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Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Do you know how you're going to write how Hoid travels between worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes I do. Yes. Yes there's a big clue in [Words of Radiance]. There is a very big clue in the very first book I published.

Footnote: We know now that the trick is to jump into shardpools, or "perpendicularities". We see one in Elantris and Rock tells a story of Hoid coming out of one in WoR
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#10 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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#11 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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#13 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.

ICon 2019 ()
#14 Copy

Nextorl

Well, in Elantris, we saw two people get in the Shardpool, right? We saw Riino, who we later saw in Oathbringer, and we saw Saolin- the warrior. Will we see him again? Like, will we see a cameo?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible that you will, but I will have to RAFO it. You'll have to wait to see.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#15 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.

Kraków signing ()
#16 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.

C2E2 2024 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

We needed to come up with a name that is a little bit different than just Dragonsteel [for the convention], and we spent forever arguing. We finally landed on something; it does have Cosmere applications. We're just gonna call it Dragonsteel Nexus. There's no big convention named Nexus in fantasy/science fiction. We realized that, and it's also... (Secret!) It's the name of the perpendicularity at Silverlight; it's the Silverlight Nexus.

Oathbringer release party ()
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TheFulgid

Could you Invest... Could you use a nicrosil metalmind to Invest the sort of Investiture enough that you could open a Perpendicularity up to the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I'll just say it this way. Enough concentrated Investiture in one point is going to pierce the Realms, no matter what form it takes. 

TheFulgid

...So, it doesn't have to be a nicrosil metalmind.

Brandon Sanderson

No. 

TheFulgid

Okay... But it could be?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That is theoretically possible. 

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#22 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.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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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--

Orem signing ()
#24 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.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#25 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.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

Is the Threnody novel--is the perpendicularity in a specific place or does it have to do with a set of circumstances?

Brandon Sanderson

Threnody does not have a perpendicularity.

Questioner

The way to travel...?

Brandon Sanderson

The way to travel on there has specifically to do with the fact that a Shard was killed nearby.

JordanCon 2021 ()
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Pagerunner

In The Traveler, which you read here [at a prior JordanCon], Hoid was on Yolen. He has only worldhopped with perpendicularities. Does Yolen have a perpendicularity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yolen has something very similar.

Pagerunner

Okay, is it associated with a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

You would call it a perpendicularity, but there is not a Shard in residence on Yolen.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
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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.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
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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

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#33 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.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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Questioner

Does the dead body of a Shard pull at time and space, thus causing time to pass slower in that place of the cosmere, almost like a black hole?

Brandon Sanderson

It could go either way in the Cosmere, depending. But the answer is yes. A large amount, like a deific amount of Investiture will... any amount of Investiture will cause a bit of time dilation, but the amount you're getting from even a Shardpool is not enough to be noticeable. I mean, it is, you can notice it even on our planet if you take a jet that goes fast enough, so it is noticeable but not relevantly noticeable. We're talking about a slippage of a day or so in a year even off of a Shardpool (don't canonize me on that one, I don't have the actual numbers). But that's what we're talking about. There are are chunks of Investiture of deific nature that can cause amounts of time dilation that would be virtually impossible in our universe, without you becoming one with a black hole. There's a story I want to tell, and I don't know if I'll ever get around to telling it, about an entire society that rises and falls in several seconds of time dilation to everyone else. I want to be able to tell stories like that, and you couldn't do that in our universe, but that's part of the reason we have the Cosmere!

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Is there any way it's possible that somebody could have gotten to the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial without the Well of Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

And can we know how?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, how many Shardpools would Scadrial have?

Questioner

Two, so the Pits of Hathsin would be so? That's what I theorized.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So you've adopted the term "Shardpool". That was never really my term, but I've started using it. What happens with a perpendicularity is large concentrations of Investiture, particularly purely attuned to one of the Shards, will create an access point. You've seen another one in--

Questioner

Yeah, yeah I know these.

Brandon Sanderson

You know which one I'm referencing?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

That you didn't see a Pool from?

Questioner

Oh wait--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, he knows, so… We'll move on. *general outcry* Okay, fine. Umm, at the end of Words of Radiance.

Argent

There has to be one there because Jasnah has to leave somehow, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but Honor's Perpendicularity moves.

Questioner

Woah...so...Highstorm?

Brandon Sanderson

*makes non-committal noises*

Questioner 2

Kind of related to that, I don't know if this is a RAFO kind of question, but you call them perpendicularities, are we going to see this sort of thing created? Could there be, like--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, perpendicularities can be created. You'd need a lot of Investiture, right? You'd need a ton of Investiture. But, basically what Jasnah does is create a little mini perpendicularity, right? And slips herself into the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner 2

So it's just a question of skill, not a question of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's hard to pull off, but some of the powers are built to do it.

Elantris Annotations ()
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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.

SpoCon 2013 ()
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Questioner

Is there a similar relationship between Endowment and Hallandren's jungle as there is between Harmony and Elendel Basin ?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. The flowers are being fed by something that's very similar to what you might find on other planets. So the ground is saturated with something that is having a similar effect as Elendel Basin. But it's not the same thing. Elendel Basin was just crafted really, really well, and then it was endowed with a little bit of extra oomph. Here [in Hallandren's jungle], we have this extra seeping into the ground from the pool, which is saturated around and causing the flowers and causing what's going on there.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So we know some people can survive going through perpendicularities.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But we also know, like, when Rock talked about the lake that people swam in, that Hoid came out of, he said that some people who swam in it died. So, who can and can't survive a perpendicularity?

Brandon Sanderson

So, you should not take much of what Rock says. When he says they swim in it and they die, they have gone through the perpendicularity. They just don't come back. What would you think if someone swims and doesn't come back? They have drowned. Right?

Questioner

So pretty much anyone can?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not traumatic to go through most perpendicularities.

Questioner

So it depends on where, who and when?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh huh.

Bonn Signing ()
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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.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

I have a question about the cosmere, and Hoid specifically. The way that he is worldhopping, is he using Cognitive and *inaudible* Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

The times you have seen him worldhop, it has involved shardpools, or perpendicularities, as we call them. He is using primarily the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner

Because, from what I understood from Secret History, that he's going through the shardpool, from the Cognitive to the normal Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's traveling through the Cognitive Realm, and then jumping back to the Physical one, once he's where he wants to go.

Questioner

So, I'm guessing what's going on, though, is that he's travelling between planets using the Cognitive and coming out from the shardpool to the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is exactly right.

Orem signing ()
#47 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.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#48 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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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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.