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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#2 Copy

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.

Oathbringer Newcastle signing ()
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Questioner

Will we ever see protagonists ever come back? ...Once they're, like, dead and stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there's a couple rules for people coming back in the cosmere. If you could be revived by CPR, you could be saved. If you can't be revived by CPR, only a direct infusion of Investiture immediately to the soul will turn you into a Cognitive Shadow. Those are your two kind of outs. I'll leave it at that for you, and you can see where it goes from there.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Questioner

Given Sanderson's Laws about limitations...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

What would you say are any spiritual, cognitive, and or physical limitations to a Returned's healing ability?

Brandon Sanderson

That they can do it once.

Questioner

That they can do it once, and that's it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, right? The Returned get one heal and then they die. That's a pretty big limitation. Like you have to choose really well. However, what they can heal is bounded by cosmere limitations on healing, but it is a supercharged version.

Questioner

Okay. Could you define more cosmere limitations on healing?

Brandon Sanderson

Cosmere limitations on healing can be affected by your own perception.

Questioner

Okay. Cognitive stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Cognitive stuff. And so there's a part of that, and... But that's really-- cognitive interferes. And if your spirit is gone? Right? Cosmere healing, you know, if your spirit is passed on you just get a dead body even though you've healed it.

Questioner

So potentially Vasher, having a much greater cosmere knowledge than others could potentially have a much greater usage of that healing than regular--

Brandon Sanderson

Well the healing-- What I mean by that is yourself. You impose limits. So the person being healed can impose some limits on the healing working. It doesn't happen as often as I'm making it sound. But, you know-- why Kaladin's scars have not healed, right? So Kaladin being hit by a Returned would still not heal his scars. He's got a major hangup about those scars.

Footnote: The questioner seems to have been asking about cosmere healing in general for Returned, but Brandon focused on their ability to give up their Divine Breath to heal somebody else.
Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

Stormlight, I know it heals wounds and stuff like that but can it heal illnesses like colds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it can.

Questioner

So if Kaladin suddenly contracted brain cancer...

Brandon Sanderson

It's plausible-- it depends, see what it does is it takes your body and makes it align with your spirit, and partially through the filter of how you view yourself. So if you view yourself as sickly, then you won't.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Kurkistan

Does a limb that has been "severed" by a Shardblade have any Hemalurgic bindpoints? If the same limb was then cut off more conventionally, would a Bloodmaker ferring be able to grow it back?

Brandon Sanderson

A severed Shardblade limb needs repair to the soul before it would function again. A Bloodmaker would be able to heal it without needing to grow it back.

Pocatello signing ()
#9 Copy

Lady Radagu's husband (paraphrased)

Can AonDor heal chronic conditions, like poor eyesight? If so, does it require specialized Aon drawing to work, or will enough Aon Iens do the job eventually?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, AonDor could cure a chronic condition like poor eyesight. But you would have to get the specifics of everything, kind of like they're equations, correct. You'd have to know a LOT about AonDor and a LOT about the body to get it right. *pauses in thought* It's kind of like with computer programming.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Doom-Slayer

So how do the exact mechanics of Feruchemy in relation to Compounding work?

This confusion is primarily around how [the Lord Ruler] gets his near infinite age.

Okay. So first off, I understand the concept of how they work. Feruchemy is net zero, Allomancy is net positive, combine them and you end with a net positive Feruchemy ability.

So how Feruchemy normally works... you take say weight, store half your normal weight and then you can access it whenever you want. So you (originally X weight) are taking A weight, storing it, and then you are at (X-A) weight, with access to A. So we have a metalmind that store magnitude with the efficiency of how its received based on how quickly or slowly it is drawn upon.

All the metalminds except atium seem to act this way. Atium seems to work as storing magnitude/time rather than just magnitude. The way I understand it is that say a 30 year old person becomes 50 years old for 1 day, this would give access to 20 years difference for a 1 day period.

The Lord Ruler then exploits this by gaining access to say 20 years difference over 10 days(magnification by compounding) which he then slowly feeds into himself to lower his age.

Why this difference? Im assuming its to maintain a neutral "body age" because with just magnitude a person could permanently make themselves younger by compounding.

With just magnitude of "20 years of youth" being stored, if the lord ruler magnified it, he could turn it into "200 years of youth" and then he would never need the constant stream off youth(and wouldn't of died without the bracelets)

Hope this makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so there are a few things you have to understand about cosmere magics to grok all of this.

