shawnhargreaves

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About shawnhargreaves

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  1. The immediate pivot to Dany going after Cersei would have felt way more interesting to me if it'd taken place over a backdrop of "ffs Dany, literally two thirds of us just died in one night, and NOW you want to continue fighting against someone else?"
  2. It's interesting that most of the reaction to the last season has focused on character arcs rather than fantasy aspects of the worldbuilding. My personal opinion is that the character outcomes were fine although a little rushed, while I felt the fantasy side of things was frustratingly underdeveloped. It wasn't quite a violation of Sanderson's First Law, because not much of the conflict got solved using magic, but so much time was spent establishing magical abilities of leading characters, I thought it sidled right up and pushed against that 'law'. For instance: Face shifting powers were a major part of all the time spent on Arya's assassin training. She used them once, and then... nothing. Even though her assassin skills proved critically important, and she was in situations where hiding her identity could have been useful. Perhaps this was a one-time-only power? We just don't know enough about how it works. If you're going to show a leading character develop an ability, then show her not using it, you need to explain why not! Ditto Bran's powers. Much time spent on the story of how he gained them. He turned out pretty important. But what exactly are these powers? Still completely unclear to me. I kinda want to believe he masterminded the whole thing and knew how it would turn out the whole time. In which case he's actually a really dark character, having used Hodor and Theon, not to mention not doing anything to stop Dany's massacre, just as steps on his way to the throne. Was he playing the game so skillfully that he won the throne without anyone else even realizing he was playing? I'd love this to be the case, but maybe I'm just reading too much into things because they never told us. Perhaps his powers are much less useful, can basically only see stuff without changing things (but in that case what's with Hodor?) and is a fundamentally good person who never wanted the throne. We just don't know. Same as with Arya, no fair giving lead characters maybe-important powers that remain completely unexplained. Exactly how powerful are dragons? It's seemingly quite variable :-) How intelligent are dragons? I'd placed them somewhere around a dog or horse, although with a strange telepathic-ish link to Dany. But right at the end, we learn that dragons understand character motivation and symbolism well enough to want to torch an inanimate object made out of swords. If they're that smart, surely they had complex opinions and goals and motivations all along? Why didn't we see any of that earlier. Now I'm full of questions about how Dany's relationship with them worked, and how being bonded to these super intelligent reptiles played into her arc. Leaving these big questions aside, there are a few small things I think could have made a big improvement to how I felt about the last season: More people needed to die in the battle with the White Walkers. I get why they wanted to wrap that up leaving time for other plot, but it just felt too easy - intense imagery but no real cost to justify the supposed scale of the threat. Could have killed all of Tormund, Brienne, Sam, Ghost, and the Onion Knight with no real effect on what came after but greatly increased emotional impact. Possibly even Jamie or the Hound. They shouldn't have explained the backstory of how the Night King was created. If you aren't going to fully develop a magical threat, don't develop it at all and leave things mysterious. That would have left us with a doubt of whether the threat was truly gone forever, or just one individual defeated temporarily, which would have made the ending of Jon and wildings heading north much more ambiguous and open ended.
  3. I just finished Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett. Wow! Such a great book, and now so frustrating to be waiting for the next :-) I'm posting here because this tickled all the same appreciation centers in my brain that Brandon consistently does, so I figure there's a better than average chance that others here will also enjoy it. It has many Brandonish elements: Interesting and deep worldbuilding. Magic-as-science: everything is built from consistent rules, but these rules are not fully understood by in-world characters, some of what they think they know turns out to be wrong, and ongoing experimentation is constantly discovering more. Cinematic action sequences using previously established abilities in creative ways. Plot twists (some of which I saw coming, others not so much). A generosity of pace: there are big mysteries that I was expecting to have to wait multiple books to get resolved, only to be presented with answers in the middle of the first book, at the same time as the story zooms out and the scope keeps getting bigger and bigger... Early on I worried that it was TOO Brandonish, to the point of being derivative. The magic system was basically Forging (that same word is even used in a few places!), the main character was Vin, and an early action sequence was a steel+iron Allomantic fight with unrealistic physics. But then I realized the physics were perfectly fine - it's just that the magic was working a different way from what I'd started out with in my head. There's still a lot in common with Forging, and also with Soulcasting. but these are developed well and go to different places. Great conversations with the cognitive aspects of inanimate objects: fans of Stick will love the debate with a barely sentient locked door, trying to persuade it that opening would be consistent with the small print of its programming. Highly recommended!
