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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#1 Copy

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.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Supposing that a skilled Hemalurgist got hold of some a Shardblade or some Shardplate, how would he best use it assuming that the best way isn't to put it on and kill people with it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's probably the best way, to put it on and kill people with it. I'm not sure why a Hemalurgist would want one more than anyone else would because the metal is already Invested which means its not useful to him.

Questioner

So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, that's what you're saying. You want to grab something off the Spren? That's gonna be way harder than grabbing one that's not already made into something. So I don't see why he would want the Blade, just go grab it from them. Even then its going to be worse then, probably in most cases, a person. Maybe its possible that spiking yourself with a Spren would be valid, but you don't want to take it out of the Shardblade. That's gonna be harder, but you would probably have to go to the Cognitive either way to make it work, so yeah.

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.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent

Can Shards manifest a physical body that can actually interact with the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

If they wanted to, yes.

Argent

Was that the thing that Odium did at the end of Oathbringer or was that just a projection?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, it starts to be really difficult to define when you're getting to these points because they generally are such massive wells of Investiture themselves that it's like, is this thing they're creating, like, they are kinda, y'know, then bending the three Realms around the like spacetime with lots of gravity so is that a projection? Is that a real thing? Does it matter? Does that definition--

Argent

Oh! At that point they are almost the same thing, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, exactly.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy

The Reason for the Mistsickness

So, it finally comes out. I wonder at this numbers plot, as I think many readers will glaze over it and ignore it. I think others will read into it and figure out what it means very quickly, then feel that the reveal here isn't much of a revelation. Hopefully I'll get a majority in the middle who read the clues, don't know what they mean, but are happily surprised when it comes together. That's a difficult line to walk sometimes.

What is going on here is that the mists are awakening the Allomantic potential inside of people. It's very rough on a person for that to come out, and can cause death. Preservation set this all up before he gave his consciousness to imprison Ruin, so it's not a perfect system. It's like a machine left behind by its creator. The catalyst is the return of the power to the Well of Ascension. As soon as that power becomes full, it sets the mists to begin Snapping those who have the potential for Allomancy buried within them.

Many of these people won't be very strong Allomancers. Their abilities were buried too deeply to have come out without the mists' intervention. Others will have a more typical level of power; they might have Snapped earlier, had they gone through enough anguish to bring the power out.

My idea on this is that Allomantic potential is a little like a supersaturated solution. You can suspend a great deal of something like sugar in a liquid when it is hot, then cool it down and the sugar remains suspended. Drop one bit of sugar in there as a catalyst, however, and the rest will fall out as a precipitate.

Allomancy is the same. It's in there, but it takes a reaction—in this case, physical anguish—to trigger it and bring it out. That's because the Allomantic power comes from the extra bit of Preservation inside of humans, that same extra bit that gives us free will. This bit is trapped between the opposing forces of Preservation and Ruin, and to come out and allow it the power to access metals and draw forth energy, it needs to fight its way through the piece of Ruin that is also there inside.

As has been established, Ruin's control over creatures—and, indeed, an Allomancer's control over them—grows weaker when that creature is going through some extreme emotions. (Like the koloss blood frenzy.) This has to do with the relationship between the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm, and the Spiritual Realm—of which I don't have time to speak right now.

Suffice it to say that there are people who have Snapped because of intense joy or other emotions. It just doesn't happen as frequently and is more difficult to control.

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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Skyler Cecil

Is there an Investiture cycle on Roshar? Cycling through the crem rain and flora and fauna back into the storm, or something like that. Like the water cycle. If Investiture is finite, is it recycled back into the Cosmere when Investiture like Breath or Stormlight is expended? Otherwise, wouldn't Investiture run out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is such a cycle. It is renewed and changed time and time again. It gets in and out of the Spiritual Realm, often with the birth of new individuals.

Boskone 54 ()
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ccstat

We know that recording things can lock spren into position in the cognitive realm. Does the existence of the written Diagram have a significant Realmatic effect.

