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Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Is Scadrial losing mass when people burn metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically it is, but Investiture is another dimension to matter.

Questioner

So it doesn't lose mass, it becomes Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

It becomes Investiture... Basically, when you go into the cosmere, we've got matter, we've got energy here. You've got matter, energy, and Investiture there, and you can get things out of Investiture back into matter, and stuff like that. There's always energy, there's entropy, there's always diffusement... it's basically, add to the laws of thermodynamics a third item, and that's how we word it.

Boskone 54 ()
#2 Copy

Ironeyes

So harmonium, we have a working theory that the reason it's so volatile is because some of the subatomic particles are associated with Ruin and some of them are [of?] Preservation. Is that true?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's basically what's going on is that it's creating a very unstable metal. Now, it is in the nature of the Cosmere not a compound but an element. But, you could call it a subatomic particle sure. It's very volatile because it is in nature spiritually in contrast with itself. And so though it is a single element rather than a compound, the spiritual nature is not happy as it is, and you can set up in the physical realm, through reactivity things that would just rip it apart and really your energy is not, your energy in that is actually pulling from the Spiritual realm, and so that's why it can be so much more explosive than even the chemistry would account for.

Ironeyes

So it's not that the subatomic particles are invested, it's that they have a spiritual identity which causes them to...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ironeyes

So then it's not creating an oxide because after the spiritual energy goes away from the explosion[unintelligible] metal, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, and...

Ironeyes

So you can't find harmonium oxide in the water afterwards.

Brandon Sanderson

Right right right right. Because it's not, it's, yeah.  But you might be able to find something else, which is really relevant to the cosmere. And to Scadrial.

Ironeyes

So the core elements, the core particles, having extra repulsion causes them to have a nuclear potential.

Brandon Sanderson

I would not call it nuclear because it's not the same exact thing. But there is a cosmere equivalent, to... I mean, you could do nuclear power just the same in the cosmere, but since we have a third kind of state of matter, right, matter, energy, Investiture, you have a third axis that you know, you can release energy from matter, you can release investiture from matter, and things like that. So it's similar, but following its own rules that I have a little more... that are controlled by me, right. But are built on this idea. So once you add [unintelligible for a few syllables] that matter can now exist in this third state, you get all sorts of weird things, which one of the things that happens is, you can get an energy release in sort of the same way. A reaction, I'm not going to call it a nuclear reaction, but of the same vein.

Legion Release Party ()
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Questioner

Shallan's Lightweaving. How does she make those physical? Is it light becoming matter?

Brandon Sanderson

So I'm not going to answer this one either, so you get another RAFO card. But I'll tell you which way to think. Here, energy and matter are basically the same thing. Investiture, energy, and matter are the same thing in the Cosmere.

In our world, when we touch, we are touching energy, right? We are not actually touching. The atoms are repelling each other or whatever. I'm not a physicist. I'm sorry, physicists!

Contact is a weird, weird thing. Keep in mind, investiture is another state of matter and energy in the Cosmere. It's not really that hard to extrapolate along.

Waterstones RoW Release Event ()
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Questioner

Have you ever considered the energy density of Stormlight compared to real world substances? Example: nuclear fuels. Is it kind of on that level?

Brandon Sanderson

I have a little group of cosmerenauts, fans of the books that I’ve known for the long time who are themselves physicists. And I have asked them to start helping me quantify these things. Right now, I don’t have them exactly quantified. The place we’re starting with is: which forms of Investiture in the cosmere, how much fantastical-unit-of-energy do they have, and how does that relate to a real-world joule, or something like that. And that’s something we’re in the process of doing, because we’ll need it by space age cosmere. But I’ve told them they have years to figure it out.

The nice thing is, in our world, we have conservation of energy. I’ve talked about this in the cosmere: because we can go from energy to matter to Investiture (and any of the three can transfer between), we can pop energy out in interesting ways to fuel things if we need to. We can draw directly from the Spiritual Realm, or you can have some of this matter transferred into energy through becoming Investiture first, in a way that’s a little less explosive than normally getting energy out of matter is, in our world.

That said, the magic system of Dragonsteel (which I wrote long ago, which is not released), one of the primary magic systems of that was actual nuclear physics. And nuclear fission was part of the magic system, being able to see the atoms and manipulate them. I don’t know if I’ll ever do that in actual cosmere, but it was one of the cosmere magics originally. So when you read Dragonsteel (we’ll probably release it sometime around the Words of Radiance leatherbound Kickstarter, would be my guess), you can read about people seeing… in cosmere terms, they’re called “axi.” Or “an axon,” rather than atoms. You can see people playing with that. And I even think there are rumors in the books of people playing with those to the point that they make enormous explosions that cause wastelands. Because you do something a little wrong, and suddenly you’re splitting some atoms, and that can be very bad. That can have ramifications.

