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Found 5 results

  1. I theorize each Shard has its own “pathway to power.” This pathway is the conduit down which a Shard’s Spiritual Realm power enters the other Realms. Each pathway is a unique medium for the transmission of magical energy between the Realms. Metal, spren, water, and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are examples. The idea and term “pathway to power” comes from Marasi’s POV in this Bands of Mourning passage (Chapter 28, Kindle p. 359, emphasis added): Here’s how I think pathways work in my magic systems model: 1. A magic user consumes a “catalyst” to start the magic (burns metal, infuses Stormlight, dehydrates, drains “color,” etc.) 2. The catalyst activates each Shard’s pathway to Spiritual Realm power. 3. The Spiritual Realm releases power down the pathway. 4. Each magic system’s Focus shapes the pathway to choose which power is released. 5. The Focused power Invests the magic user. 6. The magic user directs the Invested power for some magical effect. Brandon says, “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do [emphasis added].” Elsewhere he says, @Jofwu calls the “unchanging/unchangeable” aspect of a Shard its “nature.” Because power isn’t “related to the Shards,” I believe a Shard’s pathway solely causes its nature. Each pathway transmits power differently. Ruin could use the same powers as Preservation; but Ruin’s increased net entropy pathway (“decay”) directly opposes metal’s crystalline molecular pathway (“stasis”). It’s “more natural” for Ruin to steal Allomantic powers by increasing net entropy (spiking). Jofwu calls a Shard’s changeable aspect “the Vessel’s expression of the Shard.” I think the Vessel’s expression embodies Brandon’s axiom that perception guides the use of power. IMO, a Vessel’s expression decides “the WAY the magic is obtained,” “the means of getting powers”: “Ruin stealing, Preservation gifting.” Ruin, for example, could give magic users power in ways other than spiking to express entropy. Brandon may have “flavored” pathways and expressions to correlate with Adonalsium life stages, a Jordan-esque “Wheel of Life.” I’m going to try to weave each Shard into a matrix of expressions, pathways, energy transmission mechanics (each pathways’ “science”), life stages, and narrative. I list the Shards in order of their “life stage.” Lots of speculation here. Enjoy the ride! Fortune [SPECULATION] Expression: Grants Foresight Pathway: Space-Time Continuum Mechanic: Special and General Relativity Life Stage: Conception Narrative: Adonalsium conceives the Physical Realm as a space-time continuum We don’t know whether “Fortune” is a Shard, but it’s a good candidate as hinted by its name. Here’s some speculation: Space-Time in the Cosmere Fortune tells Hoid (the most accomplished seer, says Azure) where and when he needs to be, but not why. It sounds like Hoid taps into the cosmere’s space-time continuum. Brandon believes in probabilistic time: “Possibilities upon possibilities, compounded upon one another. Infinite, overwhelming. The future.” (M:SH, Part Three, Chapter 3, Kindle Locs. 1055-1056.) Since our physics and the cosmere’s are the same except for Investiture, I think space-time constitutes the Physical Realm’s fabric, the substance that permeates the Physical Realm. Except possibly for Cognitive Realm splinters, Adonalsium’s mind and soul are alone until he creates the Physical Realm. IMO, conceiving space-time must precede the Physical Realm because the Physical Realm begins linear time, something unknown in the Spiritual Realm: “Time…had no relevance here. It was not a place. Location had no relevance. Only Connection…” (M:SH, Part Three, Chapter 3, Kindle Locs. 1031-1032.) IOW, space-time doesn’t exist in the Spiritual Realm except as a Connection between a soul and its place and time. How Fortune Works? Surprised by the Diagram’s accuracy, Odium tells Taravangian, “You did this without access to Fortune, or the Spiritual Realm?” (OB, Chapter 122, Kindle p. 1215, emphasis added.) This suggests accessing Fortune is an alternate means of seeing the future, different from looking directly into the Spiritual Realm like Kelsier does in M:SH. Fortune seems to avoid the “mind-breaking” Preservation warns Kelsier about. I think Riino’s globe (the “Rii Oracle”) is an example of an “interaction with nature” magic system. “Invested” mortals like Kaladin can interact with Fortune, but they can’t direct its magic. The Oracle seems filled with Fortune’s Investiture (a “milky light” that changes colors, unlike the Ire’s “blue-white light.” (M:SH, Part 5, Chapter 2, Kindle Loc. 1356.) Touching the Oracle IMO Connects Kaladin to space-time. Through that Connection, Kaladin sees Dalinar’s future confrontation with Odium in Thaylen City. Riino later places his bartered Stormlight in “some kind of globe.” (OB, Chapter 99, Kindle p. 926.) If this “globe” is the Oracle, it’s possible Riino needs to replace Stormlight Kaladin consumes to Connect to Fortune. This makes thermodynamic sense, because you need energy to access the Spiritual Realm, even “at the beginning of the highstorm…when realms blend.” (OB, Chapter 97, Kindle pp. 910, 911.) IOW, Kaladin may have accessed Fortune by consuming a Stormlight catalyst the Oracle holds to fuel his Connection to the Spiritual Realm. The Oracle’s magic to me resembles Aviar as much as