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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#1 Copy

Thadamin

How important are bonds like the Nahel Bond and a seon bond in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd say very important.

Thadamin

Is this kind of bond relatively common or is what seons, spren, and Nightblood do little more rare among Splinters. I'm specifically talking about the act of making bonds not a giving of magic powers really, that appearing to be function of Roshar. Also regarding your post about Stormlight 3 I am personally okay with 2000 pages if need be so make the chapters as long as you want.:)

Brandon Sanderson

The bonding is basically the same mechanic, regardless of the world, just with different flavoring. Roshar isn't the only place where the bond gives powers; it's a matter of what's stuffed into the soul, and how.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

I'm sensing a subtle metaphor between all of the Radiants, where it seems like their lives have caused them to be pressurized gems and now they get the cut from their Oaths. 

Brandon Sanderson

Nice job. Yeah.

Questioner

They're holding Stormlight better when they do that, right?

Brandon Sanderson

They are indeed.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

So, if you could take, whether capture or talk into a Radiant spren from Roshar that was no longer bonded to a Radiant, from Roshar to Nalthis, could you bond that spren to an awakened object? Could you take a spren from Roshar and either force it to or talk it into bonding an awakened object on Nalthis? 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh boy. That'd be really hard. 

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Extesian

Simple, harmless, totally non-contro one. Can a spren unilaterally sever a Nahel bond (i.e. where the Radiant doesn't agree and hasn't technically, according to spren and Radiant, broken an oath)?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, no controversy here at all.

This is possible. But I'm not going to go into the mechanics.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How do spren choose what human they'll bond with?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, it depends on the spren type. There's some spren that choose on their own, while there's other spren where it's done by committee. Wyndle, Lift's spren was placed with Lift by a committee. It's a culture difference. Some are free-spirited, others more organized.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner 1

Do all Soulcasters risk turning into the element or is it only those using the device?

Brandon Sanderson

All Soulcasters have an affinity but the ones using the device are locked down much more than the Soulcasters who are Knights Radiant.

Questioner 1

So they are protected from being turned into--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no they-- I wouldn't say protected... *clarificaiton* Protected is the wrong term but that event, the savanthood and how it affects them and things like that is much less pronounced if you are a [Knight].

Questioner 1

Or is that counteracted by the healing as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Healing doesn't have to do with it because-- in cosmere terms there's nothing wrong with your body, your spirit is actually drifting, and so it's not hurting you physically by what's happening with the magics. So it's not the healing but if you have an active bond with a spren it takes a little different path. Let's just say, in simple terms--

Questioner 1

You are not losing body parts to smoke.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are not using body parts to smoke. 

Questioner 1

What timeframe does it happen for the normal Soulcasters then?

Brandon Sanderson

For normal Soulcasters? It takes-- I mean, you've seen it happening in the books. We are talking [about] a process of years even decades, depending on the person. It happens to some--

Questioner 2

Depending on how often they Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how often they Soulcast, and it depends on the person. 

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Jurble

One I think might border even further on RAFO - in RoW, Dalinar accepts Kaladin's Fourth Ideal. I'm wondering, is it possible for Dalinar to... power-level a Radiant up to the Fifth Ideal by just accepting all their Oaths without regards to, you know, underlying fitness? Danger and safety issues aside. The Stormfather's comments on Ishar's powers being beyond the scope of what Honor allowed makes me assume he can.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO, as you expected. But without Honor around, some of the things he could do are kind of up for grabs.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

When you get, like, bonded with a spren-- the type of spren that is bonded to you, it depends on your personality and beliefs, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, mmhmm. The spren kind of choose, but they-- It's not a hundred percent choice. More like if they're drawn to it, things like that. So who you are, what your beliefs are, what your kind of moral code is can influence what type of spren you would get.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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yulerule (Paraphrased)

I also asked about the connection between the spren and Surgebinder, such that the spren turns into what the Surgebinder wants. Like in Edgedancer, [Wyndle] turns into a bar of metal and into a Shardfork. Wyndle himself isn't "in tune" with Lift, so his turning into something that she needs with no prior warning...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they actually mix. When the bonding is happening, what's happening is that the gaps in the souls are being filled with the spren's <essence>. And they are actually melding into one 

yulerule

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

And they are actually melding into one individual *inaudible*.

yulerule

<And the minds are separate?>

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, mhm.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Why is it called a Nahel bond?

