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Idaho Falls signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Dalinar Ascends, right? Like, right then, there.

Brandon Sanderson

I have RAFO'd that. Whether he is Ascending or not is a RAFO.

Questioner

Okay, because I know he kind of mentions from that, I don't know how to say his name but the older guy who has the Diagram--

Brandon Sanderson

Taravangian, yeah. Whether that deserves to be a capital "A" or not is a matter of argument. It can be disputed.

Questioner

I guess my main question would just be Dalinar's now able to pull Stormlight and give it to people now.

Brandon Sanderson

He definitely can. That is a Bondsmith power, so.

Questioner

That is a Bondsmith power, okay.

Brandon Sanderson

That is specifically a Bondsmith power.

Questioner

Because my roommate was saying well, the Stormfather was surprised he could do that or was the Stormfather surprised that he was able to bridge--

Brandon Sanderson

He was surprised by what was happening to Dalinar as a whole.

Questioner

Oh okay, that's what I thought because I was like, because I felt like the Stormlight, that power would be a Bondsmith power.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say that the Stormfather and Odium were seeing something in Dalinar that, perhaps, the average person watching even who is knowledgeable about Surges would not completely understand... But he will be able to use that power and Bondsmiths in the past have used that same power.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

What happens when you Lash water, or a body of water?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question, it’s going to have some hard time gripping on--

Questioner

Would it have a gravity well going on?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it would have a gravity well, it think-- yeah.  You are the first person to ask about that, I don’t think even my assistant has asked about that.  So that’s your tentative answer until I think about it some more, but I think it would.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

What’s the upper limit of Lashing, is it Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it’s--  Well define for me what you mean by upper limit?

Questioner

Like, um, a mountain?

Brandon Sanderson

That would take a lot of Stormlight.

Questioner

So it’s something about the Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Definitely.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#5 Copy

Zmann966

So, in Oathbringer, we see the Surge of Adhesion used in an interesting way, Spiritual Adhesion. Do all the Surges have non-Physical manifestations like that?

Brandon Sanderson

All the Surges do, slightly, in fact, but none of them, I would say, are as Spiritual as that. 

Zmann966

What about like, Shallan in Words of Radiance with her mercenaries? So, like, a Spiritual Transformation? 

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say Transformation, she is seeing a little bit, glimpsing a little bit, does that make sense? 

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I'm a physical chemist and I'm reading your book [The Way of Kings] right now and at some point you have someone studying flamespren and what they saw, that's one of the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So you got that from quantum mechanics?

Brandon Sanderson

I did get that from quantum mechanics.

Questioner

How did you come across that and decide to incorporate that into your epic fantasy?

Brandon Sanderson

Well The Way of Kings' magic systems are based on the fundamental forces. That was the original idea and the extrapolation from them. I'm fascinated by quantum mechanics and I have worked them into the way that-- Remember in my worlds, my books, the magics are a new branch of physics, in these worlds. And so they interact with our normal physics, it's not like they are ignoring them, so they obey the laws of thermodynamics, even when they appear to be breaking them, and they interact with quantum and all the stuff. It's just very natural that they are going to, to me if that makes sense? It would be weird if they didn't interact with them.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

I notice how in the different worlds you have different sets of powers. Elantris has two gods in it, two Shards, and there are four powers that we've seen, and we've seen three powers on Scadrial. Do you have kind of a formula or general rule for how many magic systems there are in a place?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I was looking at this and decided that what people call a magic system is more a human construct of etymology and categorization than it is an actual true magic systems. You could claim that all the magics on Roshar are just one magic system: applying the powers of nature through the Knights Radiant and stuff like that. You could say that is just one magic. You could say that the magics on Sel, Elantris' world, are all the same magic. People divide them into systems saying "these are Aons and these are with the Skaze" but those are kind of the same thing, it's just different powers. So that's a human construct just like saying animal, vegetable, mineral, mammal, non-mammal. That's a human construct. Yes there are Laws in nature that we are using as our guidelines but those are our constructs.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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TheFoxQR (paraphrased)

Is there temporal symmetry in between the Surge-binding and void-binding charts, from the front and back covers of The Way of Kings? As in, Surgebinding is a re-emerging system of the past, vs Voidbinding being a newly emerging system that will fully exist in the future?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You can assume that Voidbinding has not been fully explored, but that parts of it have been looked into in the past. So I wouldn't say that temporal symmetry fully holds.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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InsaneScotsman

During the perpendicularity scene in Oathbringer is it safe to say that what Dalinar did is akin to super powered versions of his surges? Tension to make the realms ductile and formable, adhesion to bring them together. I know the specific ability is unique to Dalinar but I'm fairly attached to this rationalization

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't immediately shoot down this particular theory. 

