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Confused last won the day on February 22 2014

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  1. @Calderis: We Don’t “Fundamentally Disagree” on this Issue No, Cal, I don’t know where we “fundamentally disagree” on this issue. Brandon SAYS Shards combine personality and fundamental law/primal force. You previously said you didn’t think we knew enough to identify each Shard’s fundamental law or to guess how such law affects the Shard. Those views don’t conflict with this post. You’re just unwilling yet to speculate about these subordinate issues. I OTOH am perfectly willing to do so – hardly a “fundamental disagreement” – and I have firm bases for my speculations. Fact-Based Theory on the Difference Between Shards The 2018 WoB gives three examples of fundamental laws: Ruin (entropy), Preservation (stasis), and Honor (bonds). This 2017 WoB SHOWS how fundamental laws work in practice (quoted in part, bold added): Honor grants magic through bonds: The Nahel bond (to make one a Surgebinder) and each time the Surgebinder uses an Honor-centric ability. Brandon says Windrunners and Skybreakers forge a bond between themselves and their desired direction to access gravity. The 2017 WoB amplifies two earlier WoBs I often reference: These three WoBs show Shards magically differ only in their unique filter to Spiritual Realm power – “the WAY the magic is obtained.” The 2018 WoB says Shards combine personality and fundamental law/primal force. I think it’s SOUND THEORY to conclude each Shard’s unique filter IS their fundamental law/primal force. This theory explains a lot about Shard behavior including Shard Wars. For example, IMO magic users perform Intended (capital “I”) acts of entropy, stasis, or bonding each time they summon Ruin’s, Preservation’s, or Honor’s Investiture: Ruin – Spiking sDNA, destroying evil, and converting attributes into Investiture are all Intended acts of entropy. Preservation – Feruchemists Intend to return to their prior condition (the status quo) when they re-convert Investiture into attributes. The fixed (static) supply of lerasium and the Feruchemical gene limits the number of magic users and the strength of their powers. “Burning” metal allows Allomancers to draw Investiture through that metal’s static molecular structure. Honor – The Nahel bond grants Surgebinding; yet the 2017 WoB quoted above says, “some of the [Surgebinding] magics lean more Honor and some [of] them lean more Cultivation.” Surgebinders exercise their Honor-centric abilities like Windrunning/Skybreaking through bonding. Cultivation – Though the Nahel bond grants Surgebinding to all Knights Radiant, the 2017 WoB implies transformative magical abilities like Soulcasting and Progression come from Cultivation. I’ve yet to see a cogent counter-argument from you or anyone else. You instead say you choose not to speculate on these issues. You apparently don’t find these WoBs as compelling as I do. Theory-Making Approach Cal, you’re imaginative, quick-on-your-feet, and my favorite debate partner. But I still don’t understand your analytic approach to theory-making. Our last exchange four months ago, on Allomancy’s thermodynamics and the meaning of “resonance,” ended with you claiming WoBs are as likely wrong as right (bold added): And I don't. Brandon has a team for a reason. He can't be an expert on everything. The vast majority of the time that he's at a signing he does not have his team with him. There's a reason we have conflicting WoBs, and ones where he states things that obviously conflict with the books. Brandon is amazing but he's not perfect. He makes mistakes in addition to not being perfect. Part of the issue, I agree, is that the rules have been refined as the story progresses. But taking the underlying mechanics to the literal definition of Brandon's word choices, when many things are done to serve the story first and foremost, is a good way to be disappointed in my opinion. These are valid points, but Brandon’s words are our only cosmere guide. Text foremost, but we shouldn’t belittle his commentary. The cosmere is Brandon’s invention. What he says goes unless there’s an obvious error. To do otherwise leads to an ad hoc approach inconsistent with Brandon’s self-description as an author-architect. I think we should presume Brandon’s words are right and try to square his words with text and other WoBs. We should ignore his words only if we can’t place them in that broader tapestry. Context and subtext are vital. I looked at more than fifty WoBs before concluding Brandon intends the technical meaning of “resonance” in his 2011 WoB that first describes Focus. Those WoBs show Brandon knows what a resonance is both technically and metaphorically. If you’re a puzzle-solver like me, you seek cosmere truth wherever you find it and don’t reflexively reject potential solutions. Specific Responses Now, to your specific comments. Possibly... But it's also possible that, as Leras' betrayal of Ruin, and his description of that betrayal as a loophole in the agreement, that shards are only bound to what they believe they were agreeing to. And With Honor at least, we know he does not believe settlement with Cultivation was a violation of what he agreed to. Endowment says the Vessels agreed not to interfere with one another. She interprets their pact to mean no multi-Shard planets. Ati, Leras, and Tanavast disagree. But murder is “interference” beyond any interpretation. Endowment sniffs her nose while the other Shards do nothing. We can only conclude Shard interference bears no consequence. If we believe Taravangian, once Odium chooses to accept the challenger’s request for a champion, he is bound by his choice. Is there a cosmere Unbreakable Vow? But a deal with Odium is like a deal with the devil. Rayse will twist every circumstance and word to his advantage: Rayse refuses to write his word down. He comes to Taravangian only on Mr. T’s befuddled days. This allows Rayse to fudge or outright lie about his unwritten word. His word itself is ambiguous: “The city itself, and any humans who have been born into it, along with their spouses.” The words “have been born” mean those who were born in the city, those to be born before Odium kills all other humans, and MAYBE, but not necessarily, those born to Kharbranth-born after that: IMO, Odium will interpret his “word” to allow him to kill everyone not born into Kharbranth as of when he kills Roshar’s other humans. When that generation dies, so does the city. In exchange for that nanosecond of human life, Odium gets to avoid direct war with Dalinar. Why risk himself if Taravangian can neutralize the mortal Bondsmith for him? Good point. Maybe Hoid doesn’t have to “harm” another champion to defeat them? He can, for example, neutralize his opponent without causing “harm” (whatever that means). Maybe Hoid will adopt Preservation’s tactic and separate Odium’s consciousness from his Physical Realm Investiture? Your point's well taken. @Karger: Odium Break Connections I think broken “people” Connections cause the emotional Void, not the other way around. Hate divides people and breaks the Connections between them. Ultimately, a hateful person cuts themselves off from everyone and falls into an emotional void. Magic systems reflect both their Shard and their planet. On Roshar Odium breaks “people” Connections, but IMO his fundamental law/primal force can break any Connection. Dalinar’s last WoK vision and the OB Venli-Dalinar vision both show this, land and city disintegrating into a physical void. Only around Dalinar does physical reality reknit itself, as Honor’s Investiture bonds things together. There’s tons of text evidence that Odium breaks Connections. As imagery, he is the Broken One. He tells Taravangian, “I don’t need anyone,” highlighting his lack of people Connection. Moash and others say, “I’m not to blame,” as they seek to shed the guilt, shame, and pain their people Connections cause. When Dalinar nearly succumbs to Odium in Thaylen City, he says, “Alone…So alone,” because his memories of murder extinguish his people Connections. Other examples include SLA’s central theme – Unity vs. Division. I think Voidbinders break Connections to access Odium’s magic. Flying Fused, for example, by degree break or reinstate their Connection to gravity (up to one-G). They move in wider arcs than Windrunners who veer with sharp lashings. Their main tactic is to fall upon a target using normal gravity to accelerate. I imagine the flying Fused as gliders compared to engine-flying Windrunners. That partly explains the fuel usage differential. FWIW, as metaphor I also imagine Odium as Freud’s id, Roshar’s unrestrained primal urges. (Think of the Unmade.) My “Roshar’s Freudian Mind” post asserts Odium’s id conflicts with Honor’s superego, society’s binding rules. Cultivation as ego tries to reconcile (transform) their conflict. Questions About Champions 1. Does a champion have access to the full power of its Shard? 2. What happens to the Vessel whose champion loses? 3. What happens to the Shard whose champion loses? What do you think?