Brandon Sanderson

That is a word in Rosharan. I'm not sure what it meant in 2002, but it basically just means "the bond to divinity." I'm not sure what the 2002 version of the linguistics played out as. I actually just called it Nahel in the original draft. I added "bond" in as I prepared this [Way of Kings Prime excerpt] for reading so it would make more sense to people.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner

We were talking that it's kind of a shame that Dalinar doesn't have his own "real" spren. I think it's an upgrade, is there a way I should think of this? Is it a cool thing or a bad thing?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a very cool thing, but it's also a very dangerous thing.

Questioner

Well [the Stormfather] controls the highstorms ... follow-up question: if he dies, does that affect the spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Dying, as long as the oaths are not broken, does not affect the spren in a very terrible way. There are effects.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#21 Copy

Argent

The namesake of the Nahel bond. Was that a person, or is just a name?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a word in original Alethi as I was working on it. And actually, the original didn't use "bond." Bond was implied by it. The word meant, "connection to the divine." It's gotten larger since then...

Blightsong

So when Vasher takes a similar name, he's trying to imply that meaning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

In the reading that you did, the Nahel bond, has it changed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, spren were added, and things like that. What he had would still be called a Nahel bond. A Nahel bond in the original definition means bond to divinity, but that's come to encompass a lot more in the cosmere, any time you're bonding with-- the bond between a soul and Investiture. But in the original version, it was more only with a Shard of Adonalsium or something like that.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Aradanftw

If you were to use Hemalurgy on a Surgebinder, would it steal the Surge or the actual spren bond?

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to steal the spren bond, but you've got to remember the spren has power over that bond. So what you're doing is (1) incredibly evil, even more evil, but (2) you may not end up with what you want, because that spren has free will in most cases. You may go through all this trouble and then they may break the bond, and you would be left without it. So you would need something else to force them to be unable to break the bond, which would be even more evil, but it is possible in Hemalurgy.

Writing for Charity Conference ()
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Zas678 (paraphrased)

A question related to that. There's an idea going around that all the spren that can Nahel Bond, all Knight Radiant spren are called honorspren, and then Nohadon talks specifically about honorspren. Is that the case? You know, is it just the Windrunner spren, or is it all the spren?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I'm going to deal with this in the next book. So I'll just go ahead and let it be a literal RAFO. It is coming.

*interruption, leading Brandon to lose his train of though*

So what we are dealing with here is that all spren are indeed all pieces of the one who has gone, so those spren are all- except the Windrunner spren, the spren like Syl, have certain umm.

Zas678 (paraphrased)

Nohadon mentioned that "All the spren aren't as discerning as honorspren."

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So there has been dissension among them about who gets to call themselves honorspren, if that makes sense, and there is some disagreement among scholars about which ones are really, you know "This is what defines an honorspren".

But the spren you are running into are all *inaudible* of either Honor or Cultivation, or some mixture between them. And you can usually tell the ones that are more Honor, and the ones that are more Cultivation. That should be able to be *inaudible*.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Questioner

One. Can there be Nahel Bonds with more then ten types of spren because we have ten Orders.

Brandon Sanderson

Meaning, are there other possible spren that could form other Orders of Knights Radiant that are not the ten? This is theoretically possible, but that is basically what you could argue is happening to Renarin. So now if you want to say... if you want to throw out the exception of spren who were one of the ten who got changed, then this is theoretically possible but right now currently wouldn't work.

Dark Talent release party ()
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Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So I could be wrong, but a Hemalurgic spike, when you use it and become a savant it does damage to your Spiritweb, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes Hemalurgy always hurts you.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So say you go to Roshar and you give somebody a Hemalurgic spike for some Allomantic power, don't care what, and you use it to become a savant. Does that qualify them as 'broken' enough to become a Radiant? As long as they are also following the Ideals to attract a spren.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So becoming a Radiant is a spectrum of terminologies. It... probably, but you would have to find a Radiant who would, or a spren who would be willing to touch that, okay? It's going to drive them back.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So would it also affect your probability of becoming an Elantrian?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah it would affect your ability to become anything else, yes.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay, so would it be a positive effect, negative effect...? Because I was like, it gives you cracks in your Spiritweb.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It does give you cracks in your Spiritweb.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So it's easier for Investiture to get in. Does it make it easier for other Investitures to get in?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It would make it... yes. It's going to drive spren away. So what it's really going to make easier for, there, is spren and Investiture that doesn't care.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay, so Investiture doesn't care but spren do.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Investiture might care depending on if it's part of a Shard-- if it has intent and things like this.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So it might let Stormlight in easier than a Breath, type thing.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I'm saying it might let Odium in easier than Syl. Because Syl would care, and Odium would not care.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay cool.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Alright, so it could be a really bad thing, is what I'm trying to say to you.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Yeah that's cool. I just want to know more about gold too. Gold Allomancy too. Because Miles was doing some funky stuff.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Miles was doing some funky stuff.