atium. Aviar warn their bonded mortals about imminent danger. The Oracle sees farther than Aviar or atium, as we might expect from Fortune. Like Aviar, the Oracle creates a Cognitive Connection with Kaladin – the Investiture seems to know he’d want to see Dalinar’s dilemma. Other Thoughts It’s unclear whether Fortune has its own Shardworld. It may be the “Shard that isn’t on a planet,” appropriate for the Shard whose pathway is space-time. Maybe black holes are Fortune’s perpendicularities? I’m curious if we’ll find mortals who can direct Fortune’s magic along its space-time pathway – starship navigators like Dune’s Guild? Fortune may make FTL space travel possible, through black holes or as a navigation guide. FWIW, Feruchemical “Fortune” and the Shard Fortune (if there is one) may not be 100% the same thing: “when they use the word ‘fortune,’ do they mean exactly what the Feruchemical – and the answer is no. But it is a very similar concept.” Endowment Expression: Grants Life Pathway: Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Mechanic: Quantum Mechanics Life Stage: Birth Narrative: Adonalsium creates the cosmere: “Let there be light.” Quantum mechanics describes the behavior of matter and energy at the level of atoms and subatomic particles. Photons are a quantum of light. Breaths are essentially a quantum of Investiture. Quantum mechanics metaphorically fits the “Let there be light” moment, as does Endowment’s EMR pathway. Brandon says Endowment wants to start a cosmere market for magic. She creates Breaths by, IMO, adding life to photons, the “bio” in “biochroma.” Each Breath grants more life (the Heightenings). Even non-Nalthians can hold Breaths. This portability, Breath scarcity (related to the number of native Nalthians), and the fact Breaths as quanta are Investiture’s smallest usable “unit,” make Breaths the ideal currency for Endowment’s magic market. I believe that’s why Endowment chose Nalthis to reside on. I characterize Endowment as an “angel investor.” Her investment (uncoincidentally IMO) gives birth to the magic market. Endowment “endowed” Nalthis with a nest egg that, “Invested” wisely, could generate wealth for millennia. Her name shows how she interprets her pathway. Her social endowment includes the Returned, the prophetic avatars of her divine ideals. Devotion Expression: Sustains Life Pathway: Sub-Surface Ground Mechanic: Geothermal Energy Life Stage: Newborn Narrative: Adonalsium creates planets AonDor seems particularly location-dependent even for Sel. To me, Elantris resembles a newborn who fully depends on its mother. Aon Rao infuses Elantris and Elantrians with the Dor (like mother’s milk). Once the Shaod takes them, Elantrians don’t need any other form of sustenance – Devotion “nurtures” them eternally. The broken chasm line deprives Elantrians of their ability to heal and draw Aons, but they remain immortal. Elantrians lose Aon Rao’s power amplification as they distance themselves from Elantris (and their mother’s Spirit). I associate planet formation with Devotion. After its sun, a planet’s secondary energy source is geothermal energy, left in a planet’s mantle and core when formed. (The warmth of a mother’s love?) Geothermal convection at a planet’s core causes tectonic plate movement on a planet’s surface, like what happened with the chasm. I believe Devotion and Dominion chose Sel because their pathways and mechanics suit a world that (IMO) holds Adonalsium’s inherent Investiture in its ground. Honor Expression: Makes Cognitive Connections Pathway: Neural Synapses Mechanic: Synaptic Plasticity – affects the strength of synaptic connections Life Stage: Infant Narrative: Adonalsium begins to Connect his creations into Spiritwebs Infants start to explore and Connect to the people and things in their world. Neural synapses are how the brain makes Connections. Synapses are the gaps between neurons across which the neurons electrically communicate. IMO, synapses are Honor’s pathway. “Synaptic plasticity” refers to the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time in response to synaptic activity levels. Perceived Connections between people, planet and things, reinforced with use, strengthen synaptic connections. Spren enter the Physical Realm through a Cognitive bond with their host. I believe Roshar’s spren bonds attracted Honor to Roshar. Surgebinders get Honor’s magic from the Nahel bond, a form of Cognitive Connection. IMO, oaths reinforce the Connection by strengthening the synapses in the KR’s brain hooking him to his ideals (the Radiant spren). Broken oaths end the synaptic Connection, leaving a mindless spren that’s missing “a piece of [its] soul.” Dominion Expression: Sets Rules Pathway: Ground Surface Mechanic: Gravitational Potential Energy Life Stage: Toddler Narrative: Adonalsium creates the cosmere’s “unifying laws” Dominion’s form-based “programming” gives access to the Dor. IMO, these forms are 2-dimensional representations of local landscape features, an “overlap between language, location, and magic on the planet…” (AU, “The Selish System,” Kindle p. 18.) On Sel, each unique magical population culturally interprets its native landscape. I think these interpretations become Dominion’s forms. My choice of gravitational potential energy for Dominion’s mechanic may seem weird. Potential energy is stored energy that doesn’t do anything until motion turns it into