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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 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 ()
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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 ()
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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 ()
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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.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
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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. 

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, mhm. 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 [PENDING REVIEW]

Why is it called a Nahel bond?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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 plays 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 ()
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Argent [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It's a word in original Alethi as I was working on it. 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.

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

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*.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If a Hemalurgist uses Hemalurgy <on> someone who uses Stormlight what happens?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay, if a Hemalurgist uses Hemalurgy on someone who what, who's using Stormlight?

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Or can use Stormlight if they get power.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You can steal powers like that, but the spren bond makes it really weird. It wouldn't work exactly like stealing some of the other powers.

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.

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.

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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 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 ()
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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.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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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.

GollanczFest London ()
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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 ()
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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.

/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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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.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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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.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Can a spren willingly break their bond anytime between the First and Fifth Oath, with their Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

*Very hesitant* Well...yes...this is possible...

Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Essentially committing suicide isn't it though...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I just ascribe to that question...A spren could at any point break it. Can they break it safely? That's a different question.

Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Can they break it safely? *laughs*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are methods in place where it can be stopped. So yes it can be done. But once you've started into this, once you've chosen on both sides, it's a dangerous process. But yes it can be done, and it can be done safely.

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.