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Oathbringer release party ()
#3 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I had a question regarding the sixteen Shards... If they are, or when they are reformed to Adonalsium, will it have to be one person holding all sixteen Shards?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's a RAFO. I'm gonna RAFO that partially because there's not even-- who knows if it can all be recombined.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#5 Share

Chaos [PENDING REVIEW]

So, at the Forbidden Planet signing you said that when Adonalsium was Shattered, all Investiture in the cosmere was associated to one of the Shards... So, what happened with Adonalsium's spren on Roshar? Were those associated to Honor and Cultivation? What happened with them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So they were very-- They were already associated to certain parts of Adonalsium and they went with those associations. There's a lot of Cultivation in all of the spren, particularly the natural spren.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#7 Share

Questioner

When Hoid is talking to Dalinar he seems to expect that Dalinar may have heard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium.  Yes.

Questioner

Why is that?  Why would he think that Dalinar would have knowledge about that?

Brandon Sanderson

He thought that Dalinar was part of some of the secret societies on Roshar, and he had thought his way into thinking Dalinar was part of them and that was how Dalinar was knowing certain things he was knowing.  Which he really wasn't, he was getting from the storms and things like this, but he thought that Gavilar had confided things in Dalinar and that Dalinar would know more about this.  And so he was kind of testing to see, and he was wrong.  

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#8 Share

Questioner

In the first three Mistborn books, and Elantris and Warbreaker, you focus a lot on sort of gods and religion, is there a particular reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Why do I focus on gods and religion in my books.  Well there’s a couple of reasons.  The main one is the kind of overarching story of the cosmere, which all my books are connected, there is some divine force named Adonalsium that was broken apart long ago and the scions of that-- people who have that power are showing up and causing problems and things on planets.  So that’s kind of the hidden epic behind the scenes, and so because of that religion is a very big part of what happens there.  I’m also a religious person.  For those who don’t know, I’m Mormon, I’m LDS.  And so religion is important to me and whatever I’m fascinated by works it’s way into my books.  Now I’m generally the type of writer who doesn’t feel like I should go into a book with a theme, I should explore what the characters are passionate and let the theme manifest naturally.  And so I do that a lot, I don’t go in saying “Oh I’m going to teach people this” I go “Who is this character, what are they passionate about”  But the things I’m interested in you see.  that’s why you end up with stories about a god who doesn’t believe in his own religion, from Warbreaker.  Or you end up with these different things, with Kelsier founding a religion to use it, or having people with different types of faith.  And I really think that part of the point of fiction is to, for me, to explore different ideas from different angles and try to just tackle them.  And so you’ll see me coming back to some of the same concepts again and again, because I want to try them from a new angle, see how this person thinks, see how this character deals with it.  Because that’s just really interesting to me.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#15 Share

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

Was it necessary that Adonalsium split into sixteen Shards, or was it happenstance?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will RAFO that one.

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

Would the number or intents have been different, if there were more or less people?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's all wrapped up in that RAFO. Let's say it's conceivable that the split could have happened in different ways.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#16 Share

Melhay

Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)

Melhay

Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds. It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds. So "both" is a good guess.

Melhay

I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it. Thank you for mentioning that he is in these two other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

Brandon Sanderson

The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books. Other clues and links between the books can be found as well. (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them. Others have gone unspotted so far.)
General Signed Books 2016 ()
#17 Share

CosmereQuestioner

The background to my question is this:

It was once stated by Mr Sanderson that "Magic in the cosmere needs a guiding force.  If it doesn't have one, the magic itself will gain sentience."  We also have that things like Nightblood that gained sentience because of crazy amounts of investiture.

My question then is:

"Is the reason that investiture has this tendency to lead to sentience caused by the fact that pre-Shattering Adonalsium had a goal/purpose/intent of bringing sentience to his universe."

(I guess this is in a way a 2 part question, because it assumes that Adonalsium actually HAD the intent of bringing sentience to his cosmere)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is part of the reason.  Good question!