ICon 2019 ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Your magic systems are very structured, and specific rules that dominate them. But are there any universal laws that apply to all of the magic systems in the cosmere together?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's several of them. Basically, the most important one and relevant to people who enjoy real physics is that I consider something called Investiture to be a third state of matter and energy. So, instead of e=mc^2, we have a third thing, Investiture, in there. And you can change Investiture to matter or to energy. And so, because of that, that law that you can do this, is where we see a lot of the cosmere magics living.

We also have a kind of rule that beings all exist, everything exists on three different levels. The Physical, the Spiritual, and the Cognitive. And, like we have DNA for our Physical self, we also have Mental DNA and Spiritual DNA, and all three influence one another. For instance, you couldn't test an Allomancer's blood and find the Allomancy gene, because it is in a different set of their DNA. You just have three sets. You could compose a test that could test it on the Spiritual Realm, but you're gonna have to use a different branch of physics to do that and determine who was an Allomancer. And so they all work on this kind of fundamental rules of: your Identity, your Connection, and being part of your soul, and the magics working through those things.

So there's some fundamental rules about this, about changing forms from energy to matter, and you having this Identity, Investiture, and Connection stored in your Spiritual DNA that are really relevant to everything.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Kurkistan

If Investiture can neither be created nor destroyed, and Feruchemy is all fueled by the Feruchemist himself, then how do metalminds end up being invested without Feruchemists seeming to suffer any long-term loss of Investiture? If they're not "creating" the energy that's going into the metalminds, then where's it coming from?

Brandon Sanderson

The cosmere takes physics from our universe, and adds additional layers to it. Where we have energy and matter (simplified), the cosmere has additional building blocks that make reality. Investiture is one of these. It IS possible to change matter, to energy, to investiture, and back.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#7 Copy

Aurimus

As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?

Aurimus

So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.

Aurimus

How about Connection?

Brandon Sanderson

Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#8 Copy

Yurisses

Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is. That one is even closer associated with a Shard, the actual Investiture of the magic. Remember when I say Investiture, I mean matter, energy and magic. Sometimes the word Investiture refers just to the magic such as the Aviar and in that it is associated directly with one of the Shards...

Yurisses

Which one?

Brandon Sanderson

Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium. *silence*

Overlord Jebus

Sorry, can you say that again?

Brandon Sanderson

Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium.

Aurimus

Is that one of the Aviar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Patji is the island.

Overlord Jebus

Island or islands?

Brandon Sanderson

The island but Patji is one of the islands.

Yurisses

It's a Shard?!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, big asterisk! But yes.

Aurimus

Shard as in equal or Shard as in a mass of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

As in one of the 16 Shards of Adonalsium is represented and involved in First of the Sun. In fact, one of the letters references First of the Sun in this *Indicates Oathbringer*

Sorry, I probably killed some theories on that one.

Overlord Jebus

Yup, but by doing that you've confirmed some as well so it's fine!

Oathbringer London signing ()
#9 Copy

Aurimus

Advice for worldbuilders that are trying to create a scientific-based fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson

Learn to differentiate between the three kinds of what we talk about with science-based magic. One is internal logic. One is logic with the world. And, oh, what is the third one? For instance, "logic with the world" meaning, "This is an explanation of how the magic actually could come to be." And a logic with "This is trying to break one rule, and then keeping the others as consistent with our universe as possible." With the difference being, like, for instance, Investiture keeping the laws of thermodynamics except for the fact that it exists is kind of a reference to the third. We're letting rules affect the laws-- the laws of our universe, we're trying to tie into that. You don't have to do that. Internal logic is the most important. Then the other one would be, kind of, the "How does this magic arise out of the nature of the universe? How could I take a few steps extra? Can I make it realistic?" That's a completely different rule. So look at those three things.

Aurimus

Is that where you fit Investiture in the magic? Matter, energy, Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, that's where I'm trying to do a little bit of all three of those things. But you don't have to. Understand that you can do one of the three.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#11 Copy

ReadAndFindOut

In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/103-salt-lake-city-comic-con-2014/#e1010). However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8606). Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

Brandon Sanderson

I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

But no Shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The Investiture on that planet is residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a Shard present. Indeed, I would say that no Shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of Shardworlds.)

Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" Shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor Shardworlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor Shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a Mistborn.

But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)

Oversleep

Wait.

I'm confused.

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?

Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

But now you're saying it didn't?

If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

Could you please clarify all that?

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?"

The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

When people ask, "What Shard is this Investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing.

I always imagine Investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a Shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To Investiture, Adonalsium's Shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

Autonomy never "Invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a Shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of Investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "Invested" there? No, no more than you're Invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of matter and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

Overlord Jebus

You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

Investiture on First of the Sun predates any Shards fiddling with it.

Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.

Chaos

Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

General Signed Books 2018 ()
#12 Copy

MiToRo94

Since all matter and energy are Investiture in different forms, and the magic of Investiture depends on the Shard it is most closely connected to, could it be theoretically possible for Lift to burn food on Scadrial to have the powers of a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

This wouldn't happen naturally - she would still get Surgebinding powers, even on Scadrial.

Boskone 54 ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

Let’s say that the fires of industry keep progressing in Middle Earth, and someone builds a spaceship, they get in it and go up. What do you think happens?

Brandon Sanderson

In Middle Earth? I think it is heavily implied by the time that happens that Middle Earth has changed to a place where there is no magic, so I think it works just fine.

Questioner

[Follow-up on if Middle Earth is in the same universe as the cosmere]

Brandon Sanderson

You’re not talking to a Tolkein scholar here.

[...]

Yes, the cosmere takes place in a place where there is another branch of physics that is investiture, and that is the big change.

Questioner

Do you ever run into problems with that, does it break physics?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah. If you look too deep in a fantasy book we are breaking the laws of thermodynamics and we are breaking causality. Those are the two big ones. And those are very important things to be… very dangerous things to be breaking. And you could probably write a fantasy novel that didn’t break those two things. Maybe? I don’t know. The way I avoid breaking laws of thermodynamics is by saying, we’ve got investiture that things can transfer into as well. We’ve got matter, energy, and investiture, I’ve added something to the tripod and therefore it looks like I’m just bending the laws of thermodynamics.

When you actually get down into the nitty-gritty, it starts to break down. It just has to. Causality is the big one. Once you have people teleporting and things like this, run the train experiment. I mean, you just have to say “It’s magic” at some point in a fantasy book. For most of them. I think you could do it, but in mine, with a  grand scale magic system I want to do, we just have to say, “at that point it’s magic.” And this is how I think a fantasy writer differs from a science fiction writer.

A SF writer takes today and extrapolates forward. I take what is interesting and extrapolate backward. Usually. For instance speed bubbles. “I want to have speed bubbles. This is how they work. Peter, tell me the physics.” And we work it out together. We work out physics and try to hit the big trouble points and build into the magic why certain things happen. But that doesn’t stop us from making speed bubbles where there is time passing differently without using mass or whatnot to create time dilation, and it causes all kinds of weird things to happen.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Questioner

So my question is this: So, Investiture is a different [type?] of existence separate from matter and energy, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So, does entropy apply to Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... It does, with some caveats, but yes. It works a little differently, but it does apply. You should be able to apply all three laws of thermodynamics with... accounting for a third state of matter, energy.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#15 Copy

yurisses

You once said that Investiture follows its own version of the laws of thermodynamics. The first one is that Investiture is neither created nor destroyed.

Is the second law of Investodynamics that the amount of corrupted Investiture in the Cosmere cannot decrease?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, the idea is that there is a third item in the equations--matter, energy, and investiture. That's the basis of how they work.

Entropy is not corrupted Investiture. The second law stands as is. However, there is a fourth law that relates to Adonalsium, which I'm not going to talk about at the moment.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

Aluminum, when you burn aluminum, does it actually destroy the metals or just take away their power?

Brandon Sanderson

It destroys the metals.

Questioner

Same with chromium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

So it actually gets rid of the metals?

Brandon Sanderson

It actually trans--  It does a--  matter, energy, investiture are the same things in the cosmere.  You have some sort of transfer happening relating to those things.

Questioner

The question sort of relates to metal poisoning--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you would not get metal poisoning after that.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#17 Copy

Argent

You mention... No you didn't mention Arthur Clarke. The guy with the "Any sufficiently advanced technology is distinguishable from magic" ...In, at least, one of the Mistborn trilogies you are probably going to have to deal with the distinction between magic and technology. So can you talk a little about how you are going to address that?

Brandon Sanderson

So yeah, addressing the-- This is a really good question, thank you. So Clarke's Law says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Right? And this is kind of a science fiction truism that we use in writing. It's a really cool concept when you think about it. But he asks "Well we're pushing the Mistborn trilogy more and more towards science fiction--"

For those who don't know, I pitched the Mistborn trilogy to my editor, long ago--this was 2003 when I pitched it to him-- I pitched it as a trilogy of trilogies. An epic fantasy trilogy that then after the epic fantasy trilogy we would jump hundreds of years and do an urban fantasy trilogy in a more modern setting, where all of the events of the epic fantasy trilogy became the foundation of religion and superstition and even culture to a modern society. What if our heritage were something like The Lord of the Rings? And then I was going to write a science fiction trilogy where... magic became the means by which space travel is possible. So there is, built-in to Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy, FTL-capability. *audience mutters* *nervously* It's not there yet don't worry. *laughter*

Argent

Somebody found the rabbit-hole.

