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Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#1 Copy

Djarskublar

*inaudible* [I asked if it would be possible to recall Breaths from an object that you had not placed there if the Awakener who did place them there had no Identity at the time.]

Brandon Sanderson

So, this is a very detailed, specific question, if you didn't hear it. It's dealing with the idea of Investiture and Identity, and things like this. If you can unkey the magic with Identity, for almost any case, it's going to make it much easier for other people to use. That's gonna be a blanket statement through the cosmere. If you can blank your Identity, it's at least gonna be able to be used by someone else with a blank Identity. Sometimes it's keyed, so the blank will not work with somebody who is themselves keyed. But if you can blank and they can blank, you can almost always guarantee the magic will be able to be used.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Questioner

So, Metalminds: if you store weight, how does that work, do you decrease your mass or...?

Brandon Sanderson

So, storing weight actually plays with your mass, because if you look at how we do the physics of it… This one is really screwy, because we are changing mass and playing with it. You watch, like with Wax decreases his weight while he's in motion he'll speed up, and if he increases it, he'll slow down. The conservation of momentum and things like that, but we'll doing really weird stuff. It's like, how can you store your mass… Well, in the magic system it works, but it’s one of the weirdest things we do. *pauses to sign book* We kind of play loose and free with the physics sometimes. Like the example that I often use is Wayne doing a speed bubble, the light that is trapped in the speed bubble...like if he turns on a flashlight would actually radiate because of the redshift, and you could just kill everybody by flashing that. So, we make the speed bubbles not cause a redshift for that reason. We kind of work with what is good storytelling first, and then work the physics around it, but we have to put in all these little breaks and things like that in there regularity in order to actually have the story.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

Is there a limit to the amount of useful energy that can be extracted from an end-neutral system? Like Skimmers on a Terris wheel on opposite sides.

Brandon Sanderson

So... Skimmers by making their weight lighter, spinning the thing around, and things and then--

 

Questioner

You got one on opposite sides--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah you could totally do this. In my mind, the way I work this out is that it's no more-- having people do it and things like this-- yeah you could totally do that. The power for making this happen, you are drawing Spiritual energy into the Physical plane can power your motor. It's not power-negative, it's changing forms.

But in realistic terms that would be so much less cost-effective than other methods because Allomancers are expensive, but yeah you could just keep that going.

Questioner

Same with Lifeless? Telling them to push a wheel around?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the sustenance for life is coming directly from the Spiritual plane. So if you remove that, it wouldn't work. The whole idea from this is that energy is getting recycled back into the Spiritual plane when people are dying and things like that, so...

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

Could Nightblood theoretically be turned into a Hemalurgic spike?

Brandon Sanderson

The problem with that is that Nightblood is already invested, so it depends on your version of ' Hemalurgic spikes'. Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere, but ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different... we're talking about two different things, right. So there's the.... so what is a Hemalurgic spike? For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike. Making a new Invested spike by ripping off a person's soul, that's a different process and a little more difficult to accomplish and requires some specialized knowledge.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Zas678

What is the X in Aon Mea? Is it one of the Shard-pools?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid not. Aon Mea references the expanded region within which the "Elantris Effect" will create Elantrians. The X is fertile valley with a high density of life, a place with a lot of cognitive activity. (Cognitive as defined by Realmatic Theory includes the 'thoughts' of all things that exist, not just human beings. The more complex the life form, the stronger its presence on the Cognitive Realm.)

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The thing people have been dancing around—they haven't been asking the right questions—is they need to be asking more questions about the Dor, specifically trying to figure out why the Dor works differently. It's only a little thing, it's not like it's going to be mind blowing, but it is important for them understanding how the cosmere magics work.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In your magic systems, they all require the character to go over a great stress before they obtain that-- Do you use the concept of the price that comes with magic in a plausible magic system when you came up with that idea, or was it more about the idea of flawed characters are awesome?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

In the cosmere magics, a lot of times in order to get the magic, there needs to be-- the internal logic argument is: Souls, once they have gaps in them, those gaps can be filled with other things, which often give you access to magical powers. Great trauma or stress--this is an age old fantasy idea, goes back many many years in the genre--will let you attain some of these powers, kind of as a balancing thing and mostly this is for narrative reasons.

