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Shardplate is a Radiant’s Spiritweb Introduction There’s been a lot of speculation about what Shardplate actually is made up of. I had posted parts of this in another thread, but I decided to take those parts and expand them out here. As noted in the thread title, I believe that Shardplate is actually composed of the Radiant’s spirtweb, made manifest in the Physical Realm. Logic We already know that a Shardblade is actually a spren in the Physical realm. When the Recreance happened, the spren “died” and were left as the Shardblades that are currently used in most of Roshar. These Shardblades act a bit different than the spren version we see Kaladin wield (they can’t change shape, need ten heartbeats to be summoned, etc). Shardplate acted differently in the times before the Recreance. They glowed with Stormlight and Radiants were able to manipulate the Plate at will, adding and removing their helmet in the blink of an eye, for instance. The Plate changed shape similar to how a live Shardblade could change shape. This changed during the Recreance as the Plate no longer could appear or disappear at will and no longer glowed with glyphs. In essence, the Plate died in much the same way that Shardblades died. So why do I think that the Plate was/is the spiritweb? First, take a look at how the Radiants acted directly after disposing of their Plate. The Radiant that Dalinar caught up with simply ignored him, not speaking to him. This is very similar to how a Lifeless acts. Vivenna notes that Clod had an “emotionless face”. The Lifeless have a bit of their spiritweb left. The Radiants giving up their Shardplate would likely be in the exact same situation. The Shardplate has certain points on it that, in modern times, contain gemstones to power it with Stormlight. I believe that these points are the exact same points that would be the Hemalurgic points in the spiritweb. They are focal points for Investiture. Szeth noted that Shardplate would have interfered with his lashings, but we see a Windrunner in Dalinar’s vision that could clearly lash. Why? Because the Windrunner had his soul as his plate. Shardplate for Szeth would be another person’s spiritweb and would not work for him. When the Plate is cracked, the cracks show up as a web. This is circumstantial evidence, but I believe it serves to back up everything else. There is a reason it’s called a “spiritweb” after all. Additionally, Plate can be regrown from using Stormlight. This is very similar to what we see with Kaladin, healing his Shardblade severed limb with Stormlight, essentially reconnecting the Spiritual with the Physical. The breastplate, as well, mirrors this. A strike to the chest (or spine) with a Shardblade is a killing blow. Shardplate ceases to function when the breastplate is destroyed. Each Radiant’s soul was unique. This would manifest itself in the different shapes and patterns of the Shardplate. The sets of Plate were unique enough that Dalinar could recognize Adolin’s set in the vision of the battle where the Dustbringer fought. Finally, every order of the Radiants had access to Shardplate, even if they did not use it. This, quite simply, is because each Radiant had a soul (spiritweb). I think this makes for a very nice situation where the a Radiant would fight using aspects of all three Realms. Physical with his body. Cognitive with his spren Shardblade. Spiritual with his spiritweb Shardplate. References Edit: Fixed typos
TL;DR - Spiritwebs mystify me. This is going to be pretty long, and I'll probably add more that I forget or leave out later. I'll just be throwing some of my wild ideas, speculations, and ramblings down here to see if anyone has any input. First off, if this has been done and discussed before, I apologize. I just needed to put all my scattered thoughts in one place. Also, if any of this has been confirmed or denied, please let me know. I need to put my wearied mind to rest. I can't recall any times when we see someone survive being used to charge a Hemalurgic spike. I'm unsure if this is because they die from the physical aspect (such as bleeding to death from having a chunk of metal stabbed into a bindpoint and such), or through the spiritual aspect. Tied to this is the question of whether someone who is used to charge a Hemalurgic spike loses all of their Power (read: access to their magic system). I assume they do, but if we took a Twinborn, would it be possible to steal only their Allomantic power, but leave their Feruchemical Power? Unless, of course, being the "chargee" for the spike is inherently fatal. I seem to recall there being mentions of preferring to use Mistborn in the creation of Inquisitors. These Mistborn clearly don't survive, but is it because they die from the physical side or the spiritual? I know that snapping is a near-literal term, in that your spiritweb receives "cracks" that investiture can now fill. I see most (if not all) of the Investiture in the Cosmere as falling into one of two main categories. 1) Your Spiritweb receives "cracks" so that Investiture can fill them, granting access to the relative magic system or 2) You are born already Invested Under number one, we have Allomancy, Surgebinding, the Returned, and Elantrians. You have the obvious Snapping, the need to be "broken" to form a Nahel Bond, dying and receiving the Divine Breath, and the Shaod (more on this in a moment). Under number two, you have Breaths, Feruchemy, and Soul Stamping. As far as I know, you are born with the ability to use these without the need for a damaged Spiritweb. I suppose you could add a third category for things such as Hemalurgy and potentially the Dakhor Monks, where you intentionally alter your spiritweb at the cost of another's. (Interestingly enough, the categories appear to line up with the net-positive/ neutral/ negative system. I'm not sure whether that applies to all magic in the Cosmere, or specifically the magic on Scadrial.) Back to the subject of the Shaod. I briefly mentioned my thoughts on it in a reply to a post, but I'll put them here as well. I have two highly speculative theories. The first is that the Shaod is/ is guided by some (more or less) sentient being/ force, perhaps like the mist in the Mistborn Trilogy, the Highstorms in the Stormlight Archive, and Returning in Warbreaker. The second is that the Dor, being described multiple times as a force trying to push it's way through the Aons, is... "corrosive" to the local's spiritwebs. That, or simply being surrounded(?) by the Dor alters spiritwebs over time. Plenty of holes in both, they're just food for thought. Sorry for the wall of text. If you read that entire thing, I'd love any thoughts, ideas, counter-theories, or suggestions. (I'll add in supporting quotes from the texts, WOB, and other theories when my brain isn't melting out of my head.)