Recent entries

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    Questioner

    In Secret History, Kelsier goes out onto the ocean and he finds plants in the Cognitive Realm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, mmhmm.

    Questioner

    Do they have a Physical aspect, or are they just Cognitive--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, they're Cognitive only. They don't follow a standard ecology that we would understand, but-- Well, it'll make sense, hopefully, when eventually the science of that is understood in the cosmere. But there are--and I've said this before--on Roshar Shadesmar there are spren cities, and things like this. And there's a spren ecology, and stuff so…

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    Questioner 1

    When you were talking about spren being bound to the Cognitive Realm of their planet. Are seons similarly bound? Especially with-- Because the--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner 2

    Could you also pull them off, with the knowing how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but you’d have to get through the Cognitive Realm, on Sel. But yeah-- Yes, that is possible.

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    Questioner 1

    So the Sleepless kind of have me wondering about what sentience is in the cosmere. Like how would a Sleepless manifest on the Cognitive Realm--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a good question, you'll-- that I'll RAFO. But they are a single consciousness, but they would argue that all your cells are independent of you. So they are cells that can move around. They're really fun... they started in a non-cosmere book when I was 22. Obviously a bit inspired by Fire Upon the Deep, one of my favorite science fiction books. And I read that book and I'm like, "Group consciousnesses are cool!" what if you had a species that was made up of-- Not like one of these Ender's Game y'know, one, but each swarm was an individual and they could breed and evolve their own things to do different stuff. So each of these little bits, these hordelings is what I call them-- I might change because we've got cremling now. But each of these little bits is bred for a specific purpose, "Feed the swarm" and stuff like that. So they've got all kinds of cool stuff going on.

    Questioner 1

    Are they slivers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh slivers. Not quite like slivers. Slivers are a little more that whole Ender's Game thing, right? And this is actually an individual that's not a hivemind. This is an individual, single consciousness, and they've got a step between cell and body. We kind of do too, like mitochondria are kind of "What are these? Are these things we ingested somehow and got working for us?" It's all very cool.

    Questioner 2

    So is it like Malazan Book of the Fallen, like the D'ivers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ehhh, there's little--

    Questioner 2

    Okay, a little?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

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    Questioner

    Why did Hoid in Secret History have to ride on another person to get to the Well, when that person could float on--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sooo, what he's floating on is a Cognitive Shadow. It's a spirit, it's not an actual person. He is floating on someone who is--

    Questioner

    Do we know them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You did not know them, don't worry about them. But see, he's using that as a boat because it's easy to sink through the mist. And if you notice, he has to coat his oar with Investiture in order to move him. So yeah, he's floating on a person's soul... It was so much easier with the Pits, but that's because there were boats and things.

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    Questioner

    Is there a Shadesmar for each planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Anything that people think about, right? And, you really have to be inhabited to get a good Shadesmar… But, y'know, you can find the gas giants in Shadesmar, but they don't manifest as an entire plane. Um, that's gonna change! But we're years away from that. Shadesmar is cool and weird but--

    Questioner

    Ohh, there's only one Shadesmar with different areas--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, really what we call it-- Shadesmar is a term that has started to stick in the cosmere for the Cognitive Realm. But there are manifestations of most planets. Or all planets.

    Questioner

    But they do all exist-- All of those Shadesmars are part of the same cloth, so to speak.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you could walk from one to the other, barring some weird distortions that you might have to-- We're not going to dig-- I'm not gonna tell you about.

    Questioner

    But spren can't because they're bound.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're bound Physically to the Realm, the Invesiture.

    Bystander

    Unless you help them off.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unless-- There are certain ways you could do it, and things like that. But spren are bound, you aren't going to--

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    Questioner 1

    You said that moving people like that [Cognitive Shadows] or spren off-world, from Roshar is difficult.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner 1

    What about physically, say the Ones Above visit them, and they fly away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So one of the things you'll have to be asking questions and theorizing on is what happens if you try to carry a spren around the planet. What happens to their Cognitive sense, right? So you're on Roshar, right? So on the Physical Realm what would happen-- Because on Shadesmar, you have a flattened version. So there are questions for you to be theorizing implicit in that.  And one of them is, what happens, you cross a threshold circling the globe, your spren, what happens to them? Because-- Okay? This relates to the question you’re asking.

