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Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner 1

Can you tell us about Transportation? Is it like gates from Wheel of Time

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Elsecalling? No. But-- but yes. 

Questioner 1

*laughter* I meant, like, the whole-- Just the Surge?

Questioner 2

Does it go to the Cognitive Realm, is that all it does? 

Brandon Sanderson

It is the power by which they created the Oathgates... So, there is a little more to it than that. But yes, it's basically-- yeah.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#2 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? 

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.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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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.

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.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Questioner

Can you tell me anything about Tension or Cohesion?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't truly written these magics in yet, so they might change as I actually write the scenes. But they are... Tension is the ability to take something flexible and make it rigid. Which you think sounds simple, but there are so many cool things you could do with that.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
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Wetlander

When Shallan does Lightweaving, is that a combination of Illumination and Transformation, or is Lightweaving just of Illumination?

Brandon Sanderson

Lightweaving is just of Illumination. Lightweaving is a long-established power in the cosmere. Very early books, in fact one of the very first stories I ever wrote, Lightweaving was the magic. (That story is unpublished, written long ago - long before Liar of Partinel) And so, this stems from my own personal affection for illusion and my feeling that it had not been used as well as I wanted it to be used in fantasy fiction. So I consider it only Illumination truly in The Stormlight Archive.

Orem Signing ()
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Questioner

Can Hemalurgy be used to steal other...like, the Stormlight...

Brandon Sanderson

It could. It's very complicated, particularly with surgebinding, because the bond with the spren is a voluntary thing. So, you could steal the power, but you would also be stealing the sprenbond which the spren then has autonomy over. So, it might not turn out really well for you. It might not turn out well for anyone involved. Much easier to steal things where there isn't an autonomous being involved in your gaining of the magical powers.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

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

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

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 ()
#13 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.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
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Questioner

The Knights each have two Surges, they spill over each. I am wondering, is the crossover [shared] Surge for each Knight [Order] the same? Like gravity for Windrunners and--

Brandon Sanderson

Windrunners are always the same thing.

Questioner

No no no, the way the [Gravitation] Surge is for Skybreakers and--

Brandon Sanderson

The way they act? Yes. To an extent, yes. Each of the combinations make a little bit of a tweak to how things but when you see Skybreakers affect gravity it'll be more or less the same as the Windrunners.

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 ()
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Questioner

I notice how in the different worlds you have different sets of powers. Elantris has two gods in it, two shards, and there is 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 2017 ()
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Blightsong

Is the bond between an Elantrian and Arelon similar to that of a Knight Radiant and it's spren. You've said that Zombie Elantrians are similar to dead spren, so I was wondering get if ther was a bigger connection there.

Thank you for your time!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a similar relationship.

Blightsong

Is there a similar ideal system? Are Elantrians transformed because of their character? Maybe their closeness to the culture of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, now you're getting into RAFO territory. Let's just say that you don't have to have a Seon to be made an Elantrian, but in the vast majority of cases, you need a spren to be a Knight Radiant. So there are some differences.

Blightsong

Last question, does this have anything to do with the personification of culture, as Spren are personifications of forces and emotions.

Again, thank you for your time, it's always nice to get a response from you on Reddit.

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes.

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.

GollanczFest London ()
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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.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

Is being a Knight Radiant at all genetic? Because you have Jasnah, Dalinar, and Renarin in the same family.

Brandon Sanderson

It is not genetic, however… Um… Families or people close to one another are more likely. It’s not genetic. So for instance, if everyone were adopted it would still have the same prevalence.

Questioner

Okay, fascinating!

Questioner

[interruption hard to hear]

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there are a couple of reasons for that. One is which, attracting the attention of a spren can mean that other spren are paying attention to that area. There are also things in the Cosmere (the shared universe of them) where people are connected spiritually. Um… and that’s part of the magic as well. So… You are more likely to become a Radiant if you know a Radiant.

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...

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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uchoo786

I know that Nightblood is technically a shardblade (invested sword), but can one use it without being bonded to a Spren since on Roshar the only way to breathe is stormlight and use it is by being bonded to a spren? Would Nightblood also work like a shardblade, in that it severs the soul instead of consuming it when it touches a person?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that the Honorblades do not require one to be bonded to a spren to use, or gain access to powers. Nightblood goes one step further, vaporizing and destroying on all three realms.

uchoo786

So, if I understand this correctly, Nightblood will act like an Honorblade and allow Szeth to breath in Stormlight? Will his surges be completely different than anything Roshar has seen before, or will his surges be those of the Skybreakers since Nightblood's purpose is pretty similar to theirs?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to wait and see.

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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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.

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.

/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.

/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.

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...

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Argent

My understanding of the... spren is that they grant powers based on what they understand to be fundamental? Ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. I wouldn't 100% go with that. I would say these are the fundamental forces-- They aren't as scientific as our fundamental forces, but I would say it's more than just what the spren view and what the humans view in that case. But they are more philosophical than scientific, in cases.

Argent

Other cognitive beings, could they-- A spren on Earth. Would it grant electromagnetism surge, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

That, I would say yes.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

If a non-Windrunner picked up Jezrien's Honorblade would they gain Windrunner powers as well?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Questioner (paraphrased)

If a Windrunner picked up that blade, would their abilities be enhanced?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There would be some compounding but strength is not as much an issue with Surgebinding as is the strength of the spren bond and how much Stormlight you are using.