Oudeis

Vo, Awakening, Random Thoughts

40 posts in this topic

Most of this is according to Chapter 32.

 

Vo was the first Returned six hundred years ago. I wonder how he died.

 

Awakening was only discovered four hundred years ago. Does this mean that no Returned lived longer than a week for two hundred years? Or do they not consider simply trading Breaths to be Awakening?

 

The Manywar was 300 years ago. That's one century after Awakening was first discovered. In a hundred years, they went from no knowledge of Awakening to one-Breath Lifeless and Nightblood. In the three hundred years since, even with four of the Scholars still alive, there do not seem to have been any notable advancements in the art. What?

 

For some reason, I had been under the impression that along with the Five Visions, Vo taught about Awakening, but I was clearly wrong. So then how did people learn? Did someone just finally get to a Heightening high enough that Awakening became somewhat instinctive? Was it the Royal Family of Hanald, whose Royal Locks apparently operate under a similar principle? Did one of them get enough Breath and just decide one day to use what he or she knew about controlling his or her own hair to see if he or she could get a rope to Grab Things? Intent being as important as it is, it would have to be a specific intent. I can't really believe a scenario where someone, not knowing that Awakening exists, just sorta happens to be attacked by someone, picks up a rope, verbally Commands the rope out loud to help him, and then flings the rope at his attacker. That just seems unlikely in the absolute extreme. If I'm being attacked by someone, I can totally see picking up random objects and throwing them at the person, I just don't buy that under any circumstance would it occur to me to issue those random objects orders.

 

So why not?

 

Mistborn spoilers:

 

On Scadrial, the Lord Ruler through tyrannical oppresion and a tiny population was able to stunt technological development for a thousand years.

 

Even assuming that the Court of Gods especially cared about stunting the advancement of BioChroma, which doesn't seem hugely likely since they're on top of the world and want to remain that way and considering the size of their Lifeless army they don't seem at all invested in not being as powerful as possible, could they manage it? It is a powerful theocracy, but they do not seem to have quite as total control over their population as the example above. I suppose the case can be made that they have more control specifically over things to do with Breath and Awakening.

 

Does this pass the smell test to people? Can anyone provide me with concrete examples from the text (or from WoB) that shows that a) the Hallandren government had any interest in actively stunting the study of BioChroma, even for themselves, and 2) they actually had the capacity to stunt study of BioChroma across their entire country? I am willing to accept that if places outside the valley have advanced the art, it's simply unknown yet in the microcosm of the valley which is the only glimpse we've had onto Nalthis.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the research was stunted, but rather that the research was ACCELERATED by the Five Scholars.

Take Faraday, Einstein, Feynman, Curie, and Hawking, put them in a room together for 100 years with basically unlimited financing, have them share how to do only 1% of their discoveries, and then have them all go into hiding for 300 years. You'll see an apparent drop in knowledge & research, which is actually a return to base.

Edit: fixed autocorrect error

Edited by LabRat
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...But seriously, in 300 years there hasn't been another Faraday? One hasn't been born, despite the fact that Nalthis got five in a century? And we're not talking about an apparent drop in research. We're talking zero apparent advancement. Those five people you named did a lot to advance science, but they aren't 100% of the science we have in our world.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One quick thought: before the manywar, there were probably more people at higher heightenings.  In the modern system, you have the God-king with an enormous storehouse of breaths, but no capacity to use it and learn from it.  You also have a very large number of people with the First Heightening, which isn't enough to do much of anything.  Between these two extremes, there's a pretty small pool of people.  Before Peacegiver collected all those breaths, suppose they were distributed among several Awakeners at intermediate Heightenings.  They would have been able to learn far more far more quickly than people at the lower heightenings of modern-day Hallandren.  It would be like our descendents trying to carry on supercollider particle physics while only being equipped with light-microscopes.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet in modern times, neither Vasher nor Vivenna, both at least at the Second Heightening, Vasher possibly much higher, raise particular note as they go around. There must be enough people at the Second or Third Heightening for it to be merely a curiosity and not outrageous for people to note, like an amazingly nice car. If you're walking the streets of New York City and you see someone drive past in a gorgeous new latest model Ferrari, you'll stare and notice but won't think, "Hey, that's pretty much impossible" like if you saw someone who regularly commuted to work via jetpack.

