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

Questioner

The Knights each have two Surges, they spill over each. I am wondering, is the crossover [shared] Surge for each Knight [Order] the same? Like gravity for Windrunners and--

Brandon Sanderson

Windrunners are always the same thing.

Questioner

No no no, the way the [Gravitation] Surge is for Skybreakers and--

Brandon Sanderson

The way they act? Yes. To an extent, yes. Each of the combinations make a little bit of a tweak to how things but when you see Skybreakers affect gravity it'll be more or less the same as the Windrunners.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

How about the other way around? Can a Parshendi bond a Knights Radiant spren?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Historically, the Parshendi were not made Knights Radiant, or the parshmen weren't.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Can they become squires maybe?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Historically they did not, but it's not impossible.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

Dalinar Ascends, right? Like, right then, there.

Brandon Sanderson

I have RAFO'd that. Whether he is Ascending or not is a RAFO.

Questioner

Okay, because I know he kind of mentions from that, I don't know how to say his name but the older guy who has the Diagram--

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, yeah. Whether that deserves to be a capital "A" or not is a matter of argument. It can be disputed.

Questioner

I guess my main question would just be Dalinar's now able to pull Stormlight and give it to people now.

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely can. That is a Bondsmith power, so.

Questioner

That is a Bondsmith power, okay.

Brandon Sanderson

That is specifically a Bondsmith power.

Questioner

Because my roommate was saying well, the Stormfather was surprised he could do that or was the Stormfather surprised that he was able to bridge--

Brandon Sanderson

He was surprised by what was happening to Dalinar as a whole.

Questioner

Oh okay, that's what I thought because I was like, because I felt like the Stormlight, that power would be a Bondsmith power.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say that the Stormfather and Odium were seeing something in Dalinar that, perhaps, the average person watching even who is knowledgeable about Surges would not completely understand... But he will be able to use that power and Bondsmiths in the past have used that same power.

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.

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

Kaladin kind of went back on his Oaths in the second book, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He started down that path.

Questioner

How could Shallan or Lightweavers go back on the Truths they make? And did Shallan do any of that in Oathbringer?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the Cryptics-- remember, how the spren is viewing this is very important. The Cryptics have an interesting relationship with truth. Harder to break your Oaths in that direction with a Cryptic. Harder to move forward, also, if you're not facing some of these things and interacting with them in the right way. But, while I can conceive a world that it could happen, it'd be really hard to for a Lightweaver to do some of the stuff. Particularly the ones close to Honor, you're gonna end up with more trouble along those lines, let's say.

Questioner

So then, what happened with the Lightweavers during the Recreance? Did they break their Oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

They did break their Oaths. I mean, breaking your Oaths as in "walking away from the first Oath" will still do it, regardless of what Order you are. You can actively say, "I am breaking my Oaths and walking away." Anyone has that option. But you also are holding the life of a spren in your hand.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Rah179

Could you give us a snippet about the Dustbringers? Or Willshapers?

Brandon Sanderson

Dustbringers never liked their name, and tried hard to get people to use another title for them.

awakenedtassel

Was there a mechanical reason they weren't able to effect the name change, or was it just because the new name didn't catch on?

Brandon Sanderson

The latter.

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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

The Skybreakers, are they from the old Radi-- the old Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they've still been around. Not all of them. They aren't still alive-- The ones back then are not still alive, but they have an unbroken chain. The only Order that has that. They're the only one that didn't abandon their Oaths.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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RayW2

What is the most powerful Radiant Order? Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

"Power" is related to situation, perception, and need. A Bondsmith can probably draw the most raw investiture, depending on the situation--but comparisons like this ignore the heart of the matter. I don't look at people in the cosmere as having a "power level," because I don't consider it to be a good measure of the way the stories will play out.

Warsaw signing ()
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Questioner

If someone out of Roshar knows the Immortal Words, and he's, for example, a kandra, can he become a Knight?

Brandon Sanderson

So, becoming a Knight Radiant is up to the spren, right? Saying the Ideals, swearing the oaths, these sorts of things, you have to convince a piece of sapient Investiture that you deserve it, and that's the main thing.

Questioner

And the kandra?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the kandra would have to lots of fast talking, and there are a few more difficulties involved, but this is theoretically possible. For instance, taking some pieces of Investiture offworld are difficult.

