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Found 2 results

  1. I've tagged this White Sand spoilers as the graphic novel is still pretty new, but it's critical to the pattern that I've observed that has convinced me my previous thoughts on how investiture worked were insufficient. (I had been thinking I was missing an element due to Nalthis' magic already, but I didn't have a second example that made me absolutely certain) We're probably all familiar with the term Focus. It's a necessary element for anyone to use Investiture to perform magic, and it's the part of the "spell" that determines how that power/magic manifests in the world. For Allomancy, that means metals determine which power you access. For AonDor, that's symbols. We also know that shards manifest their power in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms. I started thinking about this in detail after reading Secret History and noting that in the Cognitive Realm there, everything manifested as mists. There is sometimes some overlap between these manifestations and focuses, so it's not a clean delination. I call these Manifestations of Investiture, or just Manifestation for short, and they represent a Shard's power/body. I would argue, for instance, that Atium is both a Focus and Manifestation at the same time, wheras the Scadrian mists and Well of Eternity are simply Manifestations. I had convinced myself that one of these manifestations would determine the appearance of a planet's cognitive aspect, as we had an ocean of sphere in Shadesmar, and a sea of mists in cognitive Scadrial. On reflection, it seems to be more that one part of the equation is heavily reflected in the cognitive seas, but I don't have enough data yet to make a reasonable hypothesis as to which one. It's especially confusing that spheres are used on Roshar, as gems actually seem to be the relevant part of the equation that sphere would resemble. This could be due to the cognitive seas simply being composed of whatever people most clearly associate with magic- in which case, we would probably expect seas of symbols in Sel, seas of Colour in Nalthis, and maybe seas of Sand or Sunlight on Taldain. This system described Scadrial pretty well, and as it was the magic system we best understood, I was content with it, for a while. But it troubled me that while it arguably extended pretty well to Roshar, it has trouble decribing magic on Nalthis, which very clearly had three elements to it. A Command, which we knew via Word of Brandon is their focus, a variable number of Breaths, and of course, colour to drain. The Breaths seemed relatively obvious as a Manfestation of Endowment, as she literally grants Splinters of herself to the Returned that manifest as Divine Breaths. Arguably the colour could also be said to be a Manifestation if you believe that every bit of dye and paint in Hallandren was derived from Tears of Edgli, but I actually don't buy that argument, as we're explicitly told that those dyes are more effective for awakening, implying that mundane dyes and paints were often drained by Awakeners. I also felt skeptical that a magic system would require two manifestations at once, it seemed like I was missing a variable. I was stumped for a while, as I was convinced Manifestations were important, but that I was missing two crucial variables to the equation, one a third part that enabled magic, and one an element that determined where that third part of the equation was actually necessary, a multiplier of sorts to the constant of Colour on Nalthis. And then we had the newsletter confirming how Sand Mastery works. (this is where the spoilers come in) Apparently there is a barely-visible algae within Taldain's sand, which when depleted of magic, appears black. The sand master dehydrates himself to drain magic from the algae, mastering the sand, and then after four hours of exposure to sunlight, the algae is replenished and good to go again. At first, I wasn't particularly excited by reading this. Sure, the algae is their focus, and it's recharged by the Sun, the manifestation of Autonomy's power. But today I realised I was missing something, and went back and compared Taldain's and Nalthis' magic. So the drained colour, our final element of Awakening, was more of a catalyst than a necessary component of our magical equation. It can sometimes be done without, (as there is no obvious catalyst in Allomancy) but the stronger the catalyst, the stronger the magic, especially if your catalyst is also a Manifestation. In fact, this retroactively made sense of Atium being such a powerful metal too, as it was a focus and a manifestation of Ruin's power. Likewise, Water acted as a reserve of magic for Sand Mastery, although you also needed algae that had been charged with sunlight. Here we had a third element, and a consistent pattern of manifestation, focus, and catalyst that made sense. So... under this Focus/Manifestation/Catalyst system, Scadrial is missing one element but definitely has a Metal focus and the Mists and Godmetals are Manifestations. Arguably, feruchemical attributes could be considered a catalyst on Scadrial, but that might be stretching. Nalthis has a Command focus, a Breath manifestation, and a Colour catalyst. And Roshar is a bit more difficult to determine, but probably fits in some combination of gems, stormlight, and oaths to that structure. I would guess that it would be an Oath focus, with Stormlight as a gaseous manifestation of Honour, and a Gem catalyst. (This would explain nicely why Stormlight adheres to cut gems so well but gems aren't actually required for most Surges, as it seems like the necessity of the Catalyst part of the magic seems to vary by world) Selish magic has the form of various engravings, dances, Aons, or soulstamps as their focus, and obviously the Dor is their manifestation. This leaves Soulstone as either a solid manifestation of Aona or Skai, and/or as a catalyst that's required for Forgery, but presumably not for the other Selish magic. This pattern also seems to imply that more heavily invested worlds seem to have a more optional catalyst, as we know that the three worlds that don't have universally required catalysts (Sel, Roshar, and Scadrial) have a lot of loose investiture running around, or in the case of Scadrial, humans were artificially created by Shards investing themselves in the planet, saturating the whole thing with their power. So, in summary, magic requires a focus, and in less heavily invested environments, a catalyst. A manifestation can also be a focus or catalyst, which seems to enhance the power of the interaction. It also seems that a manifestation can stand in for a focus altogether, in the case that the magic user is highly attuned to the relevant Shard, as Vin demonstrated in Hero of Ages, but that might be a special case for those who are being attuned as Vessels. Any thoughts?
