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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#2 Copy

drabgod

Without necessarily naming the particular Shardworld, could you describe what the Cognitive Realm looks like in a Shardworld other than Roshar? Again, you don't have to say which one in particular, and it could even be a Shardworld we haven't seen before.

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... There is a place where it's an empty wasteland of near-nothingness.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Herald (paraphrased)

Is it possible to reliably deduce what a Shardworld's Cognitive realm will look like if we knew a lot about its Physical realm? For example, mists in Scadrial, spheres in Roshar etc.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it works in odd ways. So it may not work in the logical way that you think.

Herald (paraphrased)

Why spheres on Roshar? Something related to the highstorms makes more sense, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is a reason for them being spheres. RAFO

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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NutiketAiel

When a Radiant is in the Cognitive Realm, does their mind exist individually, like separately from their body?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, no.

NutiketAiel

So you physically travel to the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

You can kind of step in between both but you do not separate from your body.

NutiketAiel

So when Shallan is only partly in...she's in both at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. She's transitioning. It's not astral projection. But no that's a legit question.

NutiketAiel

So Shallan, and Lightweavers, are capable of physically stepping into Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. But the implication is yes.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
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king of nowhere (paraphrased)

Then I asked him about Jasnah in Shadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that he still is not sure whether to include it in the book or not, but he most likely won't. The reason is that he fears it will lessen the impact of something that will need to happen later in the book. so, it implies some characters will visit Shadesmar and have some important adventures there, which Jasnah's story may spoil. he is looking forward to showing Shadesmar on Roshar; we saw it on Scadrial, but on Scadrial it is mostly uninhabited, while in Roshar there are all the Spren.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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ROSHtafARian

There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your Shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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FirstSelector

You have claimed that the Shardworlds had their names prior to the settlement of people and Shards. However, Ruin and Preservation created Scadrial (presumably post-Shattering). Where, then, did that planet get its name, and how did the rest of the cosmere learn of it?

Brandon Sanderson

While many of them were named, not all of them were. And the presence of a Shard warps Shadesmar much as large objects warp the physical realm (gravitation.) So if you know how to look, it's not hard to find them.

General Twitter 2018 ()
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Chaim

I understand that although Shadesmar is a Rosharan term, Brandon sometimes uses it generically to refer to the cognitive realm. But I would not have expected Khriss to do the same (AU, Drominad system). Is that a mistake or deliberate?

Peter Ahlstrom

As far as I know, it is not a Rosharan term.

Chaim

My understanding came from several WoB, such as https://wob.coppermind.net/events/221-words-of-radiance-omaha-signing/#e7199 … and https://wob.coppermind.net/events/225-words-of-radiance-san-diego-signing/#e5814 … . While obviously not canon, can you clarify with Brandon?

Peter Ahlstrom

Eh, well the first quote actually answers the question. Whatever word people use throughout the Cosmere, Brandon translates it as Shadesmar in the books. I still think the word is widely used though.

Chaim

I think that in the first quote when he says “these books” he is referring to Stormlight. Hence the reference to Wit, whose words are translated to Rosharan and Cognitive Realm is thus translated to Shadesmar. Have you found Shadesmar anywhere else in the Cosmere?

Peter Ahlstrom

Well, clearly Khriss calls it that too. :)

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Evilkill78

While rereading HoA I decided to do a bit of research on an informant. But I also found another interesting tidbit on Theoryland.

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=727#35

This WoB. It implies TenSoon is eventually going to be able to reconnect with Vin, or at least, someone with Hemalurgic spikes is going to be able to communicate with someone that's departed to "The Beyond" (or the Spiritual Realm)...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, this looks like one where I was tired from answering a lot of questions, and was thinking about Kelsier--I was really excited to write Secret History back then. I realize that it wouldn't make sense for Kelsier to want to talk to TenSoon, but you'd be surprised the things that you say sometimes when you're trying to write in someone's book, keep yourself from giving too many spoilers, but also answer questions. You can go on auto-pilot sometimes for a minute or two, answering questions that my brain THINKS someone asks, when it's not one they actually asked. Or mashing together two questions, and having a kind of crossed-wires brain moment. You can see me do this on Reddit sometimes too, if you look back through my history. I often catch it and edit to explain myself, but not always This was during the era when I was heavily laying foreshadowing to fans for Kelsier's return, so it wouldn't feel like a cheat when I eventually got to Secret History. So I was looking for opportunities to talk about people with spikes communicating with the Cognitive Realm. I can't remember. There's also a possibility that I was still contemplating Vin staying, which she could have done, as someone who'd carried one of the powers. Either way, I made the call that even bringing Kelsier back was dangerous for undermining consequences, and having Vin hang around would be counter to her character arc and the arc of the stories. So Vin and TenSoon won't be talking any time soon. Sorry to shut down conversation on this one, and sorry to lead you on.

Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
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Audrin

If an Awakener imbued Stick with Biochromatic Breath, would it say something other than I am a stick? Would it matter if it was passively stored or given a Command?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to stay away from questions like this, as the mechanics of Shadesmar is one of those things I'm planning to roll out slowly over the next few books. Ask me again sometime around Stormlight six.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

One that's probably for Peter. Shadesmar appears to be flat. And you talk about people walking between worlds. But worlds are spherical. What's up with that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This has given him a bit of a headache. It works in my brain, and I'm pretty sure we can make it on the world. Remember, things people think about manifest in Shadesmar, so I've been able to work out a map where places that just aren't inhabited are shrunk in Shadesmar.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And they turn into points, so you can just walk off them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

Is it possible for spren to move from one planet to another?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible for them to get to other planets. They are tied to certain realms… A lot of them reside in the cognitive realm and are pulled into the physical by their bonds--

Questioner

Would they bring the same magics?

Brandon Sanderson

That you will have to wait and see.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

It seems like a movie adaptation would have just constant spren everywhere?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's why I made it so that not every use of the emotion causes them-so it wouldn't get too crazy even when I'm writing them.  And what's happening is the spren exist on the Cognitive plane, on Shadesmar, so they have to be attracted, they have to be nearby enough to flock to you, so it depends on how common the spren is.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Zas678

What is the X in Aon Mea? Is it one of the Shard-pools?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid not. Aon Mea references the expanded region within which the "Elantris Effect" will create Elantrians. The X is fertile valley with a high density of life, a place with a lot of cognitive activity. (Cognitive as defined by Realmatic Theory includes the 'thoughts' of all things that exist, not just human beings. The more complex the life form, the stronger its presence on the Cognitive Realm.)

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Does magic happen on Sel because areas have  a stronger cognitive presence, like, more sentient life in that area.

 

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhh, no, good question, good question. That is not the answer. I am going to give it in the Cosmere collection if people don't guess it by then. So I'm going to leave off, I could tell you right now but, I can't remember if anyone has guessed it or not.

Questioner

Is it related to tectonics?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's all kinda going in the wrong direction. I haven't really given you the clues to figure it out, I don't think. Once I say it, it will make a lot of sense.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Commicommand

Does Emotional Allomancy work on animals?

Brandon Sanderson

Emotional Allomancy requires a certain level of sapience.

Phantine

So dolphins, oragutans, mistwraiths and parrots might work?

Brandon Sanderson

I was intentionally vague. :)

A_Shadow

huh, so that would mean that Divine Breath (or just regular Breath?) works in a completely different underlying mechanism than Emotional Allomancy in providing that calming effect for animals and children. I had previously thought it was just an overlap in abilities.

Brandon Sanderson

There is an overlap. But it involves playing with spirit webs and/or the Cognitive Realm.

Words of Radiance release party ()
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scm288 (paraphrased)

So, I don't actually own a hardcover copy of The Way of Kings, but I did notice when looking at one that there's a map of Shadesmar... And that the map shows that Shadesmar geography is precisely aligned with Roshar's geography... So I'm just going to assume that other planets we've visited so far also have realms of Shadesmar that are aligned geographically.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's very clever of you! *smiles* Very clever...

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Tyetnic

As another note, I think it's cool that the Cognitive Realm on different planets have similarities, but different styles, like the beads on Roshar vs the Mist on Scadrial. I assume all worlds have something related to this. (?)

