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Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

You know how the whole group goes into Shadesmar. What would happen if they accidentally eat a bead, and then leave Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

That would not be good for them.

Questioner

Would they just explode with whatever the object was?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not exactly how it works. Fortunately. But I wouldn't recommend ingesting any beads.

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 deity, 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.

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--

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.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You said to not travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Is this a consequence of Odium Splintering Aona and Skai?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is indirectly related to the Splintering. There is a clue to why it is dangerous in Way of Kings.

Footnote: The reason it is dangerous to travel in the Cognitive Realm near Sel is that the Dor, the Splintered remains of Devotion and Dominion, resides there and is a storm of uncontrolled Investiture (as the seons and skaze are not numerous enough to act as release valves like the spren of Roshar do for Honor).
Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

In Secret History, Kelsier goes out onto the ocean and he finds plants in the Cognitive Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, mmhmm.

Questioner

Do they have a Physical aspect, or are they just Cognitive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they're Cognitive only. They don't follow a standard ecology that we would understand, but-- Well, it'll make sense, hopefully, when eventually the science of that is understood in the cosmere. But there are--and I've said this before--on Roshar Shadesmar there are spren cities, and things like this. And there's a spren ecology, and stuff so…

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

So, Sel: Investiture has been pushed into the Cognitive Realm. Threnody: Has it seen something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

It has not seen... Okay. Yes, something similar. It would count. Something similar, yes.

Questioner

If that's the case, what would happen if you were to push Investiture into the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

It generally manifests either as a solid, liquid, or gas

Questioner

I thought about that. I was like, "We've seen that," but it seemed like a concentrated form. What if you did for like a whole Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

That would probably have disastrous effects. 

Questioner

That's why I was thinking for Threnody, but if it hasn't been that, then something else happened.

Brandon Sanderson

It hasn't been that. Something else happened.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

For the worldhopping that happens with Vasher and Vivenna. Does that happen... Are they the humans that came over--

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're not.

Questioner

They're just completely independent people who hopped--

Brandon Sanderson

They're moving more with the hidden cosmere economy that has grown up moving between planets. Between Nalthis and Roshar, you can actually catch a caravan. There's actual movement and travel between them. That's been in place on Roshar for quite a while at this point.

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. :)

Orem Signing ()
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Questioner

How would the city of Boston change over time in the Cognitive Realm, because its harbors have been constantly filled in with dirt?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, right, right. It will change to match, but there will be a time lapse, right? They'll be lagging behind. 

Questioner

So, you could dump it full of dirt, and then it might take like five or ten years before it actually appears as land.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's exactly about how it would go.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

Exactly how turbulent is the Cognitive Realm around Sel? Khriss seems to think it's rather difficult [to travel] but how difficult would it be for Hoid to get through?

Brandon Sanderson

How difficult would it be to get through to Sel, how difficult would it be for Hoid. I would say straining his resources and capacity. It is difficult for him. So take that as you will. But it is worth his effort and he has done it numerous times.

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.  

General Reddit 2013 ()
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sufficientlyadvanced

It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.

Phantine

Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...

Windrunner

If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The seons and the skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

General Reddit 2013 ()
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Nepene

I suppose one thing to wonder is how do you enter Shadesmar? We know of a number of people who are jumping from world to world through Shadesmar. Grump Thinker and Blunt, Hoid too. How are they accessing the cognitive plane to transport themselves across the lands?

Presumably Shallan's bond with the truthspren let her get in. How does this work? If she had only a dim sphere then does it not require any stormlight, any spiritual power? Is it a purely cognitive change? I could see some advantages to that. You could hop into this alternative dimension at will if you were being attacked, even with little power.

The scholars earlier talk of whether there is food in Shadesmar, so presumably others have visited it. Can non soulcasters visit it? Is there some fabrial that grants you access? Are they only referring to the distant past, when KR had the power to access it? Is it purely a thing of the mind that anyone can learn? Is it only possible if you have access to a splinter of a shard?

Brandon Sanderson

There are many ways to enter Shadesmar. You'll see more of this in the future. One thing to keep in mind about Shadesmar is that space where things are thinking is expanded, while space where there is nothing to think is contracted. In other words, in an empty void, you get almost no Shadesmar. This makes distances as we think of them very different there.

