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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#2 Copy

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.

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.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

So far all the spren that have bonded to humans appear to be emotion-based as opposed to nature-based. Is that true for all the Knights Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Well it depends. For instance: how would you define Wyndle?

Questioner

I struggled with that one.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh hm. So I would say that you are on the right track, that there is a definite inclination that direction.

Questioner

Towards Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There is.

Questioner

Is there other surges then, that are more Cultivation-exclusive or other Knights Radiant that are...?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll RAFO that, but the original Knights Radiant are more focused on Honor and his spren.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
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LettersWords

The Fused only use nine of the Surges (they don't use Adhesion), and Raboniel describes Adhesion as "not a true Surge." Does this mean, in its original form on Ashyn, Surgebinding had no equivalent to Adhesion, and it was created by Honor later?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a valid way of theorizing, and I would encourage you to go that direction. Raboniel is biased. So take those two sentences as separate things. Do be aware she is very, very biased, but also your theorizing could bear fruit going that direction.

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.

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/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.

JordanCon 2021 ()
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Questioner

I was wondering about the spirit behind "strength before weakness." It's one that, the more I think about it practically, the more I think I'm missing it. 

Brandon Sanderson

So there are several sort of ways that I interpret it, and like all of them, I want to interpret them differently through the books. Rhythm of War digs into the "strength before weakness" a little bit more. Like the other two, there is a natural sort of sense of it. We are strong and everyone will be weak. And the idea is that you are strong for the weak when the weak cannot be strong, because someone will need to be there for you to be strong when you are weak. Is like the core concept of it. Everybody is weak sometimes; everybody is strong sometimes, and we need each other. And that's kind of the philosophy behind "strength before weakness."

/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.

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.

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.

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.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Lightflame

You've confirmed that several Heralds have appeared or been mentioned in the modern (non-prelude, non-vision) parts of The Way of Kings. Have any members of the Knights Radiant (the one from the days of Urithiru, not near-Radiants like Kaladin) appeared in the modern parts of The Way of Kings? And if you have to RAFO me, could you give me a hint about the Heralds?

Brandon Sanderson

I can answer that--no, no Radiants from those days have appeared on screen in [The Way of Kings].

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 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.

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.

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.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
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MoriWillow

You once mentioned something called "Honor's purposes" to Argent/Evgeni. Are these purposes the same or related to the core theme of each of the Knights Radiant Orders? For example, unity, protection, justice.

Brandon Sanderson

That gives me a lot of wiggle room. Related to, yes, but that's a wiggly answer.

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.

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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VindicationKnight

Do you mind telling us what the average number of Knights for a Knight Radiant Order were (barring Bondmiths) and possibly how close the different orders worked together?

Brandon Sanderson

It varied very widely, and depended on many factors. At their highest, some orders had members in the low thousands.

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.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Would you be able to write the... Second Ideal of the Truthwatchers?

Brandon Sanderson

...It's a RAFO. There's a lot of stuff about the Truthwatchers in [Oathbringer], that's gonna make it complicated to do that, okay? ...Yeah, it's really complicated, and those are things I'm not gonna probably canonize for another couple of books, for reasons that will be very clear by the end of this book.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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Questioner

I can't really remember very well, but I think only Kaladin really says Radiant Oaths in the books, at least. So, for Shallan to have as many powers as she does, has she already said one of the ideals, and we just don't know?

Brandon Sanderson

...You have her glyph whisper one. And you have seen Dalinar say one. So, most of them say them. Shallan's Order, they admit truths. Their Oaths are a very different sort of thing.

Questioner

'Cause I know, I did read that, but I was wondering-- it said somewhere else that all the Knights Radiant have to say the First Ideal.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they do have to do that.

Questioner

So, she has said that.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, she has said that. That is somewhere in her past.

Questioner

Which, presumably, we'll find out about some other point in time?

Brandon Sanderson

Possibly. I think that can be inferred.

Holiday signing ()
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Questioner

The cover of, the front cover of any Way of Kings books, there's the little engraving, are those Honorblades?

They are the symbols of the various orders of Knights Radiant stylized as Honor-- as Shardblades.

Questioner

Oh, okay. That makes a lot more sense, because I've seen the symbols on the back...

Brandon Sanderson

*pointing at the book* So it's this symbol right here is the same symbol as this.

Questioner

Right, it's just a little more expanded and stuff down the blade.  Wow.

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.

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.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
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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 act but when you see Skybreakers affect gravity it'll be more or less the same as the Windrunners.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

The next tattoo I'm going to get will be the Oaths from the Windrunners, because they are a huge part of my life. And I was just wondering if you'd be able to give me one of them? There's two more, right?

Brandon Sanderson

There are more Oaths.

Questioner

Or if you could tell me which books they're going to come out in, so I can plan on--

Brandon Sanderson

So that's a huge spoiler, and they're recording me right now. So I can, maybe, if you promise you're not going to share this on the internet... So I can give you Oath #3. That'll be it for a while

Questioner

Okay, that's fine. I appreciate it...

Brandon Sanderson

That's the wording as I have it in my head right now. I might not use the exact words, but that's okay because the Oaths are concepts and each person who speaks them will speak them slightly differently. Like you will see in future books people speaking Oaths you have seen before, they'll be slightly reworded to match their personality. But that's the concept. You might be able to see that it's a very important thing.

FanX 2021 ()
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Questioner

In The Stormlight Archive, will there ever be a point where we'll get to know what all of the different Orders are and all their abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the fifth book? Or is that gonna be at the very end?

Brandon Sanderson

It'll be at the very end. Basically, to preserve some of the excitement and discovery, you'll notice me just kind of cutting away before some of those powers get used, and things. Just so when the books about those people happen, I am more able to explore it on the page and have more fun with it.

Questioner

Is it gonna be like, after the fifth book, is gonna end those main characters and you're gonna show the next generation?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not next generation. It's the same characters throughout them all, but the back five will have different flashback sequences. So, the back five will have flashbacks from Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Taln, and Ash. Characters from the first five are still gonna be the main characters. But, like you didn't get, in this one, any Jasnah flashbacks; Jasnah's flashbacks are in the back five, and they'll be kind of *inaudible*.