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Ad Astra 2017 ()
#2 Share

Questioner

The soulcasters. They have, like, the effect on people-- like she's turning into smoke, those guys who turn into stone...  So do-- since-- do Shardblades, that are not from Radiants, have an affect on the people?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, like, you're talking like Honorblades?

Questioner

Uh, oh, no no, sorry, sorry. Not held by--okay, because I know the guys who are Radiants--Not, I mean no, sorry. But just I said not from Radiants when I mean not held by Radiants--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, oh, oh, I get what you say. So do they have a similar affect? No, they do not. Good question.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#3 Share

luke.spence (paraphrased)

You mentioned that human can’t bond Honorblades, but Nalan tells Szeth that his bond with his Honorblade has been broken. Can you clear this up?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Humans CAN bond Honorblades. There's a crucial difference between Honorblades and Shardblades. When you drop an Honorblade, it does not disappear, even if it has been bonded. A Shardblade will disappear when dropped.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#4 Share

Kurkistan

Does a limb that has been "severed" by a Shardblade have any Hemalurgic bindpoints? If the same limb was then cut off more conventionally, would a Bloodmaker ferring be able to grow it back?

Brandon Sanderson

A severed Shardblade limb needs repair to the soul before it would function again. A Bloodmaker would be able to heal it without needing to grow it back.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#5 Share

Rit

So, my question is glowing Shardplate and retractable helmets. Is that a similar origin of the Shardblades—

Brandon Sanderson

There's a similarity, but they are also very different.

Rit

Yeah, I noticed they do seem like advanced fabrials, because Adolin just keeps going on and on about how they're all interchangeable and they all feel comfortable after a while, and it doesn't have the same kind of thing with the Shardblades.

Brandon Sanderson

No, it doesn't. Though a Shardblade, used for a long time, will change shape slightly.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#7 Share

yulerule (Paraphrased)

I also asked about the connection between the spren and Surgebinder, such that the spren turns into what the Surgebinder wants. Like in Edgedancer, [Wyndle] turns into a bar of metal and into a Shardfork. Wyndle himself isn't "in tune" with Lift, so his turning into something that she needs with no prior warning...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they actually mix. When the bonding is happening, what's happening is that the gaps in the souls are being filled with the spren's <essence>. And they are actually melding into one 

yulerule

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

And they are actually melding into one individual *inaudible*.

yulerule

<And the minds are separate?>

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, mhm.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#10 Share

Questioner

I'm curious. Are any of those rare metals from Mistborn on any other world?

Brandon Sanderson

So, not those exact metals, unless they've been taken off-world. But there are other metals like them that you could find.

Questioner

So they could have Allomantic lore?

Brandon Sanderson

They theoretically could...

Let's just say it's not a coincidence that you find Investiture manifesting as metal on other places. Such as Shardblades, as well.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#13 Share

Questioner

So could somebody using maybe a duralumin Push or Pull, or just a strong Allomancer, take control of a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

The more heavily Invested something is, the most-- the more <release?> other forms of Investiture? But as we have proof in Mistborn you can Push and Pull on metalminds, you can Push and Pull on even a spike that’s inside of somebody. If you have the strength. So it's kind of pushing against the strength of the Investiture.

Firefight release party ()
#14 Share

Questioner

The dead shardblades, could you possibly get Stormlight into them to reawaken them?

Brandon Sanderson

Dead shardblade could you pump enough Stormlight into them? That alone would not be enough.

Questioner

So you would have to find someone to re-swear with oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

There is something broken on the Spiritual Realm because of the broken oath and simple Stormlight will not fix that.

Questioner

So say--

Brandon Sanderson

If the person were still alive and could re-swear the oath then yes.

