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  1. Hey all, and welcome back to the theory column. Last time's Cosmere 102 was such a long post, that I'm trying to keep this one a little more succinct for you all. Today I am going to highlight a theory post by our very own FeatherWriter (whose excellent podcasts you should definitely check out, if you haven't already). This theory is Roshar's Afterlife and the Tranquiline Halls. This theory contains spoilers for most cosmere books including Mistborn, Warbreaker, and Shadows for Silence, but particularly for The Stormlight Archive and Mistborn: Secret History. I am going to begin by outlining Feather's arguments for the theory, and then I will add my own comments and analysis. The main premise of this theory is that unlike most places in the cosmere, the souls of people who die on Roshar are unable to move on to the Beyond like they do on most other planets. Instead of passing on to whatever the cosmere's afterlife looks like, they are instead interrupted somehow by either Odium or one of his agents, such as the Unmade. Evidence in Favor Brandon often likes to provide hints about the nature of his worlds or past events through his religions and other worldbuilding aspects. So much of Vorinism hinges on a fight after death to reclaim the Tranquiline Halls, the Vorin heaven. It is possible that this is a hint that something is amiss here. Another point in favor of the theory is that Damnation, also called Braize, is a real location in the cosmere, so at least some aspects of the Vorin religion have a root in reality. It could therefore be possible that the problem. As Feather mentions, there is also a precedence for this sort of interference with death on the part of a Shard. Endowment speaks to some of the dead and offers them the opportunity to Return before they move to the Beyond. On Threnody on the other hand, many of the dead remain behind as Cognitive shadows, with no evidence for direct intervention on the part of a Shard. The most compelling evidence for heavy meddling on the part of a Shard with a Cognitive shadow comes to us courtesy of Mistborn: Secret History. In both Bands of Mourning and Secret History, we see that a Shard has the opportunity to speak to its "children" for lack of a better term, those beings that it created, just before they move to the Beyond. Leras manages to have a full conversation with Kelsier, even with most of his mind gone. Sazed does even more for Wax in his final moments, showing him visions of the planet and offering him a few final words of peace. Feather points out that it need not necessarily be so cathartic, and instead Odium or one of his lieutenants could be waiting in the Cognitive Realm to fight with or torture those who die. There are also a few metatextual reasons that Feather points out. Brandon has exhaustively figured out many aspects of the cosmere, and this mechanism for transfer to the Beyond is likely no exception. It seems possible that Brandon will want to tell a story dealing with this, although arguably this role has been filled by Secret History since this theory was initially written. However with Brandon's mentions of potential sequels to Secret History and similar happenings on Roshar, it seems likely that he's barely scratched the surface this subject. Also, Brandon has stated that characters slated to have a flashback sequence in the Stormlight Archive might die before their flashback book. This has perplexed many, myself included, because of the close connection between the present day story and the flashbacks in both released books so far. FeatherWriter says that this could be solved simply by having a character continue the fight post-death in Shadesmar. I think there's a lot of good evidence here, and that Feather has listed nearly all the arguments in favor of the this theory. The piece I'd like to add is that we also know that it is definitely possible to harm a Cognitive shadow, without killing it. Kelsier gets pummeled on pretty hard in Secret History. He experiences severe pain without permanent injury at the hands of Hoid, and is almost torn apart by Ruin on at least one occasion. It seems highly possible that Odium could do something similar. Sazed has also shown that he has the ability to show visions to Wax in the Beyond, and Endowment does something similar for those who are given the oppurtunity. Could Odium not do something similar, except show someone visions of death, pain, and horror? Between the apparent ability to cause pain to Cognitive shadows and the ability to show them nightmares, it's beginning to sound a lot like Damnation already. Evidence Against One of my main concerns with this theory coming to pass is that characters have already died and been resurrected quite a bit recently in the cosmere. Between Kelsier in Secret History, and the short-lived deaths (pardon the pun) of Syl, Jasnah, and Szeth in the most recent Stormlight book, he runs the risk of writing stories where death has little meaning, almost like a comic book universe. Brandon is a genre-savvy writer, and very aware of common fantasy tropes, and is certainly aware of this, so perhaps he might be hesitant to bring someone else back from the dead or rather continue with them even after their death. Another potential concern is that Odium is not actually on Roshar currently. It has been stated that his power is heavily invested there, but he is physically on Braize. It is uncertain if he would be able to appear to the dying in the same way that Endowment and Harmony are able to do so. This does not eliminate the possibility that one of his agents like the Unmade are interfering with the death process. One hole this theory (which Feather admits is more an interesting thought than a fully fleshed-out theory) is how the dead are stopped from moving on the Beyond. Preservation only manages to stop Kelsier from moving on by merging him with the Well of Ascension, Endowment sends people back to the Physical Realm fairly rapidly. There is no known mechanism for how Odium would keep people from passing on the the Beyond. On the other hand, it seems that the shades of Threnody remain in the Cognitive Realm without any active interference on the part of a Shard. If it can happen on its own, it seems possible that Odium also could have found a way to keep the Cognitive shadows lingering on. My final concern is that we have seen Shadesmar when someone dies, from Shallan's viewpoint. She sees one of the flames from the soul of a crewman extinguished while she looks into Shadesmar, trying to Soulcast the Wind's Pleasure. There is no sudden appearance of Odium, despite the fact that Kelsier could see Leras appearing for the dying nearby. On the other hand, Shallan does not see anyone's Cognitive shadow appear in Shadesmar when the flame vanishes. This could also be a sign that something is not right with people passing on to the Beyond. Conclusion I think that this theory has a huge amount of merit, and that some portion of it will end up being proven correct in a future book. It may not all come to pass exactly as Feather has predicted, but I think she is making good inferences and asking the right questions. There are a few holes remaining in this theory, but I suspect many of them will be filled in in the near future, and I can't wait to see how this all pans out. New Information There has