Windrunner

Theory: Who Can Return

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I think its very possible that Returned spend their lives endowing. It makes sense that those who did so the most would eventually give their lives in service. Blushweaver probably helped people by sacrificing oppurtunities for greater wealth in favor of being decent. Calmseer was a healer, and obviously worked hard. Lightsong searched for fraud. This could have easily been considered an endowment, depending on what he asked for in return. Even if this isn't particularly in line with bravery, I don't think the Hallendren priests really had any basis for what they called Returned, other than what they did to get killed.

Edited by Kolo
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I think the returned are Endownments way of subtely (or not subtely) nudging the chain of events in the world towards good. He gives certain people the chance to come back if they're cognitive, or maybe just brings them back for a certain purpose. Lightsong needed to come back to heal Susebron, so maybe only ifants only return occaisonally when they'll need a baby for a new God King. I mean, they can't just have fresh Returned infants laying around all the time right?

I think we'll need more examples of people who are returned, what they've done, and what they're "supposed" to do for more definitive answers.

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My belief on this is that in order to be Returned, it isn't about how you lived your life, it is about how you died.

 

Lightsong, for example, was a scribe. He searched accounts ledgers for fraud. Not very exciting, not particularly brave, definitely not bold. He dies doing something bold, and Returns as Lightsong the Bold.

 

Blushweaver is a little different if she changed her name from Blushweaver the Honest to the Beautiful. The Honest, because she died for being truthful.

 

Others could include Brightvision the True, or Stillmark the Noble.

 

Kindwinds the Honest is a bit of an exception. I guess he must have given up his Breath before Blushweaver Returned, unless they can have mutliple Gods of the same thing, so, two Gods of Honesty.

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My belief on this is that in order to be Returned, it isn't about how you lived your life, it is about how you died.

 

Lightsong, for example, was a scribe. He searched accounts ledgers for fraud. Not very exciting, not particularly brave, definitely not bold. He dies doing something bold, and Returns as Lightsong the Bold.

 

Blushweaver is a little different if she changed her name from Blushweaver the Honest to the Beautiful. The Honest, because she died for being truthful.

 

Others could include Brightvision the True, or Stillmark the Noble.

 

Kindwinds the Honest is a bit of an exception. I guess he must have given up his Breath before Blushweaver Returned, unless they can have mutliple Gods of the same thing, so, two Gods of Honesty.

 

You have to remember that they don't return with names attached, their names are given based on how they died. In other words, when Lightsong Returned, the group of priests that decideds on names came together and said "hey, this guy died doing something bold, so let's name him Lightsong the Bold." So why they Returned is not necessarily going to be the same reason as why they are named what they are.

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You have to remember that they don't return with names attached, their names are given based on how they died. In other words, when Lightsong Returned, the group of priests that decideds on names came together and said "hey, this guy died doing something bold, so let's name him Lightsong the Bold." So why they Returned is not necessarily going to be the same reason as why they are named what they are.

Are you not meaning the drunk-monkey?

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Gamma Fiend raises an excellent point. (I think. I may be misinterpreting him, but he seems to be saying something along these lines.) Maybe there is no rule about who can and can't return.

 

We're used to dealing with Shards who are dead and Splintered, brain-dead, trapped, busy causing the apocalypse, busy stopping the apocalypse, just generally nonpartisan, also dead and Splintered, throwing a Mara-level (see The Belgariad) tantrum, "just trying to hide", or too evil to settle down, but Endowment is (as far as we can tell) still in full command of his or her faculties and totally free to do as he or she chooses. I see no reason why there needs to be some formal system in place to decide who can and can't return when Endowment is right there to make the choice on a case-by-case basis.

 

Preservation chose the Hero of Ages. He didn't lay down some selection criteria or create some sort of magic rules; he looked at all the people that were going to be born, thought it over, and said "That guy, right there: Terrisman with the identity crisis and the problem with authority." Sazed got picked, not because he was the most perfectly aligned with some set of ideals, but because Preservation had his own personal agenda, and Sazed was his best bet for getting it done.

