In his story Warbreaker, the old warrior who started the Manywar was named Kalad, and in The Way of Kings, the soldier-slave Kaladin is one of the focal points of the story. Very similar sounding names...

Also in TWoK, there are lifelike elements called 'spren', and in Elantris there are 'Seons' that seem to function in a similar manner. Furthermore, there were the gods in Elantris who seem to have near similar body chemistry to the Returned in Warbreaker.

My question is this: are these just similar threads that Sanderson is exploring in different stories or is there some sort of overarching thread that somehow ties everything together?

  • 1
    Excellent question. :)
    – apoorv020
    Jun 2, 2011 at 21:24
  • FYI, the 'spren'-like things are Seons, Aon's are the magical glyph system in that book. and it was called the Manywar,
    – fbstj
    Sep 16, 2011 at 20:13
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    There are at least 3 characters that I know of from Warbreaker in Words of Radiance (One of them is in several other Cosmere books, and one of them shows up at the very end. The third is very much related to this one that shows at the end). Spren and Seons are two possible outcomes of a certain cataclysmic event. Kalad and Kaladin are in no way related, despite their names. Jun 23, 2017 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


The common between all of Sanderson's stories is ... that they are all actually set in the same universe called the Cosmere. Seems strange, when you think of it, that all these highly different worlds and magic systems seem to be in the same place. Nevertheless, Sanderson has apparently a unifying theory behind his works. The most prominent link between the books is the mysterious character Hoid, who apparently appears in most of his novels.

Since it's not covered (at least not directly) in any book, things are not very clear currently. You can read information about them on The Coppermind and Stormlight Archive wikia. The rough story is as follows:

The Cosmere contains three realms: intellectual, spiritual, and physical. Adonalsium, some sort of object/god, was shattered into sixteen Shards, each of which were then taken up by living beings. Each shard is associated with a concept/idea. The magics in Sanderson's world are thought to arise directly or indirectly from Shards.

The greater theme of his works seems to be war between shardholders, with one called Rayse being set up as the ultimate villain.

Check out the pages of Shards, Adonalsium, "the letter" on The Coppermind for more details.

  • 2
    17thshard.com also contains a decent amount of information on this in the forums. Jun 2, 2011 at 22:13
  • Hmm, very interesting! Glad to know I'm not just drawing conclusions from nowhere...
    – erik
    Jun 14, 2011 at 12:40
  • 1
    This answer can use an update.
    – TheAsh
    Oct 24, 2023 at 16:56

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