Questioner

[...] the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not outside the realm of reason but it would be very very very difficult.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#16 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, when a Shardbearer, they get caught off guard, or, like, they're trying to throw their Shardblade, you know that it <quickly poofs> But yet, they can give it someone else, and it doesn't poof. I was just wondering how that works.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mental control. It's kind of in-- it's a control thing. Some people-- I mean, you have to practice it, and things like that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, it takes some kind of mental control to give to someone and allow them to use it?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

But it's something they have to practice at, it's not just a--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmhmm.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#17 Share

Questioner (paraphrased)

What about Kaladin getting sliced with the Shardblade and then being able to rejuvenate?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That is a clue for what is going on with Szeth and his understanding of Shardblades and the Shardblade he has.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Which is an Honorblade, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I can't say, but Szeth says in Book One you can't heal a Shardblade wound with Stormlight. There are other very big but subtle discrepancies between what Szeth does and what Kaladin does.

General Twitter 2017 ()
#19 Share

Yata

Hi, the community has a [question], we have two WoBs: Shardblades can cut aluminum and Shardblades can't cut it. Which one is true?

Brandon Sanderson

Hm. Yes, I wondered last night if I'd ever answered this before. Truth is, the answer is contentious at Team Sanderson.

I've been pushing for one answer, but Peter (whom I trust) is pushing back. We will see what ends up in the books as canon.

Problem with magic like I do is sometimes you have to wait for the scientific consensus... :) Err on "no" for now.

Peter Ahlstrom

Oh, I think aluminum would stop Shardblades from magical cutting. But if it's too thin like foil, a sword...

would cut it anyway. What I'm arguing is that something else that Shardblades don't cut doesn't need...

to necessarily be made of aluminum, for various reasons.

Yata

For example Invested objects (metalmind,spike,etc) or polestones (from some SA's Quote) ?

Peter Ahlstrom

RAFO

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#20 Share

Questioner

Could you use steel or iron to Push or Pull off shardblades or shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

Anything that's Invested resists, the more Invested it is the more it resists.

Questioner

Okay, so you could technically--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--if it was not charged?

Brandon Sanderson

Well-- Certain objects just have more Investiture and are more purely of the Investiture. A shardblade's going to be really hard, but it's possible, it's just going to be really, really hard. Even more hard than an absolutely full Feruchemical metalmind because the shardblade is being created directly out of the Investiture, it's basically all Invesiture, it's not a metal that is Invested. It's going to be real hard.
Salt Lake City signing ()
#21 Share

Questioner

Why does the Shardbearer-- when they are dueling with Adolin and Renarin-- Why does the Shardbearer freak out when Kaladin grabs the sword? The <Shardbearer> like... He screams, and he's like, "I didn't kill you", and ran away.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Why does he do that?

Brandon Sanderson

Because when Kaladin was there, and they were touching it, they actually heard the spren that was inside of it. Right? Because when an--

Questioner

So it wasn't Syl that he heard, it was the sword.

Brandon Sanderson

It was the sword's spren... that Kaladin was touching it. When the Knight Radiant touches it-- You can see when other Knights Radiant pick up swords, they can hear the screaming.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#22 Share

Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

Can you confirm if the scene with Taln at the end of Way of Kings is entirely in Hoid's perspective? There was some discussion that it might not be, since Taln's honorblade was called a shardblade.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That entire scene is in Hoid's POV, and the reason for it being called a shardblade is because honorblades are shardblades.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#23 Share

mail-mi (paraphrased)

What would a Shardblade do to [a "zombie" Elantrian]?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um, a Shardblade would...oh boy. A Shardblade...a Shardblade would still be dangerous to them, um, the trick is, um, the Shardblade's gonna treat them half alive, half dead. So, it probably would be kind of a flicker, so it depends on when you hit them. It might cut the arm off.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

It might cut the arm off...

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

And it might just leave it dead.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#24 Share

rawrzorzz

I expect just a RAFO for this, but would we see any interesting effects if someone were to Awaken a shardblade? Because I am honestly starting to think that might be close to what Nightblood is.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the type of Shardblade you're trying to Awaken.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#25 Share

AshH654

Has Brandon said that the Shardblades are based off of the swords from Soulcalibur/Final Fantasy. (You know, those stupidly huge swords?) Or are they just normal swords when it comes to the shape and size etc?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades come in many shapes and sizes, but are often larger than normal swords, in order to fight larger-than-normal enemies.

Not always, though. Szeth's Blade, for instance, was about the size of a scimitar.