Flawed characters are just way more interesting to write, and I gravitated to it pretty naturally as I was building the magic of the cosmere. And I would say it was mostly narrative reasons, as opposed to, when I was building the magic, some rule that felt like it needed to be there. But it's also a little of a balancing factor. It's trying to build into--whoever asked the question about the god--having god-like powers, but their flaws making it hard for them to use it.

It's a check on giving the powers to my characters, if I make sure to establish, this character has some holes in their-- some gaps and flaws in who they are, that might make them use their powers wrong once they get them, and that is in some way a narrative check on that, if that makes sense.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

Why, in your books, are your characters so often, per say - before they get the powers they become broken first.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a narrative reason and an in-world reason. The narrative reason is characters in pain are more interesting to write about. This is just a rule of thumb for writing. Find the person whose in the most trouble, things are going the worst for and that's generally your easiest character. In the stories, the actual Cosmere, the mechanics of the magic finds, this is only one way to describe it - its not the only way - might not be one hundred per cent accurate but it's an easy metaphor, cracks in the soul allow the magic to seep in and that's how you end up with a lot of the different magic systems.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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MS-07B-3

We know Scadrial is speeding on its way to modern, Earth-like technology, including computers. So what is the internet like in the Cognitive Realm? Is it connected to Scadrial's Cognitive aspect? Does it form into its own standalone location? Do memes become spren?

Brandon Sanderson

This is going to be really fun to write some day. But RAFO until then.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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ZuperzubS

In Words of Radiance, when the sailors were being killed, Jasnah/Shallan sees the flames representing the minds of the sailors vanishing in Shadesmar, but the sailors don't appear in the cognitive realm. In contrast, in Secret History, we see that all sapient entities do transition to the Cognitive Realm before going to the Beyond. Is there something strange here? Or am I just overthinking this?

Brandon Sanderson

You're not overthinking it--but it's also not as strange as you might think. The one seeing the spirits on Scadrial was in a different state than Jasnah/Shallan.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In the cosmere, sixteen is obviously a very important number, or very significant, but on Roshar everything comes in groups of ten. Is that a cultural construction or is that really how things are being grouped on that planet?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is both. It is a cultural construction that came from slight cosmere events that are not super, super, super important. Like, there's a reason we think in base ten, right? Is it important to the universe? Meh? Right... And it's maybe a little more on Roshar, but at the same time it's like**

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

There are ten orders of Surgebinders. Did they order them that way? Or are there actually sixteen different--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, it kind of goes back to there were ten [Heralds] with ten sets of power given by Honor, and Honor is an individual, right, so does that make sense? You cannot separate, in a lot of places in the cosmere, the perspectives of the sapient beings who are interfering with what's going on. Even going back to the number sixteen.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], when silver turns to dust, is that a Spiritual transformation or a chemical reaction?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Both, as I have it right now. That one's not canon, but I say not canon because I haven't written it into the books yet and I still have another book to write, there. But I would say both right now.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

In Elantris it talks about how the wood and stone in the city is rotten and crumbling. Why does this happen?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is because when objects become Invested for long periods of time their Spiritweb changes to accommodate the investiture. When the investiture was pulled up off the stuff in Elantris its Spiritweb was severely damaged so it showed that in the physical realm. This happened with the Lord Ruler when the Bands of Mourning were ripped out of him.

