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Maarek

Calamity an Epic?

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I looked through and didn't see this speculated elsewhere, but based only on the naming of the books (Steelheart, Mitosis, Firefight, Calamity..all but calamity are confirmed epics) I'm curious if Calamity isn't some kind of alpha gifter epic. I realize that it could just be that each of these names could just be the name of the antagonist but they all have that similarity. It's probably way too early for any real informed speculation but I thought I'd see if anyone else had noticed it as well.

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That was sort of my theory. That Calamity was the first Epic, and a gifter at that. If that's the case, I wonder if Calamity isn't malevolent, using his/her powers to make other Epics evil. 

 

I've also wondered if Calamity doesn't spread some sort of virus that makes other Epics evil. 

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If Calamity is an Epic and is indeed giving the powers for all the other Epics then why can Epics not give their powers to other Epics?

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If Calamity is an Epic and is indeed giving the powers for all the other Epics then why can Epics not give their powers to other Epics?

 

Maybe you can only receive one power at a time?

 

Seems unlikely.  I'm guessing its something else.

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If Calamity is an Epic and is indeed giving the powers for all the other Epics then why can Epics not give their powers to other Epics?

 

Perhaps it's a waterfall kind of thing? Power can flow down but not sideways or up.... Calamity being the highest level (literally and figuratively) can give to individuals who meet whatever requirements the gifting requires (heh....thinking Nightwatcher here.... Boon and a Curse...power and a weakness) but those given the ability to gift their powers (assuming that there are epics who can't gift...perhaps they all can but only certain ones find it advantageous with their granted powers) can only grant the power (in lesser amounts) to those without it. Calamity has the ability to create epics but epics cannot (similar to how a gyorn can't appoint another gyorn....only the Wyrn...I know we are not in cosmere, but these universes share a creator and he seems to have an affinity to rigid hierarchy). 

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Perhaps it's a waterfall kind of thing? Power can flow down but not sideways or up.... Calamity being the highest level (literally and figuratively) can give to individuals who meet whatever requirements the gifting requires (heh....thinking Nightwatcher here.... Boon and a Curse...power and a weakness) but those given the ability to gift their powers (assuming that there are epics who can't gift...perhaps they all can but only certain ones find it advantageous with their granted powers) can only grant the power (in lesser amounts) to those without it. Calamity has the ability to create epics but epics cannot (similar to how a gyorn can't appoint another gyorn....only the Wyrn...I know we are not in cosmere, but these universes share a creator and he seems to have an affinity to rigid hierarchy). 

 

That would make sense. I've always kind of held to the theory that gifters aren't as rare as they seem. I might even go so far as to say that all Epics are gifters in some way, but most prefer to use their powers for themselves, so they don't know they can give them away. But I also don't think that every Epic can gift to people. Just look at Conflux. He was a gifter, but it seems to be that when he tries to give his power to other people, it hurts or kills them. Yet when he "gives" them to inanimate objects, it purifies his powers and keeps him from being corrupted. 

 

Still holding to my theory that Steelheart was that sort of gifter. He turned the entire city of Chicago into steel, which seems to place him into the same category as Conflux on that level. Maybe he couldn't give his super strength or flight away, but maybe he could transfer it into objects that he had turned to steel, thus leaving them for others to use? I know I'm rambling a bit, but it seems unlikely that a Mormon/Christian would make an entire "race" of people who are, essentially, beyond redemption. 

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That would make sense. I've always kind of held to the theory that gifters aren't as rare as they seem. I might even go so far as to say that all Epics are gifters in some way, but most prefer to use their powers for themselves, so they don't know they can give them away. But I also don't think that every Epic can gift to people. Just look at Conflux. He was a gifter, but it seems to be that when he tries to give his power to other people, it hurts or kills them. Yet when he "gives" them to inanimate objects, it purifies his powers and keeps him from being corrupted. 

 

Still holding to my theory that Steelheart was that sort of gifter. He turned the entire city of Chicago into steel, which seems to place him into the same category as Conflux on that level. Maybe he couldn't give his super strength or flight away, but maybe he could transfer it into objects that he had turned to steel, thus leaving them for others to use? I know I'm rambling a bit, but it seems unlikely that a Mormon/Christian would make an entire "race" of people who are, essentially, beyond redemption. 

