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ROSHtaFARian2.0

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  1. The reason I brought up Scadrial is not because the timeframes are identical - as you point out, The Final Empire on Scadrial lasted roughly a thousand years where the timetable we're talking about in the Rosharan system would be thousands of years. Rather, my point is look how stagnant Scadrial was throughout that thousand years under the Lord Ruler, in terms of both ecology and technology....with the only thing that kept that thousand years from being replicated for thousands more, was Sazed using the power of Shards to restore the planet's ecology and sow resources that allowed for a swift resurgence in technology and development. Which again, compared to Ashyn - if Ashyn's magic was only great enough to cause global devastation and permanent damage to that planet due to the Investiture of Shards, then it would make perfect sense that with those Shards' Investiture gone (or mostly gone), the survivors of Ashyn might not have been able to undue or compensate for the damage done to their world with the limited natural and magical resources they had left. Just like if on Scadrial, if Sazed hadn't had access to the Well and Preservation and Ruin's Investiture in the wake of the damage the Lord Ruler did when HE had access to the Well....then no one on Scadrial likely would have had the natural or magical resources to undo or reverse the damage the Lord Ruler had done. I guess the problem I'm having with the point you make about Odium not having interest in leaving the worlds he passes uninhabitable or making any permanent changes to them is that we know this isn't entirely true. You point to Sel and Threnody as examples of this, which I concede proves that destroying the worlds of rival Shards is not a direct aim of his, but I propose that I don't think that its his goal, but he doesn't exactly mind if it happens. Because see, Sel and Threnody aren't the only example of worlds Odium has left in his wake....we have a third example....the world the Voidbringers came from, bringing Odium with them, and which we know they (and Honor) at least believed to have left this world destroyed in their wake. We just don't know for sure what world it is, and whether it was fully destroyed or just devastated and assumed destroyed by those who left it. But either way, and whether this world is Ashyn as I believe or some other world, the history revealed about the Voidbringers invalidates the idea that Odium as a general rule doesn't make permanent changes to worlds he's passed on from or leave them uninhabitable. It didn't happen on Sel or Threnody, but that doesn't preclude it from being what happened to the original world of the Voidbringers, whatever world that was, and thus I can't see how Ashyn's current state invalidates the idea that Odium and the Voidbringers once came from there instead of potentially supporting it, you know? Similarly, I'm not sure I agree with your reasoning in regards to The Stormlight Archive. I agree that of course Odium's moves there seem predicated on freeing himself from the Oathpact and whatever else holds him bound to the Rosharan system and presumably killing Cultivation as well. But all his moves there are highly destructive, with the Desolations, the Everstorm, etc, all playing key roles in his attempts to advance his goals on Roshar. So I don't really see how you can argue that his actions are intended to free him to move on to another world and leave Roshar largely intact, making it a third world that doesn't match Ashyn in devastation....when even if we agree that his goal is not to destroy Roshar or its mortal inhabitants specifically, I see nothing that suggests it wouldn't be destroyed in the process or that the possibility his actions might result in its destruction regardless would change anything for him. As for the potential problem with Honor breaking oaths and bonds in order to fit this theory that he fled from Ashyn to Roshar....it doesn't sound very Honorable, I agree. But consider that we know it takes thousands of years before a Shard's Intent starts influencing or even overriding the Vessel's original personality....and the events we're all talking about here took place thousands of years in the past, and thus all the Vessels involved likely had a great more of their original personalities fueling their actions than simply being dictated by their Intents. So if the events with Ashyn were far enough back in the past, it might not have been particularly honorable or noble for Honor to divest himself from Ashyn and flee to Roshar...but that doesn't mean he COULDN'T, if Tanavast felt sufficiently motivated by any number of more human reasons. In fact from what little we've seen of Honor, he strikes me as someone who seemed to have a lot of regrets and self-recriminations, which certainly supports that idea. Finally, I do agree that events when laid out as I did in this thread seem a bit close together, and that it makes it sound like there was a very short time between Honor and Cultivation arriving on Roshar and gaining the Singers' reverence, and Odium following them. The truth is, we have no idea what kind of timetable we're looking at here or the scale of the timeline, and there are any number of reasons why Odium might not have followed Honor & Cultivation immediately. Maybe he was wounded or weakened by them and stayed on Ashyn for a time to recuperate before coming after them again. Maybe it took him awhile to withdraw his Investiture from Ashyn and that's part of why he prefers not to Invest in Shardworlds, it could be a more time consuming process for some Shards than others depending on their Intent or any number of factors. Or it could simply be the warped perspective of history, and maybe there wasn't much time between Honor/Cultivation's arrival and Odium's at all, and its only because of the way looking far back in history stretches our perception of lengths of time that makes it seem like the Singers spent long with just Honor and Cultivation before Odium came with the Voidbringers. What I mean by that is, most people when you mention Cleopatra, they'll immediately associate her with other things they know about ancient Egypt, like the pyramids, and unless they're students of history specifically, they're more likely to link her to the time of the pyramids in their head than they are with the modern day. And yet, the first of the Great Pyramids is thought to have been constructed around 2500 BC....while Cleopatra only died in 30 BC, which in the timeline of human history puts Cleopatra closer to the current year than it does the time of the pyramids. And this would come as a surprise to most people, because the instinct is to look at two events far back in history and because of how divergent both these things are from modern experiences, it makes more 'sense' in our minds to lump those two events closer together than to lump one of them closer to us, depending on the actual timeline involved. It could very well be the same phenomenon here in the Stormlight Archive. Because the characters are learning of these events that are all so far back in history and so removed from their current worldview, their sense of the actual timeline of events and the actual lengths of time linking or separating these distant historical events is skewed. And so in the lens of Rosharan history, it SEEMS to the characters like the Singers spent a considerable length of time basking in just the presence of Honor and Cultivation, unencumbered by the presence of Odium or the Voidbringers, when in actuality, we might find it wasn't so long a time in between these things at all.