  2. @Ammanas, @Araris Valerian, @Azul, @Blessed peace, @Briar King, @Dashichka, @DSC01, @Extesian, @Fourth Of The Night, @Gigalemesh, @goody153, @Idealistic, @Jondesu, @Julio, @Khyrindor, @Onslaught, @robardin, @Severian4Scadrial, @Slimy_Slider, @Sorana, @Stampede, @Storming Radiant, @Vexmeister, @Wander89, and @Wit Beyond Measure: Each of you has expressed interest in Robin Hobb’s “Realm of the Elderings” books in the last two years. I thought this post might interest you. WARNING!!! This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS from Hobb’s latest trilogy. FA refers to Fool’s Assassin (Book 1), FQ refers to Fool’s Quest (Book 2), and AF refers to Assassin’s Fate (Book 3). FURTHER WARNING!!! This post is MY INTERPRETATION of text. It is my opinion only no matter how affirmatively I express those opinions. * * * * * * * I LOVE Bee Farseer. This character at age ten is already one of the most accomplished magicians in fantasy-dom. As the nexus of past, present, and future represented by her three fathers Fitz, Nighteyes, and Beloved, Bee holds the power to make her world’s future: PREDICTIONS Bee Is Her Own Catalyst Bee tells both Fitz and Beloved that “no one can tell me ‘no’ anymore.” I believe she is her own Catalyst, who both foresees the future and makes it happen. Bee’s own actions change her “true Path”: Bee’s “True Path” As her White Prophet mission, I think Bee chooses to change the memories that cause people to take vengeance against each other: Bee Becomes the Mountain Kingdom’s Sacrifice Kettricken is Bee’s Wolf-Mother, the mate Nighteyes would have chosen for Fitz. Under Kettricken’s guidance and attention, Bee prospers and endears herself to the Mountain Kingdom. Her hair and eye color matches that of its people. Bee becomes a skilled huntress, her arrows her sting. Many come to the Mountain Kingdom for Bee’s healing and to hear a White Prophet’s wisdom as they once did for Beloved. King Dutiful names Prince Integrity the Seventh Duchy’s Duke. When Kettricken dies, the Mountain Kingdom chooses Bee as its Sacrifice. Bee’s Friendship with Dragons and Elderlings I think Bee stays close with Vivacia and the Paragon dragons through the Skill and occasional visits. Vivacia becomes Bee’s “Dragon-mother.” Vivacia loves Bee for helping Vivacia’s family, and Bee reciprocates: Paragon’s dragons see Bee as Beloved’s daughter and the person who chooses their freedom over personal power when she gives the Silver to Kennitsson. Karrigvestrit and the green Queen dragon demand to see Bee in Kelsingra and thank her and Fitz as dragon vengeance-takers. (AF, Ch. 44, Kindle Loc. 14503.) I think Bee cements the alliance between Kelsingra and the Seven Duchies by healing the “touched” and saving the Elderings from famine. Reyn tells Fitz Kelsingra always needs more grain. Two Bee dreams presage this: Bee Dreams a New Silver Source Bee withholds from Dwalia This dream seems to refer to Rapskal and Heeby. I think Bee discovers the “new land” across the ice holds a lode of Silver unaffected by the catastrophe that destroys Kelsingra and reduces its Silver output to a single well. Maybe the new land holds the Silver river Verity dipped his hands in. Bee Hides Her Skill Strength Natural ability, Thick’s teachings, and the integration of serpent potion with her “family magic” make Bee the strongest of all Skill users. Bee withstands Vindeliar’s Skilled summons when Fitz himself succumbs. Bee even hides her thoughts from Nettle’s touch in the Stone Garden – “’Nice walls,’ [Nettle says to Bee]. ‘Thick taught you well.’” (AF, Chapter 49, Kindle Loc. 15690.) No one including Nettle knows Bee’s full strength. Raised by a man of secrets, Bee keeps hers close. This Bee dream foretells what she becomes. The “old tree” is Molly, who bears Bee. Bee’s silver crown IMO refers to her Skill-strength, a queen among Skill-users: Prilkop’s Whites Become True Servants to Bee In his letter to Beloved, Prilkop acknowledges the Servants slaughtered dragons. (AF, Chapter 41, Kindle Locs. 13695-13710.) His belated discovery of their treachery and his desire to reestablish the Servants as true helpers to the White Prophet lead Prilkop to journey his Whites to the Seven Duchies. I believe they do serve Bee there; yet I suspect one or more of them will try to retaliate against Bee the Destroyer. Prilkop tells Beloved that most of his Whites have stopped dreaming. Rosemary’s Coup IMO, Rosemary is Regal’s bastard daughter, the counterpart to Fitz as a royal assassin. Rosemary feels indebted to Kettricken, who rescues the child Rosemary after Regal’s fall. With Fitz, Chade, and Kettricken dead, Rosemary mounts her coup. Rosemary disbands Chade’s spy network and steals his sequestered scrolls. These scrolls include Fitz’s account of Verity in the Stone Garden. Rosemary KNOWS, from Fitz himself, that Fitz’s body sires Dutiful. None of the Dukes believe that Verity’s Skilled possession of Fitz’s body makes Dutiful Verity’s natural son. The Dukes attribute Dutiful’s Wit to Fitz. Without a Verity heir, Regal rightfully becomes king when Verity dies. Regal’s heir should now rule. I believe Violet is Regal’s heir, a grandchild who can “prove” her lineage. Violet’s name hints at her royal (purple) heritage. Her condescension towards Bee and Shine is Regal-esque. Even before the coup, Bee’s enmity with Violet grows. Dutiful brings his downfall on himself. Like his mother, Dutiful thinks the best of people and trusts Rosemary. Both he and Nettle naively believe the Realm needs fewer secrets. We glimpse Rosemary’s true attitude when as emissary to Kelsingra after Fitz’s visit she downplays the value of a potential alliance. (AF, Chapter 17 Epigraph.) Perhaps Dutiful’s downfall is inevitable. He keeps the figurine of Elliania he found on the Treasure Beach. (The Tawny Man Trilogy, Fool’s Errand, Chapter XXIV, Kindle Loc. 8354.) Those who take items from the Beach are forever cursed: SPECULATIONS Text supports the foregoing predictions. Now I venture into the deeper waters of speculation and invention. An Army of Vindeliars – Does the Pale Woman Return? The dragons may have killed most of the Others, but I wonder if some escaped hidden underground or in the ocean. I also wonder if the Others kept a large reserve of serpent potion. If they did, they might create an army of Vindeliars. Will Ilistore lead them? Ilistore is supposedly dead. Fitz finds her empty mortal shell. But Fitz’s dead body could yield his soul to Nighteyes for a time; and through his blood Beloved imparts his soul into a Rooster Crown feather made from memory stone. I wonder if the Pale Woman moves her soul into memory stone. She could have become the animating personality of the second stone dragon left in the shallow waters off Aslevjal. Or maybe she moves into a memory cube, and Chade inadvertently brings her to Buckkeep. Perhaps she later possesses the body of an untrained apprentice Skill-user assigned to classifying the cube. Or maybe Ilistore possesses Violet herself (who Bee says “has no walls at all”) and becomes the Seven Duchies Queen. Ilistore sees Bee as a junction to a future she wants destroyed. She seeks Bee’s death. I speculate Ilistore and/or the Others strike at a Seven Duchies weakened by Rosemary’s coup. As a powerful and potent group of Skill-users, they will destroy or coopt the Farseers and their coteries. Bee notes that Nettle has created too many coteries, some of which may turn traitor. At minimum, those coteries are a way into the minds of Dutiful, his sons, and Nettle. Chade feared this. (FA, Chapter 3, Kindle p. 78.) The Skill-pillar in Buckkeep’s dungeons may allow the Others or the “Vindeliar army” into Buckkeep. Bee, Shine, and Spark save Hope and Promise from murder. Lant and Per aid their escape. I think Rosemary and/or Ilistore kill or seal Dutiful, Nettle, and Prosper. Integrity survives, since he’s in the Mountain Kingdom as its Duke. Bee Becomes a Dragon I think this transformation is inevitable, though I can only guess at the circumstances. This cryptic dream may predict it: Butterflies are a symbol of transformation, from an earthbound caterpillar to a winged beauty. Bee falls but “comes back” like butterflies do “to change all.” My favorite possibility for Bee’s transformation has Ilistore’s forces finding and encircling the escaping Farseers in the Stone Garden. Dozens of people witness Fitz entering his wolf and now know where the Stone Garden is. I believe Ilistore uses hammers and Chade’s exploding powder to destroy Verity and the other stone dragons. Their aim is to ensure Bee can’t activate the Stone Garden’s dragons. This Bee dream may predict the Wolf of the West (Fitz, Nighteyes, and Beloved’s stone dragon) trying to rescue the embattled Farseers: The Wolf’s “dozens of unhealable wounds” seem as if Ilistore’s forces broke chunks of memory stone from him. Somehow, through blood and Wit (Bee's?), the Wolf arises. As Sacrifice, Bee offers herself in exchange for the other Farseer lives. Ilistore “kills” Bee atop the rubble left by the stone dragons’ destruction. Bee’s blood sinks into the Silver-threaded rubble. Like Beloved and Ilistore herself, Bee’s blood transfers her soul into the memory stone. Silver is the raw stuff of magic. Silver-splattered Fitz makes wood combust with a thought. (AF, Chapter 46, Kindle Loc. 14828.) The Silver-threaded rubble retains the memories of older Farseers and their coteries. I think Bee commands the Silver to transform her into a bee-shaped dragon filled with the ancestral Farseer memories: “When the bee to the earth does fall, the butterfly comes back to change all.” Queen Bee. Other possibilities: Maybe Ilistore uses Silver to drown Bee. Or maybe dragons give Bee Silver. Or maybe Bee falls into the Kelsingra Silver-well. Silver does not kill Bee because the serpent potion she stepped in has already mingled with her blood and inoculated her against Silver damage. Queen Bee IMO has Skill-strength equal to a dragon's and can undergo the same transformation. One way or another, I believe Queen Bee becomes a true dragon. A Dragon Coterie? I think Queen Bee will organize the liveship dragons into a Skill-coterie that supports her. She will need this powerful coterie to contend with the army of Vindeliars. Because of their human memories, the liveship dragons are more likely to help humans than the other dragons. Maybe her dragon coterie helps her change human memory to end vengeance-taking. HOBB’S THEMES – MEMORY AND THE “GREAT MAN THEORY” OF HISTORY I think Hobb’s books explore the “great man theory” of history, that “heroes” and other influential people propel history’s direction. A White Prophet – history’s chance element – shifts fate from its current track through his or her Catalyst, the hero. As Bee’s thoughts about vengeance show, Hobb views memory as the guiding force of both personal and collective history. Fitz says memory forms a person’s character: The Skill-current IMO is people’s collective memories. Collective memory identifies the “great men or women” whose deeds and reputations linger longest and strongest. Survival in the Skill-current involves the maintenance of “self,” defined by personal and collective memory. Elderings and Skill coteries fill stone dragons with memory to provide a physical platform to remember self. Bee says Verity remains a dragon in the Skill-current (FQ, Chapter 38 Epigraph, Kindle p. 752). Six Duchies and Out Island peoples still remember Verity and his dragons that save the Six Duchies and defeat the Outislanders. Six Duchies folk remember Fitz as a wolf. Hobb’s view of memory and fate compares with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time and James Islington’s still unfinished Licanius Trilogy. Jordan views time as cyclical. Islington (to the extent we can tell after two books) focuses on time-loops and whether changing the past can change the future. (“Licanius” in “High Darecian” means “fate.”) Hobb thinks a hero can change the future. CONCLUSION Time will aptly tell how close to the mark these predictions and speculations are. I hope you Hobb fans at least enjoyed this post’s ride.