 

Maybe the answer to "Who can return?" is just "Whoever Endowment wants."

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Gamma Fiend raises an excellent point. (I think. I may be misinterpreting him, but he seems to be saying something along these lines.) Maybe there is no rule about who can and can't return.

 

We're used to dealing with Shards who are dead and Splintered, brain-dead, trapped, busy causing the apocalypse, busy stopping the apocalypse, just generally nonpartisan, also dead and Splintered, throwing a Mara-level (see The Belgariad) tantrum, "just trying to hide", or too evil to settle down, but Endowment is (as far as we can tell) still in full command of his or her faculties and totally free to do as he or she chooses. I see no reason why there needs to be some formal system in place to decide who can and can't return when Endowment is right there to make the choice on a case-by-case basis.

 

Preservation chose the Hero of Ages. He didn't lay down some selection criteria or create some sort of magic rules; he looked at all the people that were going to be born, thought it over, and said "That guy, right there: Terrisman with the identity crisis and the problem with authority." Sazed got picked, not because he was the most perfectly aligned with some set of ideals, but because Preservation had his own personal agenda, and Sazed was his best bet for getting it done.

 

Maybe the answer to "Who can return?" is just "Whoever Endowment wants."

 

Though I agree Endowment plays (or can play, if he/she chooses) an active role in the Returning process, this WoB does heavily imply that there is a formal system deciding who can and cannot Return.

 

source

Jeremy

What are the pre-requisites for someone becoming Returned? Does it depend on how much Breath they have?
Brandon Sanderson (Paraphrased)
It does not depend on the quantity of breath, but I'm not revealing the specific pre-requisites, since I need to save something for Nightblood.

 

 

In addition, between this and a few other interviews, it sounds like Brandon knows exactly how the Nalthis magic system works already, and so I doubt he'll make any changes going forward, meaning that there is a formal system, and he's not going to change that by the time he publishes Nightblood.

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Blaze: While I see what you're saying, I'm less certain than you are that the WoB is the slam-dunk you imply that the system acts independently of Endowment's will. It could merely be saying that Endowment his/herself has prerequisites.

 

That said, I still agree that it's a formalized system. I think we've got other W's-o-B about how arcana work, period, and that while Shards have strong influence in them, this influence is non-absolute. My personal head-canon model is that certain conditions must be met, including prerequities in how the person dies that Endowment cannot easily overcome. Then Endowment selects from this pool of people which ones to Invest with the Divine Breath. Then the actual person gets to decide to either Return or not.

 

Obviously Direct Shardic Intervention could likely circumvent this process (on the assumption that there are few enough things Direct Shardic Intervention cannot do), but I imagine there are downsides from a Shardic point of view for doing so.

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Well we know the system can and will act independantly were Endowment to be killed:

 

source

Leinton

Would Returned still Return if Endowment died?
Brandon Sanderson
Magic in the cosmere needs a guiding force. If it doesn't have one, the magic itself will gain sentience. Or someone would pick it up. So yes, Returned would still come, but there would be something different based on who was guiding the power.

 

 

This WoB here is the "other interview" I was refering to in my previous post, and I do think it, combined with the other WoB I posted, means there is a system in place, and that Endowment is the "guiding force" behind who gets picked to be Returned. It would be interesting to know if, given a more malicious "guiding force," people with unattractive qualities such as selfishness, rudeness, etc. would Return.

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I had a random thought. It's not worthy of its own thread, so this is as good a place to post it as any.

I was thinking about how people Return. Not so much why people Return, but how Endowment does it. I hypothesize that Endowment does something very similar to Awakening. When someone dies, Endowment snatches them up and shows them some possible futures and gives them the option of Returning. If they choose to Return, Endowment gives them a Command, like Awakening, and uses a Divine Breath to fuel it. I imagine the commands are rather vague like, "Endow someone worthy with this Breath."

Or maybe I'm wildly off the mark. Food for thought.

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I had a random thought. It's not worthy of its own thread, so this is as good a place to post it as any.

