CognitiveShadow

Elantrians and Cognitive Shadows

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Posted (edited)

Are Elantrians cognitive shadows? Or are they just people supercharged with investiture? In that case, do they have enough investiture to become cognitive shadows if they are killed?

Spoiler

Also, when they eventually decide to die and got to the shard pool to fade away, is that semi-similar to Kelsier jumping into the well of ascension after he dies?

I’ve read all the cosmere books but elantris was one of the first so it’s been a while haha

Edited by CognitiveShadow
Context on books I’ve read
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Woah huh. Good question. I don't think they are Cognitive Shadows. They seem to me to be people supercharged. I think its described that their bodies basically use Investiture as fuel, drawing in more when they need to heal and when they use AonDor, but otherwise just augmenting their speed and strength and durability and the like.

I don't think they have enough to become Cognitive Shadows, unless they were using AonDor as they die.

Spoiler

As for going into the Shardpool being similar to what Kelsier did...maybe? I could see it. I think its more of a way to return the magic back to its source. After all, there's an upper limit on how many Elantrians be exist at once, according to a WoB. But I think its very likely that an Elantrian could like take a long bath in Devotion's Perdendicularity, not die or move into the Cognitive, and be far stronger but even more tied to location than before. But I really don't know.

This is a great question. Even though I don't feel like they are Cognitive Shadows, its entirely possible they are. Personally, that would make them too similar to Returned, which is one of the reasons why I think they're just peeps who have had their bodies altered to be fueled by Dor.

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3 hours ago, Wandering Shade said:

Woah huh. Good question. I don't think they are Cognitive Shadows. They seem to me to be people supercharged. I think its described that their bodies basically use Investiture as fuel, drawing in more when they need to heal and when they use AonDor, but otherwise just augmenting their speed and strength and durability and the like.

I don't think they have enough to become Cognitive Shadows, unless they were using AonDor as they die.

  Reveal hidden contents

As for going into the Shardpool being similar to what Kelsier did...maybe? I could see it. I think its more of a way to return the magic back to its source. After all, there's an upper limit on how many Elantrians be exist at once, according to a WoB. But I think its very likely that an Elantrian could like take a long bath in Devotion's Perdendicularity, not die or move into the Cognitive, and be far stronger but even more tied to location than before. But I really don't know.

This is a great question. Even though I don't feel like they are Cognitive Shadows, its entirely possible they are. Personally, that would make them too similar to Returned, which is one of the reasons why I think they're just peeps who have had their bodies altered to be fueled by Dor.

Thanks for the response! I think I agree with your line of thinking. They would be way too similar to the returned if they were actually cognitive shadows. I was initially wondering because it seemed like when Raoden and others are taken by the Shaod their body is almost stuck in a death/dying phase before coming back full of investiture… but I think I agree that they aren’t actually dying and lingering like the typical cognitive shadow. More similar to a misting/mistborn snapping maybe.

Maybe the Elantrians have a ritual process of turning themselves into cognitive shadows when they are ready to move on? I like the idea of how they would have to be accessing or using AonDor when they died to potentially become a cognitive shadow. But, is there any benefit to being a cognitive shadow over an Elantrian, or is that a step down? 
 

Spoiler

What would happen to Kelsier if his new body was killed? Would he pass to the beyond? Can a cognitive shadow actually be killed? So many questions.

And I think you are right about the shard pool and needing the right Intent to actually fade away and pass on. Didn’t Raoden go into the pool and leave it or something?

Anyway, thank you for listening to my Ted talk of rambling thoughts lol 

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15 hours ago, CognitiveShadow said:

Are Elantrians cognitive shadows? Or are they just people supercharged with investiture? In that case, do they have enough investiture to become cognitive shadows if they are killed?

  Hide contents

Also, when they eventually decide to die and got to the shard pool to fade away, is that semi-similar to Kelsier jumping into the well of ascension after he dies?

I’ve read all the cosmere books but elantris was one of the first so it’s been a while haha

Keep in mind:

Spoiler

Just because an Elantrian faded in the Shardpool, doesn't mean they died. Alter all, we see Riino again in Oathbringer. You know - the "Beautiful, once so very beautiful..."  Hoed that Raoden and gang first take there. He just transitioned through the perpendicularity. . .

 

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Treamayne said:

Keep in mind:

  Reveal hidden contents

Just because an Elantrian faded in the Shardpool, doesn't mean they died. Alter all, we see Riino again in Oathbringer. You know - the "Beautiful, once so very beautiful..."  Hoed that Raoden and gang first take there. He just transitioned through the perpendicularity. . .

 

I agree, I think there's good evidence that the weird pool on Elantris is a Shard pool and by extension a Perpendicularity. People that get tossed in there may not be dying, rather they may be traveling away. Being Hoed does not mean you are dead, a perhaps obvious statement but one I think is relevant. We know that it's possible to leave Sel despite the... complication for traveling the Cognitive Realm on Sel.

I'll also note that we have seen a corpse tossed into a Shard pool before, and it didn't seem to make the deceased into a Cognitive Shadow. 

