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PapaShard

Returned siblings?

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Apologies if this has been addressed somewhere and I've missed it. I recently did a reread for Warbreaker and noticed something. The story makes a point of the fact that Returned have no memory of their previous life (Vasher, for example, can't remember his original name). If this is the case, then:

1.) How did Denth know Shashara was his sister (the same for Arsteel and Yesteel)?

2.) Assuming there was some way for them to recognize each other, what are the odds of siblings Returning?

Thanks!

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The odds of siblings returning probably aren't much worse than anyone else, they would both just have to have a reason.

I always interpreted it that Arsteel and the rest know each other because their research was done after they returned. I do not know that that was specifically addressed, however, and I may just be misinterpreting.

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He was asking "how did they know they were siblings?" not "how did they know each other?" I imagine that those four managed to remember their past before Returning, like Lightsong did, while Vasher was never able to.

Since they're siblings, I'd hazard a guess that both Denth and Shashara were killed and Returned in the same event, and same goes for Arsteel and Yesteel.

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ah. Misread. Much simpler idea would be that someone told them. All it takes is one person that knew them before they returned. They wouldn't even have to have died together. One could have died, returned, been taken care of by the family, and then the same happened to the other.

Losing the memory could also be a more recent occurence. I don't remember any hint that Vo did not remember his wife.

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ah. Misread. Much simpler idea would be that someone told them. All it takes is one person that knew them before they returned. They wouldn't even have to have died together. One could have died, returned, been taken care of by the family, and then the same happened to the other.

Losing the memory could also be a more recent occurence. I don't remember any hint that Vo did not remember his wife.

That's true...I didn't really think about the fact that they could have died and Returned at different times. I guess I always read it as they'd died and Returned around the same time and then found each other.

The only problem I have with the idea that someone told them they were siblings is that (barring some kind of memory-returning event) being told someone's your sibling after you've lost your memory doesn't mean that you feel anything for them. I suppose they had several hundred years to get to know each other again, but it still seems strange to me, especially since the whole Returned-memory-loss thing was such an important plot point (in that you only remembered your past in the instant that you were about to accomplish whatever you Returned for).

Thanks for your replies!

Edited by PapaShard
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That's true...I didn't really think about the fact that they could have died and Returned at different times. I guess I always read it as they'd died and Returned around the same time and then found each other.

The only problem I have with the idea that someone told them they were siblings is that (barring some kind of memory-returning event) being told someone's your sibling after you've lost your memory doesn't mean that you feel anything for them. I suppose they had several hundred years to get to know each other again, but it still seems strange to me, especially since the whole Returned-memory-loss thing was such an important plot point (in that you only remembered your past in the instant that you were about to accomplish whatever you Returned for).

Thanks for your replies!

The returned don't regain their memories in just the moment before they do their thing. We have strong evidence from Lightsong that, subconsciously, they actually remember quite a bit more and can draw on it. I'd think something very deep and emotional like familial love could survive essentially intact even without having full conscious access to the whole truth.

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We know that the current returned lose their memories. Vasher lost his pre-returned memories, or at least he said he did, but that could just be a more recent addition (relatively speaking.) We would need Brandon to say something about whether Vo lost his as well, but then he did father the royal line after he returned. Of course, that may not have had anything to do with him remembering his wife, but I don't believe that would be Sanderson's way.

What I was imagining about the twins was more one dying, returning, and being taken care of by his family. That would develop a bond, and we know that people do return outside of the main region. There is nothing to back this up, but it has the benefit of being fairly simple.

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We know that the current returned lose their memories. Vasher lost his pre-returned memories, or at least he said he did, but that could just be a more recent addition (relatively speaking.) We would need Brandon to say something about whether Vo lost his as well, but then he did father the royal line after he returned. Of course, that may not have had anything to do with him remembering his wife, but I don't believe that would be Sanderson's way.

What I was imagining about the twins was more one dying, returning, and being taken care of by his family. That would develop a bond, and we know that people do return outside of the main region. There is nothing to back this up, but it has the benefit of being fairly simple.

We know they lose their memories, but we also know that this loss is not complete. Lightsong remembered the face of his niece, as well as his attachment to her, well before what you might call full, conscious memory came flooding back. He also kept some of the mathematical skills from his previous life. And he could juggle!

Basically, whatever is going on with Returned and memory, it's not absolute. Love of family seems like something that might leak through some time in a few hundred years.

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True, but he never did remember his relationship with his high priest. He did come close, though.