 

Steel is strong and resistant to damage/decay (assuming that it's actually stainless steel he turns things into which follows since the city is silver and not rust red)....but to a lesser degree than Steelheart himself is...not sure about his other gifts. He also can't gift it to living things (assuming the steel transference ability is gifting), only inanimate objects (that people then can use). Prof also can't gift to people directly but rather to object that they can use. Same for Conflux. It seems like they are able to (to use a cosmere term) invest into non-living objects. 

 

Back to Steelheart and his gifts, he can't fly rather he controls the wind which lifts him. Kind of odd that he would end up making a city known as "The Windy City" his home. Perhaps he did gift the ability to parts of the city, but we don't recognise it as no one is aware? I can't recall, but did the wind do anything odd apart from Steelheart in either Steelheart or Mitosis? Just spitballing here, but I am starting to also think that ALL epics gift their power in some way.

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Steel is strong and resistant to damage/decay (assuming that it's actually stainless steel he turns things into which follows since the city is silver and not rust red)....but to a lesser degree than Steelheart himself is...not sure about his other gifts. He also can't gift it to living things (assuming the steel transference ability is gifting), only inanimate objects (that people then can use). Prof also can't gift to people directly but rather to object that they can use. Same for Conflux. It seems like they are able to (to use a cosmere term) invest into non-living objects. 

 

Back to Steelheart and his gifts, he can't fly rather he controls the wind which lifts him. Kind of odd that he would end up making a city known as "The Windy City" his home. Perhaps he did gift the ability to parts of the city, but we don't recognise it as no one is aware? I can't recall, but did the wind do anything odd apart from Steelheart in either Steelheart or Mitosis? Just spitballing here, but I am starting to also think that ALL epics gift their power in some way.

 

I couldn't tell you, since I don't have Steelheart on hand, but that does seem reasonable. I think I remember something about how the wind would blow every time Steelheart showed up. 

 

I also wonder if other Epics couldn't gift in a more indirect way. Take Fortuity, for example. So far as we could tell, he couldn't transfer his precognition into any sort of object the way Prof or Conflux could. However, what if he were to, say, shift his focus from himself to another person and write down what he sensed would happen to them, or tell them directly? Would that count as gifting, since he would be shifting the focus of his power from himself to someone else, thus allowing them to "use" it?

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I don't have the text (I have Mitosis, but I'm an Audible listener so research is more difficult) but the thing I'd look for was if any of the characters with Fortuity during his brief scene seemed more aware of their surroundings than would be normal. That's what I'd imagine Fortuity gifting would be like, but perhaps your way could be it as well...if so then possibly being able to hide others in an illusion would be how an illusionist would gift their powers.

 

Here's a scary thought..... what drives people "crazy" is using the powers not merely possessing them (as evidenced by the diggers and prof's description of why he spread his powers out)... so would all the power that Conflux is gifting the city be a corrupting factor to everyone but just to a much much smaller degree (since its spread out)? If you've ever played or read about the "World of Darkness" games (Vampire: The Masquerade being the best known) there was a concept called "Paradox" that affected mages....the more abnormal and spectacular the abilities they employ the worse the punishment from paradox (here's a link describing: http://whitewolf.wikia.com/wiki/Paradox_(MTAs) ) .... To me that seems to be in line with what we are seeing. The more wild and abnormal the show of ability, the more twisted the person becomes. 

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That is a terrifying thought. Still, Prof is spreading out his power over a relatively small group of people. Conflux, on the other hand, has an entire city of a million or more that he's gifting to. Also, he's not giving the power to people so they can do what he does; he's basically charging batteries that people can then use in their cars or homes or elsewhere. I think the "rule" so far seems to be that of checks and balances: Prof has a few checks and balances, so while they do keep him sane, it's much more difficult for him to maintain control than it is for Conflux, whose checks and balances (proverbially speaking) number a million or more. 

 

Although the stranger display = more twisted person theory does seem to be supported. Steelheart was practically godlike, and he believed it. Conflux can charge batteries, and he's super nice. 