not been a lot of new information since the last update, but there is a few new tidbits, from the recent White Sands release signing. A big thank you to everyone who shared the questions they asked Brandon! The Sovereign has the opposite eye spiked that Marsh does, and the spike grants "nothing special" Marsh become the personification of Death because of his appearance and his presence at "ominous times" In the Warbreaker Graphic Audio audiobook, Vasher uses the Command "My Breath to give for life to live." to transfer all but his divine Breath to someone, whereas in the text of the novel, that command is not specified. As far as Brandon can remember, this Command is canon, but we should check with Peter or Isaac One of the paintings that Lightsong reacted to was painted by some significant, but it was not Hoid. Bloody Tan stole the bendalloy shipment simply because it is a valuable metal. Coppermind A really awesome new addition to the Coppermind comes courtesy of Cheese Ninja and Weiry Writer, one of our admins. Cheese Ninja did much of the work building the preliminary timeline. Weiry did an extensive reread confirming this timeline and has constructed an awesome table for most of the events of the book. This timeline is fully cited and linked to various chapter summaries on the wiki. It is an excellent tool and certainly a labor of love, so definitely check it out! As for our wiki challenge this month, I'd like to encourage people to work on White Sand articles. The graphic novel came out just the other day, and we need people to add content and help out with the w riting of new pages. I believe we currently have a grand total of five or six articles about things from Taldain, so obviously we have a lot of work to do. A whole new world is a lot of work for the normal editors, and any help that can be provided is appreciated, even if it is just a line or two. As always, any of our wiki admins would love to help you out if you have any questions about what to do or how to do something. For our interesting fact of the month, I'd like to draw people's attention to a new fact caught by member BeskarKomrk, who was relistening to some old audio. The full quote can be read here, but the most important part is this. "Taldain… [is] inaccessible currently in the cosmere." While this is not necessarily unexpected on a planet controlled by a Shard named Autonomy, it definitely adds a whole new perspective to Khriss calling herself an exile in Secret History. I personally wonder how Autonomy has managed to isolate an entire planet in the Cognitive Realm. In a final note, I'd also like to open up a call for suggestions for theories I should feature. As we're in between books right now, new theories are harder to come by, so if there is a theory that you think is particularly interesting, noteworthy, or well-accepted, and you'd like to see me feature it, shoot me a PM and I'll look into it. Hopefully you all enjoyed this month's column, and I'll see you next month!
  2. Hey all, and welcome back to our featured theories column. Today, I do not want to highlight any specific theory from the forums, but rather create a new and revised beginner's guide to the cosmere. For those of you that frequent 17th Shard, what I say here will not be news to you, but hopefully this will be helpful to those of you that are still trying to get a grasp on the scope of the cosmere. This will contain spoilers for many of Brandon's cosmere novels, (Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker, and Stormlight are the main ones) so read on with caution. Cosmere 102 Introduction The cosmere is a shared universe that many of Brandon Sanderson's novels, novellas, and short stories take place in. These stories take place on a variety of planets in a small star cluster in a dwarf galaxy. The cosmere works along very similar rules to ours, most of the time, but magic is built into it as well. The main stories of Brandon's that take place in the cosmere are The Stormlight Archive, Mistborn, Warbreaker, The Emperor's Soul, Elantris, and the forthcoming graphic novel White Sand. In the beginning of cosmere, there was one supreme being known as Adonalsium. To the best of our current knowledge, this god-like being controlled the powers of creation, a type of spiritual energy known as Investiture. Many planets existed that were populated with people, but one one planet in particular, Yolen, a group of people conspired to destroy Adonalsium. In an event known as the Shattering, Adonalsium was killed, his power split into sixteen fragments known as the Shards of Adonalsium. These fragments of power were taken up by sixteen individuals, called Vessels, who Ascended into what is essentially godhood. Each Shard has a drive, or intent, that it desires to act in accordance with which gives it its name, such as Honor or Ruin. When a person takes up a Shard, initially they remain themselves, but over time the Shard will influence them into acting in accordance with the Shard's intent, until they have little desire or will to take any action in conflict with their intent. These Shards settled on a variety of planets, where their Investiture gave rise to various magic systems, which are referred to as manifestations of Investiture. Shards may also themselves be split into smaller fragments known as Splinters. These Splinters often have a consciousness of their own. In addition to that, people that have at one point held a large portion of a Shard of Adonalsium and given it up are known as Slivers, their souls expanded by the spiritual energy. One of the Shards of Adonalsium named Odium wished to become the most powerful being in the cosmere. He has since traveled from world to world, Splintering and killing other Shards in his quest. The Shard Honor has managed to trap Odium in a single system, Greater Roshar for now, but it is unknown how long this will last. The structure of the cosmere is made up of three Realms, the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. Every object and person exists simultaneously in all three Realms, although typically it has a stronger presence in one of them. The Physical Realm works very much like our own universe, with similar laws of physics, planets and galaxies, and so on. The Cognitive Realm is the realm of thought. Ideas have power here, and every place where life, particularly sentient life, is present is represented in the Cognitive Realm. The Spiritual Realm is more mysterious, it is Realm of ideals, where connections between people and spiritual energy are crucial, and where time and location is far less relevant. Elantris and the Emperor's Soul These stories both take place on the same planet, a world known as Sel. There are two Shards of Adonalsium present on Sel, Devotion and Dominion, formerly held by Aona and Skai respectively. Both Shards were killed by another Shard Odium, long ago, and their power was Splintered, to prevent anyone else from taking up one of the Shards. Some of these Splinters are part of the seons and the skaze. The remaining power of both Shards is mostly present in the Dor, a reservoir of Investiture in the Cognitive Realm. There is technically only one magic system on Sel, but it is expressed differently depending on the region of Sel. AonDor, Dakhor, ChayShan, Bloodsealing, and Forgery are the known variations although others exist on the planet. Mistborn The