skaa

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Everything posted by skaa

  1. I'm just saying. There's a sliding scale of utilitarianism, and Ghostbloods seem to vary from "We can let a few innocent people be murdered if our task is like super urgent" to "We can kill anyone outside our group if it furthers our righteous goals". (I don't know if I'll be like any of them under similar circumstances. I'm not trying to moralize. I'm just stating what I observed.)
  2. My review: Marasi and Wayne stole the show for me both as partners and individually. In many ways this was Wayne's book. I really felt his parts were Brandon's storytelling at its best. Marasi's parts, on the other hand, were Brandon's gift to us theorycrafting Sharders, and I was all for it. (Wax and Steris were cool as well.) Now that's out of the way, please allow a bit of self-love on my part. It's been a depressing year for me so far so I'm allowing myself this luxury. Way back in 2015, I was one of the first people who speculated a Trell and Autonomy connection. Of course nobody knew about Shard avatars back then so I naturally thought Trell was Autonomy, and also I admit I was later swayed by other Trell theories, but I'm still very happy about this reveal. Another thing that I sorta kinda called was that non-lethal Hemalurgy is possible using very thin spikes. The Set's non-lethal Hemalurgy variant had some fundamental differences from my idea, but again I'm allowing myself to celebrate this reveal. Finally, I once speculated that Sazed is somehow allowing (to an extent) the major conflicts happening on Scadrial in order to accelerate technological growth, with the ultimate goal being spacefaring. We just learned of Kelsier's suspicion that Saze could have defeated Trell sooner but chose not to. This theory isn't yet wholly confirmed, but TLM made me think Sazed was manipulating Trell/Autonomy (and everyone else, even Kelsier) all along.
  3. Yeah, on first glance the Scadrial branch looks relatively decent. But then... It seems to me that Ghostbloods in general share their founder's utilitarianism somewhat.
  4. To celebrate Tau Day, I've decided to write my first ever Rithmatic theory. This one, appropriately enough, will involve circles, circular functions, and τ. There will also be ellipses, but we'll be talking about their relationship to circles. (A slight pause to explain what τ is.) Before I continue, if you haven't seen it already, you guys really need to read KalynaAnne's awesome series on Rithmatics first. She has a guide on how to construct different Lines of Warding, including a couple that were not mentioned in the book: the five-point and the eight-point circles, both of which have been confirmed by Brandon. She even has theories about Lines of Vigor that have also been confirmed, which is pretty cool. KalynaAnne also speculated about elliptic Lines of Warding, including the mysterious Blad Defense (I think her version of that looks very promising). But while most of her work had been quite brilliant, ellipses is where she had one tiny problem. Since elliptical Lines of Warding are stronger where the curvature is greater and weaker where the curvature is less, she initially theorized that smaller circles (which have greater curvature) must be stronger than larger circles. But this theory had one obvious flaw: If larger circles are weaker, then the Great Circle of Nebrask would be pathetically weak, and that's not very likely. Confronted with this, she gave a list of possible alternatives. The only one in her list that actually solves the problem of the Great Circle is this: She proposed that each Line of Warding has a total amount of "charge" directly proportional to its circumference (i.e. the bigger the Line of Warding, the more charge it has). This "charge", which determines the strength of the Line at a given point, is distributed along the points of the line based on curvature, so points on the line with more curvature attract more of the "charge" and become stronger. Since circles have constant curvature, the charge is evenly distributed all throughout. This solution works perfectly well, but I'd like to analyze this problem using a different approach, create a solution that is essentially compatible with KalynaAnne's proposal, and then discuss its implications. Here is what the book says about the strength of an elliptic Line of Warding: The question an observant reader might ask is "Which circle?" This is because, as KalynaAnne correctly pointed out in her discussion on curvature, the curvature of a circle depends on its radius. This means it varies depending on the circle's size, so there isn't a single curvature for all circles that can be compared to that of a point on an ellipse. So, which circle? The simplest interpretation is that each Line of Warding has its own reference circle. This reference circle would of course have a constant curvature (hence a constant strength at each point), and by comparing the curvature of a point on an ellipse to the curvature of that circle, we can determine the Warding strength at that point through this ratio: σP = (κP / κC) * w Where σP is the strength at point P of a particular Line of Warding, κP is the curvature at point P, and κC is the curvature of the reference circle. As you can see, points of greater curvature with respect to the reference circle would be stronger than the reference circle, and points of less curvature are weaker. Finally, w is the coefficient of Warding, which has a constant value for the unit of "Warding strength" being used. We don't know any Warding strength units, so we'll just set w to 1 and ignore it. Note that this equation should also apply to perfectly circular Lines of Warding because circles are also ellipses. In this case, it would make sense to assume that a circular Line of Warding is its own reference circle, meaning κP=κC, so σP=1 for all circles. This solves the Great Circle problem. (Edit: I've been reminded by ccstat of this recent WoB showing that there is in fact some sort of weakening involved when creating large circles, but not as fast as the curvature would indicate. So in fact σP is not 1 for all circles. I formulated a possible explanation, but please read the rest of this post first.) Either way, we still need to define what this reference circle is for non-circular ellipses. I could think of three natural candidates: The inscribed circle of the ellipse ("incircle"), a circle whose radius is equal to the ellipse's semi-minor axis The circumscribed circle of the ellipse ("circumcircle"), a circle whose radius is equal to the ellipse's semi-major axis The circle whose circumference is equal to that of the ellipse (let's call this the perimeter circle or the "pericircle" of the ellipse) (Conveniently, when the ellipse in question is actually a circle, then all four circles are equal to each other. This jives with our assumption that the reference circle of a circular Line of Warding is itself.) Here's a badly drawn diagram of an ellipse and its incircle, circumcircle, and pericircle: In one of her diagrams, KalynaAnne called the incircle of an ellipse the reference circle of that ellipse. Later I'll explain why I don't think the incircle's curvature is the best candidate for the basis of Warding strength. The "pericircle" is an appealing choice because it shares something quite fundamental with the ellipse: the circumference. It also jives with KalynaAnne's "charge" theory which uses the circumference as a basis of total strength charge. However, the equation for getting the circumference of a non-circular ellipse (which involves a factorial, a double factorial, and the sum of an infinite series) is so complex that I doubt Brandon would bother with it. (Although there is a nifty rough approximation of the elliptic circumference involving tau: τ * sqrt((a2 + b2) / 2)) I'm going with the circumcircle as the reference circle, mainly because it is the largest of the three (for non-circular ellipses), and therefore has the lowest curvature. If the front and back of an elliptical Line of Warding really are "much stronger" than a circular Warding, then the κC ought to be pretty low compared to the ellipse's greatest κP. Using the circumcircle of the ellipse as the reference circle creates stronger elliptic Lines of Warding than using the incircle or the pericircle. I am open to counterarguments, though. Feel free to defend either the incircle or the pericircle. Even as I type this, I am growing more fond of the pericircle. Perhaps it's because I invented the term; there is no widely used name for the circle whose circumference is equal to that of an ellipse, so I had to make a name up as I developed this theory. Alas, I need a stronger argument in favor of the pericircle before I actually switch. (Edit: I now believe that the reference circle is the one whose area is equal to that of the ellipse, as I explain later on in the thread.) (More talk about curvature and its relation to circles.) Now for the fun part. Let us play with extreme values for the numerator κP (or the denominator rO, if you prefer the equation I gave in the spoilered note on osculating circles) and see the results σP. If κP is negative, then you're looking at a non-convex part in your Line of Warding (either that, or you managed to draw a hyperbola, which stretches to infinity, so... no). Well-drawn circles or ellipses are convex all throughout. If κP is zero, you've got a line segment (another solution is two parallel lines stretching infinitely in both directions, but that's impossible). P is somewhere on the line segment other than the endpoints, and σP is also zero. A line segment is a degenerate ellipse whose foci are on its endpoints, meaning it's so squashed that the foci have moved as far apart as they possibly can. If κP is ∞, then you are on an endpoint of a line segment. If you used the incircle as the reference circle, you get a weird strength value: σP=∞/∞. Otherwise, you only get the slightly less weird σP=∞. What does it mean that a Line of Warding that looks like a line segment has infinite strength at its bind points while having no strength at all anywhere else along the line? In real life, things get really weird when they start involving infinities; for example, a portion of spacetime with infinite curvature becomes a black hole. I believe something similar happens in the 2D universe of Rithmatic lines when Rithmatic Lines involve infinities in their construction: the very fabric of the "chalk space" is affected, and the effects leak towards "people space". You already know where I'm going with this. I think a Line of Forbiddance is actually a Line of Warding whose infinite curvature at its endpoints has transformed it into something that warps "chalk space", and this is what causes the electromagnetic-like force field that affects both the world of chalk and the world of people. A