 

I'll grant you that there could very well be fewer people with enough Breath to experiment, but enough so that for three entire centuries there has been literally not one major advancement? I feel like this kind of scientific stagnation just doesn't happen without a deliberate effort to squash it; everything people have suggested so far would slow the advancement but not stop it completely.

 

In a century, the people of Nalthis went from not knowing Awakening existed to crafting Nightblood, probably the single most powerful object in the Cosmere. (The citation is, admittedly, more of an implication, but a powerful one.) Then, overnight, progress ground to a complete halt.

 

The Wright Brothers flew in Kitty Hawk, and sixty years later Lance Armstrong stepped onto the moon. Can you imagine a circumstance at which that was it? Planes, space craft, no form of aviation whatsoever improved since 1969? No larger planes, no unmanned drones, no stealth bombers, no improved satellites, no international space station. If the top five scientists in aviation had dropped dead in 1970 and the entire Air Force budget for every nation on the planet got slashed to 10%, do you think humans would spend the next hundred and eighty years without a single major improvement in aviation?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...But seriously, in 300 years there hasn't been another Faraday? One hasn't been born, despite the fact that Nalthis got five in a century? And we're not talking about an apparent drop in research. We're talking zero apparent advancement. Those five people you named did a lot to advance science, but they aren't 100% of the science we have in our world.

The funding is the other consideration. In modern Hallandren Breaths = money and Awakening Experiments = burning your money. The only group with enough Breath to waste them are the Returned, who are given a very careful ration because they're viewed more like wish-granting piñatas than useful members of society.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, experiments with Awakening only permanently cost you Breath if you die or if you use them on Lifeless.

 

Second, as stated above, both Vasher and Vivenna are people with enough Breaths to experiment, and their appearance on the street is worthy of note, but not unique. Therefore, there must be at least enough people with enough Breaths to experiment who aren't associated with the Court of Gods for it to be something the average citizen of T'Telir would see rarely, but not never.

 

Finally, the Returned themselves aren't the ones holding the Breaths. In fact, they have just their Divine Breath with a possible variance of 1. Yet, Awakeners travel with the God-King, carrying him around on Awakened ropes. Lightsong has enough Awakeners working for him to Break a Lifeless squirrel. The Court of Gods does have a large population of people who have a lot of Breaths and the job description "Awakener". Why on earth would they stunt research into this? Hallandren is the super-power in the region, due in small part to the strength of their Awakeners. If the government has a near-monopoly on skilled and powerful Awakeners, yet not actual pressing demand on their time (apart from Breaking the squirrel, how many tasks do you think Lightsong actually assigns to his Awakeners? Mercystar? Weatherlove?) why on earth have they decided, "Spend absolutely no time advancing the science of this power we control almost entirely!"?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the more I think about this the stranger it gets.  There are some famously-stalled technological advancements in human history: gunpowder in China is an ovious example.  But, there you have the fact that there were plausible alternatives to gunpowder in its early development: crossbows were often a better choice than muskets.  But Awakening is obviously the best thing going, so that can't be a parallel.

 

One other thing that could have slowed things down, but not enough to explain everything, is the transformation of Breath into a status symbol.  The main purpose of having breath was to show other people how awsome and rich you are.  If someone with half your breath suddenly figures out how to do something only you should be able to do, then that person is breaking the basis of the status hierarchy, and the gentleman's club is likely to regard him as a cheater and throw him out.

 

And so, people devote all their intellectual energy to getting more breath, rather than figuring out how to use the breath they have.

 

But it seems like there should still have been a few incurably curious people, and a few rebels, to keep things moving along...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason, I had been under the impression that along with the Five Visions, Vo taught about Awakening, but I was clearly wrong. So then how did people learn? Did someone just finally get to a Heightening high enough that Awakening became somewhat instinctive?