Mistborn trilogy takes place on a planet known as Scadrial. There are two Shards of Adonalsium present on Scadrial, Preservation and Ruin. They were originally held by two men, Ati and Leras, who actually created the planet of Scadrial themselves. During the course of the Era 1Mistborn trilogy, Ati and Leras were both killed and Sazed took up both Ruin and Preservation. As Sazed holds both powers, they have commingled into a larger power that is called Harmony. There are three magic systems present on Scadrial, Allomancy which is derived from Preservation, Hemalurgy, which comes from Ruin, and Feruchemy, which is a balance system derived from both Shards. There are no Splinters of either Ruin or Preservation. As of recently, a third unknown Shard working under the guise of "Trell" has began exerting an influence on Scadrial, but this Shard is not on the planet itself as of yet. Warbreaker Warbreaker takes place on a planet called Nalthis, which is home to a single Shard named Endowment, held by a woman named Edgli. Awakening, the only magic system on the planet is derived from Endowment's powers. Endowment also chooses to call people back to Return, showing someone who has died a vision of a potential future and giving them the opportunity to Return to life and change that future. To do so, Endowment gives them a Splinter of her Shard, known on Nalthis as a divine Breath. The Stormlight Archive The Stormlight Archive takes place on a planet known as Roshar. There are several other planets in the system, including Braize, which will play a part later in The Stormlight Archive, and Ashyn, which will appear in a story called The Silence Divine one day. There are three Shards present in the solar system, referred to as Greater Roshar, Honor, Cultivation, and Odium. Honor was originally held by Tanavast and Odium is held by Rayse, but Cultivation's Vessel is unknown. Honor has been killed and Splintered by Odium, his power is present in the spren that form Nahel bonds with the Knights Radiant. Cultivation and what remains of Honor's power are on Roshar, but Odium currently resides on Braize. There are a variety of magic systems present on this planet, including Surgebinding, Voidbinding, and fabrial magic. Which Shard is responsible for which magic system is still unclear. White Sand (forthcoming) White Sand takes place on a world known as Taldain. This planet has only a single Shard, called Autonomy, held by a man named Bavadin. Very little is known about this world at present, but more information will become available once the graphic novel is released in a little over a month. Dragonsteel/Liar of Partinel (forthcoming) A final, very important planet is Yolen. All of the original Vessels that took up Shards of Adonalsium are from Yolen. Brandon will one day tell the story of the Shattering of Adonalsium, but it will not be for many years. Shadows for Silence/Sixth of the Dusk It is important to note that not every populated planet in the cosmere has a Shard on it. Many may only have a Splinter on it, or may have no influence from a Shard at all. Two such planets are Threnody and First of the Sun. Threnody appears in the short story Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, and First of the Sun appears in the short story Sixth of the Dusk. These planets may still have magics though, they manifest out of background spiritual energy and are less powerful than planets that have Shards on them. Threnody has the shades, which enforce the Simple Rules, and First of the Sun has the Aviar, birds that grant their owners a variety of powers. Worldhopping While one day many of these planets will develop faster-than-light travel and meet one another, they are not yet at this technological level. However, a limited number of people have learned how to use magic to travel from planet to planet. They make appearances in multiple stories and are often participating in behind the scenes struggles that the main characters of the novels know little to nothing about. Many Worldhoppers make use of Perpendicularities, areas on a planet, often in the form of a pool of liquid, where a Shard's power concentrates. They use these Perpendicularities as gateways into the Cognitive Realm, where all the planets are arranged adjacent to one another, divided by mountains. As interstellar space has little Cognitive activity, it is much smaller in the Cognitive Realm, and Worldhoppers may simply walk to another planet. Several Worldhoppers are members of a group called the Seventeenth Shard, a coalition of Worldhoppers with unknown goals. There are several Worldhoppers of a variety of importance in the cosmere: Hoid - A man who often appears in the guise of a beggar, fool, or storyteller, Hoid holds immense power. He makes use of Allomancy, Feruchemy, Awakening, and Lightweaving (not the type of the Radiants, but very similar) and has other powers that allow him to dilate time and travel to other planets. Hoid is ancient, he is from Yolen and was heavily involved in the Shattering of Adonalsium. Hoid hates Odium, and is attempting to counter him. He also goes by Wit, Dust, and other aliases Khriss - A woman from Taldain (a main character in White Sand) that is the author of the Ars Arcanum that appears in the end of Brandon's cosmere books. She studies magic systems scientifically, seeking to explain how they work. Nazh - A man from Threnody, Nazh works as Khriss' assistant. He often collects first hand documents such as maps, and drawings that appear in the books, which are occasionally annotated by him. Iyatil - A masked woman that appears on Roshar, Iyatil is a seasoned traveler, who has been on a variety of planets in the cosmere. Mraize - A man from Roshar who is heavily involved in the Ghostbloods, Mraize is Iyatil's student, who has been taken to a few planets under supervision from Iyatil.[/background] Vasher/Zahel - A Returned from Nalthis, Vasher has traveled to Roshar because it is easier to get Investiture there. He is a master Awakener currently serving as a swordmaster for Renarin Kholin. His Awakened sword Nightblood was patterned after Shardblades and is also currently on Roshar. Demoux - One of the rebels against the Lord Ruler, Demoux has since joined the Seventeenth Shard and traveled to Roshar seeking Hoid. Galladon - An Elantrian and friend to King Raoden, Galladon is also a member of the Seventeenth Shard that has traveled to Roshar in search of Hoid. Felt - A spy in the employ of House Venture, Felt is now on Roshar working in the army of Dalinar Kholin for unknown reasons. There are several other Worldhoppers whose identities are still unknown. There is a third man, known as Blunt, traveling with Demoux and Galladon trying to find Hoid, but his name has not been officially confirmed. There is also a Terriswoman that has appeared in Warbreaker and a female kandra Worldhopper hidden somewhere in the books. In addition to the Worldhoppers, there is a dragon known as Frost that lives on Yolen. Frost is heavily involved in the Seventeenth Shard, although it is unknown if he has ever traveled to a different planet. There is an overarching story to the cosmere that all of these characters play a role in, but Brandon does not wish to bring this to the forefront just yet. Eventually he will write books detailing some of the behind the scenes events, but for now, since Brandon wants his books to stand on