing as a regular Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... In some ways they're more powerful in some ways they're a prototype, if that makes sense.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#124 Copy

Questioner

So you said that, specifically on Roshar, shardblades haven't been revived? And, have they been on other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, no, there are very few things you could call shardblades on other worlds.

Questioner

Well, I meant the spren that were...

Brandon Sanderson

Ah ok, yeah yeah yeah. No let's just just...it hasn't ever happened before, and they, in-world, think it's impossible.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#125 Copy

Questioner

So, if a person claims a new set of Shardplate, and there's a difference in size between the new wielder and the previous wielder, does it adjust to the size of the new wielder?

Brandon Sanderson

It does... And there are things they can do to size it and things like that. But it slowly changes over time, like a Blade sometimes does under certain circumstances.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#127 Copy

Questioner

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.

Brandon Sanderson

It means he's- number one he's not on the path to being a Radiant, that's the main thing that means.

Oathbringer release party ()
#128 Copy

Questioner

So, a Radiant's blade. When it takes other forms, does it take on any different properties? So, like, if Kaladin beat someone with the butt of his Sylspear, would it still do something in regards to the soul?

Brandon Sanderson

Would he still hit the soul? That is theoretically possible to make happen. It requires a lot of work. That is theoretically possible.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#131 Copy

rani

Any kind of Investiture to make a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Not any but there are multiple methods.  Some work better than others.

rani

Can you Forge a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#132 Copy

Questioner

We've seen that the "Sylblade" can change shape to fit Kaladin's needs. Is there a limit on the size of the blade that Syl can become?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Okay. And can you share with me what the upper limits on those sort of things would be?

Brandon Sanderson

Upper limits of hers are about human-sized.

Questioner

Is it always going to be something that has to be a fighting utensil, or does it have to...?

Brandon Sanderson

That's going to RAFO. You'll have to see.

[...]

I will say this. You have seen Syl changing shape from the first time she appears onscreen and she is frequently not a weapon.

Footnote: Edgedancer answers this fairly unequivically with the shard-rod and shard-fork
Calamity Austin signing ()
#133 Copy

Questioner

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.

Questioner

So are the Bands [of Mourning] one?

Brandon Sanderson

I would not call them one, but they are close. They're not Invested enough.

Oathbringer release party ()
#135 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I have it cutting right now, but I don't know if I can have it actually completely cut because we slide it through the rock and things like that, right? So it's gotta be that, like, atomizing a little bit into Investiture or something like that. Because I use it in a way that they just-- but there's not really friction on it, so mathematically I'd probably have to say that something is vanishing... I don't want it to but I probably have to.

Questioner

Yeah, I was just sitting there, thinking about Dalinar getting that trench. That would be difficult.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. RAFO for you, sir.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#136 Copy

Questioner

Is there a limit to how many Shardblades you can have? Be bonded to?

Brandon Sanderson

Theoretically, not really. There are some things that could bound that. I can imagine people having a lot. In the original draft of The Way of Kings (2002) Amaram had two. And so, it's definitely possible to have multiples, and I had not thought of someone trying to bond every Shardblade. 

Questioner

So that means you can be bonded to more than one spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, those Shardblades... Can you be bonded to more than one spren? That question's answer is also yes. Potentially. But there is a much harder limit on that.

DragonCon 2019 ()
#137 Copy

Rebeca

What would happen differently if a person found a Shardblade and Shardplate that belongs to the same Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an excellent question. It happened way more in the past than it happens now, but certain Blades and Plates are historically kind of linked together. If you were knowing to look for a difference, you would notice a slight difference, mostly if you could speak to or sense the Sword, but it wouldn’t have a very big mechanical difference, if that makes sense.

Orem Signing ()
#141 Copy

Questioner

With aluminum resisting Shardblades, could you plate Shardplate with aluminum and have extra resistance, or would that be too thin to really even do anything?

Brandon Sanderson

This would probably not be very effective. Maybe in modern times, you could, but honestly you'd be better off just building aluminum armor for someone else. It's not gonna add too much to the Shardplate and to what the Shardplate's already doing and it might just interfere too much with what you're trying to do anyway. It would be worth experimenting with, but I don't think it's gonna end up doing too much.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#144 Copy

greaterbookwyrm

What happens when you cut a kandra with a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

So a kandra is going to react basically the same way, in that the Shardblade's going to be hitting at the soul and severing it and things like that. They are not immune to Shardblades. But because they have mutable shapes, there will be a little bit of weirdness involved in that. You'll get to see that happen eventually.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#146 Copy

Questioner

Could a bloodmaker heal a Shardblade wound?

Brandon Sanderson

Could a...whatmaker? Oh, could a bloodmaker heal a Shardblade wound? Um, yes, yes they could. So, what...so, yes, this is possible. (Long pause) Is it possible? I haven't actually thought about it. I have to work through the mechanics of the magics. Jury's out. Jury's out. I've gotta go and look at the actual mechanics, so I'm gonna "jury's out" on that one. That's a read and find out as, you would think I'd figured that one out, because I'm planning for the conflicts but I haven't, like... So what's happening with the healing on Roshar is that they are using Stormlight to bridge the severed soul and glue it back together, right. So, the magic of bloodmaking is different to an extent, in that it is prompting healing directly from the body, right... I'm gonna go with yes, until I look at it but, jury's out.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#147 Copy

Questioner

We were wondering about the stances and I was wondering if you could match them?

*unfolds image*

Brandon Sanderson

I would have you email it to us, because Ben McSweeney made the final call as he drew these, on which one was which. While I had notes on each of them, he matched the stances to them, and so it would be really easy for me to get them wrong.

Calamity release party ()
#149 Copy

Questioner

So is it possible to Awaken a Shardblade? That's the question-- that's my question for you.

Brandon Sanderson

Um... With the magic system of Awakening, you mean?

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

So, all forms of Investiture strongly resist other forms of Investiture.

Questioner

Makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

*brief interruption* Nightblood is essentially an Awakened... Trying to do that.

Questioner

'Cause he shows up in Words of Radiance, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, it-- let's just say it'd be very, very hard. Because it's like saying, "Can-- I want to turn on a lightbulb that's been turned on." Yes, you can... maybe... I don't know what that even means. It's already Invested. It's already Awakened.