Brandon Sanderson

The Diagram has Realmatic significance.

ccstat

Did Taravangian know that when he wrote it?

Brandon Sanderson

Define “know.” On the same level perhaps that a table on Roshar knows it’s a table.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Assuming that it's possible-- There are alternate Physical Realms, is Shadesmar common between them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... They don't always call it Shadesmar.

Questioner

Sure, but there is one Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There's one Physical too if you think about it.

Questioner

Well... Between the books...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah but there's one Physical-- There's one universe, it's all the Physical Realm, just like there is one Cognitive Realm.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

I've been thinking about Idealism as a philosophy and how the concept of the... Cognitive Realm is sort of like a very realistic version of Idealism. Is there any influence there at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, definitely. I was a closet philosophy major in college. I didn't actually do that, but I attended a lot of philosophy classes. And I'll tell you this, philosophers don't know to write. That's the most annoying part. You read their essays, and they're full of brilliant ideas, with these enormous run-on sentences that make no sense. You have to like-- So I got really frustrated by that. But I really loved the classes and reading and things like that, and the touch of it is all over my books. If you look for it, you'll find a lot of the different philosophies, you'll find all those guys in different places on different philosophers and different religions and stuff like that.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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yulerule

Can you Forge liquids, like-- Does that go into Bloodsealing, can you change their blood type?

Brandon Sanderson

OK, can you use Forgery to, say, change someone's blood type? Yes. Can you Forge liquids? A little harder to stamp liquids, so this kind of comes down to, can you--

yulerule

Like, if you have a glass of water and you put salt in the water can you Forge it or make it and make it--

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible, but it requires a few little workarounds. Obviously you can do it because you Forge somebody, and they're mostly liquid.

yulerule

But you're putting in on a hard surface.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in the same way that you would with thr liquid you would probably--

yulerule

Touch some ice?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you would probably take the cup, and make it part of the whole, and if you can-- Remember in the cosmere, it depends on how you view a thing. Is it a whole? Do you view this as a cup of water, or do you view it as a cup and the water? Do you view a person as a vessel and the blood inside them, or together as a person? And that perception really affects your magic. So it's possible, for instance, to Forge a cup of water, Forging just the cup is easier than Forging just the water.

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.)

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.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

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

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.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Oversleep

I have a philosophy question that could actually be answered in cosmere:

Ship of Theseus in cosmere. If I went and replaced every part of the ship, would it still - Cognitively - be the same thing?

What if I replaced everything and made a second ship out of the parts from the first one? What could somebody watching all of that from Shadesmar tell me?

Brandon Sanderson

You're right, part of the design of the cosmere (which has some deep roots in classical philosophy) was an attempt to answer the Ship of Theseus question.

In the cosmere, part of the Cognitive--and even spiritual--aspect of a thing (particularly if it isn't sentient) is delineated by the way that thinking beings define it. Per the old joke about the axe, if you replace your axe head and think of the new axe as "Your Axe," then the cognitive and spiritual aspects of that thing will grow to reflect that.

If you replaced every part of your ship, and gave the sailors time to sail it, thinking of it as the same ship--it would become the same ship.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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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.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
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Questioner

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

...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.

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.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

[Can’t hear the actual question]

Brandon Sanderson

Elantris’s magic is location based because the primary source of the magic is located in the Cognitive Realm. Most of the worlds, the primary source of the magic is the Spiritual Realm, where all places are one. So for instance, Mistborn, you can go anywhere in the Cosmere and use the magic. Elantris, you can’t, because Devotion and Dominion were killed and their bodies were stuffed into the Cognitive Realm and the magic is being powered that way.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

At what point in making the Rithmatist magic system did the concept of the beauty of the drawings come in?