their own, they mostly serve as easter eggs and other random pieces of information. I realize that this is a lot to absorb all at once, and we've only really began to scratch the surface. A good next step, if you want to know more, is to check out the Coppermind, where many of these topics are discussed in much greater detail. New Information There has been a plethora of new information since the last article, mostly from a signing in San Antonio and JordanCon. Thanks so much to Paladin Brewer and Ruru272 among many others that reported information, recorded signings, or transcribed information. You guys rock! San Antonio Odium has a lot more knowledge that Sazed because he has had the power longer, and there are forces purposely trying to limit Harmony's knowledge. Kandra cannot duplicate Parshendi carapace Spren and seons can travel to other worlds, although they are more bound to their home planet The theory that Shardplate guards are made from aluminum may be, "on the right track" Sazed cannot communicate with Ati and Leras Hoid didn't take both beads of lerasium for himself because of his innate ability to tell him where he needs to be and what he needs to do Jordan Con Spren can be combined together Khriss knows too much for Brandon to say what she knows about the "red haze" on Scadrial Wax has seen the influence of a Shard that is not Ruin, Preservation, or Harmony Odium's plan always involved not getting stuck on one planet Dragonsteel will now be a trilogy Official cosmere timeline should be out sometime after White Sand is released Lift will have a POV in Stormlight Three, in addition to the novella Brandon is writing Hoid's ability to speak various languages is magical Expanding ones soul is sometimes involved in Worldhopping Kelsier has hazel eyes The Ire's use of the word "fortune" indicates a very similar concept to Feruchemical fortune Felt, the spy from Scadrial, is the same Felt that appears in Words of Radiance Rashek did not create lerasium, he had to "go and get it" Nahel spren and seons are very similar things If a kandra could get a Dakhor monks bones, it would not grant them additional powers, but is a step in the right direction to gaining his abilities All things of deific level power in the cosmere are related to the Shards Highstorms on Roshar predate the Shattering of Adonalsium Worldhoppers have three ways of obtaining immortality, time dilation, slowed aging, or true agelessness The entire continent of Roshar is not crem, there is a real continent with mineral deposits below the crem-covered surface Khriss is very in favor of freedom of information, and willing to share her knowledge with those working for the good of the cosmere Nalthians with a Breath have more Innate Investiture than someone born on a planet without a Shard, but those without a Breath would have less If Brandon writes a sequel to Secret History, it would occur in the time interval between Mistborn Era 1 and Mistborn Era 2. There is a place in the cosmere where a lot of Worldhoppers tend to congregate Arcanum Unbounded, the cosmere story anthology, will contain an introduction to each planet by Khriss and a map of the solar systems in the cosmere. The Coppermind There's a lot of new work going into the Coppermind lately, and I'd like to thank everyone that helps out. Even correcting a typo or adding one piece of information in is incredibly helpful, and we appreciate all you do. Featured Article: Dalinar Kholin Much of the work on this article was done by a Greywatch and Kynan. This article is beautiful, full of art and in-depth information, exactly what we want from an article. There's only a little bit of work left to do on it, and it's a great example of what passionate wikiiers can do with a little bit of hard work. Kudos to everyone who contributed to this awesome article! Featured Fix-Me-Up: Susebron The current article on Susebron, God King of Hallandren could use a little love. It's got a good start, but it needs more information and better division between sections. Portions that talk about important relationships in his life, quotes, trivia about him, and other information of that nature are always a good addition to the regular baseline history and personality descriptions. Random Little-Known Fact: This random fact comes to us courtesy of one of the most foundational Q&As we've had, the Hero of Ages forum Q&A from Timewaster's Guide. This is probably the first time that Brandon's ideas for the overall cosmere began to be truly apparent. Here's the fact! So Hemalurgy was at least a little bit known before even Allomancy was well-known on Scadrial. I wonder if Brandon will ever do much expansion on the Classical Era of Scadrial before the Ascension of Rashek in the eventual Mistborn Worldbook, or if it will forever remain a mystery? Hopefully one day we'll know!Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next month for a more traditional featured theories column!
  3. Welcome to Featured Theories, where we talk about all the newest beliefs, best theories, cool ideas and just about anything speculation related. We’re going to be starting off with some pretty basic stuff, and some confirmed facts, so we can make sure everyone is on the same page knowledge-wise and also so we can point new members at this column so they can be brought up to speed fairly quickly. Today, I’m talking about all things to do with Worldhoppers. Hoid Worldhoppers are what first tipped people off to the fact that all Brandon’s books were connected, in a universe called the Cosmere. The biggest, most obvious of these Worldhoppers is the ever mysterious Hoid, present in every Cosmere book to date. Although most of his roles are at the surface unobtrusive, it's fairly obvious that he is doing important work behind the scenes. He also is possibly the author of the Ars Arcanum of Alloy of Law, as well as the Letter in The Way of Kings (which we will talk about in just a bit). If so, he is a veritable expert on the magic systems described within, as the extensive terminology and understanding shown within. He may also have an associate name Nahz, as that is the name that is signed on the map of Elendel. So Hoid is where we’ll start. Where is Hoid from? Hoid’s past is rather obscure and Brandon refuses to give much away about him. Most of the early things we know about him come from the Liar of Partinel sample chapters, which is going to be Hoid’s origin story. One thing to remember is that everything we know from these chapters isn’t set in stone and it can all be changed. We are fairly certain that our Hoid is referred to as Midius in these chapters. Hoid is his master of Lightweaving, who is assassinated. Midius kills the assassin and then takes the name Hoid and goes to Partinel to save the city. This all takes place on the planet Yolen, so that is certainly where Hoid is from. Hoid was also present at the Shattering of Adonalsium. In the descriptions of his true appearance, it seems he is rather tall and thin, with a face that has been described as both hawk-like and arrow-like and a penchant for cocking his head to the side. His hair is a dark onyx color and he has keen blue eyes, with a sharp nose and jaw. What magics can Hoid use? Hoid’s powers are for the most part very mysterious. At this point we don’t know anything about where his powers come from or where he learned most of his abilities. We’ll start