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Boskone 54 ()
#1 Copy

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.

Boskone 54 ()
#5 Copy

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.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#8 Copy

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#10 Copy

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.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#12 Copy

AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

Are the Parshendi at the village the only Parshendi there are? Besides for the Parshmen...

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The Parshendi as a people were all at Narak. Barring any scouts and things like that. That doesn’t mean that there might not be any other Parshmen out there that have bonded spren, but they would not have been part of this nation – any more than if you found another human that they may not necessarily be American.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What is the inspiration for the Parshendi?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are a lot of different inspirations. One is wanting to build out of the setting a species that interacted with the setting and had a symbiotic relationship with the setting. The other was the idea of a people whose caste system, you could change castes and physically change into other castes of the system. So something like the hives you see, where you can switch from worker to various different tasks. I liked the cultural aspects of what that did.

Liverpool signing ()
#15 Copy

Ayende87 (paraphrased)

I asked if the Aimians as a race were, as I suspected, closer to the Cognitive Realm, and whether they are somehow related to the Parshendi.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon started by saying there are 2 sub races of Aimians for a start, and Axies the Collector is of 1 set, we have yet to meet the other but we will!

He did say there is 'Something' going on with the Aimians and their interaction with the Cognitive Realm but wouldn't elaborate on that point.

He then went on to say that Aimians are not in fact related to Parshendi at all, but the Horneaters and Herdazians are!

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#16 Copy

ladyknightradiant

Have we seen all four of the genders for the Parshendi?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. 

ladyknightradiant

So it's more than just malen and femalen?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, male and female. So, basically, in my original notes I was trying to decide if I should call them [something else?] but they-- eventually we ended up-- It's basically, they have a male neuter and female neuter, and then a male and a female. So yes, there are four genders. [...] And, if you can't tell, the malen and femalen are both asexual, completely.

Footnote: Of note, but irrelevant to this entry, is that the questioner, ladyknightradiant, is the one who put together the Where's My Chull? children's book for Brandon. You can find the full illustrations here.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#17 Copy

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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#19 Copy

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.)

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

Do you hear the-- when you write the Parshendi have such a musical language. Do you hear it when you're writing, like what the songs sound like?

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes, but I am not as musically inclined as some, and so if we ever do it, I would probably have somebody else come up with something more... It's more of a cadence though, like the difference between iambic and things like that.

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
#22 Copy

EHyde (paraphrased)

In 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.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#23 Copy

Leinton (paraphrased)

I also asked him about capitalization. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He talked about how in modern English, capitalization is boring and doesn’t happen often enough, referring back to the Victorian era where they would just capitalize Important Words. 

Leinton (paraphrased)

I asked him about parshmen vs Parshendi. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that the Parshendi were a nation.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#25 Copy

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#29 Copy

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

Orem signing 2014 ()
#31 Copy

zas678 (paraphrased)

Can Odium influence people the same way that Ruin can?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, you see, the kandra and the koloss have a "hole" in them that allows Ruin to come in and take over. The Parshendi naturally are protected from this, but when they expose themselves to the storms, and the spren come in, many of these spren have that kind of "hole" in them, and that's what allows Odium to take control of them.

zas678 (paraphrased)

No, I'm talking about how Ruin was able to push people, place things in their minds, stuff like that. Can Odium do the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, Odium wasn't around when those people were created, so it's a little different for him than Ruin. So if he influences people in that way, it's through the Unmade.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#32 Copy

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#38 Copy

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 ()
#41 Copy

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.

Oathbringer release party ()
#44 Copy

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.