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Warbreaker Annotations ()
#201 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood and Vasher Interact as He Sneaks into the God King's Palace

Note that Nightblood is capable of more change than Vasher assumes. Vasher has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Nightblood. He makes assumptions he wouldn't make regarding other people or elements of Awakening. It's hard for him to regard the sword without bias. If you want to know more about this, read the sequel. (Er, if I ever write it.) Which is tentatively named Nightblood.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#202 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 ()
#206 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.

Stuttgart signing ()
#207 Copy

Krios (paraphrased)

At the end of Oathbringer, Kaladin says that the Oaths are about perception. So, what would happen when a crazy person bonds a crazy spren? Is there a hard limit to what the Oaths allow or could they just go on a John Wick style rampage?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Perception will get you a very long way, like Nightblood proves. So you can go beyond the Oaths, but there will be a hard limit. Although it will be hard to find a such fitting pair of human and spren.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#209 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.

LTUE 2020 ()
#217 Copy

Questioner

Can you become a Nightblood savant? 

Brandon Sanderson

Um... No, I don't think that would work. Just the way that things are working, probably not. Whether Nightblood is savant or not... But you probably could not become a savant of Nightblood.

San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
#221 Copy

Questioner

If Vasher and Shashara had Awakened a non-weapon in exactly the same way as Nightblood (say a shield), would the object exhibit the same properties as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

So, if you said "destroy evil" to a shield... no, it wouldn't be exactly the same. The Command is the most important part of all of this, but the shape, how the weapon perceives itself, how you perceive it, is all gonna play into this. They're playing with some real dangerous stuff when they made Nightblood. And it didn't go as intended.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#224 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Old Chaps

I love having random little viewpoints like these in books. I don't do them often, usually just once or twice a book. But I was excited to write this one, as Chaps has a very interesting way of thinking. Dance, dance, dance. I didn't plan him into the book specifically; I simply wrote this scene as it arrived and I knew someone had to fetch Nightblood. I'm always pleased when a little glimpse like this gives us such a distinctive feel and flavor for a character, though.

Nightblood is better at communicating with people who are mentally unhinged. He can influence them more easily. Really, Denth, you should have known to toss Nightblood someplace far deeper than the shallow bay.

Skyward release party ()
#225 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.

Boskone 54 ()
#226 Copy

Steeldancer

The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Shardblades [pretty sure he means Honorblades here] were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Steeldancer

Like Vin and Elend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Steeldancer

The second part of the question is, what would happen if they were directly powered by Honor and they were holding Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#227 Copy

Questioner

So, if Nightblood, unsheathed, killed someone, would their soul still go to the Beyond?

Brandon Sanderson

So, that's gonna be a matter of-- There's gonna be disagreement in the cosmere about that. Nobody has been able to actively test it, because there are certain things you can see, but there are people who are actively discussing this concept.

Questioner

So, no one knows for sure?

Brandon Sanderson

Nobody knows for sure. And I'll just leave it at that. It's an astute question that even Vasher has-- Vasher has his thoughts, but he does not have a definitive answer, and others disagree with him.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#229 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 ()
#231 Copy

18th_Shard

Does a Herald using an Honorblade consume the same "dangerous" amounts of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades are less efficient; this doesn't change when a Herald uses them. (But they have other advantages.)

uchoo786

Are Honorblades closer in power to Nightblood than they are to Shardblades made from Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to say. They're all similar, but at the same time, very different. And in a way, Nightblood is what you might call a "Third Generation" blade.

uchoo786

Ah gotcha. And in this analogy, Honorblades would be 1st gen and Sprenblades would be 2nd gen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#232 Copy

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the Investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemalurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much Investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Half-shard?

Brandon Sanderson

A Half-shard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those Breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A Lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of Breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their Investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soulstamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soulstamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of Investiture going on in a soulstamp.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#233 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood Origins

I've been wanting to do a book with a talking sword for some time. Sentient objects are a favorite theme of mine from fantasy books I've read, and I think you'll probably see more of them in future books from me.

The magic sword is its own archetype in fantasy, even if there haven't been any good magic sword books among the big fantasy novels of recent years. Perhaps that's because Saberhagen and Moorcock did such a good job with their books in the past. I'm not sure. (I don't count appearances of magic swords like Callandor in the Wheel of Time. I mean books with major parts played by swords.)

Anyway, that's a tangent, and I'm certain that half the people reading this can think of examples and exceptions to what I just said. Either way, this is a theme I wanted to tackle, and the magic system of this world lent me the opportunity.

Nightblood is another favorite character of the readers. I think his personality works the best out of any non-viewpoint character I've ever written. He doesn't get that much dialogue in the book, but it is so distinctive that it just works.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#236 Copy

Questioner

If someone—Vasher says that Nightblood would kill him, is that just because he has this one deific Breath? Would it kill an ordinary person, like a drab?

Brandon Sanderson

It would suck the Breath from anybody, and if they were unable to feed it he would feed on their soul.

Questioner

So they would die?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Anyone wielding Nightblood, he will suck their soul. If for too long, he will eventually—if you draw him—will suck your soul.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#238 Copy

Questioner

So that bit at the end [of Words of Radiance] with Szeth. Getting that black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

That's setting up for book 3, which is going to be crazy.

Questioner

There's another book with a black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

It's the same sword, yes. In fact I wrote the original version of the Way of Kings involving the character who has that sword. He's in the first draft from 2002, then I wrote Warbreaker about him, then I wrote this.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#239 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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#240 Copy

Questioner

Can I ask you real quick: Where Warbreaker falls in Stormlight Achive?

Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker is before Stormlight Archive. Vasher, before Warbreaker, had been to Roshar.

Questioner

Okay, that's what I needed to know. Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood was patterned off of things that Vasher and the others saw on Roshar.