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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#151 Copy

uchoo786

I know that Nightblood is technically a shardblade (invested sword), but can one use it without being bonded to a Spren since on Roshar the only way to breathe is stormlight and use it is by being bonded to a spren? Would Nightblood also work like a shardblade, in that it severs the soul instead of consuming it when it touches a person?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that the Honorblades do not require one to be bonded to a spren to use, or gain access to powers. Nightblood goes one step further, vaporizing and destroying on all three realms.

uchoo786

So, if I understand this correctly, Nightblood will act like an Honorblade and allow Szeth to breath in Stormlight? Will his surges be completely different than anything Roshar has seen before, or will his surges be those of the Skybreakers since Nightblood's purpose is pretty similar to theirs?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to wait and see.

Holiday signing ()
#152 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about Nightblood. I think I heard that-- Something you said in a Q&A that it is related to a Shardblade, or was a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah… So Nightblood. Vasher visited Roshar, saw Shardblades, came back and tried to make one. With what he knew of his magic. That's the short version of it. Kind of simplifies things, but yes.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#153 Copy

little_wilson

Peter said if we did enough begging, we could see some Nightblood replicas. Can you give us more details? And exactly HOW much more begging would be necessary (Mi'chelle says keep it below $100...I say below $50, but I suppose if you must go higher, I might be able to compensate...)?

Brandon Sanderson

I've had an offer from a swordsmith who was at JordanCon. These would be more expensive replicas, though, as they be hand-made by the swordsmith himself. He does very good work, but the price he mentioned was $200, I believe.

I've put Peter in charge of looking into this and seeing how viable it is. The cost might be too high for the readers to want to buy them. What we'd do is take pre-orders, and then do a limited edition run of maybe ten or twenty swords, hand-made by the swordsmith. If we had ten or so preorders, we'd be able to do it.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#162 Copy

JHTheHurricane

Would the metal an Allomancer burns if he was charging Nightblood with Investiture affect the relative power of Nightblood, say if you are burning duralumin or atium Nightblood would be more powerful than if you were burning bronze or zinc?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question, actually!

Nightblood, as I've written him now and as I intend to keep him, feeds of the investiture--but isn't really strengthened by it. Meaning, it doesn't matter to him what the food is, it's all just food to him.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#163 Copy

Thadamin

How many Cutting edges does Nightblood have? I'm just trying to find out what Nightblood looks like exactly, Warbreaker is a little spars on an exact description.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is a long, straight sword, edged on both sides.

morsk

If Nightblood was a Dark Souls weapon, which class would it be? Straight Sword, Greatsword, Ultra Greatsword? I think of it like the Claymore.

Brandon Sanderson

Claymore might be close. Though the dark souls ones might be a tad bigger than he is.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#164 Copy

VindicationKnight

Can you use Forgery to enhance or diminish a persons intelligence? If so could you use it to uplift a non-sentient animal to human levels of intelligence?

Brandon Sanderson

Uplifting requires extreme amounts of investiture, and needs to be affixed permanently to the soul. This is beyond what a normal person, even a Forger, usually has access to.

VindicationKnight

And if full uplifting is practically impossible then are more minor intelligence alterations (like Taravangian) feasible?

Brandon Sanderson

Uplifting isn't quite as impossible as I might have implied. It would be easier, say, than making Nightblood. But, of course, making Nightblood was VERY hard.

Calamity release party ()
#167 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.

Figment chat ()
#170 Copy

Questioner

What’s the most dangerous non-Shard thing in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood’s up there, Hoid is up there, but not deadly dangerous, a different type of dangerous, yeah no, what we know of, right now, those, those are in the running. Chasmfiends, chasmfiends are pretty nasty. Whitespines are a little more nasty probably. The… the Unmade are pretty nasty. Yeah. There’s a couple of mercenary troops that you haven’t met yet that are really quite, quite dangerous, I would list them as well.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#173 Copy

vandar10

Will we see in Nightblood why the returned base breath cannot be given away in the same way the other breath are given?? I'm referring to the fact that when a returned gives his breath the person who receive it don't reach any heightening but use it to heal instead of reaching the fifth heightening and healing anyway.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#176 Copy

Silasary

So Nightblood drains investiture from people. How would it operate on Sel?

Questioner 2

Oh yeah, because the investiture's in the ground, practically.

Brandon Sanderson

...On Sel-- I mean Investiture is in everything, right? So I don't imagine it having a difference on Sel in the Physical Realm from what you normally see.

Skyward release party ()
#179 Copy

Questioner

What would happen if Hoid held Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, Hoid would not do that. Hoid would stay very far away.

Stormlightning

Not even hold it??

Brandon Sanderson

He would stay really far away. There are very few things in the Cosmere that Hoid is afraid of, and Nightblood is one of them.

Stormlightning

I thought he'd be afraid of the blade end.

Brandon Sanderson

So let's just say if very, very, very few things in the Cosmere had a chance of destroying you, you wouldn't even pick one up. You'd try to be in a different room entirely.

R'Shara and Sunbird and JoyBlu

*Whispering about Nightblood being able to destroy Hoid*

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say, I said theoretically. I said "had a chance of", I did not confirm. Hoid doesn't know. But there's a chance, and so he is not going to risk that.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#182 Copy

Questioner

You called Nightblood a miscrea-- a misformed Shardblade.

Brandon Sanderson

A Shardblade created with a different magic system.

