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Orem signing ()
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AllomancerSam [PENDING REVIEW]

...When a Shard vessel dies and they've held the Shard for a thousand years, how much do they remember about what they've done?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Depends on the shard. Usually, everything or most everything. It is not implausible that there are Shards that don't want to remember certain things. They have a large and vast mental capacity <when it comes to> remembering things.

AllomancerSam [PENDING REVIEW]

Would Ruin be one that would be more likely to want to forget?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I think all of them would have things they might want to forget. It depends on whose personality would be more likely to make that actually happen.

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

So I'm wondering, how omniscient are the Vessels?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is a difficult question to answer because they don't know everything, but they could theoretically. The actual Vessel needs to apply the power and learn things. And they don't know the future exactly. Particularly, you'll notice some hints of this in Oathbringer. There are certain things that really foul with their ability to see the future. It's whenever we kind of get the equivalence of an atium shadow right? Reflection that reflects that someone sees the future, and then suddenly you end up with this kind of difficult chain to follow.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Can you tell me who might be the most all-knowing out of all of them?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will say the older they are the more they generally know.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So probably not Harmony then?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Probably not Harmony.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I was wondering if Sleepless-- the Dysian Aimians-- if they could hold a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Could the Sleepless hold a Shard? Could they be a Vessel? Is what you're asking?

*hems and haws* There is nothing innate about the Shards that prevents any one with a-- I have to phrase this very carefully...

Non-humans can be Vessels. Non-humans have been vessels. Certain sapient creatures in the cosmere, could not be. But that's an asterisk, not the rule.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

For Adonalsium to create the universe, therefore he must have infinite power to create an infinitely sized universe. Therefore, infinity divided by sixteen is equal to infinity. Therefore, why don't the Shards have infinite power, which they clearly don't, because they can be killed?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The power can't be killed. The entity controlling the power can. Infinite power existing and being able to access the infinite power are different things, and a finite mind, even added to a very powerful sense of power, isn't necessarily able to tap all of that.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What about Ruin and Preservation in Well of Ascension? We hear about Ruin using some of its power. Therefore, it must not have infinite power, because if you minus something from infinity, it's still infinity...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, infinite power is changing forms. It's not going anywhere, right? So, the Investiture, the power, is becoming energy, which is doing work, which is being released back into the system. Nothing's growing or shrinking. It is simply changing forms, and potential energy is becoming kinetic.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Necarion

Do Vessels have any flexibility in expressing the intent of a Shard, particularly if the intent is open to many interpretations?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes they do. So, the Vessel's mind and how they perceive is going to have a large influence on how things are expressed and I think all of them have some wiggle room. But there are some deterministic things that are also going to push them.  You know, holding Ruin, Harmony may not go down the same path that happened to Ati.

Necarion

So Sadeas would express Honor differently than Tanavast?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes he would.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
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Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Shards and Shard intents: Holding a Shard is a contest of willpower against the Shard that, over time, is very hard to resist.

Shards affect you over time, but your mind will not leave a permanent effect on the Shard. A holder's [Vessel's] personality, however, does get to filter the Shard's intent, so to speak. However, if that holder [Vessel] no longer held that Shard, the Shard will not continue to be filtered by that person.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

I was just wondering if a Shard's intent can change over time without changing holders?

Brandon Sanderson

Without changing holders? The holder can have a slight effect on how the-- a big effect on how the intent is interpreted, but what the intent is stays the same. So it's gonna be filtered. The way it manifests can change, and you'll see that happening, but it is the same intent. When it was broken off, it took a certain thing with it.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Questioner

Does Rayse have a personal... or did he have a personal relationship with the other [Vessels] before the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

Some of them, yes.

Questioner

So he doesn't personally know them all?

Brandon Sanderson

He knows them all, but "having a relationship with" is different. They were all in the same place.

Questioner

He knows who they are but he doesn't necessarily interact with them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Not necessarily. They weren't part of a homogenous group before this happened.

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?)

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner

I was actually wondering, the epigraphs for The Way of Kings, that were talking about how the various Shardholders [Vessels] are influenced by their Shards over time—how does that impact someone like Harmony, with multiple shards?