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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

So like as far as distance traveled in Shadesmar. So when Kelsier is in Shadesmar, he meets the Ire, who are presumably Elantrians. How far did he travel? Is that still within Scadrial's realm of the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's within-- By the time he meets them he has slipped right to the edge of the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial and into, kind of, the darkness between planets. 

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

He's close enough that he can get there. But he's kind of suffused with Scadrian Investiture then, to a point that it would be harder--you saw in there--for him to get further. I would say that he's like... He has entered space between planets, but he's not out of the solar system.

Questioner

Okay, so he's still in the Scadrian system, just not--just edging a bit there.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yep. That's what I'd say if I had to actually point him in that <a map>. It gets really fuzzy though, because it wouldn't be too much longer before he enters another solar system. Like, he would pass lightyears in steps as he starts getting further, if that makes any sense.

Questioner

That makes sense, because, I mean, with worldhopping in general it's like... You can only... I mean it's... I don't know how the time dilation works per se, but...

Brandon Sanderson

It's not-- there's not much time dilation. What you've got going on is... Things that people aren't around to think about, things without minds or any sort of life, don't manifest on Shadesmar very much at all. And so the space between planets gets really small, unless there's another planet out there with thinking beings or at least some sort of life on it. Like even lower lifeforms, you'll get something manifesting on Shadesmar. But yeah

Questioner

Okay. So the Cognitive Realm, in Shadesmar... It's kind of the... Any kind of sentient or cognitive life-- that's what is building Shadesmar? So like anything where there's blackness... is like... condensed or--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. Particularly if no one's thinking about it. If people are thinking about it - like, for instance, an island in the ocean that was scoured of all life and even bacteria would still manifest in Shadesmar on that planet because people are aware of it and things like this. But one on the other side of the planet, that no one ever knew about it, probably wouldn't.

Questioner

So that same island, if people just stopped thinking about it or like stopped being aware of its presence, would it...

Brandon Sanderson

It could slowly vanish, yes. And so-- But that's more of a thought experiment. You're never gonna have a planet that that happens to, you know cause-- but thought experiment wise, yes, that would eventually kind of get consumed by Shadesmar and vanish. The same thing would happen to a planet that you strip the atmosphere from--all the bacteria and life dies on it--you know, slowly going to vanish. But a moon will still manifest because people are thinking about it. It'll just not-- it won't-- it'll be hokey, it'll be weird--the moon will be. Like you might find a little patch that represents the moon. Something like that.

Questioner

That's interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

You're not gonna find the full landscape of the moon until people start visiting it. And it's gonna grow on Shadesmar.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Pagerunner

If you need to bring food into Shadesmar, why don't you need to bring air?

Brandon Sanderson

Y'know, we actually talked and thought about this. There are certain things I just decided for narrative reasons... I wanted Shadesmar to be travelable and I wanted it to be a real place, and so I just made air, I came up with kind of my own hacks. There are times I do this for narrative reasons. 

Let me give you an easier example. In the Mistborn books, and I've told people this before, I was working on speed bubbles. Slowing down time, speeding up time in a small little bubble around you, right? I went to Peter and I'm like, "This is what I'm going to do, what are the problems with this?" And he's like, "Well, redshift." Which means that basically you would be irradiating everyone with the light coming from inside the speed bubble. I'm like, "alright, we're just going to say that doesn't happen." This is where the line between for me science fiction and fantasy exists. When I'm building my story, I do try to have one foot in science with things like this. But I tend to work backward... A lot of science fiction starts with what we have now and extrapolates forward to [an] interesting, plausible premise. For my fantasy works, I start with some cool idea. And then I work backward in plausibility, trying to justify it. And we kind of meet in the center, but at the end of the day I am breaking the laws of thermodynamics, right? Just straight-up breaking laws-- I mean, we have our whole Realmatic Theory and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, I am trying to tell stories where certain extreme situations exist. Like, I bent over backwards to make the science of Roshar work with the greatshells, but at the end of the day, we still have to have a magical solution, right. To get beasties as big as we want to do, it doesn't matter how high your oxygen content is, if you've got .7 gravity or not, all these concessions we've made: the square-cube law says those things crush themselves. You just can't have things this big. And so we built in a magical solution. The spren creating this symbiotic bond is making it so these things don't crush themselves. 

