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  1. 43 points
    Yesterday, at a signing at JordanCon, Brandon read out something that was very old, which he said we had been waiting for "for a long time". He thought it was about eight or nine years old. It is crazy, and very exciting. It's a piece called The Traveler which is quite cosmere-aware, which Brandon thought he could now reveal. We recommend you just read it with no further introduction, but if you want some analysis, scroll on down. Get hyped. All of this is transcribed on Arcanum, and you can listen to the audio from the man himself at the links below. Here is Brandon's introduction to this piece: And so, here it is. Note, again, this is a very early draft from a long time ago. The Traveler A focused southern breeze made the trees sound like they were chattering. Tiny crisp leaves spreading the news of the Traveler’s return. Pure white leaves, clustered along branches like skeletal limbs. Even the bark clinging to the trees was white. In some lands, white meant purity; in others, it meant death. Here, it didn’t mean a thing. It was simply, normal. The Traveler sat on the mossy white ground, back to the tree, legs crossed idly as he picked at a pomegranate, eating the seeds one by one then spitting out the pits. They fell on the stark moss-covered ground, leaving red juice like blood running across a sterile white floor. To say he wore rags would have be an insult to many a goodwife who kept her washing rags in much better shape than the Traveler's costume. Ragged brown and black canvas, tattered cloak, and scruffy beard, rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot — or ash. The leaves suddenly fluttered excitedly behind him, and a strange puff of wind blew across the trunks. A moment later, a figure in simple gray robes walked into the clearing. Clean-shaven and silver-haired, he had the look of an aged scribe, not haughty, but tired. “So, you’re back,” the elderly visitor said. “Did I leave? I am the lingering odor you can never quite locate, my friend. Just when you think I've faded you open your cupboard and find, in an overpowering reveal, that I've merely been… ripening.” “Hmph, that’s a new look for you.” The Traveler looked down at his ragged clothing. “I’ve been learning to blend in. Hard to do that in one of my normal costumes.” “I doubt you’ll ever be the type to blend in.” “You’d be surprised!” “Is that soot in your hair?” “Maybe.” The elderly man sighed, walking across the short clearing and settling himself down on a large protruding tree root. “You can’t keep doing this.” The Traveler continued to eat his seeds, though he had started to chew them up rather than spitting out the pits. “You will just make things worse.” “Ati and Leras are dead,” the Traveler said, picking a piece of seed out from between his teeth. The elderly visitor said nothing, and the Traveler eyed him, leaning in closely, studying the man's eyes. The pupils were rimmed with a silver far too metallic to be natural, at least for a human. “You sly old lizard!” the Traveler said, pointing. “You already knew! You were watching! And here you were chastising me.” “I did NOT interfere,” the elderly man said. ”You meddle in things we promised to leave alone. Things that we—” Traveler held up a finger, interrupting him, then slowly he pointed at the older man. ”I. Made. No. Promise.” “You made your choice. Why now seek for things you so eagerly denied? My friend, it’s the dangerous desire, the lust for power best untouched, that created the situation in the first place.” The Traveler did not reply. The two sat for a time, listening to the winds through the garrulous trees. “Did you… find what you were seeking?” the elder man finally asked. The Traveler shrugged, picking at another seed and nibbling on it. “You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend,” the aged man said softly. ”It is impossible.” “You don’t know that. The old rules no longer hold.” The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. ”Besides, I’ve heard of a place… It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. This isn’t about the dead… or it’s not JUST about the dead, at least.” He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat. “So it’s a simple vendetta, then,” the aged man said, sighing. “How many years have you lived, and you still can’t learn the wisdom of just letting go?” “A simple vendetta?” the Traveler said. He rose, stalking up to the older man, holding out a finger and touching the man's chest. “You saw what Ati nearly did.” The Traveler leaned down, face even with that of his older companion. “I would not think it MY vendetta that should worry you, old friend.” Isn't that crazy? It's obviously set right after Mistborn Era 1, right after Hero of Ages, with Hoid (the Traveler) talking to Frost. Not only that but it really sounds like they are on Yolen as well. Remember in The Way of Kings, the part two epigraphs were a mysterious letter of cosmere significance? That was sent to Hoid, from Frost. Then, in Words of Radiance, Frost sent a reply. This is crazy. What do you think? Also note, there's lots more JordanCon to transcribe in the JordanCon event in Arcanum. Come help out by signing up for an account, going to the Sources page, and hitting Edit. Come into our Discord in the #arcanum channel and we can help you out, or go here for a guide on how to do that.