    Questioner 2

    Wait wait, you have a three dimensional plane coexisting with a two dimensional plane?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, two dimensional is the wrong term, but basically...

    Questioner 3

    Can you specify the mathematically projection used to create this? *laughter*

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll try to give it to you eventually, but this is the sort of stuff that I do that Peter's like "Oh man..." *laughter* "Alright give me the math Peter." "Ahhh what do you mean? I'm not a mathematician." "Eh, y'know. You're close." It is very convenient to have a physicist and a mathematician in my writing group.

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    Questioner

    Have we seen cameos of Heralds on other Shardworlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Heralds are tied to the system by the magic that permeates them. They could not leave.

    Questioner

    I thought I saw someone but I guess not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s part of the magic. Some would call them Cognitive Shadows, right? Whether they are or not. "Cognitive Shadow" is a very ambiguous term in the cosmere. It means, basically your soul-- It's the same thing with petrification, right? Investiture replaced your soul, and permeated your soul, and your soul continues to exist, but... you are usually Invested with something, that's tied, and you're basically like pure Investiture then. You're tied to the thing you're Connected to. Most of the things that you're gonna see with that, travelling is going to be very difficult, unless you know how to do it. You have seen people do it.

    Questioner

    Who?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher... You have seen people do it. But anyone who's got-- yeah.

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    Questioner

    Thank's for that Reddit comment earlier today about "Yeah, if you read Dragonsteel it's super obvious!"

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean if someone is asking a question about Cephandrius, the name Cephandrius. I assume that they know about Dragonsteel, because how else would they hear the name Cephandrius?

    Argent

    Secret History.

    Brandon Sanderson

    OOHHHHHH! I did! That's right. Because I was answering other questions about Yolen, yeah...

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    FirstSelector

    Is Ati Ruin's original Shardholder?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ohh, good question. I will go ahead and RAFO that.

    FirstSelector

    I have a big theory that someday we are gonna see something more about him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see something more about him for sure! Because Dragonsteel includes-- But that's not what you meant, and I know what you meant.

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    Questioner

    So, in Secret History, when Kelsier is in the pool and looks at Ruin. Are you intentionally making a Lovecraftian reference with the looking into the abyss and the abyss looks back?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I have to specifically phrase things. I write it and I'm like "Oh yeah, that's Nietzshe!" And I'm like "Ohhh, I should probably not quote Nietzsche" ...So I have do have to reword these things sometimes.

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    Questioner

    So I've got sort of a Shard-related question. So, the entity that Harmony is, all the other Shards that we've had named so far, are any of them combinations, or are they all--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, good question. The only one I would count as a combination is the Dor, right? But it isn't even a full Shard. So everything else, single holder only when we talk about it okay? That's an excellent question. Or they've been Splintered completely.

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    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?

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    Questioner

    So we know some people can survive going through perpendicularities.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    But we also know, like, when Rock talked about the lake that people swam in, that Hoid came out of, he said that some people who swam in it died. So, who can and can't survive a perpendicularity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, you should not take much of what Rock says. When he says they swim in it and they die, they have gone through the perpendicularity. They just don't come back. What would you think if someone swims and doesn't come back? They have drowned. Right?

    Questioner

    So pretty much anyone can?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is not traumatic to go through most perpendicularities.

    Questioner

    So it depends on where, who and when?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh huh.

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    Argent

    I do have a follow-up on the map? All of the constellations-- Or most of the constellations seem fairly straightforward. The one containing Roshar has a Shardbearer or Herald…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep, mmhmm. There are a couple--

    Argent

    Yet Sel gets a lamp?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sel gets a lamp, yes.

    Argent

    Why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ask Isaac about that, he came up with the symbolism. And I like all the symbolism. But I would go to him about the symbolism of that. Ask him to write an essay for my website about it, because he has really cool-- Cause again, cause I said to him, "I want a star map" and I wasn't gonna put constellations on it, right? Just, the one in the back cover that doesn't have constellations, that's what I asked for and he came back and said "I did a constellation map with these things, what do you think?" and I'm like "that’s cool! Can you explain these to me?" so I'm just gonna let Isaac go with that, he chose it, he chose the perspective and the point of view, so it's his map, and he's canon on that.