And when I was looking at Shadesmar, there are a couple things-- what I want for the narrative is this place. I am going to work backward and try to make as many concessions and nods toward science as I can. But the air one, I just said "You know what? There's just gonna be air in Shadesmar. I am just gonna make it so that you can." I want you to be able to walk between the planets on Shadesmar, I don't want people to have to worry about bringing a Windrunner with them and plants or whatever to get oxygen. I'm just gonna make that the case. Your in-world answers, I'm like "Well, air kind of permeates and has escaped through and things," but really do we have an oxygen cycle there? We've got plants, but are they really--

The answer is, there is air in Shadesmar because I want there to be air in Shadesmar. 

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.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Jess

The black glass beads in Shadesmar on Roshar. If you could somehow get that material into the Physical Realm, would it hold stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

So, that's a RAFO. Because getting stuff out of the Cognitive Realm into the Physical Realm is a different matter from taking stuff from the Physical Realm to the Cognitive.

Jess

Well, you don't have to weigh in on whether they could get it to the Physical Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Still a RAFO!

/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.

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.)

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is.

Questioner

And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--

Questioner

Yes. Like Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

--and all of this stuff. I would say one of the things is that Roshar is a little bit easier to get to than some of the others, but it's not that it has been breached there so much as it's a little bit easier to get to.

Questioner

Yes, I'm assuming it has something to do with the Cognitive Realm but then objects going through the Cognitive Realm is kind of tripping me.

Brandon Sanderson

Hehe… *long pause* There are places in the Cognitive Realm that are somewhat nexus-like, like you're talking about. Yes there are places like that. ...So Roshar might actually be the easiest place to get to in the cosmere, like from planet to planet. Sel is probably the hardest, right now. For a long time Taldain was very hard, but not anymore.

Skyward release party ()
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JoyBlu

Both Tien and Kaladin are Radiant, you talked about how that wasn't hereditary, and how that was more because of where they were with association. Was it because they were associated with the same person, or the same place?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Connection influences spren.

JoyBlu

Right, but was the Connection to a person that they were around?

Brandon Sanderson

Connection to people.

JoyBlue

So not necessarily the place where they were?

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

Joyblu

Because my way of thinking it might be with the people is because, like with the Purelake on the Cognitive Realm there would be more spren hanging out there because that was more land, right; so if you spent more time on that you would have more spren around you. So if you're closer to more water, you're closer to more spren.

Brandon Sanderson

That is not an irrelevant observation.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Brainless

Is the Cognitive Realm on other planets called Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

For simplicity's sake in translation, for the most part, we are going to use the word Shadesmar, acknowledging that in some of the languages it may be a different word. But the cosmere standard used in Silverlight and things is Shadesmar. That's just for ease of talking about it but the scholars in Silverlight they use the actual word Shadesmar. I'm going to force Eric to do some heavy lifting for me on some other things like this.

Chaos

<Expresses that not everyone will be pleased about this WoB>

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I suspect that as I move into Era 4, Cognitive Realm might start replacing it, the more scientific term, but Shadesmar is the colloquial term. 

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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

What happened to Rand? He's not dead?

Brandon Sanderson

So Robert Jordan wrote everything from Rand stumbling out of Shayol Ghul until the ending, with the exception of the Perrin scenes, which I added to that epilogue. Harriet says--his wife--says he sat laughing to himself as he wrote the scene with the pipe, but he did not tell her what it means.

Questioner

Pipe?

Brandon Sanderson

The pipe where he-- he lit the pipe just by thinking about it. 

Questioner

That's also something-- he's using the Tel'aran'rhiod power to light it in the real world?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not know. Now, I have my theories. I think that because Rand touched the Pattern directly, when he was doing what he was doing, that he now has influence over the Pattern. 

Questioner

So he can change and manipulate things? But he's-

Brandon Sanderson

That's what I think, but Robert Jordan didn't say, and he did write those scenes himself before he passed away. So, I wrote the actual Last Battle-

Questioner

All of it? That was so epic.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So he took over-- where he left was right when Rand stumbles out. The Last Battle chunk before that was me. He wrote Mat in the Tower of Ghenjei... He wrote most of Egwene in The Gathering Storm, and then little snippets of Egwene all the way through. Perrin was almost one hundred percent me; he didn't leave much on Perrin. With Rand, he wrote little chunks here and there...