  3. How do Shards fight each other? What are the “rules”? How do Shards enforce these rules? Are there other Vessel agreements? This post gives my answers to these questions. Shard Rules I think the “rules” that govern Shards flow more from their essential nature than from some pact among the Vessels. Brandon says Shards are a mix of cosmere “fundamental laws” (which he also calls “primal forces”) and personality. Shard names reflect a “charged term,” a “cultural component,” for that fundamental law: “Ruin” is entropy; “Preservation” is stasis; “Honor” is bonds. IMO, “Odium” represents some cosmere force that breaks Connections – a repulsive, “odious” force. An earlier post goes into this idea in detail. Because each Shard’s fundamental law is unique to it, I believe for purposes of Shard Wars we need to focus on the fundamental law more than the Vessel personality that interprets the fundamental law. Shard Pact I do think the Vessels make some agreements before Shattering Adonalsium. Honor says the Shards must fight through a champion if their opponent so chooses. I suspect this is to avoid Vessel destruction (though that doesn’t seem to stop Odium). Endowment’s letter to Hoid says the Vessels also agree not to interfere with one another. She says each Shard should reside alone on a separate planet, presumably to avoid mixed Investitures. She excuses Odium’s murder of Aona and Skai because their Shards shared their planet. By that logic, Tanavast also deserves his fate. Endowment dismisses Odium’s murder of Uli Da as ridding the other Shards of a future problem despite the murder’s violation of the non-interference pact. Beyond these two agreements – a champion and non-interference – I’m unaware of other Vessel agreements. The multiple-Shard planets and the Shards’ non-reaction to Odium’s murders suggests no consequences for breaching the Shards’ agreements. The Odium Shard’s nature to break Connections makes Rayse’s breach of the Shard pact almost inevitable. How Shards Fight I believe Shards fight as a battle of fundamental laws/primal forces. Ruin’s Investiture decays/destroys. Preservation’s Investiture maintains the status quo. Honor makes Connections (bonds). Odium IMO breaks Connections. Even if Shards hold equal amounts of Investiture (which they no longer do), some fundamental forces may better suit Shard Wars than others. Hoid thinks Rayse “holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards.” The power to break Connections allows Odium to sever the Vessel from its Shard, thus killing the Vessel. By contrast, Ati slowly “strangles” Leras (says Khriss) rather than kill him at once. Ati interpreted Ruin’s entropy law as decay (a slow death). Had Preservation equal power to Ruin, the two Shards would stalemate – Preservation instantly healing whatever decay Ruin throws at him. I think some other Shard fundamental laws/primal forces are quantum physics (the physics of subatomic particles) - Endowment; fractals (the mathematics of complex patterns that are identical despite their size) - Autonomy; and transformation (mass-energy-Investiture conversion) - Cultivation. Even if you disagree with my premise, it might be fun to guess how such Shards would do in Shard Wars. Hoid as Harmony's Champion? What if Hoid is collecting the magic of multiple Shards because one will name him its champion? Harmony? Hoid knows the Shard pact terms and might be preparing to become a champion. In fighting another Shard’s champion, Hoid would have more magic at his disposal. Maybe he can defeat all other Shard champions. The climactic fight features Odium's champion against Hoid - fitting. Will the cosmere end in Hate or Harmony?
  4. Yes, Autonomy’s Investiture comes from the Dayside sun. Khriss confirms this in AU. But I think most of the Investiture ends up in the ocean. The planet’s water cycle circulates the Investiture throughout the planet including Darkside. Sand Masters (and everyone else on Taldain) IMO drink Invested water and Daysiders absorb Invested solar radiation. Nalthis’ sun does generate that planet’s EMR – though the lightbulb WoB confirms mechanical EMR sources. But would Brandon duplicate Taldain’s Invested solar radiation mechanic? My doubt leans me toward my previous post’s Theory 2: “Color draining” Spiritually drains an object’s capacity to hold EMR. As you all say, that capacity resides in the object’s pigment. I think Awakeners drain the Investiture that comprises a pigment’s Spiritual Realm aspect. That Investiture activates Awakening. “Color draining,” IOW, destroys pigment in all three Realms just like Nightblood destroys “evil” people. I omit Scadrial because it’s not a pre-Shattering world. I focus on the inherent Investiture Adonalsium left on planets. Quantus asks a similar question to yours: I agree with both of you: Awakening’s color, Allomancy’s metals, and Sand Mastery’s water share a magical function. IMO, each is their Shard’s “pathway to power” down which Investiture transitions Realms. (Unlike color and water, metal is also a Focus and, Khriss says in BoM, a “catalyst.”) A November 2018 WoB describes cosmere “natural pathways.” I think water is Autonomy’s pathway generally and not just for Sand Mastery: Autonomy built Patji from the ocean, like Adonalsium built the Roshan continent (with Autonomy’s “assigned Investiture” IMO). You ask a good question, why do Allomancers burn metals but not Feruchemists, when metal accesses Shard power in both cases. The “writerly” answer: Brandon wrote Mistborn before cosmere “laws” fully crystallized. He later regretted his end-positive, end-neutral, and end-negative distinction because it “doesn’t scale well” to other worlds and magics. That WoB says almost every magic is end-positive, including Feruchemy. I think Brandon’s refined the cosmere’s rules since MB. The in-world answer: The Allomantic gene just works differently from the Feruchemical gene. Allomancy requires activation energy like every known magic system except the two nominally end-neutral systems Feruchemy and non-Awakening Breath transfers. Allomantic Intent does “spark burning” (a plus for your metaphor and a minus for your analogy). That’s like saying your decision to strike the match starts the fire and not the match itself. You still need the match’s activation energy. Besides, it doesn’t take a lot of energy to get a metal’s static molecular structure resonating. Lift’s metabolism transforms food into Stormlight, which I suspect takes a lot more energy than vibration – she’s awfully skinny. You say, “And ‘Resonance’ in this instance could be a Spiritual thing described however Brandon chooses. [Italics added.]” I don’t believe Brandon would casually pick the very word that culminates his description: “the molecular structure of the metal…what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal…filters the power.” A metal’s resonance is a unique vibrational frequency – the perfect Focus. Metal absorbs the most energy at its resonance frequency (uncoincidentally IMO). Here’s Brandon’s literal analogy: “Digestion is to Food” as “Burning is to Metal.” “Burning” food or metal lends the activation energy for a process that returns even more energy to the system. Just as digestion adds energy to us, “burning metal” adds Preservation’s power to the Allomancer. Cal, our analytical differences often come down to this: I’m more willing than you to take Brandon at his literal word. Whether it’s “resonance” or “unified cosmere rules” or the mists fueling Allomancy “like a metal” or “pathways to power” or “primal force,” I accept and try to reconcile Brandon’s statements and the concepts that underlie them. When in doubt, I think it’s the side to err on.