  2. Hmm, I'm not sure I'm understanding your point correctly? Are you saying that if this all happened so long ago that Ashyn would be more recovered than what we've seen in Brandon's readings of Silence Divine? If so, I'd disagree, because look at Mistborn and how long Scadrial existed in a state of near ruin beneath clouds of volcanic ash with limited resources and a stagnant culture after The Lord Ruler used the power of the Well. It really just depends on 1) the nature of a cataclysm and 2) the resources a civilization has to apply towards recovery in its aftermath, more so than the actual length of time since a cataclysm. Since we're talking about magical events, we can't apply the same logic and timelines that we would to a natural disaster such as a fire or earthquake on our world, where yes, eventually people will recover. If the cataclysm on Ashyn was sufficiently destructive AND paired with the fact that by my theory of Ashyn's magic, it was drastically reduced once all three Shards had departed from it and taken most of their Investiture with them, I would argue it makes total sense that even with thousands of years passing since that point, civilization on Ashyn is still limited to just a few flying cities high over its surface where the survivors of the cataclysm concentrated their remaining resources and magic. They might have had enough to survive but not enough to make substantial alterations to however their planet had been affected, etc. As far as Investiture overflowing from nearby Roshar and supercharging Ashyn's ambient magic as a possibility, I concede its definitely possible, but I think its unlikely given that everything we know about Shards Investing in a Shardworld suggests that it's not easily done and carries some consequences for the Shard such as binding them to that world to various degrees. We also know it has a lot to do with the way a Shardworld's magic system is shaped, with the resulting magic being born of the interaction between Shards and planet. With all that in mind, this is just a gut impression but it does seem to me that the relationship between magic, Shardworlds and Shard Investiture is more intimate than simply regional, and that an overflow like you're describing is possible but doesn't really match. I don't know. I apologize, I can't really articulate any better than that at the moment why I'm opposed to this idea, it just doesn't feel quite right and I think I need to think about it some more before I can put my finger on why.
  3. Sairys, thanks for providing that WoB - it is something I took into account, as it was definitely something to consider here. But to me, the most crucial part of that quoted interaction was when Brandon said this: This is the basis for why I don't believe Ashyn's magic can be explained by ambient Investiture, but rather that at some point a Shard or Shards must have been Invested in it, because while yes, I see the point you're making about bacteria being natural and having some similarities to First of Sun's symbiotic magic, the sticking point for me is that at some point in the past, Ashyn's magic was responsible for a global cataclysm. That LEVEL of magic seems to be the distinction Brandon is making when he says you're not going to find mistborn on a world with just ambient magic, or spren powerful enough to grant Surgebinding via a bond. I suppose its theoretically possible that a Shard's presence on a nearby world could enhance ambient magic, but I don't really see any particular reason to believe that over the possibility of Shards we know came from somewhere else Invested in this particular somewhere else. I would like to point out that my theory is based not on any one singular element I've proposed here, but rather the confluence of them. What I mean by that is, given our level of information, there are a hundred different possibilities for any one variable here.....we know that Odium came with the Voidbringers from a world they destroyed, but that could be Ashyn, it could be Braize, it could be another unknown world, etc. We know that Honor and Cultivation came to Roshar from somewhere else, but that could be any number of places. We know that bacteria on Ashyn grants magical abilities, but that could be due to ambient Investiture on Ashyn, a Splinter of Cultivation, remnants of Odium, or the Investiture of another unknown Shard. And so on and so on. So my theory is born of drawing a unifying conclusion via all these disparate things, ie something that posits an explanation for all of these elements in one go. It was never meant to be a dismissal of the fact that there are of course, other possible answers for any of these individual variables, as this is all just conjecture at this point.
