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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Based on what we know currently about ten heartbeats, why does Szeth require ten heartbeats to bring forth his Honorblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Perception is a very important part of how these things all work, and remember the Honorblades work differently from everything else. Everything was based upon them. Why don't you read and find out what's going on there, but remember that the characters's perception is very important.

Questioner

So then that's why at one point Shallan requires ten heartbeats and now she doesn't?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, it's the exact same reason that Kaladin's forehead wounds don't heal. Because he views himself as having those somewhere deep inside of him and he can't heal until that gets away. And it works for the same reason why in Warbreaker when you bring something to life, your intention rather than really what you say is what matters. It's all about perception.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#10 Copy

Questioner 1

In The Stormlight Archive, do we ever find out how the Assassin in White, how he gets the sword?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that should be next book.

Questioner 2

And does it intertwine any more with Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh... that you're gonna have to wait a little while for. You're talking about Nightblood. I thought you were talking about the Honorblade. Next book will explain how he got the Honorblade. How he ends up with Nightblood, really how Nightblood got onto the planet, is gonna take a little while. I will work it in. But it's gonna take a while.

Questioner 2

Does that sword have a character arc, because it feels--

Brandon Sanderson

The sword is important and relevant to multiple series.

Questioner 2

It's getting better.

Brandon Sanderson

He has learned some things in the intervening years. He learns real slowly.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#15 Copy

ascensionprops

My other question is related to the Honorblades (and is most likely a RAFO for sure). Talenel's blade at the end of Way of Kings is described spike-like. We've seen that the magic systems are similar (especially with investiture) across the different cosmere worlds, even though they have different things that make the magic happen (Stormlight vs Breath etc). With this similarity, do the Honorblades imbue similar effects? I mean, the blade is not of Ruin (or is it? lol), but as a spike, does it imbue similar powers to Hemalurgy - without the obvious need to be stabbed with it heh?

Brandon Sanderson

The reference is intentional, as a call-back, but it is not the same mechanic. Remember, Szeth's blade is an Honorblade, and doesn't look like a spike. There is some similarity here, but it's minor.

Boskone 54 ()
#17 Copy

Steeldancer

The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Shardblades [pretty sure he means Honorblades here] were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Steeldancer

Like Vin and Elend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Steeldancer

The second part of the question is, what would happen if they were directly powered by Honor and they were holding Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#19 Copy

18th_Shard

Does a Herald using an Honorblade consume the same "dangerous" amounts of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades are less efficient; this doesn't change when a Herald uses them. (But they have other advantages.)

uchoo786

Are honorblades closer in power to Nightblood than they are to shardblades made from Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to say. They're all similar, but at the same time, very different. And in a way, Nightblood is what you might call a "Third Generation" blade.

uchoo786

Ah gotcha. And in this analogy, Honorblades would be 1st gen and Sprenblades would be 2nd gen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#21 Copy

Rybal

Can the Heralds Surgebind without their [Honor]Blades, and if not are they under the same restrictions the Radiants are?

Brandon Sanderson

[...] I will say that the Heralds without their Blades are incapable of the powers you are familiar with. It doesn't mean there aren't other things they can do, but they are incapable of the powers you are familiar with throughout the book.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

What was the reason for choosing the base form of Shardblades as blades, why not another form? Was it because of the spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Why was the base form of Shardblades chosen to as blades, as swords? It is because the Shardblades were devised... They were devised as imitations of the Honorblades, which were created and given to the Heralds. And so since the original pattern was the Honorblades, they were built to feel like the Honorblades.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

So Honorblades: Can they actually be bound? ...Can you bind to an Honorblade or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeees you can, but it's not exactly the same thing.

Questioner

It's not exactly the same thing as a regular Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... In some ways they're more powerful in some ways they're a prototype, if that makes sense.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

I'm guessing it's a RAFO, but why do Honorblades work the way they do?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades were crafted before Shardblades existed...

Questioner

So they were crafted.

Brandon Sanderson

They were crafted before Shardblades existed, and all Shardblades that exist came about as certain individuals trying to find out how to copy Honorblades.

Questioner

So would it be fair to say that Honorblades are analagous to fabrials in some sense? Trap spren in a crystal yada yada Stormlight power?

Brandon Sanderson

There is an analogy there, that I think would pass the SAT's rigor for analogies.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#28 Copy

FirstSelector

When Kalak sees the ring of Honorblades in the Prelude, he describes them as "flowing in design, inscribed with glyphs and patterns." However, in the main text we encounter two (presumed) blades - Jezrien's and Talenel's, neither of which were included in Kalak's original accounting. The first is explicitly depicted as being devoid of ornamentation, and the second is ambiguous. Were all ten original Honorblades ornamented and inscribed, and if so, what causes the change?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

Skyward Denver signing ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

You said some of those things [from Way of Kings Prime] are still canon. Is the fact that if you have one of the honorblades, you can find the other honorblade holders?