General Twitter 2018 ()
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Jack Eaton

Can Hemalurgy steal a Nahel bond? And if so, would that bond be unbreakable for as long as the spike was implanted.

Brandon Sanderson

This is a very dangerous and frightening thing in the cosmere, but it is possible--and the implications of it are something I intend to cover eventually in the books.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

The Nahel bond, what determines whether you get a Cryptic or an honorspren?

Brandon Sanderson

The spren themselves.

Questioner

So it doesn't have to do with the Orders of the Knights Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

If you match, you have to attract the spren, the same way you attract emotionspren, you have to attract the right spren for the Order.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

What would happen if a Parshendi were to attract a spren and bring it into the Highstorm? Like, an Honorspren of some sort?

Brandon Sanderson

Sapient spren have a choice of whether they get bonded or not, unless you entrap them some way. But simply attracting them...simply going into the Highstorm with one wouldn't work, what you said is 'attracted a spren', so, to answer that actually... The thing is, honorspren, all the spren of Honor and Cultivation, not honorspren capital, Honorspren or whatever... The spren that create the orders of the Knights Radiant have not, in the past, been attracted to Parshendi because of certain events in the past.

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to Read and Find Out.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

So how did Shallan rescue Kaladin when they fell in the chasm?

Brandon Sanderson

She did not. It was actually Syl, but he was in the process of breaking the bond, and so she was able to get some Stormlight to him. But that is what really set it really poorly. Like you can imagine, she-- this bond was really a strain for her to use at that point, so it was her. But doing what she did just about destroyed her, which is why you don't hear from her after that.

Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

What's the relationship between spren and seons?

Brandon Sanderson

They are the same thing from different magics.

Questioner

Okay, exact same thing from different magics?

Brandon Sanderson

"Exact," may be a little too strict, but yeah.

Questioner

So a seon can be transferred to another person, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Can a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Avivsm

Can a Nahel Bond be stagnant because of a spren's inability to progress? If the spren has a character deficiency they cannot break through or something?

Brandon Sanderson

Can a spren cause the Nahel Bond to not progress? This is possible. Not very common but it is possible.

Shadows of Self Boston signing ()
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AndrewStirlingMacDonald (paraphrased)

Is being a little bit crazy a prerequisite to becoming a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, so, for many of the cosmere magics to work, you have to... it has to get into the soul somehow. Right? Sometimes you ram it in by spiking someone else's soul and ripping off a piece and sticking it into yours. Sometimes, it just seeps in the cracks. Sometimes the bond allows it to kind of bypass some of this, but it's usually traumatic experience. So crazy is not required, but there's got to be a place for the magic to go, to get in.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent

Because of Kelsier's status as a Cognitive Shadow we've been wondering what wonky things you can do with him being like that and so-- Hypothetically, purely hypothetically, could a Surgebinder, could somebody form a Nahel bond with him?

Brandon Sanderson

With Kelsier? We'll RAFO that. We will definitely RAFO that for now

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Is there a limit to how many Shardblades you can have? Be bonded to?

Brandon Sanderson

Theoretically, not really. There are some things that could bound that. I can imagine people having a lot. In the original draft of The Way of Kings (2002) Amaram had two. And so, it's definitely possible to have multiples, and I had not thought of someone trying to bond every Shardblade. 

Questioner

So that means you can be bonded to more than one spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, those Shardblades... Can you be bonded to more than one spren? That question's answer is also yes. Potentially. But there is a much harder limit on that.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner 1

Can people not from Roshar bond with spren and get the Shardplate and whatnot?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Well, okay. You don't need me to RAFO on that. You have seen someone not from Roshar bond a spren. You have seen that much happen.

Questioner 2

We know for sure that Hoid is a Lightweaver.

Questioner 1

Do we know that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has bonded a spren.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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fangorn

So, if a bonded human were to decide for whatever reason that he/she wanted to retire from being a Radiant, is it possible to do that or is the Nahel bond a lifetime gig?

For example, say Kaladin felt he could no longer uphold the requirements of being bonded to Syl, or eventually he just got old or worn out.

Brandon Sanderson

Retiring from the bond is possible under mechanics I haven't talked about yet in the series.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

[If someone were] born like Vin, could they bond a spren, before they're even cognizant? 'Cause it's about being broken, right? So, I don't know if it's the same brokenness that Vin had from just being born.

Brandon Sanderson

Different spren will view this differently, and different people view the way that the Nahel bond works differently. So, Vin would certainly have been of interest to a number of spren.