  4. One thing I'm curious about (and unsure where else to wonder about it) is what made Dominion and Devotion settle on Sel together in the first place? We know now that there was a kind of pact or agreement that Shards would stay away from each other, thanks to the Part 2 Epigraphs, and we know Ruin and Preservation paired off in part because they thought they could counterbalance each other and mitigate Ati's eventual corruption by his Intent, while Honor and Cultivation's vessels had a romantic connection. Autonomy seems to just like to meddle, and Odium seeks out other Shards to kill them. But why did Aona and Skai break the pact? Dominion and Devotion in some ways oppose each other but in other ways almost complement each other (ie the sense of nationalistic identity that fuels many of the magics on Sel can be seen as Devotion to one's Dominion or empire). So they're not an obvious counter to each other in such a way that they could balance or cancel each other out the way that Ruin and Preservation sought to, but neither are they an easy or obvious complement of Intents. Additionally, we have inklings that Skai was not such a great guy, so it would seem unlikely that he and Aona had anything like Honor and Cultivation's personal connection....unless Skai was corrupted by his Intent of Dominion similar to Ati's devolution into Ruin. So honestly, I'm at a loss as to what drew them together if its being near each other and violating this pact that put them on Odium's hit list in the first place. It's likely we simply just don't have enough information yet to draw any kind of actual conclusions, but Sel and its history and its Shards remains one of the most mysterious aspects of the cosmere to me, so this pact (albeit one that seems rather informal and more of 'guidelines' for Shards to follow rather than a hard and fast rule) and the fact that they broke it feels significant to me. Anyone else have any theories why?
  5. But that still leaves us with the same questions: Why would Odium, who by Brandon's own admission dislikes Investing and thus tying himself to a Shardworld, (and whom a second WoB says that Odium does have an interest in mortals beyond just using them against other Shards, but that his primary motivation is killing other Shards) Invest in Braize if not as part of his efforts to kill Honor & Cultivation, his primary motivation? And if Odium Invested in Braize because Honor & Cultivation were Invested there before Roshar, then again that leaves the question: where does Ashyn's magic come from if not the result or remnant of Investiture from Cultivation and Honor?
  6. Well something else in support of the Tranquiline Halls being Ashyn that I neglected to include in my initial post is just Occam's Razor. We know that there is at least one magic that predates the Shattering - Hoid's Yolish Lightweaving. Similarly, we know the symbiotic magic system on the world from Sixth of Dusk is not fueled by a full Shard, but rather is assumed to be fueled by a Splinter or lingering Investiture from a Shard that had previously Invested in that world. We have WoBs that magic systems can be fueled by Splinters rather than just full Shards, but those Splinters all have to come from somewhere of course. So with the sole exception of the Lightweaving that was present before the Shattering, on the world all the Shards hail from, every other magic system we've seen or heard mention of in the cosmere draws upon a Shard's Investiture, either in full or via a Splinter. So, we've got a world that's right next door to Roshar in a star system that has been embroiled in the conflict between three Shards for thousands of years - one of those Shards infamous for being the Shard most fixated on killing all of his potential rivals. We have the letter in Oathbringer that's presumably from Autonomy - the Shard most infamous for meddling throughout the cosmere - saying even they have no interest in Rayse's prison, aka the greater Rosharan system (since we have WoB that Rayse is bound to the system as a whole, not just Roshar). We also have a letter in Oathbringer that's presumably from Endowment and speaks of a pact between all sixteen original Vessels, which stated that they should avoid each other, and because Skai and Aona did not adhere to this pact, the Shard who sent that letter has no sympathy for them, or presumably for Honor and Cultivation, who did the same. All of which is to suggest that even though Ruin, Preservation, Dominion, Devotion, Honor and Cultivation all paired up rather than stick to the pact, and even though Autonomy meddles on other Shardworlds (if we assume she's Trell) and Odium seeks out rivals to kill, the standing agreement between the remaining shards is to avoid each other. We also have WoBs that Odium is leery of Investing in a Shardworld, and prefers not to, which suggests that when he does so, as he's done on Roshar, its in reaction to other Shards and part of his attempt to Shatter and kill them. Then we have the reading from The Silence Divine that states that although we're not aware of the full capabilities of Ashyn's disease magic as it stands now, at some point in its history that magic was powerful enough to be responsible for a worldwide cataclysm. And finally, we know that the humans on Roshar had to come from somewhere, and wherever they came from, they unleashed a magical cataclysm that destroyed it, or near to. So, with all of that being things that we know and can extrapolate conclusions from, what are the chances then that some other unknown fourth Shard at some point Invested in