with his least mysterious magic, Lightweaving. He was trained in it back on Yolen in his youth. Lightweaving is an illusion magic, that can make extremely realistic images appear through the manipulation of light and the use of some sort of dust. It appears to be a simple magic, with only one unknown trick to making it work. The illusions it makes can be complex and even appear to take on a life of their own if the Lightweaver wishes them to. In the Hoid sample chapters, he Lightweaves guards to accompany him, and they are even capable of chatting with each other. However, these illusions are not corporeal and if someone passes through them, the image will break back down. One ability of Hoid’s that may be tied to his Lightweaving is his ability to Worldhop. Every world has its way to access Shadesmar, or the Cognitive Realm, like Shallan and Jasnah do. It’s not a stretch to assume that Hoid can manipulate Lightweaving in some way to get to Shadesmar. This doesn’t have to be the only way though. Once he’s inside Shadesmar he can move easily between the Shardworlds, as shown by this quote. He’s actually so good at manipulating Shadesmar that he can move himself to any location he wants, as evidenced by his ability to access the Well of Ascension without opening the door. Another fascinating aspect of Hoid's abilities is his immortality. The various Cosmere series are often centuries apart so Hoid has to have some sort of immortality. As he isn’t a Shardholder, Hoid’s immortality has to come from somewhere. Either from a Splinter that he conceals like Vasher does, or from some magic system ability. As for the time dilation, the only power we know that can do that at this point is Allomantic cadmium, but it’s uncertain if Hoid has access to that ability. Hoid has one final ability that we know of for sure. Hoid knows where he has to be in the future, even if he doesn’t know exactly what he has to do once he gets there. This explains how he always manages to find the people and places in the world that he has to influence.What is Hoid doing? Hoid appears in every book, most of the time in inconspicuous roles. We’ll provide the chapter numbers as well, so you can follow along. Elantris (Chapter 58) Hoid appears in Elantris as a simple beggar. He is responsible for moving Sarene’s shipments of goods into Elantris. This is possibly useful for him keeping tabs on Sarene’s plans, as he is able to ascertain when she begins to move weapons into Elantris. It is also possible that he is trying to make her cautious, as he appears worried in this chapter. The Elantrians cannot win this fight and if they are destroyed so is any hope for Arelon’s future. It is also interesting to note that Hoid never shows Sarene his face, so he could be keeping tabs on her in other guises as well. The Final Empire (Chapter 29) In The Final Empire, Hoid meets with Kelsier in the guise of a skaa informant. He provides information about House Renoux to him, which I believe he is doing to warn Kelsier about dangers to their operation. He tells Kelsier that other Houses may attempt to take advantage of Renoux since they are shipping at a loss. He also gives him warning that other houses are aware of Vin and Elend’s interactions and believe that Renoux has some sort of control over Venture, which could turn dangerous if Venture discovers what the other houses think. Hoid also warns Elend that Shan Elariel is a Soother. The strange part is that she is actually a Mistborn. Either Hoid doesn’t know this, or he’s trying to just give Kelsier a general warning to watch out for Shan without giving away information he has no way of knowing. Well of Ascension (Chapter 56) The Well of Ascension is Hoid’s longest and most subtle appearance in the Mistborn trilogy. He appears as the leader of the Terrismen refugees that Spook and Elend meet. His name is never mentioned at all. It is possible that he is Lightweaving here to appear Terris, as Kelsier thought he was skaa in the last book. Hoid had spent most of the time in this book looking for the Well of Ascension in the Terris mountains with no success. He had been tricked by the Lord Ruler like everyone else. Hoid overhears them whispering about Vin going to the Well in Luthadel. After they leave Hoid slips into Shadesmar and manages to beat Vin to the Well. Hoid goes there for unknown reasons, although it is possible that Hoid steals a bead of lerasium from there. He has “metal that he shouldn’t have” and Peter has said that there is at least one more bead out there. This book also provides decent evidence that Hoid is a good guy. He could have easily taken the power at the Well and let Ruin free. Vin and Elend would be none the wiser. He chooses to let Vin do so though, so she can begin the process of fixing Scadrial. Another interesting thing to note is that when Hoid is in his Terrisman guise, he is shaking. Whether that is part of his disguise, or a physical reaction to Scadrial’s environment or something else entirely remains to be seen. Hero of Ages (Chapter 27) In Hero of Ages, Hoid barely appears at all. Cett lists him as a trustworthy informant. Vin goes to meet with him but she sees him standing there, whistling to himself, and something spooks her, so she leaves. There have been many theories on why she left. Maybe she could detect that he wasn’t from Scadrial, maybe her bronze was allowing her to sense his Lightweaving, maybe Ruin was trying to keep her away. Whatever it is, Hoid didn’t get to give Vin any information. Warbreaker (Chapter 32) Hoid is the storyteller that explains the history of the God Kings to Siri. He manages to at least give her hints of the past so she can try to figure out what is going to happen to Susebron. He also clues her into the nature of Kalad’s Phantoms and that her ancestor was Vo the First Returned. If Hoid is on Nalthis to avert the next Manywar we don’t see much of it. The Way of Kings (Chapters 12, 15, 22, 53, 57 & Epilogue) Hoid’s appearance in this book is the King’s Wit. He spends much time interacting with the main characters. As the King’s Wit he has access to the most important people in Alethkar. He is trying to figure something out, asking Dalinar if he has heard the term Adonalsium and mentioning the Cosmere. He also spends time trying to make the main characters grow, prodding at Renarin, and telling Kaladin a story to try to show him that he needs to take responsibility. There is a high chance he Lightweaves while telling Kaladin this story too. Hoid mentions he is hiding from an old acquaintance, which is possibly Rayse, holder of the Shard Odium. Hoid was also mentor to the Sizgil, teaching him the ways of the Worldsingers. He also witnesses the return of Taln. Hopefully he will attempt to send Taln to the Shattered Plains to meet with the true leaders of Alethkar. There are also men looking for him in the Purelake, most likely members of the Seventeenth Shard. Appearing in the Epigraphs of the Way of Kings in Part Two, from chapters 12 to 28, is the text of a letter. Many people believe that this letter was written by Hoid. Much of the evidence makes sense, as the writer refers to the other Shardholders by name, implying he knew them personally. Brandon has also confirmed the person it was sent to appears in Dragonsteel. If it was written by Hoid this gives more indication that he is a good man. He wishes to stop disaster from