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General Reddit 2018 ()
#1 Copy


You were the illustrator for Shallan's sketches of Shardblades, right? If so, huge props for Sunraiser - it's so interesting that you chose such an iconic and historically accurate design, yet still managed to ornament it in a believable Shardblade style. I'd definitely buy one for HEMA if replicas existed, which is something I wouldn't say for most fantasy swords.

For those of us who know what that style was used for, it has some odd implications - like the fact that someone at some point was halfswording with a Shardblade, and seeing fantasy authors acknowledge halfswording always makes me geek out! Was this design a specific order from Brandon or were you just tasked with making a more knightly sword for the king and did your own research?

Ben McSweeney

So, there's a few different things going on here.

One is that, way early into the project, I did a bunch of silhouette studies for Brandon so that we could zero in on just how nutty he wanted Blades to be. From those studies he's picked out a few that we referred to when drawing the Blades in Oathbringer, and one of those in particular became Sunraiser.

He did specify that he wanted Sunraiser to be simple and traditional and purposefully in contrast with other Blades. The long ricasso wasn't a call for half-swording in particular, but that doesn't preclude the use of that technique, and it's likely that the original spren that became Sunraiser was probably used by a Radiant with some experience in wielding oversized two-handed blades.

From a Watsonian perspective, it's worth remembering that Shardblades are impractical interpretations of practical tools. Spren made themselves into what they thought swords were, but because of their nature the result became more about the spirit or the concept of a sword than about the requirements of forgery or physics or the practical needs of sticking pointy bits into other people.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#2 Copy


And there's one last question if I may: I'm really into swords and such. I couldn't help but notice king Elhokar's Blade. It's just... All the others are ornamented, and they may have some glyphs, but it is the only one where it is explicitly it is told that there are ten fundamental glyphs on it which are the glyphs of the orders. I read some of the chapters from Dalinar from Unfettered II, and I know how he got it for Elhokar. Is there also some more backstory to this Blade?

Brandon Sanderson

There's a backstory to every Blade and every one of them is special, that's the problem. But I will be exploring the origins of some of the Blades. Eventually. Not a ton, but a little bit.


As it is ornamented in such a way... Could it be related to a Bondsmith?

Brandon Sanderson

Bondsmiths didn't have Blades.


All of them? It's just... Maybe it was just the Stormfather...

Brandon Sanderson

No. That's a really good guess. Really good guess. I'm gonna RAFO Bondsmiths because you gonna learn a lot about them in the next book because it's the Bondsmith's book. That's a really good theory, but it's not true. 


But maybe there is at least something to it.

Brandon Sanderson

But there's a reason to it, why it has all the 10 orders.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#3 Copy


Elhokar's Shardblade has all ten orders.

Ben McSweeney

Just to stir the pot for giggles, I can confirm that Brandon specifically called for that particular detail. Hence the extra bit of the glyphs next to the Blade.

Could not tell you why though... he never told me! :)

Every Blade depicted in the Shallan art so far (except perhaps that cleaver-looking beast in the dueling drawing) went through multiple design passes. He definitely cares how they're depicted.


Are the two Shardbearers sparring at the bottom of the page holding Mayalaran and Oathbringer?

Ben McSweeney

Not Oathbringer for sure, because we have a particular Oathbringer design. That chopper is of no particular provenance at this time, at least that I know of.

Though it's not unheard of for Brandon to pick a design that I had thought of as being "throwaway" and elevate it to something significant. :)