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Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#5 Copy


So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.


Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.


Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.


As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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You have mentioned before that there are several groups on Roshar who have Parshendi blood, like the Horneaters, but are there any that have Aimian blood? And are Aimian's more beings of the cognitive realm than humans and listeners, since their shadows go towards the sun?

Brandon Sanderson

What Rosharans call Aimians are two different races, neither of which is particularly human, despite how they may look. More will be revealed eventually.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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I didn't realize Horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

Brandon Sanderson

There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.


Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

Brandon Sanderson



*via private message*

Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen.

English Reading Series at BYU 2018 ()
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Finallity (paraphrased)

We've seen a number of human/singer hybrids (Unkalaki and Herdazians) and even human/Aimian hybrids (Natans). How is such a thing possible biologically or is there some outside influence there?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that they (humans and parshendi/aimians) can interbreed because they were made by the same person, or rather that they were made with the same intent, that they were made that way on purpose. They don't have a common heritage or anything though.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Axies the Collector, is he a kandra-like species? Are they common throughout the whole cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the Aimians reside on Roshar right now. They are... I would not say kandra-like, in that the other species of Aimian has more kandra-like qualities. There's two that used to live there, before it was Scoured. But they are a different species; they are not human.



Brandon Sanderson

Shapeshifters, there are multiple types of shapeshifters, but... even, you would call the Royal Locks a type of shapeshifting. So, shapeshifting is a common thing in the cosmere. Having the ability... Once you know how the magic works, you will see why. So, there are other, kind of, species of shapeshifter.

YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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As a medical student who is currently in my musculoskeletal class, how different is the internal anatomy of the "humans" of the worlds of the cosmere? Like structure and number of muscles, bones, organs, things like that.

Brandon Sanderson

In general, you wouldn't have a problem. There would be minor differences. Like, there's gonna be some slight anatomy differences for, like, Scadrians, who were changed to deal with the ash and stuff. You'd be like, "Wow, the lungs are different here." And Roshar is a lower-gravity, higher-oxygen environment, and you're gonna find longer bones, you're gonna find stuff like that on Roshar. But, in general, you would be like, "This is a human whose species is slightly evolved for a different environment." Rather than "this is not human at all."

Now, if you were to ask about an Aimian, either variety, they would be very, very, very different. You would be like Bones trying to operate on Spock. The Sleepless, you'd need a very different degree for dealing with them. I'm very excited to eventually get the Sleepless fully into the stories. They're from my second novel, Star's End, is the very first appearance of them. And they got ported over to the cosmere once I designed the cosmere. And are a really cool, in my mind, science fiction race that are not a hivemind, but an individual is made up of a group of large insects that share Cognitive load across all of them, and there's just so many fun things you can do with that. Because they can selectively breed parts of their own body to do different things and have, like, fifty generations of this group of insect that they are selectively breeding to do this specific thing, and stuff like that. Hasn't been a lot of space for them in the cosmere, yet. Just some brief appearances. They'll be very important during the space age.

Liverpool signing ()
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Ayende87 (paraphrased)

I asked if the Aimians as a race were, as I suspected, closer to the Cognitive Realm, and whether they are somehow related to the Parshendi.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon started by saying there are 2 sub races of Aimians for a start, and Axies the Collector is of 1 set, we have yet to meet the other but we will!

He did say there is 'Something' going on with the Aimians and their interaction with the Cognitive Realm but wouldn't elaborate on that point.

He then went on to say that Aimians are not in fact related to Parshendi at all, but the Horneaters and Herdazians are!

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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How many different non-human immortals are there on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Wow, very specific. Most of the Aimians count. They're both small races, but there are enough of them that there are dozens of each that count as immortal, and they're non-human. The two living Shards, I would say count as non-human immortals, and most spren count as non-human immortals. So there's a ton.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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And since I love him, I have to sneak an Axies the Collector question in - what kindled his interest in spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Axies belongs to a race who, being extremely long lived, tend to dedicate themselves to some kind of task to keep themselves from going strange. (Well, more strange.) Spren tickled his fancy.