Well, yeah, the Sixth Heightening does grant you that. So, we could assume that 400 years ago some Returned managed to convince ~1500 people to give up their Breaths, thus propelling him from the Fifth Heightening to the Sixth Heightening. Assuming he had no idea of Awakening prior to that, I wonder why he wanted more than a thousand Breaths. Was it simply to ensure he'll live for at least a couple of decades ?

Anyway, we can assume that Hallandren (and maybe other countries) is currently uncomfortable with having people with higher than Fifth Heightening running around who could also Awaken, given the fact that they only give most of their gods one Breath a week and they cut their God King's tongue off. This suggests a fear of advanced Awakening, possibly due to memories of the Manywar. I think they're afraid that too much progress in Awakening research would mean more Awakening WMDs (like Kalad's Phantoms) would be created, leading to a potentially worse second Manywar.

I think Vasher has a similar fear, because he's obviously been doing his own Awakening research (e.g. memory-manipulation) but he seems to prefer keeping the results to himself. Also, remember that he murdered his own wife, the most talented of the Five Scholars, just to prevent knowledge of Type IV BioChromatic entities from spreading.

Yesteel, on the other hand, has apparently been sharing his research. To a tyrant, of all people. Hopefully we'll see in the sequel if he found anything that's useful outside the context of war and oppression.

Edited by skaa
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hrm... A few thoughts...
 

Well, yeah, the Sixth Heightening does grant you that. So, we could assume that 400 years ago, within a one week period, some Returned managed to convince ~1500 people to give up their Breaths, thus propelling him from the Fifth Heightening to the Sixth Heightening. Assuming he had no idea of Awakening prior to that, I wonder why he wanted more than a thousand Breaths. Was it simply to ensure he'll live for at least a couple of decades ?


But if no one knew how to Awaken, how did they know how to transfer Breaths? Is the basic, "My Breath to Yours" Command not really considered Awakening? Who taught them even that basic Command?
 

Anyway, we can assume that Hallandren (and maybe other countries) is currently uncomfortable with having people with higher than Fifth Heightening running around who could also Awaken, given the fact that they only give most of their gods one Breath a week and they cut their God King's tongue off. This suggests a fear of advanced Awakening, possibly due to memories of the Manywar. I think they're afraid that too much progress in Awakening research would mean more Awakening WMDs (like Kalad's Phantoms) would be created, leading to a potentially worse second Manywar.


Eh. That's a possible explanation, but I don't know that it rings true.
 
First, you don't need people at more than the Fifth Heightening to Awaken. Obviously, the more Breaths you have the easier it is to learn how to do things, but the only reason the benchmark in the first place was the Sixth Heightening was because we needed someone who could Awaken instinctively, since people didn't know Awakening even existed. Now that everyone does, anyone with fifty Breaths can Awaken their cloak to lift them above a crowd and check the front of the line. Someone with 300 Breaths is well set up to start experimenting, and such a person you'd think would be eager to learn how to do more with his small store of Breaths, compared to mighty Awakeners. I totally buy that progress would slow if the only people researching were rich fanatics with a few hundred Breaths, but progress didn't slow. It ground to a complete halt, and that's shocking.
 
Also, the Hallandren have two undeniable traits that we've seen. They have a massive, nearly unstoppable army (of Awakened Lifeless, no less) to crush their enemies. And their government, priests, and citizens use Awakening for important events and casual use. I can see the thought process that would lead a country to dissuade people from researching Awakening so as to prevent WMDs. I don't think the government, which very much enjoys the military superiority brought about by Awakening, would be so unanimous that all Awakening science must be squashed that they would successfully halt all progress for three centuries. I'm not saying it's impossible that some culture somewhere would come to this philosophy. I'm saying that what we know of Hallandren seems to indicate that they would not agree with this philosophy.
 

Yesteel, on the other hand, has apparently been sharing his research. To a tyrant, of all people. Hopefully we'll see in the sequel if he found anything that's useful outside the context of war and oppression.


Huh. My reading of the Epilogue caused me to assume that Yesteel himself was the tyrant. It never occurred to me until this moment to read the sentence as to indicate that Yesteel is working with a tyrant. Now I wonder which it will be...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hrm... A few thoughts...

