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Could an Animal form a nahel bind and become a surgebinder?


SteelBagel

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There is a WoB related to this:

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Tom Goldthwait

At any point in the Rosharan history, was it possible to form a Nahel bond without swearing oaths?

Brandon Sanderson

"Nahel bond" is the phrase used for a bond between a spren and a being from the Physical Realm. That is the definition of it. So the answer to that is yes; it's currently possible right now. It's how greatshells exist and grow to the size they do. It's how Ryshadium exist. Those are Nahel bonds also.

What you're asking is if a sapient spren, a spren and a sapient individual, forming what we currently call the Radiant bond, which has access to much greater power; was that possible without swearing oaths? Yes and no. The formalization of the oaths and the Orders aligned with certain spren did take a little bit of time to come together. It was possible to form a Nahel bond before that, but it was not a Radiant bond accessing the levels of powers that are currently possible. So it's another one of these "yes and no" answers, if that makes any sense.

You could find a Nahel bond... In fact, many would call the bond between the singers and the spren that give them forms Nahel bonds. It may not fit fully into the categorization that most people would use it for, but you could kinda call that the same thing.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 1 (Dec. 17, 2020)

So, could an animal form a nahel bond? Yes. Would it be a Radiant-style nahel bond? Probably not, at least not in the sense of being a Windrunner and having access to everything that Windrunners can do. Plants... maybe? I don't see a lot of evidence that they've got what it takes, including souls to affect, nor do we have any examples I can think of offhand of plants on Roshar with bonds.

Edited by Returned
Found a great reference which totally obviated my original answer
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I think in the cosmere in general the capability to manipulate\hold investiture and intent are strongly related (the power escalation from Honorblades\Radiants\Nightblood being my go to example).

So my interpretation is that for instance horses, which are smarter than other animals but still don't have articulated and clear intents a human would, can have nahel bonds making them Ryshadiums which are bigger, stronger, smarter. Chasmfiends can get as big as they do thanks to such bonds as well, but it just affects their size.

I don't think spirit webs of aninmals were ever talked about in the Cosmere, which would probably give us a better insight into this.
The way I see it, but it's just a guess, a plant might very well form a "Naheel bond", but it would make sense to me that if a plant was able to grow gemhearts like a chasmfiend, it could also become very big, possibly have some smarter than normally possible vines around it.

 

 

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