There is no single source or work from which the inspiration was drawn. It's a refection of a common trope, instead. Isaac and I created a few dozen silhouettes, and Brandon chose the ones he liked best, and we've been extrapolating from there ever since.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#26 Share

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You know the sparring guards, for the Shardblade training, the guards they put on the Shardblades. Are they made of aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, they are not. Peter will not let me make them made out of aluminum. He's my continuity editor, he keeps me honest. I tried to get them to be aluminum, but there are reasons why they can't be. So we had to make them their own weird little thing, unfortunately. But you could make a sheath out of aluminum for a Shardblade that would work.

He keeps me honest, so it's good, but I did try to fit them in that way.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#28 Share

Questioner

What was the reason for choosing the base form of Shardblades as blades, why not another form? Was it because of the spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Why was the base form of Shardblades chosen to as blades, as swords? It’s because the Shardblades were devised--I can’t spoil the second book--They were devised as imitations of the Honorblades, which were created and given to the heralds. And so since the original pattern was the Honorblades, they were built to feel like the Honorblades.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#31 Share

MarlonRand

Is there any information about Way of Kings that you can give us at this time?

Brandon Sanderson

I've wanted to do a long epic for a while. I guess that's what comes from reading Jordan and the others while growing up. And so, way back in the late 90's—when I was experimenting with my style—I started working on ideas for a longer form series. I knew the real trick for me would be to do it in a way that it didn't feel stale after just a few books; there needed to be enough to the world, the magic, and the plot arcs that I (and hopefully readers) would keep interested in the series for such a long time.

What it gives me (the thing that I want in doing a longer epic) is the chance to grow characters across a larger number of books. Dig into their pasts, explore what makes them think the way they do, in ways that even a trilogy cannot. In Kings, I don't want to do a longer 'saga' style series, with each book having a new set of characters. I want this to be one overarching story.

One of the things that has itched at me for long time in my fantasy reading is the sense of loss that so many fantasy series have. I'm not complaining, mind you—I love these books. But it seems like a theme in a large number of fantasy books is the disappearance of magic and wonder from the world. In Tolkien, the Elves are leaving. In Jordan, technology is growing and perhaps beginning an age where it will overshadow magic. It's very present in Brooks, where the fantasy world is becoming our world. Even Eddings seemed to have it, with a sense that sorcerers are less common, and with things like the only Dragons dying, the gods leaving.

I've wanted to do a series, then, where the magic isn't going away—it's coming back. Where the world is becoming a more wondrous place. Where new races aren't vanishing, they're being discovered.

Obviously, I'm not the first to approach a fantasy this way. Maybe I'm reading too much into the other books, seeing something that isn't there. But the return of magic is one of the main concepts that is driving me.

Well, that and enormous swords and magical power armor.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#32 Share

Questioner

Shardblades, they sever <limbs? people’s?> connection to the Spiritual Realm. So, that being said,  they cut inanimate matter like a regular sword but inanimate matter is projected into the Cognitive Realm.  So does inanimate matter have a Connection to the Spiritual Realm? In the same way living things do?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but it doesn’t have the same thing going on.

Brandon's Blog 2015 ()
#33 Share

Brandon Sanderson

So, in Words of Radiance, I think the scene I worked on the longest both in my head and on the page was the final confrontation between Kaladin and Szeth.

There was something I wanted to do, and took a stab at it in the text, then backed off because I couldn’t make it work. It was important to me that Kaladin refuse to kill Szeth at the end. Kaladin is about protection, not vengeance, and once he realized that Szeth really just wanted to be killed, I wanted Kaladin to hesitate.

It didn’t end up working, and I moved on to a new version and submitted it. But this itched at me, and by the time the book was released, I felt I’d made the wrong choice for that scene. So I’ve taken this chance to roll it back to the previous idea, and written it in a new way, which I like much better.

The events are the same, except for that moment. Szeth is now killed by the storm instead of by Kaladin, which I think is more thematically appropriate.

