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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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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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.

YouTube Livestream 23 ()
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Dallen Powell

Is it easier to travel in the Cognitive Realm because people in the Physical Realm don't understand the immensity of space, and their lack of comprehension condenses the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say that's a factor, yeah. Definitely a factor. I think it's impossible to comprehend the immensity of space even with all the visualizations I've seen.  Yeah, definitely. Good question. 

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

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

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

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

The Spiritual Realm is not a place.

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!

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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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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.

/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. :)

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.

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.

YouTube Livestream 32 ()
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James Clifford

Science question!

Brandon Sanderson

Ohh science. Is it real science, or fake science?

Adam Horne

It is Brandon science.

Brandon Sanderson

Fake science!

James Clifford

With the discovery of anti-Investiture in Rhythm of War, would the correct form of anti-Investiture be usable to clear up the mess in the Sel Cognitive Realm. If so, would this completely destroy a splintered Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs, coughs, and is otherwise stunned* That would not be a good idea. So why would that not be a good idea? So no, this would not clear up the problem. The problem that's going on in the Cognitive Realm in Sel is that a bunch of Investiture that should be in the Spiritual Realm has been packed into the Cognitive Realm instead, through a very weird circumstance of events. If you were to introduce a bunch of anti-Investiture of the right type there, you would just generate an explosion that would be a very bad thing. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, Investiture can't be either, so it's actually changing forms. It's going from Investiture into energy! Which you know, does not leave the system. So the investiture would eventually make its way back around, you can't destroy anything in the Cosmere, just like you can't destroy anything in our universe. But you can make it change forms. And so, what's going on there is just this hope by a certain individual that what has happened there will prevent the power from becoming self-aware.

It's basically Odium being like "alright I just murdered you people, I don't wanna have to come back and do it again". So he's trying to figure out a way to make this happen. As it currently stands (again, these things can change when I write future books), it was partially happenstance that he took advantage of rather than something that he was able to set up very intentionally from the beginning, but he was definitely a part.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner

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

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

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

Brandon Sanderson

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.

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. 

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 Spiritwebs 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...

scm288 (paraphrased)

So I guess my follow-up question is: is Elantris a Dawncity?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Hmm. I could see where your reasoning could come to that conclusion, but no. No, that's not it. But your earlier extrapolations are in the right direction.

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

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

And that's how a perpendicularity works?

Brandon Sanderson

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

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.

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

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

Brandon Sanderson

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.