Line of Forbiddance is a degenerate Line of Warding. Can this theory of degenerate Rithmatics be generalized to other Rithmatic lines? I believe it can. Let us look at two more pairs of Lines: the Line of Vigor and the Line of Revocation. Vigors are basically sinusoidal waves of varying frequency and amplitude. They are used to either move or destroy other Lines. Sine waves are generated through the following function of time: f(t) = A * sin(τft + p) Where A is the amplitude, f is the frequency, and p is the phase of oscillation. The "sin" is, of course, the circular function sine. In Rithmatics, the amplitude is defined by how large your Vigors are. Frequency is probably defined by how many individual waves are drawn. The phase is probably just zero. You could add different sine waves together to form different-looking periodic waveforms, some of which can look quite weird. Such waves are difficult to draw (remember, you need at least two repetitions of a waveform for the Line of Vigor to work) and would be impractical when used as Lines of Vigor. But what if we add an infinite number of different sine waves? Well, that could be interesting. Consider the following summation of an infinite series: f(t) = 2A * (Σ(-1n * sin(nτtf) / n) from n=1 to n=∞) / τ When graphed, that function looks like a sawtooth wave, which looks exactly like Lines of Revocation. The Line of Revocation is just a degenerate Line of Vigor, which is how it can affect things beyond the chalk universe. (More talk on Lines of Revocation in the second part of this post.) Alas, the remaining Lines aren't circle-related. Let's just discuss them briefly. Lines of Making are able to actually harm people once given the Glyph of Rending as an instruction. This Glyph must be a degenerate form of other Glyphs, which seem to all involve straight lines. This makes me think the Glyph of Rending is just a dot. The Line of Silencing, which is four spiral loops combined, is already degenerate because it can affect the outside world. I just don't know what it is a degenerate form of. It kinda looks like this, though. I think I need to read up on fractals.
  5. Edit: Changed topic title from Stormgiants to Stormstriders, as per Argent's excellent suggestion. And I'm back! I'm still trying to decide which oversized theory to post next on the 17th Shard. For now, let's me just do another round of "theory gathering" wherein I present a currently-unsolved Cosmere mystery and you guys try to convince all of us here about your theory (or your favorite theory from someone else) on the matter. Today let's look at a mystery we encountered in Words of Radiance, Chapter 74: So there were some huge, glowing things (let's call them "Stormstriders" for now) walking on the Shattered Plains during that particular highstorm. I don't think we've seen anything like this back in Way of Kings (there were mysterious flashes of light during Kaladin's storm dream, but those didn't have distinct creature-like forms). Other Sharders noticed these Stormstriders pretty early on and a few have posted about them within a month of the book's release. Some (including hoser) think these are the larval stage of chasmfiends. Flatline thinks they are voidspren, and some (like WEZ313 and Patrick Star) even think they are Unmade. None of these theories have convinced me so far. Here are some facts that may or may not help you in your theorycrafting: The glowing Stormstriders appeared before the highstorm started infusing things on the Shattered Plains with Stormlight. We know this because Shallan's dun sphere did not "recharge" until after Kaladin's talk with the Stormfather later on in the chapter. This gives us three possibilities: (A) the Stormstriders don't require Stormlight to glow, perhaps because they are spren, (B ) the Stormstriders have been traveling in the highstorm even before it reached the Shattered Plains, or (C ) both (A) and (B ) are true (e.g. the Stormstriders are some sort of spren that exist inside highstorms). Soon after Kaladin sees the Stormstriders, this happens: What was that chanting, and is it connected to the Stormstriders? How about the appearance of voidish Stormspren? Both seem to point to Stormform Parshendi. Were the Parshendi trying to control those Stormstriders somehow? Or are they doing something completely unrelated? Way back before the Stormstrider scene, in Chapter 49, Shallan seems to detect something inside an oncoming highstorm: Are those "shadows of life" the same as the Stormstriders that Kaladin would later see? They don't seem to glow by themselves as the Stormstriders did. Are they some other type of creature? Happy theorycrafting, everyone!
  6. In WoK, when Shallan and Kabsal were talking about Voidbringers, Kabsal said this: Ten Divine Attributes? But from the table of Essences, aren't there twenty Divine Attributes? I think it's reasonable to conclude that the twenty attributes in the table of Essences were derived from ten more general attributes, and that those ten are what Kabsal was referring to. This means we can group the twenty attributes into pairs, merge those pairs, then come up with the actual Ten Divine Attributes. So, how do we do that? There are several interesting possibilities. One is to try and merge the Primary and Secondary Attributes of each Essence: I will let someone else attempt that. I personally couldn't find a way to merge such pairs as "resolute and builder", "learned and giving", "just and confident", etc., but then English isn't my native language. Another option is to merge the Primary Attribute of an Essence to the Secondary Attribute of the previous Essence: This has the added benefit of potentially mapping each unified Divine Attribute to a Surge, thereby connecting the table of Essences to the Knights Radiant chart: Once again, I will let someone else attempt that. I tried to do it a few years ago, pre-WoR, but I wasn't super successful. What I ended up doing recently is slightly different but still connected to that second option. Yes, I still think that the Attributes can be mapped to the Surges, but this time I ignored the Primary and Secondary labels for the purpose of this exercise. (For what it's worth, there must be a point in marking an Attribute "Primary", but I'm choosing to ignore it for now as irrelevant.) So with all that said, here's my attempt: Adhesion: Devotion Pious: devotion to gods Protecting: devotion to the weak When you're devoted to something, you stick to it no matter what (or at least till the devotion is no longer there). Gravitation: Authority Leading: being followed Just: to follow a moral code People gravitate towards authority, people or belief systems that they can follow to get the answers or the direction they seek. Division: Independence Confident: free from doubt Brave: free from fear The Division Surge removes the stuff that binds things, thereby "releasing" them from a sort of "imprisonment" or "slavery" of bonds. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the circumstance and the perspective. Just like how being free from doubt and fear can be good or bad. Abrasion: Attention Obedient: attention to rules/commands Loving: attention towards fellow man You tend to spend more time with people or things that you pay attention to or demand more of your attention, like a shoe experiencing more traction on a rough surface. But sometimes too much demand for your attention can wear away any interest you have, and your attention slips. If you don't pay attention to something, it might slip past you without you noticing, like something sliding quickly on oiled ground. Progression: Aid Healing: aiding the sick Giving: aiding the needy The Progression Surge is an aid to natural processes like the growth of living things or the healing of wounds, in that it makes those processes go faster, i.e. progress more. Illumination: Intellect Creative: productive intellect Learned: well-educated The intellect refers to the thing that supposedly allows us to know stuff, to understand, and to be creative. Enlightenment is what happens when you finally comprehend something. It is a concept directly related to the intellect, and is a word connoting light. Understanding brings illumination, and through it one sees. Transformation: Truth Honest: truthful Wise: able to discern truth The Surge of Transformation manipulates the truth about an object, changing its essence. Transportation: Stability Careful: avoiding error Resolute: unwavering in one's decisions The Surge of Transportation manipulates either the spatial or the realmatic stability of objects, allowing either teleportation or realmatic transition. Cohesion: Ingenuity Builder: assembles parts into a whole Resourceful: makes clever solutions Ingenuity means both cleverness and inventiveness. It is the ability to combine things into something useful and innovative. The Cohesion Surge allows the ingenuity of the user to manifest in any chosen material by shaping it to reflect his ideas, creating a cohesive structure built for a certain purpose. Tension: Responsibility Dependable: takes responsibility for assigned tasks Guiding: sets an example for others Responsibility can cause tension when the things you need to do and the things you'd rather do become opposite pulling forces. Your obligations, the oaths you've sworn, and the people who look up at you can all cause this tension. The key is to allow this tension to stretch you enough to make you stronger, but not stretch you past your breaking point. Mapping the Attributes to the Surges like this has another benefit: It allows us to rearrange both the Attributes and the Surges at the same time. In this framework, moving an Attribute moves the corresponding Surge, and vice versa. Why am I interested in moving things around? Well, I first thought about it several years ago when we learned that Illumination was connected to Pulp and Blood; I felt Illumination seemed more thematically connected to Spark and Lucentia. At the time, I tried "fixing" that with an alternative chart, but mostly failed. The idea of rearrangement came back to me a couple of months ago when I re-discovered a Way of Kings annotation showing that Brandon apparently experimented with various Knights Radiant chart versions. Here is one of his experiments from 2003: Notice how the Surges had different names back then (Division=Decay, Illumination=Energy, etc.), and different positions, and some probably were replaced with something else entirely in later drafts (like Awakening, maybe). Anyway, I was trying to work on a theory about the Dawnshards being of Cultivation around the same time last year. Seeing this previous iteration of the Knight Radiant chart, it suddenly occurred to me that a Cultivation magic system might have Surges and Attributes just like Honor's system, but changed somehow. And that's how I came up with the Elevations and Callings of Dawnshards theory.