  2. 37 points
    “Beautiful destroyer. Blunt and effective. Of all those I've claimed over this brief thousand years, you are the only one I think just might be able to understand me.” -Ruin, Hero of Ages, ch. 57. [CONTAINS OATHBRINGER SPOILERS] I once listened to a speaker presenting on the story-telling potential of role-playing MMOs. The thesis was that, through the mechanics of the open-ended game play, the players became story-tellers, crafting unique collaborative narratives through the actions and interactions of their created characters. The presentation was very well done, and I was pleased to see alternative forms of story-telling (focusing on fantasy!) getting some of the spotlight. However, I wondered about the boundaries of this story-telling model: which stories were allowed in, and which were barred at the door? “What about stories of non-violence?” I asked. While there were options available for those stories, blacksmiths or farmers, the presenter admitted that it would be difficult to advance in the games without violence of some kind, and the story-telling potential would thus be limited. Violence is often a staple of fantasy. One of the escapist attractions of the genre is that feeling of power you feel when witnessing a character you identify with have a moment of awesome. While some of us may be martial arts experts or hardened soldiers in our daily lives, many of us are not, and reading about epic heroes laying waste to their evil enemies can be an empowering and gratifying experience for those of us with frustrations we are unable to take a fist or bolt of magical energy to. There's a reason The Emperor's Soul is about Shai, and not the simple life version of her that would be created if she used her final Essence Mark. One of the reasons we read fantasy is to see extraordinary characters doing amazing things. It is important, however, to question the violence we see when reading. Is it realistic? What do these moments of awesome cost the characters? In my opinion, the cosmere books do a good job of providing diverse moments of awesome, unlike the MMOs from that presentation: Raoden reviving Elantris in a burst of light by scraping the chasm line into the ground, Sazed ascending and recreating the world with the knowledge in his metalminds, or Shallan discovering the secret of the Oathgates through scholarship and ingenuity. On the other hand, many moments of awesome in the cosmere are moments of great violence. So where does this leave us as readers? Are we, like Re-Shephir, creatures “of instinct and curiosity, drawn to violence and pain like scavengers to the scent of blood” (Oathbringer, ch. 30)? I don't think so, and furthermore, I don't think Brandon wants his readers to be mere spectators of blood sport. In particular, Brandon's characterization of Vin and Dalinar, arguably the two most violent figures in the cosmere, displays a sensitive and nuanced approach to depicting violence, thrilling readers with incredible fights scenes, without glorifying killing and death. Awe and disgust may be opposites, but they are brought together in Vin and Dalinar: the beautiful destroyers. The Mistborn Trilogy is known for its gorgeous fight scenes. Mistborn possess a grace that few cosmere killers can match. When Vin sets out with Zane to attack Cett, she doesn’t just go to make a dent in Cett’s forces. The killing is secondary, while Vin’s primary purpose is to awe Cett with her power: While we see men screaming and falling in this scene, Vin captivates the majority of the reader’s attention. She is the “terrible weapon”, a Mistborn at the height of her power. Even without atium, in this scene, Vin demonstrates to Cett’s entire army that none can stand against her. In many ways, this should be a triumphant moment for Vin. After being trapped between two armies, fearful and paralyzed with indecision, in this scene she is unleashed and allowed to stretch her abilities to their full potential. And, after patiently waiting for this moment, it is difficult not to be in awe of her. But at what cost? After decimating Cett’s forces, Vin comes across Cett and his son, one of whom she is convinced is Mistborn. Vin seeks to solve her problems with Cett through violence, but when she finally reaches him, she finds she cannot. Though she commands him to fight her, neither Cett nor his son, Gneorndin, can respond to her challenge. Brandon excites us by setting Vin loose to use her powers, but even