Skyward release party ()
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the.fulgid [PENDING REVIEW]

I feel like knowing both basic and advanced studies of Realmatic Theory are key to understanding not just how the magic works, but how the very nature of the cosmere works. We already have some of the fundamentals, including:

- The three realms- Shard aspects, knowing that they were made with intent, but the form they building blocks of much of the cosmere- Connection to a Shard is necessary to access its Investiture- I have a bit of an analogy where Identity and Connection work similar to an access badge to a building

Is there a more advanced concept of Realmatic Theory we don't have yet that you'd be willing to share?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, I could buy that.

the.fulgid [PENDING REVIEW]

Is there a more advanced concept of Realmatic Theory we don't have yet that you'd be willing to share?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Too hard to say, something like that, what we don't know. So no, I will RAFO that. I apologize. I will put them in the book when they are developed, and I can explain them in the way that I feel is appropriate.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I think there's a flaw in my understanding of Cognitive Shadows. I assume that... they would have more visibility into the Cognitive Realm, like a Herald would be able to see spren more easily, that kind of thing. Is that incorrect?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is incorrect. A Cognitive Shadow simply means a copy of the Cognitive side made by a deep amount of Investiture. And everybody has a Cognitive side. Basically it's a fake soul. Or, fake is the wrong term. Fake is the wrong term. Even in-world they don't know if it's really them or not. It is Investiture has replaced the Investiture that is fleeing from them as they die, or enhancing it in some way to keep it around. So some Cognitive Shadows trapped on the Cognitive Realm are going to be-- have a lot of Cognitive-- I mean, they're there, right? But some Cognitive Shadows inhabiting a body in the same way that your mind inhabits your body, the way the cosmere works... So a Herald is going to feel like they are alive just like-- but their soul has been somehow transformed. It's not really transformed, it's been reproduced or copied by an injection of Investiture...

And I'll say for the purpose of the recordings, I haven't canonized any of that terminology that I just used about Cognitive Shadows. I'm just talking about it, I'm not necessarily saying that this is how you are supposed to refer to it. You can refer to it however you want. I've often used the metaphor of how fossils get made. When a fossil is made there is a pattern and it is slowly replaced with another substance that is stronger and more endurant, and has the shape of it, but is it still the bone? When you have a fossil bone is it the dinosaur bone? In most cases no, but yes. It's the ship of Theseus sort of thing again. Is this the bone or is it not? Is this the soul? Is this the person or is it not? That's the same sort of thing is happening with Cognitive Shadows. And it's happening on all three Realms to an extent, though of course the body is not. The body stays. It's happening on two Realms. It's happening Spiritually, mostly Cognitively.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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yulerule

I actually had like a really-- theory I was developing the past couple of weeks about Regrowth, and healing, and the Cognitive Realm. Let's take a look at this...

*Written/Paraphrased:* In the cosmere, you have matter, mind, and soul. Obviously, the physical world is most well understood (same as ours) and the spiritual is most mysterious. When anybody dies (going off from info in Secret History) their soul, which was tied to their body, the Connection is broken and the soul/Cognitive Shadow appears in the Cognitive Realm then goes on to the Spiritual. If healing is applied at any moment while the soul/Cognitive Shadow is in the Cognitive Realm, the Connection can be reestablished and that is why Regrowth can heal recently dead. Type of wound Shardblade versus not may determine how fast the Shadow is sucked into the Spiritual Realm. Also amount of Investiture a soul contains. Souls = Investiture, or at least all of them contain some?

Brandon Sanderson

So that's a RAFO. We'll dig into that a little later.

yulerule

Oh, *inaudible*. Am I close?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you're on the right track.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

I have a question about Nightblood. What are all the powers the sword has and how much is he going to be involved in the next few books.

Brandon Sanderson

Those are total RAFOs. I mean, I could tell you the powers you have seen him have on screen so far, I'm not going to tell you he has others. What you have seen on-screen that he can do is he absorbs Investiture completely and he will rip it out of any object he touches, and everything has Investiture, leaving behind basically... how you see it is he turns everything he touches into black mist, it just disintegrates everything. He also has the power that people who see him, he has an emotional effect on them, one of several emotional effects depending on how they would want to use him. If you watch for when he is seeing people you will see how it is.

