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Ok, friends, I apologize if this has already been discussed before. I searched for a post about it and couldn't find one, so I figured I'd open the discussion if it doesn't already exist. I've been noticing what I feel to be a quiet trend going on in the Cosmere - Silver. I would like your opinions on what this could mean or if i'm just plain crazy. Silver is not always in a meaningful spot within the Cosmere (clothing, decor, etc)... but when it does appear in a meaningful role, it seems to work the same way throughout the Cosmere. Considering how often Silver makes an appearance, it seems apparent that the metal is present on all of the cosmere worlds... some of those worlds seem to have discovered its very special uses and effects. Just to name a few key examples of silver making notable appearances within the Cosmere: Nalthis - Nightblood's sheath. To contain Nightblood's immense powers and abilities, he is kept within a silver sheath. When Nightblood is even slightly released from this sheath, his power is also released and he influences his surroundings. Like taking the cap off of something that kept him "bottled" up. Threnody - Silence Montane's dagger. Silver (weapons/dust) is the only thing on Threnody known to touch/harm/ward against shades... hence Silence's silver dagger. Silver can even heal a whither wound that has recently been caused by a shade. Silver on Threnody is widely known and coveted because of its effectiveness against shades. This is important because shades are, presumably, connected to/from/part of the spiritual realm. And yet silver is the one known defense that can touch/fight/resist them without ill effect. Scadrial - Electrum. I've always wondered why silver itself wasn't technically an allomantic metal... it seems like it should be. It does, however, show up in the Silver+Gold alloy known as Electrum. As near as I can tell, Electrum is the only metal of the 16 metals that is powerful enough to neutralize a God Metal (Atium) in another allomancer. "Thank you, Silver... because without you, Gold alone would only let me see my possible past self. With you, however, I can see all of my future selves - disabling Atium's advantage for its user. Whew!" Silver saves the day again! Roshar - Shardplate, shardblades, (and half-shards?). The shardplate(s) and shardblades of Roshar are repeatedly referred to as silver. Let's start with a few quotes. WoK Prologue mentioned Szeth's honorblade: "Szeth turned and continued on his way, slippered feet falling on the soft red rug. The Shardblade, as always, glistened silver and clean." ... and before that, the WoK Prelude mentioned shardplate itself: "Juxtaposed between them were others in gleaming plate armor. One group walked past, four men in their ragged tanned skins or shoddy leather joining a powerful figure in beautiful silver plate, amazingly intricate. Such a contrast." Along with many MANY other examples and quotes throughout WoK and WoR that (other than paint and ornamentation) repeatedly refer to Shardplate and shardblades as silver or "silvery metal." Crazy questions: In keeping with this silver theory here, is this what spren become when they transform into shardblades?...do they imitate/become silver? Could this be why shardblades can block/hit other shardblades and yet cut through everything else as if it wasn't even there? When the Vedens manufactured "half-shards," were they made of silver? Shallan encountered a keyhole at the Oathgate (at the end of WoR) that was "made of the same stuff" as a shardblade, as she put it. It doesn't seem implied that a spren had transformed into said keyhole... but rather unlike shardblades, no spren was involved. I theorize that no spren is necessary for this "stuff" (silver?) to exist in the physical realm. Therefore, the keyhole could possibly be made of simple silver. It's possible that the Vedens have managed to create their half-shards simply by discovering the proper metal to use when forging them. 1.) Have some Veden smiths forge shields of silver. 2.) Power the shield with infused gemstones (just like shardplate). 3.) and VIOLA! ...Half-Shard? ... Crazy crazy questions bouncing around my head. At any rate, one thing that seems certain to me is that silver is very special within the cosmere. It's possible that its effects and influence span across all three realms at once! I'm not saying that everything described as "silver" or "silvery" has some profound meaning behind it... but there might just be a bit of a cosmere-sized trend here. To me, if there really is a trend, it seems that silver can "counter" powers within the cosmere. Like shielding nightblood, touching/harming shades, mixing with gold to allow an allomancer to negate the effects of atium, stopping/blocking a shardblade's attack, etc... If anyone in the Cosmere knows what's going on, it's Hoid... and even he keeps a silver sword handy. "Wit picked his way through the groups of attendants, holding a cup of wine in one hand, silver sword belted at his side." "Wit sat on a raised stool at the end of the bridge leading onto the island. Wit actually dressed as a lighteyes should—he wore a stiff black uniform, silver sword at his waist." Seems like Hoid knows something about the benefits and usefulness of silver that we don't. Can you guys think of anymore examples? ...or am I crazy? What does silver mean to the Cosmere?
In the interest of finding mundane weapons capable of adequately damaging shardplate I thought I might do some calculations. From what we know so far there are two weapons capable of cracking shardplate with one blow and possibly destroying shattering shardplate in subsequent blow. Namely a Warhammer and a massive rock-sling. In Chapter 65 of The Way of Kings we see some Parshendi slinging head-size rocks at Dalinar, which slightly crack Dalinar's shardplate. In order to do these calculations I'm going to have to make quite a few assumptions: okay, now for some calculations: So now we've got a baseline. I'm going to assume that 1580 or so Joules is close to the minimum amount of energy required to crack shardplate. Long story short, here is a table of some other weapons with their approximate Ek calculated: As you can see, the two heaviest warhammers, the (3300lb draw-weight) siege-crossbow and the 5500 lb draw-weight ballista all have an effective Ek exceeding or near to 1587 Joules. The shardbearer's warhammer shown is probably capable of shattering shardplate in a single blow (if it's a direct hit, and not say, a glancing blow). The bows and crosbows have their draw weight indicated (the weight, in pounds, required to draw the bowstring/crossbowstring back). The 3300 lb draw weight siege-crossbow treads the line between a ballista and a crossbow, being that it is barely portable (up to 25 kg). There are probably quite a few other heavy weapons capable of adequately damaging shardplate, which I can't think of at the moment. If you can think of any, please point them out. It's also interesting to consider the possibilities of fabrial enhancements in improving these weapons anti-shardplate capabilities. What sort of enhancements do you think they could be given? EDIT: Added a ballista in the table.