kinetic energy – like a rock that begins to tumble. Gravitational potential energy depends on the relative height of different parts of the landscape. Even minor elevation differences can yield energy. On Sel, “Vast continents and sweeping oceans create a diverse landscape, with an extreme amount of variation on this one planet.” (AU, Kindle p. 17, emphasis added.) Khriss describes “powers that permeate the landscape.” (AU, Kindle p. 17.) I speculate Dominion’s landscape-based access codes unlock Sel’s gravitational potential energy. At least some Selish magic seems activated by motion: Elantrians draw, JinDo dance, and Bloodsealers and Forgers impress essence stamps. Is Forton’s potion stirred? Perhaps this motion converts the potential energy into the kinetic energy that summons the Dor? Other Shardworlds’ magic systems don’t seem to start with motion. Linking gravitational potential energy with the toddler stage seems appropriate. A sedentary infant’s potential energy becomes the mobile toddler’s very kinetic energy as they learn to resist gravity and move. As the toddler’s world expands, authority needs to set boundaries on that energy. Dominion says, “Know your land and take dominion over it before you can extract its magic.” Cultivation Expression: Transforms Pathway: Life Mechanic: Evolution Life Stage: Puberty Narrative: Adonalsium “transforms” the cosmere to create life I leave Cultivation’s “life” pathway vague. If all cosmere life existed only in the Physical Realm, her pathway might be “living cells.” But spren, seons, and skaze are alive too. I believe Cultivation’s life pathway also winds through them. I think Roshar’s spren are the pathway that brings Cultivation’s power to Roshar’s native flora and fauna, the KR, and fabrials. Stormlight activates the spren pathway to manifest the power each spren personifies (fire, wind, gravity, growth, etc.). Khriss says, “this pattern (the bonding of spren to human) is merely an expansion of what already exists in the nature of the planet.” (AU, “The Rosharan System,” Kindle p. 536.) I believe Cultivation causes this “expansion.” IMO, Radiant spren are Adonalsium spren until Cultivation transforms them. Mutation is an evolutionary process. To me, the source of a KR’s power is the Radiant spren, made from some combination of Honor's and Cultivation's Investiture. The Nahel bond’s Cognitive Connection gives the KR the ability to direct the Radiant spren’s power and enjoy power’s benefits (like self-healing). I believe Cultivation also transforms Dalinar, Taravangian, Lift, and Renarin to help them resist Odium. Dalinar recovers his memories in time to assimilate and integrate them before Odium uses those memories to assault him. Cultivation knows Odium will come to Taravangian on his "bad" days, and I suspect Taravangian’s compassion – his Connection to others – will aid him. Cultivation changes Lift so she can metabolize food into Stormlight. Cultivation (IMO) changes both Renarin and Glys so they can bond each other. Renarin's name shows his uniqueness: “Like one who was born unto himself.” (OB, Chapter 52, Kindle p. 515.) Puberty transforms a person and makes them capable of creating life. That seems the natural life stage for Cultivation’s expression and pathway. Autonomy Expression: Grants Self-Sufficiency Pathway: Water Mechanic: Fluid Mechanics Life Stage: Parenthood Narrative: Adonalsium makes a planet with (IMO) its own self-sufficient consciousness Life needs water for self-sufficiency. Like Autonomy, water easily changes form. Autonomy prefers ocean worlds like Taldain and First of the Sun. Fluid mechanics (which includes aerodynamics) seems an appropriate choice for Bavadin, whom I believe is a shape-shifting dragon. Khriss says a Sand Master’s body water forges a temporary bond between him and the sand microflora. (AU, “The Taldain System,” Kindle pp. 369-370.) This bond lets the Sand Master draw Investiture from the Spiritual Realm to control the microflora’s growth and, consequently, the sand. IOW, water is the pathway down which the Sand Master pulls power from the Spiritual Realm and pushes it into the microflora. Brandon calls Roshar a “created” world. I think Adonalsium made Roshar last. The closeness of Roshar’s Cognitive and Physical Realms suggests Adonalsium gave Roshar its own self-sufficient consciousness. Roshar may represent Adonalsium’s Planet 2.0, a child planet that will grow itself. Roshar, FWIW, is also an ocean planet. I think the Urithiru basement icon of a figure with arms out-stretched above a blue disk refers to whatever consciousness raised the Rosharan continent from the water. Autonomy later does the same when its avatar raises the Pantheon. I suspect much of Autonomy’s “assigned Investiture” is found on Roshar. Preservation Expression: Maintains Stasis Pathway: Metals Mechanic: Metal Science Life Stage: Middle Age Narrative: Adonalsium is content with the cosmere as is Metals form regular crystal structures and have the lowest entropy of the matter states – closest to stasis. Adonalsium looks at his creation (the cosmere) with middle age’s self-satisfaction. He wants to keep what he has. Odium Expression: Breaks Cognitive Connections Pathway: Neuron Death Mechanic: Nonsynaptic Plasticity – affects neurons’ intrinsic excitability; overexcited neurons can cause cell death Life Stage: Later Age Narrative: Adonalsium ages, loses Connections, and