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QafianSage

Awakening Non-Flexible Objects

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So, a question about Awakening: Anyone know what happens if you Awaken a non-flexible object with a Command which would involve movement? For instance, taking a log of wood and Commanding it to "Jump". Would the Command just not work, as if you didn't put enough Breath in? Would the wood 'try' to obey, but just not be able to? Would it tear its own fibers apart?

For that matter, could you Awaken something with a self-destructive Command, like telling a log to "Split" or a cloth to "Tear yourself"?

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Posted (edited)

17 minutes ago, QafianSage said:

So, a question about Awakening: Anyone know what happens if you Awaken a non-flexible object with a Command which would involve movement? For instance, taking a log of wood and Commanding it to "Jump". Would the Command just not work, as if you didn't put enough Breath in? Would the wood 'try' to obey, but just not be able to? Would it tear its own fibers apart?

For that matter, could you Awaken something with a self-destructive Command, like telling a log to "Split" or a cloth to "Tear yourself"?

For the first point, remember that Kalad's Phantoms were Lifeless made of bones encased in stone - the bones somehow got inside the stone, and then the statues were able to move. I think Awakening can affect the properties of the material very profoundly - it likely can make solid material soft and soft material solid as required. 

For the second point, I think you likely can - I don't see why the material would now follow the command if phrased correctly.

Edited by Ixthos
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27 minutes ago, Ixthos said:

For the first point, remember that Kalad's Phantoms were Lifeless made of bones encased in stone - the bones somehow got inside the stone, and then the statues were able to move. I think Awakening can affect the properties of the material very profoundly - it likely can make solid material soft and soft material solid as required. 

Regarding Kalad's Phantoms, I have to admit that my assumption was that the statues they were encased in were jointed, or otherwise had 'bendable bits'. Though thinking back on that, someone ought to have noticed that while they were hanging out as D'Denir statues. 

If Awakening can make hard things bendable, that does beg the question why wooden soldiers weren't used. Maybe it's the problem of complexity of commands?

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Posted (edited)

6 minutes ago, QafianSage said:

Regarding Kalad's Phantoms, I have to admit that my assumption was that the statues they were encased in were jointed, or otherwise had 'bendable bits'. Though thinking back on that, someone ought to have noticed that while they were hanging out as D'Denir statues. 

If Awakening can make hard things bendable, that does beg the question why wooden soldiers weren't used. Maybe it's the problem of complexity of commands?

Breath can be used to change memories, such as with Vasher and the child - it isn't just joined statues, but actually getting the bones in the stone to begin with, and in a way that wouldn't just open easily again afterwards. [Edit] Basically I'm arguing that Breath can affect more than we suspect.

Its the amount of Breaths and the robustness of the material. Lifeless can be awakened with only one Breath and naturally follow complex commands due to their brains. Wood likely would require more Breath and would be less flexible with their commands, and wouldn't have that much of an advantage in combat.

Edited by Ixthos
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3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

For the first point, remember that Kalad's Phantoms were Lifeless made of bones encased in stone - the bones somehow got inside the stone, and then the statues were able to move. I think Awakening can affect the properties of the material very profoundly - it likely can make solid material soft and soft material solid as required. 

For the second point, I think you likely can - I don't see why the material would now follow the command if phrased correctly.

 

3 hours ago, QafianSage said:

Regarding Kalad's Phantoms, I have to admit that my assumption was that the statues they were encased in were jointed, or otherwise had 'bendable bits'. Though thinking back on that, someone ought to have noticed that while they were hanging out as D'Denir statues. 

If Awakening can make hard things bendable, that does beg the question why wooden soldiers weren't used. Maybe it's the problem of complexity of commands?

Kalad's phantoms had mechanical joints in the stone. Awakening cannot (or at least does not natively) alter the intrinsic physical properties of the material, it cannot make solid objects more flexible, liquids more cohesive, etc. 

 

 

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Questioner

(Disclaimers so that you can't say, like, "well if a Shard...") If a regular Awakener, just a mundane Awakener with nothing more than a few hundred Breaths and not any other outside influences, is there some Command they could give a blanket to get the blanket to turn warm? Generate heat; is that a normal thing you can Command?