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Overlord Jebus

The Knights Radiants have access to two Surges each, are the two Surges completely seperate or can they be combined together? Something like maybe allowing a Lightweaver to create a solid illusion by combining their Illumination Surge and their Soulcasting?

Essentially, do each of the Orders have a special talent only they can do that isn't available to any other Order?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they do, but it's not always directly obvious in a straightforward way, such as your example.

Overlord Jebus

Would the lashing system be an example of this? Full lashings apppear to be mostly Adhesion and and the basic lashing seems to be mostly Gravitational, does this mean Bondsmiths will be able do full lashings and Skybreakers can use partial and basic lashings?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

GollanczFest London ()
#15 Copy

Havoc (paraphrased)

In Way of Kings, Shallan is being chased by Cryptics. She begins to summon her Shardblade, stops and then Soulcasts for the first time. We know from Words of Radiance that it's her bond to Pattern, her Shardblade that allows her to Soulcast. So my question is, if Shallan had not begun to summon her Blade, would she have been able to Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

She would not have been able to. Good question! Wow. No one has ever asked me that before.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

How did Kaladin heal his Shardblade wound without the power of Regrowth?

Brandon Sanderson

That's partially a RAFO. Remember that healing in the cosmere usually has to do with how you view yourself. And as long as there is some outpouring of Investiture you are usually capable of healing. More the weird thing is not that Kaladin healed it's that Szeth couldn't.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Glamdring804

With Adhesion you can use it to either create negative pressure and stick two things together, or you can manipulate to create pressure bubbles around you, like Kal did facing down the storm. Or say with Gravitation, you can either do a Basic Lashing and change the direction gravity is acting on something, or you can do a Reverse Lashing and change the-- and have something with its own gravity field. So I was wondering then, if that is possibly caused by Pushing and Pulling on Surges?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a legitimate interpretation.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

A friend of mine wanted me to ask: Was the cataclysm that rocked Ashyn and forced its inhabitants into the flying cities Investiture-based, and if it was was it Shardic in nature?

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that the-- did you finish [Oathbringer]?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that they were fleeing, that they caused, is the one that forced people into the skies...

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

How do Windrunners rotate as they are moving through the air, since a force on their center of mass can't be rotation.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah but wind resistance can. Same with [how] skydivers work. 

Questioner

Okay, so they kind of instinctively do it, or learn.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. You learn but-- you put your fingers out you go spinning around the right way. Kaladin gets better at this and you'll see some direct references to that in [Oathbringer] where he's talking about some of these ideas.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

My question has to do with the color of Shallan's eyes currently, because we've noticed over the books that Kaladin's eyes, as he's continued to use his Surge, changed to lighter and lighter blue. Whereas one could argue that Shallan is farther in her Ideals than Kaladin is, yet her eyes have not changed at all.

Brandon Sanderson

Right, 'cause they were already light.

Questioner

'Cause they were already light? So it only affects lightness or darkness in the eyes, not necessarily any other color?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not like it is-- It's not like it's saying "Light minus 50%".

Questioner

It's not like Honor is blue and--

Brandon Sanderson

No. It is not. It is just kind of the way that the changes the Stormlight is making the body and certain people are already descended from people who had repeated, over time, changes by the body which stopped physically... That's not to say that all lighteyes that's where they came from. There are some that are natural mutations.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

I had a question about [steel] Ferrings. So, I saw that you had mentioned in a previous talk that you could only move so fast with air resistance, like eventually you'd start burning up. If you were to become an Edgedancer as well?

Brandon Sanderson

If you can combine those two powers, Edgedancing and [steel] Ferring, then you are able to do things that would circumvent that restriction. Yes, indeed.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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clyguy

If Wax were to go to Roshar, and--he's a Skimmer, right? So he can change his weight--if he got Lashed in a different direction if he Stored his weight would that nullify some of the Lashing?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, you're going to make me think through this. *laughter* So Wax actually changes mass. And the Lashing only affects gravitational pull. So the answer is no because different things with different masses fall at the same speed.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

Is there one magic system that is, like, the one that would win all the battles?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the thing is, they have their strengths and weaknesses. All of the surgebinders are really hard to kill while they have access to Stormlight and that's a huge advantage. But a mistborn is way more versatile, they have access to more powers, and things like that. So it really depends how much of each do you have, how many times does the mistborn have to kill the Bondsmith; a Bondsmith's not going to do a great job in a fight because...I mean Dalinar would coz he's Dalinar, but the powers do not lend themselves to combat in the same way that windrunning does, and things like that, so...

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I noticed in a lot of your cosmere books, like for example Elantris or Mistborn, they have something to do with some sort of subject matter or school or something. For example the Steelpush and Ironpulling in Mistborn is based on physics.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

If you push too hard it's based on...

Brandon Sanderson

Vector physics, yes.