  7. theory

    I wasn't even thinking of the Shards when I made this (which is why I didn't post this in Cosmere Discussions). I felt it was very likely that there are other words more fitting for these unified attributes, because I know my English vocabulary isn't that great. This is why "devotion" didn't immediately send me Shard-hunting, so to speak. Not to say I'm opposed to the idea. There are sixteen Shards, so some will have to share Attributes for this to work, meaning Harmony being there could work. Once we get more Shard names, we could look into this again.
  8. theory

    Yes, I actually agree with you that Radiant spren are attracted to the primary divine attribute of their Order, and that their bonded Knight will need to gain the secondary divine attribute somehow through the latter oaths. But I do feel that we cannot discount the secondary divine attributes. After all, Shallan names Honesty (secondary divine attribute of Blood/Lightweavers) as one of the divine attributes of the Almighty:
  9. (To the old-timers out there: I'm back!) Part I: Elevations Here is what we know about Dawnshards as of OB: They were ancient weapons used to destroy the Tranquiline Halls. They can bind any creature voidish or mortal. Tanavast thought they can be used against Odium. We know that "Tranquiline Halls" is just another name for the previous home of the Rosharan humans, which was on Ashyn. We also know that the tragedy on Ashyn that led to mass migration were at least in part caused by the use of Surges, and that Odium was involved somehow. Based on that, I think it stands to reason that the Dawnshards must have granted Surges. And because of the way Tanavast talks about them almost fondly, I also think they must have existed before Rayse invaded Ashyn. In other words, Rayse merely corrupted them. Since the Oathpact and the Immortal Words are of Honor, it's not that far-fetched to speculate that Dawnshards were originally from Cultivation. (Here's a more thorough justification of that claim.) Unlike Honor, Cultivation wasn't interested in oaths. Her manifestation of Investiture would instead require "growth" of some sort. So here's the first part of my theory: I think Dawnshards were Cultivation-based Cognitive entities that granted Surges based on excellence. This is how it would work: When a person reaches a given threshold of proficiency in an appropriate skill or profession, being bound to a Dawnshard for that profession would grant him a Surge. When he reaches an even higher level, he gains another Surge from the Dawnshard. This is akin to how Vorin ardents grant Elevations (whatever those are) to those who excelled in their Calling: For example, there could be a Dawnshard that grants Surges (one of which is probably Gravitation) to leaders with the greatest domain and influence. So, ambitious people who wish to gain power from that kind of Dawnshard would try to gain more followers, etc. In the same way, the best physicians might gain Regrowth as an Elevation. The best artists might gain Lightweaving. So on and so forth. Conversely, failing to sustain a certain level of excellence means losing the bond with the Dawnshard. That could be how this particular manifestation of Investiture prevented abuse. Then Odium came and corrupted the Dawnshards. Perhaps the "Passions" had something to do with this. Perhaps Odium's corruption made the Dawnshards search for passion rather than excellence. So anyone with intense ambition could attain power just by wanting so bad to be great at a Calling. Imagine how well that would go. As we know, the cataclysmic events on Ashyn forced many of the survivors to move to Roshar and for the rest to live on the floating cities that the planet has now. It was presumably around that point as well that Ashyn's magic started relying on disease, instead of the Dawnshards. Thus the era of the Dawnshards ended. Part II: Callings This second part is just pure speculation through and through. I just wanted to see if I could come up with a list of professions, all medieval or ancient in origin, that could have been associated with Dawnshards. Let's call these professions "Callings" after the similar Vorin term, just for convenience. In the list I'll also include the following: - Divine Attributes best suited for each Calling - Surges that would be thematically fitting for each Calling's Elevations Unlike Honor's system, where the Radiants often experienced tension between their Attributes (creativity versus honesty, bravery versus obedience, etc.), I believe Cultivation's old system instead promoted complementary attributes to better cultivate the Calling. Take Note: Obviously, in both real life and good fantasy, nobody within any profession will consistently exhibit the stereotypical traits of their profession. As Shallan said, "we’re more complex than mere bundles of personality traits." I think Brandon makes pretty complex characters, but that won't stop others, like the Dawnshards and the spren, from seeing the patterns they want to see. Remember, this is all completely speculative, just like any Skaa Theory(TM). Feel free to post your own list of Callings if you wish. Let's start with the only Calling in my list that was mentioned in-book in a context that involves a Dawnshard: Herald. Calling: Herald Attributes: Careful and Obedient Surges: Transportation and Abrasion In medieval times, heralds were messengers hired by nobles and monarchs to communicate with others on their behalf. The Surge of Transportation would have been a god-send for that task: Imagine messengers who can move between two correspondents in no time at all. The Surge of Abrasion also fits this idea of speed, but I'm more interested in the idea of "spiritual abrasion", wherein one "smoothens" relationships between parties. We saw a glimpse of this when Lift managed to soften Nale's heart for a few minutes. Heralds were the precursors of diplomats, and endeavored for peace and understanding to prevail between their lord and others. As diplomats, they needed to be careful and logical as they forge agreements between parties, but still obedient to the will of the lord they represent. By the way, using Abrasion would allow one to crawl up gigantic steps, as in the Poem of Ista. I bet the character in the poem was supposed to be a Herald on Ashyn. The steps were, after all, made for Heralds. (The descriptions for the rest of the Callings below are placed in spoiler tags for length.) Calling: Knight Attributes: Just and Resolute Surges: Gravitation and Transportation Calling: King Attributes: Guiding and Leading Surges: Tension and Gravitation Calling: Scribe Attributes: Wise and Dependable Surges: Transformation and Tension Calling: Scholar Attributes: Learned and Honest Surges: Illumination and Transformation Calling: Artist Attributes: Resourceful and Creative Surges: Cohesion and Illumination Calling: Priest Attributes: Pious and Builder Surges: Adhesion and Cohesion Calling: Squire Attributes: Protecting and Giving Surges: Adhesion and Progression Calling: Herbalist Attributes: Healing and Confident Surges: Progression and Division Calling: Surgeon Attributes: Brave and Loving Surges: Division and Abrasion So, do you guys like my list? By the way, did you notice how Division, the Surge of destruction and decay, is in the hands of medical Callings in my list? I believe this is how Cultivation would choose to do things. What do you think? If you noticed my little hints here and there, you'll realize that there is way more to this theory. But I'm stopping here for now to avoid bloating up this post any further.