I'm reading (listening to) Warbreaker currently, and I'm curious as to what the Cognitive Realm on Nalthis looks like. I imagine a neutral gray wasteland to represent nonliving matter (metal/rocks) and glowing clouds of color to represent people--glowing more powerfully if they have more breaths, no color if they are a drab--and less colorful more solid structures for once-living-matter. Similar situation with the whole "water is land, land is whatever the fuck the planet wants".

Brandon Sanderson

You'll eventually figure out what Shadesmar looks like on Nalthis.

elendeldailyplanet

Are there any big plans for the world of Warbreaker beyond the sequel? Or would that be a RAFO (equally exciting)?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Questioner

So the Cognitive realm.  Is Shadesmar a Roshar specific term?

Brandon Sanderson

Shadesmar is Roshar specific term, but when I translate from what other people are saying in these books I just translate it to Shadesmar.  So for instance when Wit is talking about it he's going to call it Shadesmar.  He's just going to use the Roshar term. But no, Shadesmar  is what it's called there.  

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Is there a Shadesmar for each planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Anything that people think about, right? And, you really have to be inhabited to get a good Shadesmar… But, y'know, you can find the gas giants in Shadesmar, but they don't manifest as an entire plane. Um, that's gonna change! But we're years away from that. Shadesmar is cool and weird but--

Questioner

Ohh, there's only one Shadesmar with different areas--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, really what we call it-- Shadesmar is a term that has started to stick in the cosmere for the Cognitive Realm. But there are manifestations of most planets. Or all planets.

Questioner

But they do all exist-- All of those Shadesmars are part of the same cloth, so to speak.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could walk from one to the other, barring some weird distortions that you might have to-- We're not going to dig-- I'm not gonna tell you about.

Questioner

But spren can't because they're bound.

Brandon Sanderson

They're bound Physically to the Realm, the Invesiture.

Bystander

Unless you help them off.

Brandon Sanderson

Unless-- There are certain ways you could do it, and things like that. But spren are bound, you aren't going to--

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
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darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

So, the Purelake in Shadesmar is mountainous. Does this in any way have to do with the fact that the Purelake is so shallow?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. I haven't yet discussed the nature of the relationship between Shadesmar and the Physical world.

darkanimereal1 (paraphrased)

So, when Dalinar has his vision in what he assumes in the Purelake, he sees an obsidian fortress. Is that fortress in any way related to the fact that the Purelake in Shadesmar is mountainous?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you're an aquatic civilization on Roshar, would the oceans match the oceans? ...Because of all the spheres...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've never been asked that before. That's an excellent question... I think it would have some weird different manifestation in Shadesmar, depending on their culture, and the way they view the world.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

At what point in making the Rithmatist magic system did the concept of the beauty of the drawings come in?

Brandon Sanderson

The beauty of the drawings is related to the idea of your perception influencing magic, which is a Cosmere rule. Giving things a mental order, the Cognitive aspect of it, it’s the same way that in Warbreaker, when you give an order to something you’ve Awakened with the magic, the way you perceive that order directly influences how it plays it out. I built this in because, number one, it’s better for philosophy if the answers aren’t, in some of these things, [internal?] answers where the author has said, “Truth is capital T Truth”, where the characters’ perceptions of truth allows for different people to believe different things and both be arguably right. Also because I wanted all the magic in the Cosmere to have some root in the Cognitive Realm. The idea of the magic there is, there’s a Spiritual thing which is kind of unknowable, kind of eternal, kind of all-places-one, there’s a Cognitive aspect, which is how you perceive it influences it, and then there’s the Physical world. The chalklings were built that way, how beautiful you perceive it as being, or the beings involved in this perceive it as being, will influence how well it works.

Second Questioner

In the books, in Rithmatist, you state that the better drawn a shape is, or a creation is, that makes it more powerful. Would that mean that if you drew a cube, would that be more powerful than a square?

Brandon Sanderson

The complexity of it, and how people perceive, you could make an argument that there’s some people who would be like, “The perfect cube is so hard to draw that that is inspiring”, but the average people, if you said, ”Who’s going to win this battle: this cool knight that I drew, or this cube?”, they’d say the cool knight. So that sort of general perception plays a lot into how it works.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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zotsandcrambles

Mr.T has his emotional intelligence inversely attached to his logical intelligence. in the physical realm, this means that on his emotional days, he is functionally a blithering idiot. The physical realm is more logic oriented, so that makes sense.

