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Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#153 Copy

Questioner

On the nature of shardblades, to an extent, can a live blade be split without harming it's source, so to speak?

Brandon Sanderson

Can a live blade split? What do you mean, split?

Questioner

Make itself into two weapons.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, can a blade be forged into two weapons. A shardblade.

Questioner

Does it absolutely need a connection, or can it become two?

Brandon Sanderson

So, shardblades becoming two shardblades would require slicing in half a soul, which would not be very fun for the spren. Okay?

Questioner

So it's possible. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

So it's technically possible to take hydrogen and to turn it into plutonium with our current technology. It would cost more money than, like, the budget of NASA to do it for, y'know, one atom. So there are things that are possible, but-- Yes it is possible. This is not something that would be easy or very useful to do.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#155 Copy

Questioner

The soulcasters. They have, like, the effect on people-- like she's turning into smoke, those guys who turn into stone...  So do-- since-- do Shardblades, that are not from Radiants, have an affect on the people?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, like, you're talking like Honorblades?

Questioner

Uh, oh, no no, sorry, sorry. Not held by--okay, because I know the guys who are Radiants--Not, I mean no, sorry. But just I said not from Radiants when I mean not held by Radiants--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, oh, oh, I get what you say. So do they have a similar affect? No, they do not. Good question.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#156 Copy

Questioner

So, when a Shardbearer, they get caught off guard, or, like, they're trying to throw their Shardblade, you know that it <quickly poofs> But yet, they can give it someone else, and it doesn't poof. I was just wondering how that works.

Brandon Sanderson

Mental control. It's kind of in-- it's a control thing. Some people-- I mean, you have to practice it, and things like that.

Questioner

So, it takes some kind of mental control to give to someone and allow them to use it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But it's something they have to practice at, it's not just a--

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#157 Copy

Questioner

Shardblades, they sever <limbs? people’s?> connection to the Spiritual Realm. So, that being said,  they cut inanimate matter like a regular sword but inanimate matter is projected into the Cognitive Realm.  So does inanimate matter have a Connection to the Spiritual Realm? In the same way living things do?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but it doesn’t have the same thing going on.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#158 Copy

Questioner

Based on what we know currently about ten heartbeats, why does Szeth require ten heartbeats to bring forth his Honorblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Perception is a very important part of how these things all work, and remember the Honorblades work differently from everything else. Everything was based upon them. Why don't you read and find out what's going on there, but remember that the characters's perception is very important.

Questioner

So then that's why at one point Shallan requires ten heartbeats and now she doesn't?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, it's the exact same reason that Kaladin's forehead wounds don't heal. Because he views himself as having those somewhere deep inside of him and he can't heal until that gets away. And it works for the same reason why in Warbreaker when you bring something to life, your intention rather than really what you say is what matters. It's all about perception.

Prague Signing ()
#159 Copy

Snoxcatko

At the end of Words of Radiance, when Hoid met Jasnah, he said he wasn't scared of the Shardblade at all. Is that just because he has enough Investiture to heal himself or is there something else going on?

Brandon Sanderson

There's multiple reasons but you're theorizing along the right terms.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#163 Copy

Questioner

Is there any effect on a Shardblade if the deadeye is really far away from where the Blade is?

Brandon Sanderson

Define really.

Questioner

The one that's trapped on the ship. Let's say they're taking him to the far side of Shadesmar, but the dude that owns that Blade lives in...

Brandon Sanderson

We will deal with that in the books. There is an effect, but that's not enough of an effect.

Overlord Jebus

Considering no one says that their Shardblade is acting weird in two and a half thousand years.

Brandon Sanderson

That happens all the time in Shadesmar. If you were able to get it off the planet, it would have an effect.

Questioner

If you as the owner of the Shardblade were offworld and you tried to summon it, that would be the effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Either way. But you can't take spren off-world. I mean, you can, but you can't really. Really all that I have in the notes for it to do right now, is to add slightly more time. So you're like, "That's weird that felt like not ten heartbeats, it felt like twelve." But it's like, you're on another planet, then it's suddenly speed of light type stuff. So suddenly it's like, "This is taking three years instead. That's a pretty big deal!"