Spoiler

In Mistborn Secret History the Inquisitor Kelsier killed is tossed in. Fuzz says that it's beyond meaningless to toss a dead body into the pool. I'll go with that unless we see some guy named Bendal show up. That's when I would try to decide if Fuzz was just talking crazy at the time.

I assume @CognitiveShadow you know about the Ire and and Perpendicularities considering your profile picture? Also, welcome to 17th Shard!

Edited by Duxredux
clarity
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Mistborn: Secret History spoilers

Spoiler

According to Leras (Preservation), the Ire (who are a group of Worldhopping Elantrians) "died but did not"

Quote

The ones who died, but did not. I have felt them crowding at the edges of my vision, like spirits in the night.”
“Dead, but alive,” Kelsier said. “Like me?”
“No.”
“Then what?”
“Died, but did not.”

So they're not quite Cognitive Shadows but they can be considered superficially similar perhaps.

We don't exactly know much about the Shaod, even Hoid didn't manage to turn himself into an Elantrian (Elantris 10th Anniversary Edition)

People altered by Investiture, supercharged and using the Dor as fuel are good guesses, imo. The Ire fortress did have that pipeline, theorized to be pumping Dor from Sel's Cognitive Realm and the Ire were drinking something that was theorized to have been liquid Dor.

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Great replies and explanations all around, thanks everyone! Definitely clarified some definitions and helped get rid of some of the cobwebs on my Elantris studies!

I will be looking closer at the Ire and how they interact with others. I think we’ve cleared up that the Elantrians are not cognitive shadows, not quite anyway.

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For the record, Brandon has confirmed directly that they don't count as cognitive shadows:

Quote

Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

Stormlight Three Update #6 (Jan. 20, 2017)

 

On 5/13/2022 at 10:09 PM, CognitiveShadow said:

But, is there any benefit to being a cognitive shadow over an Elantrian, or is that a step down?

It depends on what you would consider a benefit. Brandon has said that being an Elantrian is emotionally and mentally exhausting and is harder to deal with than other forms of Cosmere immortality. On the other hand, as power sets go, AonDor is incredibly versatile provided you know what you're doing. The CS of someone who used to be an Elantrian would presumably have the same inability to actually use any powers they had before death that a certain other disembodied shadow was forced to deal with.

Now bear in mind that the Cognitive Realm on Sel is a lethal Investiture plasma storm that will rip you apart so you really don't want to end up there unless you know what you're getting into or have help waiting on the other side.

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Yeah, I think the (non-broken/Reod) Elantrians are most analogous to high power Awakeners who aren't Returned - holding enough Investiture to have obvious visible effects (color aura for Awakeners, glow for Elantrians) and "passive" benefits - the health boost from Breath is kind of similar to what Elantrians get - even when not actually using their magic system (Awakening or drawing Aons).

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19 hours ago, Weltall said:

For the record, Brandon has confirmed directly that they don't count as cognitive shadows:

 

It depends on what you would consider a benefit. Brandon has said that being an Elantrian is emotionally and mentally exhausting and is harder to deal with than other forms of Cosmere immortality. On the other hand, as power sets go, AonDor is incredibly versatile provided you know what you're doing. The CS of someone who used to be an Elantrian would presumably have the same inability to actually use any powers they had before death that a certain other disembodied shadow was forced to deal with.

Now bear in mind that the Cognitive Realm on Sel is a lethal Investiture plasma storm that will rip you apart so you really don't want to end up there unless you know what you're getting into or have help waiting on the other side.

Really good points! Thanks for sharing that WoB too, definitely helps bring clarity and more informed perspective. 
 

Are power systems or abilities only useable in the physical world? I can’t remember if the characters who have gone into the cognitive realm have been able to use their powers or not.. I think no though, right?

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21 minutes ago, CognitiveShadow said:

Are power systems or abilities only useable in the physical world? I can’t remember if the characters who have gone into the cognitive realm have been able to use their powers or not.. I think no though, right?

We've seen them work in the Cognitive, with 'complete' individuals who have physically transitioned into that realm. (Stormlight)

Spoiler

Shallan uses Lightweaving in Rhythm of War for example (and her plan late in the book depends on her ability to do so) but it's trickier to get access to the stormlight she needs.

Earlier in Oathbringer we also saw evidence of Vivenna using Awakening in Shadesmar. The Fused are also seen using their applications of the Surges and while they're Cognitive Shadows they've got Physical bodies due to the way they incarnate.

So as long as you have access to everything you would need to use magic in the Physical Realm, it should work in the Cognitive as well.

Edited by Weltall
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What doesn't strike me as clear yet is whether Cognitive Shadows normally need bodies to use Invested Arts, or whether (Mistborn)

Spoiler

Allomancy didn't work for Kelsier as a Cognitive Shadow because that magic specifically requires metal inside the body.

 

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3 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

What doesn't strike me as clear yet is whether Cognitive Shadows normally need bodies to use Invested Arts, or whether

Yeah that’s a good point, it goes back to what @Weltall said about being able to use the investiture as long as you have all the pieces you need to make it work. A body is needed for allowancy (as a random example). Curious if a body would be necessary to make every form of investiture work though…? Breaths? Stormlight? Aon Dor?…

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