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Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Iceblade44

So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

Shadows of Self Boston signing ()
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AndrewStirlingMacDonald (paraphrased)

Are there any other Davars that are Invested?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*laughs* That is TOTALLY a RAFO.

AndrewStirlingMacDonald (paraphrased)

I mean, I knew it, when I asked.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

"Are there any?" is an odd question. Depends on what time you're talking about. But let's just say there are few people in all of Roshar who've gotten as far as Shallan.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Lift as an Edgedancer. Doesn't seem very coordinated, which seems to be the preeminent part of being an Edgedancer. Was Lift actually maybe better for another Order?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that, in the eyes of some of the spren, taking somebody who maybe doesn't quite fit the mold for your Order but has the heart that fits it is a better choice. And I think Lift and Wyndle and some of the texts may be comparing what someone at the beginning of the journey to someone near the end of their journey. So let's just give her a little time.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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unknown

One Wayne and Wax question left in me that I can't get out of my head. What exactly made you decide upon their combination of abilities? Did you focus on the abilities and what they can do, or did you want to give those two characters specific sets of weaknesses and then went from there?

Brandon Sanderson

I built them like I built the original Mistborn thieving crew, actually. I decided their roles, then picked powers to compliment them. This is opposite of the Stormlight archive, where I have the orders, and I fit people to them.

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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drabgod

In Words of Radiance we find that Pattern is very literal-minded (at least until Shallan corrupted him), and mathematically-inclined. Even his real name is just a mathematical construct. And his head is a fractal. When I think of Pattern, I think "logic" and "truth", not "art" and "lies".

If all Cryptics are like this, then I wonder why they (and not artistic spren like Wyndle) are the ones attracted to the artistic Lightweavers. Is this just a matter of "opposites attract"? Are spren naturally drawn to people with personal qualities they themselves do not have? I am reminded of the Divine Attributes, and it seems like Shallan has the "Creative" side while Pattern has the "Honest" side. Is that a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

These things are not coincidences.

I have some very interesting rationals why certain spren are involved with certain orders. I never wanted it to be so straightforward as, "Oh, you control pressure? Here's a spren dedicated to that power." I feel there is more intricacy, and honesty, to a system that isn't so "on the nose" as we say in writing.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

Why does the Shardbearer-- when they are dueling with Adolin and Renarin-- Why does the Shardbearer freak out when Kaladin grabs the sword? The <Shardbearer> like... He screams, and he's like, "I didn't kill you", and ran away.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Why does he do that?

Brandon Sanderson

Because when Kaladin was there, and they were touching it, they actually heard the spren that was inside of it. Right? Because when an--

Questioner

So it wasn't Syl that he heard, it was the sword.

Brandon Sanderson

It was the sword's spren... that Kaladin was touching it. When the Knight Radiant touches it-- You can see when other Knights Radiant pick up swords, they can hear the screaming.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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luxgladius

Do you already have a fully fleshed-out idea of all 10 orders of the Knights Radiant, or are you still coming up with them and their Ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

All ten orders are finished and worldbuilt. (I feel pretty good about them.) However, I could decide to move some things around as I write.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Questioner

Why are there so many Kholins that are Radiants? Is there a story reason or...

Brandon Sanderson

There is a story reason, kind of. So the Kholin family is in Alethkar, which was the hereditary-- one of the homes of the Knights Radiant. It's still kind of in the forefront of the-- how shall we say-- the collective unconscious and things like this. Plus there's--

Questioner

And then they are on the forefront of that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I mean-- Yeah. And so the spren, some of them are naturally looking for where a lot of Radiants used to be. So it's just a higher concentration of spren around the area, if that makes sense?

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Are we going to hear much about Dustbringers in the near future?

Brandon Sanderson

So--

Questioner

'Cause I don't know why but I'm really curious about them.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but it's going to be very slight for a little while. I'm intentionally digging into these magics somewhat slowly, all the different orders, just so we have time to get used to them. They're one of the later ones. Let's talk more about Bondsmiths and Skybreakers before we do that.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner

We know, especially in Oathbringer, that Surges can work differently for different Orders, but we've also seen the Skybreakers and [Windrunners] with flight, and the Truthwatchers and [Edgedancers], they both can do Regrowth, so is there some way that those actually work differently?

Brandon Sanderson

Each of them works a little differently for each Order. There are slight variations, but they are each drawing upon the same source concept.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Would it be harder for Jasnah to Soulcast a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Would it be harder for her to Soulcast a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Investiture resists Investiture. It's harder for her to even Soulcast a person than a rock, right?

Questioner

Is a Mistborn Invested?

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn, while they're burning the metal. They are not specifically Invested when they are not burning. When the Investiture becomes active, then yes. Before, no.

Blightsong

So Kelsier, he stayed around longer, not because he was Invested, but because he had the potential to use Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Over time using the magic will Invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either [he cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought] so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the Mistborn are as Invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority, bulk, of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the Spiritweb. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the Spiritual Realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them is harder.

