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Skyward release party ()
#2 Copy


Is there a group on Taldain that's tied to Autonomy? Directly, like working for Autonomy? I'm after sand mages versus...

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes. Though there is some wiggle room in that question, I would say yes. I wouldn't canonize it. I would call it Word of Brandon canonized. Until it appears in the books, it's not super canon.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#3 Copy


Was there a being/entity named Patji onworld - prior to the Shard 'interfering' - that lead a life that was more conducive to Autonomy, and was it a case of that entities (for lack of a better term) natural bent towards Autonomy naturally turning it into a portion of Autonomy (again, for lack of a better term)?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a good and valid theory that I don't think I should comment more on right now, as I feel like I would muddy the water more. I need to wait until I approach these concepts in-book.

I'll just say that I don't consider what you said to be excluded by the things I've said about the situation.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#4 Copy


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 ( However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard ( 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.)



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.


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.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#8 Copy


Given that Shards, and perhaps, Ascended beings, have intents similar to their names...

Brandon Sanderson

More that they have names similar to their intents.


So, would Unity be a natural enemy of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... Possibly. You say "natural," and so I--


Well, would one eliminate the other one? But more towards Autonomy trying to break up--

Brandon Sanderson

To break up Unity. It's so hard to say, because Autonomy is a bit of a strange duck. Like, what counts as being Autonomous? Is absorbing everything and becoming one again Autonomous or not? That's kind of your question that you get into. And the way Autonomy looks at it right now, is no. Autonomy wants to remain Autonomy. Autonomy does not want to be corrupted by anything else. And Autonomy would think the Shards are better on their own. But is this a natural effect, or part of the-- Does that make sense?


Well, but it's also along the lines of, Odium wants to break up the other ones, so they don't--

Brandon Sanderson

Odium just wants to be top dog. And your two ways to be top dog are to climb higher, or to lower everyone else. And he's like, we're gonna lower everyone else. Because I know, if I combine, it stops being me, is what his opinion is. I would no longer be the person I am. I would change into someone else. And then that person gets to rule, and I don't want that person to rule. I want to.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#9 Copy


What is the Shard on White Sand? Because we've both read White Sand.

Brandon Sanderson

The Shard-- So what the Shard is doing is, the Shard is the Sand God. But I didn't bring it out much, there's only one Shard on the planet. And the Shard actually kind of resides in the atmosphere and stuff like that but we decided to bring the Shard out a little bit more in the comic book so when you read that you'll be able to find a little more.


Does it take effect in the Darkside?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it does.

Kraków signing ()
#10 Copy


Would someone with enough knowledge be able to use Autonomy’s Investiture if Taldain’s star was seen from his world?

Brandon Sanderson

So I’m on a world and I see Taldain’s star, what you're asking if someone could use the Investiture? Oh, OK I see. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. That’s good! You stumped me. I haven’t gotten that question before. I would say yes, if the light particles are reaching you. I mean technically you could use the light from one of those stars to power a solar sail so…

DragonCon 2019 ()
#11 Copy

Solfor (paraphrased)

So the Iriali, their religion, the whole the One breaking themselves into the many to experience the universe. You also have Autonomy breaking themselves into many avatars. So I was wondering is Autonomy connected to the Iriali in any meaningful way.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So are the Iriali connected to Autonomy in a meaningful way? 

I'd say no. I mean they're slightly connected, but in a meaningful way, no, they're not connected.

Autonomy did not start the Iriali religion.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#12 Copy


Hey Brandon, may I ask if the red-haired woman on the Dayside map is a kind of depiction of one of Bavadin's personas?

Brandon Sanderson

She is not. Isaac designed that border without any explicit instructions from me, so while he might have an idea of who it is, it isn't someone specifically relevant to large-scale cosmere workings.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
#13 Copy


My question is about Bavadin. Is she a hive mind?

Brandon Sanderson

No, hive mind isn't the right word for it, but...


So she's not an Aimian or something like that...

Brandon Sanderson

She's not an Aimian. That's - that's a good question. No, she is not.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#15 Copy


Odium seems to have a bad track record when it comes to killing Shards. He was wounded versus Ambition, and he's trapped on Roshar. Yet, he's credited in killing Devotion and Dominion. My question is: was Autonomy significantly involved and would Odium have been able to do it on his own and still be okay to--

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. It is dangerous to attack a Shard with one Shard. Let's say that. And a wise Shard would try to avoid that confrontation unless there are specific reasons they think they would have an advantage.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#17 Copy


Would you tell me the intent of Bavadin's Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm…  Are we ready to release that?