/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 San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

On the eye colors on Roshar, there are some weird ones, like orange and yellow. Are those there for a specific reason, or are they just--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. The whole eye color thing is kinda based a little bit on the Knights Radiant, the eyes changing is involved there. What's normal eye colors to them, it's just normal to them. It's not weird to see violet eyes and things like that. But it would be weird to us.

Questioner

Did the eyes have to do with the Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Iceblade44

So White Sand [than Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Kriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flipin 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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AndrewHB (paraphrased)

Is Niccolò Machiavelli's political theory--the ends justify the means--incompatible with the Knights Radiant's First Oath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. Although many of the Orders of Knights Radiant would find Machiavelli's theory, that the ends justify the means, incompatible with additional oaths and/or values of that Order, there are some Orders who could accept a Machiavellian. (Brandon said that the Skybreakers are where a Machiavellian could find a home.)

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

What's the relationship between the Knights Radiant and their opposite gender spren? Is that important or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah it is slightly important.

Questioner

I have to RAFO it though?

Brandon Sanderson

It's more important narratively than it is in the world. It happens more often but it doesn't mean anything when it doesn't happen, does that makes sense? So it's slightly important, partialy it's a narrative trick. I want to keep some gender balance and it's a lot easier to play off someone different than yourself, and things like that so I naturally do that. It doesn't necessarily mean anything when I don't. It depends on the personality of the spren.

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.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

Is there anything about the Stonewards that you can share that's not a RAFO? I know they're coming later.

Brandon Sanderson

They are coming later, so not really. They were more of the Knights Radiant front line troops, as opposed to the Windrunners who were scouts. But you probably already knew that.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I actually wanted to get a tattoo of the Truthwatcher symbol. Are there any-- are there narrative reasons you would go against that?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, no.

Questioner

Are they-- would they be an order that's about using knowledge to help people?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Could I get an Ideal if possible?

Brandon Sanderson

Of them? I can't do 'em because I don't want to canonize them yet, I have to do that when I actually write the books.

Questioner

But it is broadly speaking knowledge and help?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

General Reddit 2011 ()
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gunslingers

The number 10 seems to be a recurring theme in this world. Are the "ten fools" the antithesis of the ten orders of the knights radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, ten is a number of mythological import in the world. The Ten Fools are, essentially, the opposites of the Ten Heralds--who each represented an ideal. (Those ideals were later adopted by the orders of Knights Radiant, so yes, there is a connection--but there's a step between them.)

EuroCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

Hi. I have two questions about the Cosmere. The first one is if a Radiant can have a bond with two spren, and the other one is if Truthwatcher spren are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so RAFO on if a Knight Radiant can have two spren. But the second question was, "Are spren of Cultivation?" One more time?

Questioner

If the spren of the Truthwatchers are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher? Or both?

Brandon Sanderson

So, most of the sapient spren that form the Orders of Knights Radiant are related to a mixture of Honor and Cultivation. Some lean one direction much more than the other, and the spren of the Truthwatchers leans toward Cultivation.

JordanCon 2014 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

With Lift part of the inspiration was-- Boy, what was the inspiration for Lift? When I was building The Stormlight Archive I said, "I want the Knights Radiant to run the gamut of different character styles, ages, and types of story." And when you say "knight"--when I say knight you imagine one thing. What you don't imagine is a thirteen-year-old Hispanic girl, right? And I said "I want to have the people that are in the Knights Radiant to not be the standard what you think of." They are the entire world's cultures having different people. And so I said "Well, what is somebody who does not fit that mold?" That you would say is not a knight. Lift was partially developed out of me wanting to build a character who was awesome but was so different from what everyone would think of. 'Cause you say knight and they think of white dude in armor, and I wanted something very different from that. And that's where she came from. It also came partially from my wife reading a lot of fantasy and complaining that she's like, "you know the Asians show up in fantasy a lot, Asian culture inspires a lot. European culture of course does. You see a lot of these things but where are the Hispanics?"

*audience laughs*

...Yeah there's one. So she challenged me to put a Hispanic culture in my books because I had never done it before, and so Lift is an outgrowth of that, so are the Herdazians. They are meant to be sort of in the same way that the Alethi are inspired by Korean culture, mashed up with this sort of concept of medieval knights. The same way Shallan is based a little off of Western American/Europe culture. The Herdazians are launching off some of the original Hispanic concepts. So the thing is, you want every culture to be new and original but you are working from somewhere. And the problem is we all work from the same stories for so long that is part of the reason why fantasy is starting to feel so stale.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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lupicorn

I had a question about what it means to swear the Ideal of Law. Several fans have told me it means to define the law, in the Nixon, "when the president does it, that means it is not illegal," sort of way. I interpret it as becoming the embodiment of the law such that they can't willingly violate any law without breaking their oaths.