  10. Clearly I made a mistake in not justifying my premise that Cultivation was the source of the Dawnshards. To be honest, I only intended this to be an exploration of that idea, a "What If?" so to speak. It's a thing I do with my theory threads: Take an idea and just Storming play with it, you know? See how far I can go, and try to have fun while doing it. This is why I described my post as speculative several times. But now, I do wish to explain how I came up with the idea in the first place. Here are the little things, things that might be complete coincidences, that nonetheless pulled me towards this theory. Reason 1: Incubation This all began when I read about the Incubators of present-day Ashyn. The name of their manifestation of Investiture, "Incubation", is obviously meant to refer to the developmental stage of disease. That sort of icky association might make it easy to forget that "incubation" is actually a positive word. It means maintaining the right conditions for something to develop and grow. In the case of disease, the organisms being developed unfortunately make people sick. But you can also incubate benign cells. Another example is chicken eggs, that need incubation for them to hatch, producing cute little baby chickens. Even if it only cultivates disease, Ashyn Incubation is still in line with the intent of Cultivation. Now, disease isn't a very nice thing to cultivate, obviously. But it did make me think that Ashyn must be connected to Cultivation, somehow. It made me think that, maybe, the disease magic exists there because of Cultivation's failure with the Dawnshards. Reason 2: Vorinism Here's a question: Is Vorinism really what Honor would have wanted from those who worshiped him? Sure, it seems benign enough as a religion. (I mean, aside from the militarism and the sexism...) But notice how modern Alethi religion, i.e. post-Nohadon and post-Recreance, doesn't preach about oath-keeping or following codes. Rather, they focus on making you the best of who you already are. Just like Cultivation. Cultivation doesn't demand spiritual change from people. She prunes them herself where she sees fit, but otherwise lets them be who they are. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Her gambit with Dalinar proved that she knew what she was doing. But it isn't Honor's way. Honor wants to transform people. As Shallan said in WoK: The ardents speak of "recasting souls into something greater", but do they teach how Honor wants that done? No, they don't talk about oaths, the honorable oaths that pull people towards change. Upon realizing this, I felt that Callings and Elevations, as Vorinism teaches them, could not have been part of the religion of the Knights, whatever that religion was called. I started suspecting that Callings and Elevations were instead echoes of an older religion of humanity. One where they worshiped Cultivation instead, as some Western countries still do. If you read my descriptions of the Dawnshard Callings, you'll notice references to non-Vorin cultures. The female Reshi kings. The extremely high regard for Shin farmers. I suspect Brandon put those weird things there as hints, echoes of that older culture. It doesn't really matter if Dawnshards had some of Honor's ability to bind things, or even if some Dawnshards were more attuned to Honor (as I implied with the Calling of Scribes). After all, we see Cultivation's influences on Rosharan Surgebinding. But the Knights Radiant speak oaths, and they as an organization were founded by a Herald of Honor, and their Surge pairs were based on the Surge pairs of the Honorblades, which contain parts of Honor's own soul. So I consider Honorblades and Knights Radiant to be of Honor. In the same way, if my Callings and Elevations theory about Dawnshards is correct, that system is of Cultivation because they align with Cultivation's intent, as I described above. Reason 3: Surges As for the idea that the Dawnshards might not be from any Shards in particular, that would mean Ashyn was a minor Shardworld even during the era of Dawnshards. We know that it currently doesn't have a Shard, and so basically it's a minor Shardworld now, but look at how Brandon describes minor Shardworlds: Knowing what we know of Dawnshards, that they gave people powerful Surges, could we really say that Ashyn was a minor Shardworld during that era? I don't think so. There must have been a Shard there that powered the Dawnshards. Which leads us to Odium. Reason 4: Corruption Is it possible that Odium created the humans and the Dawnshards on Ashyn? I don't think so. Brandon said that a Shard Investing on a planet means they become stuck to that planet, and here's what he said about Odium: This plan to "not get stuck" is presumably why Odium prefers to corrupt pre-existing Investiture instead of using his own manifestations. Considering that the Dawnshards existed before the Oathpact, I highly doubt that Odium would have Invested so much as to create humans and give them power on that planet. And of course, Tanavast liked the Dawnshards. Why would he be fond of the enemy's creation? In other words, the Dawnshards must have been corrupted by Odium. They (as well as the humans) must have been created by another Shard. Reason 5: Slammer This final reason is more of a feeling rather than an argument. I feel that people tend to underestimate Cultivation, perhaps because of her seeming lack of action. Even Stormfather accused her of cowardice, of hiding from Odium. For me it feels too easy to assume that the Dawnshards, those powerful weapons that led to the destruction of a whole planet, could not have come from her. Hoid calls her Slammer. Earlier, I talked of Cultivation's failure with the Dawnshards on Ashyn. I will admit that I first imagined her helplessly watching as her planet burned, before fleeing to the safety of her husband's arms. Hoid calls her SLAMMER. Here's an alternative, rather fanciful, and completely speculative scenario for you: Honor and Cultivation, Shards and lovers, ruled the Rosharan system. They both Invested equally on Roshar. They both Invested on Ashyn, except Cultivation used more of her power there, for her own reasons. Roshar already had the parsh, so they created the humans on Ashyn in their image. The first Ashynite men by Honor, the first Ashynite women by Cultivation. Honor liked Roshar because its harsh environment made the native inhabitants strong and resilient, and he spent most of his time there. Cultivation liked the more Yolen-like Ashyn because it was easier to cultivate life there as she desired, and tended to stay there in turn. Both contributed to each other's Shardic projects, the Dawnsingers and the Dawnshards. The Tranquiline Halls were happily tranquil. The highstorms were happily tempestuous. Everything was great. Then Odium, bearing divine jealousy and hatred, arrived to destroy them. Predictably, he targeted the seemingly weaker female Vessel first, corrupting the humans and their Dawnshards. Like on other worlds he visited, Odium didn't plan to destroy Ashyn, but rather to simply corrupt the Investiture enough to kill Cultivation. Soon, many humans started worshiping the new god, believing in his gospel of passion, and using corrupted Surges: the Voids. Chaos and passion reigned. SLAM! With just enough warning for her faithful followers, Slammer unleashed divine justice. She held the power of both life and death, and she will cut down trees that bear no fruit. The angry goddess took hold of her corrupted Splinters, the ones that gave men Dawnshards, and Unmade them, ripping her own Investiture from them and leaving behind weakened shells of Odium's. (She had another major Splinter on Ashyn, the tenth, but they had no corruption, for Squires had no Dawnshard. Cultivation took them with her later on to join their siblings on Roshar.) She then engaged in all out war, with devastating consequences for both the apostate planet and the invading Shard. Odium almost didn't survive the assault. He was permanently hurt. The Broken One managed to escape with the humans going to Roshar, but was ultimately outwitted by Honor and his Heralds. When Honor died, Cultivation went on her own silent war against the clever and now more wary god of hatred, and has been waging it ever since: Again, this last reason is more of a feeling than an argument. It was the imagery of Vengeful Slammer that led me to develop the theory. I know it's far-fetched, but I decided to put it here in case anyone else likes it. I'm sorry I didn't initially give my justifications. But as you can see, they're pretty lengthy, and would have bloated the initial post. I hope you guys understand.
  11. I was looking over the Bridge Four article on the Coppermind when a thought occurred to me: Bridge Four took in lots of new recruits in Oathbringer. Did the new members get the Bridge Four tattoo as well? I'd be grateful if you or someone else asked that during the signing, @Dearius. Edit: Considering that Renarin does not seem to have the tattoo, the answer is probably no. But maybe it's still worth asking to be sure.