So I do not know. Now, I can tell you that there in the notes that when the balefire streams, when they crossed, intertwined [Rand's] soul with Moridin's soul. And one thing that his assistant said is that the [soul] that wanted to live found the body that was going to live, and the [soul] that wanted to die found the body that was dying. And that's what happened.

Questioner

They swapped bodies because he had this thing-- Why didn't he go in and say "hey everybody?" ...He didn't want to be with his family and friends anymore?

Brandon Sanderson

I think he probably came back-- He just needed a break. I'm pretty sure that he eventually let them know, but he just needed a little time. So, but I don't know for sure.

Questioner

I thought it was super cool, going in, the chase between Slayer and Perrin.

Brandon Sanderson

I had a lot of fun with that scene.

Questioner

...Also, you told me last time I saw you, that Tel'aran'rhiod is basically-- Is that kind of where you got the idea of the parallel universe in the other books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, Shadesmar. Shadesmar you can tie directly back to my love of Tel'aran'rhiod. It's kind of mixed with that in my love of some ancient Greek philosophy things that are not that important, but yeah.

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.

Stuttgart signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Shadesmar is an inversion of Roshar. In the Physical Realm, planets are disconnected, but in Shadesmar you can reach one from the other. Is there a point in Shadesmar where I can instantly cross between diametrically opposed points on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, technically there is, but oceans, etc. are problematic since there's not enough minds there. There are points, but the transition is more steady than instantaneous. It will be hard, since you're basically leaving the planet when you go far enough. If you just went south, you'd end up on another planet. Kind of yes. Shadesmar gets funky because you end up in no man's land. We'd need to do the exact maths on that one.

BookCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

I just got done with Elantris the other day. Are all of the planets--is Shadesmar the same place? Can you access all planets from Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

You can walk through Shadesmar between the planets. Yes. A little bit of bending of space/time in that, but yes.

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.

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Bromo_Sapien

When somebody travels into the Cognitive Realm, what happens to their physical self? To their body? Like Elsecalling or through a Shardpool?

Brandon Sanderson

Well it depends on the way they’re doing it. The two ways you’ve mentioned transport the physical body. It’s actually creating a rift and slipping them through. But there are other ways that you kind of peek in, where your body’s saying it’s a little more astral projection-y in those cases.

Bromo_Sapien

So their physical self would also be in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bromo_Sapien

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Which is weird.

Bromo_Sapien

As opposed to somebody like Kelsier who died and no longer has a physical self.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, right. Or when Shallan is Soulcasting and peeking in, and things like this. It can still be dangerous, because what’s happening is that little soul bubble there that’s manifesting into a version of your soul and then things can get at it in different ways and stuff. So... But yes, going in physically means you just pop between realms, and yeah, yeah…

Bromo_Sapien

And when they leave the Cognitive Realm their Physical self just leaves the Cognitive Realm the same...

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, mhm, yep.

Bromo_Sapien

Perfect.

Brandon Sanderson

Basically you’re transferring into Investiture and popping out of Investiture, so...

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Jamester86

Couldn't resist a cosmere question: Since rivers can be quite shallow, could someone "swim" under their counterpart in Shadesmar? (Or to rephrase that...are the landmasses in Shadesmar equivalent in depth to the "water masses" in the physical realm?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not a 1/1 ratio, by necessity, and rivers tend to be reflected by rises in Shadesmar. So you couldn't, in most cases, swim through the beads under them.

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Questioner

Supposing that a skilled Hemalurgist got hold of some a Shardblade or some Shardplate, how would he best use it assuming that the best way isn't to put it on and kill people with it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's probably the best way, to put it on and kill people with it. I'm not sure why a Hemalurgist would want one more than anyone else would because the metal is already Invested which means its not useful to him.

Questioner

So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, that's what you're saying. You want to grab something off the Spren? That's gonna be way harder than grabbing one that's not already made into something. So I don't see why he would want the Blade, just go grab it from them. Even then its going to be worse then, probably in most cases, a person. Maybe its possible that spiking yourself with a Spren would be valid, but you don't want to take it out of the Shardblade. That's gonna be harder, but you would probably have to go to the Cognitive either way to make it work, so yeah.

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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.