However, would this inverted intelligence express itself DIFFERENTLY perhaps in the cognitive or spiritual realm? In the world of forms, emotion, and identity, could weepy/drooly Mr.T express some unique insight inside of Shadesmaar?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a theory with merit.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Lurcher

Reading Mistborn: Secret History, Kelsier sees fauna and flora in the Cognitive Realm. How does that work, are there people thinking about...

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see, there's actual... there's an actual ecosystem in Shadesmar.

Lurcher

Even if people aren't really--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Well, think about it this way. The places people are thinking about will create landscape that this stuff can grow on. Where they're not thinking about it, there's just not going to be anything there, so nothing is going to grow.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Why did Hoid in Secret History have to ride on another person to get to the Well, when that person could float on--

Brandon Sanderson

Sooo, what he's floating on is a Cognitive Shadow. It's a spirit, it's not an actual person. He is floating on someone who is--

Questioner

Do we know them?

Brandon Sanderson

You did not know them, don't worry about them. But see, he's using that as a boat because it's easy to sink through the mist. And if you notice, he has to coat his oar with Investiture in order to move him. So yeah, he's floating on a person's soul... It was so much easier with the Pits, but that's because there were boats and things.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

It feels like Roshar is-- has an essence, where it’s like a prism, you can see all the rest of them, due to the nature of the Cognitive Realm and the spren’s ideas, Cognitive things coming to light.  Have I spent too much time looking at the Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you are on the right path.  Of all the things you noted, that one is the one that is perhaps the most important.

Questioner

The prism idea.

Brandon Sanderson

The idea that Roshar is special and a key on Shadesmar.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I want to know how Hoid travels between worlds. Or, if you're not going to tell me right now, will we ever find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has travelled between the worlds by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. *pause* Okay? So that is one method he has used to travel between the worlds. The worlds are connected through Shadesmar. Um, things that people don't think about as much reflect very minorly in Shadesmar, so when you-- all the-- most of the space between planets is cut out, and there's some weird, twisted geography going on there. So that's basically how he does it, Cognitive Realm.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

So someone, I can't remember who it was, told me you said something about the pools in Elantris being related to worldhopping.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct.

Questioner

So when the Elantrians go in the pool do they die or do they go to a different world?

Brandon Sanderson

Well you're making those mutually exclusive.

Questioner

Oh so it can do more than one thing--

Brandon Sanderson

One thing you gotta remember is in Elantris Shadesmar, the place that we call Shadesmar, is full of a raging, powerful source of energy called the Dor. It's very, very dangerous. Nobody goes there. So, just keep that in mind.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Mason Wheeler [PENDING REVIEW]

So, because the world is flat in Shadesmar, if there's a place where you can't cross, so if a Radiant was on a ship, they'd have trouble getting across, because their spren would be stuck behind that line of discontinuity. Is the Origin of Storms located on that line?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, good question.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Kurkistan

Are flamespren, are they all doing their own thing, or is there some Ideal of "Fire" sitting in the Spiritual Realm that they're all based on?

Brandon Sanderson

Each spren is based on the Ideal of Fire.

Kurkistan

And is that sitting in the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, we're using sort of a Platonic Ideal, and that concept is in force, so *sounds hesitant* "yes", but [spren] are manifestations of it.

Kurkistan

So these Ideals in the Spiritual Realm: Divine Breath, does that heal by accessing some Ideal of Human Health: so a guy who had never had a tongue and doesn't know how to speak all the sudden has a tongue and can speak?

Brandon Sanderson

You are... *LONG pause* You are, um, on the right track.

Kurkistan

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Because the Breath is... eh. How can I explain this? You are, yeah... So... So each Breath is a shade of diety, right?

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

And each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the deity Endowment, correct?

Kurkistan

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

And so each Breath you hold brings you one step closer to becoming like that, and so what you're saying is... is "yes", kind of true, yes.

Kurkistan

But it's like within the Breath, not sitting off by itself-

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes yes exactly.