foresees his death As people age, they lose Connection with family and friends. They become less responsive and lose their affect. Perhaps the Fain causes Adonalsium’s slippage – is the Fain a Physical Realm representation of Adonalsium’s Cognitive decline? Does Adonalsium foresee the need for heirs? I believe Odium’s magic users get their power by breaking their Cognitive Connections to other people. That’s my lesson from Odium’s failed attempt to turn Dalinar. Empty of feeling – “Alone…So alone” – Odium’s magic users fill their void with power. “Passion” can break these Connections – hate blinds, as does lust, gluttony, and shame. Though not passion, irresponsibility also breaks Connections – “It’s not my fault…” I think Odium’s pathway is neuron death. One way: high neuron stimulation over time (like from passion) can overexcite and kill neurons (“excitotoxicity”). To regain their power, a returned Fused IMO must lose more neurons to break more Connections. This may explain why many Fused can’t speak and appear imbecilic – they’ve come back so often and suffered too much brain damage. Odium is the Shard murderer. He kills the Vessel’s mind, leaving the Shard’s power undirected. IMO, Odium holds “the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards” because of his neuron death pathway. Ruin Expression: Decay Pathway: Increased Entropy Mechanic: Second Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy Life Stage: Death and Decomposition Narrative: Adonalsium dies and “decomposes” – Shatters into 16 pieces of greater entropy “Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy,” since power is lost in attribute transfers. I think a Hemalurgical victim’s decaying blood and Feruchemical attribute conversion into Investiture are examples of Ruin’s pathway of increased entropy. Hemalurgy uses metal as a Focus, but metal is Preservation’s essence, not Ruin’s. I think Ruin uses metal because it has the lowest entropy. Other choices would lose too much power in transit. To me, it makes thematic sense the Ruin-Preservation war should oppose entropy with the cosmere’s most entropy-resistant substance. Ruin ruined Ati. It decayed his will and personality until he gave in to Ruin’s destructive impulse. In Ati more than any other Vessel, nature and expression merged. Other Shards I omit Ambition because we only know its magic inferentially. I also agree with many posters that Wisdom is a Shard, but again, we don’t know its magic. I can certainly envision Ambition and Wisdom as Adonalsium “life stages.” Ambition falls between “self-sufficiency” and middle age. Wisdom should come between middle age and Cognitive decline (or so I’m told). Other Topics I discuss these topics in the following Spoiler: Recent WoB Supports Pathways Theory Meaning of “Essence” “Catalyst” as Cosmere Word Why Non-Metal Catalysts Are Invested The Role of Catalyst in Cosmere Thermodynamics: Awakening Catalysts and Identity
  2. Happy New Year, everyone! Best wishes for peace, health, and prosperity! @Calderis’ excellent post concludes “the names of the Shards that we know is not the pure intent of the Shards themselves, but the interpretation of that core concept by their Vessel.” I agree with his insight. This post tries to describe those “pure intents” (what I call Mandates) and suggests Mandates together may form a specific pattern. Theory IMO, Mandates are each Shard’s thematic mechanic, the way mortals get magic from their Shard: “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shard, but not the powers themselves”; and “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” As thematic mechanics, “pure” Mandates seem to associate with different stages of life – birth, growth, plateau, decline, and death. I think Mandates together may form a “Wheel of Life” (really), but I’m unsure what that means, if anything. Maybe it’s Brandon’s paean to Jordan? Brandon says Adonalsium could have Shattered differently. At minimum, the allocation of Adonalsium’s power by life stage seems to ensure the Shards don’t overlap. As Evi says, “We are all different aspects of the One.” (OB, Chapter 36, Kindle p. 372.) Mandates divide the One’s magical aspects into different gods. Each Shard’s Mandate I list the Mandates – how IMO a Shard gives its magic to mortals – in order of placement on the Wheel of Life. Grants Life (Endowment) Conception/Birth: Endowment’s Mandate gives life (Breaths). Breaths attach to new souls. Each later-acquired Breath gives more life to souls (the Heightenings). Divine Breath gives life to souls by healing them. Awakening’s Breath transfer gives objects life. Sustains Life (Devotion) Newborn: Devotion uses the Dor like mother’s milk to sustain Elantrians without other nourishment. Elantrians get the Dor through Aon Rao’s infusion of Elantris. Elantrians lose power as they travel from Elantris and their mother’s Spirit. Makes Cognitive Connections (Honor) Infant: Infants begin to form emotional attachments. Surgebinders get Honor’s magic through the Cognitive Connection of the Nahel bond. Sets Rules (Dominion) Toddler/Child: As the child’s world expands, authority begins to set rules and boundaries. Dominion’s programmatic forms set the rules by which Sel’s mortals get the Dor. Transforms (Cultivation) Teenager: The child transforms to an adult. IMO, Cultivation transforms native spren into potential Radiantspren. I think honorspren are