Questioner

Is that an intentional creation or mimicry? Or--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is intentional.

Moderator

Intentional on the part of the person who made Nightblood…

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Prague Signing ()
#184 Copy

Questioner

So after Nightblood was used pretty obviously in Thaylen City does Zahel [or Vasher] know?

Brandon Sanderson

Where Nightblood is? Zahel is pretty sure where Nightblood is; Vivenna does not know. She's on the look out let's say.

Questioner

I guess it's hard to get back from Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

It is. She had some plans and that didn't work out.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#188 Copy

Phantine

What does Nightblood do if he gets fully drawn and runs out of breath and people to eat?

Does he start vaporizing the ground and start boring a hole to the center of the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he won't. (Good question though.) I'm not sure I want to get into the mechanics of why not, yet. It WAS one of the first things we talked about with Nightblood, though. :)

Phantine

Not to go into mechanics, then, does Nightblood just 'go to sleep' when his job's done?

That would explain how Vasher is confident he'll be able to get Nightblood back, even if the person he tosses Nightblood to ends up fully drawing the blade.

Brandon Sanderson

He doesn't sleep, but if he draws in enough, he'll start to sound drunk or drowsy (depending on your interpretation.)

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#189 Copy

Questioner

Nightblood.  Is there a person-- like are we seeing the outpouring of a sword that can now think more than a sword or was there a person...

Brandon Sanderson

There was--  There were many people who went into that, because it was all the Breaths that were little pieces of people.

Questioner

Okay, but there’s not one person more than another?

Brandon Sanderson

No.  Nope, it attained sapience kind of through sheer weight of Investiture.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#191 Copy

Questioner

Is energy [i.e. Investiture] interchangeable between worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent.

Questioner

So like Breath could be used instead of stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

It might require some hacking to achieve. Some cases it will not. For instance there's a certain sword that feeds on Investiture. And he'll feed on whatever Investiture he can get, and if he doesn't have any he'll just suck your soul out and feed on that.

Questioner

On the other hand if someone were to require Breaths and there were nobody giving out Breaths in that area, then...?

Brandon Sanderson

Right. Then theoretically that's the same sort of system, but I have no idea who you could be talking about.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#193 Copy

Questioner

Is Nightblood going to out Vasher or Vivenna on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Is Nightblood going to what-- out them?

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood, you can never quite tell what Nightblood is going to do. And so I would say there's a high likelyhood that if that opportunity came, that he would do so.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#197 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Lightsong Sees the Painting of the Red Battle

This is our first major clue (though a subtle one at the same time) that there might be something to the religion of the Iridescent Tones. Lightsong does see something in this painting that an ordinary person wouldn't be able to. A well-crafted piece of art, made by a person channeling the Tones and connected to them via Breath, can speak to a Returned. Now, in this case, it doesn't work quite like Llarimar says it does—Lightsong doesn't actually prophesy about the black sword in the way the priest thinks. In other words, Lightsong isn't prophesying that he'll see the Black Sword (Nightblood) in the day's activities.

Instead, Lightsong is seeing an image of a previous war, which is prophetic in that another Manywar is brewing—and in both cases, Nightblood will be important to the outcome of the battle.

The person Lightsong sees in the abstract painting is Shashara, Denth's sister, one of the Five Scholars and a Returned also known as Glorysinger by the Cult of the Returned. She is seen here in Lightsong's vision as she's drawing Nightblood at the battle of Twilight Falls. It's the only time the sword was drawn in battle, and Vasher was horrified by the result.

It's because of her insistence on using the sword in battle, and on giving away the secret to creating more, that Vasher and she fought. He ended up killing her with Nightblood, which they'd created together during the days they were in love—he married her a short time before their falling out. That marriage ended with him slaying his own wife to keep her from creating more abominations like Nightblood and loosing them upon the world.

Nightblood is part of a much larger story in this world. He's dropped casually into this particular book, more as a side note than a real focus of what's going on, but his own role in the world is much, much larger than his supporting part here would indicate.

Stuttgart signing ()
#198 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

We see Nightblood consuming both Breaths and Stormlight. Earlier you've mentioned conversion between types of Investiture. Is Nightblood doing that?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Nightblood can feed off of any source of Investiture. If you're a Mistborn, burning a metal while wielding Nightblood would directly feed him. So you stay alive for as long as you have metal left.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#199 Copy

yurisses

So I was wondering how you'd spin Szeth's new sword into The Stormlight Archive's narrative. I know it's very similar to the Shardblades, but its differences are going to be worthy of explanation, if the new sword is going to appear as frequently as a planned Szeth-centric book suggests.

So, if I am not missing anything, either the differences 1) will be explained vaguely, or 2) will be integrated into the greater lore (Cosmere/Zahel), or 3) will be somehow integrated into The Stormlight Archive's own magic system.

And since the sword's emitted Investiture is black and compared to stormlight by Szeth, this is my question: is the blade's "corrupted stormlight" related to anything else we've seen so far in TSA? (e.g. Gavilar's sphere...)

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. :)

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#200 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

What command would you have to give to an Awakened object like Nightblood in order for it to not go insane?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I am going to RAFO that about Nightblood, but - is Nightblood insane? It just has no concept of... It was commanded to do something it was not equipped to judge. I would not call Nightblood insane. I would say that you have commanded something with no concept of morality to make moral decisions, and that's very confusing to him.