Brandon Sanderson

That's all RAFO's. I'm not answering any of that.

So I did Alloy-era, by the way, as a stop-gap between the epic fantasy and the modern because I wanted something smaller-- The modern trilogy is going to be very thick books, and I wanted something to balance Stormlight while I was doing the first five Stormlight...

So he's asking how I'm going to deal with this whole collision... between science and magic. So there's a-- I don't know if corollary is the right term. Probably not, but there's a version of Clarke's Law which you inverse. And you say "Any sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science". In the cosmere the magic is science. What I would call-- say is science fantasy because we've added to the Laws of Thermodynamics. We have this other thing called Investiture, which is what powers all the magic. Which is the souls of the things they call gods, their substance. And you can change matter or energy into Investiture and back. And so we've got a third circle in the old Laws of Thermodynamics and so because of that it's science fantasy. I would still call this fantasy because science fiction is where they go "We're going to take the Laws of Thermodynamics and try to explain what we can do using them" I'm like "No, we're just going to add to them, right?" But yeah that's where we're going. There will be a collision of that but it's really going to be-- To them it's indistinguishable, once you get far enough along, that it really is science.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
#18 Copy

James Clifford

Science question!

Brandon Sanderson

Ohh science. Is it real science, or fake science?

Adam Horne

It is Brandon science.

Brandon Sanderson

Fake science!

James Clifford

With the discovery of anti-Investiture in Rhythm of War, would the correct form of anti-Investiture be usable to clear up the mess in the Sel Cognitive Realm. If so, would this completely destroy a splintered Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs, coughs, and is otherwise stunned* That would not be a good idea. So why would that not be a good idea? So no, this would not clear up the problem. The problem that's going on in the Cognitive Realm in Sel is that a bunch of Investiture that should be in the Spiritual Realm has been packed into the Cognitive Realm instead, through a very weird circumstance of events. If you were to introduce a bunch of anti-Investiture of the right type there, you would just generate an explosion that would be a very bad thing. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, Investiture can't be either, so it's actually changing forms. It's going from Investiture into energy! Which you know, does not leave the system. So the investiture would eventually make its way back around, you can't destroy anything in the Cosmere, just like you can't destroy anything in our universe. But you can make it change forms. And so, what's going on there is just this hope by a certain individual that what has happened there will prevent the power from becoming self-aware.

It's basically Odium being like "alright I just murdered you people, I don't wanna have to come back and do it again". So he's trying to figure out a way to make this happen. As it currently stands (again, these things can change when I write future books), it was partially happenstance that he took advantage of rather than something that he was able to set up very intentionally from the beginning, but he was definitely a part.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Metal in the Mistborn world, is it renewable somehow? Because when you burn it, it just goes away and then it's converted somehow into energy. Can they run out?

Brandon Sanderson

The way that atium gets back into the system is a bit of a hint... Atium grows out of crystals, and that is being distilled. Let's just say... Investiture is changing into matter as atium is being made.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#20 Copy

emailanimal

From a very recent signing, we have this new Word of Brandon...

chasmfriend's son: Is there a finite amount of Investiture?

Brandon: Yes.

chasmfriend's son: So is Nightblood consuming it?

Brandon: Yes. Very, very slowly.

This worries me somewhat because of the following observation.

Nightblood consumes Breath (and other Investiture, but let's limit ourselves to Breath for a second).

Every person on Nalthis is born with one Breath.

Populations tend to grow. Which means that under normal rules of demographics, population of Nalthis should keep increasing.

This in turn means that under normal circumstances the number of people with Breath on Nalthis should be growing.

I can see the following possible explanations to this:

  1. Endowment can give Breath to many more people than are currently living on Nalthis. So, the exponential population growth has not yet reached the level at which Endowment's ability to award a Breath to each Nalthis-born human is seriously challenged. When it happens though, things will not go well.

  2. There is some built-in mechanism controlling population growth on Nalthis, making certain that the population stays within the limits. Nightblood's consumption of Breath makes these limits smaller, and overall may lead to Endowment's inability to grant Breath to Nalthis-born, but not for a while (essentially, Endowment controls population trends at she sees fit).

Thoughts?

Brandon Sanderson

Just as a point you should understand, the amount of MATTER in the cosmere is finite too. As is the amount of energy.

Worrying that Endowment will run out of Breaths to give is a little like worrying that the amount of carbon on Earth will run out because people keep being born.

uchoo786

So just for clarification, once Nightblood consumes investiture, that investiture gets recycled? That's what I've always assumed. That it enters the cognitive/spiritual realm?

Brandon Sanderson

The investiture he consumes is not gone forever--it's not leaving the system, so to speak.