Nahel-bondable windspren; Cryptics are Nahel-bondable creationspren; etc. Surgebinders get their power through these transformed spren. Grants Self-Sufficiency (Autonomy) Young Adult: The adult goes out on his/her own. IMO, Autonomy’s users get their magic “living off the land.” The Sand Mastery and Aviar systems give magic through local lifeforms. These systems enable Connected humans to survive hostile environments on their own. Maintains Stasis (Preservation) Middle Age: Life plateaus in the middle years. Brandon says, “in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift—allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic.” Allomancy is a magical prosthesis. Breaks Cognitive Connections (Odium) Old Age: Adults age, and their Connections to others break down. Odium tries to give Dalinar power, and make Dalinar his Champion, by breaking Dalinar’s human Connections. Dalinar is left “Alone. So Alone.” The Thrill gives power by stripping a mortal’s morality, mercy, and remorse. The Fused have no qualms killing Singers, their own race, for whom they’re supposedly fighting. Decays (Ruin) Death: Life ends with death and decomposition, the return of matter and energy to the system. Hemalurgy is a decaying process – what Brandon calls a “net negative” system. Preservation tells Kelsier, “Everything passes, nothing is eternal. That is what Ati always claimed....” Other Shards I don’t include Ambition and the unknown Shards. We don’t know how they give their magic to mortals, except for the unplanned magic of Threnody’s Shades. Since the “Wheel” incorporates only 9 of the 16 Shards, there’s ample room for more life stages, particularly between young adult and middle age. Mandates and Personality – Are Mandates Intrinsic to Power? Read this section if you like “deep theory.” I believe equally valid theories can explain Mandates without affecting the way cosmere magic works – Mandates exist, regardless of why. These are just some stray thoughts. Conclusion I’ve tried to define Mandates in terms of mechanics – how Shards give their magic to mortals. It would be cool if Mandates do form a “Wheel of Life,” but that’s more “let’s keep an eye on this” than “theory” at this point. What do you all think?
  3. This post is another in my periodic series, “A Theory of Cosmere Magic.” As with all my posts, please preface each statement with “In my opinion….” SUMMARY 1. The Powers originally lacked “thoughts and personalities.” (HoA, Chapter 55 Epigraph.) I interpret Sazed’s comment to mean “Adonalsium” lacked thoughts and personalities. 2. The Vessels did have “thoughts and personalities.” When the Vessels Ascended, the Powers had to accommodate themselves to their new directing minds. That created Mandates. 3. Mandate “permanence” and Mandate “compulsion” help the Powers maintain their efficiency. These Mandate properties imprint and widen the Internal Connection between the Vessel’s mind and the Powers (that is, between its Cognitive and Spiritual Realm aspects). THE MEANING OF MANDATES Sixteen Colored Lenses. In Preservation’s metaphor of the Realms (M:SH), the Cognitive Realm distorts the Spiritual Realm’s perfection on its way to the Physical Realm. Pre-Shattering, there was no distortion – Adonalsium had a clear lens, allowing the perfect “white” light of the Powers to shine through to the Physical Realm. The Shattering replaced Adonalsium’s perfect white light with 16 different colored lenses. Doesn’t Affect Powers. The Powers themselves are still “perfect,” though divided into 16 originally equal Spiritual Realm parts. As Spiritual Realm Investiture, the Powers are “consistent” regardless of their Mandate. Post-Shattering the Powers pass through a Mandated Cognitive lens that “colors” the magic on its way to the Physical Realm – a “color” caused by the Vessel’s dominant character trait at the moment of Ascension. Mandates affect only the use of the Powers, not their Spiritual Realm perfection: “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” Similarly, “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” ORIGIN OF MANDATES Connection to Vessel’s Soul. The Shattering created Mandates. They arose because, unlike Adonalsium, each Vessel already had a Spiritweb and was part of “Creation” (the sum of all Spiritwebs and their corresponding aspects). That meant the Powers had to Connect to the Vessels’ souls. Evidence of this Powers-Vessel Connection: Vin, Leras and Ati’s bodies re-materialized after their deaths. Cognitive Connection. The Powers Internally Connected to their Vessel’s mind and vaporized their Vessel’s body. The Powers took each Vessel’s mind as it was. This imprinted the Shard with the Vessel’s dominant character trait – Brandon says the Shattering could have spawned different Mandates, different Cognitive filters. Each Vessel became the Shard of that dominant trait: Ambition, Autonomy, Cultivation, Devotion, Dominion, Endowment, Honor, Odium, Preservation and Ruin. Example: Preservation tells Kelsier in M:SH that "Everything passes, nothing is eternal. That is what Ati always claimed. [Emphasis added.]” Ati “always” saw things through that prism, always identified with Ruin, even before his Ascension. He may have been a “kind and generous man,” but he believed in decay, in the inevitable destruction of all things. This example highlights the difference between “personality” (Ati’s kindness) and character (Ati’s