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    Questioner

    How old is that picture that's hanging in Silverlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The picture in Silverlight is... Okay, so on cosmere-times it's very recent. But, the cosmere scale is very large. Khriss's essays are older than it, but not by much. She had that-- It is in existence when she wrote the essays, but the essays are much older than Sixth of the Dusk. Okay? Sixth of the Dusk had not happened yet, that story, when she was writing these essays. We're going to need some dating periods, we'll eventually get that.

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    Questioner (on behalf of Yata)

    When someone is spiked, and dies, does that affect the time they spend in the Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If they are spiked, yes because if you are extra Invested, which spiking technically does, if you have a spike stapling a bit of someone else's soul to yours--

    Questioner

    The other way. Someone spikes through you and you die--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ohhhhh, oh okay, no, that might make you go faster.

    Questioner

    Is that why Harmony doesn’t know who's spiking people? Or--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm. Yeah. Okay. I had not considered that. But yeah, sure. *laughter* Suuureee. You added to the canon. I mean, the actual answer was, when you're spiking somebody, you're ripping of the soul, so kind of, there's not enough left to talk. I mean, you're ripping off enough of the soul, so it's a bad thing. It's a very bad thing. So you go "Who killed you?" and it's just somebody who is essentially-- But yes, they would go faster too.

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    Questioner

    Does Silverlight have a permanent Perpendicularity on it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Silverlight has weird. So I'm gonna give a RAFO to that.

    Questioner

    It's got a physical constellation map. So they've gotta go to the Physical somehow right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no, no. That can be in the Cognitive Realm.

    Argent

    The constellation map can be a picture from the Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, yeah, I mean, it can be a picture in the Cognitive. That is a picture that exists in Silverlight.

    Argent

    Right, sure, but they need to be somewhere to view those things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, I didn't say that that’s from the perspective Silverlight, but what we say is the picture is hanging there.

    Questioner

    So that was a mis-interpretation on our part.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the picture is hanging there in Silverlight. Okay?

    FirstSelector

    Is there actually anything on the Physical end of Silverlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is-- That's the RAFO part... That's what I'm not answering. If there's anything Physical. There can't be a Perpen--well, there could be a Perpendicularity, but then you'd have to go someplace in the Physical, and it gets all-- Silverlight is really weird.

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    Questioner

    I have a specific question about one Perpendicularity, on First of the Sun. You've mentioned that it's dangerous.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Is that because there are predators that can sense your thoughts, that can sense your presence in the Cognitive Realm as you're travelling across the Perpendicularity before you cross over--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a Read And Find Out.

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    Questioner

    Is there any way it's possible that somebody could have gotten to the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial without the Well of Ascension?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    And can we know how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, how many Shardpools would Scadrial have?

    Questioner

    Two, so the Pits of Hathsin would be so? That's what I theorized.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. So you've adopted the term "Shardpool". That was never really my term, but I've started using it. What happens with a perpendicularity is large concentrations of Investiture, particularly purely attuned to one of the Shards, will create an access point. You've seen another one in--

    Questioner

    Yeah, yeah I know these.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know which one I'm referencing?

    Questioner

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That you didn't see a Pool from?

    Questioner

    Oh wait--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, he knows, so… We'll move on. *general outcry* Okay, fine. Umm, at the end of Words of Radiance.

    Argent

    There has to be one there because Jasnah has to leave somehow, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but Honor's Perpendicularity moves.

    Questioner

    Woah...so...Highstorm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *makes non-committal noises*

    Questioner 2

    Kind of related to that, I don't know if this is a RAFO kind of question, but you call them perpendicularities, are we going to see this sort of thing created? Could there be, like--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, perpendicularities can be created. You'd need a lot of Investiture, right? You'd need a ton of Investiture. But, basically what Jasnah does is create a little mini perpendicularity, right? And slips herself into the Cognitive Realm.

    Questioner 2

    So it's just a question of skill, not a question of--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. It's hard to pull off, but some of the powers are built to do it.