  12. Nice work on the maps, @Otto Didact! It was a great idea to use the same style as Wikipedia. Looks very official. Man, it's been a while since I last contributed to the Coppermind. I'll look through the articles in that list later and see what I can do.
  13. That wasn't me. Some guys confirmed it on Discord, and I just made a post to spread the word. And also to share my own vectorized version of the symbol.
  14. I'd just like to sort of quickly elaborate on this point about Earth's own curvature being a possible solution to the problem of Warding strength. (To be honest I just figured it out yesterday, hence this three-year necro. Yes, I'm a slow thinker. ) In the original post I listed down three possibilities for the Warding strength "reference circle": the incircle (the circle with radius equal to the ellipse's semi-minor axis), the circumcircle (with radius equal to the semi-major axis), and what I call the pericircle (a circle with the same circumference as the ellipse). Based on my Warding strength formula I then chose the circumcircle as my favorite, as it leads to the strongest Lines of Warding. But as @ccstat pointed out, using the circumcircle as the reference doesn't explain why Brandon said that Lines of Warding weaken as they grow larger. Brandon also said that this weakening "isn't as fast as the curvature would indicate". So what's really going on here? Recently, I've realized that there is actually another possible reference circle that I forgot to put in my list: What if the basis of Warding strength is the circle whose area is the same as the area of the ellipse? If that's the case, something very interesting happens. ### Notice that if the world was flat, a circular Line of Warding will always have an area-based reference circle that is identical to it no matter its size, and we're back to the same problem as before... Fortunately, the world isn't flat (despite what some people say ). It isn't a perfect sphere either, but it's close enough that we can use a sphere to approximate the math for our purposes. The formula for the area of a circle on a sphere differs from the one used for a circle on a flat plane. This is because on an ideal sphere, drawing a circle wouldn't lead to a flat disc but rather to a spherical cap. The surface area of this spherical cap is given by this formula A = τRh, where R is the radius of the sphere, h is the height of the cap, and τ is our beloved circle constant tau. (Side note: It would've been cool to post this on Tau Day, but I just couldn't wait.) This spherical cap's surface area is obviously bigger than that of a disc on a flat plane, so a Line of Warding on a spherical surface would in fact have a bigger actual area within it than the circle area suggested by its radius (which presumably is the area of its reference circle). This difference actually increases the larger the Line of Warding is. As we know, smaller curvature ratios lead to weaker Lines of Warding. So now we can finally see why larger circular Lines of Warding are weaker: it's because their reference circles are smaller than they are, leading to a smaller curvature ratio with its reference circle. Note that for normal-sized circles on a planet-sized sphere, the surface area is virtually flat. There's also the fact that Rithmatists normally draw on man-made flat floors. In both cases, the reference circle is still equal to the a circular Line of Warding. The weakening only starts to be noticeable when the circle gets large enough for the spherical cap to be noticeably tall.
  15. Cool. Oathbringer spoiler: I wonder how these aspects/avatars differ from regular Splinters, and whether Autonomy's avatars only seem special because there are way more of them.
  16. I was thinking of his solution to Alcatraz 6 (collaborate with Jansi Patterson on it to help with Bastille's voice), and I started wondering if he could use this co-author strategy to take some of the load off his other non-cosmere works. Like, we already know from the release party that he's asking Dan Wells for help on Apocalypse Guard. If Dan (or someone else) would somehow agree to co-author Apocalypse Guard, and maybe finish off the series himself (using Brandon's outlines), then Brandon would suddenly have one less series to worry about. He could do the same thing for the Aztlanian. Since he wants to write it with Latin American sensibilities in mind, he could collaborate with a Latin American fantasy author to work on the dialogue of Aztek Federation characters and anything else that might concern Latin American readers. Of course, all this assumes that Brandon will find authors willing to collaborate on his works and who would be faithful to his vision (we don't even know if Patterson has already agreed on doing The Worldspire), but I really hope he'd be willing to try to do more of this for the sake of his Cosmere fans.
  17. First of all, thanks to the guys on Discord (particularly @Pagerunner and @Windrunner) for pointing out that a small Ghostblood symbol can be seen among Shallan's sketches of Shadesmar spren. You can check it out in the illustration right before Chapter 108. As someone who tried and failed to guess the nature of the symbol twice (here and here), allow me to post a somewhat cleaner version of the actual symbol for everyone's enjoyment: As you can see, it does reflect both the WoK description ("three diamonds in a pattern, overlapping one another") and the WoR description ("triangle"). Apparently Isaac had to do multiple drafts of the symbol, and we even had a detailed description of one of the candidates that looked totally different from how it eventually ended up. Here's a version of the symbol that shows one way to draw it in one stroke, and I colored it in a way I thought was appropriate (Ghost=grey, Blood=red):
  18. I'm about to go on a three week family vacation! First we'll visit my brother in Auckland, New Zealand for a couple of weeks, then we'll all fly to Sydney, Australia to celebrate my father's birthday. I am particularly excited to experience a December summer for the first time. Surely it won't be as hot/humid as a typical Manila day, right? And while I loved our December trip to Tokyo last year, I almost couldn't tolerate the cold winter wind, so I'm looking forward to a much more comfortable vacation this time around. Any Kiwi/Aussie Sharders out there who'd like to meet up? Or otherwise, any tips you'd like to share? Feel free to PM me!
  19. Fixed, @Joe ST @yurisses Done, and I added a few more paragraph breaks to make it even more readable.
  20. Fixed. And also the second one, @yurisses.
  21. (Warning: The following contains inexact and possibly completely wrong descriptions of certain Physics concepts. I am not a physicist. Do not base your Physics homework on the Wikipedia-based ramblings of a code monkey on a fantasy fiction forum on the Internet.) Lately I've been thinking about generalizing my Unified Surge Theory into a theory that encompasses every single type of Investiture. The basic idea for this is that Adonalsium's Power of Creation is akin to the theoretical unified force of Physics, a force that splits into multiple separate forces under specific conditions. This means that each Invested power is like some sort of quantum field, and there's a way to unify all those magical fields into a single field. But that sort of theory generalization is just too simple for me, I'm afraid. It doesn't have that bullje ne sais quoi that I've come to expect from my own pet theories. So now I'd like to do something a little bit more... fancy. As I said before, it looks to me that Brandon is really into modern physics. I think it's possible that he based some fundamental Cosmere concepts on certain modern scientific ideas like quantum mechanics. If you think this is unlikely, let me show you this quote from his recent Q&A in Chicago: That makes a lot of sense. If your world follows the laws of quantum mechanics, and at the same time has magic, then it's natural that the magic in your world will have quantum properties. I love this concept of making magic an integral part of the physics of a fantasy setting, breaking down the barrier between "natural" and "supernatural". Since quantum field theory is part of quantum mechanics, and since the unified field theory is considered by many as the ultimate goal of quantum field theory, this therefore lends credence to the unification of "magical fields" in the Cosmere that I described above. But... there's more to modern physics than the quantum field theory. In fact, many physicists seemed more excited about another theory (at least until recently when the Large Hadron Collider gave disappointing results) that promised to unify the entirety of what we know about General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into a single mathematically and conceptually elegant framework, a "theory of everything" where all particles are just specialized versions of a single type of object. I'm talking of course about String Theory. Part I: The Lightweaving of Strings I know many of you already know what "string theory" means (I checked), but for the rest here's a quick summary: A string theory is any proposition that the fundamental elements making up the things around us are not point-like or zero-dimensional, but are instead one-dimensional vibrating elements. For the sake of convenience, physicists call these things strings. In a string theory, each string has certain properties (e.g. how it vibrates/oscillates, its length, its orientation, whether it is closed in a loop or open-ended, etc.) that differentiates it from other strings. This is cool because it can give us a clearer picture of what makes one particle different from another aside from vague concepts like "charge". As a kid I watched a Discovery Channel show about String Theory featuring Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku is a popularizer of science, meaning his presentations are often not very technical and are meant for a wide audience. I remember him comparing the vibration of a fundamental string to the musical note coming from a stringed instrument. He then described the whole universe as a grand orchestra of fundamental strings all vibrating together. That, of course, was a rather fanciful way of looking at it to say the least, but it most definitely worked on me. The notion of a musical universe, that everything is made of music, is just so fascinating that it makes String Theory seem almost... magical. In fact, it sounds like the creation myth used in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth stories. Ainulindalë, a holy music performed by angelic beings called the Ainur and their god Eru Ilúvatar, was