We also have evidence other than Lightsong that returned can get some memory when they come close to fulfilling their purpose for returning. How much of his memory return was "natural" and how much of it was just a nudge to get him going toward his purpose? Unless Sanderson says, or already has said, we will probably never know, but that is what makes his books so well-written.

Even if they did both manage to survive for hundreds of years, what is the likelyhood that they would be able to find each other? What would be the chance of two non-knowing siblings sticking around each other for that long? It just seems to me that someone or something intervened.

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The returned don't regain their memories in just the moment before they do their thing. We have strong evidence from Lightsong that, subconsciously, they actually remember quite a bit more and can draw on it. I'd think something very deep and emotional like familial love could survive essentially intact even without having full conscious access to the whole truth.

I was referring to full recollection. The Returned definitely had hints of memories seeping through in their dreams, but they didn't fully remember their past until the moment they achieved what they Returned for.

True, but he never did remember his relationship with his high priest. He did come close, though.

We also have evidence other than Lightsong that returned can get some memory when they come close to fulfilling their purpose for returning. How much of his memory return was "natural" and how much of it was just a nudge to get him going toward his purpose? Unless Sanderson says, or already has said, we will probably never know, but that is what makes his books so well-written.

Even if they did both manage to survive for hundreds of years, what is the likelyhood that they would be able to find each other? What would be the chance of two non-knowing siblings sticking around each other for that long? It just seems to me that someone or something intervened.

This is what I'm getting at. How did the Five Scholars come together? And how did it happen that they were two pairs of siblings and another guy? We already have hints that Endowment manipulates the Returned through their Returning and their dreams and prophecies. Why should the Five be any different? Hopefully some of that will be answered in the next book.

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We don't know much about the world during Vasher's time of rule. It was probably something as simple as power attracting power for the 3 other than the siblings. If you share rare characteristics and beliefs with someone, it isn't all that hard to see you eventually meeting them, especially if you are motivated enough. People that like guns, may meet each other at a gun show. People that like history may meet at a local history seminar at their local library. There are any numbers of ways that people could meet.

Edited by Aethling
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We don't know much about the world during Vasher's time of rule. It was probably something as simple as power attracting power for the 3 other than the siblings. If you share rare characteristics and beliefs with someone, it isn't all that hard to see you eventually meeting them, especially if you are motivated enough. People that like guns, may meet each other at a gun show. People that like history may meet at a local history seminar at their local library. There are any numbers of ways that people could meet.

LOL...for some reason, this has me picturing the 5th Annual Roshar Shardbearers Convention...and the ensuing chaos.

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True, how true. Once Shallan gets to the plains, the partying can begin.

Edited by Aethling
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Oh, how they met was probably not an accident. The thing about Returned is, they have to have breath to survive. I think Vasher even mentions that when he Returned, he was cared for by a sect which later became the religion of Hallandren. I suspect that the other four scholars had backstories along similar lines.

No, the fact that, intellectually, they knew that they were siblings was almost certainly from being told after they Returned. In fact, the fact that they were together at all after they both Returned was probably deliberate collaboration on somebody's part. I won't dispute that at all. The original question was where the very obvious emotional impact of their family relationship came from. My guess is just that they never really forgot it.

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The Cult of the Returned cared for them, yeah.

They might not have been literal siblings -- they could simply have adopted one another.

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The Cult of the Returned cared for them, yeah.

They might not have been literal siblings -- they could simply have adopted one another.

Then why do none of them consider Vasher a sibling? Second question is why we assume all five of the Scholars are Returned. Some could simply have had huge reserves of Breath.

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I don't have my copy of Warbreaker, but doesn't Vasher explicity state they were all Returned?

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I don't have my copy of Warbreaker, but doesn't Vasher explicity state they were all Returned?

Explicitly confirmed by Brandon in the Brandonothology at a B&N session in 2009:

2) Are/were all the Five Scholars Returned?

Yes.

https://sites.google.com/site/brandonothology/QA-by-book/warbreaker

Also mentioned (I believe) at several points in the annotation. I know he specifies Denth, Vasher, and Shashara, not sure if Arsteel and Yesteel were in there as well.

Edited by PapaShard
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Explicitly confirmed by Brandon in the Brandonothology at a B&N session in 2009:

https://sites.google.com/site/brandonothology/QA-by-book/warbreaker

Also mentioned (I believe) at several points in the annotation. I know he specifies Denth, Vasher, and Shashara, not sure if Arsteel and Yesteel were in there as well.