  5. This post addresses a mystery: In a world riven by race warfare, why does an Ascended being give Roshar’s deadliest killer the cosmere’s most dangerous object? Why link this scary duo when one doesn’t trust his moral code and the other doesn’t have one? One answer: Cultivation foresees Investiture growth will cause Nightblood to ascend as a Divine Object, the super-sapient Sword of Retribution. She chooses Szeth to teach Nightblood the meaning of evil – who deserves to die (“retribution”) and who doesn’t – before Nightblood ascends. The starting point: 1. Cultivation knows about Nightblood, since the Nightwatcher offers Nightblood to Dalinar: “A Blade that bleeds darkness and cannot be defeated.” (OB, Chapter 114, Kindle p. 1078.) 2. We don’t know how the Nightwatcher acquires Nightblood, but we do know Nale ends up with him. 3. Nale delivers Nightblood to Szeth. ANALYSIS The main sections outline my narrative. The Spoiler sections are more technical. Nightblood Basics and Mechanics I tucked these subjects in a Spoiler because most of you already know this stuff. Cultivation Fears Nightblood’s Growth Nightblood adds Investiture “over time” (I believe each time he destroys evil). The added Investiture causes Nightblood’s mind to grow: “The more investiture clumped together, the more likely – and the closer to human-level intelligence it is likely to obtain.” Brandon tells us, “Nightblood is capable of more change than Vasher assumes.” “The only clues I'm willing to give on [Nightblood’s growth] right now are the ones that are in Oathbringer.” Nightblood picks up Lift’s vocabulary quickly enough, curses and all. That suggests some growth. If Nightblood continues to be used, he will inevitably reach “human-level intelligence” and theoretically surpass it. Cultivation fears a super-sapient being of enormous destructive power with no moral compass. With or without a conscience, if used enough Nightblood will ascend. Cultivation decides Nightblood needs a moral tutor. He’s still a child who doesn’t understand abstractions like “evil.” She may believe, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.” Cultivation implants Nightblood’s moral code while she can. How Nightblood Adds Investiture My best guess: Why Szeth? Szeth doesn’t trust his own moral judgment: “How was a twisted soul like his to decide who should die?” Impossible.” (OB, Chapter 118, Kindle p. 1124.) But the two Purelake scenes show exceptional discernment and judgment – when he assesses blame on the prison operator and when he “loopholes” himself to victory against other Skybreaker wannabes. Nale admires Szeth not for his combat skills but for his faithful adherence to an unforgiving moral code. Maybe Cultivation asked Nale to select Nightblood’s tutor; maybe she chose Szeth herself. Regardless, they chose well. But Szeth now navigates morality by Dalinar’s true north. As when bound by his oathstone, Szeth still avoids responsibility for his moral decisions. I believe this is unsustainable. Szeth himself must grow and learn to trust his own judgment before he can teach Nightblood who deserves to die. Cultivation Transforms Nightblood WoK describes a carved relief of “Nalan’Elin, emitting sunlight, the sword of retribution held over his head.” (Chapter 18, Kindle p. 286, bold added.) We don’t know what that sword is, maybe Nale’s Honorblade. Some posters note the idea of a “sword of retribution” fits Nightblood’s destructiveness. I think Cultivation/Nightwatcher transforms Nightblood into the Rosharan spren “Sword of Retribution.” The carved relief, still being worked on, shows the Sword’s cultural currency. “Retribution” means “deserved punishment.” I view Retribution as a subset of Just, the Skybreakers’ primary Divine Attribute. Nightblood might not technically be a highspren, because he was created differently and represents only a sliver of Justice. But I believe Cultivation/Nightwatcher gives Nightblood the ability to grant Skybreaking powers to Szeth. Nightblood does not Connect to Szeth through the Nahel bond: “Nightblood does not have the same spren bond, and so the renouncing of Oaths is not going to affect him.” As the Shard of transformation, Cultivation doesn’t need the Nahel bond (the “same spren bond”) to grant her magic to mortals. Nightblood’s existing Cognitive bond with Szeth communicates Szeth’s wishes. As a Rosharan spren (now), Nightblood can transform Stormlight into the Skybreaking powers. Why Not Another Highspren? Many posters believe Szeth does have a Nahel bond with a separate highspren. They may be right, but I think Nightblood himself is “the hidden spren who only rarely showed itself to” Szeth. (OB, Chapter 121, Kindle p. 1198.) I discuss this in the Spoiler. Conclusion Nightblood as the Sword of Retribution is not a new thought. I believe Nightblood as the living ideal of Retribution, a non-Nahel bond spren that grants Skybreaking powers and ultimately ascends, is. If this interpretation seems strained, it fits within SLA’s broader redemption arc. Why bring Szeth and Nightblood together if not to transform two mass murderers? They redeem the evil they’ve each done (like Dalinar tries to do) by destroying true evil here and now. Two predictions: EITHER – Szeth and Nightblood will ascend together. He will replace the broken Nale as Herald of Justice, wielding Nightblood the ascended Sword of Retribution. (Someone else must have predicted this by now.) OR – Instead, Szeth will achieve the Fifth Skybreaker Ideal and fully merge into Nightblood. He will become the Sword of Retribution’s Divine Conscience. (My personal vote goes to this one, if only for novelty.) Happy New Year’s, everyone! May it be a joyful, healthy, and prosperous year for all humankind! Confused
  6. @Ookla, the Hivemind (Cal), in the Broadway musical 1776, John Adams says to the Continental Congress, “Consider yourselves fortunate that you have John Adams to abuse, for no sane man would tolerate it!” You may consider yourself fortunate (or not) that I’m insane… All Magic Has an Activation Cost Basic physics requires an outside force or energy to change a system in equilibrium. Brandon says the cosmere is our physics plus Investiture. (Do we agree on this or do I have to find the WoB?) In the real world, chemical reactions “will not occur unless a certain amount of activation energy is added first. In this sense, all reactions absorb energy before they begin…[bold in original].” Also, objects remain at rest or in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. (Newton’s First Law of Motion – Inertia.) Investiture can substitute for cosmere energy or matter, but it doesn’t change the need for some “activation” force or energy. In King Lear’s terms, “Nothing will come of nothing.” To me, this is bedrock principle, here and in the cosmere. Two Theories for Awakening’s Activation Cost Theory 1: My favored theory is that Nalthis’ inherent Investiture transmits through EMR. “Every world created” has inherent Investiture. I believe Nalthis’ electromagnetic field holds its inherent Investiture the way highstorms hold Stormlight, Taldain’s oceans hold Autonomy’s Investiture, etc. (Where do you think Nalthis’ inherent Investiture is in a world of color and light?) An object’s pigment absorbs the Invested EMR. Draining color drains this Investiture. Theory 2: Maybe “color draining” pulls in the Investiture that comprises a pigment’s Spiritual Realm aspect. Draining color seems to destroy an object’s ability to absorb EMR. Since pigment is Physical Realm matter, it has a Spiritual aspect. That Investiture may be enough to jump-start Awakening. Allomancy’s Activation Cost – The Science of Metal Burning These are NOT assumptions. Brandon says: Brandon equates metal burning with metabolism. While metabolism releases energy, it first adds energy to begin breaking food down. “Burning” metals releases Preservation’s power by adding the body’s energy. Brandon says a metal’s “resonance” makes it a Focus: “Resonance” in metal refers to vibrational frequency: IOW, Allomancers’ metabolic function causes metals to vibrate at unique frequencies. Each unique frequency makes that metal a Focus for a specific Preservation power. Awakening Needs More than “Breath, Command and Color” Where is the fuel? It’s not Breath or color. Awakeners recapture their indivisible Breaths, and “color” doesn’t exist. You seem to acknowledge Investiture’s role as fuel: Agreed. If a magic user has “access” and Investiture, “you have what you need.” For Awakening, Breath supplies “access,” the ability itself, but Breath is the Awakener’s sDNA. Breath can convert to energy, but we know Awakeners don’t do that, since they get back 100% of their Breaths undiminished. If Breath and color are not fuel, then the Awakener needs Investiture (or other energy) to activate the magic. Nightblood and Pigment Loss The Nightblood comment was for @Energy Surge, who apparently believes Szeth and Lift nearly died from pigment loss. A Shardblade-cut limb turns gray because the limb’s Connection to the person’s Spiritual Realm aspect severs. Investiture no longer extends into the Spiritually severed limb, just like blood no longer flows into a physically severed limb. The limb can’t be used again without Spiritual healing (like Kaladin’s arm after Szeth slices it). “Color draining” for Awakening is the same thing – an object loses its ability to absorb EMR when drained. Like a Shardblade cut, Investiture drain changes the object’s Spiritual Realm aspect. In both cases, “turning gray” associates with Investiture loss. I don’t recall if Nightblood’s holders recover their color. When Szeth gets his orders from Dalinar, after Nightblood drains Szeth, Szeth’s face is still “streaked with grey.” Maybe he can Spiritually heal his gray streaks with Stormlight, like Kaladin did. As a Returned, Vasher can cover up pigment loss and, with enough Breath, can maybe heal it too. Conclusion Cal, I will eat Overlord Jebus’ other shoe (by whatever name he now goes by) if you’re right and Awakening is just Breath and color with no other Investiture or activation cost. Will you, if you’re wrong? Also, I wouldn’t be too quick to tar others for “unfounded” theory based on “assumption.” I can point to a number of your theories that suffer that defect. Most theorizing is speculation built on incomplete information. As long as a theory works on its own terms and doesn’t contradict known “facts,” it’s as good as any other. (And if a theory fits with other theories to explain the broader cosmere, even better.)