I was thinking about how people Return. Not so much why people Return, but how Endowment does it. I hypothesize that Endowment does something very similar to Awakening. When someone dies, Endowment snatches them up and shows them some possible futures and gives them the option of Returning. If they choose to Return, Endowment gives them a Command, like Awakening, and uses a Divine Breath to fuel it. I imagine the commands are rather vague like, "Endow someone worthy with this Breath."

Or maybe I'm wildly off the mark. Food for thought.

I always thought the Command he uses is "Return." :D

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I always thought the Command he uses is "Return." :D

 

 

 

...it's brilliant in its simplicity.

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I figure it's something specific and sorta formal sounding, like the Commands to make a Lifeless. Simplicity is cool, but that we've seen it's the hallmark of Type 3 entities. Even just handing over your Breath, with no real effect other than a transfer, requires a specific, some would say formal phrase of two sentences.

 

"Awaken to my Breath, serve my needs, live at my Command and my word." And then you have to add the security phrase. I wonder how that works, on a Realmatic level... well this is prolly not the time.

 

I'd expect Endowment says something more than, "Return."

 

"Return to my Divine Breath, serve these visions I have shown you, live once more with purpose divine until you come back once more."

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Nightblood's Command is pretty simple, and Returned also share as many, if not more traits with Sentient Awakened Objects as with Lifeless. 

Edited by Lindel
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Theory related to the returned: The connection between lifeless and awakened inanimate objects are they both need commands and someone to think/command them, That would make the returned and Nightblood connected, A human who came back and is sentient and a inanimate object that has sentience, Returned how they perceive themselves is how they look So would how Nightblood sees himself how he manifests? Could he change forms, or get a body like a human?   

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Theory related to the returned: The connection between lifeless and awakened inanimate objects are they both need commands and someone to think/command them, That would make the returned and Nightblood connected, A human who came back and is sentient and a inanimate object that has sentience, Returned how they perceive themselves is how they look So would how Nightblood sees himself how he manifests? Could he change forms, or get a body like a human?   

Create a new post, no need to necropost this one ^^'

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On 4/29/2012 at 10:21 PM, frozndevl said:

So one question I had was about Denth and his sister. It isn't explicitly stated, but I would assume that all five of the scholars were Returned. So what made them special enough that they both died and were able to return?

This is a quote from the book:

[''You think i should just go back to the way I was before?'' Denth spat. ''The happy, friendly man everyone loved?'' "You were a good person,''  Vasher whispered. ''That man saw and did terrible things,'' Denth said. "I've tried, Vasher. I've tried going back. But the darkness...it's inside. I can't escape it. My Laughter has a edge to it. i can't forget.'' I can make you,'' Vasher said. ''I know the Commands.'' Denth froze. "I promise," Vasher said. "I will take it all from you, if you wish.'']

It sounds to me like they can make Returned by Command, thats why both siblings would be Returned, I think.

I hope this helps. :)

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10 minutes ago, Nightblade said:

This is a quote from the book:

[''You think i should just go back to the way I was before?'' Denth spat. ''The happy, friendly man everyone loved?'' "You were a good person,''  Vasher whispered. ''That man saw and did terrible things,'' Denth said. "I've tried, Vasher. I've tried going back. But the darkness...it's inside. I can't escape it. My Laughter has a edge to it. i can't forget.'' I can make you,'' Vasher said. ''I know the Commands.'' Denth froze. "I promise," Vasher said. "I will take it all from you, if you wish.'']

It sounds to me like they can make Returned by Command, thats why both siblings would be Returned, I think.

I hope this helps. :)

Vasher is referring to the Command to forget memories there. The one he used on the kidnapped child earlier.

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On ‎2011‎-‎12‎-‎21 at 4:14 PM, Wispsy said:

Maybe it's from twins! Or perhaps a returned can give their breath to a dead baby and it brings it back as a returned or summit

 

On ‎2011‎-‎12‎-‎26 at 9:39 PM, Vortaan said:

Infant Returned seem to break more than one theory about who can Return. For example, how is any infant able to process visions of the future enough to make a decision whether to Return or not? My son's 8 months old and smart as a whip (proud father, forgive me for it), but I doubt he has the capacity to understand that kind of decision. And we're talking children younger than him... I think there has to be more to it than how you died and a decision. Endowment may force some people to Return because they need to. Come to think of it, it doesn't even really go against his/her Shard... endowing someone with something need not be voluntary.