...So I've got a few weird speed of light things mixed into the cosmere, and that's one of them.

General Twitter 2017 ()
#164 Copy

Yata

Hi, the community has a [question], we have two WoBs: Shardblades can cut aluminum and Shardblades can't cut it. Which one is true?

Brandon Sanderson (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Hm. Yes, I wondered last night if I'd ever answered this before. Truth is, the answer is contentious at Team Sanderson.

I've been pushing for one answer, but Peter (whom I trust) is pushing back. We will see what ends up in the books as canon.

Problem with magic like I do is sometimes you have to wait for the scientific consensus... :) Err on "no" for now.

Peter Ahlstrom (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

Oh, I think aluminum would stop Shardblades from magical cutting. But if it's too thin like foil, a sword...

...would cut it anyway. What I'm arguing is that something else that Shardblades don't cut doesn't need...

...to necessarily be made of aluminum, for various reasons.

Yata

For example Invested objects (metalmind,spike,etc) or polestones (from some SA's Quote) ?

Peter Ahlstrom

RAFO

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#165 Copy

Jeremy (paraphrased)

Syl gives Kaladin the choice to have any number of weapons or a shield. Pattern can be equally a sword or a small knife. Are spren limited to being items of war or could they be put to other uses? Could the surge binders less geared toward battle use their spren to make ladders, rope, etc?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, this is not restricted to articles of war.

Calamity release party ()
#166 Copy

Zas678

Did Vasher visit Roshar before the Recreance? Because he had-- *Brandon mumbles question* Because he had to see Shardblades, and... presumably live ones.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... I'll RAFO that. I'll RAFO that. It is an assumption that he had... He doesn't necessarily have to have seen alive ones. He could have heard records of them.

Zas678

Okay. Because I've tried to make out a timeline, to be like, "Okay, if this is here..."

Brandon Sanderson

Kara has a timeline-- Not Kara-- Karen has a timeline in hand. But I would have to look at it to give you exact dates, but yeah.

Zas678

Okay. So you didn't have to see...

Brandon Sanderson

He did not have to see.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#167 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How much more powerful is Nightblood than a regular Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I haven't actually quantified that in my own mind so can't give an accurate comparison at this point. I will say that when he is fully consuming Investiture he can do some really freaky things.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#168 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
Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#174 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.

Firefight release party ()
#175 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.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#176 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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#177 Copy

Questioner

Is there a limit to what the spren can become, like we've seen them become a blade or a spear or a shield, can they become, like-- I've heard hints of a bow and arrow. Can they become a sword and a shield or just one main thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, it is more expansive than people guess it is, but it is limited.

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
#179 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance Tweak

Moving on to Words of Radiance, as we were entering typo fixes for the paperback of this book, I made changes to a few lines near the end. This isn't anywhere near as extensive as the changes in Elantris, but once again I figure I should be up-front about what I did and why I did it.

This part is going to have some spoilers for the book, so if you haven't read it, please stop right here. I'll put a number of blank lines here to prevent accidental spoilers. Scroll down if you've finished the book.

So, in Words of Radiance, I think the scene I worked on the longest both in my head and on the page was the final confrontation between Kaladin and Szeth.

There was something I wanted to do, and took a stab at it in the text, then backed off because I couldn't make it work. It was important to me that Kaladin refuse to kill Szeth at the end. Kaladin is about protection, not vengeance, and once he realized that Szeth really just wanted to be killed, I wanted Kaladin to hesitate.

It didn't end up working, and I moved on to a new version and submitted it. But this itched at me, and by the time the book was released, I felt I'd made the wrong choice for that scene. So I've taken this chance to roll it back to the previous idea, and written it in a new way, which I like much better.

The events are the same, except for that moment. Szeth is now killed by the storm instead of by Kaladin, which I think is more thematically appropriate.

