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Leipzig Book Fair ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

You said that there were some things in the Cosmere that happened accidentally. What was one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Shard pools is a good example. So when I started writing Elantris I knew I would have these concentrations of power. But I didn't know how I'm going to use them exactly. Like what's the connection... This was way at the beginning. By the time I had Mistborn, I knew all this. I knew I had a well of power there. What does it do? Shardpools are a good example of writing into the story and figuring out how the magic works bei actually playing with it.

Kraków signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Could you tell me something about Cosmere, that we don't know?

Brandon Sanderson

Oooh boy, that is so hard, people ask this all the time and I keep running out of things... Was there anything I haven't added recently... There are Shards whose Shardpools are not on a planet they currently inhabit. At least one.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

Hoid worldhops between places. How did he do it on Scadrial? With Ati's body?

Brandon Sanderson

So, there were two perpendicularities on Scadrial.

Questioner

I know he uses the pools, but how did he do it with Pits of Hathsin? There was no pool? The body was there...

Brandon Sanderson

So, it doesn't have to be going through the pool. What happens with a perpendicularity is, where there is a massive collection of Investiture, it pulls a conduit through. So, if you know what you're doing and where you are, you can get through that.

Questioner

So you don't have to use the pools, just where there's a huge concentration...

Brandon Sanderson

A huge concentration of Investiture will warp the realms.

Questioner

So can anyone worldhop that way, then? If they know what to do?

Brandon Sanderson

If they know what to do, in a perpendicularity, anyone should be able to get through there. But as proven with Raoden, if you don't know what it's supposed to do, nothing happens. He gets dumped int he pool, he thinks he's gonna die... nothing. So, it's more than just being there.

Questioner

That's how he went from the Physical to the Cognitive, so I was wondering how did he do that at the Pits of Hathsin, when there shouldn't be a pool there

Brandon Sanderson

Well, that is the equivalent.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

In the cosmere we've seen Investiture manifest in different ways all across the systems. So I was wondering, when it comes to the powers of Dalinar, is it possible for that power to open a Perpendicularity anywhere, say on Scadrial or any different planet? In a different way, where you could potentially combine all the Realms, open the doors for the Realms.

Brandon Sanderson

Let me say this very carefully. I'm being recorded now... Any time where you gather the right amount of Investiture in the right way, you are going to have kind of a version of a cosmere singularity, right? Which is where you are pulling the different Realms together into a kind of-- you are piercing between them with a large amount of Investiture. So what's happening with Dalinar is both the bug and the feature at the same time. But it is not necessarily the only way. And once things are kind of, once the Spiritual Realm is being involved, time and space don't mean anything anymore on the Spiritual Realm. That's your answer.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

I guess... At what point or which book will Sixth of the Dusk eventually tie in to?

Brandon Sanderson

So... Heh...

Questioner

And if that is unanswerable, then how many years until that book comes out?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not unanswerable, but it's a ways off. The problem is that's a weird planet, and visiting it from Shadesmar is-- it just-- in the Cosmere Collection I'll talk about that, okay? It's a weird planet, and getting to it is interesting. 

Questioner

Okay...

Brandon Sanderson

There's no Shard in residence, but there's a Shardpool. But it's on... one of the most dangerous places... that exists. And so, let's just say it's not going to be relevant until you can regularly travel there somehow that doesn't involve popping up into a giant death trap.

Questioner

Okay, follow-up question though. How many people have tried to pop up, only to find out it was a death trap?

Brandon Sanderson

Go ahead and read what Khriss has to say about it.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

What did Leras do to Kel right when he died that made him stay? That prevented him from going on?

Brandon Sanderson

Right when he died?

Questioner

Right, because he starts to go-- slip into the Beyond, and then Leras keeps him there.

Brandon Sanderson

Read that again closely.

Questioner

He did something. He shoves him into the pool right?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yes. You just answered it.

Questioner

Okay, but I wasn't sure...

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Questioner

...if it was specifically what Leras did? Or if that's something only [Vessels] can do?

Brandon Sanderson

So it's the pool and not Leras that is important there.