The question this raises is about Szeth being stabbed by a Shardblade, then being resuscitated. I’m sad to lose this sequence, as it’s an important plot point for the series that dead Shardblades cannot heal the soul, while living ones can. I’m going to have to work this into a later book, though I think it’s something we can sacrifice here for the stronger scene of character for Kaladin and Szeth.

Holiday signing ()
#36 Share

Questioner

So we know that Nightblood was created by people who had some knowledge of Shardblades.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Questioner

But we also know that Nightblood consumes Breaths when it's used.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep.

Questioner

So do Shardblades require that kind of energy? It doesn't seem like they--

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

So why are they different?

Brandon Sanderson

Because they were made with different magic systems, by different people, and different styles.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#37 Share

arichards117

When someone is "killed" by a shardblade, their soul is understood to be severed. What do Vorin practitioners believe happens to the soul if it is severed? Does this mean that the soul cannot go to the Tranquiline Halls? If this is the case, why are Shardbearers/Blades so revered rather than feared or hated?

Brandon Sanderson

Vorin belief doesn't take being killed by a Shardblade as destroying the soul, likely because of Knight Radiant traditions.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#39 Share

Questioner

I know at the end of Words of Radiance Syl shows she can turn into different forms, not just a sword. Why do they not-- Or why do none of the other past Radiants really show that they have done that. Because normally in the flashbacks they are shown just being swords.

Brandon Sanderson

So the shardblades came from spren seeing the Honorblades, which were created for mankind, and being like "I can do that". That is what they were imitating.

Questioner

So that's what they wanted--

Brandon Sanderson

No, that's how they see themselves and how they are seen. They can change into other things--

Questioner

They just never--

Brandon Sanderson

But when you let go of one it's going to become a sword again.

Questioner

Oh, I just meant in all the visions they were always portrayed as swords. Was that just for--

Brandon Sanderson

That's cultural, like this is-- One thing that is interesting is you are going to see that the new Radiants don't have-- I mean the Radiants you have seen almost all of them are after thousands of years of Radiants and Orders and you have certain things that you do.

So the writing reason was I didn't want to give away--

Questioner

That's what I was going to ask.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a writing reason behind it. I didn't want to do that and give too much away. I already worried that having Syl shift shapes as often as she did through the first book was going to be a big clue to people and I wanted to hold off on giving away too much.
Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#40 Share

Questioner

What inspired the sword stances in The Way of Kings? Windstance and stonestance--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it was old-school, what they call-- the old books that you would see-- sword training guides. Where you would see a guy in a stance, and then go like this, and things. I just thought they were really interesting, and I developed the stances around that.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#41 Share

Questioner

Is there a correlation, at all, between Awakening steel, a blade, and the revival of spren every time a shardblade is summoned? I mean, I know Invesiture is Investiture is Invesiture.

Brandon Sanderson

So revival of the spren so--

Questioner

Similar.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay. So, are you talking about a live shardblade or a dead one, or it doesn’t matter.

Questioner

Like Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Questioner

Awakening the steel, like that, Shardblades <are like Awakening metal> and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The big difference here is that in one you’re using a physical component, right, and investing it. In another, a more pure Invesiture is passing into the Physical Realm and taking on an embodiment, a shape. Does that make sense? And so, similar but different things. There is a correlation, but it’s not--yeah.

Calamity release party ()
#42 Share

Zas678

Did Vasher visit Roshar before the Recreance? Because he had-- *Brandon mumbles question* Because he had to see Shardblades, and... presumably live ones.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... I'll RAFO that. I'll RAFO that. It is an assumption that he had... He doesn't necessarily have to have seen alive ones. He could have heard records of them.

Zas678

Okay. Because I've tried to make out a timeline, to be like, "Okay, if this is here..."

Brandon Sanderson

Kara has a timeline-- Not Kara-- Karen has a timeline in hand. But I would have to look at it to give you exact dates, but yeah.

Zas678

Okay. So you didn't have to see...

Brandon Sanderson

He did not have to see.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#43 Share

uchoo786

I was wondering, if one were to take an honorblade to Nalthis (I think that's the Warbreaker planet?), would it function like a minor version of Nighblood?