strong belief in “decay” that became Ruin’s Mandate). In a description of cognitive shadows, Brandon says, Cognitive shadows are not Shards, and their creation process is not the same. But Brandon’s description of cognitive shadows seems to apply to the Ascension of Vessels: Ascension results in a mind “infused with Investiture.” This infusion permanently imprints a Shard with its Vessel’s pre-Ascension character “like minerals with petrified wood.” PROPERTIES OF MANDATES Mandate Permanence. The imprint on the Powers of each Vessel’s dominant character trait at the moment of Ascension became that Shard’s permanent Mandate. The Vessel’s character seems to attune the Powers, allowing them to be held or used only by someone with precisely the same character: Examples: Kelsier, Vin and Sazed all held the Powers. Kelsier couldn’t fully use Preservation’s Powers because he was too Connected to Ruin and didn’t match Leras’ character, as the Preservation Shard required. Vin could fully absorb Preservation’s Powers after her “attuning” at the Well. Sazed’s balanced character had no trouble picking up both Preservation and Ruin. Mandate Compulsion. Mandates initially don’t affect the personal behavior of Shards, their “personalities.” But the Powers WANT to be used with their full force, with little resistance. They push to widen the Connection between the Shard’s Cognitive and Spiritual Realm aspects. Eventually the Powers may widen this Connection until the Mandate overwhelms the Shard’s personality, aligning it with the Mandate. This happened with Ati. Brandon suggests some Vessels resist the Mandate’s compulsion better than others. Harmony himself distinguishes between personality and Mandate (SoS, Kindle, p. 134): Mandate compulsion resembles a Knight Radiant’s Nahel bond (though the mechanism is different). The Nahel bond strengthens as the Knight and its spren come into closer alignment through the Knight’s expression of his/her ideals. The strengthened bond increases the Power a Knight Radiant can wield. The Shard likewise can more forcefully assert the Powers as the Vessel’s personality and the Shard’s Mandate align. Relationship Between Mandate Permanence and Compulsion. Together, Mandate permanence and compulsion increase the Shard’s Power efficiency. They create one wide permanent pipeline for the Powers. Mandate compulsion widens the Internal Connection between a Vessel’s mind and the Powers by aligning “personality” to Mandate. Mandate permanence locks in that Connection. Otherwise, changes to the Vessel’s character or the Ascension of a new Vessel for that Shard would alter the Connection, defeating the effects of Mandate compulsion.
  4. I previously theorized that Adonalsium’s Shattering caused the powers of creation to “choose” the Shard each Vessel became based on the Vessel’s dominant psychological trait. Our new understanding of Connections IMO confirms the theory: the power chose the Shard based on each Vessel’s Connection with that aspect of Adonalsium. Evidence: 1. The biggest objection to my initial theory was Ati. How could such a “kind and generous man” have become Ruin the Destroyer? But Preservation tells Kelsier in M:SH that "Everything passes, nothing is eternal. That is what Ati always claimed... [emphasis added]” Preservation here refers to Ati, not Ruin. That suggests that Ati always had an affinity for Ruin, even before his ascension, as a matter of deep-seated personal belief. He was Connected to Ruin despite his personality. 2. Brandon says that different Vessels would have had different mandates (intents). That suggests the mandates were based on something personal to each Vessel. 3. Kelsier had difficulties holding Preservation because he was so Connected to Ruin. As a “destroyer,” Kelsier has few equals: see you later, TFE… I use the word “mandate” instead of “intent” because that’s the word Sazed himself uses. In HoA, Sazed describes the mists as acting with a "vague will of their own tied to the mandate of their abilities" (HoA, Chapter 79, emphasis added.) I think that’s what we mean when we talk about a Shard’s “intent,” a word coined by Chaos in an excellent post some years ago. I prefer the textual word. Does this sound right?
  5. [i've amended this post to reflect the many excellent comments of posters.] My thesis is that the Shards' names do NOT accurately state their mandates (what we've been calling "intents"). Odium does not mean "hatred" (and is certainly not "evil"); Honor does not mean "honor"; and Cultivation does not mean amber waves of grain. I also don't think Endowment refers to body shape. They're all just cool-sounding placeholder names that vaguely relate to the mandate. I use the word "mandate," rather than "intent" for two reasons. First, "intent" implies choice. You can change your mind and hence your intent. But "mandate" is compulsory. A Shard may fight against a mandate's compulsions, but it is a struggle, not a choice. (Chaos coined the term "intent" in an excellent post some years ago called "The Principle of Intent." The Coppermind considers the term non-canonical, although Brandon himself often uses it.) The second reason is textual. In HoA, Sazed describes the mists as acting with a "vague will of their own tied to the mandate of their abilities" (HoA, Chapter 79, emphasis added.) This phrase clearly refers to what we call "intent." Since Sazed says "mandate," so