consuming more lives and begs for the aid of his friend, who is implied to possibly hold a Shard. He also would have an enourmous grudge against and fear of Rayse, holder of Odium and Bavadin who holds another unspecified Shard on Taldain (the planet of White Sand, an unpublished book, but one that is definitely in the Cosmere). Alloy of Law (Chapter 4) In Alloy of Law, Hoid appears as a ragged beggar dressed in black, who speaks to Lord Joshin and Lady Mi’chelle. Unfortunately Wax fails to overhear what is said during the conversation. While these two are obviously worthy of congratulations, I doubt Hoid went to Scadrial to simply attend their wedding. There is always the possibility that one or both of them are Worldhoppers themselves. It is interesting to realize, that at this point in time, if the Pits of Hathsin which are possibly now called the Pits of Eltania, still exist then atium is now being produced again. Kelsier said it would take 300 years for the crystals to regrow, and it has been 342 years since Harmony’s Ascension. It is possible he is checking to see what is happening to the atium. The Seventeenth Shard The Seventeenth Shard is an organization of Worldhoppers in the Cosmere. We don’t know much about them, except for the fact that their presumed leader, the recipient of the Letter, is for non-intervention in the various Shardworlds, so that is presumably their goal as well. In the Stormlight Archive we meet men in the first Interlude that are searching the Purelake for Hoid. Brandon has referred to these men as “members,” so its basically fact that they are part of the Seventeenth Shard. They are who we will talk about for this section of Featured Theories. Who are they? The group dispatched to the Purelake is made up of three men, two who we have identified. The first is the Elantrian Galladon from Sel, referred to as Grumpy. The second is Captain Demoux of Scadrial, called the Thinker. The third man, Blunt, is from a book that hasn’t yet been published. Not even people who have read Brandon’s unpublished works know who he is. We won’t talk about him anymore. What magic can they use? Gallodon is an Elantrian, a user of AonDor. He is likely using an Aon disguise to hide his glowing silver skin. If Galladon has been trained well by Raoden and has spent the centuries since Elantris practicing, he should be a master. His immortality can be easily explained due to his Elantrian powers, they are practically immortal and can heal from most any injury with the Aon Ien. If he used Shadesmar to Worldhop, he probably also accessed that via Aon, but that may not be what he has done, considering the fact that Brandon has said you don’t want to go to Shadesmar on Sel. Demoux is an atium Misting, which will work well with his excellent combat skills. The problem hinges on whether or not he actually has any atium. Harmony may have supplied him with some. Demoux’s immortality is a little bit of a mystery. If somehow he ended up with Feruchemical atium powers, either through a spike or Harmony’s intervention he could Compound for agelessness, at least for a while. If Demoux used Shadesmar to Worldhop he could have potentially used an atium alloy to reach it. That depends on whether atium mistings can burn the alloys of atium. It’s also possible that atium itself could be used to access Shadesmar, as it has an unseen side effect. What are they doing? For some reason the Seventeenth Shard is searching for Hoid. The Letter implies that they seek to not interfere with the Shardworlds. This means that potentially one of their roles is as the Cosmere police force, dealing with rogue Worldhoppers. We haven’t seen any of those though, aside from Hoid. This would explain why they are trying to find Hoid, as he is the king of intervention. However they are likely up to more than this. They are possibly the authors of the Ars Arcanum. Studying the magics of the various worlds could be another potential goal of these people. This would imply that Nahz, the man who signed the map of Elendel is one of them or associated with them. If Raoden is also a member it is quite possible that he is the author of the Ars Arcanums, as he is definitely the scholarly type. Others? Although we’ve only identified a few people in the books as Worldhoppers, we’re likely missing more then we’ve found. So if you see someone acting odd, or appearing strangely, or with a funny accent, you may have found a Worldhopper. Hopefully we’ll end up finding more and more the closer we look.
  4. Welcome back to our “regular” Featured Theories column. We’re still working our way through a backlog of great older theories, that we think people should understand before we start moving into more complex topics. Today, as the observant reader will have guessed, we’ll be talking about Shardic Sentience and The Three Parts of Magic. Shardic Sentience So it’s a pretty safe bet that all things in the Cosmere are present in all of the Three Realms. (If you don’t know what those are check out Shardcast Episode 2: Unforgotten Realms) So that means that everything has a Cognitive aspect, the ability to think. So why is this ability only visible (for the most part) in humans? What makes them any different from a table, or a cloud, or a star? The main point of “Shardic Sentience”, a theory by emeralis, is that spiritual energy can be used to enhance the Cognitive aspect of items in the Cosmere. So it may well be that originally on many, or possibly all, the Shardworlds’s humans were hominids granted the power of thought by one or multiple Shards giving a small piece of the spiritual energy they are composed of. The Three Parts of Magic Now, we talk about one of my personal favorite theories, “The Three Parts of Magic”. It was written by our member Cuiiar and it explains some aspects of systems that no one has really been able to understand before, such as the color requirement of Awakening. The basic concept, like many great ideas, is simple. Magic systems have aspects that fall into the Three Realms as well. A Physical requirement, a Cognitive attempt to use the magic and a Spiritual source of energy. Deciding what attributes of each system fall into what categories is a bit more murky once we get into less explained magic systems, like Surgebinding. I’ll also do some speculation that may contradict what Cuiiar thinks, or is on systems that he did not originally speculate on. We’ll start with the one that Cuiiar first caught. Awakening Physical: The Physical aspect of Awakening is fairly obviously color. This theory neatly explains why Awakening drains color, something that appears almost unimportant for the operation of the magic system. Color isn’t the only Physical bit of Awakening though. It has some interesting interactions with other Physical things, like the form and composition of the object being Awakened. The closer the object is to the form of some sort of life, the fewer Breaths it takes. Ichor-alcohol also makes the Awakening of Lifeless a lot easier. Whether this too is an effect of the object becoming closer to living form (standing in for blood) is as of yet unknown. Some may point out that people must be in physical contact with the item they are Awakening. I don’t believe this is the Physical part of Awakening, as this requirement is circumvented when someone reaches the Ninth Heightening, and can perform Audible Commands. It seems to