Oathbringer release party ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

In Secret History, Nazh briefly mentioned that there's requirements or conditions to become a Cognitive Shadow. Can you tell us one of those?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, lots of Investiture. Is one way. As a certain person discovered.

Questioner

If that person were to not have entered Preservation's pool, it still would have given the same result?

Brandon Sanderson

If they had not, they would be gone.

Questioner

I wasn't clear. If they had done a different pool, not Preservation's.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, if they had been able to Invest themselves heavily, then they could have stuck around, yes. That wasn't Preservation's pool, that was more a function of--dipping themselves, pulling an Achilles inside of a Shardpool when you are dead, turned out to work. It's not the only way, not everyone on... Threnody, for instance, is heavily Invested.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#21 Copy

Questioner 1

Is the perpendicularity that Dalinar made--is that one going to become permanent...

Brandon Sanderson

That one is not permanent, but I haven't said whether or not it can be done again.

Questioner 2

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

We will have-- we will be involving Shadesmar a lot in the... I had a lot of fun with Shadesmar and planned it for a while.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

In our universe, mass and energy curve space. I was wondering if Investiture does the same or something similar

Brandon Sanderson

It does something similar. It draws the three Realms together. So it's got like-- Imagine a gravitational pull piercing Realms. Right? Of kind of--

Questioner

And that's how a perpendicularity works?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not the only way a perpendicularity works, but one surefire way to create a perpendicularity is a massive collection of Investiture in the Cognitive or mostly Physical realm. But Cognitive's weird, doesn't always work the right way. But there are ways to do it that way too.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#25 Copy

Windrunner

As you've stated that the magic of First of the Sun is natural and independent of any particular Shard, what is the nature of the pool on Patji? Is it also a natural manifestation of magic, a perpendicularity, or simply a pool like any other?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a natural manifestation, but on a much smaller scale than you might find on other worlds.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#26 Copy

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Hoid went through Cultivation's Shardpool to get to Roshar as opposed to Honor's. Yet, he notes he never got along well with Cultivation. Why did he choose her Shardpool rather than Honor's?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You're making assumptions!

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Is it possible that it is Honor's?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's possible.

Elantris Annotations ()
#27 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Pool

So, this is a SLIGHTLY contrived mechanic, and I realize that. I let Raoden off easily by having him simply choose not to be dissolved by the pool.

Partially, I did this simply because I couldn't think of a better way to get him out of it. In addition, however, I think it fits the form of the novel. The pool represents giving in–though it's giving in to peace instead of pain, it is still an admittance of defeat. I've mentioned over and over that the pain has no power against one who doesn't give in to it. I don't see why the peace should be any different. If you can resist one, then you can resist the other.

Besides, the image of Raoden bursting from the pool in front of Galladon and Karata was too good to pass up.

I'm honestly not sure what the pool is or how exactly it fits into the theory of this magic system. It was added as a plotting devise, as mentioned earlier, and therefore was never tied directly to the cosmology or theoretics of the world. When I do a sequel to this book, I think I'll try and find a way to tie it in. For now, however, it's kind of a loose thread. The only thing I know for certain is what I mentioned above. Just like the pain of an Elantrian, I think the peace offered by this pool is a supernatural force. It has something to do with the physical form of the Elantrians.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#29 Copy

luckat

What is something that you would have put in the Nalthian essay if you had one in there?

Brandon Sanderson

I probably would have talked about how close some of these scholars are on Nalthis to understanding all of this. They're probably the closest to understanding the nature of the cosmere of anyone outside of the people who are actually worldhoppers. I probably also would have given some hints where the pool is.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#30 Copy

TurtletheFlsh

So we know both Cultivation and Honor have Shardpools on Roshar and we also know that Odium is around somewhere on Roshar, does this mean he also has a Shardpool somewhere on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardpools, as they are called, are a natural effect of a Shard spending a lot of time on a world.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

So I was reading the Wheel of Time and in the first one when they get to the saidin and saidar, the pools—they're very similar to Shardpools.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, and that is something that he kind of dropped. The Eye of the World is just like pure saidin, and I would be surprised if that weren't an unconscious influence on me. I didn't think of it when I was coming up with these but that's definitely way back in my brain when I was creating these.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

This is about certain people from Nalthis... living on Roshar and how they are living on Roshar. Could they also do that on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial would be a lot harder because getting the Investiture out of things on Scadrial is tough, there are ways you could do it but it would be much more difficult.