  7. The question: What is Awakening’s fuel? It isn’t Breath or color. Can we agree Awakening drains the Investiture held in “pigment” as its fuel? Reasoning: A. Nalthis is the world of color and light – electromagnetic radiation. Its Cognitive Realm subastral mirrors that perception. Its magic system is based on indivisible BioChromatic Breaths, quanta of Investiture. Photons are quanta of EMR. The Heightenings are the quantization of Breaths. B. I infer Nalthis’ inherent Investiture resides in its electromagnetic field and disperses through EMR. This parallels how other pre-Shattering Shardworlds hold and distribute their inherent Investiture: Roshar’s highstorms, Taldain’s oceans (through its water cycle), and Sel’s ground. C. I believe EMR-transmitted Investiture stays in an object even as the photons’ energy dissipates as heat. This Investiture sticks to pigment because pigment absorbs more EMR than pure white, and the darker the pigment, the more absorbed EMR. The pigment-adhering Investiture IMO is Awakening's fuel. I don’t see how pigment molecules alone fuel Awakening. The “unstated rule” is basic cosmere physics (ours, plus Investiture). In our world, energy begins a process. In the cosmere, Investiture can substitute for energy to begin a magical process. Since neither Breath (sDNA) nor color is Awakening’s fuel, I agree Investiture must supply it. @Energy Surge: Draining Rosharan gemstones of color undercuts your pigment argument. Gemstone color stems from the gemstone’s impurities. That shows “draining color” is purely a phenomenon of light, not pigment. I read Brandon’s two WoBs differently from you. It is “possible” to Awaken in “total darkness” (under my theory) if the drained object already holds Investiture, and you Awaken using EMR other than visible light – for example, ultraviolet or infrared light, X-rays, or radio waves. The second WoB also works under my theory. “Leaching” the red bulb’s color means draining the Investiture the pigment absorbs and destroying the pigment’s ability to absorb EMR. You think loss of skin pigment, not Investiture, puts Szeth and Lift at the edge of death? Nale warns Szeth to make sure he has plenty of Stormlight for Nightblood. When Nightblood runs out of Stormlight, he drains his holder’s Investiture. The Investiture drain destroys the pigment’s ability to absorb EMR, which is why Szeth and Lift are permanently gray-streaked. Metals don’t fuel Allomancy. An Allomancer’s internal body function (“burning”) provides the energy to cause metals to vibrate. This “resonance” summons Preservation’s Spiritual Realm power, which Invests the Allomancer. Marasi describes metal as Preservation’s “pathway to power,” and I believe EMR is Endowment’s pathway to her power. Every magic needs some energy to start going. Even “end-neutral” Feruchemy gets energy from a “facilitating” Spiritual Realm power. @Scion of the Mists: 1. I did not say Azure used Stormlight in Shadesmar. I did say, intending a general rule, “Rosharan Awakening runs on Stormlight.” A better rule is “Awakening needs Physical Realm Investiture, from whatever source, as energy to summon Spiritual Realm power down Endowment’s EMR pathway.” 2. YOU’RE the one who says Nalthis’ sun refreshes color, not me. I say Awakening drains Investiture. If color is leached from a Rosharan gemstone, for example, the gemstone turns into “dusty quartz” and loses its function. It can still hold Stormlight because of its unchanged molecular structure. Since a gemstone has no “pigment” and gains color solely from light striking impurities, something fundamental and Spiritual happens to the gemstone beyond mere color loss. Siphoning off Investiture won’t permanently change an object? Szeth and Lift might disagree (as would the Rosharan gemstones). Conclusion I believe Nalthis’ electromagnetic field holds Investiture and transmits it through EMR. Pigment absorbs Investiture-carrying photons. That Investiture remains in the pigment even after the photons yield their energy as heat. “Draining color” means draining the Investiture now held in the pigment and permanently (Spiritually) changing the pigment’s capacity to absorb EMR.
  8. Magic Systems Off-World A cosmere with unified laws IMO should have uniform magical processes (with some variation). Just because the magics themselves differ doesn’t mean their processes differ. The OP looks only at magic systems on their native planets. IMO, these are the best exemplars of a uniform process. My focus on these exemplars has apparently caused confusion. To be clear, I believe 1. All magic systems except the Selish ones can theoretically make magic on any planet. 2. Mechanically, any Physical Realm investiture can convert to energy to start the magical process even if the Investiture is not from the Shard whose magic system it is. PR Investitures do not themselves make magic in the “people with magic” systems. Only Spiritual Realm Investiture (Shard power) IMO makes magic. 3, A magic user’s sDNA determines their ability to use an Investiture. The magic user generally must “hack” their sDNA to convert non-native PR Investiture into energy. With that said, I’ll respond to your individual comments. We agree: “There is nothing special about color on Nalthis.” How Awakeners make magic will be the same everywhere. But we disagree that “All it requires is breath, and available color.” I feel your view ignores magic’s need for initial energy. “Color” holds no energy: “The color of an object is not actually within the object itself. Rather, the color is in the light that shines upon it and is ultimately reflected or transmitted to our eyes.” If “color” is not within the object, then draining “color” from the object adds nothing to the magic. Awakening must require some fuel other than “Breath and available color” to work. The proof IMO is what Brandon says about using Rosharan gemstones to Awaken. Gemstones are made from Investiture (cut from animal gemhearts) or hold residual Stormlight like Rosharans themselves. When Awakeners drain “color” from the gemstone, they destroy the gemstone’s capacity to function. The gemstone turn “dusty gray.” Turning “gray” means the person or object has LOST INVESTITURE. If objects only lost color, they’d turn black. No light reflects from a black object because it absorbs all the light. Yet black is the best color for Awakening because light-absorbing black objects also absorb the most Investiture. Light-reflecting white objects absorb the least Investiture, and white is the worst Awakening color. Maybe there’s another explanation for these facts. But color ISN’T Awakening’s energy source. Which as I've stated many times, is one of the main reasons I do not believe we have seen Voidbinding used with Voidlight in a single instance yet. Again, the Investiture that STARTS the magical process can come from any Shard (if the magic user has the right inborn or hacked sDNA). When Glys uses Stormlight to “Voidbind” (if Renarin does Voidbind), Glys does what all spren do – he transforms (converts) the Stormlight into power, using some Stormlight to energize the transformation itself. The Fused are not spren and cannot transform PR Investiture directly into power. That means the Fused use Voidlight to summon Odium’s Spiritual Realm power – the same process as every non-spren magic system. The Fused are cloaked in Voidlight and IMO don’t use Stormlight even if they could. Honor’s Perpendicularity blows away the Fused attacking Kaladin, Shallan, and Adolin in Shadesmar: “Fused screamed as a wind blasted them away, though Kaladin felt nothing.” (OB, Chapter 119, Kindle p. 1136.) Spren ability to transform PR Investiture into Shard power is why Breath-fueled Windrunning should be “easy.” Magic users inhale both Breath and Stormlight. If a Breath holder can attract and bond a Radiant spren and speak the oaths, the Radiant spren could transform Breath into power, and off they go. (Expensive, though.) Yes, lichen can be charged with any Investiture, but Brandon says lichen-charging “isn’t the magic.” Sand Mastery’s magic is forming the Cognitive bond with the lichen to configure the sand. Khriss is clear Sand Mastery draws Spiritual Realm power to make this bond. A Sand Master could theoretically hack their sDNA to consume some other PR Investiture than Taldain’s to summon power. They would still have to transmit that power by water to the lichen to make their Cognitive bond. Which one of these systems’ described steps do you disagree with? They seem pretty straight-forward to me and follow book and WoB descriptions. 1. Awakening CAN be used off-world. It just requires draining some other PR Investiture than Endowment’s. Rosharan Awakening runs on Stormlight. Awakening IMO needs “color” because Endowment’s “primal force,” her “means of access” to Investiture, is EMR. It doesn’t matter what PR Investiture activates that pathway. 