First, is that magics can be hacked together. You'll see more of this in the future of the cosmere, but an early one is the hack here--where you're essentially powering Feruchemy with Allomancy. (A little more complex than that, but it seems like you get the idea.)

The piece you're missing is the nature of a person's Spiritual aspect. This is similar to a Platonic idea--the idea that there's a perfect version of everyone somewhere. It's a mix of their connections to places, people, and times with raw investiture. The soul, you might say.

(Note that over time, a person's perception of themselves shapes their cognitive aspect as well, and the cognitive aspect can interfere with the spiritual aspect trying to make the physical aspect repair itself.) Healing in the cosmere often works by aligning your physical self with your spiritual self--making the physical regrow. More powerful forms of investiture can repair the soul as well.

However, your age is part of your Connection to places, people, and times. Your soul "knows" things, like where you were born, what investiture you are aligned with, and--yes--how old you are. When you're healing yourself, you're restoring yourself to a perfect state--when you're done, everything is good. When you're changing your age, however, you are transforming yourself to something unnatural. Against what your soul understands to be true.

So the spiritual aspect will push for a restoration to the way you should be. With this compounding hack, you're not changing connection; it's a purely Physical Realm change.

This dichotomy cannot remain for long. And the greater the disparity, the more pressure the spirit will exert. Ten or twenty years won't matter much. A thousand will matter a lot. So the only way to use compounding to change your age is to store up all this extra youth in a metalmind, then be constantly tapping it to counteract the soul's attempt to restore you to how you should be.

Yes, all of this means there are FAR more efficient means of counteracting aging than the one used by the Lord Ruler. It's a hack, and not meant to be terribly efficient. Eventually, he wouldn't have been able to maintain himself this way at all. Changing connection (or even involving ones Cognitive Aspect a little more) would have been far more efficient, though actively more difficult.

Though this is the point where I ping [Peter Ahlstrom] and get him to double-check all this. Once in a while, my fingers still type the wrong term in places. (See silvereye vs tineye.)

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Kurkistan

Could Miles heal back his Allomancy if it was spiked out of him?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could not. He would no longer be an Allomancer. Also, he'd probably be dead. :)

Kurkistan

Thanks!

I'd thought maybe he could just do some super-tapping from his existing Health in his goldminds (since he'd still have his Feruchemy)...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I see what you're asking. Using Feruchemy to heal the removed portion of soul. That's actually plausible, not so different from healing other kinds of soul-wounds. If he survived, then yes, this actually might work. (That's why I get for reading the questions so quickly.)

Chris King interview ()
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Chris King

Is Resealing a subset of Forging, or a separate system like Bloodsealing is?

Brandon Sanderson

Um...

*Looooong silence*

I'm trying to remember what I decided-- I was building all of this on a fourteen hour plane flight, keep in mind-- I believe it is-- Let's go ahead and PAFO that one. I need to go to my notes. I can give you a tentative "I believe it is the same system and not a cousin system" but at the end of the day I kind of had to go to my notes and work things out. There was lots of wiggle room built into the Elantris magic system but I have to know what I decided.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Kurkistan

What would happen if you shot a thug with an aluminum bullet or stabbed him with an aluminum knife?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, that's a good question. The wound would not be able to heal around the aluminum, but once the aluminum came out and was gone from the system, they would be okay.

Kurkistan

Wait, is that a Bloodmaker, not a Thug?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you're talking about Thugs?

It would work similarly, but it really wouldn't have a huge effect on them.

Kurkistan

Alright, because Peter was implying that there was some weird aluminum interaction with Thugs.

Brandon Sanderson

What was he thinking of...?

There is some weird interaction but...

Kurkistan

In the wedding scene, Wax thinks they would have aluminum bullets to deal with Thugs, and I was like, "Oh, that's a typo." And Peter was like, "Oh no it's not..."

Brandon Sanderson

No, no. That would just be-- it's like I said: healing it until the bullet is gone, it's just the same as Bloodmakers.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Cosmere healing. Some magic systems have internal healing, such as Stormlight; external healing, such as AonDor. With internal ones, the perception of the magic user seems to matter a lot. Is that also a factor for the external ones?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there are various types of healing in the cosmere. We have things like Stormlight, where you get the Stormlight and it heals you, and that one is very, very influenced by your perception. How you view yourself, and what you view as being healed, has a huge influence on what actually happens to you. Externally, if someone heals someone else, like a Knight Radiant uses the power to heal someone, or an external force heals them, is it still filtered through perception? I'm gonna say both perceptions are important in that. They both are relevant.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

We have this one bizarre question, that actually was really, really weird but we have to know it.