a world near to the heart of a fatal and lengthy conflict between three other Shards, one of them infamous for targeting and killing other Shards, and that their Investiture was fuel for humans to destroy most of their civilization in a manner similar to the origin we now have for Rosharan humans? And related to that, if there was no fourth Shard in the Rosharan system, what are the odds that Odium, who doesn't like to Invest and thereby bind himself to a Shardworld if he doesn't have to, found a reason to do that on Ashyn if it wasn't in response to Cultivation and/or Honor already being Invested there, and part of his attempt to Shatter and kill them? While Occam's Razor should never be taken as proof of anything, it seems to me that given we know that humans on Roshar had to come from somewhere, and that the civilization destroying magic on Ashyn had to draw fuel from somewhere, it requires far more coincidences and parallel plotlines to assume yet another Shard has been present in the Rosharan system's history and that resulted in events that were similar to the original Voidbringers destroying their home and traveling to Roshar yet were not these actual events themselves. The timeline in my head now is as follows: - The Shattering - Odium targets Ambition, who by virtue of their Intent (and perhaps due to previous history between their Vessels) was seen by him as the greatest potential threat, Shatters her - Odium becomes aware that Dominion and Devotion have both settled on Sel together, and targets them as this makes them a potential threat to him as well, Shatters them. Depending on how the process of Shattering Shards works, its possible that this required he temporarily Invest on Sel, and withdrew his Investiture once they were Shattered and he departed that world - or perhaps if the process of Shattering is different depending on the specific conflict, he didn't need to Invest in this world to Shatter Aona and Skai. - Odium becomes aware that Honor and Cultivation have both settled on Ashyn together, and makes them his next target. Note that this doesn't mean Honor and Cultivation settled somewhere together AFTER Devotion and Dominion, but perhaps simply means that Odium targeted Aona and Skai first because he found them first, had a more personal stake in killing them first, or considered their potential pairing a greater threat to him than Honor and Cultivation's. - For some reason, Honor and Cultivation are more difficult for Odium to Shatter than Ambition, Devotion or Dominion were, and they put up more of a fight. Odium Invests in Ashyn as well, and uses his Investiture and the resulting magic to sway humans to his cause and pit them against Honor and Cultivation. - Honor and Cultivation see Ashyn as a lost cause and retreat, withdrawing most if not all of their Investiture from Ashyn. (I have a theory I made years ago that using a Shard's Investiture against the parent Shard - ie wielding the magic born of it in direct opposition to a Shard's Intent, like using Surgebinding dishonorably or to halt or destroy progress rather than cultivate it - this weakens a Shard and makes it easier to Shatter them. If this is in any way true, then Honor and Cultivation, seeing their magic systems corrupted by Odium's Investiture and the mortals of Ashyn turned against them, might have thought it better to abandon Ashyn as a lost cause and retreat to Roshar to start anew, hoping to make a stronger stand against Odium there. Which would provide an explanation for Honor and Cultivation arriving on Roshar together BEFORE the Voidbringers destroyed their world and arrived with Odium. Again, just a theory, but I present it if only as proof of the fact that there are a number of ways to explain Honor and Cultivation fleeing to Roshar from Ashyn even before it was destroyed). - Honor and Cultivation Invest in Roshar. - The Voidbringers destroy most of Ashyn with their corrupted magic, which has to do with both the Dawnshards and the disease/bacteria magic of Ashyn (or else both those things are somehow linked and part of the same magic system) but is now primarily fueled by Odium's Investiture and some remnants of Cultivation (ie, if she left a Splinter behind). - The Voidbringers flee doomed Ashyn to Roshar, and Odium reclaims his Investiture from Ashyn and joins them, so he can pursue the escaped Honor and Cultivation. - Odium Invests in Roshar, resumes his conflict with Honor and Cultivation. - Honor binds Odium via the Oathpact. - Nine of the Heralds abandon the Oathpact. - Honor is finally weakened enough that Odium is able to Shatter him, the Stormfather becomes a Cognitive Shadow of Honor. - For whatever reason, Odium is still unable to Shatter Cultivation, either as he is too weakened by his conflict with Honor to confront her directly, or perhaps because she left a Splinter behind on Ashyn and he's hesitant to make a move just yet because destroying her entirely would thus require his own return to Ashyn to eliminate her last Splinter, which he either can not do until the Oathpact is entirely obliterated, or he chooses not to before he's completed his goals on Roshar.
  7. Honestly, I'm most intrigued by the implications that Vivenna is able to Awaken things on Roshar, given that Vasher according to WoB still has not figured out how to do the same. Is it a case of the student surpassing the master, with Vivenna having figured out a workaround that hasn't occurred to Vasher, or is it that Vivenna is working with others who have the necessary knowledge/skills to help her figure out a workaround ahead of Vasher.