Oathbringer London signing ()
#18 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

For Adonalsium to create the universe, therefore he must have infinite power to create an infinitely sized universe. Therefore, infinity divided by sixteen is equal to infinity. Therefore, why don't the Shards have infinite power, which they clearly don't, because they can be killed?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The power can't be killed. The entity controlling the power can. Infinite power existing and being able to access the infinite power are different things, and a finite mind, even added to a very powerful sense of power, isn't necessarily able to tap all of that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What about Ruin and Preservation in Well of Ascension? We hear about Ruin using some of its power. Therefore, it must not have infinite power, because if you minus something from infinity, it's still infinity...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, infinite power is changing forms. It's not going anywhere, right? So, the Investiture, the power, is becoming energy, which is doing work, which is being released back into the system. Nothing's growing or shrinking. It is simply changing forms, and potential energy is becoming kinetic.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#20 Share

Questioner

Could you have a good conversation with Adonalsium, back in the day?  

Brandon Sanderson

Back in the day?  I actually have to RAFO that because I actually haven’t said whether Adonalsium was a force or an individual.  So it is an excellent question, no one has asked me that before, but it’s not one I can answer.  

Questioner

That was a bit of a sneaky one, because it seems like it would be an easy one to answer, but it gives away too much  

Brandon Sanderson

It does.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#21 Share

Melhay

In Mistborn: There was mention of a man named Adonalsium. We were wondering if this man may have been Preservation, who "died" before Vin took over. Is that who he was or was he someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

The man who died before Vin took over was named Leras. (I've occasionally written it as Laras. I've said the names in my head for years, but I'm only now writing them down as people ask me on forums.) Leras, like Ati (aka Ruin), were NOT Adonalsium. (Sorry about the typo on that one in Mistborn 3. I wrote it down on the manuscript, and it didn't get put in quite right. We'll get it fixed.)

Adonalsium was something or someone else. You will find out more. There are clues in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings.

General Twitter 2013 ()
#23 Share

Arithered

Would it be correct to view pre-Shattered Adonalsium as either a perfect God or perfect power of creation?

Brandon Sanderson

That would be one way of viewing things. Depends on your perspective.

Arithered

So basically, RAFO??

Brandon Sanderson

Not TOTALLY a RAFO. More a “That works. But some would not agree.”

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#24 Share

Nikleas

Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?

Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

Brandon Sanderson

VERY distant future is correct. I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes. There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.

Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them. Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them. So perhaps these will all just be on my website only. (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)

The subtle hints will continue until then. Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained. I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest. (Yes, there is more.) Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story. But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves. At least not yet.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#26 Share

Phantine

Are there any magic systems in the cosmere that aren't shard based?

Brandon Sanderson

This depends on definitions. The effects of Adonalsium permeate everything, and Adonalsium is also the source of the Shards. It is possible to find a magic that isn't DIRECTLY powered by a specific shard, however, though most of these would have been set up before the shattering and would be much smaller in scope than things like Allomancy and Surgebinding.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#32 Share

NotOJebus

As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium

WHAT????!!!

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar predates the Shattering. I've spoken of this before, haven't I?

NotOJebus

Maybe somewhere before, and obviously most planets existed before the shattering (Planets are pretty old) but I don't think you've ever mentioned Roshar (the continent) being specifically grown by Adonalsium.

Is this a normal thing that Adonalsium did or was Roshar special to him in some way?

A quick search reveals that you have mentioned that Roshar was named Roshar before the Shattering but nothing mentioned about it being grown by Adonalsium. It makes sense though, that shape is obviously not natural.

Brandon Sanderson

There are many things that are unique about Roshar, but it wasn't the only world created in this way.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#33 Share

unknown

Is it possible to make an artificial shard? And not in an easy manner but if one had the resources and time could they make one?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure what an artificial shard would be. You'd be using the power from Adonalsium to do it--so it wouldn't be 'artificial,' by cosmere terms. You'd just be collecting power. The question becomes if you gather enough of it, would it combine back together--which is a RAFO in the world. Nobody knows.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#35 Share

Eric

In Secret History we learn the 16 Shards that Shattered Adonalsium. Was that done [on behalf of the anti-Adonalsium force]?