  2. Hi all, first post here despite having lurked for a while. After finishing Words of Radiance and reading some theories being thrown around, I got to thinking of how each Surge "manifests", so to speak, and came up with a couple of ideas. 1) Cognitive and Spiritual effects of Surges From Word of Brian and Ars Arcanums (Arcana? Arcani?) from other Cosmere books, we know that forms of Investiture can be primarily Spiritual, Cognitive or Physical, so this line of thought might not even be valid reasoning. While we don't have direct contradiction, however, I will forge ahead. The more explored Surges so far have been the ones that Windrunners and Lightweavers have access to, namely Adhesion, Gravitation, Illumination and Transformation. We've also seen some Progression, a bit of Abrasion and a glimpse of Transportation. There might have been some unnoticed effects of other Surges being used, but I will exclude those from discussion unless they are explicitly shown. There has also been much speculation as to what effects the other Surges can produce. While all of those seem to have their roots in the Spiritual and/or Cognitive Realms, all of their effects seem to happen in the Physical Realm. An example of this would be a form of the Gravitation Surge, the basic Lashing, which changes the spiritual gravitational connection of an object from the planet to some other direction/location. The root of it is in the Spiritual Realm, but the effect is Physical. Now, if you look at something like the Metallic Arts on Scadrial, you will notice things like Soothing and Rioting, storing Identity, Investiture, determination, and several other effects (and stealing all of those) where the manifestation doesn't seem to relate to the Physical Realm. The AonDor system on Sel can be thought of as similar (several Aons have "abstract" meanings, such as Spirit, Love, etc, which wouldn't at first glance, be Physically inclined). Nalthis seems to be a mix, where Breath can grant Investiture to an object and Commands, convey some Cognitive aspect to whatever has been Awakened, which then affects the Physical Realm. Surges seem to be the odd one out, so far. Granted, it's early in the series, but that also allows some speculation on our part. My line of speculation is that at least some Surges have forms that we haven't seen yet, where they affect the Cognitive or Spiritual Realms. It would make a lot of sense, I think, for the Cohesion Surge to have a form where it would function possibly similar to tapping Feruchemical Duralumin, and possibly the Division Surge granting some function similar to storing Feruchemical Duralumin (or maybe the Cohesion Surge can be "reversed" like the Abrasion Surge, to create a bonding or inimical effect between people). From the Words of Radiance (the in-universe book) epigraphs, it seems like Orders such as the Bondsmiths, Elsecallers and Willshapers had administrative, guiding or ruling roles in society, or at least among the Radiants, while Skybreakers were recognizably good at judging. It would also make sense that the specific Surges of certain Orders could help them in their roles, possibly through these Spiritual or Cognitive effects. 2) Surges manifest differently between Orders This is more from a perspective of what seems to make sense, so to speak. Windrunners are purportedly the masters of the sky, flying around and being all comfortable up high. However, from what we see of Kaladin and Szeth, the only Surge they use while flying individually or fighting in the sky is Gravitation, and then only through the basic Lashing. Skybreakers, theoretically, have access to the exact same thing. Why wouldn't they be just as at home in the skies as Windrunners? Obviously the Adhesion Surge could help (decrease air pressure in front of you to fly faster, be less bothered by the wind, not have your skin flayed off by 500kph winds, etc), but that would require the Surge to work in the way we expect, and for Szeth not to be familiar with the more nuanced uses of the Surges outside of the Three Lashings. I recognize that this theory (if it can be called that) is slim, hanging from very few uses of Surges that we have seen, and one point against it is that both Ym and Lift, though being from different Orders, used Progression in the same way (Regrowth, to heal other people). But that can be explained by having adjacent Orders being able to access certain forms of the same Surges equally, but not others (eg, Skybreakers could maybe use a Reverse Lashing but not a basic Lashing). Having an off-topic comment right in the first post feels weird, but I want to make on anyway: haven't seen it mentioned in the forums yet, but my idea for one of the remaining Ideals for the Windrunners: "I will protect people from themselves, when needed." Comments and thoughts are welcomed, as seems to be the norm in these forums. I apologize for any grammatical or spelling mistakes, or oddly structured sentences and paragraphs, I'm not from an English speaking country. Cheers!