me that under every regular circumstance (i.e. not being powered directly by a Shard) all of the requirements would be necessary for performing the magic. As physical touch isn’t always necessary, I don’t believe it could be the Physical part of Awakening. Cognitive: The Cognitive aspect of Awakening seems to be the Command. While it must be Physically spoken aloud, the thought portion of this process is indubitably more important. This is shown by the fact that, even though the Commands themselves are easy to remember phrases, many Awakeners have difficulty getting the visualization quite right, so the Awakened object fails to act as Commanded. This idea that the Cognitive thought is more important than the spoken words is reinforced by the Mental Command ability, by those of the Tenth Heightening Spiritual: I think the most likely, and perhaps the only, candidate for the Spiritual source of energy for Awakening, is the Biochromatic Breath itself. It seems to be the power source for all sources of Awakening, even Nightblood when it has been unsheathed. The question of what, precisely, Breath is and where it derives its spiritual energy is a complex one, with no clear answers. Many people believe that it arises as an effect of Endowment’s interaction with the people of Nalthis. There is however dissent one whether or not regular Breath is actually of Endowment. I personally believe it is, as the effects of gathering enough regular Breath is identical to the ones granted by Divine Breath which is confirmed to be a Splinter of Endowment itself. The evidence against this argument is that the Divine Breath cannot be used for Awakening in the regular way. The source of power for the Breath is also in question. The majority believe that Breath recharges after a while, while the minority think it draws power from Endowment. Allomancy Physical: The Physical portion of Allomancy is metal. The various shapes of the molecules formed by the metals and their alloys draw the spiritual energy through the metal in various ways, vaporizing the metal in the process. It is worth noting that as metal is the focus of Allomancy, specific metals and alloy proportions must be utilized for maximum effectiveness.of this Investiture. The form of the structure of these metals focuses the power to specific powers, much as the Aons focus the Dor. Cognitive: The Cognitive portion of Allomancy is the thought to “burn” the metals. It’s what activates the process and determines how fast the reaction occurs. Spiritual: The Spiritual power source of Allomancy is subject to some debate. Brandon has said that Allomancy is powered by the Shard Preservation, taccessing the “Powers of Creation”. Some people think this means the body (power) of Preservation, which they think counts one-sixteenth of the Power of Creation. Others think that these “Powers of Creation” are merely channeled through Preservation, coming from an even larger well of infinite power beyond. Which is true is yet to be confirmed. Feruchemy Physical: The Physical portion of Feruchemy is metal, this time though it isn’t burned. It is instead “charged” with some kind of energy. The metal isn’t used but rather serves as a sort of battery, or a method of moving energy through time. The condition of the metalmind isn’t very important, as power can still be drawn from it, regardless of whether the metalmind has been damaged or not. The amount of power that can be stored in a metalmind is proportionate to mass of the metalmind itself. It is not confirmed if the metals of the metalminds must have the level of purity or specificity of proportion that their Allomantic counterparts demand but it seems likely. The best theory for the negative effect of imperfect metalminds is that they are unable to store as much a charge, as a properly alloyed metalmind of the same size would be able to. Cognitive: The Cognitive part of Feruchemy seems to be the mental commands to respectively “tap” and “store” attributes. These mental commands allow the Feruchemist to increase the flow of power either coming in, similar to flaring in Allomancy (although with theoretically no upper limit) or being stored. Spiritual: The Spiritual source of energy for Feruchemy is fairly unique, considering that, unlike every other magic system we’ve seen, it has no external source of power. All of the spiritual energy used by the Feruchemist comes directly from their own body. So it is currently unknown whether this energy is of Preservation, Ruin, both, or just generalized spiritual energy, devoid of any intent whatsoever. Regardless of that, the stores of energy in the Spiritual Realm are the most likely candidate for the source of spiritual energy for Feruchemy. The powers of Feruchemy itself are based Realmatically as well. The reason for this is unclear. It could simply be some effect of Feruchemy being a balance magic,it could have just happened, or it could occur for reasons unknown. In Feruchemy, iron, steel, tin, and pewter are in the Physical quadrant. In the Cognitive quadrant are zinc, brass, bronze, and copper. Aluminum, duralumin, chromium, and nicrosil. Gold, electrum, cadmium, and bendally make up the last quadrant, called the Hybrid metals. They are seemingly unrelated to any Realm. Hemalurgy Physical: The Physical portion of Hemalurgy, like all of the Metallic Arts is the metals themselves. Like Feruchemy, the metals themselves aren’t lost in the process but rather charged with the a portion of the spiritual aspect, or Spiritweb, of the person who was used to create the spike. Cognitive: The Cognitive part of Hemalurgy is quite a bit more difficult to pin down then the rest of the Metallic Arts. The most obvious answer is that similar to how Hemalurgy steals the powers of Allomancy and Feruchemy, it also steals their respective Cognitive parts, burning, storing, and tapping. But there’s a clear reason that this cannot be the answer. As we see when TenSoon is using his Blessings, the human attributes are always active, no Cognitive switch needs to be thrown to get them to function. So I’ve concluded the answer is something far more subtle. It’s my opinion that the Cognitive portion of Hemalurgy is where the spikes are placed in the recipient. The location of the spike determines how the receiver is twisted, and whether or not the spike has any affect on them at all. It takes Cognitive thought, to place the spikes in the right location, so I think that is why it doesn’t require a Cognitive “switch” on and off. The spikes are always in the same place, so the attribute is always functioning.I don’t think that where a spike is placed to steal the power is nearly as important, because no matter how you get an attribute, it is still identical to the same attribute being stolen from a different point on the Spiritweb. Spiritual: The Spiritual source of energy for Hemalurgy is the piece of someone’s Spiritweb that’s stuck to the spike. This is typically of Preservation but some of Ruin may be there if a Feruchemical attribute is being stolen. AonDor Physical: I think the Physical portion of AonDor is fairly self evident. The Aons themselves are the most likely candidate, being physical shapes that are reflections of the shape of the land in the Physical realm, that must be Physically drawn. Everything points to this. Some people may think that being an Elantrian counts as the Physical requirement for