Brandon Sanderson

The beauty of the drawings is related to the idea of your perception influencing magic, which is a Cosmere rule. Giving things a mental order, the Cognitive aspect of it, it’s the same way that in Warbreaker, when you give an order to something you’ve Awakened with the magic, the way you perceive that order directly influences how it plays it out. I built this in because, number one, it’s better for philosophy if the answers aren’t, in some of these things, [internal?] answers where the author has said, “Truth is capital T Truth”, where the characters’ perceptions of truth allows for different people to believe different things and both be arguably right. Also because I wanted all the magic in the Cosmere to have some root in the Cognitive Realm. The idea of the magic there is, there’s a Spiritual thing which is kind of unknowable, kind of eternal, kind of all-places-one, there’s a Cognitive aspect, which is how you perceive it influences it, and then there’s the Physical world. The chalklings were built that way, how beautiful you perceive it as being, or the beings involved in this perceive it as being, will influence how well it works.

Second Questioner

In the books, in Rithmatist, you state that the better drawn a shape is, or a creation is, that makes it more powerful. Would that mean that if you drew a cube, would that be more powerful than a square?

Brandon Sanderson

The complexity of it, and how people perceive, you could make an argument that there’s some people who would be like, “The perfect cube is so hard to draw that that is inspiring”, but the average people, if you said, ”Who’s going to win this battle: this cool knight that I drew, or this cube?”, they’d say the cool knight. So that sort of general perception plays a lot into how it works.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

If you draw a line of forbiddance on a piece of on a chalkboard that’s sitting on the ground and then hit that chalkboard, will the chalkboard move?

Brandon Sanderson

This is the number one question I get, actually. The answer is, it depends on the size of the line and the amount of power that’s been put into it. This is actually relating back to Cosmere physics. If you look at the Cosmere physics, you can see exactly what happens with the speed bubbles, it’s the same sort of principle. It’s based on perception. So putting a movable line, oftentimes you will just have trouble engaging the magic on something that’s not stable enough to be viewed as stable. Drawing it on a chalkboard and then turning it toward somebody actually wouldn’t work, because you wouldn’t be able to engage that line very easily with the way the magic works. And if you did, it would disrupt the line, and it would be gone. Treat whatever I do with speed bubbles as the rule for Rithmatist magic, until I write the second book. If I decide to take it in it’s own direction, I will let you guys know.

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.

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?

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

How do states of matter affect how things look in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

So, generally, how people perceive something is very important to the reflection in the Cognitive Realm, and so the physical state of matter is going to be involved in that, but generally, it flows the other direction from the Spiritual Realm.

Questioner

Do the forms of Investiture that we've seen, Stormlight, metals, Shardpools, do the fact that those happen in general the same types of states of matter, all physical, solid, is kinda going to be like metal for Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that is generally the way it will be.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner

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

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.

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.

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

Is there- have you come up with a Realmatic explanation for why light isn't affected by time bubbles besides handwavium "please don't burn people with microwaves"?

Brandon Sanderson

Peter's got one for us. 'Cause we were going to do redshift: like the actual original writing for it had redshifts; Peter's like "Dude, you will microwave everybody" I'm like "Oh man". So the handwavium of that: there is a real- there is an actual explanation, but it...

*they move to outside the store*

What's the middle of this question?

Kurkistan

Middle of the question was you were thinking about explaining the Realmatics behind light for time bubbles.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh right, right right right right. I can't because it spoils future books; like that's spoiler for Mistborn... 10?

Kurkistan/Argent

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

So... if you count the four Alloys, so really gotta stay away from stuff like that.

Kurkistan/Argent

That's fair/fine.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

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

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.

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 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.

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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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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.

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.

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.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Have you ever justified the law of conservation of mass in the regeneration of shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, law of conservation of mass and the regeneration of shardplate. So conservation of energy and mass in the cosmere, you have to understand we are working on the Three Realms, Spiritual, Cognitive, and Physical and there is a lot of dense energy on the Spiritual plane. Most of the magics are working and creating a conduit to the Spiritual plane, pulling something through or sticking it back in. And so everything's conserved, but we have a dump of energy up there that we are kind of using as a dump of energy that we are pulling things back and forth with.