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Agree with you on that about the checks and balances. It seems that the less selfish the goal, the less corrupting it is. Conflux has no personal interest (other than not being hurt) to provide power and is super nice (however when he tried to power a microwave to heat a burrito he ended up killing his wife), Megan uses her powers to protect others AND herself and becomes kind of mean, Prof uses it to enable himself and others to get revenge and he becomes borderline unstable, other epics generally do whatever THEY want and are psychopaths. That kind of ties into the theory I read elsewhere of the ability being given as an answer to a strong desire (and the weakness being based on an aspect of their personality). Maybe some kind of selfish intent * degree of impossibility = craziness equation is in play. Man I love Brandon's worlds!

 

Also I wonder if Brandon just wanted to write a story where giving up the power actually was the right thing to do.

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It does seem to be that selfishness plays a role. And after reading "Mitosis," I tend to think that Epic weaknesses have something to do with their past. Maybe it's based on the last time, pre-Calamity, they were vulnerable? Just look at Fortuity's weakness: physical attraction. While it could be argued that he places himself in control of all interactions with women, there is an element of vulnerability there. Additionally, Steelheart's weakness practically screams vulnerability. And Mitosis: music he made with his band, where he specifically says he wasn't in complete control. Again, vulnerability. 

 

That could very well be the case: that giving up the power is the only right thing to do. Or it could be that he's trying to make the point that vulnerability purifies power: that those who are completely untouchable are going to use power for horrific purposes, even if they want to use it for good.

Edited by TwiLyghtSansSparkles
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I think it mostly comes down to the degree of power used, and intent doesn't inherently have much to do with it. It seems to me that it essentially makes Epics extremely arrogant and causes them to stop actually caring about other people except as a means to an end. Prof and Megan get so angry when they use their powers because they're forced to listen to complaints from someone they consider beneath them and can't simply kill him out of hand for annoying them.That apparently also affects their view of other Epics, given that Epics have actually tried to violently overthrow Steelheart on more than one occasion. It also explains why Epics go to the effort of running governments instead of extorting whatever they want; they feel they deserve to be worshipped as gods.

 

 

Just look at Conflux. He was a gifter, but it seems to be that when he tries to give his power to other people, it hurts or kills them. Yet when he "gives" them to inanimate objects, it purifies his powers and keeps him from being corrupted.

That is not actually accurate. Conflux gifts his powers to Enforcement soldiers to let them power their equipment. His primary power seems to be generating electrical current, which can be used to charge things. I don't think that qualifies as gifting, since it can't be withdrawn and seems to act like perfectly normal electricity outside of his body. He didn't kill his wife by gifting but by insufficent forethought; he tried to power a microwave, and instead of going into the circuit the electricity proceeded to seek ground through a metal countertop and his wife.

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I find it interesting that David and the others claim that Epics weaknesses are random and could be anything but all the examples that we have details on are either very thematic with the powers or are connected to their personalitys.

Fortuity´s weakness is atraction yet he still can´t stop going to clubs and picking up women.

Steelheart´s weakness is not being feared and he has paranoia.

Nightwielder´s weakness is (UV-)light, which is the antithesis of his power.

Mitosis and his old band´s music, which is a pretty clear connection.

There is definitly more to all of this, so it would make sense that either Calamity has some kind of awareness and likes irony or that the power adapts itself to it´s wielder.

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I was just thinking that calamity might be an epic. Deathpoint seems to hint that he can hear calamity. He says something along the lines of this morning in the shower it asked me why are you going to rob a bank today.

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What helps Phaedrus and Conflux stay sane is their gifting power. So long as an epic doesn't use their powers regularly, the power madness doesn't affect them. From this, perhaps Calamity is a super-Epic with all the powers imaginable who is trying not to go psycho and wipe out the entire human population by gifting all his powers away. For some reason, if Calamity had a gender, I'm pretty sure it would be male. 

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What helps Phaedrus and Conflux stay sane is their gifting power. So long as an epic doesn't use their powers regularly, the power madness doesn't affect them. From this, perhaps Calamity is a super-Epic with all the powers imaginable who is trying not to go psycho and wipe out the entire human population by gifting all his powers away. For some reason, if Calamity had a gender, I'm pretty sure it would be male.

