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Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The thing people have been dancing around—they haven't been asking the right questions—is they need to be asking more questions about the Dor, specifically trying to figure out why the Dor works differently. It's only a little thing, it's not like it's going to be mind blowing, but it is important for them understanding how the cosmere magics work.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Does magic happen on Sel because areas have  a stronger cognitive presence, like, more sentient life in that area.

 

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhh, no, good question, good question. That is not the answer. I am going to give it in the Cosmere collection if people don't guess it by then. So I'm going to leave off, I could tell you right now but, I can't remember if anyone has guessed it or not.

Questioner

Is it related to tectonics?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's all kinda going in the wrong direction. I haven't really given you the clues to figure it out, I don't think. Once I say it, it will make a lot of sense.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
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BlackYeti

With regards to the Dor, whereabouts is it located exactly, with regards to the Realms.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you're the first to ask this one. It is in the Cognitive Realm... I think you might be the first one to crack that one. So, that's something that I've been dancing around for a while, waiting 'til people started to figure that one out. Now, that's not where most of them are.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

So in Scadrial we know that Allomancy is end-positive, and Hemalurgy end-negative, and Feruchemy is neutral, right? Is there such a concept on Sel, with the magics?

Brandon Sanderson

All of the magics on Sel, every one of them, is end-positive.

Questioner

Okay. And what fuel-- well, it's not a fuel. What focuses it? It's-- no, not that too.

Brandon Sanderson

They all draw power from the Dor. None of it's coming from the people. That's what this refers to, right?

Oathbringer London signing ()
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ParadoxSpren [PENDING REVIEW]

If someone did, like what Dalinar did at the end of [Oathbringer], go on Sel, and they Ascended to take up the Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If someone were able to take up the entire Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed? I would say equivalent.

ParadoxSpren [PENDING REVIEW]

Aren't they all Shattered? Aren't they all Splintered, both of them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The thing about it is, taking up the power-- taking up the power would-- So, I'll leave it at this. I would say equivalent. Everything still considered.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

So someone, I can't remember who it was, told me you said something about the pools in Elantris being related to worldhopping.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct.

Questioner

So when the Elantrians go in the pool do they die or do they go to a different world?

Brandon Sanderson

Well you're making those mutually exclusive.

Questioner

Oh so it can do more than one thing--

Brandon Sanderson

One thing you gotta remember is in Elantris Shadesmar, the place that we call Shadesmar, is full of a raging, powerful source of energy called the Dor. It's very, very dangerous. Nobody goes there. So, just keep that in mind.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

If you were wondering, most of the explanations we get in this chapter are true. The reason that Raoden was subject to the Dor attacks was because he spent so much time practicing with the Aons. He began to make a bridge between this world and the Dor, and because of that, he gave the Dor a slight opening into his soul. I imagine that he isn't the first one to suffer something like this during the ten years that Elantris has been fallen. Other Elantrians probably practiced with the Aons, and the Dor eventually destroyed them. When it was done, they simply became Hoed.

By finally using the Dor effectively, Raoden relieved a little bit of the pressure, letting the nearby buildup of the Dor (the one that he himself had created by practicing so much) rip through him and fuel that single Aon.

Originally, I had Raoden's conflict with the Dor continue on after this scene–I had it continue attacking him. In a later draft, however, I realized that I'd made a mistake. Raoden has other things to worry about in the upcoming chapters–he doesn't need the Dor attacks to create conflict and tension. So, after this chapter, the Dor attacks actually became distractions. I also realized that the way I'd set up the magic system, this chapter was probably the place where the Dor should stop attacking, since Raoden had fulfilled what he wanted it to do.

Skyward Denver signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

"Odium did not leave his power behind on Sel. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless." So, is another chasm *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I was talking about Dominion and Devotion. Which he could have taken up and left behind. So, it technically answered the question. That was the answer. I even said on tape later on I wiggled out of that one real well. But they didn't know how I wiggled out of it. When they said "Did he leave behind any powers?" Those are the powers he left behind.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

But they weren't his powers?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, but as soon as he killed them, he could have had them. So it definitely gave me wiggle room.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

If all the practitioners of the Dor but one died, for whatever reason, would that remaining practitioner have access to more power?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. Good question. There is magic systems that work that way but it is not the Dor-based magics. I've got an unpublished book that works exactly that way called Mythwalker. The magic system of that was called the Septs, and your family divided the power of the magic, but it was not a one-to-one ratio. If you had a total power, if one person had it was at a 1, but if two people have it each of them were at like a .8, and so suddenly it became this thing of, how many people in your family do you want to have power and things like that. It was really interesting. But the rest of the book was terrible.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You said to not travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Is this a consequence of Odium Splintering Aona and Skai?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is indirectly related to the Splintering. There is a clue to why it is dangerous in Way of Kings.

Footnote: The reason it is dangerous to travel in the Cognitive Realm near Sel is that the Dor, the Splintered remains of Devotion and Dominion, resides there and is a storm of uncontrolled Investiture (as the seons and skaze are not numerous enough to act as release valves like the spren of Roshar do for Honor).
Legion Release Party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Let's say a Bloodsealer got his hands on a Dakhor monk's bones. Could it still access the Dor. *Inaudible* Could they even be reanimated, and could they still be useful?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's a really good question. So the bones are a conduit, much like Allomantic metal is. Allomantic metals are pretty easy to affect Investitures. I would say getting a-hold of a Dakhor monk's bones, likely, would work. Likely, they're not going to resist too much. But, I'm going to say harder to access the magic than you'd think, but easier than with regular bones.