  8. True, but there are a number of ways for this still to work with that. If Honor and Cultivation had been Invested on Ashyn previously, Odium could have then arrived after them and Invested in other to Shatter and kill them, and in the process gained the worship of the humans of that world (as well as potentially altering or adding to the magic systems in such a way as to lead to the cataclysm that resulted from magic). Perhaps Cultivation and/or Honor fled Ashyn before the cataclysm and sought refuge on Roshar, with Odium arriving with the original human Voidbringers after the cataclysm. Or Cultivation came to Roshar first, and Honor followed either at the same time as Odium or after. The sequence of things is up in the air still due to a lack of more information, but I don't believe there's anything in this theory that dictates the order in which the three Shards moved from Ashyn to Roshar. As for the Dawnshards, I wouldn't be surprised if that gem is an example of one of the Dawnshards but this is less about what the Dawnshards are now and their specific form or function and more what they represent in terms of the history of Roshar and the Tranquiline Halls, and their connection to Honor. As far as the boon granting food during a famine, I confess I don't remember that example, but even if I'm correct about the Nightwatcher and the Old Magic having some connection to the disease magic of Ashyn via Cultivation's (possible) previous Investment there, that doesn't preclude the Nightwatcher having access to more venues for granting boons as well as that. My point about the neurological basis of most if not all the boons/curses we've seen so far is only meant to draw a connection between the Old Magic and Ashyn's magic, it isn't necessarily meant to limit them to that.
  9. So now we have confirmation that humans came to Roshar from somewhere else. People have theorized before that humanity might have come to Roshar from Ashyn, and I believe more than ever that this is the case. Firstly....from what little we know of Ashyn via WoBs and his readings from it, that world suffered some form of cataclysm in the past, stemming from the disease based magic people used there. However, just because humans on Roshar arrived there after a great cataclysm on their original world, that doesn't mean that ALL the humans from their original world left it. Some might have remained behind, and that, I posit, are the people in the scattered cities that make up the remnant of civilization on Ashyn. Secondly, we know that humans, as the original Voidbringers, were responsible for the destruction of their original world and the Recreance and Nale's later actions resulted from a fear that Surgebinders, unchecked, would do the same to Roshar. However, this does not inherently mean that Surgebinding was responsible for the destruction of the first world. Indeed, we have this line from Chapter 113: The way this is phrased makes me feel that Honor was not saying that Surgebinders would destroy their world again, but rather that Surgebinders would do to Roshar what the humans of the Tranquiline Halls did to their world with the magic system of that world. We know that magic systems are born of the interaction between a Shard's Investiture and the planet they're on, and while they have some control over how their magic system works or is shaped, there are some things they can't control. Due to the greater presence of Adonalsium's Investiture on Roshar in the form of spren, Honor and Cultivation, upon arriving and Investing in Roshar, found spren the channel through which their Investiture and magic was shaped. But on their previous planet, whether that was Ashyn or somewhere else, their Investiture might have resulted in a very different magic system (or more than one). We know that the magic on Ashyn takes the form of diseases (or more accurately) bacteria, that when infecting a human host also grants that human some form of magic ability for as long as they remain infected. Some of these abilities are innocuous, some moderately useful, and others catastrophically destructive. However all of them, regardless of the end result of the ability, play into the same underlying nature: gain comes at cost. Power paired with weakness. And where else have we seen such an underlying nature? With the Nightwatcher's boons and curses, rumored to be associated with both Cultivation and the Old Magic. Petitioners seek out the Nightwatcher to ask a boon, a favor, something that can be used to better themselves or their situation or act as some form of power or ability....but such a thing comes at a cost, as they are stricken with a curse as well, something that takes something from them or impairs them in some way. Not unlike a disease. In fact, consider that the boons and curses bestowed by the Nightwatcher all seem to be neurological in some way, from what we've seen so far...and bacteria and diseases can certainly affect neurology. On Ashyn, it's not just that diseases grant magic, from what little we've seen of it in Brandon's readings. From what we've seen, the civilization on Ashyn actively CULTIVATES these diseases, employing people as human incubators to keep certain strains of bacteria around and viable should they ever have need of the ability bestowed by that disease. My theory is that the disease magic of Ashyn was Cultivation's original magic system, the form her Investiture took when interacting with Ashyn, and some Splinter of her still remains behind on Ashyn even if no Perpendicularity does, and fuels what's left of Ashyn's magic. When she moved to Roshar with the humans who fled from it, her Investiture took a new form, as did Honor's, and created a new magic, Surgebinding. However, perhaps some remnants of her original magic came with her and is evident in the Nightwatcher, or perhaps some magic practitioners from Ashyn carried some lingering strains with them when they came....and this is the Old Magic, echoes or pieces of Cultivation's first magic system, which exists separate from Surgebinding but can still manipulate biology (and neurology) in some small ways, even stranded from Ashyn, the planet that birthed this magic via its interaction with Cultivation's Investiture. While the epigraphs in Oathbreaker seem to imply at least one Shard (most likely Autonomy) claims "many lands" and as such, possibly is Invested in multiple worlds and magic systems, we have no real idea yet of what that might mean, or how different magic systems born of a Shard's Investiture might look given the key role a Shardworld plays in shaping these magic systems. My theory is that it's less important to look at the trappings of various magic systems, the