Do either of these interpretations hit the mark? Nale seems to follow the law more so than most and that doesn't just seem like a personal preference.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that both of these interpretations could work for a given Skybreaker, which is why there is disagreement among the order itself. Perception is a big part of the oaths.

I wouldn't want to squish this discussion by offering too much on one side or the other, as this is exactly where I want the conversation to be going right now.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

Why is it that Allomancers and Feruchemists get either one or all of the powers? Radiants / Surgebinders being limited to two Surges makes sense, because it depends on the type of spren they bond with, but Allomancers?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not ready to answer this one yet, I'm afraid. So it's a RAFO.

Argent

Fair enough. Is this something we'll see explored in future (far future?) books, or will we need to bug you about it during signings / AMAs every few years?

Brandon Sanderson

It will explored in far future books, most likely.

BookCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

So Kaladin's in charge of the Windrunners, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is Lift in charge of the Edgedancers?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to see in the next book. Lift is the first Edgedancer they've found. Lift is not so good at being in charge of anything... So I wouldn't probably say the first one discovered has to be in charge. Different Orders of the Knights Radiant lend themselves to different styles of organization. Like, some of them are a lot more disorganized than the Windrunners, who you'll see have a very militaristic organization to them.

/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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

All right. So...things do get confusing whenever I'm trying to circumlocute spoilers. I could have smacked myself for forgetting to mention "no spoilers" before the Q&A. I keep forgetting that there are many readers who are not as sensitive to these things as I am. (Though one woman did gasp in the row behind that guy asking the question--as his original one mentioned Sadeas's death, I believe.)

I will say that there are multiple people I'd consider well on the path to being Radiants by the end of Book Three, and several of these would--shall we say--dispute KR traditions from the past, specifically on this subject matter. (What makes someone eligible to become a KR.) So this discussion is relevant for multiple reasons.

I wasn't trying to drop any bombs about Adolin, however, as I remain very solidly in RAFO territory about his future.

Enasor

Thank you for taking the time to clarify this one Mr Sanderson.

This WoB created a massive shock-wave all across the fandom and many readers were taking you had officially confirmed Adolin was "well on his way towards Knighthood" which I was personally convinced was very deeply into the RAFO territory, as it should be.

Perhaps in order to also settle some additional debates, would you say Adolin would challenge what has traditionally made someone eligible to become a KR or is this within RAFO territory too? Readers can never seem to agree on how perfect Adolin actually is. We seem to find rationals for both.

Brandon Sanderson

I hate to use terms like "perfect" or the like. It's even difficult to (when not speaking in world) use some of the terminology the KR have used in the past--as we have to reconcile several things.

How do you decide what is a mental illness and what is simply a person's unique brain chemistry? Usually this comes down to two factors--the person's own feelings on it and the advice of medical professionals. Even language like "Well-adjusted," as I used before, is dangerous territory because it's so subjective. One need look only to the deaf community to find examples of people who challenge an outsider's perspective of what is a disease and what isn't.

So I generally prefer to talk about this through the character's viewpoint, the lens of historical commentary (which is in world, and may not therefore be accurate--but at least offers a perspective,) and the context of the book.

And in that context, I like Adolin being a RAFO. I believe that using the text, there are multiple directions one could go in discussing him.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
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Argent

There is a person on the forums who noticed that Shallan has this awesome Memory thing going on, Jasnah seems to have a really powerful, kind of, geolocation thing going on, Kaladin is a really good fighter - are those just their traits, or is there something supernatural going on?

Brandon Sanderson

There is something supernatural going on. Each Order... Well, how about this. If you look at the scholar interpretations, there are some scholars who think that these things are not supernatural, in the past, and some who said they definitely are. But many, if you look, many Lightweavers had powerful mnemonic abilities.

Argent

So it's definitely tied to the Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

It's tied to the Orders. Now, I am not going to say that you've got them all 100% correct, but each Order, there are things that come with Order, things that do not add up from simple the "you get this power plus this power," there is something else going on. And I would say that for Windrunners, watch the number of squires and the power of the squires... is abnormal for the Windrunners.

Argent

And each Order's squires are somehow different from the other Orders'?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeeeaaaah... some Orders don't have them, [that] is the difference.

Argent

 But some have more?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.