2. Interesting point. Do we know they can’t? (I don’t remember one way or other.) If a colored object can be re-charged and re-drained, that doesn’t tell us much. But if it can’t be, Investiture loss must permanently change the object (like Rosharan gemstones). Mere color loss wouldn’t do that. 3. Un-Invested objects can’t be used, IMO. How the object becomes Invested doesn’t matter as long as the object can transmit the energy down an EMR pathway. What Investiture burns the metals? The Allomantic gene is sDNA. That gives Allomancers their magical ability, but they don’t use the Allomantic gene as fuel. Are you referring to something else? I agree with this, as first stated in my (over-starched) “Classification of Magic Systems” post. The OP’s first sentence limits its scope to “people with magic” systems the Shards created, not the pre-Shattering “interaction with nature” systems. In my “Magic System Components – General Theory” post, I propose “interaction with nature” systems have only Fuel and Focus as components. I concluded from our discussion that any type of PR Investiture (not color) from any planet could fuel Awakening and most other magics (if you hack your sDNA). Again, IMO these PR Investitures are the fuel to summon Shard power. They do not directly make magic. That is Shard power’s role. For Movie and Music Buffs, Apropos of Nothing… I posted The Magnificent Seven theme in the “Cosmere Magic Game” thread as the soundtrack for Szeth and Lift stealing the King’s Drop. If you like truly rousing music, I urge you to listen to this theme. Its main melody sounds like Szeth flying. A staccato counterpoint (Lift scooting) supports the main melody. About halfway through (the 2:30 mark?), the theme’s slow bridge conjures Szeth and Lift healing from Nightblood’s damage and then walking up to Dalinar. The main melody triumphantly returns to send the pair racing off again. They recover the ruby and give it to Dalinar at theme’s end. The Magnificent Seven was a Hollywood remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Before cigarette commercials were banned from TV, the theme played as background to the “Marlboro Man” commercials. Some of us are old enough to remember them. I loved the music before I found out it came from a movie. The power of advertising…
  9. I believe all “people with magic” systems – where mortals direct magic rather than just interact with it – follow the same basic steps. These steps reflect Brandon’s “unified cosmere laws.” A magic user: 1. Begins by infusing energy into the magical process. 2. Uses that energy to summon Shard power. 3. Focuses that power as it Invests the magic user or an object. 4. Directs the Focused Investiture for some magical effect. Energy Infusion Some energy infusion always begins the magical process. Magic users metabolize metal or Investiture, or they move, or they simply command Shard power to add “facilitating” energy (Feruchemy and maybe non-Awakening Breath transfers). Summoning Shard Power I theorize the initial energy summons the magic’s actual fuel – Shard power – from the Spiritual Realm (or from the Cognitive Realm for the Dor). The lone exceptions IMO are Roshar’s spren-based magics because spren transform Stormlight into power rather than summon it. Brandon says, “almost every magic in the cosmere [including Feruchemy] is end-positive, almost every magic is relying upon an external source of Investiture to power it [italics in original].” Focusing Power Every known magic system except Surgebinding grants a single ability through a single Focus. Radiant spren act as a dual Focus for Surgebinders. I believe Cultivation transformed two “natural” spren, each with their own Focus, into Radiant spren. Directing Focused Power The magic user in every system directs the Focused power to produce some magical effect. Application to Each System Following are MY INTERPRETATIONS of these magic systems. I feel text and WoB support these interpretations, but they are still MY OPINION ONLY, not canon. Allomancy – Body heat (or maybe stomach acid) “burns” metals to begin Allomancy. Preservation’s power, Focused by the metal, Invests the Allomancer. The Allomancer directs the Focused power to perform magic. Feruchemy – Brandon’s clear that Shard power “facilitates” attribute conversion. The Feruchemist lessens an attribute (increasing entropy) by summoning Ruin’s power and regains the attribute (returns to stasis) by summoning Preservation’s power. The Feruchemist’s metalmind Focuses both powers. Hemalurgy – Spiking is an act of entropy that summons Ruin’s power through the spike’s metal Focus. Ruin’s Hemalurgic power transfers a magic user’s sDNA to someone else. (Nightblood works the same way – killing is an act of entropy that summons Ruin’s power through Nightblood’s metal Focus. This power allows Nightblood to “destroy evil.”) Awakening – I believe Awakening drains Investiture from colored objects, not color itself. “Color” is the eye’s perception of reflected light. IMO, Nalthis' electromagnetic radiation (EMR) holds Investiture. Colored objects absorb the Invested photons that aren't reflected as color. The drained Investiture provides the energy to summon Endowment’s animating power. I believe absorbed photons are Invested because the drained objects turn gray – like from a Shardblade cut, Azure’s Shardblade, and Nightblood’s drain on his holders, all of which involve Investiture loss. Awakeners Focus the animating power with a visualized command to the object they give Breath to. Sand Mastery – Sand Masters begin by dehydrating. I believe Taldain’s water is Invested, as Autonomy’s Investiture radiates its oceans and circulates through the planet’s water cycle. IMO, Sand Masters consume this Investiture to summon Autonomy’s Spiritual Realm power. Khriss says this power forms a “brief Cognitive bond” between Sand Masters and the microflora that configure the sand. I believe the microflora detect and absorb Sand Master water as they dehydrate, and the bond is made through the water contact. Like Awakening, Sand Mastery’s Focus is the visualized command the Master sends the microflora through their bond. Surgebinding – Surgebinders begin by inhaling Stormlight. Radiant spren transform Stormlight into the power they personify. Spren IMO are Roshar’s Focus. Roshar is the only known planet where Investiture converts directly into power, and spren are the reason. Through the Nahel bond, Surgebinders direct the Radiant spren’s power. Fabrials – Fabrial magic also begins with Stormlight infusion. Like Radiant spren, the Fabrial’s captive spren are Focuses that transform Stormlight into the power the captive spren personifies – light, heat, gravity, etc. The Fabrial user directs that power (in the way artifabrians designed the Fabrial to be used) by turning the Fabrial on and off. Voidbinding – Voidlight consumption begins Voidbinding. As Cognitive Shadows imprinted on Odium’s Investiture, the Fused IMO are Voidbinding’s Focus, each splinter giving access to a single power. Voidlight consumption summons this power from the Spiritual Realm. The Fused then direct their Invested power. Sel’s Magic Systems – I lump these systems together because they were one system before Odium mashed Devotion and Dominion’s power into the Cognitive Realm. I believe Sel’s magic systems still follow the same steps despite their current diversity: 1. I think Sel’s ground holds Investiture like Roshar’s highstorms, Nalthis’ EMR, and Taldain’s oceans do. Evidence: (i) each system’s form is a map of the local topography; (ii) Khriss says, Sel’s “very landscape itself has become Invested to the point that it has a growing self-awareness,” (AU, “The Selish System,” Kindle p. 18); and (iii) Raoden needed to draw Aon Rao on the ground, not in the air, to make it effective. 2. Each Selish system begins with motion – drawing a form, or turning an essence stamp, or stirring a potion, or dancing. 3. Each Selish system summons the Dor with Investiture the food chain leaches from the ground. Shai’s essence stamp uses organic inks. Bloodsealers use their target’s blood. Dakhor monk bones hold this Investiture. Forton’s potions IMO use some organic ingredients. The “mostly Spiritual” Elantrians draw Aons from the Dor because Aon Rao amplifies the Dor in Elantris – but Aon Rao itself has to be drawn on the ground. 4. Each system’s topographic form Focuses the Dor into the desired power. Each magic user directs that power for some magical effect. Conclusion Not every magic system perfectly follows the predicted paradigm. Feruchemy and non-Awakening Breath transfers begin with commands for Shard power to fuel the magical transaction. Surgebinding and Fabrial spren transform Stormlight into power rather than summon it. But for the most part, the paradigm presents a uniform series of magical steps.
