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Tor.com The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview ()
#1 Copy

Jasuni

When Szeth walked through an area he had lashed in Interlude-9, could he have decided to let himself be affected by his own full lashing? How does this extend to other surgebinders?

Brandon Sanderson

Using a full lashing to stick yourself to something is inherently inferior to changing the gravitational pull and being able to move on that plane instead. So I see very rare instances where you would want to. But it is within the scope of the powers to be affected by it if he wanted to be. It will still affect other Surgebinders, and they will not be able to not be affected, unless there is a specific ability or item that is preventing it.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Nadine

Will The Way of Kings series be based on one of the worlds and magic systems you have already created or are you inventing a totally new one for this series?

Brandon Sanderson

It will be new. There are going to be a lot of different types of magic in the world (I see there's a question below asking about that, so I'll answer more there.) But there will be two main magic systems for the first book. The first will deal with the manipulation of fundamental forces. (Gravity, Strong/weak atomic forces, Electromagnetic force, that sort of thing.) The second will be a transformation based magic system, whereby people can transform objects into one of the world's ten elements.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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

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.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
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Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Are there Surges that could be considered as God Surges, like the God metals on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Progression and Adhesion, perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, but they could be considered as such.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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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...

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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unknown

Hey Brandon! If you're still answering these...what would happen if a Surgebinder absorbed Voidlight? (Or whatever's powering the Everstorm)

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. (Sorry.)

Argent

Is Voidlight a good name for it? We've been playing with the words "void" and "odium", stitching them together into Voidlight, Voids (as opposed to Surges), Voidspren, Odiumspren, etc. Are any of those accurate?

Brandon Sanderson

It may not be accurate, but it is a valid conjecture. Afraid I won't say more right now.

Holiday signing ()
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zas678

Why can a human be affected by Surgebinding but metals within their bodies cannot be Pushed or Pulled?

Brandon Sanderson

They can be Pushed or Pulled, if you're strong enough.

zas678

So is it just the Innate Investiture--

Brandon Sanderson

The Innate Investiture is interfering with things. Like if you look at it this way: So you're Surgebinding someone, I am touching him and sending the power straight into him. There's difference between there's something inside of him that I'm messing with and going through?

Holiday signing ()
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Questioner

I was noticing that some of the Aons from Elantris, have similar names to the Surges on Roshar. Like there's an Aon for Cohesion, which is a Surge. Does that have anything to do with each other?

Brandon Sanderson

Vaguely, yes.

Questioner

What about the ones with the names of Shards, like Endowment, which is a Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Questioner

Those are related?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

What do they have to do with each other?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a tangential relationship.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

I was wondering if a Hemalurgic spike would take surges, or if it could take a spren bond? Would it interact at all for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy can interact with every one of the magics. I designed it specifically in writing Mistborn for future use. Because some of the magics are so limited by their planet I wanted one that transcended all of them and Hemalurgy is very important to the entire cosmere. Its invention is a thing of great power and great danger to the entire cosmere.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

We know, especially in Oathbringer, that Surges can work differently for different Orders, but we've also seen the Skybreakers and [Windrunners] with flight, and the Truthwatchers and [Edgedancers], they both can do Regrowth, so is there some way that those actually work differently?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Each of them works a little differently for each Order. There are slight variations, but they are each drawing upon the same source concept.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Argent

We know that you can't Lash people in Shardplate, but can you Lash the person inside the Plate? If they had their helm off, for example. At that point Plate should be just dead weight, right? 

Brandon Sanderson

There's a bit of an interference envelope. Wearing plate, the person has this big ball of investiture around them, and so pushing any through it--even by touching a person without a helm--is going to be tough. Easier than with the helm on though, I suppose.

Investiture acts (roughly) like a saturated solution in these cases. Sticking more power into something like a Feruchemical storage or a hyper-invested object like Plate is increasingly hard. The other part is that Investiture tends to interfere with other Investiture, unless there's a familiar resonance. (This is part of what philosophers call Identity.) Slapping your hand through a sand master's stream of sand will cause interference, and make them start to drop. It's not that the sand is supporting them, it's that the investiture holding them up gets scrambled for a moment because of your own investiture.

Investiture pushed toward someone inside a hyper-invested (supersaturated) system like a person in Shardplate is going to get hard push-back.