Brandon Sanderson

The 2002 version, he thought that's how it worked, but it actually just led him to the other honorblades, because he had never seen a Herald without their sword before. It doesn't even work in the 2002 version; he ends up finding the honorblades, but no Heralds. He finds the place that they abandoned them later on. So, no.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#31 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A full-blown Radiant can heal almost anything (cut from a Shardblade included) because of the way the magic works--their soul is literally bonded to investiture, and it suffuses them in such a way that even the soul is very resilient to damage.

Honorblades are what you'd consider a "prototype" for what eventually happened with Shardblades. An Honorblade can be used by anyone, without need for oaths, which makes them very dangerous--but since the bond isn't as deep, they are far less efficient. They use more stormlight, for example, and can't heal to the extent that a Radiant can.

So the difference is not in the device that did the damage, but in the method using to heal. Over the course of the first two book, the reader should be able to subtly pick out differences from what Szeth says is possible(in more than just healing) and what Kaladin experiences.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#37 Copy

Moogle

If a non-Windrunner Surgebinder (who had spoken all the Ideals of their Radiant Order) summoned Jezrien's Honorblade, what color eyes would they get? A blend? Different colors for each eye?

Brandon Sanderson

:) I'm going to RAFO eye color questions for the moment. We'll actually be dealing with some of these in the books. Maybe not the specific ones you ask, but the concepts in general.

Orem Signing ()
#38 Copy

treegrass

How long does it take to summon an Honorblade? Is it ten heartbeats or instant?

Brandon Sanderson

So, Honorblades, as far as anyone knows is ten sec- ten heartbeats. If you were to ask Szeth how long it would take, he would say ten heartbeats.

treegrass

But they're not?

Brandon Sanderson

I am not saying that. I am saying if you ask Szeth, if you ask the current bearer of Jezrien's Blade, they would all say it takes ten heartbeats.

Questioner 2

What about for the Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO there.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#39 Copy

LoneWarmonger

If you take Bondsmith Honorblade, will you be able repeat Dalinar's Perpendicularity trick, or it is something special only Dalinar can do for a different reason?

When Dalinar repairs temple does he use Bondsmith power or...something else? If first, which Surge does he use?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

LoneWarmonger

I expected to get RAFO...But is Oathbringer a Bondsmith book or Skybreaker book? I know it was supposed to be Szeth/Skybreaker, but changed to Dalinar/Bondsmith. And still we learnt more about Skybreakers than Dalinar and his strange abilities. Will book 5 have more of Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Books 5 will have a lot of Dalinar. Once it is out, you'll be able to see why it could have been a Bondsmith book--but I think it's better this way, with Book 3 being the Bondsmith book.

LoneWarmonger

Thank you, Mr Sanderson, I'm pleased with the choice, but I guess, I just wanted to learn more about Dalinar's powers in his book, he's my favorite character. Even after HIS book, his abilities are a mystery. But I'm exited to hear I'll get more in the future. Please, don't keep Dalinar on the background, he's the best.

Brandon Sanderson

Note that book four may see less of him, as he steps back a little (like each of the characters will for a book or two here and there) but book five has him as a focus again.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#40 Copy

mooglefrooglian

1) How simple is it to bond an Honorblade? Is it just a matter of willing it? Shardblades need gemstones, but it seems like Honorblades might not even need those.

2) Do you need to be bonded to an Honorblade to Surgebind? Or is just holding it in your hand sufficient?

3) Do you need to be bonded to an Honorblade for it to change your eye color? Or would holding it in your hand be sufficient to do the eye color trick?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#43 Copy

luke.spence (paraphrased)

You mentioned that human can’t bond Honorblades, but Nalan tells Szeth that his bond with his Honorblade has been broken. Can you clear this up?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Humans CAN bond Honorblades. There's a crucial difference between Honorblades and Shardblades. When you drop an Honorblade, it does not disappear, even if it has been bonded. A Shardblade will disappear when dropped.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner

What's this sword's *points at replica of Jezrien's Honorblade* name? Do you have-- have you named Szeth's blade?

Brandon Sanderson

Various people have named the swords various things. I just-- I'm not going to canonize it right now, but it's had many names over the years...

Questioner

Can you give me one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

...I mean-- just "the Assassin's Blade."

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#45 Copy

uchoo786

I was wondering, if one were to take an honorblade to Nalthis (I think that's the Warbreaker planet?), would it function like a minor version of Nighblood?

And could one fuel one of these shards with other forms of investiture, not gas based like breath and stormlight, e.g. Burning metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades will not lose or change functionality when taken off of Roshar.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

You mentioned that the Heralds could sense each other's location--

Brandon Sanderson

Only in that version of the story... In that version of the story he actually gets his sword and it lets him sense and it leads him, not to the other Heralds, but the other Honorblades. He was mistaken even about that power because they have never separated from them before. And so, he thinks that he's going to find the other Heralds and he just finds their abandoned Blades.

It was very cool in the context of that book. But of course, where the other Honorblades are now is not necessarily a mystery anymore. It doesn't kinda work in the current continuity.