 

But if no one knew how to Awaken, how did they know how to transfer Breaths? Is the basic, "My Breath to Yours" Command not really considered Awakening? Who taught them even that basic Command?

 

You're right. Knowing the Breath transfer Command is necessary, not just for a Returned to obtain Breaths needed to survive, but also for the Returned to heal people. I see two possibilities:

  • A Returned had a vision where the words "My life to yours; my Breath become yours" were revealed to him as a way for him to heal another person (perhaps a friend who was grievously ill or injured). He uttered the words, healed the guy, and died. Then someone who heard of this event (or perhaps he was a witness to it) tried to use the same trick on another sick or wounded guy. Being a normal person, he only became the first ever drab, and the person he gave his Breath to became slightly healthier (though obviously not fully healed). Thus the knowledge of Breath and Breath transfer was discovered.

     

  • Another possibility: While the Returned don't have the general instinctive Awakening of the Sixth Heightening, their Fifth Heightening allows them at least some minor level of instinctive awareness regarding Endowment's Investiture (sort of like how people of the First Heightening have better color recognition than normal people even though they have not yet reached perfect color recognition). This minor instinct allowed one of the early Returned to figure out on his own how other people could give him part of their Investiture, allowing him to live beyond his first week as Returned. Then that knowledge spread.

 

The first possibility makes for a more dramatic story. On the other hand, the second possibility doesn't rely as much on deux ex machina as the first. I personally like the first one better because Returned visions are a cool way for Endowment to reveal stuff to the Nalthians.

Edited by skaa
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally see it as sorta a split between the two. You're right, someone at the Fifth Heightening would have a strong sense, even if it's not a complete awareness like the Sixth Heightening, of how to Awaken; Vasher even comments that Vivenna, who is only at the Second Heightening, had a noticeable advantage. I could see the Returned, coming back for a week and visiting a friend of his former life who was dying, suddenly finding the words springing to his lips in front of witnesses. From that point on, it really is only a matter of time before people figure out how to pass Breaths around, and when someone gets a bunch of them, other Commands start to become Instinctive, too.

 

I typically try to shy away from "prophecy made him do it." I find it to be a storytelling crutch, which is why I'm so glad he typically doesn't use it in his other books.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most prophecy centric book we have actually seems like the Mistborn series, IIRC, where everyone misinterpreted said prophecy until literally the last 5 minutes.

Good riddance, that. At that point the realization only served as encouragement to go through with something that probably would've been done anyway.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Mistborn was my favorite for exactly that reason.

 

The prophecy existed to subvert the trope; people followed it without question only to eventually learn they were being lied to. I read it as a commentary on authors who use prophecy as a crutch for poor writing. At the end, the day was saved by people being true to themselves, not trying to deduce some million year old quote written in riddle for absolutely no reason.

 

Edited by Oudeis
Formatting issues from the v4 upgrade
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stormlight archive also has prophecies. Except they are also not your usual fare either:

For exemple, people are mass murdered so their vaguely prophetic and probaly useless dying words can be collected, and Dalinar's visions from the Almighty are more like a journal or recorded message with instructions, since God is long dead.

Warbreaker probably is were he played the prophecy trope straighter.

Altough after Words of Radiance it seems he is starting to play it straight with

The Diagram and Renarin

Maybe he is trying to redeem this so hated trope?

Edited by CognitivePulsePattern
fixed spoiler tag
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Mistborn was my favorite for exactly that reason.

The prophecy existed to subvert the trope; people followed it without question only to eventually learn they were being lied to. I read it as a commentary on authors who use prophecy as a crutch for poor writing. At the end, the day was saved by people being true to themselves, not trying to deduce since million year old quote written in riddle for absolutely no reason.

And in being true to themselves brought the prophecy of their world's salvation to fruition. It mattered not if the prophecy existed in the end beyond getting Ruin to set things into motion of all things. The thing only wound up fulfilled when people ignored it for the entire finale, save for the one man who probably needed to know it no matter what in order to take the baton down the home stretch.

