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Spren

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Spren are creatures of nature. With the exception of Shinovar, where there are no spren, they have a common presence all over Roshar and tend to be ignored, or remain unseen. Spren are not fully understood. They take different shapes and forms, appearing around certain events, ideas, or abnormalities. Some spren live in Shadesmar, the Cognitive Realm.[1]

According to Jasnah ...

" ... spren are elements of the Cognitive Realm that have leaked into the physical world. They're concepts that have gained a fragment of sentience, perhaps because of human intervention."

...

"Spren are those ideas - the ideas of collective human experience - somehow come alive."

...

"Shadesmar is where that first happens, and it is their place. Though we created it, they shaped it. They live there; they rule there, within their own cities."

...

"Spren are wild in their variety. Some are as clever as humans and create cities. Others are like fish and simply swim in the currents."

...

"The spren are not always forthcoming. In some cases, they do not know. In others, they do not trust me because of our ancient betrayal."

...

"They tell me of it ... but they won't say what it was. We broke an oath, and in so doing offended them greatly. I think some of them may have died, though how a concept can die, I do not know."

...

"When once humans and spren bonded, the results were women who danced in the skies and men who could destroy the stones with a touch."

–Jasnah to Shallan[2]

Origins of SprenEdit

Some of the many spren found on modern Roshar were created by Honor and Cultivation at some point before the Desolations started, by Splintering themselves. After Odium killed Tanavast, Honor's bearer, he Splintered Honor further, creating the many diverse spren found on Roshar.[3][4][5] Some spren are also apparently the result of Investiture left behind by Adonalsium himself.

Types of SprenEdit

Main article: Spren Types

Spren come in many different varieties, each associated with and named for their own phenomenon. Most spren are non-sentient, however, some could become sentient and there are some that already are,[6] for example Kaladin's honorspren, Syl. It's been theorized, that the process of becoming sentient might be linked to the Nahel bond.

They also have their own names ... names that don't necessarily relate to the name that Roshar inhabitants give them.

Known Spren on Roshar & in ShadesmarEdit


BondingEdit

Main article: Nahel bond

Some spren choose just what human with which to bond; this depends on the spren's type. The choices of certain other spren are made by committee; Wyndle, Lift's spren, was placed with Lift by such a committee known as The Ring.[7] It's a cultural difference. Some spren are free-spirited; others are more organized.[8]

SocietyEdit

They have their own society in Shadesmar, and they have their own culture, hierarchy and politics.[2] For example, the Cryptics (liespren) and the honorspren seem to be two groups of spren nobility, and have they a strong mutual dislike for each other. They also seem to have differing views on whether or not spren should be bonding with humans.  

Effects of SprenEdit

Whilst many spren appear to do nothing but gather around whatever they are named after, some people think that the spren cause the things they're named after rather than the other way around. For instance, many believe that rotspren cause infection in a wound, as opposed to gathering as a sign that there is an infection present. Human perception has a lot to do with why spren act like they do.[9]

However, spren do appear to be significant relative to the various powers of the Knights Radiant orders, which appear to be available to people who are bonded by a spren in the way that Syl is bonded with Kaladin.[10]

According to Navani's Notebook, imprisoned spren are used in the creation of mechanical devices, known as fabrials.

Characteristics of SprenEdit

Spren are typically amorphous and often change in size, luminosity, and shape. Whether they actually manifest physically remains in question.[11] However, Geranid, along with her husband Ashir, found that a spren will stay the same size after being measured if that measurement is recorded. This rule holds true even if the person performing the measurement does not know whether or not the measurement is being recorded. The cause for this is unknown.[12]

Spren can exist for thousands of years and ... they can die.[13]

They have different forms in Shadesmar than those in which they appear on Roshar.

QuotesEdit

" ... all spren are, in a sense, virtually the same individual. There's harmony in that."

–Syl to Kaladin[14]

"Spren appear when something changes - when fear appears or when it begins to rain. They are the heart of change, and therefore the heart of all things."

Hesina to Kaladin[15]

ScholarshipEdit

Scholars such as Axies the Collector and Geranid study spren.[16][12]





Warning Book Spoiler: Significant plot details follow.





Words of RadianceEdit

"So they're all spren," he said. "Shardblades."

Syl grew solemn.

"Dead spren," Kaladin added.

"Dead," Syl agreed. "Then they live again a little when someone summons them, syncing a heartbeat to their essence."

"How can something be 'a little' alive?"

"We're spren," Syl said. "We're forces. You can't kill us completely. Just ... sort of."

"That's perfectly clear."

"It's perfectly clear to us," Syl said. "You're the strange ones. Break a rock, and it's still there. Break a spren, and she's still there. Sort of. Break a person, and something leaves. Something changes. What's left is just meat. You're weird." [17]

Q&A with BrandonEdit

Q. In your books, readers see a lot of really interesting and diverse world elements that make places and cultures really come to life. What are some of the world elements you’ve had the most fun creating, and what do you like best about them?

A. I'd say that the spren on Roshar have been my favorite so far - they are so different, but also so RIGHT. They have a mythological fae-feel to them, but also fit into the Cosmere arcanum just perfectly. I also like writing them.[18]

Q. Are spren bound to Roshar or can they travel to other worlds? Could they do so if they were bound to someone that traveled to other worlds?

A. RAFO! Excellent question, though.[19]

ReferencesEdit

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