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    Argent

    So, the Edgedancer's resonance, the Perk? I think you've called it resonance at some point, is that still accurate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that totally works. The powers affect each other in interesting ways.

    Argent

    Right.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, so the thing about it is, calling it a Perk, that like saying--

    Argent

    It's a side effect right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's less a side effect-- It's like, when the powers merge, they are always slightly different. For instance, Lightweaving from a Truthwatcher is different from-- Slightly. There will be things. So, you're gonna see that they all have access to the Surges, but in combinations, they act a little differently from one another.

    Questioner

    So is the Edgedancer's resonance something to do with communication? Because we see Lift--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah we'll RAFO that.

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    Questioner

    The Epilogue of Words of Radiance.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Hoid makes particular note of a cremling.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Dysian?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hehehehe. You're starting to learn! You're starting to learn.

    Questioner

    That epilogue just got so much--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, he was speaking to one of the Sleepless there. He has spotted them and they--

    Argent

    So, he knows.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, he knows!

    Questioner

    Because he makes a comment about having “no intelligent audience.”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes, yes. *laughter* Of course he doesn’t have an intelligent audience!

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    Brandon Sanderson

    SanderCon-- I think that JordanCon would be happy to host a-- They always have a Brandon Sanderson track and I go every two or three years. So every two or three years JordanCon has a mini SandersonCon attached to it. And that is what I recomend, okay? I mean Pratchett could carry one but I don't think most of us can. I think cons are more interesting if you have some other paneling to go to.

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    Questioner

    When you put together different magic systems, do you just have a file of those that "this is goiing to work for this one"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have a file of magic systems, characters, and settings, and plots. Usually I review it for a while, periodically I mean, and certain connections are made. I build on those in my head, then eventually stick them back in if it doesn't end up working. But ocasionally it's like-- Like Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, I wanted to write a book about a bounty hunter woman who runs an inn and kills the people who come to the inn. I developed that all without the magic system or anything like that, and then said what world would this fit on? Would it fit on any of them? Do I need to make a new story? And I'm like "This worked really well on Threnody" so I put it there and put the magic in. Usually it's the other way around, I've got the world and things and I need some characters to plug in.

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    Questioner

    Are there any books of yours you would like to experience as a first time reader?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would looooove to read Way of Kings for the first time.

    Questioner

    Way of Kings? It's pretty great.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But y'know, that Sanderson guy. I hear things about him. I hear he likes really bad jokes.

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    Questioner

    I’ve been fixating on this mass exodus. The Iriali, the Iri people, are they the people of the mass exodus? Or-- I've always wanted it to be the people of Threnody.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Iriali are not native to Roshar.

    Questioner

    Okay, that's... what I've always assumed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is stuff going on on Threnody too, it shares some similarities.

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    Questioner

    In Secret History, Hoid says something to Kelsier about him destroying the Pits and destroying an entire mercantile system. Is he talking about literal inter-Realmic trade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Interplanetary trade, yes.

    Questioner

    Follow-up: Is House Venture involved?

    Brandon Sanderson

    House Venture is not involved. People in House Venture might be.

    Questioner

    The guy who--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here is a RAFO card for your follow-up. House Venture is-- Yes.

    Footnote: The questioner was likely referring to Felt, a spy that worked for House Venture, who is a worldhopper.
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    Questioner

    Will there be any more of Silence from the Forests of Hell?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The world is very relevant to the cosmere. I have several books planned there, I don’t know how many of them I’ll write. I will at least write one of them. Silence herself is not a character from the books. I designed that story and it matched the world so I put it there. But yes there will be other things from that world.

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    Questioner

    If Kaladin and Dalinar were Magic cards, what color do you think they’d be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar now is mono-White. He was mono-Red in his youth, inching toward Black-Red, but I would just call him mono-Red in his youth. Kaladin I would probably call Blue-White in Magic terms because they like things that fly and that have to do with the wind. So he would get the elemental Blue and personality White. Maybe a tinge of Red, but probably-- I would make a Blue-White Kaladin.