I do like endings like that. Salvation was promised eons ago, but it only came because they earned it. No miraculous hero of destiny involved, just people who laid down their lives to do what they could. And probably the most religiously doubtful clergyman in the universe taking up the burden of godhood.

There needs to be more books with a prophecy that absolutely helps nobody until the final hour when someone realizes that it already did what it promised.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some speculation I have.

On the stunt, let's say that you're discovering how to kill people. You take a rock and bash someone's head in. Then you learn that bigger rocks or sharp rocks work better. Then you figure that you can sharpen rocks against each other. Then you make daggers, then swords, then all manner of weapons. Then you figure out that you can hear them up for better effects. Then, while heating, you figure out how to mold metal into a shape, you use that to create a better sword. Then you figure out that steel or bronze works better than the ofher metal you were using, then . . . what?

Assuming that you have no knowledge of gunpowder or any other way to make weapons, you are stuck with swords.

If a group of five super intelligent people, with dreams that lead them and guide them, found out all of the basic things that they could about Awakening, and then hit a roadblock, that would make a lot of sense why the next years are hard. They discovered a ton of the "melee weapon-level" Commands. Then they hit a block where it would be very hard to discover the rest. I don't believe the books said there was NO new advances, just that they weren't easy to figure out. If people discover most of this stage of Awakening Commands, then the last few will be harder to figure out since they have all but the last few.

As an wxample, let's say you have a large box full of marbles and you throw them over a playground and then tell kids to pick up every last one. They'll find a ton of the noticable ones in the first few minutes. However, as time goes on, it will be harder to find more since they will be the well hidden ones and they will be few and far between. They'll still be found, it will just take longer.

Because of that reason, having no reward for all of the work, many Awakeners would perhaps give up the attempt. It would be hard to work day in and day out with no or very little progress and not get discouraged.

I think this is the case since Vasher remarks that Yesteel has been working on a new form of ichor-alcohol. Over this whole time he has only barely begun to find something to replace the last discovery since it was so good. Just like how today we still make advances in certain areas, but things like publishing books is basically at it's peak. It had a lot of advancement to get where it is now, but only minor changes are happening, not major ones.

So even when Vasher says that they have only barely scratched the surface of what Awakening can do, I think that refers to that level of Awakening. To go back to my earlier analogy, the melee-level stuff. There are still the projectile-, gun-, energy-, magnetic-, and beyond levels that they will still go to.

Second Remark:

On how the Five Scholars digured out that they could do the whole Awakening thing. They are all Returned. The Returned have visions to guide them to the reason they Returned. Perhaps the Five Scholars all came together, all Returned at the same time to further the cause of Awakening. The visions would guide them and let them know the right places to probe at first. They would have had a purpose to coming together all at that time. How likely is it that a brother and a sister and two brothers would all Return at the same time if they weren't all needed for a purpose?

I generally agree with this:

You're right. Knowing the Breath transfer Command is necessary, not just for a Returned to obtain Breaths needed to survive, but also for the Returned to heal people. I see two possibilities:

  • A Returned had a vision where the words "My life to yours; my Breath become yours" were revealed to him as a way for him to heal another person (perhaps a friend who was grievously ill or injured). He uttered the words, healed the guy, and died. Then someone who heard of this event (or perhaps he was a witness to it) tried to use the same trick on another sick or wounded guy. Being a normal person, he only became the first ever drab, and the person he gave his Breath to became slightly healthier (though obviously not fully healed). Thus the knowledge of Breath and Breath transfer was discovered.

     

  • Another possibility: While the Returned don't have the general instinctive Awakening of the Sixth Heightening, their Fifth Heightening allows them at least some minor level of instinctive awareness regarding Endowment's Investiture (sort of like how people of the First Heightening have better color recognition than normal people even though they have not yet reached perfect color recognition). This minor instinct allowed one of the early Returned to figure out on his own how other people could give him part of their Investiture, allowing him to live beyond his first week as Returned. Then that knowledge spread.
 