how Arda (Earth) was created. I'm not saying that Tolkien borrowed from string theory (obviously not, as his stories were written before the earliest string theories were developed). What I'm saying is that the concept of a musical universe, or at least a universe where waveforms have a fundamental role, is not alien to the world of fantasy. It's possible to create a String Theory-based magical setting. Could this be what Brandon plans for the Cosmere? I say yes. After all, we already have one possible manifestation of waveform magic: We know that Lightweaving can affect waveforms other than light, including sound and possibly other oscillating manifestations, e.g. vibrating strings. If the Cosmere exists in a universe that follows a string theory of Physics, then the Power of Creation could simply be the ability to manipulate these strings. In other words, the Power of Creation is just Lightweaving applied to fundamental vibrating strings. Before you barrage me with a stream of objections to the crazy idea that Adonalsium was just a glorified Lightweaver, read this curious little WoB: So even before Brandon wrote about Hoid's backstory, even before the other Yolish magic systems were developed, the manipulation of waveforms (a.k.a. Lightweaving) was already on his mind. If everything is made of vibrating strings, it's not too farfetched to think of a god-like being as someone who can manipulate the waveforms represented by these strings, like a divine musician using the Cosmere as his stringed instrument. This is what I call the L-Theory of Realmatic Strings (not to be confused with the L-theory of mathematics). One thing that "L" stands for is "Lightweaving". I'll explain the other meanings of "L" (there are several) later on. But meanwhile let us talk about a possible implementation of Realmatic String Theory. Part II: The Cosmere as a Braneworld What kind of cosmology would a hypothetical Stringed Cosmere have? Many string theorists in real life believe that the fundamental strings of nature move in ten- or eleven-dimensional hyperspace. Eleven dimensions! That's a lot more than the three spatial dimensions that we experience with our human senses. Some believe these extra dimensions are too small and "curled up" to detect. Others say that the space that we humans can see is just a large three-dimensional "D-brane" existing in a hyperspatial universe with other D-branes. A D-brane, by the way, is a part of theoretical hyperspace that serves as a boundary for fundamental strings that aren't closed loops. Like the bridge part of a guitar, D-branes are where these strings are attached to. I believe Brane cosmology is the perfect candidate for our Stringed Cosmere cosmology. Imagine the Spiritual and Physical Realms as multidimensional D-branes. All fundamental strings in the Cosmere originate from the D-brane called the Spiritual Realm. These include not just the strings that make up the fundamental Physical entities (leptons, quarks, etc.) but also strings that make up fundamental Cognitive entities and the fundamental Spiritual entities (whatever those are). All these strings begin their existence from the Spiritual Realm. This corresponds to our understanding of the Spiritual Realm as the place where conception and motivation happens. Some of these strings begin and end in the Spiritual Realm, but some extend outward and connect to another D-brane, the Physical Realm. Since only the endpoint actually exists on the D-brane (meaning the rest of the string is oriented away from the Physical Realm's dimensions), such strings only appear as point-like particles in the Physical Realm. These are the fundamental components of what we call matter (i.e. things with rest mass, like quarks and leptons). What about the Cognitive Realm? I propose that the hyperspace between the Spiritual and the Physical Realm, where all the actual string vibrations occur, is the Cognitive Realm. I'll explain why in Part III. From this description of the Three Realms, it's easy to understand how objects can exist in the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual Realms simultaneously by visualizing an object as a bunch of strings vibrating between the Spiritual and Physical D-branes. Well, it's sort of easier. Admittedly it's kind of tricky for us humans to imagine more than three dimensions. This might be why Brandon said only Shards or Splinters can truly comprehend Realmatics; beings with three-dimensional senses cannot imagine hyperspace except via analogies. Nonetheless, a stringed model of Realmatics makes it easier to grasp many Realmatic concepts. For example, the Spiritweb can be seen as an actual web of Spiritual strings making up the soul of a person. The bindpoints of the Spiritweb are simply the points where the Spiritual strings and physical strings are joined. A Connection (with a capital "C"; a Spiritual attribute) can be seen as a string connecting other strings to each other in the Spiritual Realm. This means we can consider stuff like Nahel bonds, Duralumin Connections, Ironlines (basically every single type of connection in the Cosmere) as actual entities. The only reason these entities aren't normally visible is because they only exist on a D-brane outside of the Physical D-brane. Note that some things that are usually considered "physical" in the real world, like gravity, electromagnetism, and other "physical" forces could simply be Connections on the Spiritual Realm in the Cosmere. For example, as the WoK Ars Arcanum says, the gravitational pull between objects is spiritual in nature: (We'll return to physical forces in Part IV.) Realmatic strings can also explain Identity. When the Connection strings between a bunch of strings is strong enough, the oscillations of all the strings in the bunch can result in a single complex oscillation, like a musical chord. This is how Identities emerge. An Identity can therefore be defined as a single oscillation arising from the different oscillations of multiple Connected strings. This implies that there can be nested Identities, emergent oscillations making up an even bigger emergent oscillation (which is how, for example, Soulcasters can transform just the blood of a person instead of his whole body; the blood is a sub-Identity within the person's Identity). Interestingly, a stringed Cosmere can even explain why solid land appears as ever-moving on Shadesmar. What actually happens is that the mind of a Worldhopper interprets the complex hyperspatial oscillations of Identities into something compatible with human senses. For example, on Roshar he would see it as an undulating sea of glass beads. This fancy way of seeing the Cognitive Realm is therefore just an illusion, a Cosmere-wide Lightweaving created by Adonalsium and targeting every single "thinking" object in the Cosmere (more on this in Part III). As for why bodies of water appear as a solid mass on Shadesmar... well, I'm not sure. My best guess is that the gravity waves on the surface of lakes/oceans/etc. might be making oscillation in the Cognitive Realm less apparent somehow, but I have no idea how that would work conceptually. (Edit: SmurfAquamarineBodies has an alternative explanation here.) Part III: Loops and Consciousness Speaking of the Cognitive Realm, how about things like sentience and intelligence? How would a string theory explain the phenomenon of consciousness? Unfortunately, physicists do not yet have a model to explain this, but Douglas Hofstadter, a professor of Cognitive Science (also a Ph.D.-holder in Physics), has some very interesting speculative thoughts that he first published back in 1979 regarding why people have subjective experience, and it involves loops. Hofstadter believes that consciousness arises from self-referential abstract concepts he calls "strange loops", which he claims naturally emerge from the neural activity of humans. Feel free to read "Gödel, Escher, Bach" and "I Am a Strange Loop" to know the details, but here I'll present a simplified and "Cosmerified" interpretation of Hofstadter's idea by defining a strange loop as a type of Connection that connects an Identity to itself, forming a literal loop. Under the cosmology I described in Part II, this self-referential Connection loop also vibrates in the Cognitive Realm, but its vibration is more dynamic than other strings because it reflects the dynamic thoughts of the thinking Identity. This dynamically vibrating strange loop, I believe, is what consciousness is made of in the Cosmere. (Sidenote: A probably-unimportant but interesting thought just came to me regarding loops. String theorists predict that gravitons are closed loops that can freely travel between D-branes. I don't know how this can be incorporated into L-theory, but I'm leaving this note here in case someone else thinks of a cool idea for it.) If you look closely, it appears that every Identity in the Cosmere has some level of consciousness. The window in Shai's prison was aware of the concept of beauty. The Wind's Pleasure was aware of its crew and was loyal to them. Somehow, objects in the Cosmere all have strange loops. This fact should be no surprise to us Cosmere theorists because Shai already revealed it to Gaotana in the Emperor's Soul: One important consequence of this is that Shadesmar is a much wider place than it would be if only "living things" had thoughts and perceptions, because the Shadesmar "reality" (more like the Shadesmar illusion) only exists where thoughts exist, and now things like rocks and sticks and even planets can participate in this galactic play (or a galactic musical, one might say). But wouldn't it be nice to know why everything in the Cosmere has this awareness? Is Identity and Consciousness necessarily linked by some fundamental principle? Or is consciousness intentionally being given to each Identity by some outside force? In order to solve this mystery of pan-Cosmere consciousness, we need to delve deeper into Lightweaving. There is one aspect to Lightweaving that was shown in Liar of Partinel that was not apparent in WoK and WoR: Lightweaving can grant consciousness. I won't go into spoilery specifics, but suffice to say Hoid can create illusions that can think for themselves. Somehow, a Lightweaver not only can make strings oscillate whichever way he likes, he can also form strange loops, granting consciousness to things. So imagine what a Lightweaver with an Adonalsium-level of power can do. Can he, perhaps, grant consciousness to every single Identity in a very large area? Say, a whole galaxy? Imagine that event in the early Cosmere when billions upon billions of objects of all shapes and sizes suddenly gained self-awareness. It must have been as if the whole galaxy suddenly