do I. Feel free to use "intent" if you'd like. Before commencing this discussion, permit me... A Personal Note Many posters have kindly commented on my "creative" (that's spelled "N-U-T-T-Y") theories . To me, that's the value of having one's ideas vetted. You've helped sharpen my ideas and arguments, as reflected in this revised OP. I've learned things from you folks. I've been active lately because of the gift of my first Kindle a few months back. I LOVE actual books - the touch, the smell, the heft. But OMG, the convenience of e-books! I can search, highlight and take notes! The first two books I bought and re-read were, naturally, WoK and WoR. I consider WoK the best full-length novel Brandon has written - better than any of the Mistborn books, better than WoR, better than anything other than The Emperor's Soul, which is a jewel. I began thinking of how things worked in the Cosmere. I questioned everything and turned everything upside down and backwards. Examples of my questions include Is Odium an entropic hero for splintering Shards? Does he really want to be "last Shard standing" or will he splinter himself in the end, supplanting a magical oligarchy with a magical democracy (or at least a republic) of splinters? Is Honor a good guy (Tanavast did buy Hoid drinks once), or has he restrained social, material and biological evolution on Roshar by binding things up and slowing things down? What happened to the friendship between Hoid and Rayse that now leads Hoid to so fear Rayse? (Hoid visiting Braize is "The Biggest RAFO!!!!" according to Brandon.) I'd already come up with close to 30 topics by the time I posted the first one the other day. But my ideas aren't fully ready for Prime Time. My "Confused Theory of Everything" is still too confused. (Not that that's going to stop me...) I posted anyway because a recent topic on Honorblades being fabrials came close to my idea that the Heralds are spren. (None of you agree with this idea - yet - but as Gollum said to Frodo when he entered Shelob's cave, "you'll see, you'll see...") Once I came out with that Honorblades post, I had to start posting other topics, ready or not, because they're all interconnected. That's one reason you people have been so helpful. (After I'm done with this writing Surge - a long way to go yet - I'll probably settle back, read a bunch of stuff you folks write, and try to get my revised Theory out before Oathbringer.) Which takes me to this post. People may not agree with my analysis here either, although I don't think this one will be too controversial. But it became necessary to finish this one because of the nature of the objections to some of my other posts. Life's complicated, and so is writing. Here we are. And to those of you waiting for my responses to your comments on other threads, they're still coming. I owe A LOT of people responses on A LOT of threads. INTRODUCTION Now, where was I? Oh, yes: The Shards' names, while cool-sounding, relate only vaguely to their mandates. For example, Brandon says "Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy." March 2013 Reddit Interview (No. 1) (emphasis added). Sazed is consonant: "It is too easy for people to characterize Ruin as simply a force of destruction. Think rather of Ruin as intelligent decay. Not simply chaos, but a force that sought in a rational - and dangerous - way to break everything down to its most basic forms HoA, Epigraph to Chapter 8 (emphasis added). I've theorized that Adonalsium's power chose each person who became a Shard based on the compatibility of the Shard's mandate with that person's unconscious drives. This has led to controversy, especially over Ruin/Ati. Many disagree with that theory. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER or why the power chose its Shard, or whether the Shard chose its power, or whether it was all random, the mandates are nonetheless real. Sazed makes that clear, as he does the fact that the mandates come from Adonalsium and pre-exist the Shards. When contemplating each mandate, I've tried to be as "abstract" as possible (which for me may not be much), encompassing the broadest swath of human behavior. A mandate should not be too specific or restrictive. So, without further delay (1,000 words or so into this essay), here's my take on the "mandates" of the known Shards, other than Ruin (intelligent decay) and Preservation (stability). SHARD MANDATES Cultivation Cultivation's mandate is SURVIVAL - to proceed, to move on, to progress, regardless of obstacles - life must continue. Cultivation doesn't care whether it continues as greatshells or as cremlings. Like the Nightwatcher, who is partially her spren, Cultivation represents the randomness that produces evolutionary effects. Cultivation as a Shard is neutral in the conflict between Honor and Odium, even though the person who became Cultivation may once have cared for Tanavast. If anything, Cultivation favors Odium's mandate (see below) because it leads to the kind of aggressive competition Darwin described as "natural selection," later termed "survival of the fittest" by Herbert Spencer. Kaellok in a post below believes "GROWTH" would be a better descriptor for Cultivation's mandate than "Survival." "Growth" to me moves only in one direction, towards more and more life. Left to itself, uncontrolled Growth would fulfill Malthus's theory -- geometric proliferation causing all