Questioner

Would they be harder with more Stormlight or metals burning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. That would increase the difficulty ratio. For instance, wearing Shardplate is gonna be a great barrier, right, and things like that so yeah. The problem is like, Invested is the wrong term for that, their Spiritweb is connected in different ways.

YouTube Livestream 8 ()
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Questioner

Did you do any research into the Knights Templar when you were preparing to write about the Radiants?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. I find the Knights Templar fascinating, and I've often read about them and been interested in them. When I was coming up with the Knights Radiant, the origins of them didn't have... I didn't even call them the Knights Radiant in the first draft, the first version of Way of Kings. So some of these connections that now seem pretty clear with the ancient order that has fallen away and is being restored, and even the titling, didn't really exist in the early ones. I would say they're there in the back of my brain, certainly, and would be an unconscious influence. But a lot of the things that you might say, "Hey, these came from the Knights Templar," didn't. But were more of a parallel evolution sort of thing as I figured out what I wanted the Knights Radiant to be.

Tor Instagram Livestream ()
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Questioner

Could new Orders eventually be formed?

Brandon Sanderson

This is plausibly possible but highly, highly unlikely. A lot of things are possible in the Stormlight Archive that are highly unlikely. So I rarely say "no," because I built the magic systems of the cosmere to be able to do a lot of things, 'cause I knew I was going to be writing in a lot of different worlds. Which means that very few things are completely off-limits. But there's a lot of things that are unlikely to happen.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

When you were coming up with names for the Orders of the Knights Radiants, did you have any names that you liked but couldn't include?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the names I liked but discard were tossed because they sound too much like other compound words I've used, or other terminology in the cosmere. Shardbearer is already troublesome enough; I want to avoid others like this. The toughest one to name was Renarin's order, because most of the ideas I came up with over the years ended up being repeats. Others, like Stoneward and Windrunner, were powerful enough in my mind that when I wrote later cosmere books, I intentionally stayed away from terms that would sound too similar.

Paris signing ()
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Narkac

KR seemed to have opposite gender spren. Why is Glys male then? Is there something hidden there?

Brandon Sanderson

More naturally, the spren is opposite gender but it doesn't have to be. It's not a indication necessarily of homosexuality, but sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. More often, you'll attract spren of the opposite gender, but spren genders are very fluid anyway. You're not supposed to read anything specific into that.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Doc_John (paraphrased)

Hey! If you had the correct Intent in mind, could you Command a Lifeless to follow a Knight's Radiant Ideal? Like could you command it to "Protect those who cannot protect themselves"

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, this would be possible, though it would depend on the Lifeless and circumstances on how good a job they do at it. The command is a little abstract, and could end up not working as well as you want it to.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
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Questioner

At the end of Oathbringer, or near the end, Kaladin is talking to Syl about not getting Shallan or whatever, and he says that she really just reminded him of someone, who is it that she reminded him of?

Brandon Sanderson

She reminded him of Tien, his brother, because his brother was a burgeoning Lightweaver, and Lightweavers, you'll notice, when they're around someone, that person starts to act a little bit more like a little bit of their best self. There's a bit of, also, counteraction to feelings of darkness and despair, it's just a natural Lightweaver sort of thing. And so, part of what Kaladin was drawing from Shallan was that feeling. I think it could've totally become love. And he's now cutting that off, he's saying it couldn't at all have become-- it could have. But that was part of what was drawing him in.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

So we know some Orders are of-- Radiant are of Honor and Cultivation, right? So Jasnah is more logical and is definitely kind of, you know, set in stone about her ways. But Shallan, she's got a lot of personal growth and I know-- So I'm wondering is Shallan like one of the Orders that is of Cultivation?

Brandon Sanderson

In their-- They would theorize that's more Cultivation than Honor.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Truthwatcher_17.5

Are you ever gonna make an official quiz that sorts people into Knights-- Knights Radiant? 

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I'm less likely to do a quiz and more likely to do a list of-- kind of attributes and traits and requirements. I feel that some people are more likely to be able to sort themselves than a quiz sorting them. Granted, it does depend on the spren also, so there are two parties in this. And so, you don't have absolute influence over which order you might end up in. But it is possible to be viable as a candidate for multiple orders and it also is going to depend on the spren.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Blightsong

What did Ivory mean by the Skybreakers living in death? 

Brandon Sanderson

Ivory likes contradictions, they fascinate him. And he is saying that they live in death in that they kill a lot. It's a philosophical sort of thing. He's making an Ivory observation, it's not something you're supposed to take as a pronouncement of nature or reality. 

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I know at the end of Words of Radiance Syl shows she can turn into different forms, not just a sword. Why do they not... Or why do none of the other past Radiants really show that they have done that. Because normally in the flashbacks they are shown just being swords.

Brandon Sanderson

So the Shardblades came from spren seeing the Honorblades, which were created for mankind, and being like "I can do that". That is what they were imitating.

Questioner

So that's what they wanted...

Brandon Sanderson

No, that's how they see themselves and how they are seen. They can change into other things...

Questioner

They just never...

Brandon Sanderson

But when you let go of one it's going to become a sword again.

