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  1. Officer Arendt and the Transcendental Purifier*

    *I believe Derrida's "transcendental signifier" phrase is later than 1930s Germany in origins, so inasmuch as this title is a play on that, it is so at a stretch.


    Scene outlines:

    Edith Arendt is a Jewish police officer in Nazi Germany assigned to a case involving a serial killer the locals in Berlin (the city scene of the crimes) have nicknamed "the Transcendental Purifier."

    ["Don't call him that again. That's just a name some stupid students got to using because they took classes in which their teachers told them about stories like that in the American press."]

    She reviews the case with morbid colleagues before being summoned to investigate a new crime scene in which the murder weapon is harder to find than in previous incidents. Prior to this, all had been killed by metal crosses or menorahs used to bludgeon or stab the person to death. All have been people identified as "upstanding" Aryan-minded citizens so the initial theory is that it's a Jew killing Nazis. However, one of the victims was a Jew herself, so the off-color colleagues make a joke question out of it: "Maybe he didn't think she was Jewish." "Of course he knew she was Jewish! He hit her in the head with one of their storming candleholders!" Now, the victim is a Muslim, though. One of the colleagues says something like, "Aren't Muslims just sand Jews?" To which the other replies, "No, they're not," and they mock-argue, as a set-up to ask Edith whether she knows if Muslims and Jews are the same. But she's focused on the bookshelf.

    She finds a section where there are three copies of the Quran. Two are simple but the third is larger and heavier and more ornate. She checks it and it's covered in blood.

    Later, she comes up with a theory that the killer is following a regular foot-route and the department tests her theory, which gets them down the road from where the actual next killing takes place. And that is in a super-rare Eastern Orthodox church in a Russian area of Berlin, where the victim has been killed by a cross, a menorah, and a Quran.

    So, the killer is escalating. Frustrated, Edith thinks of her two possible overarching rivers of evidence: the unsub's motive, and his signature. For some reason he's using religious icons as murder weapons. Unsure, she goes to the nearest university, where she hears students talking about "the Transcendental Purifier." She talks to them about it, and they say they didn't coin the phrase to refer to a Jew purifying Germany, but a fanatical German purifying his own ranks, so to speak. She realizes the killer is targeting people who he deems to be insufficiently German or Aryan, and the next morning she rushes into her superior's office to explain what she's found out after a sleepless night of archival examination. She says she's identified the culprit as probably Immanuel Mendelssohn, an early inmate in the Nazi concentration camp system, sent there for unusual political deviance, a for-the-time excessive zeal for Nazi ethnic ideology, and contributing in a peculiarly ghastly way to the purge of the SA. The superior gets an odd glint in his eyes, as if he recognizes who Edith is talking about even before she says the name. Anyway, they track him down and arrest him, and ready him for trial.

    At one point the interrogators ask him why he did what he did. They mention his name, which can be traced back to targeted ancestry but at a far enough hereditary remove not to compromise him at all. Anyway, Immanuel says he wanted to do it for a while and figured that with the way things have been going in Germany, he figured he could get away with it. He argues for a "Roman conspiracy," not by Catholics but literal bloodlines-Romans, and says that this is just as dangerous as (or even moreso) the "Jewish conspiracy." He complains about Judaism and Christianity and Islam as all different species of the same general virus of almsgiving that weakens German mettle.

    "Now that's an interesting idea that I'd never considered before," the interrogator laughs. "Never mind that Rome doesn't exist anymore.

    "Or I'll concede the point. Rome is a perfect example of what we mean by the decay of a people. Cultivated from the survivors of the holocaust of Troy... and brought to ruin by mongrels---Germans hadn't evolved much, back then, among others... and martyrs. Mongrels and martyrs! But, we've improved.

    "Enough of my dialectical catechism, however."

    Edith cringes and worries a lot as she routinely runs into colleagues and superiors and other higher-ups in other subsystems of the regime, who laugh at odd intervals and give her coy smiles here and there. Eventually, the serial killer is sent to another concentration camp. Edith is startled by her superior and another government agent on a similar level, who accost her for getting an upstanding Aryan citizen in trouble, basically. They say that she's proven that even a supposedly actually good Jew, is really a traitor in waiting. But this is (on the surface) just very morbid mockery. After a few rounds of this, they laugh and cajole her, telling her that they have an assignment for her, in Poland.

    In the camp, the Transcendental Purifier is one day interviewed by some of those creepily-laughing Nazis. They tell him about a health measure the government intends to put into effect after the impending war. They say they've come to share his point of view in various ways. In their heads, of course, they think, We can't seriously punish him for doing exactly what we're going to be doing in a few years. They say that given his history and, technically, his name, they can't give him a job in the public police, or the SS so much, or the secret police, or the military. They judge him unfit for those kinds of duties. So they smile at him and say, "But we do need you to drive some trains for us."