This is similar to the reason that it's harder to Push on invested coins. Depends on how invested they are, in that case. It's generally not as hard as doing something like Lashing a person in plate. (This is more about the interference than the saturation of investiture.) But the two principles are what I use to guide the physics in these areas.

quietandproud

Can we take that as a hint that the Investiture in the Plates and the Investiture that the Surge of [Adhesion] uses come from different Shards? Or do they interfere because they "belong" to different spren?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I should have realized this one would bring out the follow up questions. Let's leave it at what I posted for now. This is a deep, deep rabbit hole, and I do need to try to get some more writing done tonight. So...RAFO. (Sorry.)

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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ebilutionist

Regarding soulcasting, I have a question - why do people continue to use it post-Recreance? Would it not have been seen as a betrayal, given that the Radiants abandoned them? Why this Surge but not others? Was it simply the only Surge available and people would have kept using the others anyway? I guess it's a matter of practicality but given how devout Vorinism can be it does seem odd.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. You'll notice that soulcasters aren't the only fabrial that access a surge, however. They're just the one most commonly used.

There are plenty of rationalizations. But it comes down to this: they are too useful to give up.

ebilutionist

Ah yes, now that I think of it Navani's conjoined-gem fabrials seem to utilize Gravitation and perhaps the heating one uses Abrasion(?) to produce heat. Or are there others I did miss?

Brandon Sanderson

I was referencing a regrowth fabrial, actually, which I believe has appeared several times.

ebilutionist

Isn't the regrowth fabrial incredibly rare? I was under the impression it disappeared with the Recreance and only Nin's reappearance brought it back. AFAIK, only a Radiant in Dalinar's vision and a Herald have actually used it so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Their rarity depends on the time period in question. But yes, I'd list them as incredibly rare.

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...

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

[questions being asked on behalf of Alyx, a.k.a. FeatherWriter] About Renarin's Surgebinding. Are [his visions] influenced by Voidbinding instead of Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Questioner

And then if they are influenced by Odium the way that Dalinar's are influenced by Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. I'm not going to talk about stuff like that! I have dropped some very blatant hints, and that is enough for me right now.

Argent

I asked pretty much the same thing last time, and you pointed me to a certain page. Can I tell her what the page was?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are certain things going on with him that I feel are very blatant. I think he [Argent] is going to point them out to you.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So I have a question about surges. So in this book they use this very Spiritual Adhesion. Do all of the surges have applications in each of the different realms?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

To an extent yes, but some of them are more focused on it than others, on different levels.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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LoneWarmonger

If you take Bondsmith Honorblade, will you be able repeat Dalinar's Perpendicularity trick, or it is something special only Dalinar can do for a different reason?

When Dalinar repairs temple does he use Bondsmith power or...something else? If first, which Surge does he use?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

LoneWarmonger

I expected to get RAFO...But is Oathbringer a Bondsmith book or Skybreaker book? I know it was supposed to be Szeth/Skybreaker, but changed to Dalinar/Bondsmith. And still we learnt more about Skybreakers than Dalinar and his strange abilities. Will book 5 have more of Dalinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Books 5 will have a lot of Dalinar. Once it is out, you'll be able to see why it could have been a Bondsmith book--but I think it's better this way, with Book 3 being the Bondsmith book.

LoneWarmonger

Thank you, Mr Sanderson, I'm pleased with the choice, but I guess, I just wanted to learn more about Dalinar's powers in his book, he's my favorite character. Even after HIS book, his abilities are a mystery. But I'm exited to hear I'll get more in the future. Please, don't keep Dalinar on the background, he's the best.

Brandon Sanderson

Note that book four may see less of him, as he steps back a little (like each of the characters will for a book or two here and there) but book five has him as a focus again.

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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

If metals shape the Investiture in Allomancy, causing a Steelpush or whatever, how is it that the mists can be used to perform the same feat? What is 'shaping' the inhaled mists into a Steelpush, if there's no metal "nozzle" to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Consistently through the cosmere, once you have the power in hand and it has permeated you, will becomes your nozzle. This can be seen in Warbreaker, where the power has been distributed and inhabits the people. The nozzle idea is important for Magics that are drawing power externally, as it keeps the power from overwhelming and destroying you. (Which, basically, happened to Vin at the end of the Trilogy--she got consumed by the magic. She became something new, now, so it didn't KILL her. It destroyed what she was, transformed her into something else.)