  10. @Ammanas, Ride of the Valkyries is too easy: the burning of Rathalas: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…. It smells like victory.” From Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: This first scene shows helicopter attack to the music, followed immediately by… – the napalm bombing of the village (and Robert Duvall’s famous quote above). Wagner was pompous, arrogant, anti-Semitic, and inspired Nazi propaganda. Woody Allen said if you listen to Wagner for 15 minutes, you want to invade Poland. Wagner stole his second wife (Cosima, the daughter of Franz Liszt) from his friend the conductor Hans von Bulow. Not a nice man…but the kind Odium could influence to burn down a city. Others: Battle of Thaylen City, especially Lift and Szeth. The main theme makes me see Lift scoot and Szeth fly after the King’s Drop. The theme ends with delivery to Dalinar. Inside Shallan’s mind - bittersweet overtones and child-like longing: This one’s for Pattern. Bach to me is the most mathematically pure of all composers. Pattern would have liked him.
  11. I mean some “primal force” IS the Connection between the Vessel’s mind and its Spiritual Realm Investiture. "Means of access" to Investiture might be a better term than "primal force." This mind-spirit Connection is how the Vessel accesses its magic: “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” A 2017 WoB confirms Honor – and only Honor – accesses magic through bonds: Each Vessel accesses its Investiture through a different primal force Connection: stasis, entropy, bonds, etc. Personality IMO informs how the Vessels choose to use their magic. Vessel minds and personality over time fully conform to their Connection’s compulsions. Ati should be the first Vessel to succumb – his Shard’s Connection is entropy. The OP follows Jofwu’s distinction between a Shard’s unchanging “nature” and the Vessel’s “expression” of that nature. I read the three WoBs cited above to mean all Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same, regardless of Shard. That leaves Connection as the distinguishing factor among Shards. Each Shard’s “immutable nature” – i.e., the part unaffected by Vessel – is its specific primal force Connection: stasis, entropy, bonds, etc. That distinctive mind-spirit Connection between Vessel and Spiritual Realm Investiture IMO determines the Shard’s nature. Following are some examples taken from a concurrent post: Don’t know if that helps, Tater, but thanks for asking! I agree with this. Since the Shattering could have happened differently, recombining Shards might produce something…interesting.
  12. Voidbinding and Surgebinding are separate systems that grant similar abilities. Three WoBs state the means of accessing Investiture defines the magic system, not what the magic can do. I explain why Fused Voidbind in this post and this post. The OP includes this theory because many do agree with you. Most magic systems grant similar abilities. “Honor doesn’t belong to gravity…Honor accesses gravity [by making] a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction.” Fused don’t accelerate or shift direction as well as Windrunners because (IMO) they don’t access the gravity Surge by lashing (a form of bond). Investiture may be elsewhere in the universe, but as @Quantus points out, those other “places” must be completely cut off from the cosmere. To comply with thermodynamics’ first law, the cosmere must be a closed system, with no ability to access any other matter, energy, or Investiture. (FWIW, I still fear the cosmere is a Perfect State computer simulation in which the virtual beings killed the one human – Adonalsium.) Though “location” isn’t an internal Spiritual Realm property, the cosmere’s SR – as a whole – may occupy a “place” with its own cosmere location. We know SR Investiture has mass and flow. Otherwise, it would not press down on Roshar’s CR and drip Investiture into it. Even if the SR is just a computer that keeps tabs on cosmere data, that computer must exist somewhere. The cosmere can be a self-contained, thermodynamic-compliant system within a larger universe whose stars you see. I did not say color is Awakening’s fuel. I said “something about color draining” fuels Awakening. (I was trying to avoid controversy.) I believe Awakening doesn’t drain “color” – visible electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Instead, Awakening drains absorbed EMR. Color doesn’t exist as such. Color is how the eye perceives reflected light. A colored object absorbs and holds the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) wavelengths that don’t reflect light. Two recent WoBs IMO confirm this theory. (Shout out to @RShara for bringing these to my attention - even though she still disagrees with my interpretation of them!) One says it’s possible to Awaken in “total darkness.” My theory predicts you should be able to Awaken in darkness – by draining unseen, previously absorbed EMR. Even when you can’t see color, the object’s absorbed EMR remains attached to it. Here’s the second WoB: The wall’s color is reflected light. Because the wall is white, there’s no absorbed EMR to drain from it (unless you’re Susebron). The bulb’s tint, however, means the glass absorbs wavelengths other than red. An Awakener should be able to “leach” the absorbed EMR, causing the bulb to stop making red. More on Awakening: On Sand Mastery's Focus: I agree all Sand Masters have the same power, the power to animate sand like Awakening animates objects. Like Awakening, I believe Sand Masters visualize commands to the lichen through their “brief Cognitive bond.” Those commands “shape” how the lichen configure the sand and, IMO, are Sand Mastery’s Focus. FWIW, Nalthis and Taldain are the only known single-Shard major Shardworlds, and (IMO) they share visualized commands as their Focus. More on Sand Mastery and Taldain: On Roshar's Magic Systems: Honor’s Nahel bond is the means of access that defines Surgebinding. Cultivation’s spren are the Surgebinding Focus that “shapes the magic.” Spren transform Stormlight into the power they personify. But the Surgebinder can’t access that power or touch spren at all until Honor’s Nahel bond is in place. My rough analogy: the Nahel bond is like a gun and the spren are like bullets. The Surgebinder holds the gun and pulls the trigger. But without the spren bullets, nothing happens. The gun provides access to the bullets, but it isn’t the bullets. And each Radiant’s spren bullet Focuses a different magical ability. Fabrials also rely on spren transforming Stormlight into the power they personify. But there’s no bond between a fabrial and its user. Nor is spren enslavement a voluntary bond: “Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by.” IOW, fabrials use the same “bullets” (spren) as Surgebinding but a different “gun” as its means of access. Brandon says the “gun” defines the magic system, not the bullets. [Cal, I now agree Stormlight directly fuels spren-based magic, but that’s because Cultivation’s primal force is Transformation (Brandon’s word for mass-energy-Investiture conversion). I still believe the mists and other PR Investitures summon Spiritual Realm power “like a metal” and don’t convert into power.] I agree we need to consider both personality and primal force and have argued that. I do think we can figure out a Shard’s primal force and make my best guesses in the following Spoiler. “Primal force” does seem a poor descriptor, unless you translate “primal force” into “means of access.” Taking the Primal Force Challenge on Honor, Ambition, Endowment, and Autonomy:
  13. This post spotlights perceived flaws in some widely held theories. I don’t necessarily have better answers, but IMO these theories don’t add up on their own terms. My analysis follows the statement of each theory. Theory: Breaths are Awakening’s Fuel Breaths are indivisible. Awakeners can’t use partial Breaths. If Breaths are the fuel, then Awakening should consume some portion of them, but it doesn’t. Something about “color draining” instead fuels Awakening. (“End-neutral” non-Awakening Breath transfers analogize to Feruchemy and are fueled by “facilitating” Spiritual Realm Investiture.) Theory: Water is Sand Mastery’s Focus Consensus defines Focus as the magic system component that “shapes” the magic. Many posters view water as Sand Mastery’s Focus. But Sand Masters dehydrate no matter how they manipulate the microflora that configures the sand. The water instead “forges a brief Cognitive bond” between the Sand Master and the microflora: Sand Masters use Spiritual Realm Investiture “to control the sand.” The “Cognitive bond” seems to give them this ability, suggesting Sand Masters’ thoughts “shape the magic” (much like Awakeners), not the water. Khriss says water causes uncontrolled growth. If it doesn’t “shape the magic,” water can’t be Sand Mastery’s Focus. Theory: “The Nahel bond is obviously of both Cultivation and Honor, but not all Surgebinding is the Nahel bond” I read this statement of common belief on Discord. It contradicts two WoBs that say HOW Shards access Spiritual Realm Investiture is the only magical difference among them: “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” A 2017 WoB confirms Honor – and only Honor – gives magic through bonds. “Bonds [are] an Honor thing”: “Surgebinding” is the Nahel bond – by definition. Fabrials and Voidbinding also bind Roshar’s Surges, but they are not “Surgebinding” because these systems “obtain [their] magic” through different means than bonds. The means of access defines the system, not what the magic does. This is true even though Cultivation’s spren are part of Surgebinding. “Bonds” on Roshar means a Spiritweb Connection between two people – mortal and Radiantspren. The Fused gain Voidbinding by replacing a Singer’s Spiritweb (filling that void). Fabrials use a captive spren to transform Stormlight into the power the spren personifies. All three bind Surges – manipulate Roshar’s fundamental forces – but they access their magic differently. Theory: Investiture is limitless This theory spins from Brandon’s frequent comment that Investiture is “Infinite.” “infinite” can mean either incomprehensibly vast OR endless. If there’s an endless