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Adonalsium'sSpren

Why do women in The StormLight Archive cover their safehand?

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And is their safehand the right or left hand?

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Safehand is the left hand.  As too why.  Modern people would say modesty, Brandon is interested in taboo, and historically it is because Roshar has gender dynamics built around shardblades of all things(humans are weird).

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Questioner

What's the concept of the safehand?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There's a writerly answer and an in-world answer. Which do you want to know?

Questioner

Let's do the writer answer.

Brandon Sanderson

Writer answer, so. I am fascinated by taboo. I am fascinated by the fact that in Asia you don't show your, the bottom of your foot to people. It's terribly offensive. I am fascinated that in some cultures some parts of the body are shown and others aren't. Things that we would consider vulgar, to other people are not, and vice versa. It just fascinates me as a writer and when I approached the books I was looking for a ways that I could give a feel for a human culture but not one that we have seen before and the safehand grew out of that.

Oathbringer Leeds signing (Dec. 1, 2017)
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Questioner

So...what is the safehand about-- Like how did that develop into a thing, having one hand being scandalous?

Brandon Sanderson

So it relates back to philosophical treaties written in world, long ago, where a woman was saying 'these are feminine arts, these are masculine arts'; that sort of thing. It was partially a way to control access to Shardblades, when Shardblades and Shardplate first entered the-- common people being able to have them because the Knights Radiant had abandoned them. At the same time there was a struggle for power over language, and this happened long ago. Really the reason is "humans are weird".

FanX Spring 2019 (April 19, 2019)

 

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2 minutes ago, Karger said:

Safehand is the left hand.  As too why.  Modern people would say modesty, Brandon is interested in taboo, and historically it is because Roshar has gender dynamics built around shardblades of all things(humans are weird).

 

Thank you!

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Just now, Adonalsium'sSpren said:

Thank you!

Of course.

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Not all women of Roshar wear a safehand pouch. It's a Vorin tradition (Alethkar, Jah Keved, Thaylenah, Kharbranth, Herdaz (to some degree)) that arose sometime after the Recreance.

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On 01/04/2020 at 7:15 AM, Dreamer said:

Not all women of Roshar wear a safehand pouch. It's a Vorin tradition (Alethkar, Jah Keved, Thaylenah, Kharbranth, Herdaz (to some degree)) that arose sometime after the Recreance.

That in turn makes me wonder whether some bars and other facilities are likelier to empliy foreign women in the Vorin lands and what consequences that has had.

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