The first possibility makes for a more dramatic story. On the other hand, the second possibility doesn't rely as much on deux ex machina as the first. I personally like the first one better because Returned visions are a cool way for Endowment to reveal stuff to the Nalthians.

Edited by Sirce Luckwielder
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming that you have no knowledge of gunpowder or any other way to make weapons, you are stuck with swords.

Except that the Five Scholars didn't stop figuring things out because there was nothing left to figure out. They were figuring things out right up to, and into, the Manywar. Yesteel and the first invention of Ichor-Alcohol. The One-Breath Commands for Lifeless. Nightblood. They stopped discovering things because Peacelover decided things were getting out of hand and put it all on ice.

 

But he's not in charge anymore. He gave them specific orders not to use the treasure, somehow the other three Scholars all faded into the background, and he left. It would be coincidence well beyond belief that the Scholars, for entirely separate reasons, all decided to quit BioChroma literally just as they figured out all there is to know.

 

And I challenge your idea that "once someone invented the first real sword, the technology of weapons stopped until made obsolete by gunpowder." We're discovering new, lightweight, strong alloys, even today. New methods of casting, of forging. New structural designs. When the world began checking for weapons by metal content, people invented carbon-fiber knives. Someone realized that a ceramic knife could be better under certain circumstances. People have never stopped improving on swords, even after we got rail guns and space-based lasers. No branch of science anywhere just stops for no reason, weapons least of all. That applies to blades in our world and BioChroma on Nalthis.

 

If a group of five super intelligent people, with dreams that lead them and guide them, found out all of the basic things that they could about Awakening, and then hit a roadblock, that would make a lot of sense why the next years are hard.

...

I don't believe the books said there was NO new advances, just that they weren't easy to figure out.

You're right in that the book never flat-out says, "They don't discover anything new," but they never discover anything new. There's nothing anyone but Vasher does that's in any way innovative from how things were three hundred years ago. Can you imagine a single technology, literally any innovation a human has come up with, not being fundamentally different in three centuries? Our ancestors from three hundred years ago would stand aghast at the complexities of the modern doorknob. Beds. What could be simpler than a bed? Soft place to lose consciousness. We've got beds that incline. We've got beds that heat, beds that mold to your body. America is barely 200 years old. If you showed our forefather's a PosturePedic they wouldn't be able to even.

 

Also, I hope the answer isn't as boring as, "Visions told them to." That's just lazy writing.

 

They'll still be found, it will just take longer.

Like many other people in this thread, you speak of a slower rate of progress. But progress didn't slow. You claim that all there is to be known about an entire branch of BioChroma was discovered in less than a century... and then you see nothing unusual about the fact that three hundred more years can go past without a single innovation, without one new breakthrough. You think this is just slowing down? Three times the entire history of a branch of science has passed without a single popularly known innovation. When has this happened in human history? How long must we go between breakthroughs for you to label something, rather than a slow-down, a complete freeze?

 

Just like how today we still make advances in certain areas, but things like publishing books is basically at it's peak. It had a lot of advancement to get where it is now, but only minor changes are happening, not major ones.

I'm not very well-versed in the history of book printing or how long ago things were fundamentally different, but if you think there will not soon be major advancements in the printing of books, you have a pleasant shock in store for you. Printed electronics has been kicking around for years, but with the recent explosion in the Maker movement they're taking off like there's no tomorrow. It's not gonna take long before you read a hardback of Warbreaker where the first Command to "Fetch Keys" actually shimmers across the visible spectrum like Breath itself. A hundred years from now, printed books will look nothing like they do right now. I just don't believe that in three hundred years, BioChroma could remain totally and utterly stagnant.

 

How likely is it that a brother and a sister and two brothers would all Return at the same time if they weren't all needed for a purpose?

 

Again, it's super boring if BioChromatic innovation only came about because God got bored and just gave humanity the cheat code. Where's the fun in that? They aren't Scholars then, any more than five kids would be the smartest kids in class if the teacher just gave them the answers ahead of every test. I have absolutely not a shred of evidence from the text to say that this isn't the case, but every time huge important world events get explained away by "God did it because otherwise the story wouldn't happen" the Cosmere gets that much more boring.