Questioner

Does that have to do with the Investiture being more directed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's more the genetic component is a big part of it. The directed component-- In Roshar its just flowing around all over the place. For instance, if he could get to a Shardpool he could feed off that, but then he's at the Shardpool and that's kind of dangerous and things. Roshar is really the easiest place in the cosmere for him to consistently get this sort of stuff. Taldain would not be bad either, that's the White Sand world but it is inaccessible currently in the cosmere

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#41 Copy

Questioner

How did you come up with Shardpools and travel between the worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

...So, what happened is (close as I can remember; it's been a long time now), close as I can remember, I wrote Elantris in, like, 1998 or 1999, and I, at that point, didn't really have the cosmere in place. I knew I wanted to do some sort of grand epic, I knew I wanted to do some sort of thing, but I just wrote that book-- Elantris is mostly a discovery-written book, rather than an outlined book. And I wrote this book, and that's when I started a lot of these ideas. I stepped away from it, and I started writing a book called Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. And then I kinda got into the dark age where I was trying to be George R.R. Martin for a while. And then when I came out of that, I wrote The Way of Kings [Prime]. And during those days, I was really looking for these tying agents. When I put the first Shardpool in, I had-- I'm just like "Here's a well of power. I don't know what this does." I was discovery-writing the book. By the time I sold Mistborn and Elantris, I sold those two in a deal in 2003, that's when I'm like, "All right, now I'm gonna do this for real." I've had all this trial run-- I'd written thirteen novels at this point, and I'd sold #6 and #14, Mistborn not being written yet... So, I sat down with Elantris, and I built out the cosmere, and I built out these things, like "Why do I have this pool of power? What am I gonna do with the pool of power in the next book? I want this to be a theme." And I started building out the cosmere from there. So, part of it was organic, part of it was by design.

Orem signing ()
#42 Copy

JoyBlu

The Patji lake, theoretically, could an Aviar fly into the lake on its own and enter the Cognitive Realm? Like, have a bird catcher on the other side waiting for the bird to fly in and catch it?

Brandon Sanderson

Theoretically... I'm going to RAFO that, but it's not a big RAFO. It's more along the lines of, I'm going to get into the mechanics of how things go through Shardpools in future books. Um, what you just described is not outside of reason.

JoyBlue

And could also, one of the grubs or one of the parasites or the rotten fruit, whatever, could that have fallen through the lake?

Brandon Sanderson

That is plausible. The question is, once it gets to be a non-sentient thing, how does going through the--- to the Realms work, and that's where it starts to get-- that's where you get your asterisk. Like, just a piece of fruit falling. I'm going to asterisk that one.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
#43 Copy

leftinspace

I've picked up in bits in pieces that it's possible, for some people at least, to use the Shardpools to worldhop...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

leftinspace

Can non-Invested people do that, or do you have to have some form of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Every individual is Invested to some extent...

leftinspace

Do you have to have any special Investiture above and beyond the normal spark of life?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna go ahead and RAFO that.

Orem signing ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

So do each Shard's perpendicularity-- is that, like are they their own individual color or is that sort of--

Brandon Sanderson

There is a small thematic connection. This is not to be taken as one of the bigger deals in the cosmere, but there is a small thematic connection.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#46 Copy

Questioner

In Shadows... did we see a Shardpool? And was it Harmony’s or some other mysterious god who...  

Brandon Sanderson

So where do you think it is in Shadows?  

Questioner

In one of the newspaper articles.

Brandon Sanderson

I am RAFOing that, the whole newspaper article. So the newspaper articles, who knows what’s going on in them. They're tabloid-ish so maybe, maybe--

Bonn Signing ()
#50 Copy

Questioner

Could the Investiture of two different Shards with separate Vessels create their own perpendicularity together?

Brandon Sanderson

Two different - so like, the Vessels of two different shards, okay-

Questioner

Yeah, not Harmony.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is plausible. There could be a mixed perpendicularity.