Brandon Sanderson

You’re focusing too much on this idea of an anti-Adonalsium. It—the original question I believe that was asked me was “is there a force that is opposed to Adonalsium” and it left me a lot of wiggle room. In other words, the people who killed Adonalsium, you could say were a force, any person who opposed Adonalsium... What they were trying to get was a “devil” but to do that you must assume Adonalsium was a more Christian-style God, and I haven’t confirmed any of that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#37 Share

Chaos

You have once said, with regard to a question about Shards being the most powerful thing in the cosmere, that some would say that other "subtle forces" are being manifest. Are these subtle forces related to Adonalsium's opposition?

Brandon Sanderson

There is belief in a God who is not one of the Shards.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#38 Share

Questioner

Can it be restored? The splinters

Brandon Sanderson

Um, splinters, can they be restored to... So it is, that is a yes, but restoring them will not restore Honor, the vessel of Honor, right. They would restore Honor the Shard if this were to happen, but a new vessel would have to take it.

Questioner

Ok so, [Adonalsium] can be put back together?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium? Ok it is theoretically possible to put a Shard back into, you know, to meld Shards together. The fact that we have already seen someone meld powers, in Sazed. So yes, but the question is who or what was Adonalsium, and is putting it back together going to do anything? Or...

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#39 Share

Questioner (paraphrased)

What you can tell me about Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That is the word for someone or something which has gained a portion of the magic of Adonalsium, so the original whatever-it-is. Like a Shardblade is an Invested object, and people if they draw in the Stormlight, they're drawing in the magic--they're Invested.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#41 Share

Questioner

So, Hoid was there during the Shattering of Adonalsium. Odium is going around, like, destroying other Shards. We know that Hoid is collecting and has pieces of some of the other Shards.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Since Hoid was there at the original Shattering of Adonalsium. Is there an echo image of the original Adonalsium in Hoid?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, that's a RAFO. Here's your card. But it is a valid theory.

Questioner

I have a two-parter on that.

Brandon Sanderson

You can ask me the next part, but it is a RAFO.

Questioner

Is his end goal trying to join as many pieces of Adonalsium together to *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Um, that, I will give a "that's a very good guess." And that is what the books seem to indicate is happening.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#42 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In the universe that the cosmere takes place in, is Adonalsium god or is he a smaller entity?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is a matter of some debate and I will not answer yes or no because I would rather not-- I would rather leave it to the characters' debate.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#46 Share

Questioner

Does the word Adonalsium-- In your mind did you get that from the phrase "ad nauseum"?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

Because the first few times I heard someone say ad nauseum I was like "Adonalsium? Did someone say Adonalsium?"

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, nope but that's not the origin.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#48 Share

stormlightfan70

We know it has been stated that adanalisum could have been shattered into 16 different intents. We also know there is a force out there opposing adanalsium. Did it shatter into those 16 intents because it believed that was the best way to defend against this said force?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#50 Share

Questioner

So is there an opposing force to Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, which has been asked before and i haven't answered it so I'm going to RAFO you as well.

I think that I have occasionally said 'yes' with the caveat that, obviously somebody opposed him because he was Shattered. I haven't confirmed if there is like a 'Devil' or something like that if that's what you're looking for.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#51 Share

ConserveGuy

Hi Brandon I don't know if you will answer, but. Did "earth" ever exist in the cosmere? There seems to be humans on all the planets. so where did humans come from? or even the idea of humans?

Brandon Sanderson

Earth did not exist in the cosmere. Humans existed on Yolen (and other planets) before the shattering of Adonalsium, and it is assumed Adonalsium created them.

From a writing perspective, stepping back, I feel like other book series (like the Wheel of Time, Pern, Shannara) really covered the idea of, "This is Earth and/or earth people in another dimension/after an apocalypse/or far in the future." It's been a common enough theme in fantasy that I felt I wanted not to touch on it. So there are no plans to connect the cosmere to Earth in any way.