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Boskone 54 ()
#1 Share

BeskarKomrk

[He started to ask the question and then realized that the book he had given him to sign was already signed, so there’s some unrelated stuff in there] When the Listeners change form, they do that by bonding with spren, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

BeskarKomrk

Are there specific spren that they need to bond with for specific forms?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

BeskarKomrk

Is the spren for dullform lifespren?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#2 Share

Questioner

When a Parshendi changes forms, are they taking different spren into their gemhearts?

Brandon Sanderson

When a Parshendi changes forms, they are *carefully* entering into a symbiotic relationship with a new spren.

Questioner

But-- *audience laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

That's the answer you're going to get. That's a RAFO.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#4 Share

Avatar_Yung-Thug

Quick question: I had a hard time "hearing" the Parshendi's singing in my head while reading The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Are there any real world examples you drew from you could give me so we have a better idea of what they sound like to you?

Brandon Sanderson

It was tough, as I didn't want to constrain their language in English to a certain rhythm, as I felt it would be too gimmicky on the page. I used Hindu chants in my head, though, so that might help.

Boskone 54 ()
#11 Share

yulerule

The parshendi didn’t have the emotions like Contempt, Ridicule [etc. before the Everstorm?]

Brandon Sanderson

They did have those emotions, but they didn’t match them to the Rhythms the same way. A wide variety of emotions can be matched to a rhythm. It doesn’t mean they didn’t have those emotions.

yulerule

So you are saying that, like Ridicule is a new version of Amusement, they could have used ridicule but say it to Amusement? [...]

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

yulerule

And that’s a harsher form, Ridicule?

Brandon Sanderson

That is just how the rhythms are named. I’ll leave it to your interpretation whether they are harsher or not. A rhythm is just a beat. Whether it is harsh or not depends on the interpretation of the person listening to it. But yes, you could have ridiculed people to Amusement before.

yulerule

But you have new rhythms.

Brandon Sanderson

You have new rhythms which have a different feel to them.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#12 Share

winter_cloud

Is there any more lyrics to the listener songs? If so, can you share some, please?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I went to a poet and had them rewrite my versions for me, as my poetry chops are pretty weak. So I don't have any more than the ones in the book.

Warsaw signing ()
#13 Share

Oversleep

Okay, so if we spiked a Listener with Feruchemical Nicrosil, could he store that spren and lose their form, and then bond another spren and then switch them?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna give you your third RAFO, because he's already got two. In part, because I don't wanna give spoilers for Oathbringer, and this answer could spoil some little bits of that.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#14 Share

Questioner

What happens to the spren the Parshendi bond when they switch form? So say if they're in soldier form, and they switch over to mate, what happens to that spren?

Brandon Sanderson

The spren is released.

Questioner

So when they took on void, they didn't kill their previous spren?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they don't kill when they-- No. That's a good question. Nope.

Questioner

Do those spren evolve in any way into something else?

Brandon Sanderson

Those spren that they are bonding with are generally what we call non-sapient spren, and so, no, and also the spren are barely aware that they-- they're bonded--- those spren, the non-voidspren, right? Like when they're bonding, generally what's happening is how... It's a symbiotic relationship, right? And the spren that gets bonded to them, it's just kind of like, "Oh, this is my life now! This is just normal. This is what's happened." The same thing happens with spren involved in greatshells and things like this. This is a natural part of the natural cycle for those spren.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#15 Share

Thadamin

Do shards need to be based on the same planet to create the interactions that made Feruchemy possible?

If the Parshendi are not originally from odium and are referred to as the ancient ones by spren then would that make the original Parshendi bonded to the Splinters that existed before Honor and Cultivation arrived the Dawnsingers?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#16 Share

BartimaeusTrilogyFan

Have you included (or do you potentially intend to include) any asexual characters in your published works? Asexual characters don't seem to be very common in fiction, and I'm sure it would be fantastic for people that identify as such to feel in any way represented by one of your characters!

Brandon Sanderson

I originally conceived the asexual nature of most Parshendi (from the Stormlight Archive) forms after reading a very thought-provoking article written by someone asexual. The idea of a primarily asexual race was a fascinating idea to me, and you will see this more in future books.