Questioner

Oh, I just meant in all the visions they were always portrayed as swords. Was that just for...

Brandon Sanderson

That's cultural, like this is... One thing that is interesting is you are going to see that the new Radiants don't have... I mean the Radiants you have seen almost all of them are after thousands of years of Radiants and Orders and you have certain things that you do.

So the writing reason was I didn't want to give away...

Questioner

That's what I was going to ask.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a writing reason behind it. I didn't want to do that and give too much away. I already worried that having Syl shift shapes as often as she did through the first book was going to be a big clue to people and I wanted to hold off on giving away too much.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Were the ideals of the Knights Radiant consciously chosen, or did they happen naturally?

Brandon Sanderson

*apprehension*. This is one of those vague ones in that yes and no. They are a natural outgrowth of the spren, but the spren are a natural outgrowth of human's perception of natural forces, but the spren are sentient, so I would say it's a little more by instinct than not. For example two Knights Radiant in the same Order might speak the words differently, but the concept is the same. You will see this happen in a future book, where a Windrunner will speak the oaths. It's a slightly different take on the same concept. Some are moreso, like Shallan's oaths are very individualized truths, so.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

I know Hemalurgy [has to go to mix and match powers], would it be possible to use Feruchemy for Connection to hack into multiple Knights Radiant, kind of act as a Squire to more than one at the same time.

Brandon Sanderson

Great question! I think you could make this work. I think it would take a little bit of legwork, but I think what you're wanting to do could indeed work. More likely in that case though, you could probably be a Squire to multiple Orders. *Hesitantly* Yeah...I think that would work, but I don't think it's the easiest way to do what you want to do. I think there are easier ways.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

What's with Kaladin being special with his oaths that he explodes with power every time he says it?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a function of Windrunners being very close to Bondsmiths, which has certain effects.

Questioner

Would other Windrunners also do that, as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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Algafi

I also have the theory that Huio will swear Dustbringer oaths (taking spanreeds apart to see how they work and a badass Shardhammer). And I want to get my first RAFO so:

Can a KR swear 2 order oaths after obtaining a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Overlord Jebus

The Knights Radiants have access to two Surges each, are the two Surges completely seperate or can they be combined together? Something like maybe allowing a Lightweaver to create a solid illusion by combining their Illumination Surge and their Soulcasting?

Essentially, do each of the Orders have a special talent only they can do that isn't available to any other Order?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they do, but it's not always directly obvious in a straightforward way, such as your example.

Overlord Jebus

Would the lashing system be an example of this? Full lashings apppear to be mostly Adhesion and and the basic lashing seems to be mostly Gravitational, does this mean Bondsmiths will be able do full lashings and Skybreakers can use partial and basic lashings?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner

From what little we know about the Willshapers, I'm really interested in them. Is there any really tiny tidbit about that Order you could tell us? Even really small?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the first Orders that I developed when I was building the magic systems was the Willshapers... Very excited to do a story about them.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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Questioner

In Words of Radiance, there's a fragment that says that the Bondsmiths have a power that none of the other Orders have.

Brandon Sanderson

That will be answered in a future book... *discussion on RAFOs* Basically, each of the Orders actually had their own quirks and individual things. Some of them were more dramatic than others. But if you watch through, you'll be seeing that they kind of have some different effects that aren't related necessarily to the Surges.

Questioner

So, then follow-up question, the reason that the Bondsmiths don't get Shards is because they have that extra power?

Brandon Sanderson

The reason is because the Stormfather is particularly-- how he is. And he's more cantankerous than he was, even in the past...

Each of the Orders, I wanted to have a lot of individuality. I didn't want them to all just be different copy-clones. You'll also find that they also have very different philosophies on even things like honor and what is good and things like that.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Cemci

Have we-- I think you mentioned in a previous signing that we'd already met one member of every Order of the Knights Radiant.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I think you have.

Cemci

My question is, have we met two Edgedancers? And is one of the Dustbringers a viewpoint character?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the Dustbringers is eventually a point-of-view character.

Cemci

Haven't been yet?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not yet, I don't think. But it depends if you count the Heralds as members of their order.

Cemci

I don't.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, see I would, because they're kind of heads of their Order. If you don't count them you have not met some from every Order.

Cemci

Have we met someone from the Dustbringers?

Brandon Sanderson

Well-- Dustbringers are really complicated. Really complicated. So that's the weird one. Okay? So let's shelve that one. You'll see why it's really weird later on.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Questioner

In Stormlight, with Kaladin and his brother Tien, is there a connection or a reason why, whenever his brother finds a rock, that keeps coming up several times?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, there's a couple themes going on here. One is just the subtle theme that Tien tends to find beauty in things that Kaladin finds dull. That's, of course, kind of the metaphor. But Tien also was a budding Lightweaver, and he saw color and light a little bit differently than other people did. And he has the same general effect that you'll see Shallan having on people, which is how the Lightweaver views you influences a little bit more how your mood is, and things like that... And there is a magical element to that, as well. There's both a metaphoric reason and an in-world reason.