And could one fuel one of these shards with other forms of investiture, not gas based like breath and stormlight, e.g. Burning metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades will not lose or change functionality when taken off of Roshar.

Firefight release party ()
#44 Share

Questioner

So I have heard that it is harder to Push a shardblade with Allomancy than it is a normal sword.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that true of both living and dead shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Equally?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, no.

Questioner

Okay, so it's even more difficult to Push one alive.

Brandon Sanderson

The thing-- An Invested object is more difficult with any of the magics. So, for instance, even a Feruchemical metalmind is going to be harder. Depends on how much it is Invested, and things like that. But, y'know, it can range from you barely notice it or don't even notice it to "Wow, that's hard to Push on". Same for a Hemalurgical spike, depending on how much Investiture is left over, how long has it been outside of a body, and things like that. Same thing Pushing on something inside a person's body, their Investiture is going to interfere with it.

Same thing, when you read White Sand, why a person slapping their hand through someone's stream of sand can throw off the entire creation of the sand mastery. It's just-- There's interference patterns, and things like that.

Questioner

And is that true of a Drab as well? Does the body affect--

Brandon Sanderson

The Drab is going to have less.

Questioner

So they just have less Investiture, but they still have some natural Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

They do still have some. They've lost their Breath but that isn't the entirety of the Investiture inside of them.

Almost all of the times we see Vin--in fact I think every time--we see Vin, or someone in the Mistborn books, Pushing or Pulling on an Invested metal they are either drawing on the mist or they're Elend or the Lord Ruler who have the enhanced power, or something like that. Or it's a duralumin Push, or its one of the Inquisitors who's had a spike-- y'know, and things like that, that've-- And so it's not something that you see done very often in the Mistborn books.

Rubix

I can actually confirm that's correct.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh you guys looked it up?

Rubix

I checked.

Brandon Sanderson

I mean it can be done. And depending on Investiture it can be not even that hard to do but--

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 ()
#46 Share

Cognizantastic

As I understand it, Nightblood is most comparable to a Shardblade. However, unlike a Shardblade, Nightblood requires constant input of Investiture in order to realize his full destructive potential. Why is this?

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher kind of hacked in order to imitate another magic system. Shardblades are organic parts of the world they are on, but Nightblood is a bunch of souls stuffed into something. Nightblood is like a Frankenstein.

Firefight release party ()
#47 Share

Lady Radagu

If Shai were to gain a shardblade and she gave it up could she then create an Essence Mark that represented the history where she still had the blade? And then if she applied it could she summon the blade? Or a copy of it?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so doing that sort of thing, like re-writing herself to be an Allomancer or something like this-- This is possible but in order to gain the Investiture she wants to have she will have to input that much in Investiture which her current magic system is not capable of doing. Okay? Alright, so "re-write so that I have a shardblade" would require some sort of hacking of her magic system, which is currently impossible to her in her current situation.

Lady Radagu

So if she had had a shardblade and gave it up she could not rewrite herself to have that back without more input--

Brandon Sanderson

She could-- Yes, exactly. Now rewriting-- That would be a lot easier than just rewriting herself so that she had a shardblade--

Lady Radagu

That's what I was asking--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but what you're asking about would be much easier and that is probably within her power. But what that would do is-- Yeah that's totally within her power. It would create some weird implications where she's summoning it and someone summons it back from her because the shardblade thinks it's owned by two people.

Lady Radagu

So it wouldn't be a copy it would be the same blade?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#48 Share

Questioner (paraphrased)

How much more powerful is Nightblood than a regular Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I haven't actually quantified that in my own mind so can't give an accurate comparison at this point. I will say that when he is fully consuming Investiture he can do some really freaky things.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#49 Share

Questioner

*cant be heard*

Brandon Sanderson

The way it works in my head canon right now, which I haven't written it so if it changes, no. The other thing is getting complex systems is going to be harder for a lot of Spren. There are legends that reference that they were able to do bows in the past, which includes a string. Everyone is like "but they're not metal, how does that work." Complex structures, even the mechanics of a pen is not something that we have proof that they could even do. If they did do it, they wouldn't *brandon stumbling over his words*.