Brandon Sanderson

Not in just a normal situation. I mean, technically, you could tell the blanket "start rubbing one part against another part" or something like that, or "set yourself on fire," right? But that's not what you're asking. For Awakening to work, you have to work within the intrinsic properties of the matter you're making, except it can move around a bit and with a few little other things it can do.

It's not outside the realm of possibility you could activate those Breaths as Investiture to do something else, but you would need more than just the simple magic system of Awakening. 

JordanCon 2021 (July 17, 2021)

 

 

 

 

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DylanHuebner

I was wondering how the animation of the lifeless statues worked, in regard to the use of Susebron's Breath. If they were lifeless, then vasher wouldn't have been able to take his Breath back out of them, nor would susebron have needed such a great deal of breath to revive them—he just would have needed a password. But if they were simply Awakened, no password would have been necessary to animate the statues, just Breath and Command.

It seems like the statues could be neither lifeless nor awakened. Are they unique, because of the use of bone, or am I missing something? The only other explanation I could think of was that they were lifeless, but Susebron's breath wasn't used to activate the statues, he simply had it passed down from vasher, in addition to the statues. If that's the case(and then I've simply been confusing myself with unnecessary, convoluted logic), why was it necessary to keep the breath safe for all these years?

Brandon Sanderson

Wow, there are a lot of questions in there. If you follow the drafts, I think you can see the evolution of what became of the Lifeless army. Originally I had planned for the statues to simply have been placed there so that you could Awaken them—just in my original concepts, before I started the writing—and then that became the army.

I eventually decided that didn't work for various reasons. Number one, as I developed the magic system, Awakening stone doesn't work very well. You've got to have limberness, you've got to have motion to something for it to actually be stronger. So a soldier made out of cloth would be more useful to you than a soldier made out of stone, if you were just Awakening something. At that point, as I was developing this, I went back to the drawing board and said okay, I need to leave him a whole group of really cool Lifeless as the army. But that had problems in that the ichor would not have stayed good long enough. Plus they already had a pretty big Lifeless army, so what was special about this one? Remember, I'm revising concepts like this as the book is going along. You can see where in the story I could see what needed to be there. So I went back to the drawing board again.

I think the original draft of WARBREAKER you can download off my website has them just as statues, though at the time when I was writing that I already knew it would need to change. I was just sticking to my outline because I needed to have the whole thing complete on the page before I could work with it. A lot of times that's how I do things as a writer—I get the rough draft down, and then I begin to sculpt.

I eventually developed essentially what you've just outlined in the first part, before you started worrying if you were too convoluted. I said, well, what if there's a hybrid? What happens if you Awaken bones? Can you create something? The reason that you can't draw the Breath back from a Lifeless is because the Breath clings to it. If the Lifeless were sentient enough, it could give up its own Breath, but you can't take it, just like you can't take a Breath from a person by force. You have to get them to give it up willingly. So it sticks to the Lifeless. A Lifeless is, let's say, 90% of a sentient being. The Breath doesn't manifest in them, because they aren't alive, yet they're almost there. A stone statue brought to life would be way down on the bottom rung.

Is there something in between? That's the advancement I had Vasher discover—what if we build something out of bone, but then encase it in stone to make it strong, and build it in ways that the bone is held together by the force of the Breaths? That's really what you're getting at there, that you need a lot of Breath, a lot of power, to hold all that stone together. There are seams at the joints. What the Breath is doing is clinging there like magical sinew, and it's holding all of that together.

Vasher left the Phantoms Invested with enough Breath to hold them together but not to move. You needed another big, substantial influx of Breath in order to actually make them have motion, to bring them enough strength to move and that sort of thing. So it's kind of a hybrid.

Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A (Jan. 18, 2010)

 

 

 

Quote

 

clyguy

Someone else brought up the point, can blood be Awakened?

Brandon Sanderson

Anything can be Awakened.

clyguy

If you make a human-shaped mold and you poured blood into it and you Awakened it, would you have a Terminator T-1000 style blood-golem that could recombine?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, heh, well Awakening liquid is possible but I don't think it would work the way you want it to.