Hrm. Then I got nothing. Maybe Denth/Shashara and Yesteel/Arsteel were extremely prominent people before they died? It wouldn't have been too hard to find out about their past lives without the whole sheltered Court of the Gods lifestyle. Kind of leads me to believe that Vasher was really no one special prior to Returning.

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Hrm. Then I got nothing. Maybe Denth/Shashara and Yesteel/Arsteel were extremely prominent people before they died? It wouldn't have been too hard to find out about their past lives without the whole sheltered Court of the Gods lifestyle. Kind of leads me to believe that Vasher was really no one special prior to Returning.

That would sort of fit with his grungy hobo persona.

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Then why do none of them consider Vasher a sibling?

That would depend on the reason why they adopted one another in the first place (if that is what they did).

Remember, they weren't the only Returned at the time. The Cult of the Returned likely cared for many more, similar to the Court of the Gods.

Perhaps the Cult of the Returned considered Returned to be siblings if they died and Returned after the same event (or perhaps on the same day?). That seems more likely to me than them being actual flesh-and-blood siblings.

Edited by lDanielHolm
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I think you guys are trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be. When he says they are siblings, why would you want to make it a artificial relationship?

We already have an example in the Cosmere of a family taking care of someone that has been transformed by a shard. Adien and Lukel are full brothers, and Adien is taken care of inside the household. You could essentially transfer that household into Warbreaker, and then have Lukel die and be returned. That would be two returned in a household more than capable of buying the breaths needed to keep them alive.

Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, and Kings all have explicit or covert instances of the magic system running in the family (I know Kings is a stretch, but I believe the king is actually seeing the same spren and Shallan).

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I think you guys are trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be. When he says they are siblings, why would you want to make it a artificial relationship?

We already have an example in the Cosmere of a family taking care of someone that has been transformed by a shard. Adien and Lukel are full brothers, and Adien is taken care of inside the household. You could essentially transfer that household into Warbreaker, and then have Lukel die and be returned. That would be two returned in a household more than capable of buying the breaths needed to keep them alive.

Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, and Kings all have explicit or covert instances of the magic system running in the family (I know Kings is a stretch, but I believe the king is actually seeing the same spren and Shallan).

The only issue I have with the "all in the family" angle is that it's more than just two Returned - it's two amnesiacs. Now, granted, it's been a long time since they Returned, and I suppose they could have stitched the flashes of memory back together into something resembling a sibling bond (though anyone who's had to deal with memory loss can tell you that it's not as simple as, "Here's your family, we all love you! Remember us!"). You basically have to re-learn all those relationships, which as I said is a possibility given the amount of time they've been around.

What made it interesting for me was the fact that the loss of memory for the Returned was a heavily used plot point, and yet Denth/Shashara and Arsteel/Yesteel had "normal" (as far as we know) sibling relationships while Vasher could't remember his original name. Now, it's entirely possible that the sibling pairs Returned in a family setting...or maybe they didn't. The fact is that we just don't know, and I simply found it curious that Brandon chose to have two sibling pairs among the Five Scholars when (for the rest of the Returned, including Vasher) he had them all dealing with pretty substantial memory loss such that they saw flashes of their past life but couldn't make anything coherent out of it (much less a sibling relationship). Hopefully some of this will be hashed out in the next book.

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If the family is well-off enough, there would be time for them to regain the relationship. Using the Lukel/Adien relationship as a guide, Adien would already have had time to acclimate and reestablish the sibling bond, Lukel probably wouldn't take much longer than a few years. A rich family could easily buy the breaths necessary. If they had serfs or slaves, the breath population would even be self-sustaining.

We really don't know if Vasher was telling the truth about losing his memory either.

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I think you guys are trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be. When he says they are siblings, why would you want to make it a artificial relationship?

We already have an example in the Cosmere of a family taking care of someone that has been transformed by a shard. Adien and Lukel are full brothers, and Adien is taken care of inside the household. You could essentially transfer that household into Warbreaker, and then have Lukel die and be returned. That would be two returned in a household more than capable of buying the breaths needed to keep them alive.

Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, and Kings all have explicit or covert instances of the magic system running in the family (I know Kings is a stretch, but I believe the king is actually seeing the same spren and Shallan).

We have an extremely small sample size of 5 people from that period, and yet we have two pairs of siblings. That suggests it was far more common than it is in the current day, where we see absolutely none. It is logical to assume that something else is going on, then.

Returned are rare--we see maybe a dozen Returned in the Court of the Gods during Warbreaker. The chance for two pairs of siblings in a group as small as five to be Returned is very low.

Edited by lDanielHolm
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