  4. This is true for present day Earth technology level. Alternatively, though, this could be a reference to quantum computers. Cytonics sounds quite quantum-ish, and there's possible correlation between more advanced computing tech, ability to create real AI, and quantum level interference... So there is speculation about whether Doomslug will be significant or is just comic relief, yet you all accept M-Bot's mushroom obsession as unimportant / joke? I think not. Fungus biology is going to be a big deal for the future of this story. M-Bot remembers that, but has forgotten why it matters.
  5. Probably! Brandon does surprises well. Every book he's ever written, huge things were unveiled halfway, two thirds, or even nine tenths of the way through the story. Not just filling in the dots between already established endpoints type things (like more Fused arriving, or learning more about the remaining Unmade and Thunderclasts) but the kind of move where the camera pans back and you realize that what you thought was the entire canvas is actually just a tiny corner of something MUCH bigger. Stormlight is gonna be the same.
  6. I don't think we know for sure whether lightweaving actually affects light, or the perceptions of those who later view that light? If cameras existed in Roshar, what would a photo of Shallan's lightweaving show? (if it was viewed later on, once the lightweaving was no longer active, so the perception of the person viewing the photo would not be affected). There seems to be quite a bit of quantum mechanical stuff going on with surgebinding (eg. the ardents who experiment with recording observations of a spren in WoK) and the distinction between actual state of reality vs. making observations of that state is an important (although surprisingly subtle) aspect of that branch of physics.
  7. In Kholinar, while surrounded by corrupted spren, we observe that Kaladin draws screamers as soon as he attempts to use his powers, yet Shallan is able to lightweave to her heart's content with no repercussions. Why this difference? The characters explain this as her magic somehow being 'quieter' than his, but that's a "just because" rationale rather than proper explanation. This observed difference seems like a symptom of something more fundamental and perhaps informative about the nature of these magic systems. Ideas: 1. We know that different orders of Surgebinders are aligned with varying blends of Honor vs. Cultivation. Perhaps the screaming spren are more sensitive to Honor than Cultivation? 2. Related - are the screamers corrupted windspren? Perhaps that is why they pick up more easily on Windrunning. If so, would corrupted creationspren have been able to sense Shallan? 3. I subscribe to the theory that surges can have different effects in the physical, cognitive, and spiritual realms. Perhaps the screamers pick up more easily on physical effects, like Kaladin is using, while Shallan's lightweaving is more cognitive or spiritual in nature? (I would have guessed it was primarily cognitive, but Stormlight Ars Arcanum says it has a major spiritual component). On a slightly different note: Shallan makes detailed observations of which kinds of spren have been corrupted vs. which are unchanged. I noticed a pattern here: it appears to be the spren of negative emotions which are corrupted: fearspren, painspren, hungerspren, etc. Those of more positive emotions (anticipationspren, gloryspren) are unchanged. Does this indicate a limitation on Sja-anat's powers? Perhaps she can only change spren which are in some way Connected to herself. In which case, her recent ability to corrupt Radiant spren (which we are told has not happened before) might be an even bigger sign than I'd previously realized that Sja-anat is changing?