awoke from slumber, turning its cognitive night into day, its blindness to vision, its opacity to clarity, its darkness to light. This is the second meaning of "L" in "L-Theory": Strange Loops. It could also mean Lucentia, which has philosophical associations with eyes, clarity, and transparency. I believe that one of Adonalsium's greatest acts is to grant "eyes" to everything in the Cosmere. By that I mean he made everything able to perceive things. And he did this via a special Lightweaving that constructs strange loops for every Identity that appears in the Cosmere, a Lightweaving that still persists even after the Shattering. Part IV: The Investiture of L Bosons At long last, we arrive at the most important part of L-Theory: What is magic in the Cosmere made of? If everything is made of fundamental strings, then naturally magic would also be made of fundamental strings. These strings would serve as the "quanta" of magical energy. Since magic is a force, these quanta of magical energy would be force-carriers, and are therefore gauge bosons. Let's call them the L bosons. One important characteristic of L bosons is that they can interact with any type of string, whether physical or not. When a string absorbs or emits an L boson, its oscillation mode changes depending on the energy and the waveform of the L boson it absorbed or emitted. Interactions involving some L boson waveforms can transform matter, similar to weak interactions. Except unlike W bosons, an L boson is stable and massless (and therefore a luxon). You could say the L boson is a photon-like thing with W boson-like effects. (Coincidentally, photons and W bosons carry forces that physicists have already unified under a single electroweak force.) Other waveforms of the L boson can transform Connections in the Spiritual Realm, including strange loops (which means they can also change the cognitive aspect of things). It's possible that the only limitation for L boson-based transformation is the energy requirement for a particular transformation, since energy is still conserved in the Cosmere. Again, all this is possible because everything in the Three Realms of a Stringed Cosmere is defined by the properties of strings and their various fundamental interactions. We are simply theorizing that magic is just another fundamental interaction of a string, a transformative interaction mediated by the L boson. But this raises the question of how these L bosons come about. Where do L bosons come from, and how do they obtain their different waveforms? I propose that the waveform of L bosons can be "shaped" by strange loops. In classical Cosmeric terms, Intent comes from a Cognitive aspect. This Intent determines not only the type of transformation being carried by the L bosons, but also the target of the L bosons, shaping them to only interact with a particular type of Identity in a certain way. The Intent could theoretically be anything as long as the strange loop has absorbed enough L bosons to meet the energy requirement of the intended transformation. After shaping the L bosons with an Intent, a strange loop can then emit them upon a target. This is what is classically known as Investiture. The relationship between strange loops and L bosons is two-sided. They shape each other. An L boson's initial waveform could affect the strange loop absorbing it, but the strange loop might in turn change the waveform of the L boson, or even reject the L boson completely. This is why objects can reject Soulstamps, and why Shardworlds can influence the Investiture of Shards. On the flip side, given enough L bosons, the Intent of Investiture can be powerful enough to override any resistance offered by a strange loop. This is why Shard holders eventually succumb to the Intent of their Shards, and why a mist-powered Ironpull can affect pierced metals that normally resist Ironpulls. L bosons can of course be very beneficial to a strange loop target, expanding its abilities in one Realm or another. For example, there is an L boson waveform classically called "the Spark of Life" that can allow a strange loop to affect its host Identity's motion. This ability to move at will, granted by a certain type of L boson, is what differentiates "living things" and other types of objects. In other words, Life is a form of Lightweaving. The phenomenon of living things is caused by a special interaction between Lightweaving and a Cognitive aspect. Part V: The Lightweaving of Godhood By now it should pretty obvious what Adonalsium is under a Stringed model of the Cosmere: He was an Identity whose strange loop once contained a huge portion of all the L bosons in the Cosmere, granting him three divine properties: The sheer amount of energy contained by Adonalsium allowed him to emit large numbers of L bosons shaped with arbitrarily complex Intents, making him omnipotent. Adonalsium's strange loop is incredibly vast in size, meaning his consciousness and intellect is incredibly vast as well. This makes him practically omniscient. Omniscience and omnipotence rendered physical presence completely optional. Adonalsium could detach his Identity completely from the Physical Realm, or he could attach a part of his Identity to the Physical Realm in any physical form anywhere in the Cosmere (i.e. omnipresence). When Adonalsium Shattered, the gigantic strange loop suddenly separated into sixteen big strings representing sixteen huge segments of Adonalsium's mind. Since a strange loop vibrates dynamically, each of these sixteen loop remnants would have its own vibration mode different from the rest, reflecting sixteen different cognitive states. The L bosons coming from these remnants would have Intents based on the remnants' vibration mode, and would also be very powerful given the size of each remnant. This was of course an extremely dangerous situation, and the fastest way to avert galactic catastrophe was for sixteen individuals to take up these remnants, becoming part of these powerful Identities and experiencing the same three divine effects described above, though to a lesser degree. Thus, the sixteen Shards of Adonalsium came to be. But what of Adonalsium's origins? It's possible that he had always existed as a divine being from the beginning of time, like the gods of most theistic religions. On the other hand, there is another possibility related to Brandon Sanderson's own religion, and I would like to explore this one further. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God was once a man. Here's a relevant quote from the religion's founder Joseph Smith: Or as Mormons like to phrase it: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." If we conjecture that Adonalsium was also once human, like the seventeen humans (sixteen from Yolen, one from Scadrial) who Ascended to Godhood later on, then we must ask how this person obtained so much power. I am working under the assumption that the conservation of energy still applies in the Cosmere, so the L bosons that were absorbed into this person must have come from somewhere. I think the idea of a person using hyperspatial technology to harvest the Spark of Life of other people to gain power is possible, but this method seems more fitting for the supposed enemy of Adonalsium. I think another possibility is that he transformed something that was inside himself. Specifically, I think he turned part of his bodily energy into magical energy by manipulating photons emitted by the particles inside his body into becoming L bosons containing his own Intent. Now, this wouldn't normally work on regular types of particles because you'd need pre-existing L bosons to manipulate these particles, but what if (and here's another major speculative leap)... what if photons aren't regular particles at all in the Cosmere? What if photons are L bosons? If a photon is just an L boson with a "null Intent", this means light can directly be shaped by a strange loop into other L boson waveforms. Once this secret, that a person can turn light into magic, was discovered (perhaps via some sort of Buddha-like Enlightenment process), it was only a matter of time before our hypothetical pre-Adonalsium guy would start continuously converting photons into active L bosons, until finally he reached a critical point and became the first Ascendant Being in the Cosmere. In other words, a man wove Light to become the god known as Adonalsium. Conclusion: Why "L-Theory"? More than two decades ago, string theorists had a problem. They wanted string theory to be a single "theory of everything", but they've ended up with as many as five versions that seemed to be self-consistent but also very different from each other, which was kind of embarrassing. They tried to find ways to reconcile these differences until finally, in 1995, a guy named Edward Witten conjectured that the five superstring theories were all just limiting cases of a single theory he called "M-theory" that used an eleven-dimensional hyperspace. This spawned what is now called the "Second superstring revolution". When asked what "M" stands for in "M-theory", Witten said it could mean "magic", "mystery", or "membrane" (referring to brane cosmology). People were free to choose whatever meaning they wanted. While working on this Cosmere theory, I was thinking of just naming it the "Realmatic String Theory". But after reading about M-theory and Witten's explanation for the name, I decided to err on the side that's awesome and name my theory "L-theory" instead. In this post I've tried to describe the various meanings for "L": All magic systems in the Cosmere are just specialized forms of fundamental string Lightweaving. All Identities in the Cosmere are granted Strange Loops via Lightweaving that give rise to conscious perception. This reality of all things having strange loops that act as "eyes" is symbolized in Cosmeric philosophy by the Essence of Lucentia. The fundamental force carrier of Lightweaving is a Luxon (which I call the L boson) whose properties can be shaped by strange loops. The Spark of Life is a form of Lightweaving granting intentional motion to an Identity with a strange loop. Light particles (photons) are just neutral L bosons. Knowledge of this secret is what allowed a person in the Cosmere's distant past to become Adonalsium. Like M-theory, my aim for L-theory is to become a "theory of everything" for the Cosmere... at least until WoB comes along saying string theory has nothing to do with Cosmere cosmology (which I sure hope won't happen soon! ). Also like M-theory, L-theory is still incomplete. I welcome any comment, suggestion, or constructive criticism that might help me develop it further. Edit: Added stuff suggested by SmurfAquamarineBodies and Emerald101.