    [In movie-form: then the camera shows a portfolio with a map, on the table in front of the killer. As it zooms in, the audience sees that it is a map of a train route to Auschwitz. Unsettling loud music starts to chime in before the final zoom-in and cut-out to the credits.]

    1. Ripheus23


      Or pilot/captain the trains, IDK the lingo.

  2. "It's not just about you. It's about all of them." Honor, Tanavast, says something like that while showing Dalinar a vision of the stars going out (IIRC, anyway). This makes it seem like Rayse, or at least the Shard of Odium, might be the enduring antagonist of the Cosmere saga, or the widest-scope villain, or however you want to put it. I mean, unless there's something worse than the Cosmere or the universe being destroyed by Rayse or whatever...? Or maybe Rayse/Odium can't himself do that, but he can set in motion a series of disasters that will lead to the death of the sky? Honor left behind a Cognitive Shadow in his Light-storm. Let's suppose Rayse is killed and does the same thing, in the Everstorm. Now, I think Sanderson, like Stephen R. Donaldson before him* (and a few others, maybe), has an incredible knack for solving the literary algebra of his climactic scenes. The twist-ending, the big reveal, acceptable deus ex machina (literally), etc. Maybe this is presumptuous of me, but my feeling about the Rayse arc overall, is that it would be perfect poetic justice if he were made to take up another Shard, one whose Intent warped him so that he could no longer express himself as the god-of-evil that he has become. So, I'm pretty sure that's gonna happen, maybe at the end of SA5 I suspect. BUT, the Cognitive-Shadow situation also strikes me as a very fitting image of how to keep Rayse going, given the established rules of the game (so to speak), so, IDK. So, maybe that's what happens at the end of SA5, and 6-10 are spent dealing with the Everstormfather Or, the Everstormfather is the outcome of Book 10 and this tries to carry out the remainder of Rayse's plan in the future. Anyway, let's waive Rayse or even his occurrent Shard from consideration. Let's say... OK, so it struck me right off the bat that "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell" was an eerie title for a Sanderson work, one immensely suggestive of thematic value. Later, knowing that the dire peril of the narrative is called the Evil, I was subconsciously struck by another note in the same song (forgive the mutilated metaphor) which revolved around the haunting(!) question, "Why do they use 'the' in the title like that?" Like, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and various translations of the Lord's Prayer, there is reference to the Evil One, in The Wheel of Time there's the Dark One, and... Well, it just occurred to me, there's another interesting use of a strikingly similar word (under its definition), in Plato: his references to the Form of the Good. Now, I don't know if there's actually an equivalent of the word "the" in (ancient) Greek, since if I remember my New Testament studies aright, one of the problems in translating some passages as direct references to Christ as God, turns on the fact that the Trinitarian gloss goes through necessarily only if we translate those passages as implicitly inclusive of the definite article (the word "the"). But anyway, the oddity, here, got me to thinking: what if the Evil of Threnody, is really the Evil, period, like the self-conscious Spiritweb of the concept of evil itself? Supposing there might be such a thing, after all (if there was somewhere once a sort of "evilspren" that was self-aware enough and got a Spiritweb, or whatever?). And, moreover, as such, what if the Evil is the final evil of the Cosmere mythos as a whole (regardless of whether defeating an evil being is the final narrative problem of the saga)? There's got to be something important about Nazh working with Khriss and being from Threnody, or the Ire having protocol or whatever for dealing with Shades, or the Lovecraftian vibe of the whole setting (think of the Deep/est Ones (I don't recall their exact name), which if nothing else are reminiscent of the like-named things in the Cthulhu mythos). So, here's another twist of a way to have Rayse endure as the antagonist across the whole saga, into the depths of its stars. Let it be that when Rayse hurt Uli Da, his action led to the emergence of the Evil in the Threnodite system, and that this Evil, if unchecked, will be the thing that eats the stars after the Rosharan apocalypse. *In book 5 of the Covenant series (book 2 of the second trilogy), there's an eerie throwaway reference to "the shadow on the heart of the Earth," a danger mentioned in passing by the fairy-archangel beings who the POV characters meet on a quest to save the world from something else. It's made clear enough that this is not supposed to be the Despiser, the very god of desecration himself, who is working to unmake the cosmos and kill the Creator. No, we don't even get an answer in book 6 and it wouldn't be until decades after book 6's initial release that a book would be published explaining the point. Now in that book, entities known as the Insequent are introduced by name (they've shown up, unidentified, in earlier sections), and compared to, or mistaken