Questioner

All fighting over him.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not the only effect he has though, he has other effects.

Questioner

Does he bestow any effects on his wielder? Like Szeth's original Shardblade gave him the same powers as Kaladin.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood... that's a RAFO but Nightblood was created on a different planet, so.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Kurkistan

Would it be fair to describe the three realms as the Spiritual Realm providing motivation/general directives (gravity, desires, energy, etc.), the Cognitive Realm interpreting and applying those directives, and the Physical Realm as where these directives--as interpreted by the Cognitive Realm--are actually implemented? All of this with interactions/change flowing back and forth between the Realms as well (Physical phenomena affecting thought affecting the spirit, for example).

Brandon Sanderson

Ha! That's a very interesting way to look at it. The theory isn't all there, but it's thinking along the right lines.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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KiManiak

Do some Surges have a stronger cognitive aspect--or cognitive influence, if aspect is too general--do some have a stronger cognitive aspect than others? For instance does Illumination tend to have more of a stronger cognitive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah you could say that some do. I think that that is a legitimate-- Though I'd say it is the subject of debate.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

We have this one bizarre question, that actually was really, really weird but we have to know it.

There was a question about Siamese twins. If they were born gold Feruchemists, and they they were split apart, would they like, form together again?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhhnn... It depends on how they view themselves

DrogaKrolow

That's the answer to every question like that!

Brandon Sanderson

Right! But that's the whole point of the cosmere is that-- Spiritual Realm is filtered through the Cognitive Realm to the Physical Realm, right? And this lens is going to filter how things work. Perception is really important in the cosmere. That's where most of these things come from, and so-- Yeah that is the answer to everything. But that's the point of the answer to everything, is that there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules when it comes to a lot of these things, with Identity and whatnot is going be filtered through perception.

DrogaKrolow

So it is technically possible for them, if they are seeing each other as one.

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

DrogaKrolow

So we can--

Brandon Sanderson

Now the big hard question is, what if one of them views them as one and one of them doesn't?

DrogaKrolow

Oh.

Brandon Sanderson

Aaaaoooohhh! Then it depends on who's using the magic.

DrogaKrolow

What if both of them are?

Brandon Sanderson

Both of them what? Are gold? If both of them are healing and one doesn't want to and one does, magic's gonna cancel each other out and nothing will happen.

DrogaKrolow

Ok.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm. Yeah I made your question harder and weirder.

DrogaKrolow

Well it was a very logical answer to a very unlogical question.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I've had to answer a lot of these. My feeling is that if I can make the fundamental magic principles work then you can answer those questions rationally but really what you would have to do is-- Even I'm not the expert on these things. Like I'm the ultimate word in some ways but in another ways the answer would be "I don't know, let's have a thought experiment and if it ever comes up, try it out and see what happens". But yeah, there you go. There is my best answer to you.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Could a Soother prevent a listener from attuning a given rhythm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. A coppercloud could, but I hadn't thought about emotional allomancy interacting. See, the rhythm isn't your emotion and doesn't determine your mood. It is a direct connection to the spiritual realm. So I guess soothing could make it harder just like it makes anything harder, in the same way that driving a car would be harder. [recording starts here] And so, for the same reasons that you can, um, it is possible that a coppercloud can play with it. Not a normal power of a coppercloud, but you’ve seen them do stuff similar.

Firefight release party ()
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Lady Radagu

Does being the donor of a Hemalurgic spike have any implications for your afterlife? Or how about the recipient?

Brandon Sanderson

That is actually going to depend on-- Okay. Yes it has implications for the afterlife. Yes.

Lady Radagu

Okay so are there a bunch of Scadrian souls wandering the afterlife with holes in their personalities or memory or identity? Or some with extra parts tacked on?