Questioner 2

If you had enough of a cloud in one place, could you Awaken a cloud?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, you could Awaken anything. It's probably not going to work the way you want it to. There is a reason why they Awaken the things that they do. For instance if you want to make a transforming golem, you would be much better off with something thicker.

Shadows of Self release party (Oct. 5, 2015)

 

 

 

Quote

 

Questioner

My friends would like to know if you can Awaken liquids?

Brandon Sanderson

This is almost impossible.

Questioner

Almost impossible?

Brandon Sanderson

Almost impossible, but not fully impossible, but basically impossible. Particularly if you're talking about just a liquid, not in a container, anything like that. Technically, you can kind of Awaken a dead animal, which will have some liquid in it and stuff. But if you just want to Awaken like--

Questioner

A bowl of water?

Brandon Sanderson

A bowl of water, almost impossible.

Prague Signing (Oct. 26, 2019)

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Quantus said:

Kalad's phantoms had mechanical joints in the stone. Awakening cannot (or at least does not natively) alter the intrinsic physical properties of the material, it cannot make solid objects more flexible, liquids more cohesive, etc. 

I appreciate those quotes but this still doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe this is covered somewhere in Warbreaker, its been a while since I read it, but Kalad's Phantoms would stick out more clearly to anyone watching if the individual pieces of stone were held together by Breath, especially to the rare seventh heightening person who saw them. And it still doesn't answer how the bones got into the stone to begin with.

 

I know those quotes don't support my theory, and I suppose this means the theory is likely wrong, but it always seemed to me that the bones had somehow been phased into the stone - rather than stone cemented around them - and then Awakened. The Breath could then "soften" the stone at the joints when they were ordered to move in much the same way the bones could have been placed in the stone, or perhaps break them and then function as sinew, then repair them later when they stopped functioning as soldiers. Brandon's quotes make this unlikely, but his answer raises more questions - how did the bones get in the stone?

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On 3/10/2022 at 11:47 AM, Ixthos said:

I appreciate those quotes but this still doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe this is covered somewhere in Warbreaker, its been a while since I read it, but Kalad's Phantoms would stick out more clearly to anyone watching if the individual pieces of stone were held together by Breath, especially to the rare seventh heightening person who saw them. And it still doesn't answer how the bones got into the stone to begin with.

 

I know those quotes don't support my theory, and I suppose this means the theory is likely wrong, but it always seemed to me that the bones had somehow been phased into the stone - rather than stone cemented around them - and then Awakened. The Breath could then "soften" the stone at the joints when they were ordered to move in much the same way the bones could have been placed in the stone, or perhaps break them and then function as sinew, then repair them later when they stopped functioning as soldiers. Brandon's quotes make this unlikely, but his answer raises more questions - how did the bones get in the stone?

I would venture to guess that the way the bones got inside the statues wasn't really magical; the "stone" is probably just a kind of concrete. 

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45 minutes ago, Trusk'our said:

I would venture to guess that the way the bones got inside the statues wasn't really magical; the "stone" is probably just a kind of concrete. 

That would make the most sense but it also kind of makes the setting feel a little less magical, even if it is the most practical way of doing it. I would have preferred it if the description in the book would have been that of concrete rather than stone though.

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7 hours ago, Ixthos said:

That would make the most sense but it also kind of makes the setting feel a little less magical, even if it is the most practical way of doing it. I would have preferred it if the description in the book would have been that of concrete rather than stone though.

I can understand where you're coming from; sometimes it's nice to read about a world that feels truly magical, kind of like Harry Potter.

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I will add to this that Nightblood is an awakened solid object, and it cant do much on it's own. There might be one time it slightly unsheathes itself, but I haven't read Warbreaker in a while. Either way it has a command it badly wants to fulfil and it can't do anything alone.

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On 3/10/2022 at 3:50 AM, QafianSage said:

Regarding Kalad's Phantoms, I have to admit that my assumption was that the statues they were encased in were jointed, or otherwise had 'bendable bits'. Though thinking back on that, someone ought to have noticed that while they were hanging out as D'Denir statues. 

 

Yes, I doubt they had joints

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I think it would act similarly to something like the straw they used because even though it was dried out and should've broken it doesn't. Also, with telling a log to split itself it probably would make it start but from my understanding when something that's awakened gets harmed enough it stops functioning. 

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