Questioner

And then like Warbreaker is just like math, adding Breaths together. Did you intend that?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. I read a lot and I like science and I like philosophy and I like and things like this. And those spark most of my ideas. So yes in a term but I'm not like "Let's do this subject".

I would say Warbreaker, the big part of Warbreaker is the idea of sympathetic magic. Which is the idea that like affects like, which is a very common type of magic throughout all cultures on the planet, on our planet. When people believe in magic they believe in sympathetic magic. A voodoo doll is sympathetic magic. And that's where the idea came from.

Questioner

So in Elantris, which is different and then--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that's basically fantasy programming, is where that one came from.

Questioner

And then there is The Stormlight Archive, which basically violates all the laws of physics by just saying everything comes from spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well no they still have arguments on that, are spren attracted to these things or do they cause them.

Questioner

Yeah that's kind of weird...

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight Archive was based on the fundamental forces, if you want go read on physics google fundamental forces.

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 Chicago signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

You have like tons of spren, right? And the the ones like rotspren, and you have your characters and some point will be able to harness those spren and be completely evil with them?

Brandon Sanderson

And be completely evil with them? *pause* There are-- There is an order of Knights Radiant that has to do with the breaking down of matter into smaller pieces.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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shinarit?

There is that scene where Kaladin takes a sharp turn at high speeds and he almost blacks out. That is normal for jet pilots, since they experience high G forces when their airplane tries to accelerate them by their backs and bottoms.

But Lashing doesn't work that way, it generates fake gravity. Accelerating your whole body shouldn't cause you anything, you can't even feel it.

Is this something that is an admitted physics hiccup or I misunderstood this kind of Investiture usage?

Brandon Sanderson

This one is actually in the process of flux, as I do more research on the effects of acceleration (including interviews with fighter pilots, which has been fun.) Basically, I realized I needed to beef up my understanding of all this, and then make some decisions on exactly how this all works, because I've been relying on instinct too much in some of these sequences.

So...that's a RAFO, I'm afraid. More because I'm still tweaking some of the little details of how I want this all to work. (In ways that become increasingly relevant as I look forward toward things like Windrunners in space.)

There are a ton of details to consider, even if I eventually hand-wave some of it with the magic. (For example, the heart pumping blood in a high-g environment. How does that interact, if at all, with stormlight? And the direct oxygenation of the brain implied by not needing to breathe while holding stormlight...)

We have several very large math-ish projects going on behind the scenes.

Phoenixdown

I think it depends on if lashing independently impacts each atom within your body simultaneously, or if it is only a subset.

Brandon Sanderson

There's one important fact you're not considering, but which is vital: reader expectation.

One of the questions I have to ask myself is this: What will the reader expect to happen? How will they expect to feel? Granted, none of us have ever flown like this before--but we generally imagine similar things, similar feelings.

As a writer, one thing I need to balance is when I go against reader expectations and when I don't. Going against the expectations can be interesting, but often takes a large burden of words and explanation to keep reminding them something is not how they'd imagine it to be.

For example, it took a relatively large amount of reader attention (and explanation) to keep reminding people in Mistborn that plants weren't green and the sky wasn't blue. In many ways, making something new (like a chull) is easier on readers than making something familiar into something strange (like the horses in Dragonsteel, which were smaller than Earth horses--and kept causing confusion problems in my alpha readers.)

As annoying as this example can me, this is why Lucas had sound, fire, gravity, etc in space. Starships banking in formation felt real to the viewers, even if it didn't make sense in context. I hope to not go that far, but these questions are something in my mind.

I try to be careful not to remove the sensations of magic, in order to keep the movements of characters grounded. Windrunning has left me having to decide how far I want to go with things like this, in order to preserve the visceral feelings for the reader.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Could a Windrunner in Shardplate travel to other planets?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, theoretically possible. Take a long time.

Questioner

Yes, it would. 'Cause he wouldn't need to breathe, if he's got enough Stormlight.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well, I mean, they can control pressure, so. You'd need oxygen scrubbers, but they can also, so... you can create a ball of air around yourself with their power anyway, so--

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Dalinar can learn languages with the people he contacts. Venli knows all the languages. Could he learn all the languages? And how long would that last?

Brandon Sanderson

His Connection is going to work-- He has to kind of be active about it, so it needs to be-- let me see if I can get the specific words right...

The mechanics I have in the notes is he has to touch someone and will learn to speak the language of their native country, that they spoke as a young person. He's making a direct Connection to that specific person and their way of speaking. So if you have learned another language and Dalinar shakes your hand and activates his Connection ability, he will Connect not to that language you've learned, but to your native language.

Questioner

How long does it last?