Brandon Sanderson

So it has implications, but they are not exactly ones that you are assuming. So in the cosmere there is "dead" and "mostly dead". Okay? And this has been shown several times so once someone dies there is a period before they transition. Sazed talks about this in Mistborn 3. And so most of the implications are for before transition. Does that make sense? Post-transition you are going to have to ask the philosophers and the theologians who are the ones that talk about that. So there is an afterlife and an after-afterlife. Not as many implications for after-afterlife. Middle? Yes. Okay?

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of investiture in the first place.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

You've said that the the laws of physics in the cosmere are ours except where they're messed with by the Spiritual... But are the laws of physics actually in the Physical Realm all the time, or are they in the Spiritual Realm doing their stuff on a Spiritual level that's trickling down to the Physical as a matter of course?

Brandon Sanderson

The three are more closely aligned than-- *Breaks off to focus on the books he's signing, the speaking was distracting him*

Kurkistan

So you were saying that physics-- laws of physics-- that the Realms are a lot more closely bound and the laws of physics are not just tied to one of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

You have this technical approach to Allomantic powers. But Feruchemy seems to me very different. So it's not very logical that you can store up health. What is health?

Brandon Sanderson

Well. I feel that it is. But it has its own definitions. In the Cosmere perception - I don't know if you know...

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

... it really affects... It's kind of more like a concept of heallth. The idea of your body's ability to recuperate quickly. The magic system translates to your body's ability to match your spiritual self. When that is depleted, your body in the Cosmere starts to stray (? a bit indistinctive in the recording). Foreign things can get into it, diseases get into you, and your spirit can get a little more corrupted. Your body getting corrupted, your spirit's not getting corrupted. You get it, and it makes you extra connected to your spiritual sense. Your body moves to match it closely and better.

Questioner

So the same about speed and ...

Brandon Sanderson

Those are a little different. But each has their little behind the scenes explanation for myself. The problem is... The physics of it is very Cosmere-physics for Feruchemy, whereas for Allomancy it's a lot more out world physics with a different power source. We're changing that. But the physics do work for me. But obviously it's magic, so I'm breaking them anyway.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

I was wondering: Stormlight doesn't cross walls, because people put their spheres outside. But it crosses the glass of the spheres. Is that material dependent or...

Brandon Sanderson

It's thickness dependent. In the third book there's actually a little place where it's mentioned. Some people put it right inside a little, kind of thin rock portion and the Stormlight can still reach it. So I did that quite intentionally.

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

Why is Kaladin so proficient-- Like naturally born to wield a spear. Is that a weapon he likes or is it a destiny for him?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So destiny is a strong term... I would say he has natural aptitude, but no more so than a normal person who has a natural aptitude for something. But the way the Spiritual Realm works in the cosmere and the way Connection works, there were certain things that were happening to Kaladin before they happened...

It's like Syl says in one of the books. "You didn't know me then, but I knew you then. Even though we hadn't met yet, I still knew you." You see some weird Connection things too. And these are mostly just for fun sort of cosmere connections. Like when you see Syl take on the look of Shallan standing on the beach. There's gonna be a connection there. It's forming, it doesn't exist yet, but all things are one in the Spiritual Realm, and we're just kinda seeing echoes of that. It's not meant to be destiny, it's more meant to be, "Hey there's little connections happening".

I would not say Kaladin is any more naturally gifted in that than your average professional sports player is naturally gifted in what they do.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.

Aurimus [PENDING REVIEW]

How about Connection?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I wanted to ask whether cake has a soul? In Realmatic theory, stuff has souls. So, somebody turns wheat into flour, and flour has a soul. Do they come together when I bake the cake?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...So, this gets into some weird cosmere theory stuff. The level that if you are a student of philosophy, you'll recognize just wearing on the sleeve where this one came from. This is a mashup of Shinto beliefs and the theory of the forms by Plato, and kind of its own weird thing, that became Realmatic theory in the cosmere...