Isaac Stewart

I don't know-- well we haven't-- We haven't written it into the scripts yet, but we've only done so many of the scripts so-- I don't know if that would be better place for us to reveal it or not...

Brandon Sanderson

If you're confident that you like what we're doing with it then we can release it now.

Isaac Stewart

Great. Well we had that big discussion and it sounded like that’s what we wanted to do.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, we're going to have Isaac write it. He's in charge of White Sand now. And you can choose whether to share this with people or not because it's not on the recording.


Oh it isn't?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I talked around it on purpose.

Isaac Stewart

*writes* Autonomy.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#18 Copy


The thing I wanted to ask you about was in White Sand, it's actually on the map, it is...(pointing at map) is this Autonomy, or Bavadin?

Brandon Sanderson

Hehehe, that is a very good guess.....that is very very sharply guessed...


Yeah, coz, I really, I just like kind of the idea of the Shards and stuff, and I guess I want to learn more about what they look like and, kind of their personalities and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Bavadin's a hard one, because what does Bavadin look like? Bavadin looks like what she feels like looking like, or what he feels like looking like, depending upon the day.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#19 Copy


Are the Ghostbloods affiliated with Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

"Affiliated with" is very wiggle-room-ish. And so I'll go ahead and give you a RAFO on that one, even though I can totally wiggle on this one. I'm just gonna say "RAFO"; I'm gonna do the ultimate wiggle. There have been dealings.

Billy Todd


Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's been interactions.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
#21 Copy


I am space nerd with a love of fantasy, so; Why is Scadrial prime example planet to invent space travel. Is its allomancy/ferruchemy/hemalurgy combination more suitable for that kind of technology or do they have other incentives to invent space travel other than regular technology development? Is it related to the intervention of unknown metal/shard/beings we saw?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a bunch of reasons.

The most technologically advanced of the planets (Taldain) is extremely isolationist because of its Shard, while Harmony is very interested in the progress of his people.

Scadrial has an advanced understanding of metallurgy, and for many years was quietly open to visitors from across the cosmere. In the modern era, that has enhanced. It's a much safer place to visit than, say, Sel, Threnody, or First of the Sun.

There are other reasons, too, which we'll get into as the world progresses. Having some prominent cosmere-aware people pulling strings behind the scenes is a big help. If you know other worlds are out there, and are populated, then you're more likely to push toward space travel.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#22 Copy


[Brandon] must have had enough of chuckles every time someone referred to Bavadin as a "he" over the past few years.....

Brandon Sanderson

Bavadin has several male personas, and has often appeared as male for one purpose or another, so it's not that much of an issue. She has more female personas, but some of the male ones are quite popular.

This won't be relevant for a long while, but as a service to the community, let me say this: try not to get too hung up on gender, race, or even human appearance where Bavadin is concerned. There are some peoples who worship entire pantheons where every member is actually her.


There are some peoples who worship entire pantheons where every member is actually her.

I think that's hilarious.

I've been meaning to ask a similar question for a few days now, I am glad someone else did and you replied. Bavadin is now instantly super interesting to me!

Brandon Sanderson

Bavadin is awesome. One regret of finally moving on from White Sand (and doing the graphic novel, instead of doing an entire trilogy myself) is because I won't get to show her off as a character for a while. It should still happen, mind you, but I have enough on my plate right now that I just can't do it all.


Eh, it's alright. The more we wait to see her, the more practice writing you will have when you do write her, and the more awesome she will be to us :) Are we going to see her in White Sand first though, or elsewhere?

I've also been talking with a couple of friends about Ambition, who happens to be a Shard I love unconditionally just because of his?her? mandate. So I should ask - how tight-lipped do you intend to be with information about it? Can we prod for a little bit of trivia, or is it too early for that?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to be pretty tight-lipped for now. Let's at least let White Sand finish first--you will find her in there, though her touch on the story (directly) is light. She prefers to allow her personas to become the focus of attention.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#23 Copy


Hey u/mistborn I have a couple questions about Magic: the gathering.

What colors/kind of deck do you play in magic?

What colors are the known shards?

What colors are the various orders of the knights Radiant?

And finally, have you ever thought of doing the story for Wizards Of The Coast on one of their mtg blocks?

Brandon Sanderson

Any combo-style deck I can draft--or esper if I'm constructed.

Ruin: Black. Odium: Red. Honor: White. Preservation: White. Cultivation: Green. Devotion: Green/red. Dominion: Black/White. Autonomy: It's complicated.

(Also, question 3 is way too large for me to commit to right now. And for 4, if the right opportunity came along and they were interested, I could see myself doing this.)


What about Endowment and Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

Ambition is mono-black, and endowment is probably mono-green. Some of the blue shards are ones we haven't seen as much from yet.