RobotAztec

can somene be born half-parshnedi or maybe even half-spren??

Brandon Sanderson

The Horneaters and the Herdazians are both descendants of Parshendi/human interbreeding.

Spren do not reproduce biologically. As such, the term "half-spren" is basically meaningless. You could argue that the Parshendi, when bonded to spren, are part spren--as are many creatures on Roshar, if they have a spren symbiosis.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#17 Share

Questioner

So is it the same thing with the Parshendi, are there other races that can do similar things and invest creatures like that themselves?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, ye-- In the cosmere, yes there are other things that do that but they're pretty rare, whereas things like seons and spren are actually only medium rare. They're some kind of medium common.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#18 Share

Nepene

You've mentioned several philosophical concepts used in the writing of your books, like Jung's collective unconsciousness, Plato's cave. Could you expand a bit on your use of those in your books, and whether you think it is necessary to use philosophy to make a good fantasy world?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think it's necessary at all. The writer's own fascinations--whatever they are--can add to the writing experience. But yes, some philosophical ideas worked into my fiction. Plato's theory of the forms has always fascinated, and so the idea of a physical/cognitive/spiritual realm is certainly a product of this. Human perception of ideals has a lot to do with the cognitive realm, and a true ideal has a lot to do with the spiritual realm.

As for more examples, they're spread through my fiction. Spinoza is in there a lot, and Jung has a lot to do with the idea of spiritual connectivity (and how the Parshendi can all sing the same songs.)

Nepene

Not completely sure where Spinoaza comes in. I guess the shards are part of the natural world and have no personality without a human wielder.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes on Spinoza there, and also the idea of God being in everything, and everything of one substance. Unifying laws. Those sorts of things. (Less his determinism, though.)

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
#21 Share

EHyde (paraphrased)

InĀ The Way of Kings, is assassination a common thing in the Parshendi culture, because it seems odd that they would have a specific custom for what assassins wear?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is something that happened quite a bit more in the past than it does now. But yes, you will find out much more about them. They are now more unified, but they used to be a bunch of different tribes, and they would send assassins into each other's camps.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#23 Share

Questioner

Why can Rock see Syl?

Brandon Sanderson

*pause* Okay time to pause the record-- This doesn't go online, okay? *Audio paused*

Questioner

Thank you sir.

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe you already knew that.

Argent

Do you ever get annoyed with us?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I thought I talked about the--

Questioner

Sparkflickers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah the-- So I mentioned both of them?
Footnote: When Brandon asks if he "mentioned both of them" he is referring to the fact that both the Unkalaki and Herdazians have listener blood.
/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#25 Share

samwisevimes

I had a question about the Parshendi, do they have a negotiating form? I ask because it seems they must have shifted forms before/just after the betrayal and are now stuck in war form, but if they had the ability to negotiate before why not now?

Brandon Sanderson

More of this will be answered in book two. They aren't 'stuck' in warform, but do have limited options.

Warsaw signing ()
#26 Share

Questioner

If you took a Parshendi... And they were born outside Roshar and never visited Roshar in their lives, would they hear the Rhythms <>?

Brandon Sanderson

Would they hear the Rhythms beyond Roshar... If you took one that was not born on Roshar, would they feel the Rhythms off-Roshar or just Rhythms in general?

Questioner

Rhythms in general.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they would sense <them>.

Questioner

<> beyond Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

What they are sensing... it's something that permeates the Cosmere but on Roshar has specific way of <>

Questioner

<is it the same thing that Soothers and Rioters are using?>

Brandon Sanderson

Now you're straying into RAFO territory <with your question/good question>...

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#27 Share

Phantine

So you said how stuff is stuffed into the soul changes what a bond can give. Is that like the difference between a Spren bonding a Person and and maybe Hemalurgy forcing a bond or is it more like the difference with how Parshendi form bonds with Spren?

I guess a better way to say that is would the bond be different if a human created the bond with a Spren not a Spren Bonding with a human?

Brandon Sanderson

These things are all important parts of the system, and I'm curious to see where fans go in exploring the possibilities and theories related to it.

...

RAFO

General Reddit 2015 ()
#28 Share

HorseCannon

I didn't realize horneaters had parshmen blood, didn't even realize that was possible. How closely are humans and parshmen related, do they have a common ancestor? Or is one an artificially created version of the other?