the incredible, dazzling violence Vin unleashes is not an answer to her problems. The next morning, when Elend finds Vin, she is consumed with regret, confessing that while her old crew leader, Camon, was brutal and terrible, she likely killed more people in a single night than he had in his entire life. She goes on to say: “My entire life has been death, Elend. Death of my sister, the death of Reen. Crewmembers dead around me, Kelsier falling to the Lord Ruler, then my own spear in the Lord Ruler’s chest. I try to protect, and tell myself that I’m escaping it all. And then…I do something like I did last night” (The Well of Ascension, ch. 44). Following her massacre, Vin struggles to come to terms with being both surviving and causing great violence. This personal conflict is eventually resolved in Hero of Ages, when Vin uses the power of Preservation to destroy herself and Ruin, but along the way Brandon is careful to remind his readers of the human cost associated with his awesome fight scenes, both for the victims, and for the destroyer herself. Brandon continues his discussion of the relationship between beauty and destruction in Oathbringer. Like Vin, violence gives Dalinar a sense of purpose: Dalinar, and the reader along with him, fall under the Nergaoul’’s seductive spell. This moment is one of many where Dalinar is described as being more than a man. Here, he is judgement, sent by the Almighty to test the skill and worthiness of his enemies. While fighting with Blade and Plate might lack some of the otherworldly elegance of Mistborn or Windrunners, Dalinar’s fight scenes in Oathbringer remain captivating, even in their brutality. After hearing about the might and power of the Blackthorn in his prime, the reader is encouraged here to indulge as they enjoy watching Dalinar be awesome (sorry Lift, but you can’t hog it all to yourself). The way Brandon describes Dalinar in these fight scenes resembles how he describes Vin: both come to think of themselves as concepts or roles, rather than as individual people: Vin as Mistborn, and Dalinar as judgement. And yet, even the Blackthorn, who, despite his later redemption is likely the most brutal character in the cosmere, retains enough humanity to recognize the horror of what he is doing: Dalinar’s Shards and incredible fighting skills give him great power to defeat his enemies, but Brandon is quick to point out that there is a cost to getting lost in the glory of battle by emphasizing the destruction Dalinar has caused, and by highlighting that some of Dalinar’s own men also fell to his onslaught. After defeating the enemy general, Kalanor, Dalinar struggles to feel satisfied with his victory: It is this voice which drives Dalinar to continue his killing spree beyond what is necessary to win the battle. He wonders, “Shouldn’t the strongest rule? Why should he sit back so often, listening to men chat instead of war?” (Oathbringer, ch. 26). It is only after the Thrill almost drives Dalinar to kill his brother Gavilar that Dalinar stops and realizes what he has done. Gavilar’s celebration of Dalinar’s great victory is undermined by Dalinar’s feelings of guilt and shame for almost killing his brother. Despite Dalinar’s aptitude for war and fighting, and his oft emphasized disdain for conversation and politics, his great skill and power are not enough to satisfy him. Like Vin, Dalinar’s power and might leave him unfulfilled and unable to solve his problems. When he finally remembers burning the Rift, the voices of Evi and the children he killed haunt him: “Hypocrite, they said. Murderer. Destroyer” (Oathbringer, ch. 100). As he remembers his past, the actions that made Dalinar a fearsome warrior are a source of torment, rather than triumph, for him. Throughout Oathbringer, Dalinar often remarks about how difficult it is to adjust his thinking and unify people with politics and persuasion rather than by brute force, and how ill suited he is to the task of brokering peace. Both Hero of Ages and Oathbringer end with their respective destroyers overcoming inner turmoil to find some measure of self-acceptance. Vin determines that she can destroy to protect and is able to use Preservation in a way Leras never could. In doing so, she overcomes destruction incarnate by defeating Ruin, arguably the greatest destroyer the in the cosmere. Faced with a seemingly unstoppable force in Odium and the Fused, Brandon makes the reader think Dalinar may succumb to his past of