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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.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
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Questioner

So, the fan page wanted to know. Would it be possible for Hemalurgy to steal a living Shardblade? That was the top voted question.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so you're bonded to a Shardblade. You get spiked, then they spike off the bond so that the Shardblade is bonded to someone else.

Questioner

I assume so...

Brandon Sanderson

But can they do it with a living Shardblade? You can definitely do it with a dead Shardblade because its just stealing the Connection. With a living Shardblade, yes you could do that 'though the spren could break the bond at will.

Questioner

So the spren would survive? That was the second-- the corollary--

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh. Would the spren survive? The spren would survive as long as the oaths were--

Questioner

Intact?

Brandon Sanderson

--the person didn't break the oaths. But you could theoretically steal the bond, break the oaths, and kill the spren. If you wanted to. Its a very convoluted to kill a spren, they are easier to kill than that, but yes. You could do that. That is a viable but twisted route that you can do. You would end up with a dead spren and a Shardblade, so there is that. But there are easier ways to accomplish that...

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.

Skyward Denver signing ()
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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.

RoW Release Party ()
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Questioner

Can a Radiant join multiple Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

This was not done in the past.

Questioner

Or become a squire of a different Order?

Brandon Sanderson

It is actually not impossible for this to happen; it simply was not done.

Questioner

If Dalinar became a Lighweaver squire or had the Lightweaver Honorblade, could he create the Roshar map himself?

Brandon Sanderson

This is going to depend on factors. It is possible, but highly implausible, following another highly implausible set of circumstances that would actually allow him to actually do that. (Though getting the Honorblade would not be as difficult.)

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

FanX 2021 ()
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Steeldancer

This is hypothetical, it probably wouldn't actually happen. If a Knight Radiant goes to Nalthis, dies, gets Returned...

Brandon Sanderson

It could happen.

Steeldancer

Would they retain their spren bond?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not, would be my guess. I've never had that question before, but I'm gonna say no.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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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.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 ()
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Questioner

Is someone limited to how many Nahel bonds they can form, or could someone go play Pokéspren and catch them all, getting access to all Surges?

Brandon Sanderson

There are limits to what a soul can handle. These limits are soft caps, not hard caps. Pokéspren is theoretically possible, but there would be hoops, not just the normal "I want to bond two spren" hoop, which is already a pretty big one.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner

How was Shallan able to bond with Pattern before she was broken?

Brandon Sanderson

She was open to him even before she went through a lot of that turmoil

Questioner

I thought everybody had to be broken in order to--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, that's their philosophy in-world. But I'm not going to say whether it's correct or wrong. I will imply that there are other means as well.

GenCon 2017 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

If I wanted to Hemalurgically acquire a power from First of the Sun, which metal would the spike need to be?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is going to be pretty complicated, but several metals would work.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Would it involve Connection between the person being spiked and the bird?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well it would be even harder than on Roshar, where you need to somehow spike the spren and also the Radiant. You would need to spike the bird and steal the power, but also spike the person and steal Connection.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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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

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.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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PallonianFire

If a Shard were to heal the cracks in someone's spiritweb, like Sazed did with Spook, and that person who was getting healed has a Nahel bond, would that break the bond?

Brandon Sanderson

No, because the Nahel bond is already filling in those cracks, so you would have to rip it off to put something else in there.

PallonianFire

So it wouldn't really be-- the Shard wouldn't be able to heal--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, the Shard-- Like, here's the thing we have to get at with this, what we're getting at, which is the question of, for instance, is Kaladin's depression a flaw in him that needs to be healed? And that is a question for philosophers. There are certainly people, cosmere and outside the cosmere, that say "Yes, this needs to be healed" and things like this. But what about somebody who's-- say, someone who is autistic, and their mind just works in a different way, and this way allows a certain bond to happen that couldn't otherwise happen? Is that a flaw, or is that-- is it a bug or a feature, to speak in coding terms? Is what's up with Kaladin a bug or a feature? I know that my wife would probably get rid of her depression if she could, but it's also been fundamental in how she sees the world and who she is, would that change her into a different person? And things like this. So, I want you when you discuss this, to be very careful about treating mental illness as a flaw as opposed to an aspect of a human personality that allows certain different things to happen. Does that make sense? *applause*

PallonianFire

The way I was sort of thinking, was, could Odium say, "Oh, I'm just going to fix this" and then you can't Surgebind anymore?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, right, yeah. If he-- if there w-- that is possible, but it would be hard to do without the consent of the person, but that is possible… You can fix somebody in a way that they didn't want to be fixed, and it would ruin things.

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.

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 [Taln?] 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.

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.

Skyward release party ()
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Ethour

Would an Aviar be capable of a spren bond?

Brandon Sanderson

What they do is the same thing, by cosmere terms. It is not as powerful; because of that it is easier to shift between people. What you gain is not as strong, but you also gain flexibility. But it would be, cosmerologically, considered the same thing.

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.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Questioner

Is the Nahel bond Hemalurgically transferable?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know what I've said on this in the past, but I'm gonna RAFO it right now, and give you a card. Because there's some things involved in this that I don't know that I want to dig into right now. Nahel bond would be used cosmerelogically to refer to any bond where the mingle of sapient spren mixes with a sapient Physical Realm being. Connection between a Cognitive or Spiritual Realm being and a Physical Realm being. And there's all sorts of things involved in doing that that I don't want to necessarily get into right now.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
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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. 

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.

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.

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.

Orem signing 2014 ()
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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.

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.

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.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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twixttwists

What would happen to Syl, say, if Kaladin dies? Can she transfer the bond to someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

So long as Kaladin did not forsake his oaths, Syl would be traumatized (as one might imagine) but be capable of forming another bond.

twixttwists

Good to know she can form another bond. I'm guessing she'll be a little more mindless in the interim, though? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, without a strong tie to the Physical realm, she would have trouble thinking here if she pulled through to exist here.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

How old would you say somebody has to be in order to attract a spren (with bonding intentions)? I can't imagine infants performing anything remarkable enough, but what about, say, 5-6 year olds? I could easily imagine them being selfless and protecting in their own little way - does this mean we can have children who can barely speak well Lashing their breakfast to the ceiling?

Brandon Sanderson

Someone like Lift is near the lower threshold, though it does depend on the spren in question.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Questioner

Considering that bonding a second spren to belong to another Order is possible but never happened, and taking into account that spren get drawn to an individual through their bond, is it possible for an individual to bond another spren of the same Order? If not, then what's stopping them from the bond that doesn't stop bonding to a different Order?

Brandon Sanderson

This could happen too, I suppose, but it wouldn't increase their strength in the Order.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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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.