mechanisms or the fuel sources, and look at the Intent underneath for any commonalities. If I'm correct, and Ashyn's disease magic is born of Cultivation, same as the Nightwatcher's boons and curses, and half of Surgebinding, the unifying commonality in all of Cultivation's magic is that to gain something, you must give something. That reward comes at cost. Even at its most base definition, cultivation by its nature is progress resulting from labor, effort and time. Nothing is cultivated for free, or even cheaply. The more you put into trying to cultivate something, the greater your gains. By extrapolating this union between Intent and magic, the greater the power resulting from a disease on Ashyn, the more deadly the disease or more horrific or taxing the symptoms are likely to be. The greater the boon, or gift, or request made of the Nightwatcher, the more debilitating or impairing the curse granted alongside it. And with Surgebinding, the greater the skill and power wielded by a Surgebinder, the more effort, honor, sacrifice the Surgebinder has to put into Cultivating their bond with a spren. The most powerful abilities are unlocked only at the recitation and understanding of the highest Ideals, which as we've seen, do not come cheaply to Surgebinders. To wield Surgebinding at its most powerful levels, a Knight Radiant must all but give him or herself fully over to the bond with their spren and their service to certain ideals. To gain you must give. The more you give, the more you gain. Something too that I've noted, is that Cultivation's magic (via this interpretation) is not aimed at being most beneficial to an individual, but rather to a civilization or society as a whole. With the disease magic on Ashyn, the civilization we saw is structured around employing people as incubators to specific diseases not for the benefit of the individual who gets that disease, but rather if the greater populace has need of that ability. We didn't see people running around infecting themselves to have abilities, but rather society doling out diseases as befitted the needs of society. Similarly, on Roshar, the Cultivation of Honor that fuels Surgebinding is not in service to the individual Surgebinder, but rather advocates by its very nature for a Surgebinder to become a champion of society, of the greater good, the overall populace. Power granted in largest doses not to the individual who seeks it for himself, but doled out instead to the individual who seeks to use it for Honor, for Justice, for the good of all. All of this matches the Intent of Cultivation, which is a term generally used on a large macro scale, rather than a micro. You can cultivate things for and of yourself, but for the most part, cultivation is done on a society wide level. According to this interpretation of magic and Investiture, had Ruin Invested on planets besides Scadrial, other magic systems of his might not have matched hemalurgy in that it required spiking various points in a spiritweb, or using metal, or even in stealing attributes. But its likely that all magic systems fueled by his Investiture would have the underlying commonality that they feed entropy. They Ruin, they enhance decay or degradation, they follow a law of diminishing returns. Were Endowment to Invest on other worlds and fuel more magic systems, they would all likely involve a gift, as in Breath, as a catalyst, with the act of gifting or endowing being crucial to the advancement of magic. And so on. Which brings us to Honor, and the Dawnshards. From what little we know of the Dawnshards, they have the power to bind any creature, voidish or mortal. By this theory, if Honor were to fuel more than one magic system, the underlying commonality due to his Intent is that his magic is always a thing of binding. On Roshar, with Investiture resulting in honorspren, that magic became Surgebinding, creating bonds between humans and ideas-made-flesh, with this bond being what allowed for the governing of natural forces such as gravity and friction. On Ashyn, where there were no spren, the magic that resulted might have looked very different....but still involved the binding of things. The only part of this theory I'm uncertain about is whether all Shard's Investiture, as influenced by a Shardworld, MUST take the same form - or if a Shardworld could interact with two different Shards in two different ways. This is true of everything we've seen so far where two or more Shards Invest in the same Shardworld, with spren on Roshar, metals on Scadrial, geographic identities and shapes on Sel. But just because it's all we've seen so far, doesn't mean that its automatically true for all Shards and all Shardworlds, and that there aren't exceptions or loopholes. I believe that Honor was previously Invested on Ashyn, along with Cultivation, but while her Investiture manifested via bacteria and resulted in disease magic....I believe that Honor's previous Investiture on Ashyn took the form of the Dawnshards or rather that whatever it is they truly are, they're the remnants of Honor's magic that were brought to Roshar when he and the humans came, just as the Old Magic is the echo of Cultivation's previous disease magic. Whether there is some link between the Dawnshards and disease magic, or that Honor interacted with the disease magic in Ashyn that I'm not thinking of because we have so very little information there with which to speculate - these are entirely possible. Or, alternatively, the Dawnshards represent a wholly different magic system that was fueled solely by Honor's Investiture while the disease magic was fueled by Cultivation (at least until Odium arrived, and possibly Invested on Ashyn resulting in bacteria/diseases that led to the humans of that world largely destroying it). Related to this theory but slightly tangential: Following the line of these thoughts, I do think that the fact that The Silence Divine reveals there are still people living on Ashyn and still using the disease magic means that there must be some Investiture still fueling it....meaning that Cultivation likely left a Splinter of herself behind, either intentionally or on accident, when she left for Roshar. However, if this is true, it could be the reason why Honor took the brunt of keeping Odium imprisoned via the Oathpact and his Heralds, while also explaining why Odium might have a trickier time Shattering Cultivation than he did Honor....because she's not entirely there on Roshar, and to completely kill or Shatter her, Odium would have to return himself or part of his Investiture to Ashyn and eliminate her there too, which he's either unable or unwilling to do, given the nature of his imprisonment and his focus on Roshar.
