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San Diego Comic-Con@Home 2020 ()
#1 Copy

Stormlightning

How the heck is Nale's spren still with him? Is his spren as wacky as he is? Or is it dead, and he still carries it around?

Brandon Sanderson

Nale's spren is alive. The highspren... I would say "wacky" is probably a decent term for them. I would blame some of how Nale is acting more on the highspren. Obviously, it's partially being a Herald and all the things he's gone through, but they're all on board for this. So read that as you will.

Well, "all." The ones that are making Radiants of the Order are on board for it. You'll get to see Szeth interact with his just a little bit. There's not a ton of Szeth in this book, but you've got a few chapters. At least one, for sure. And he gets to interact with his spren, and you'll get a better picture of the highspren from that moment.

Dragonsteel 2023 ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if the Skybreakers' armor spren... what spren they are?

Brandon Sanderson

Well... Do you have any guesses?

Questioner

Stormspren?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not stormspren, good guess. Any other guesses?

Gravitationspren. We're going with gravitationspren for them. So you should see some little hints of that in future books.

And this isn't too much of a spoiler 'cause we will be releasing all of these when the RPG comes out, 'cause you gotta know how you get your armor when you play the RPG.

#SayTheWords ()
#3 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahesah 5.1.5.

Skybreakers

The Skybreakers are all about order. It's not about rules, or laws, or whatever the current or local king declares is right, though some Skybreakers do go too far in that direction if you ask me. It's about higher ideals of rightness, and concepts like justice and fairness, and as I said in the beginning, order. They sought to make the world as it should be, and not as the passing whims of power and money declare that it ought to be. Which, in practical terms, inevitably translates as, "the way that we the Skybreakers think it should be, which is orderly."

In some situations, a Skybreakers is a ruler's best friend. They enforce that ruler's laws, which supports that ruler's vision and enforces peace in that realm. But a Skybreaker also believes that the law is universal, and should apply to the highest members of society as well as the lowest. And this goes for everyone, up to and including the Radiant orders and the Heralds themselves. Nobody in their view should be untouchable. Even a king, maybe even a god, should be held accountable if they abuse their power and authority. Which sounds like a pretty good belief to have, I guess, until you ask who's going to stop the Skybreakers from abusing their authority. The answer is often nobody, or the other orders, I guess, but that can get messy.

These attitudes, as you might expect, give the Skybreakers a bit of a stodgy reputation. Some of the more looser orders see them as sticks in the mud, and free thinkers see them as outright dangerous. Revolutionaries see them as friends of the powerful, but the powerful see them as fickle friends who might turn on you if they disapprove of your choices. The only people who really love them, I guess, are the people who know they can count on them, people who need justice. And if you're the kind of person the downtrodden people know they can always rely on to defend the innocent and punish the guilty, well, that seems like a pretty good place to be.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#4 Copy

LuckyJim

I've been really curious for a while about the modern Skybreakers and how they operated while in secret. To keep things short and avoid RAFO territory, what were the modern Skybreakers doing for their fourth ideal crusades? I'd imagine they must have been different from the sorts of crusades classic Skybreakers did, since their main purpose and general methodology seems to have shifted. Was it just stuff like "I will eliminate such and such radiant" or did they have other important missions that could qualify for a crusade?

Brandon Sanderson

Their crusades can actually be rather varied. They are different these days, but often involve joining and trying to help law enforcement in various countries. Watching tor Radiants was actually not often part of it, since Nale did that--and it isn't until recently that it's actually come up.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#6 Copy

AndrewHB (paraphrased)

Is Niccolò Machiavelli's political theory--the ends justify the means--incompatible with the Knights Radiant's First Oath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. Although many of the Orders of Knights Radiant would find Machiavelli's theory, that the ends justify the means, incompatible with additional oaths and/or values of that Order, there are some Orders who could accept a Machiavellian. (Brandon said that the Skybreakers are where a Machiavellian could find a home.)

YouTube Livestream 9 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

Can Skybreakers vow to follow a code of rules some might consider outlaw-ish, like the Pirate Code. Are they obliged to adhere to changes in the law after their vow?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and yes.

What you're running into with what's happening right now, the Skybreakers are under the thumb of someone who has a much more rigid interpretation of what they should do than is necessary for the Order. And so you could totally be a Skybreaker who is not of this group, and this group would not look kindly on something like the Pirate Code necessarily. (Though the Pirate Code kind of works for them, because it's in international waters, so even with the current crop of Skybreakers you could probably argue the Pirate Code, and they'd probably be okay with it.)

But you could have even less, codes that's like, "I'm going to follow the code of the criminal underground. I'm going to follow the Mafia code." Current crop of Skybreakers, that would not fly with them. But in the Order in general, and the way that highspren work, and things like that, you would totally be okay.

Which is kind of dangerous, yes. But you would have to follow the code as the code changes. So that could get you into trouble, also. Skybreakers, they've got an interesting way of going about all this. Hopefully, all the Orders do; that's one of my goals with them.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#8 Copy

marcos

As of Words of Radiance, are there two groups of Skybreakers running around claiming to be Skybreakers?

Brandon Sanderson

Nale’s group is the only one I think I’ve had on-screen, so yeah I think there’s only one. Why would you ask that?

marcos

Was the group that Helaran joined the actual Skybreakers?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I get what you’re saying. Okay. Yes, there is one unified group that call themselves the Skybreakers, good question.