The question this raises is about Szeth being stabbed by a Shardblade, then being resuscitated. I'm sad to lose this sequence, as it's an important plot point for the series that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can. I'm going to have to work this into a later book, though I think it's something we can sacrifice here for the stronger scene of character for Kaladin and Szeth.

Oathbringer release party ()
#180 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.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#181 Copy

Questioner

So, the fan page wanted to know. Would it be possible for Hemalurgy to steal a living Shardblade? That was the top voted question.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so you're bonded to a Shardblade. You get spiked, then they spike off the bond so that the Shardblade is bonded to someone else.

Questioner

I assume so...

Brandon Sanderson

But can they do it with a living Shardblade? You can definitely do it with a dead Shardblade because its just stealing the Connection. With a living Shardblade, yes you could do that 'though the spren could break the bond at will.

Questioner

So the spren would survive? That was the second-- the corollary--

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh. Would the spren survive? The spren would survive as long as the oaths were--

Questioner

Intact?

Brandon Sanderson

--the person didn't break the oaths. But you could theoretically steal the bond, break the oaths, and kill the spren. If you wanted to. Its a very convoluted to kill a spren, they are easier to kill than that, but yes. You could do that. That is a viable but twisted route that you can do. You would end up with a dead spren and a Shardblade, so there is that. But there are easier ways to accomplish that...

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#184 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Is there any other canonical way to refer to a set of Shardplate and a Shardblade other than Shards, so as to not confuse them with the Shards of Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They call them just Shard(s). It is a little confusing, because there are other Shards, but they don't know about them. I call them a set, but there is no canonical way to refer to them.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#185 Copy

Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

Can you confirm if the scene with Taln at the end of Way of Kings is entirely in Hoid's perspective? There was some discussion that it might not be, since Taln's Honorblade was called a Shardblade.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That entire scene is in Hoid's POV, and the reason for it being called a Shardblade is because Honorblades are Shardblades.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#186 Copy

Deathbyfire222

Hi Brandon! My friend and I are putting together a Dungeons and Dragons campaign based in Roshar, and were toying with the idea of players being Shardbearers. Unfortunately, only a few of the stances (i.e. Windstance, Smokestance) are mentioned in the books.

Have you given thought to what the rest of the stances are, and the qualities they emulate in combat? What are they?

Brandon Sanderson

Going into the Stances in depth is going to be tough for me as I am answering on mobile. But yes, I have thought about them all. They should all appear in the books eventually.

Oathbringer release party ()
#187 Copy

Questioner

So, the Shardfork. A very versatile, Shard-whatever. Would it be possible to do, like, a Shardrock, or something, that would go in a catapult?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it has more variety than people would think, but it isn't limitless, what they can become. But that would totally be possible.

Questioner

And what would a Shardrock do if it hits you?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, bean them on the head and be really strong. If you can get into the spirit, if you can start getting past the skin and stuff, you can do some serious damage.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#191 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.

Firefight release party ()
#192 Copy

Herowannabe

I noticed that shardblades are unnaturally light but Nightblood is unnaturally heavy.

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct.

Herowannabe

Care to expound on that?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is built around the same principles as shardblades, if shardblades were... broken?  I mean he is-- You'll notice dark smoke that goes down rather than light smoke that goes up, and things like this. So, yeah, they are built on the same principles but in some ways opposites.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#193 Copy

Aurora_Fatalis

Would [Kaladin using a Shardblade to pick his teeth] work, or would it burn out your eyes immediately?

Assuming Syl doesn't just became a Shard-toothpick, but remains a sword.

Brandon Sanderson

I suppose I'll go with the other responders--yes, you could make this work, in a perfect world.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#199 Copy

VindicationKnight

If a person in the Cosmere built a fully sentient and sapient robot would that robot have a soul? How would it interact with Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It would interact with Shardblades the same way that Spren do.

VindicationKnight

How does a Shardblade interact with a Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades cut on all three realms. I'm not going to say too much here, though I might note that it's possible a robot like you say would act more like nightblood than anything else--depends on what is involved in the creation, and how you determine the difference between a robot and a golem for these purposes.