for, the meaning of the "shadow." Eventually we are told that the Insequent, whose power rivals that of the fairy-archangels, derive their power from emulation of the wild magic wielded by the POV characters and born from within their (the POV characters') spiritual natures. So, what is the "shadow"? It's not some Bigger Bad who maldeus ex machina into the tale, or a runaway side-effect of his ill will, or any such thing: no, it's the POV characters, who come from a different sphere of possible reality and whose essence, therefore, challenges and overshadows that of the Elohim (that's what the fairy-archangels say they are, by the way). This is the perfect solution to the identification problem, the only semantics Donaldson could have assigned to that enigma-phrase that would fit the theme of the story, like the right chord timed against and together with another in a song. [The Elohim are not throwaway characters themselves, to be sure; their motives and abilities are a recurring factor in the ordeal of the protagonists, and one of them plays a pivotal role in the dual climax of book 6 (imagine the climaxes of Warbreaker, Elantris, and The Hero of Ages combined, I kid you not!).]
  3. Well apparently Cultivation feels similarly about the Stormfather, who carries Tanavast's Cognitive Shadow, to how she did about Tanavast, so IDK...
  4. Nightblood will bond Yelig-nar and the Night of Sorrows will become the Night of Blood The Transdesolation cometh, en garde!
  5. So a net in geometry is a set of contiguous n - 1-dimensional facets that, if all folded together in the right (simple) way, give a simple n-dimensional structure. So, like, a cube's net is six squares arranged like a crucifix. Now I'd been going off a visual of Spiritwebs as like graphs, and granted you could get some kind of a graph out of a net (in abstract-enough theory), but a net gives us a more DNA-y gloss of a Spiritweb, in the sense that calling it "sDNA" gives off a vibe like, "It's a simple structure that unfolds into something more elaborate-looking." So, my quasi-theory of sDNA is that Spiritwebs are higher-dimensional simple shapes that are compacted such that if viewed in Physical/Cognitive frames of reference, they unfold out into "nets" for the Physical/Cognitive objects. For the 600-cell: The 600-cell decomposes to some degree into these things: DNA is a double-helix so if you can map helices into some of these fancy higher-dimensional shapes... (The only story value this would have, besides relating to Pattern's head and suchlike, is that if Spiritwebs "look like" these things, then Splintering/Shattering has a decent chance of "looking like" a crystal breaking into pieces, just in a higher dimension.)
  6. And one persona-avatar would end up pursuing one of the overly handsome man-heroes in each series. EDIT: I want to come up with a really foolish combo... Like Stick + something... Hmm, Evi + Ruin Nohadon + Odium Axies + Preservation
  7. I wonder how you Invest a potion using Selish-type magic. I'm thinking you'd have to get the liquid to continuously undergo ChayShan-like motions or something...
  8. Does Adonalsium still exist? Does Shattering equal destroying? True, "things that 'go beyond' are never coming back," but that's in reference to something Sanderson is leaving super-ambiguous (the afterlife), like, it's possible that there's not a real "Beyond," the threshold is just a limit on knowledge that allows Jasnah's atheism to rationally coexist with the ardents' theism.
  9. That depends on what you mean by "still existed." Were they rendered unto destruction in nihilo? No. But that's because creation ex nihilo doesn't exist(!) in the Cosmere universe, either. Realmatics works off the rearranging-preexistent-substance model/concept of creation and, by comparison, destruction: rearrange an object's pieces enough and the object no longer exists. Some of the Shards' pieces have been "rearranged" so much, so to say, that in that sense, they don't exist.
  10. Probably she just used some eye-drops.
  11. Maybe Odium will feed the Yelig-nar crystal to a chasmfiend
  12. I think we now need a new theoretical term, "Shardmoon."
  13. Well the WoBs say that the Shards defeated by Odium, were broken into pieces. Not only the Vessels died but that which they held was shattered. Those Shards are no longer intact. Maybe Dominion and Devotion are more intact than Honor since Honor was defeated in a different way, but that's a detail that doesn't make enough of a difference to whether the Shards were destroyed. Were they entirely extinguished from the universe? No. But were they separated into so many parts that they no longer substantially count as an individual object? It would appear so.
  14. Not helpful to point out but subconsciously this is what comes to my mind whenever I think of the Selish Moon Scepter: ... which has now caused me, due to the nature of this thread, to visualize Odium swinging it around and saying something like, "Hatred Star Power!" before pointing it at Honor and blowing Tanavast to bits, just so he can pick up the Pure Heart Shards and open the door for Ruin 90 EDIT: Now that I think of THAT, the vision of the Silence is a lot like Dalinar's vision of the end of the True Desolation (THIS IS THE SILENCE ABOVE AND BELOW THE STORMS!!!).