  8. In OB part 4 we learn that the spren no longer consider it safe to travel to Cultivation's perpendicularity in the Horneater peaks. Apparently the Fused and Voidspren are there in force - sounds like they are putting significant effort into controlling that area (much more so than other places in Shadesmar). We have nowhere near enough info yet to understand why, but let's not let that stand in the way of a random speculation thread! My first thought was that controlling the perpendicularity was about getting easier access to Braize, perhaps as part of the process by which the Fused respawn and/or voidlight is powered. But the Fused and Everstorm appear to predate Odium having enough force to take over parts of Shadesmar. Any other ideas? Perhaps this is about blocking Cultivation from doing something?
  9. I don't see how Timbre could be a Cryptic, since we know what those look like and his appearance is completely different?
  10. Venli was a scholar, which is kind of an explorer in the intellectual rather than physical sense? But it was Eshonai that was described specifically as being an explorer, not necessarily all Willshapers. WoR epigraphs say their order was varied in personality, loved adventure, novelty or oddity, and could be frustrating/unreliable. Eshonai's exploring certainly fits those traits, but I think Venli's research does too.
  11. This can be easily demonstrated through an application of basic set theory: Take the letters in the word "Rayse': r, a, y, s, e. Order them alphabetically, producing the set R = { a, e, r, s, y } Now take 'bacon', which gives the set B = { a, b, c, n, o } We can understand Odium's past interactions with bacon by looking at the intersection of these two sets, R ∩ B = { a } Of course any cosmere scholar will immediately recognize that a solitary 'a' must represent Adonalsium. Therefore, it is proven that Rayse has consumed all bacon since the time of the Shattering. He takes not only pain and other strong emotions, but also delicious and crispy pig products. No wonder Hoid doesn't like him!
  12. Autonomy is notoriously unforgiving of other people stealing stuff out of the fridge. GET YOUR OWN!
  13. I think we might be reading too much into the WoB that Tanavast and Cultivation were a couple. That doesn't preclude the possibility that they could have had major disagreements, or fought, or that Cultivation could have worked with Odium at some point! What we see in Vorin culture is very Honor-forward, with Cultivation reduced almost to myth, which doesn't seem like a very equal relationship between the two of them. I think there's a lot of complexity in that history which we still have to learn about. Pet theory: Odium works by stirring up conflict between others. eg. getting humans and Parshendi to fight each other. When he arrived on Roshar, he did the same thing at Shardic level, hammering some kind of wedge into the middle of the Tanavast/Cultivation relationship. I believe it's possible that this went so far as for Cultivation to have been involved in splintering Honor. Honor told Dalinar in a vision that Cultivation is better at future sight than he is. I don't think we know yet whether Odium is good at it or not though? (or maybe I missed that). Perhaps the prohibition in Vorinism is not specifically because future sight is of Odium, but because Vorinism is Honor's religion, and future sight = either Odium or Cultivation but definitely not Honor?
  14. It makes perfect sense that delicious (yet non-nutritious) food of the dried, "just add water" variety would originate on Taldain. And I love this first theory! Can it be extended further? Is the reason Hoid collects so many invested objects because there are other delicious snacks that have not been available since the shattering of Adonalsium? Perhaps his ultimate goal is the ability to recreate the cheesy wotsit?
  15. Remember that super smart T = Cultivation. Cultivation indeed has no empathy for individuals, but that doesn't mean the goal is selfish acquisition of power. Cultivation will use whatever tools are available, including destroying or harming her own tools in whatever ways may prove useful, in order to achieve growth and change toward a desired outcome. For instance, this winter I planted clover in my raised beds, as a cover crop to protect the soil from winter rains. This will fix nitrogen into the soil, then start flowering in late February. At that point I will turn the soil over, killing thousands of baby flowers, let it rot for a couple of weeks, then plant onions and carrots where they can feed on the corpses of dead clover. I will feel no guilt for this mass slaughter - it's just the best way I know to grow big nutritious spring vegetables. THAT's what Cultivation is. I pity what may happen to poor T once this is all done playing out :-)