There was a question about Siamese twins. If they were born gold Feruchemists, and they they were split apart, would they like, form together again?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhhnn... It depends on how they view themselves

DrogaKrolow

That's the answer to every question like that!

Brandon Sanderson

Right! But that's the whole point of the cosmere is that-- Spiritual Realm is filtered through the Cognitive Realm to the Physical Realm, right? And this lens is going to filter how things work. Perception is really important in the cosmere. That's where most of these things come from, and so-- Yeah that is the answer to everything. But that's the point of the answer to everything, is that there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules when it comes to a lot of these things, with Identity and whatnot is going be filtered through perception.

DrogaKrolow

So it is technically possible for them, if they are seeing each other as one.

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

DrogaKrolow

So we can--

Brandon Sanderson

Now the big hard question is, what if one of them views them as one and one of them doesn't?

DrogaKrolow

Oh.

Brandon Sanderson

Aaaaoooohhh! Then it depends on who's using the magic.

DrogaKrolow

What if both of them are?

Brandon Sanderson

Both of them what? Are gold? If both of them are healing and one doesn't want to and one does, magic's gonna cancel each other out and nothing will happen.

DrogaKrolow

Ok.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm. Yeah I made your question harder and weirder.

DrogaKrolow

Well it was a very logical answer to a very unlogical question.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I've had to answer a lot of these. My feeling is that if I can make the fundamental magic principles work then you can answer those questions rationally but really what you would have to do is-- Even I'm not the expert on these things. Like I'm the ultimate word in some ways but in another ways the answer would be "I don't know, let's have a thought experiment and if it ever comes up, try it out and see what happens". But yeah, there you go. There is my best answer to you.

General Reddit 2013 ()
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Soronir

About Miles from Alloy of Law and his regenerative powers. If he was bisected down the middle and the halves were separated immediately before the healing process could begin, would the two halves each regrow into a whole Miles?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. In all of the Cosmere's Shard-based magics, the greater portion of a bisected body regrows the lesser portion. If it were done EXACTLY halfway, the soul wold jump to one or the other randomly and that would regrow.

Amusingly, this first came up in 1999, six years before I got published. (I see someone else already mentioned the situation where I had to consider it.)

Orem signing ()
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Questioner

I notice that Stormlight seems to be a bit volatile in how well it heals or who it heals. Because it seems like Renarin's eyesight would have been a long term problem, kinda like Rysn's legs maybe and Lopen's arm. But Lopen's arm got healed, Rysn's legs didn't and Kaladin's scars didn't. So I didn't know if there was a reason for those things.

Brandon Sanderson

So Stormlight healing, there's a couple things that have to be considered. But in reference to what you're saying, the person's perception of themselves is a huge part of it.  The way healing works in the cosmere is, you've got the three versions of yourself. You've got your Physical version, your Cognitive version, and your Spiritual version, And a lot of Stormlight is taking your Physical version and matching it to the Spiritual version which is your ideal self.  But it has to be filtered through the lens of your mind, and things like this.

I almost always--probably should say always--am using it to reinforce some sort of character attribute. The fact that Lopen never saw himself, even though he only had one arm, as being disabled, as a big influence, versus whether Kaladin feels deserves his brands or not. Does that makes sense?  And those are two very different things that influence how the healing works. And you will see that as a metaphor and theme, if you watch what heals and what doesn't.

Calamity release party ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

Hoid has said that what he does, when he heals or comes back to life or whatever, heals the soul

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But Hemalurgy is like ripping off a piece of the soul. Could he heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible. Well, his particular brand of healing is very Spiritual Realm based. And so, it would-- he could. Not all brands of healing are capable. It depends on what's happening, and things like that. But yes, he would. Most Shardbearers [Surgebinders?] when they're in the throes of their powers would heal spiritually. *brief pause* Not all of them. Not all healing will do that, though.