Brandon Sanderson

The main effect it's having on Harmony right now is the inability to act sometimes, because his two sides are pushing, and so he is having trouble being proactive. It'd take a long time before it really becomes manifest, but he's had several hundred years, so it's starting to have an effect.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Is all Investiture in the cosmere associated with a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, well, okay. So this is a complicated one. *pauses* So, Investiture predates the Shattering of Adonalsium, all Investiture was from Adonalsium, all Investiture got assigned to one of the 16 Shards when Adonalsium was Shattered. Some of the Investiture was not on Yolen but location is irrelevant. So Investiture is related to Shards even on planets where none of the Shards are inhabiting. 

Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

Are they aware of that Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That's part of the whole seeing into the infinite, being beyond even the power of a Shard. So, technically you could make the argument that Harmony could feel the sense of Preservation on every world in the cosmere, right? Because the building blocks of all life and creation are these things.

Overlord Jebus [PENDING REVIEW]

So the Shard of Preservation embodies all preservation in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes but he just can't do that, right? Like, he's not infinite. The Vessels are not, even if their minds are enormously expanded by holding a Shard, they are not infinite. The Connection is all there in the Spiritual Realm

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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ckannan90

I have a cosmere question. At the end of Words of Radiance, Szeth receives Nightblood. The wiki told me it was a sword from Warbreaker, but I didn't realize how significant it was till I read the book. This, to me, seems like the first major cosmere crossover. All the other crossovers so far seem to have just been cameos (Hoid tells stories, or there are mysterious people hunting somebody, etc). I will RAFO, but it does seem like Szeth getting the sword means Nightblood will play a not-insignificant role in Stormlight 3. Does this mean the cosmere books are going to converge more going forward? Specifically, would someone need to have read Warbreaker to understand Oathbringer? Till now your different cosmere series have been readable in any order (and I didn't read them in publication order). Similarly, Mistborn: Secret History seems to be a prerequisite for at least the next Mistborn book.

Brandon Sanderson

One thing you have to remember is that in my cosmere outline, Warbreaker was a prequel to The Way of Kings, explaining Vasher's backstory. So I consider them more closely connected than some other things. But you could consider this the first major crossover.

Nightblood will be re-introduced, so those who haven't read Warbreaker will be brought up to speed.

Thoughtsunthought

Wow. Cool to see this.

One of my "concerns" is that eventually the cosmere stuff will overwhelm the individual series arcs.

Kinda like the Marvel Avengers movies, whilst they are great on their own, they lose some of the individuality that an Iron Man movie might have. If the overall story adds characters then you may end up with a Captain America: Civil War movie which whilst was amazing. Wasn't really a Captain America movie and would lose so much to someone who had only seen Capt America movies.

That being said I totally trust your judgement on this, I say concerns but I don't mean in a bad way.

That being said is any book flagged for an Avengers style "battle for the cosmere"?

Brandon Sanderson

I do have some plans for mixing later on, though I'll be very forthright about when those books come out. Meaning, so long as I'm not talking about these things as the main focus of a series, you don't have to worry about it taking them over. Conversely, you can be very excited when it does happen, as those stories will be very clear about what they're attempting to do.

One thing I do try to warn people is that the cosmere isn't an "Avengers" style concept--the goal here isn't to collect a variety of heroes from a variety of worlds and then throw them at a problem. It's more of a, "What if you could watch the world of something like Star Trek develop, by seeing individual engaging stories from various planets, then slowly watching them merge into a larger universe."

While some characters will, obviously, continue on through the series, and the Vessels of the Shards will be very important, the focus of the greater cosmere storyline is the cultures, the magic, and the evolution of the planets, while the individual stories are about the people who live on them during turning-points in their history.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#29 Copy

Dragon13

Would it be possible to create a potential Vessel that has a Connection to all 16 Shards? Through a combination of birth planet, genetics, Hemalurgy--

Brandon Sanderson

You--  So, terminology. The Vessel holds a Shard. Lots of people have Connections to the Shards without holding them. So, I'm just gonna RAFO that. You guys got years and years left, before we're even gonna discuss things about-- But if I tell you now, like, what are you gonna ask?

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

In the Letter, in The Way of Kings in all the epigraphs. It was mentioned that the author of the Letter was accused of perpetuating grudges regarding Rayse and Bavadin.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

That being said, are there any Vessels or Shards i.e. Bavadin, sympathetic towards Rayse's cause?

Brandon Sanderson

There are some who are more li-- more willing to go along with it than others, yes.