AonDor. I’ll admit this was even my original belief. But being an Elantrian means you can access AonDor, which makes it no different then needing to be an Allomancer to access Allomancy, and the Physical attribute of Allomancy is metal, not being an Allomancer. So I think the Aons are the better solution. Cognitive: If the Aons are not the Cognitive part of AonDor, then it leaves precious few candidates for the Cognitive portion. The best that I’ve got is that it takes a cognitive effort to begin drawing the Aons. It’s interesting to note that Aon Omi requires another mental component. The Elantrian who draws it must feel a sincere affection for those around him, or the Aon will be ineffective. Why this separate Cognitive requirement is necessary, I have no idea. Spiritual: The source of spiritual energy in AonDor is easily answered, it is the Dor of course. What the Dor is, is another question entirely. Some people think it’s that same infinite “Power of Creation”. Other people think it’s simply a Shard. The problem with this theory is that Dakhor, presumably of Dominion rather than AonDor’s Devotion, still draws from the Dor, and these two Shards are separate powers. Dakhor Physical: I realize that we know very little about Dakhor, and every magic system from here onward for that matter. I will still give it my best shot on picking out the right portions of the systems, but from here on out I have a much higher likelihood of being wrong, and much less evidence. As we figure this stuff out, I’ll come back through here and fix the errors I will indubitable make fromt this point onward. The Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum says that all the Investitures of Sel are based on form. So I’d say that it’s a fairly safe bet that the Dakhor bone growths are what determines the powers they can use. This again runs into the same problem between the ability to use a magic and the Physical portion, so I may be off-base, or it could be due to a lack of information. Cognitive: The Cognitive part of Dakhor is the most difficult question I’ve had to think about for this article. The real problem with Dakhor is it gets very little screen time and no characters who we see use Dakhor while we’re in their point of view. Also, unlike ChayShan (which gets even less mention) we don’t have someone explaining anything to us. Along with the fact that, as a religious ritual, this magic system could be full of mysticism. This makes it difficult to separate what is necessary to use the magic system from all the unnecessary rituals the Dakhor could be performing The most obvious answer for Dakhor’s Cognitive portion is the chanting that Hrathen remembers from his younger days at the monastery. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make much sense to me. The chanting is never shown in the present, even when the Dakhor are teleporting. If this was truly the Cognitive part of the magic, then there would have been mentions of chanting as the monks ran around with their super strength slaughtering everyone. To use an Allomancy metaphor, I think the chanting is much more akin to snapping then it is to burning a metal. Once you’ve been chanted over and your bones are twisted, then you never have to do any chanting again. This left me in a difficult place. What could it be? I decided to look at the other two Investitures we’ve seen on Sel so far. In both AonDor and ChayShan, the actions that draw the magic can be performed without actually drawing the Dor. Aons can be drawn without accessing the Dor and Shuden shows that ChayShan can be performed without it as well. When the magic is being accessed though, the sign in both magics is glowing. So it stands to reason that when a Dakhor monk is drawing the Dor, his bone twists will glow too. So I looked at the only two scenes where the Dakhor bones are specifically described as glowing. They are during the teleportation scene and when Hrathen strangles Dilaf. Both scenes show no sign of chanting but no sign of any other Cognitive part either. So the only conclusion that I can draw is that there must be some sort of mental command going on here, where the Dakhor monk chooses to draw upon the Dor. I feel reasonably confident about this prediction because it has been seen in the cosmere before, in both AonDor’s requirement that you must intend to use it and in Awakening’s Command visualization. Spiritual: Raoden senses that Dakhor draws on the Dor when Dilaf uses it, so I’ll trust his judgement. ChayShan Physical: Sticking with the form-based Investitures, I’d say that the Physical fighting forms of the ChayShan determine what abilities are used, if ChayShan even has separate abilities. If it does not, the forms must be necessary to maintain the unnatural grace and strength the users of this system show. Cognitive: Shuden mentions often the focus and calm that is required in order to properly perform ChayShan, it is possible that this is the Cognitive portion of this magic. It also might require some sort of mental intention to draw the Dor like AonDor and possibly Dakhor. However, there hasn’t been any indication of that yet. Spiritual: I think the Dor remains the most likely candidate for the Spiritual source of energy and Raoden agrees with me. Forgery Physical: The Physical portion of the Forgery seems to be the Soulseals, the form of which, from what we understand, determines how the item they are placed on changes. Cognitive: We’ve also heard that you need a certain amount of determination and knowledge of the item’s past in order to craft a good Forgery of it, so I’d say it’s a pretty good prediction that those are the Cognitive part. Spiritual: I’m sticking with the Dor again. Surgebinding Physical: Here we go, Surgebinding is really cloudy right now. Gems seem to be the Physical portion in fabrials, and even for Jasnah and Shallan’s Soulcastings. But for Kaladin they seem to be nothing more than glorified Stormlight purses. The Body Focuses in the Ars Arcanum of The Way of Kings may offer some answers. Kaladin has to inhale Stormlight after all. But this time Jasnah and Shallan are the exception, they don’t seem to be tied to any others when they Soulcast. Cognitive: Again no easy answers. Kaladin has to intentionally look at something to Lash it. But Jasnah and Shallan don’t seem to do anything like this, as a matter of fact, Shallan Soulcasts by accident. You could perhaps throw the truth requirement in there, but it seems more in line with forming a bond with the spren, rather than using the power. After all, it would get pretty clunky having to have to call up the spren and give them a whole new truth every time you want to Soulcast something, especially if you’re in the middle of a battle. Spiritual: The Spiritual aspect of Surgebinding is the one easy answer. The Stormlight seems to provide the spiritual fuel for the magic to work. Now what Shard or Shards provide the spiritual energy for Stormlight is a whole different question. Well, I'm going to steer clear of Lightweaving, as we have so little information about it that trying to theorize would be ridiculous. I know that in the years to come many of these concepts will become outdated as we learn more. I'll keep this article updated and let people know if and when anything changes. Thanks for reading, and I promise that future installments won't have quite so much of a gap between them.