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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#1 Share

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 night blood 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 storm light 3 I am personally ok 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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#3 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh boy. That'd be really hard. 

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#4 Share

Macen

You've pretty much implied yes [to bonding more than one spren].

Brandon Sanderson

I did not say yes.

Questioner

You implied.  <What about> more than one type of spren?  Different types of spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's see what happens.  This is not impossible.  

Footnote: Brandon has also stated humans can theoretically bond multiple spren (http://wob.coppermind.net/events/156/#e2841).
Orem signing 2014 ()
#5 Share

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 ()
#7 Share

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

So they are protected from being turned into--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Or is that counteracted by the healing as well?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

You are not losing body parts to smoke.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, you are not using body parts to smoke. 

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

What timeframe does it happen for the normal Soulcasters then?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Depending on how often they Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#8 Share

Questioner

For spren, when the Oaths are broken I’m kind of envisioning the mind of the spren gets trapped in that person’s Spiritweb somehow.  Is that along the right lines or not along the right lines?

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh, in between those two answers.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#10 Share

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.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#13 Share

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.

Dark Talent release party ()
#14 Share

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.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#17 Share

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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#18 Share

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.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#19 Share

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.

Shadows of Self Boston signing ()
#22 Share

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.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#24 Share

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 can limit bound that.. I can imagine people have 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.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#26 Share

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.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#28 Share

Questioner

For all the spren, like the honorspren and the liespren, I’ve noticed that all of the characters, the honorspren have been girls and all the liespren have been boys.  Is that just ‘cause all the people who attract liespren are girls and all the other people--

Brandon Sanderson

So it’s not a one to one ratio of people who are more likely to attract a spren of the opposite gender.

Questioner

Is there a reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I’ll delve into it eventually in the books.  Maybe just obliquely, but there is a reason for it.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#29 Share

Blightsong

Is the bond between an Elantrian and Arelon similar to that of a Knight Radiant and it's Spren. You have said that Zombie Elantrians are similar to dead spren so I was wondering if there was a bigger connection there.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a similar relationship.

Blightsong

Is there a similar ideal system? Are Elantrians transform because of their character? Maybe their closeness to the culture of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, now you are getting into RAFO territory. Lets just say that you dont need a Seon to be made an Elanttrian, but in the vast majority of cases, you need a spren to be a Knight Radiant. So there are some differences.

Blightsong

Last question, does this have anything to do with the personification of culture, as Spren are personifications of forces and emotions?

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes.

GollanczFest London ()
#31 Share

Havoc (paraphrased)

In Way of Kings, Shallan is being chased by Cryptics. She begins to summon her Shardblade, stops and then Soulcasts for the first time. We know from Words of Radiance that it's her bond to Pattern, her Shardblade that allows her to Soulcast. So my question is, if Shallan had not begun to summon her Blade, would she have been able to Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

She would not have been able to. Good question! Wow. No one has ever asked me that before.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#33 Share

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.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#35 Share

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.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#36 Share

Questioner

When does a person become a Surgebinder? Cause Kaladin talks about when he was a child, talked about it being a familiar feeling, and Shallan obviously was younger. Or is it when they speak the Words?

Brandon Sanderson

The bond starts forming before the Words are spoken, but if the words are never spoken that bond will eventually evaporate and get broken. But the bond will start forming before. Just like an emotion attracts a spren, acting in the way that the spren you would eventually bond will start drawing them toward you and that will start to create that bond.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#37 Share

Questioner

So there are some forms of Investiture that some people can access regardless: like BioChromatic Breath, but there are some that are not like Allomancy—and there are a few exceptions of course—but are there other ways besides [hemalurgic] spikes that you can access investiture from different worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Like if an Elantrian went to-

Brandon Sanderson

If you can blank your Identity and create the right Connection you can have it happen.

Questioner

If an Elantrian showed up on Roshar, they wouldn't bond with a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

They can bond with a spren, the spren is up to the spren's choice. The spren can bond with whoever they choose to bond with.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#38 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

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#43 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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#44 Share

PG_Wednesday

[WoB compilation about spren]

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. With a casual glance, I see at least one here that I might have been fixated on a question that wasn't actually being asked. I do this occasionally, particularly at signings, where we're going so fast and I think someone is asking something that they're not.

In regards to there being spren bonds before the Last Desolation--there obviously were. (We see Knights Radiant in Dalinar flashbacks that are before the Last Desolation.) I think I was trying to talk my way around a different question, without giving RAFO answers, that I'm not going to get into now.

Another sketchy one on this list is regarding whether the spren call the nightwatcher Mother or if they're calling cultivation Mother. I don't think the text of the books actually implies either way, despite what I said. (Unless I'm forgetting something.) For those in the know, with the Nightwatcher being an analogue of the Stormfather, that implication is there--but I don't want to confirm it either way. You'll get more on the Nightwatcher and Cultivation, and their relationship, in the books.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#46 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#47 Share

Questioner

If an Elantrian bonded to a Seon were to travel to Roshar, [would it] act like a Nahel bond?

Brandon Sanderson

It would act very very similarly, yes. But it would be like... it wouldn't necessarily do the exact same thing. Like if you got two radios tuned to a frequency, <they> wouldn't necessarily pick up another radio frequency, or things like this. I don't know, that's a bad metaphor, I need to think of a better one. But it would be treated exactly the same way but it might not grant the same powers.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#48 Share

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.

GenCon 2017 ()
#50 Share

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.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#51 Share

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so you're bonded to a Shardbalde. 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 bind 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...