Brandon Sanderson

I have it lasting-- it does need to be renewed, but I have it lasting basically as long as-- days not months. But I didn't actually put a define on it, so I'm going to say that's not canon. I'm not canonizing that. But I didn't want him to have to keep renewing it every couple of hours. But he would have to do it again if he left and came back.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#46 Copy

Questioner 1

How was Jasnah able to teleport into the [Cognitive] Realm when she didn't seem to have any Stormlight in her in Words of Radiance?

Brandon Sanderson

She had enough.

Questioner 1

She had enough. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner 1

And is it just teleportation-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say... Jasnah's figured out some things that other's haven't figured out, for one thing. *brief interruption* And, let's say that. But also, there's a little scene from it I wrote from her viewpoint just to know what was happening that's never going in the books. If you Google "Jasnah deleted scene Words of Radiance" you can read it. It talks about how she did what she did.

Questioner 2

Oh good.

Brandon Sanderson

So that is out there. Just-- It was my reference for writing the scene. But-- One of her powers is called Elsecalling, which is basically popping in and out of Shadesmar more easily. It's hard for everyone else to do that.

Questioner 2

My other question is, so when Shallan was on the land she was in the sea in SHadesmar.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner 2

Is it exactly opposite?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's mirrored... Um... It's mirrored, yeah.

Questioner 2

So any land is on sea. So she would have actually landed on land on the ocean.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... so... yes...

Questioner 1

She kind of *inaudible*

Questioner 2

Well that's, no for Jasnah that's... *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah yeah, Jasnah... In that scene where you see? She pops out in Shadesmar on the land.

Questioner 2

So, was the scene at the end right as soon as that happened?

Brandon Sanderson

What the-- no, no, no. She spent months trying to get back out.

Questioner 2

Oh, because she doesn't have the power to get back out.

Brandon Sanderson

Much harder to get back out.

Questioner 1

*inaudible* trying to get back out, because she doesn't have any more Stormlight.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. Much harder to get back out than it is to get back in even if you have Stormlight, and she is out of Stormlight, so...

Starsight Release Party ()
#47 Copy

Pod

You’ve said that you would call Surgebinding, Voidbinding, and fabrials the three magics on Roshar. Would it be more accurate to say that Surgebinding followed and emulated fabrials and/orthe possibility of fabrials or vice versa?

Brandon Sanderson

 Vice versa. Fabrials are... generally, Surgebinders first, fabrials second. 

Pod

So you couldn’t have done fabrials when it was just Adonalsium. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, before the [Shattering]? *deep in thought mmming*

Pod

Would the spren have still been able to do Surges then?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say... no. No, Adonalsium probably would not have let that happen. You could theoretically do it, if Adonalsium allowed it. 

Pod

He had boundaries against it. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, I would say no. 

General Twitter 2018 ()
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Stormborn125

Are the Knights Radiant's powers/spren derived from both Honor and Cultivation? As it seems each order has a has a power of nature e.g. light gravity etc

If yes, what powers would Odium give the Knights Radiants, if he where forced to empower them? And would there be any additional oaths they would need to swear to use these powers?

Everything in the books is alluding to Damnation and the Tranquiline Halls being one and the same. Is this true or is it more separate countries in the same landmass? And what is the general landscape of this alternate dimension?

Brandon Sanderson

These questions stray into RAFO type territory, which I try not to delve too deeply into on twitter. (Because of the short space I have to reply.) But there are some hints in the links [SandersonArmy] included...

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner 1

Lashing really hurts my mechanical, engineering brain because the math is off with your descriptions.

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean?

Questioner 1

So, a full Lashing changes your gravitational pull, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner 1

Well if you were doing the math on that...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah...

Questioner 1

...a full Lashing would be two times.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah. That's just their shorthand. *interrupting questioner* It's just their shorthand. I'm fully aware of that.

Questioner 2

Drives him so mad!

Brandon Sanderson

Does it?

Questioner 1

I always see the statics *inaudible* in my head.

Brandon Sanderson

If it helps, in the third book where Bridge Four is practicing, they have an argument over that very point.

Questioner 1

Oh, do they?

Brandon Sanderson

So there are certain people who think the way you think.

Questioner 1

Uh-huh.

Brandon Sanderson

That a full Lashing should make you float.

Questioner 1

Mmm-- it's-- yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm. But it's-- when I wrote it that way it was so confusing for alpha readers and they thought a double lashing should make him go up double speed.

Questioner 2

*in the background* They're not as technical.

Brandon Sanderson

And so I figured Szeth doesn't have the mathematics background to have that argument. But you do get to have it in the next book.

Questioner 1

Yeah, okay. Every time I... *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

So there's at least an acknowledgement of it for you.

Questioner 2

Thanks Brandon.

Brandon Sanderson

So a full Lashing means double gravitational pull upward.

Footnote: Note that "full Lashing" in the context above refers to a "full" Basic Lashing--not a "Full Lashing".