So, in the cosmere, things take on an Identity and a soul based on how people perceive them. It's human perception that is creating a lot of this, because the various powers that made the universe have this sort of desire to be sentient. And power left long too long in the cosmere starts thinking, that's just how it goes, and starts thinking of itself the way it is perceived. So, that cake, as soon as its created, the disparate parts of the souls start being thought of as a cake, and start gaining some traction as a cake. If you left that cake alone long enough, which wouldn't take too long for a cake because people don't look at cake and think "Oh, a bunch of wheat and flour." They think "Cake." That thing will start having a combined soul of the various bits of power, and the longer you leave it, the more permanency it's gonna have as a Spiritual artifact in the cosmere.

So, yes, cake has a soul.

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

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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faragorn

Hey Brandon, you mentioned you like A Fire Upon the Deep. So if we could get an artifact, what would happen to a resident Shard if we could create a local Slow Zone? Or better yet, an Unthinking Deeps (although that might be bad for the mortals nearby).

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. You know, I'd never considered this? I guess it depends. I'd say these zones change Cognitive Realm issues--so wouldn't stop the Shards themselves, as they exist in a place of perfect thought and speed. (Spiritual Realm.) It might change how things get between Spiritual and Physical, though.

Boskone 54 ()
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Ironeyes

So, uh, we know that the charcoal creatures are afraid of coins.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ironeyes

So are the white chalk creatures, which I think are called Shadowblazes…

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ironeyes

Are they also afraid of coins?

Brandon Sanderson

Are they also afraid of coins? To a much lesser extent. Um, I can give you guys some backstory on this. What’s going on here is that the place these things come from, um, linear structure and things like this are frightening to them, like they come from a non-linear location. Time does not move linearly where they come from. When they come into this world, structure and linear time progression, is bizarre to them. And there are some who have embraced it, and been like, “This is cool and different!” and there are others that are still terrified of it, as a representation of what is so alien from the world they came from. So that’s why we’ve got this whole clocks, and even structure, as a metaphor for, um, something that is terrifying to them.

Uh, Rithmatist started in the Cosmere. The magic shares a lot of its roots, then, in Cosmere magic worldbuilding. I split if off because I wrote the whole first book with it being in the Cosmere. I split it off, saying “No, I don’t want Earth to be in the Cosmere.” Even an alternate version of Earth. It just raises too many questions about the nature of Earth being involved in this. I want the Cosmere to be its own dwarf galaxy of which not even a dimension of Earth is involved. And when I made that decision, I broke Rithmatist off. That’s the only one I had written that didn’t belong, but it still has, so, it means that the magic is going to feel very familiar to you, uh, it’s going to feel like the magic of a, um, of the Cosmere. And Cosmere magic is based around, usually, human beings making a symbiotic bond with an entity made out of the magic. This is, kind of, one of the origins of Cosmere magic, and Rithmatist has, therefore, its roots in that. I’ve done some things since I’ve split it off in the outlines to distinguish it, but it’s going to have the same roots. So you’ll notice some things like that, that are similar.

Questioner

Uh, before you split The Rithmatist from the Cosmere, did the Shadowblazes come from the Cognitive realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Yeah, the Shadowblazes were in the Cognitive realm, they’re--you know, well, they’re more Spiritual realm. They were Spiritual realm, sorry. They were Spiritual realm entities that got pulled in, uh, to the Physical realm. And the Spiritual realm has no time, um, it exists independent of time and location, all times and all places are one, and so, uh, when something that’s from the Spiritual realm got pulled into the Physical realm, it was like, “This is so weird!” Um, and there are very few things in the Cosmere that exist only on the Spiritual realm, which was a really fun thing I could do with this book, was show that. Cause most things exist on all three realms. Um, so, yeah. So, yeah, I mean if you’ve got, if you’re a Cosmere, uh, theologian--not theologian, magic, uh, what do you call it? Uh, they call that, uh, I have a word for it in-world. But anyway, if you’re a realmatic theorist, you can kind of pick out how the Spiritual realm beings were related, originally, to the realmatic theory.