amount of Investiture, then thermodynamics’ first law fails for want of a constant sum of Investiture, matter, and energy. Since Brandon says it does apply, Investiture can’t be limitless. There’s just an incomprehensibly large amount of it. Theory: The cosmere shares its Spiritual Realm Investiture with the larger universe of which it is a part The issue here is thermodynamics’ first law – the sum of cosmere Investiture, matter, and energy is constant. But that law applies only if the cosmere is a closed, self-contained system. Brandon says the law does apply. Therefore, the cosmere is a closed system. The Spiritual Realm and its Investiture cannot extend beyond the cosmere. Theory: Shard “intents” are divine personality traits Brandon says Shards combine personality with some “primal force” like entropy and stasis. Posters commonly ignore the primal force component to focus on personality. I recently posted my thoughts on this subject. I think a Shard’s primal force converts the personality metaphor into workable magic mechanics. Frost, for example, describes Odium as holding “God’s own divine hatred, separated from the virtues that gave it context.” To translate divine hatred into magic, I think we should look at what hate does. It corrodes relationships, divides people, and numbs feelings to justify bad behaviors. It makes sense to me Odium’s magic breaks people-to-people Connections as its mechanic, freeing a person’s basic instinctual drives from their cultural restraints. This idea might be completely wrong. But it is equally wrong to ignore a Shard’s primal force altogether as so many do. Until next time…
  14. In this post, I use “nature,” to describe Vessel-independent Shard behavior and “expression” to describe Vessel-influenced Shard behavior. @Jofwu first suggested this distinction and nomenclature. IMO, “intent” and “mandate” muddle this distinction, since their meaning varies with usage. Summary Brandon says each Shard combines personality with a “primal force.” Consensus agrees Vessel personality determines Shard expression: how the Vessels choose to direct their Shards’ Investiture. IMO, a Shard’s “primal force” defines its immutable nature. This primal force Connects the Vessel to its Shard. I believe magic system mechanics show us each Shard’s primal force Connection. Theory Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same for all Shards. Shards differ only in how they access this Investiture and how they grant it to mortals: “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do,” and “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” Brandon tells us Connection is not Investiture: “Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something.” If Spiritual Realm Investiture is the same for all Shards, then Shards differ only in their Connection to their Vessel. I believe each Shard’s primal force IS this unique Connection. Magic users draw Investiture from the Spiritual Realm through their Shard’s primal force Connection. Magic systems IMO supply the best evidence of each Shard’s primal force Connection. Here are Brandon’s three examples from the WoB I quote in full below. Ruin – Primal Force Connection: Entropy. “Ruin is a charged term for” entropy. Ruin’s magic system gives Investiture to mortals through an act of entropy – spiking. Any Ruin Vessel IMO would deliver its Investiture via entropy. Personality: “Kind and generous” Ati chose decay to express entropy. He was the best Ruin possible. Another Vessel might have chosen cataclysm. Preservation - Primal Force Connection: Stasis. “Preservation is a charged term for stasis.” Any Preservation Vessel IMO would deliver Investiture to mortals through metal’s static molecular structure. Personality: Leras created the Terris Prophecies and imprisoned Ruin. Other Vessels might have acted differently. Honor - Primal Force Connection: Connects People. “Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by.” I think any Honor Vessel would deliver Investiture to mortals through a person-to-person Connection like the Nahel bond. Personality: Tanavast’s Honor chose oaths to create binding rules. Another Vessel (Dalinar’s Unity?) might favor other means to bind people. Tanavast’s personality gives “this sense that [‘honor’] is noble,” though “there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other [primal force] direction.” I speculate about other Shards’ primal forces in other posts, but these are the only three Shard natures Brandon confirms. I believe, for example, Odium gives his Investiture through broken “people” Connections. When mortals eschew emotional pain (“I’m not to blame”), they isolate themselves from others. The resulting void lets hate in. Mechanically, Odium’s Investiture flows through the cracks in the soul left by the broken Connections. Breaking people Connections seems to be Odium’s nature, its primal force. A different Vessel than Rayse, who chose this repulsive force for his Shard, might break people Connections in a way that doesn’t generate violent passion. Shards eventually compel Vessels to conform to their Shard’s nature. Vessels succumb IMO because they draw all their power through their primal force Connection. Entropy made Ati more destructive. Stasis made Leras unable to harm Elend. The compulsion to Connect with others made Tanavast rely on bare oaths devoid of meaning. Analysis Two WoBs give guidance on Shard natures and Vessel expressions. Theorists have picked over the first the past year. The second WoB asks if Connection or “intent” attracts a Shard to its Vessel. I think at minimum this WoB says Shards reflect both personality and primal force. From his examples, I believe Brandon refers to Vessel personalities plus primal force. Here’s the second WoB about Connection and “intent”: This WoB distinguishes between “general intent/mindset” and Connection. I read “general intent/mindset” to mean Vessel temperament. Brandon says temperament alignment is unnecessary, though it makes ascension “easier.” Instead, the Vessels needed to “create Connection” to assume their Shards: “there was a lot going on with” Connection creation at the Shattering. Brandon’s answer shows personality is not part of Shard nature. Otherwise, temperament alignment would be necessary. Based on the first WoB, I believe the Vessels created a separate primal force Connection to each Shard. Sixteen different means to draw Investiture enabled the Vessels to divide Adonalsium’s power into sixteen equal parts. The “Adonalsium Personality Trait” Theory of Shard Natures @Calderis proposes the alternative “Adonalsium Personality Trait” theory of Shard origin. Because Shards are both personality and primal force, I don’t think it matters which origin theory is correct. The two quoted WoBs are mushy enough to allow either interpretation. But I know Cal will mention his theory if I don’t, so I summarize and respond to it in this Spoiler. Conclusion I think each Vessel Connects to its Shard by a different primal force. I believe that primal force Connection defines their Shard’s nature. Shards deliver their Investiture to magic users by the same primal force Connection. That mechanic appears immutable. Everything else IMO is the Vessel’s expression of its Shard’s nature, until nature ultimately overcomes expression.
  15. Thank you, Leyrann! What a nice thing to say! And I appreciate your sticking up for me with Cal – no easy task. He’s a tough, imaginative theorist. And it didn’t take me 3 years to write! Brandon says Cultivation’s magic is more than boons/curses, but “nobody on screen” has yet used this broader magic. Odium describes Cultivation’s nature as “transformation. Growth.” (OB, Chapter 57, p. 551.) As Dalinar’s life shows, transformation has a cost. The experience that teaches also hurts. I think this idea of growth at a cost lurks behind the boon/curse dynamic, and IMO does fit with Cultivation. I theorize Cultivation paid for Roshar’s transformation with Tanavast’s life. The OP states the Honor Shard overcame him. He’d changed from the person Cultivation loved. Under her own Shard’s Growth compulsion, I believe Cultivation felt she had no choice. Cal, your WoB does not say Cultivation helped Honor fight Odium. I think it’s clear she didn’t or we’d have heard of it. Odium says, “I’ll kill the other one [Cultivation] too, eventually. She’s hidden herself somewhere, and I’m too…shackled.” (OB, Chapter 57, p. 550.) If Odium is “too shackled” to kill Cultivation now, he likewise would be too shackled to kill Honor earlier. Odium needed someone’s help – “WE” killed Tanavast. Odium wanted certainty his attack wouldn’t “coax out” Cultivation. IMO, they colluded to kill Tanavast. As Leyrann says, Cultivation’s consent does not “make the WoB false.” It means Cultivation “helped” Honor in a different way. The OP speculates Cultivation oversaw Tanavast’s merger into the Stormfather. Perhaps Cultivation demanded this from Odium for her complicity. The merger preserved Tanavast’s memories and prevented Honor’s power from splintering more than it did. Dalinar’s will later commanded this extra Investiture – Honor’s “remnants” – to open up the Spiritual Realm. The Stormfather by himself lacked the mental strength to renew spheres. (OB, Chapter 64, Kindle p. 639.) I think Cultivation prepared the soil for a new Vessel who could replace Tanavast. An interesting point, Scion. It seems to me any sapient mind that can direct Investiture could ascend in the right circumstance. A Scadrial Cognitive Shadow partly ascended. Every person’s Spiritual aspect is imprinted on raw Investiture. As splinters, the Unmade are minds imprinted on Odium’s Investiture. Shallan says Re-Shephir and maybe Sja-anat once were human before becoming “unmade.” If anything, I think an Odium splinter is more likely to ascend because of the pre-existing Connection to Odium. But who knows. It’s a good question. To be clear, I only stand behind the OP’s premise: Cultivation is the Growth Shard. Roshar has stopped growing. The Growth Shard feels compelled to change that. From there, the post speculates what actions Cultivation might take given that goal and how those actions might overlay known Rosharan history. It’s reasonable speculation, but nothing more.