Questioner

Yeah. Because I was thinking that maybe you could spike him multiple times and compound his power.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Spiking him could do some weird things though. But spiking can do weird things to anyone.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

What about Kaladin getting sliced with the Shardblade and then being able to rejuvenate?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That is a clue for what is going on with Szeth and his understanding of Shardblades and the Shardblade he has.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Which is an Honorblade, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I can't say, but Szeth says in Book One you can't heal a Shardblade wound with Stormlight. There are other very big but subtle discrepancies between what Szeth does and what Kaladin does.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

If you spiked out Miles' Feruchemical gold, would he be able to burn his Allomantic reserves [read: Feruchemical reserves using Allomancy] and heal it back?

Brandon Sanderson

If you spiked out his ability to heal gold and somehow left him alive?

Kurkistan

Yeah, but still having Allomancy.

Brandon Sanderson

Still has Allomancy...

Kurkistan

And he’s like in the middle of burning a goldmind.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that would still work. It'd still have a Spiritual Connection to him.

Kurkistan

So if you're a Coinshot and you get [spiked] to have Feruchemical steel, and then you lose the spike after making a store, you can still Compound that for speed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... Yeah, that should still work.

Kurkistan

Was Paalm doing that?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

Marsh is still alive hundreds of years after.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Questioner

He's got, like, Lord Ruler level healing powers. Why does he still have a crushed eye socket?

Brandon Sanderson

So all healing in the cosmere has to do--or almost all has to do--with your perception of yourself.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Matrim

Hoid gets his tooth knocked out while in Kholinar. He prompts somebody else to help him with that. Is that because he has issues hurting not only other people but himself?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Matrim

And then he considers healing that at a later point in time. Which magic system does he consider using to heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

A magic system that predates-- predates any of the others.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner

Would setting Stormlight lanterns around a wounded person make them heal any faster?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Not your average person.

Brandon Sanderson

And regarding that healing thing, I’m going to have to back up on that one just a little bit because there would be nominal effects in the same way that if you’re sick and you go sit in the sunlight.  That makes you feel--Stormlight has, not the same effect but it would have a nominally similar effect…Does that make sense? Or a similarly nominal.

Legion Release Party ()
#31 Copy

ShadowBlaze

If a gold Ferring got electrocuted, would he get paralyzed and/or heal and [react normally]?

Brandon Sanderson

So he gets electrocuted. You're asking does Cosmere healing prevent you from being stunned by a taser?

Huh, what a good question. I'm going to say, and I could contradict this, so this is Word of Brandon canon until I contradict it, you could still stun them with electrical stimulation of muscles, because it's not doing any harm and it's just how muscles normally work. So I think that's a good workaround.

Legion Release Party ()
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R'Shara

Would Stormlight healing, Progression, or Feruchemical gold healing count as some of the ways that a transgender person could change their body to match their identity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Those would work. In fact, that's kind of the main way that you would make that happen. Injections of Investiture making the body match the Spiritual and Cognitive.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Questioner

Wayne's ability to heal himself, obviously doesn't mimic his natural ability because he can regrow fingers. So if he lost a limb, could he regrow the--just heal it roughly until he stored up enough Health and then regrow the limb at a later time? Does it have to be an instantaneous--

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could totally get that back.

Questioner

And if say somebody was born with an extra finger, could they cut that off, heal that up and have a whole fingers-worth of Health saved?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how they view themselves. Healing in the cosmere is based on replacing-- returning you to the state you view as your natural state... Almost every cosmere magic is going to work that way, unless-- There’s certain ones that-- Yeah almost everyone is going to work that way.

Firefight San Diego signing ()
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Leinton (paraphrased)

So for Kaladin's depression and Stormlight's healing abilities, does Kaladin remain depressed because of his view of himself, or is it a limitation of Stormlight's abilities to heal, or something else?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Disorders like depression are a part of a person's personality, and thus aren't diseases and cannot be cured. He talked a lot about this, and he talked about how a hyper kid annoys people but that doesn't mean there's something wrong.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#36 Copy

Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of investiture in the first place.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

Lopen's arm. In Stormlight, you cannot regrow if your brain-- your soul has accepted the change?

Brandon Sanderson

Perception is very important to this, yes.

Questioner

So is he just crazy enough to believe that he still had an arm?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's more like, he never saw himself as being-- he saw himself as the person *inaudible* and not being disabled by what happened to him. It's not craziness, it's just a matter of perception. What you're running into Kaladin with his brands in particular is that he thinks he deserves them.