Maybe they aren't acctually babies, the Returned can take any form they want, if they decided suconciously that they felt happiest/most godly as a child then maybe they would revert to that form when they returened. After all we have never acctualy seen an example where the baby has died in the womb and returned as it was givin birth to, though it may have been mention alot of common beliefs in the world of Warbreaker seem to be missconseptions with just a hint of truth, as in all the worlds.

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On ‎2012‎-‎12‎-‎30 at 1:31 PM, Asha'man said:

That's what I meant, that it could be a lifelong thing or a final action. Since all that we know of Lightsong is his final act and previous occupation, all we can truly say is that his final sacrifice contributed to his return by endowing his niece with life. Maybe that was enough for him. The other two seem to paint a picture of lifelong endowing plus a final action in line with their lifestyle.

We don't know thats all he did, we only descovered a little about his old life in his final minutes, we don't truely know whether or not he endowed people his entire life, for all we know he could have gotten up every day and givin food to all the people on his street for free, thats not nessecairly the most likely theory, but its possible. Also he was a scribe which means which might be considered endowing people with knowledge, it doesn't seem like much but over time that might have built him up to near the nessecary amout of endowment and the final act of saving his neice and endowing her with life might have pushed him just over the line into returned levels of endowment.

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The more invested someone is the longer they last in the cognitive realm, So maybe its the people who had a powerful Breath when they were alive that last longer in the Cognitive realm giving them a better chance of Returning. When you die its described as your string being cut, Your tie to the Physical Realm severed, When you die a heroic death the people form a connection with you that gives you a chance to form a new string and a new tie to the physical realm. If you had died a normal death you would have no connection or tie to the physical realm, So that's the reason that its important for Returned to die a heroic death.

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7 hours ago, The_God_King said:

Maybe they aren't acctually babies, the Returned can take any form they want, if they decided suconciously that they felt happiest/most godly as a child then maybe they would revert to that form when they returened. After all we have never acctualy seen an example where the baby has died in the womb and returned as it was givin birth to, though it may have been mention alot of common beliefs in the world of Warbreaker seem to be missconseptions with just a hint of truth, as in all the worlds.

If you read the Warbreaker annotations, I believe Brandon explicitely says that rarely, babies really do return, and the priesthood sees that as a sign that a new God King should take the throne. This is why they were so insistent on Siri getting pregnant quickly: an infant had already recently Returned. So they either wanted a "real" son of Susebron, if the child Siri gave birth to was male and Returned, or they wanted to install the already Returned infant as God King (and claim it was Susebron's biological son), if Siri's child was stillborn or female.

As to how babies can make the choice to Return... I guess they have a natural instinct to want to live, and Endowment can sense that wish? And sees it as a deliberate choice, even if the babies don't really know they are making it? Maybe?

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1 hour ago, Eki said:

If you read the Warbreaker annotations, I believe Brandon explicitely says that rarely, babies really do return, and the priesthood sees that as a sign that a new God King should take the throne. This is why they were so insistent on Siri getting pregnant quickly: an infant had already recently Returned. So they either wanted a "real" son of Susebron, if the child Siri gave birth to was male and Returned, or they wanted to install the already Returned infant as God King (and claim it was Susebron's biological son), if Siri's child was stillborn or female.

sorry, I started with the annotations but, well they did take away from the story some what with the being between the chapters ( at least in the eBook form)

 

Edited by The_God_King
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44 minutes ago, The_God_King said:

sorry, I started with the annotations but, well they did take away from the story some what with the being between the chapters ( at least in the eBook form)

 

Yeah, I only read them my second time through the book, when I already knew the story and stuff. But they do contain some very interesting details!

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Annotations make re-reading a story incredibly more fun IMO.

I also think it's possible that due to her willingness to interfere with world events, Endowment herself chooses when to return a baby when she thinks its best to have a new God King. 

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