So you see magics like on Sel and Scadrial where a specific nozzle is needed--as the power source is external, at least with Allomancy. Will and intent take a backseat, though still pop up on occasion. On Nalthis (and in a lesser way, Roshar) will and intent are more important, and what you are trying to do shapes the magic more directly.

A little direct manifestation in this is found in the subtle differences between Allomancy and Feruchemy. In Allomancy, when you enhance the senses, you just get a blast of power--and all senses are enhanced, whether you want them all or not. In Feruchemy, you can be more precise, and pick a specific sense to store. The power is internal here, and therefore more limited in how much you can draw--but you can also be more precise with its manipulation.

Note that Roshar Surgebinding is a special case, as the magical symbiosis there is stronger than it is on other worlds, as much of the magic involves bits of power who have become sapient.

uchoo786

How much crossover is there in use? Like if one "breathes" in the mists they can use it to power their allomancy. Could an Allomancer utilize stormlight to power his allomancy as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics can be hacked together in one way or another, but some are easier to interchange than others.

/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.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, Jasnah has the same shape appear around her as when she first appears out of Shadesmar at the end of that-- At the end of the second book, when she appears out of Shadesmar, she has the same shape appear around her as she does in the last battle, but we never see her do anything (this is about Transportation) And we saw people flying away beforehand. Can you-- Does Transportation allow you to push other people. Similar to Lashings, but kinda differently. I'm just wondering if you can use it on other people, basically? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

You can, but it's not what you’re thinking. 

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Balyne

In WoR, when Kaladin is chasing Szeth through the storm, could he have just Lashed himself to Szeth and followed automatically? I realize he was new to his abilities and may not have thought of it, but is it possible?

Brandon Sanderson

One thing about Lashing that is counter-intuative to people who know physics is that Lashings are usually in a direction, not toward an object. It means that physics wise, it's not actually increasing the gravitational pull of an object--but sending you a direction. I did this because of just this type of question; it made the magic too powerful.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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Questioner

In Words of Radiance, there's a fragment that says that the Bondsmiths have a power that none of the other Orders have.

Brandon Sanderson

That will be answered in a future book... *discussion on RAFOs* Basically, each of the Orders actually had their own quirks and individual things. Some of them were more dramatic than others. But if you watch through, you'll be seeing that they kind of have some different effects that aren't related necessarily to the Surges.

Questioner

So, then follow-up question, the reason that the Bondsmiths don't get Shards is because they have that extra power?

Brandon Sanderson

The reason is because the Stormfather is particularly-- how he is. And he's more cantankerous than he was, even in the past...

Each of the Orders, I wanted to have a lot of individuality. I didn't want them to all just be different copy-clones. You'll also find that they also have very different philosophies on even things like honor and what is good and things like that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Thadamin

Are Spren able to manifest surges like the humans they are bonded to? Syl is able to Stick things together are other types able to do other things or is the sticking things together something else?

Brandon Sanderson

The Spren are living Surges, in a way. There are some "higher" spren which have more ability than others to touch certain surges. Honor, for example, is not a force of nature--but a force of thought. What is attributed to it relates more to the abstract.

And that didn't really answer you, did it? Well, hopefully it's enough.

Phantine

Is them being living surges the same as how seons are living aons?

Brandon Sanderson

Similar.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

Another “physics” question: We have the Surges of Cohesion and Tension. And I'm really not sure what the difference is in that.

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see when I do this. It's a RAFO. And I play with them anyway a little differently in each order anyway. So what they do... I'll let you figure it out.

Questioner

It's just like when you enhance the tension of a water surface... (..)

Brandon Sanderson

Surface tension is what you're talking about. I'm gonna RAFO. But you're theorizing in correct directions.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

Why is it that Allomancers and Feruchemists get either one or all of the powers? Radiants / Surgebinders being limited to two Surges makes sense, because it depends on the type of spren they bond with, but Allomancers?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not ready to answer this one yet, I'm afraid. So it's a RAFO.

Argent

Fair enough. Is this something we'll see explored in future (far future?) books, or will we need to bug you about it during signings / AMAs every few years?

Brandon Sanderson

It will explored in far future books, most likely.