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    Questioner

    Are we going to hear much about Dustbringers in the near future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So--

    Questioner

    'Cause I don't know why but I'm really curious about them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but it's going to be very slight for a little while. I'm intentionally digging into these magics somewhat slowly, all the different orders, just so we have time to get used to them. They're one of the later ones. Let's talk more about Bondsmiths and Skybreakers before we do that.

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    Questioner

    What is the experience of Steelrunning? ...It doesn't speed up your mind, so how do you control yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most forms of Allomancy give a small boost to any attributes you would need in order to survive and use and manipulate it,  just like atium. So it's going to give you a slight ability-- might speed you up just enough to get some reactions and things, otherwise you just can't do it. What I don't have it doing is cancelling friction. I did that intentionally, so you can burn yourself up with that. But you have to use it measuredly and carefully.

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    Questioner

    My crazy theory is that Nazh was Isasik Shulin...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, he is not. Good question. Nazh is Isaac’s character, he designed him and came up with him. I said "I need somebody to be getting these" and the character is all him, doesn’t necessarily look like him. He doesn't actually look like him. But Nazh, he owns. He just credited that, and I knew people would look at that be like "What's going on here?" But it wasn't meant to be anything, just this is Isaac's character and if he ever-- He wants to write some stories in the cosmere, he might write about Nazh.

    Footnote: Brandon is referring to the fact that is author photo is attributed to "Nazrilof".
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    Questioner

    Is Nazh a cartographer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nazh. So Nazh knows enough that he-- Like he knows more than the average person, but I would not call him a cartographer. I would describe him... as a grumpy, cosmere James Bond. Not nearly as cool, but it's the same sort of thing. "Here's the mission. You need to do this. Get in. Infiltrate. Get this thing." Right?

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    Questioner

    I noticed a very similar fire-starting tool in both Sixth of the Dusk and also in [Shadows for Silence in the] Forests of Hell.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Is that any-- I know they have two levers you push together and they spark.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right.

    Questioner

    Is that any kind of random--

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I  did intend there to be a connection there but it is not a connection that is supposed to be super meaningful. It's just that somebody figured something out, and Sixth of the Dusk is many years later. We have them in our world too. I did it deliberately because I wrote those stories so close together. I was like "Oh this technology has gotten around because the Ones Above have started visiting." But I don't think they're of a technology level that they couldn't have discovered it on their own maybe, so it's not supposed to be some big reveal.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    With the-- You're talking about the breaking of Elantris? Who says it was after?

    Questioner

    Well I assumed it was before...

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Who says it was before or after? The real answer to that is some are from before, some are from after. That's the actual answer. I was being cheeky but you caught me because I misread the question. They are not all the same age.

    Footnote: The actual question is unknown, but presumably it refers to the Ire.
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    Questioner

    Are there any greatshells in Roshar's oceans larger than the ones we've seen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Questioner

    So the Reshi Isles--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Reshi Isles, that's the biggest, and even with that I'm doing major fudging on the square-cube law. They've just spren-bonded, we'll talk about this. But even with the spren, those are a stretch. That's as big as it gets. They could exist in the oceans because the square-cube law doesn't apply the in same way, with buoyancy and things. But I think we don't need anything larger than islands.

    Questioner

    No Godzilla?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're bigger than some version of Godzilla.

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    Dragon13

    Are the Hemalurgic constructs in Shadows of Self as twisted as they are because... something was spiked out of them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay the Hemalurgic...

    Dragon13

    Or something spiked into them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We're talking about who?

    Dragon13

    The Hemalurgic constructs in the catacombs.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's something spiked into them.

    Dragon13

    Is there anything spiked out of them? Making them more feral?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, but-- Let's just say this it's a RAFO with the star of "Nobody knows how spike someone without killing them right now." So it's a "Most likely, just spikes in."

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    Dragon13

    Does Hoid have any relations other than his parents?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid have any-- like direct blood relatives?

    Dragon13

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. In the book, when I wrote it before, he did not. Dragonsteel isn’t 100% canon anymore so that will possibly change, but he did not, and there are none in my mind right now, so he's an only child as I have right now. It's unlikely to change, but I do have to asterisk that one because I haven't written Dragonsteel yet... Oh no, he had a little brother! He did have a little brother. Even in the original.