  10. If you don't mind asking, there's a fairly non-spoilery question that I think has a shot of being answered in vague terms, and I'm kinda curious: Hoid has a particular talent for ticking people off, especially other immortals, and we know Cultivation and he don't get along, and he has grudges against Bavadin and Rayse. Are there any Shards he is fond of and vice versa?
  11. Apologies if somebody has suggested this already, but we've been focusing on three Bondsmith spren and three Shards on Roshar and trying to draw a line between those two symmetries, but what if the third bondsmith spren is born of the resonance of Honor and Cultivation? We know when two Shards power a magic system, there's a side-effect or resonance that's not quite another power in and of itself, but is something unique to the interaction of the two Shards....what if the bondsmith spren break down as the Nightwatcher is to Cultivation as the Stormfather is to Honor, and the Sibling, the third bondsmith spren, is to the resonance of Honor and Cultivation, the interaction between the two that fuels Surgebinding and creates the spren that govern human access to each of the ten Surges?
  12. theory

    Quick note that affects your math here....the WoB about roughly half-ish the Shards being alive used Shadows of Self as the timestamp for that. Which means Ruin and Preservation weren't necessarily whole depending on if Brandon was thinking of the question in terms of the status of the original sixteen. You have Ruin and Preservation listed as still alive, but Brandon could have been thinking of them in the dead column, if he were assuming that the questioner was asking for insight into the original sixteen Shardholders....which would put the count at Ambition, Honor, Dominion, Devotion, Ruin and Preservation - with the living as Cultivation, Odium, Autonomy, and Endowment. So of the six unknowns, there could still be three, four or even five that are still alive, if half-ish means as little as seven "dead" or as many as nine. I do like the idea of Justice as a Shard, but I wonder if it might be considered a sub-Intent of Honor, especially given the focus and aim of the Skybreakers. Which, again, from a certain POV might make Brandon's coy reference to a Shard of Justice being dead true in the sense of Honor is dead, and if Justice is of Honor....well. Something I've been thinking of in regards to what's happening on Roshar is that we talk a lot about potential combined Shards and what might happen if say, Dalinar were to take up the restored Shard of Honor or take up a combined Shard of Honor plus Odium. However, we've seen both of these things happen before with Vin temporarily taking up Preservation and Sazed taking up the combined Ruin plus Preservation. Rather than repeating the same thematic beats, it occurred to me it might be interesting if the Stormlight Archive ends with a new variation.....what if the series results in recombining Splinters of Honor, but falls short of restoring Honor as a single entity and instead results in a couple of Vessels picking up Shards of Honor's subdivided Intents, like a Justice Shard and a Loyalty Shard, etc? We have WoB that its theoretically possible for Splinters to have their own Intents if they're large enough....it could be interesting if the Stormlight Archive culminates in not a new batch of Heralds with a new Oathpact but rather a group of Vessels holding Intents that are all derived of Honor?
  13. I like it. It makes a certain kind of symmetry, especially when you consider that the Shards are essentially divine intent devoid of context. Odium is Hatred, but as part of a greater whole, his Intent might in context be considered Hatred for things that are evil. After all, there's nothing inherently wrong in hating things like oppression or murder. It's when you remove Odium from any other factors that give hatred context and just cast him adrift with a mind married to the idea of hatred and no direction to how and where it's applied....that's when you get Odium the villain. So when you give a piece of yourself a mind and will of its own, the freedom to make its own choices, you can no longer guarantee that new intent will ultimately be in accord with yours. It might at first, is likely to at first, especially if you think of these things in terms of parents and children, with the latter more predisposed to follow in their parent's footsteps (especially if they're a fearsome, authoritarian parent who brooks no disobedience) - but ultimately, it is as free to choose its own way as Odium was free to pursue his Intent of Hatred indiscriminately.
