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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.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Shadesmar, the solid and liquid phases are inverted. So, in the Spiritual Realm, is it something to do with solid and gas phases, or is it not the same at all?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is not quite where you're going, but I like the way you're thinking.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So then what's the reason that they can't travel to the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The Spiritual Realm is not a place.

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.

/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. :)

Legion Release Party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you age while in the Cognitive Realm? Because unless Nalthians have a super long lifespan, or she is Returned, roughly 222 years...

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

322 years.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

322 years, seems a long time for Vivenna to have been alive.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You do age in the Cognitive Realm...Asterisk*.

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.  

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In our universe, mass and energy curve space. I was wondering if Investiture does the same or something similar

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It does something similar. It draws the three Realms together. So it's got like-- Imagine a gravitational pull piercing Realms. Right? Of kind of--

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And that's how a perpendicularity works?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's not the only way a perpendicularity works, but one surefire way to create a perpendicularity is a massive collection of Investiture in the Cognitive or mostly Physical realm. But Cognitive's weird, doesn't always work the right way. But there are ways to do it that way too.

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--

Skyward release party ()
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JoyBlu [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, Connection influences spren.

JoyBlu [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Connection to people.

JoyBlue [PENDING REVIEW]

So not necessarily the place where they were?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right.

Joyblu [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

That is not an irrelevant observation.

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.

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.

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.

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.