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Kurkistan

Are flamespren, are they all doing their own thing, or is there some Ideal of "Fire" sitting in the Spiritual Realm that they're all based on?

Brandon Sanderson

Each spren is based on the Ideal of Fire.

Kurkistan

And is that sitting in the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, we're using sort of a Platonic Ideal, and that concept is in force, so *sounds hesitant* "yes", but [spren] are manifestations of it.

Kurkistan

So these Ideals in the Spiritual Realm: Divine Breath, does that heal by accessing some Ideal of Human Health: so a guy who had never had a tongue and doesn't know how to speak all the sudden has a tongue and can speak?

Brandon Sanderson

You are... *LONG pause* You are, um, on the right track.

Kurkistan

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Because the Breath is... eh. How can I explain this? You are, yeah... So... So each Breath is a shade of diety, right?

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

And each Breath incorporates into it this sort of idea of being endowed by the deity Endowment, correct?

Kurkistan

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

And so each Breath you hold brings you one step closer to becoming like that, and so what you're saying is... is "yes", kind of true, yes.

Kurkistan

But it's like within the Breath, not sitting off by itself-

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes yes exactly.

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wiresegal

In OB, you explained that the Singers have four sexes. I was wondering... Can the Singers have genders other than those four, like humans? Even as simple as just not going with male, female, or malen/femalen. Could a transgender Singer use their ability to shift forms to change their biological reality? And, finally, could a Spren be non-binary, if it wasn't personified in a typical male/female way?

Brandon Sanderson

In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms. It is possible, with Investiture, to change their biology to match Cognitive perceptions--and while this could be easier for some races (like the Singers) it's not outside plausibility for any race.

There are non-binary spren, actually--and you should be meeting one important one quite soon in the books.

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Kurkistan

So, could you give us some examples of how the ideals that spren represent work in other magic systems, like we have Forging where you get plausibility, or Returned how they're beautiful or any other systems?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time on that.

Kurkistan

Okay, so you know the ideals the spren are manifestations--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

How-- Do those have impacts on other magic systems?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, in the same way the Returned- that's the exact same system at work there.

Kurkistan

Is it the same reason why the Lord Ruler has to die of old age, and why you can't heal yourself into being an octopus or something?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... Yes, that is all connected in the exact same way.

Kurkistan

Okay, so it's all like these highfalutin Spiritual ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

And are there like, median Cognitive ideals that gradually kind of influence these, or--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they transcend between the three. I mean the original concept for the Three Realms is Platonic philosophy.

Kurkistan

So it goes up *makes absurd reverse-waterfall hand gesture*

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it goes up and it comes back down. A lot of the Cognitive is-- So like, the Cognitive has a bigger effect on how you can heal and things like that. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

But the power to heal is a actually a Spiritual thing.

Kurkistan

So it's like the Spiritual says "I want to be like this" and the Cognitive is like "Okay I'll try really hard to be like that, but I have a limit."

Brandon Sanderson

Right. Right. Filtered through how you see yourself, yeah.

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Questioner

With Warbreaker and Stormlight Archive, Vasher and Zahel. *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

He went to Roshar because he knew ahead of time, that you could get Stormlight, and how easy it was. So he made his way there because he was tired of sucking peoples' souls to stay alive.

Questioner

How did he know?

Brandon Sanderson

He, as part of a group of scholars, stumbled upon the nature of worldhopping long ago.

Questioner

Could he the same group of scholars as Jasnah?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's a group of scholars on Nalthis who were studying magic, Investiture, and stumbled upon the means by which you transition into the Cognitive Realm. So, he actually had experience with Shardbldes before, and that was part of how he built... well, he was part of it, but really...

Questioner

So, is Nightblood kind of like a Shardblade? Is a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is an attempt to make a Shardblade using a different magic. And it turned out poorly.

Questioner

Speaking of Nightblood, how did that transition from Nalthis?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not answered that yet. Eventually, you will find out how they ended up on Roshar.