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PapaShard

Returned siblings?

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I still haven't seen people address the simple fact that Returned amnesia quite clearly isn't complete, nor is it typical of head injuries in normal humans. Muscle memory and emotional elements seem to remain completely untouched, even while the episodic memory is unavailable. Also, episodic memory can all come back in a rush and be more or less complete. None of this is typical of natural amnesia. Whatever the Returned experience, it isn't typical.

As an example, even after he Returned, Lightsong still felt the emotional bond with his niece. He didn't know why---the episodic memory of the relationship was difficult to access---but the spiritual relationship was obviously still there. For Returned siblings, lets assume that the same holds---at some emotional or spiritual level, they are still connected. If they know they are siblings, post-return, in analogy to Lightsong and his niece, I would expect them to almost instantly fall into the same emotional relationship, even if the explicit memories of why they have it are not consciously available.

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I still haven't seen people address the simple fact that Returned amnesia quite clearly isn't complete, nor is it typical of head injuries in normal humans. Muscle memory and emotional elements seem to remain completely untouched, even while the episodic memory is unavailable. Also, episodic memory can all come back in a rush and be more or less complete. None of this is typical of natural amnesia. Whatever the Returned experience, it isn't typical.

As an example, even after he Returned, Lightsong still felt the emotional bond with his niece. He didn't know why---the episodic memory of the relationship was difficult to access---but the spiritual relationship was obviously still there. For Returned siblings, lets assume that the same holds---at some emotional or spiritual level, they are still connected. If they know they are siblings, post-return, in analogy to Lightsong and his niece, I would expect them to almost instantly fall into the same emotional relationship, even if the explicit memories of why they have it are not consciously available.

Would you characterize the relationship that Lightsong had with Llarimar as one between siblings? I think we definitely saw flashes of it in their banter, and you raise a good point regarding the Spiritual connection being present while the Cognitive connection is on the fritz.

I think everyone here can agree that there is something else going on with the Returned amnesia other than the trauma of death and Returning - it is simply too selective, and there's the whole "memory suddenly returns when you achieve what you Returned for" thing. Which raises another interesting question - given the fact that what happens to the Returned is clearly supernaturally imposed, are the Five Scholars operating under the same strictures as the "gods"? That is, are they still missing parts or all of their cognitive memories which will suddenly come back when they complete their "assigned" task? Or were they even assigned a task for Returning to begin with?

I think IDanielHolm has a good point about the presence of two pairs of siblings among the Five Scholars; it doesn't seem like the sort of thing Brandon would just slip in there as coincidence, especially since there are no other sets of Returned siblings to be seen in the book.

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Why can't it be simply that Endowment wanted the magic systems on his/her world jumpstarted and brought back some seriously smart people. We've seen other Shards imbuing people to further their own needs, so why would this be any different? Couldn't the 2 sets of siblings be just a clue that there was intervention, rather than meaning something itself.

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Would you characterize the relationship that Lightsong had with Llarimar as one between siblings? I think we definitely saw flashes of it in their banter, and you raise a good point regarding the Spiritual connection being present while the Cognitive connection is on the fritz.

Actually, I considered this as well, but didn't include it because the evidence was less clear. After all, Lightsong remembered his Niece's face without any prompting whatsoever. However, I believe that Lightsong and Llarimar's relationship was very natural because of their relationship before Lightsong returned.

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Also, do we know that any of the current court are NOT siblings. Remember, their priest go to extremes to keep them from learning about their pasts. We also seem to be discounting the idea that the Returned decided to come back. If two people are siblings, one may very well decide they have nothing to come back for.

We know that there are still Returned that die because they are unable to get the donated breath they need. It makes sense to me that the older Returned that we know about would have come from more of an upperclass family that was able to buy or trade for the breaths needed to keep their family members alive. That would enable them to have reached a higher point in their education so they would retain aspects useful to a scholar. A rural farmer that returned would only have his small family or village to offer the breaths, if they even knew what was needed, and he would not be nearly as famous for his farming knowledge. After a few months, he would probably die from the breath issue even if everyone in his family and village voluntarily gave one to him.

Odds would be against anyone from non-upperclass families from even making it long enough to live very long. The winnowing would tend to push those most able to afford breaths to lasting long enough to make an impact or become known. It isn't a stretch to say that the same family could afford breaths for more than one member.

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A lot of this also depends on just who the "Cult of the Returned" were and exactly what their activities comprised. It's reasonable to assume that if they had the resources, they could identify Returned and provide them with breaths (even if their families were not wealthy). At this point, however, we really don't have enough information about them in their historical form.

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