destruction and violence and become that which he set out to defeat: Odium’s Champion. Armed with a book and, more importantly, the convictions it has taught him, Dalinar refuses to be a destroyer any longer. While Vin conquers destruction, she does so through continued violence. With Dalinar, Brandon takes his examination of violence further. Despite all of the breath-taking fight scenes in Oathbringer, the most awe-inspiring scene in the novel, and the crux of the epic climax, is the moment Dalinar, surrounded by gloryspren, refuses to give Odium his pain and opens the perpendicularity. In that moment, Daliner bests Odium, not with force, but by taking responsibility for his actions. Similarly, Dalinar overcomes Nergaoul with understanding, rather than a contest of force: While his history of struggle and violence is what allows Dalinar to capture Nergaoul, the capture itself, and the subsequent defeat of Odium’s forces, does not come about through violence on Dalinar’s part. Instead, Dalinar embraces the Thrill, thanking it for what it did for him in the past, and drawing it in close. He convinces it to rest in the gemstone. Like Vin overcoming Ruin, in this scene Dalinar, the destroyer, overcomes a divine force of destruction in a captivating way, but he does it without resorting to violence himself. In both Vin and Dalinar, Brandon sets out heroes who struggle with their self definition in the face of the violence they have committed against others. Brandon juxtaposes the hauntingly beautiful action sequences against the emotional impact those acts of violence have on the human soul, allowing his readers to enjoy the display while still being critical of that enjoyment. In their greatest moments, Brandon shows Vin and Dalinar overcoming violence and destruction, despite their status as destroyers, demonstrating that the ‘moments of awesome’ fantasy is known for do not always need to be violent ones, and that the beauty of destruction comes at a cost. _________ Post Script: As it turns out, Brandon himself has commented on the concept of beautiful but terrible violence in the Well of Ascension Annotations. Unfortunately, I did not find this quote until after I finished the essay above, but it has probably been bouncing around in the back of my head since I originally read it way back when. Enjoy Brandon’s take on the violence in Well of Ascension: Image Credit: "Vin in the Mists" by Xenia de Vries. You can also find her work on Instagram! Used with permission.
  3. 16 points
    Recently the company Brotherwise Games, launched a Kickstarter for a new "hero-crafting" card game titled Call to Adventure. As part of the Kickstarter they announced their first expansion, themed around the book The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Earlier today, in honor of the Kickstarter reaching $300,000 USD and GenCon 2018, Brandon announced that Brotherwise Games will also be releasing a Stormlight Archive themed expansion in Fall 2019. I won't go into too much depth about the game (they do a pretty good job of that over on their Kickstarter), the gist of it however is this: you start with a hero, defined by their origin, their motivation, and their destiny, and you choose different cards to help craft them into the greatest hero (or antihero) possible. The Stormlight expansion will add special destiny cards for the Orders of Knights Radiant. This is the first I've heard of the Kickstarter, but this game seems right up my alley so it is safe to say I will soon be a backer. It's unclear whether the Stormlight expansion will also be Kickstarted, of if it will go directly into production. All of the art they've shown for the base game is spectacular, and based on some previews the art for the Stormlight expansion will be no different. Check out "Secret Training" by Adam J. Marin and "Edgedancer" by Paul Canavan below.
  4. 6 points
    This week on Shardcast, we are going to complain. That's right. Many think we are just shill who love everything Brandon does, but that's not true. We're talking about our cosmere beefs this week. Hear us complain about things you maybe had no issue with. Spook. Kelsier. Wayne. Szeth. And, of course, Zane, in an epic rant to end all rants. Welcome to Complaincast. Your cosmere beefs might be different. Put your top five in the comments. We would love to see them! Today we have Eric (Chaos), Ian (WeiryWriter), Alyx (FeatherWriter), Matt (Comatose), and David (Windrunner).