How do you know he is giving powers away? Gifting doesn't seem to last forever. He could literally be creating power.

And the human population looks to be getting wiped out regardless. Not that quickly, but Obliteration doesn't seem to show signs of slowing down quite yet.

Edited by natc
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How do you know he is giving powers away? Gifting doesn't seem to last forever. He could literally be creating power.

And the human population looks to be getting wiped out regardless. Not that quickly, but Obliteration doesn't seem to show signs of slowing down quite yet

I see gifting as giving access to a large reserve of power. That is why, in Steelheart, David felt that it was harder to use the tenser during the last battle, because Prof was using his powers to battle Steelheart, therefore reducing the reserve. You do make a point with the issue of the destruction of humanity. Is it an intended or unintended side effect? What are the motives of Calamity if no matter what the human population will seemingly be wiped out anyway? Was the original creation of Calamity intended to punish humankind?

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I see gifting as giving access to a large reserve of power. That is why, in Steelheart, David felt that it was harder to use the tenser during the last battle, because Prof was using his powers to battle Steelheart, therefore reducing the reserve. You do make a point with the issue of the destruction of humanity. Is it an intended or unintended side effect? What are the motives of Calamity if no matter what the human population will seemingly be wiped out anyway? Was the original creation of Calamity intended to punish humankind?

 

Firefight spoilers: 

 

I recall one book set in an alternate future where a virus had wiped out every human emotion except fear—the reasoning being that emotions led to destruction, while fear was the only emotion essential to the survival of the human race. What if Calamity's fear-based power system operates on a similar assumption? That if those given powers are driven by their fears, they'll think twice before rushing headlong into reckless heroics or attempting any stunts that harm innocent bystanders? Obviously, this backfired tremendously, but I wonder if that wasn't the original motivation behind choosing fear as the modus operandi of every Epic—that fear would keep them in line rather than turning them into monsters.

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Firefight spoilers: 

 

I recall one book set in an alternate future where a virus had wiped out every human emotion except fear—the reasoning being that emotions led to destruction, while fear was the only emotion essential to the survival of the human race. What if Calamity's fear-based power system operates on a similar assumption? That if those given powers are driven by their fears, they'll think twice before rushing headlong into reckless heroics or attempting any stunts that harm innocent bystanders? Obviously, this backfired tremendously, but I wonder if that wasn't the original motivation behind choosing fear as the modus operandi of every Epic—that fear would keep them in line rather than turning them into monsters.

 

This would support the "Calamity is an idiot" theory, as he's clearly been keeping tabs on Earth enough to have seen the effects of his decision, but hasn't seen fit to change his modus operandi. <_<

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This would support the "Calamity is an idiot" theory, as he's clearly been keeping tabs on Earth enough to have seen the effects of his decision, but hasn't seen fit to change his modus operandi. <_<

 

Unless, of course, he's also addicted to using his powers (like any other Epic) and has to create a new Epic every so often or go through withdrawals. That could explain the low numbers of new Epics following Annexation—though it doesn't explain why Calamity didn't change his MO after the first Epic he created went on a murder spree the second s/he got their powers. 

 

So in that case, yes, Calamity is a moron. The most moronic moron of all time. <_<

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I think the interaction between Calamity and Regalia (where she said that giving David "thematically appropriate" powers is what finally convinced him to grant her request) eliminates any real semblance of morality or constraint from him. He sounds downright malicious.

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I looked through and didn't see this speculated elsewhere, but based only on the naming of the books (Steelheart, Mitosis, Firefight, Calamity..all but calamity are confirmed epics) I'm curious if Calamity isn't some kind of alpha gifter epic. I realize that it could just be that each of these names could just be the name of the antagonist but they all have that similarity. It's probably way too early for any real informed speculation but I thought I'd see if anyone else had noticed it as well.

That was exactly one of my theories I made with my friends! It would be a really awesome plot twist, and I think it'd fit with Brandon's books. I'm not that good at debate, though, so I'm not sure what I should say about that.

Edited by Rivira
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So in that case, yes, Calamity is a moron. The most moronic moron of all time. <_<

 

*ahem*

Maybe a pointless reference to make, and maybe nobody will get it. But I think you're forgetting Caboose.

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