  14. Actually, weirdly I think there's a lot more going on with Shalash destroying images of herself than mere insanity or guilt. I think it has something to do with the nature of magic on Roshar and the Oathpact and Heralds. Basically, every time it comes up, it makes me think of the Interlude from Way of Kings where we saw those two researches studying how the act of observing spren affects them. Surgebinding has a lot to do with quantum mechanics, and in quantum mechanics, the mere act of observing something has a lot to do with defining and shaping reality. Add to that the fact that Shalash is the Herald most closely linked with the Surge that allows for crafting illusions and affecting how people see and perceive things. Now again, this might just speak to Ash's state of mind and her guilt as others have said, but I do wonder if all of the above plays into the why her actions revolve around destroying her own iconography. Perhaps, either metaphysically and magically, or else merely just psychologically, for her the art that depicts her AS SHE WAS is similar to watching a spren to lock it into a certain state or form....as in art that shows her as a Herald, as Honorable, has connotations of binding her to that state of being and thus destroying that art is not mere self-loathing for her, but to her mind is an act of active rebellion, of breaking free of that state of being, that incarnation of herself, in a way that just breaking the Oathpact didn't. Alternatively, depending on how deep the connection to quantum mechanics goes in this magic system (and we know it goes pretty deep), destroying the images of herself as a Herald could be a result of manipulation, could have actual real, metaphysical consequences that keep her separated from what she was, from reclaiming her honor and her former nature as a Herald. Maybe similar to Nale killing off potential Skybreakers? Like, what if the Heralds' insanity might be a result of an Unmade taking advantage of whatever weakness walking away from the Oathpact left in them, and actively widening the cracks to keep them weak and unable to become the threat they once were? And thus the particular shape their insanity takes is directly linked to a means of KEEPING them weakened and insane, such as the Herald of Illumination and sight, perception, etc, destroying the very images that cast her as a Herald, as Honorable, as perceived by the masses as a being of power and a force for good.
  15. We know that there was at least one more race of sentient being on Yolen aside from humans and dragons, and we know that not all of the Shards are human. I agree that Letter #2 is Autonomy given the references to not suffering Hoid's interference, one of their worlds being well hidden (ie Autonomy closing off access to Taldain) and other little context clues. The wording actually made me think of the cremlings, and how Axies' species are able to separate into hordes of little creatures. I don't think this is what Autonomy is, as it doesn't match how we've seen them refer to themselves or speak or think of themselves, but it made me think that Bavadin could possibly be one of the third species from Yolen and that they're some kind of gestalt being....and that's why, when magnified by a Shard's power, Bavadin acts as multiple incarnations and has been entire pantheons in the past....as well as why Brandon has been coy in reference to their gender. Acting on the assumption that Letter #2 is Autonomy, I do have some thoughts counter to what others suggest: I don't think we can assume that Obrodai is a new location. It might merely be a new name for a familiar location - my impression is that Scadrial is Obrodai, and Autonomy merely has her own name for it. Most of the Shardworlds were named pre-Shattering and thus the Shards and others from that time like Frost and Hoid would likely use the same names for Roshar, Sel, etc....but Scadrial is one of the only worlds we know of that was created fully by Shards. As such, various immortal beings might have different names for it or might not be in universal agreement on the name that eventually became common usage. Autonomy might simply be using a name she's more partial to or from a previous era when she had prior contact with Scadrial, perhaps. In addition, the 'we have claimed that land for our own' sounds an awful lot like it could be a reference to Trell's actions on Scadrial right now and Autonomy warning off other major players from interfering with whatever her goals are there, and the new incarnation of their being spoken of here, as well as instilling this new avatar of an intense dislike of Hoid as a precaution could refer to Trell directly. Like Trell is Autonomy, but Trell is not all of Autonomy, if that makes sense? Also, I wonder if the references to the sea and the waters might have something to do with the Cognitive Realm? Gut impression here, but reading Letter #2 I had this sensation of Autonomy existing primarily in the Cognitive Realm where she can watch over or readily access all of the many lands she claims for herself, rather than existing primarily on any one singular world? Even if we think of Taldain as HER Shardworld, consider the fact that the reigning theory is that Autonomy's Invested in Taldain's star, rather than Taldain directly. It makes a kind of sense that Autonomy would choose not to be beholden to any one singular world, especially if she has many lands she considers to be hers, and thus even if she has a home base or a world she prizes over others or focuses on most directly, she took care not to bind herself to it or in any way limit herself from coming and going as she pleases....as happens to other Shards when they Invest heavily in a single world. Lots of cultures in Earth's history refer to the heavens or space as a kind of sea of stars, and given the inverted nature of land and sea in the Cognitive Realm, the way Letter #2 reads makes me wonder if a Shard who Invested in space or stars rather than a planet and who elects to move through the Cognitive Realm more frequently than the Physical might think of their surroundings or base of operations as the waters of a sea. But for me the big takeaway of Letter #2, the most interesting element was that whoever the Shard who wrote it is, they seem to claim many worlds as their own. We already knew Autonomy meddles in a lot of places, but of the ten core Shardworlds Brandon talks about, this Shard clearly has no interest in Roshar (and since Rayse is said to be bound to the Rosharan system, probably not Braize or Ashyn as well, given the reference to Rayse's prison). Similarly, I don't see any evidence that Autonomy has any claim over Nalthis or Sel like this Letter writer claims to have over Scadrial currently. Point being, I don't think there's any way one single Shard could claim all or even a majority of the core Shardworlds as their own, which makes me feel like there might be a LOT more minor Shardworlds out there (like Sixth of Dusk) than I think we've previously suspected.