  22. Those are interesting thoughts! Unfortunately, we do have a source regarding the idea that the Cognitive Realm is between the other two Realms, and it's from a Shard. Here is Preservation (in Chapter 1 of M:SH) talking about the Cognitive Realm: Although Leras wasn't omniscient, and was severely handicapped by this point, I think his analogy must have some truth in it given that he can still see all three Realms.
  23. I have to confess something: I have major problems with Oathbringer, especially the last couple of chapters ("Ideals" and "Debt Repaid"). Now, don't get me wrong; as a Sharder who loves getting as much info about the cosmere as possible, I am very thankful that Brandon tried to pack in so much in such a short space. But as a reader... it was all a bit exhausting, to be honest. With all the action going on post-climax, it almost felt like I was reading the start of another story instead of an ending. Despite liking most of the ending scenes over all, by the last dozen pages a sort of fatigue started setting in. In a way, I understand why Brandon did this. The scene where Dalinar was writing his memoirs is one of the must-haves of the book, which is named after said memoirs. Of course it has to be there. The trouble is that Dalinar would not have had time to work on "Oathbringer, My Glory and My Shame" until more pressing concerns were handled, namely, Taravangian's betrayal, the vacant throne of Alethkar, and his son's marriage. And so Brandon chose to write scenes dealing with those three things first, along with a bunch of other stuff that happened in between. Only then could he end the book with Dalinar writing his memoirs. The thing is, in my opinion this is one instance where the show, don't tell rule of writing could have been and should have been ignored. Every writing rule has exceptions, and I truly believe a "tell" way of resolving some of the loose threads would have allowed Brandon to write a single, more effective ending chapter instead of the two chapters that we had. In addition, I believe some of the scenes would have been better off being moved to a separate novella published after Oathbringer. Let me list down all the scenes in the last two chapters, and how I personally would have suggested changing some of them if I were Brandon's editor: Moash is given an assignment - Keep. Dalinar asks Navani to teach him how to read - Keep. Shallan realizes that Adolin knows the real her - Keep. Venli ponders on her fate - Keep. Szeth swears the Third Ideal of the Skybreakers - Keep. Shallan and Adolin confess their love for each other - Move to novella. Kaladin ponders on stuff and talks to Teft - Keep. Taravangian confesses to Dalinar - Move to novella. Moash kills Jezrien - Keep. But end the scene with the Fused giving Moash Jezrien's Honorblade and renaming him as Vyre immediately after Jezrien dies, so that we can skip the last Moash scene. Lopen swears the Second Ideal of the Windrunners - Keep. But end it before Lopen talks to Kaladin. And switch with the Ash scene below. Ash feels her father's death - Keep. But switch with Lopen scene above. Kaladin finds Drehy, Skar, and Gavinor - Drop. Instead, replace Teft's final interlude (I-14, which I felt wasn't really needed and didn't even feel like a good interlude) with an interlude from Drehy's POV showing how they managed to send a spanreed message, and perhaps giving details on how they survived the Kholinar disaster. This is the only change I would suggest outside of the last two chapters. Taravangian faces Odium. Move to novella. Adolin confesses to the murder of Sadeas and refuses kingship - Move to novella. Palona reads gossip and Jasnah appears as queen - Drop. Instead, write a scene from the POV of Jochi of Thaylenah, where we get another spanreed conference between him, Ethid, and Jasnah. Jochi talks about how the common Thaylen folk are coping after half their city was destroyed, while Jasnah reports about Elhokar's death and the rescue of Gavinor, the confessions of Taravangian and Adolin, Shallan and Adolin's marriage, and finally (*gasp*) her coronation as queen of Alethkar! Moash receives the Honorblade - Drop. See scene 9 above. Shallan and her brothers reunite, and she receives a new Ghostblood assignment - Move to novella. Dalinar writes Oathbringer - Keep. As you can see, if I had my way there would have been only 11 scenes (10 pre-existing + 1 new scene) in Oathbringer's ending instead of 18, and I think all of that would have fitted a single chapter. The spanreed conversation of the hypothetical Jochi scene is what I meant by breaking the "show, don't tell" rule for the sake of a shorter, better ending over all. I think it would have worked because, after all, we already had a chapter with the three Veristitalians conversing via spanreed earlier in the novel, and I believe Brandon could have pulled off another one. Also, the actual Scene 15 felt lacking to me because we never got to know Jasnah's thoughts about being queen. My alternative scene would have allowed her to express herself a bit. *** In my alternative timeline, Oathbringer wouldn't have had Shallan and Adolin's passionate kiss except through Kaladin's POV. It also wouldn't have had Taravangian's encounter with Odium. But that's where the novella comes in. In my little fantasy I imagine the hypothetical novella to have two parts: The first part, called "Hate", has Taravangian's POV of his treacherous acts during the battle of Thaylen City. Then comes his confession to Dalinar (Scene 8) and the Odium encounter (Scene 13), each expanded into their own chapters. The second part, called "Love", has all the Shallan scenes after Scene 3 expanded into their own chapters. After Scene 14, there is a chapter showing Jasnah's coronation. More importantly, after Scene 17 we actually get to see the marriage ceremony of Shallan and Adolin, which is kind of a big deal if you ask me. I don't know what Brandon would have called this hypothetical novella, but I'm thinking that "Passions that Bind" is a nice title. *** Okay, I'm starting to wonder if maybe my imagination has gone wilder than usual this time. I guess I just felt that Oathbringer could have been a much more awesome book if the ending was handled a bit better. Brandon's writing has improved a lot in some ways, but sadly this is my least-favorite ending in a Sanderson book so far. But the rest of the book was simply awesome. That is something I agree with almost everyone.
  24. He actually talks about how he got his cooking experience in the chapter I got those quotes above: So it seems he enjoyed cooking even when he was fourth son working as a nuatoma guard.