  5. 5 points
    Last month, we began a new initiative for the Coppermind. Lots of people want to help out with the wiki, but simply don't know where to start. So we offered up a list of specific objectives that we hoped to complete by the end of the month. The list included some larger projects, like updating Lirin, along with several smaller tasks, such as Rock's family members. The response was overwhelming, and we want to thank everyone involved! We had an incredibly productive month, and so many people contributed. We've got a few special mentions to make, but whether you wrote out a full article practically from scratch, or whether you did nothing beyond fixing a few spelling errors, we are so grateful for your contributions! There were many people who deserve a shout out, but we especially want to recognize the top our top contributors. These include Amanda (for work on Kaladin and Bridge Four), LadyLameness (for work on Lirin and more), Harveygreenfield (for work on Wax's history, going far beyond our objective), Rebeca (for work on a huge variety of things), and Jubilus (for work on Celebrant and other minor objectives). We're continuing the initiative this month, with a brand new set of objectives. As always, we're happy for any help we can get, so don't be shy. If you're new to editing the Coppermind, don't worry; we'll help you out with guides and plenty of assistance. You don't need experience, just the will to do help out! We'll also provide awards, because everyone loves fake internet points. So, here are our objectives for August. With a lot of Oathbringer content left to go, we're going to focus there again. If you find something you'd like to help with, claim it here, and let us know if you have any questions! (Please make sure if you sign up for a thing you say hi on Discord so we can touch base with you later this month! Our Coppermind Editor's Discord is here) Larger Projects 1. Kholinar Kholinar is a Dawncity, and an extensive sequence in Oathbringer shows it. Though there's a brief summary of what happened in Kholinar in Oathbringer, there's no reference to the riots that happened in Words of Radiance, the geography of the city, information on the windblades, and much more. This needs radical expansion. 2. Navani's History Here's a Kholin who needs some love. On top of her own credentials, she's connected to just about every important person on Roshar... But judging by her history section, you wouldn't know it! 3. Pattern's History Shallan's article might be the longest on Coppermind, but her poor Cryptic isn't getting the attention he deserves. This article needs work all around, but let's start with the History. 4. Syl's History Pattern isn't the only important spren in need of an update. Or, well, most of them do. But Syl is one of the most loveable and important spren that we know. Her history, however, hasn't been touched since Kaladin swore his second Ideal in Way of Kings. 5. Nergaoul This twisted Splinter of Odium single handedly drives Oathbringer's most powerful story while stirring up several wars on the side just for fun, but his article currently consists of two, solitary sentences. If that doesn't fill you with the Thrill, I don't know what will. 6. The War of Reckoning This conflict might be old news on Roshar, but the article is missing a lot of history from Words of Radiance that needs to be filled in. 7. The Diagram This secret organization is pulling strings all over Roshar. We'd like your help filling in what they've been up to in the history section. 8. Azir Our Vorin bias is showing, I'm afraid. Azir is arguably the most influential nation on Roshar, but their article isn't great. Let's start with the history section, though the whole thing needs attention. 9. Thaylen City This ancient Dawncity plays a prominent role on Roshar and in the story of Oathbringer, but the article currently consists of little more than some basic layout descriptions. We could really use some help fleshing out every aspect of this important capital city. 10. Wayne's History Okay, here's one for somebody who needs a break from Stormlight. Last month we covered Waxilium's history. Now let's do the same for his partner in crime. Smaller Tasks These are tasks that are much shorter and involve characters or topics that are minor. But, hey, minor things are important to have done too! Many of these articles are so short that they will not require separate sections. Research should be fairly straight forward. For short articles, include as much as you can possibly find about them. 1. Notable Spren There are several important spren whom we get to know a bit better in Oathbringer that need some work: Glys, Ivory, Wyndle, Rua, and Spark 2. Gavinor This poor kid lost both of his parents and his throne in Oathbringer. Least we could do is give him a proper article, right? If you're the kind of person who feels like swears directed at Moash aren't good enough, this might be your next step. 3. Eshonai's History Eshonai's flashbacks will be here before we know it, so it's important for us to get her history in good shape. The Words of Radiance portion might take a bit of work, but at least the Oathbringer portion is mostly finished already… 4. Western Nations Oathbringer gave us some more details about several western nations which haven't featured prominently in the story yet: Iri, Rira, Marat, Tashikk, Tukar, and Liafor 5. Tarah Kaladin finally spared us an actual memory of his former sweetheart! 