So I'm going to give you a yes.

General Reddit 2013 ()
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sufficientlyadvanced

It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.

Phantine

Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...

Windrunner

If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The seons and the skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Once upon a time I asked you about the magic system as described in Elantris and The Emperor's Soul, how in The Emperor's Soul [Shai] describes it as, she talks about the Spiritual Realm as the, like, the wall wanting to be beautiful. And how in Elantris they describe the Dor as what makes a river want to flow. And I assumed that meant that they were connected. But according to that [Arcanum Unbounded] it says that the Investiture is housed in the Cognitive Realm and how unlike most of the other magic systems its magic comes from the Cognitive. And so now I am confused.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay, they are related but there's an overarching theory, er, kind of philosophy of what Investiture is and it imbuing things with desires that in our world may not actually have desires. And that is connected. The fact that the Dor is the Cognitive Realm is not the way it's supposed to be. That is a prob-- well, in some ways it's a feature, but it's also very much a bug.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Brightlord Maelstrom [PENDING REVIEW]

If you were to somehow use a receptacle to gather some part of the Dor, say there was a way of doing that. And you were to do one on both extremes of the planet. Would it be the same thing?

...Say, you have a container than can contain part of this plasma? ...Theoretically? You do that, taking one part of the planet, say Elantris, seal it up. And then you were to take another one, and fill it up in MaiPon and compare them, would it be the same Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, it would.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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Questioner

Shards. Is it possible for them to think outside-- without having a person they're working through?

Brandon Sanderson

The power left alone around people will eventually gain a kind of sentience.

Questioner

Kind of like the Stormfather?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So it is possible. It doesn't always happen, and sometimes it takes a while. For example, the Dor? Basic, rudimentary, feeling only. It's not-- you know.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
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Questioner

Can holders of Shards give them up voluntarily? If so, what would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a Vessel for a Shard of Adonalsium can give up their power if they wish.

As for what would happen...well, there are some variables in there. Kind of like the variables in what happens to a bucket of water if you dump it out. Depends on where it falls, how strong the wind is, what the air is like.

Power dropped like this, if left alone, could end up Splintering and turning into something like spren/seons. It could become something more like the Stormfather--a large, self-aware entity. It could become something like the Dor or many of the Unmade--something proto-aware, but not truly an individual. There are other possibilities as well, depending on lots of factors. (Are sapient beings involved? what is being done with the power--is it concentrated in the Spiritual Realm as normal, or is it being pushed somewhere else?)

TWG Posts ()
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Armadius

I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, actually. I want to focus more on Jesker, and the Mysteries, as well as the original religion that spawned both Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath.

Jesker is very important, as you have noticed, since it's the religion tied to understanding the Dor. It's actually much older than the other religions, relating back to things that happened long ago. Because of this, it retains hints of things such as the origin of the Seons and the like.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent [PENDING REVIEW]

I thought, like, at one of the signings you told me that when Odium was on Sel and Splintered the Shards there, the reason he did the Cognitive Realm hack was because he was not yet experienced in Splintering stuff.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Right. He did not want what happened to happen, but he didn't know that he didn't want what happened to happen.

Argent [PENDING REVIEW]

What I was getting at is, I could never find a recording of you saying "He was not experienced. He didn't want the power to be taken by anyone, and that's the only solution he could figure out." Does that sound like something you would say?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That is something I would say, yes. There are better ways to do what he wanted to do, which he later did a better job with. But there's not a lot of experimenting he could do.

Argent [PENDING REVIEW]

Limited number of subjects, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmhmm.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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The Young Pyromancer [PENDING REVIEW]

Theoretically, if Sel became a Shard...the biggest limiter on Shards is the Vessel's mind, would that be more limiting or less limiting?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

If the Dor were itself to become a Shard combining Devotion and Dominion, and were to pick up a Vessel? Because they're still Shards, they just don't have a Vessel.

The Young Pyromancer [PENDING REVIEW]

So the land couldn't be Vessel?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The land itself? Of Arelon or of...?

The Young Pyromancer [PENDING REVIEW]

Of Sel.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The land of Sel would not count as a Vessel. You would say in terminology right now that Dominion and Devotion do not have Vessels in the same way that other Shards do.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Blaze1616

The Dor: Is it gaseous Investiture or is it something else completely?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh that's a great question. People have not been asking enough about the Dor.

Blaze1616

And if it is gaseous—or not gaseous—is it plasma?

Brandon Sanderson

*Long pause*

You got it. *said definitively*

It's super sup-- not plasm-- yeah, it's super-dense to the point that's it's liquefied and dense-- does that make sense? So it's plasma, basically. It's its own weird thing, so yeah. What you can write is that it's its own weird thing that's kind of plasma-like.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Brightlord Maelstrom [PENDING REVIEW]

Quesion about Selish magic systems. So, you've described, in the past, the Dor in the Cognitive Realm as being almost like magma. Is that just in consistency, or also does that also include in its temperature?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, it's more temperature than consistency. Plasma-ish is maybe even a better way of putting it.