Brandon Sanderson

There was intermixing long ago. Horneaters and Herdazians are both a result. (Signs of this are the stone carapace on Herdazian fingernails and the Horneater extra jaw pieces--in the back of the mouth--for breaking shells.)

Humans and parshmen don't have a common ancestor. And as a side note, both of these strains of humanoids predate the ascension of Honor, Cultivation, and Odium.

ccstat

Are there Aimian-Human hybrids as well? (Either type of Aimian) If so, are the Thaylen people one of these?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Blightsong

*via private message*

Some of us believe that you are saying that humans and listeners existed pre-Shattering while some of us believe that you are saying that Horneaters and Herdazians existed pre-Shattering (you have mentioned that humans had been on Roshar since before the Shattering recently). What were you trying to say here?

Brandon Sanderson

Humans (other than those on Yolen) existed pre-Shattering, as did parshmen.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#33 Share

Questioner

A dullform listener is indoors when the Everstorm passes over, will they be transformed into a Voidform?

Brandon Sanderson

No. It depends on the strength of the boundary between them, but it is possible for them-- And also being transformed, taking new forms is-- There is a measure of will behind it, meaning-- For instance, even when Eshonai took the new form, she had herself open to taking a new form. By the time she didn't want to, it was too late. But she had made the decision, even though she'd been kind of misled in some ways. If a parshmen were in-- even in the Everstorm, and aggressively didn't want this to happen, I'm not saying it won't, but I'm saying there is room for discussion of whether or not they would change there. But also one who does want to, and is-- there's only a little pane of glass and things like that, then-- Yeah.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#35 Share

RenegadeShroom

You said earlier that Parshendi are primarily asexual, does that extend to all Listeners -- parshmen, and those descended from Listeners, like Horneaters and Herdazians -- or is it just the Parshendi?

Brandon Sanderson

Most Listener forms are asexual, but several forms are different, including slaveform. Horneaters and Herdazians are not, as a rule, though there are higher instances of asexuality among them.

uchoo786

I was actually wondering about how Parshmen would reproduce if they are only in slaveform? I thought one had to be in mateform in order to reproduce?

Also, could Horneaters and Herdazians change forms as well?

Brandon Sanderson

For the first, mateform is not the only form capable of producing--any more than warform is the only one capable of swinging a sword. The forms are specializations.

For the second, RAFO.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#36 Share

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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#37 Share

Argent

Would a parshman who received multiple breaths, or any other type of Investiture, be able to gain sentence or become more like listener-- Kind of like mistwraith/kandra?

Brandon Sanderson

That would require some Identity changes and transformations.

Argent

So it's not just a dump of--

Brandon Sanderson

It's not just a dump. It's a biological thing for them, they've adapted. So they've evolved to the point where this sort of thing-- It would be like trying to power DC with AC current or the wrong voltage or something like that... I mean once you figure it out it could be an easy hack but finding out that hack it's like-- You know it's like going back to people in the 1800's and being like "Why don't you guys have electricity?" *laughter*
Oathbringer release party ()
#39 Share

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

Could a Parshendi form a bond with an intoxicationspren?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Theoretically possible, yes.

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

Would it look ugly?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It may not be the best idea they ever had.

Oathbringer release party ()
#40 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do koloss have hair?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...It depends on the form. Some do, some don't. But, in general, they do. But it's not-- Here's the thing, it's not quite hair. They're not mammalian.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What are they if they're not mammalian?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They are their own-- uh, yeah.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#44 Share

RankWeis

I've been thinking about the Parshendi and I guess this is as good a place to ask as any - when the parshendi change, there's an obvious change in the physical realm, and there seems to be a change in the cognitive realm as well. Is there a change in the spiritual realm? I know we haven't dug much into it, but it seems like a change in the spiritual realm is very difficult or impossible - if you could change in the spiritual realm is it really the same 'thing' at the end of the process? Mostly I'm curious about the first question...the second question is more of a philosophical train of thought.

Brandon Sanderson

Things in the spiritual realm do change, but subtly. For instance, a person's spiritual component knows how old they are.