6. The Valley The Valley is no longer a complete mystery! Would somebody like to step up and record what we learned about the place in Oathbringer? 7. Diagram Members Several known members of the Diagram could use an update for Oathbringer: Adrotagia, Mrall, Dukar, Graves, Maben, and Malata 8. Sons of Honor The Diagram aren't the only ones up to no good. We could use some help keeping track of the Sons of Honor. We got to see some of their plans in action, and Mraize offered up some spicy details. 9. Kholinar Wall Guard Another Kaladin squad (Kaladin getting another squad? what's new?) from Part Three of Oathbringer. These are: Noromin, Alaward, Beard, Hid, Hadinar, Vaceslv, Vardinar, and Ved 10. Returned Another one for those of you coming up for breath (heh) after too much Stormlight. There are a few minor Returned who could use some polishing: Calmseer, Hopefinder, Lifeblesser, Stillmark, Truthcall, and Weatherlove Awards We want to motivate people to help, so we will be giving out Coppermind awards for the users in August with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most edits, and we'll also give out awards if you contributed to one of these items. They'll be on your user page for all to see. How do I to start? The most important thing is to be bold! Content is hard to write, but we can always format your stuff if it doesn't quite match conventions. MediaWiki notation may appear scary at first, but the best way to learn is through experience. If you're interested, we have lots of guides to help: Help:Contents. It does very much help to have ebooks so you can find instances of a specific word or person. (This is extremely helpful for minor characters). If you have physical books, ask us and we can help you determine this so you don't need to reread the whole text. We can also direct you towards some good articles to use as a go-by. Come join us on the dedicated Coppermind Discord, or come chat in the #coppermind channel on the 17th Shard Discord. We are really happy to help!
  6. 4 points
    Welcome to Shardcast - Civil War: Episode 2, Half-Shards Edition. We are continuing our discussion on fabrials and we are going straight into a spicy, perhaps infuriating discussion regarding whether half-shards use Radiant spren. Is the answer obvious? What do you think? Tell us down below! We have Eric (Chaos, who has no strong opinions), Ian (WeiryWriter, at his most pedantic), Evgeni (Argent, who tries to talk), and Matt (Comatose, who fights the good fight). Send your Who's That Cosmere Characters to [email protected]
  7. 2 points
    This week's episode of Shardcast we discuss the recent (ish) signing in Idaho Falls in late July. We get you up to date with "Adonalsium's opposition" (whatever that means) and somehow that's related to Hoid's immortality. What? We also bring up aluminum too much, and Eric tries not to talk about Dragonsteel. There's other Words of Brandon too at this signing. We make bad analogies, and name someone Mr. Conqueror and another Mr. Sarcastipants. This episode has something for everyone. Including onions! Our cast today is Eric (Chaos), Ian (WeiryWriter), Grace (gatorgirl), and Evgeni (Argent). This is actually out a week later than we wanted, because of some serious audio issues in our original recording of it. Unfortunately this rerecording is probably not as funny, and has way less Avengers jokes. Oh well. As always, you can go find these Words of Brandon all on Arcanum (wob.coppermind.net), and send your Who's That Cosmere Characters to [email protected]
  8. 1 point
    Today on Shardcast, we are digging into fabrials. What are they? How do they work? We discuss all the types of modern fabrials. We also discuss Soulcasters and ancient fabrials and their differences. We also talk a lot about why gemstones crack when a Radiant Soulcaster uses them. We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (WeiryWriter), Evgeni (Argent), and Matt (Comatose)--who really needs to stop making tea during recording. Weird background stuff is his fault! Next week we will continue and discuss, in exhaustive detail, about half-shards. Send your Who's That Cosmere Characters to [email protected]
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