life to cease, running out of some essential element. Just as Ruin and Preservation needed each other, Cultivation requires a decaying, entropic agent for life to flourish. That's why Brandon says Ruin's mandate may be most compatible with Cultivation's. "Growth" includes no entropic agent. In 2012, Brandon inscribed in a copy of The Way of Kings that one Shard was in hiding and concerned with its survival. After searching the database, I found this "paraphrased" report: "So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about." I view this statement as strongly implying the "survival shard" is Cultivation. (There may be other threads on this subject; I haven't checked.) The "off planet" stuff is important. I believe the three moons of Roshar are the Physical Realm embodiment of Honor's, Cultlivation's and Odium's power, their "bodies." Each Shard's color is thematic: Honor is blue, Odium is purple, and Cultivation is green. That is the color of each moon. The person who became Cultivation, and whose mind still wields Cultivation's power, may not be on that moon, however (or on Ashlyn, third planet in the Roshar system). I believe that's what Brandon means when he says that Shard is in hiding. Technically, the Shard and the person are one, not a separate "holder" and Shard. Devotion and Dominion Devotion and Dominion established a symbiotic relationship. Perhaps they were lovers before they were Shards. Pre-splintering, Dominion created the form necessary to access investiture - the means to control that investiture (or so I believe). But it was Devotion's investiture that Dominion controlled - Dominion took what Devotion willingly and lovingly gave. I believe the Shards' splintering caused the fragmentation of Selian magic systems. We know from The Emperor's Soul that soulstone (or whatever its name is) fell from the sky on MaiPon. I posit soulstone came from the fracturing of Dominion's moon (his body). Wherever his meteors fell, a different magic system was created based on how much of his body fell there. Moogle has "reminded" me that the Dor is a mix of Dominion's and Devotion's investiture. Because the Dor supplies the investiture that executes the Aons' commands, I speculate that Devotion's investiture dominates that mix. Devotion's mandate is LOVE: goodness and giving. Dominion's mandate is CONTROL: to take possession of and develop, manage and expand. I think Brandon's idea is in part the Biblical directive for humanity to be stewards of the land. Endowment Brandon describes Endowment's gifts of Breath as "sticky." Unlike Stormlight, Breath does not dissipate. The nature of "endowment" is to bestow a permanent foundational gift on someone. Endowment’s mandate is GENEROSITY: helping others even at great cost to yourself. The Returned - who hold Divine Breath, splinters of Endowment that carry her mandate - are visible examples. (Thank you, both Moogle and Weiry, for clarifying the nature of the Returned. I hope I got it right this time.) Moogle suggests that Endowment's mandate is closer to "Sacrifice," pointing to the Returned. There is a large element of that, no question, but in trying to expand the mandate as broadly as possible, I chose "Generosity." Honor Honor's mandate is RELATIONSHIPS. Syl describes herself as "Spirit of oaths. Of promises. And of nobility." (WoK, Kindle p. 913.) As an honorspren, she "binds things." Oaths, promises and nobility all establish social organization among humanity. "Unite them." Honor imposes the Social Contract, from family to clan to country to world. I broadened Honor's mandate in this revision to eliminate the qualiier "all living organisms" after "Relationships." I propose that Honor creates organization - "Relationships" - in EVERYTHING...right down to the molecular level. Else, how could he have provided the Heralds the Surges he did? Regarding biological relationships, I do not believe Cultivation by herself could create complex organisms. It's not in her nature to care about that. Cultivation would be as happy playing with her pet paramecia, amoebae, viruses and bacteria all the time. Honor provides the organizational tools to begin constructing the building blocks of life. Odium I agree with Kaellok: Odium's mandate is AGGRESSION (not Intensity, as first proposed). Odium takes normal feelings and sharpens them, readies them for battle, makes them more "in your face." In the WoR I-11 Interlude, Eshonai feels Fury, Irritation, Spite. The old rhythm of Amusement is replaced by a new rhythm of Ridicule. Brandon makes us FEEL Eshonai's heightened aggression in her encounters with the Five. We know (believe? status?) that one of the Unmade, a splinter of Odium carrying his mandate, causes the Thrill to "surge" through the Alethi. While the Thrill enthralls him, Dalinar "bellows," "roars," and "growls." Check out his battle scenes. Because of his Aggression, Odium is a loner, individualistic, inherently divisive, incapable of bonding or forming relationships. By virtue of his very isolation, Odium must be careful, foresightful and cunning if he is to survive. He helps Cultivation grow life through his Aggression mandate - "survival of the fittest;" as mentioned above. Contrary to a popular view, Odium is not evil, anymore than a lion or tiger is evil. His mandate is to sharpen normal reactions with Aggression. CONCLUSION Once again, thanks all! I look forward to your comments.