 

And I've wondered about the siblings Returning. I think I had a post about it somewhere. Were they siblings before they Returned? Did the Cult of Returned organize their Returned by family, the way the Iridescent Tones currently assigns them divine portfolios?

 

You're right; if they are literal biological siblings, that's weird. But maybe there was a big fire and Shashara and VaraTreledees both died trying to rescue orphan puppies who also have dyslexia, and both Returned from the same event, and the Cult decreed, "This makes you Returned Siblings!" I think it warrants a question of Mr. Sanderson to see what specifically is meant by them being Siblings.

 

VaraTreledees had the Royal Locks, meaning he was once a member of the ruling family of Hanald, making him a distant relative of Siri and Vivenna. If his family Returns more often, that's interesting to note. Have Idrian royalty had a bizarre penchant for Returning that we don't know about? I feel like Vivenna would know about it, and there were times it would have been natural for her to bring it up. Much to think about, indeed.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I lack any book evidence, which I know you so love. All I have to offer is a possibility and a question. 

 

The possibility: there is no other major advancement. Getting a Command down to a single Breath is pretty astonishing, all things considered. More importantly, though, it is the Command that one would expect to require the least Breath; the Command for dead humans. We know that the more human-like an object, the easier/less Breaths to awaken. That implies a dead body should be the easiest, and it is. Given that, there should be no other object that is that easy to awaken. So is there more room for improvement?

 

The question: what types of advancement are you expecting? This goes hand in hand with the question at the end of the previous paragraph, and my personal opinion is that there is room for improvement, in that researchers should be attempting to idealize all Commands. Make each Command use as little Breath as possible. I do not have the book on me, but I feel like there is a passage either in novel or in annotation that states this: researchers are working towards this goal. 

 

So perhaps the advancements are simply not worth mentioning, and the last improvement worth mentioning was the 1-Breath Lifeless. The only other form of advancement would be to discover new Commands, which I feel was also commented on in novel.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like I get disparaged at times for preferring well-cited sources. If people don't want to discuss with me, they don't have to. When I see a thread started by someone who would rather just discuss their feelings, intuitions, premonitions, or slash fiction, I politely leave them alone.

 

The only other form of advancement would be to discover new Commands, which I feel was also commented on in novel.

 

If memory serves, yes, they do mention that they've spent three centuries trying to discover new Commands, without actually getting any.

 

I've been asked questions like "well what advances would you expect" before, fallen for the trap of answering them, and gotten bogged down in minutiae. In fact, I do have some random ideas kicking around in my head which I'm more than willing to discuss with you, if you're curious enough to PM me. However, I reject the premise of your question for the following reason. If you found someone from Victorian London who habitually used doors and asked that person, "What do you think doorknobs will look like in a hundred years?" I believe you would not have gotten an answer that proved in the fullness of time to be accurate. Largely because, that's not really how advances work. You see what happens. You try for one thing, realizing you might make something else. You study the habits of Mexican sex workers because it might lead to a vaccine for a disease known to cause cervical cancer. You set out intending to design a heart medication and accidentally invent a pill that solves erectile dysfunction. Scientists are iconic for exploring and studying what exists and allowing conclusions to arise naturally; people who go into a situation thinking, "This is what I'm going to discover" and then select evidence which supports them are more-or-less the opposite of scientists.

 

I have a RAFO card. On the back, it's explained that sometimes a RAFO is given, not because he doesn't have/know the answer, but because just answering the question might derail the conversation. For this reason, I would rather not, in the context of this thread, tell you what I envision the future of Awakening might be. Though if I ever finish that fanfiction and post it, I might be able to direct you there.

 

Finally, I don't buy the "there's no more Awakening to learn" argument for three reasons. First, that would be boring, not just because "welp, that's all there is to know" is itself boring, but because what are the odds that the Manywar happens literally at the moment people learn all there is to know about BioChroma. Second, we know it's not true. Vasher has new Commands. Yesteel has invented a new chemical which, while not BioChromatic itself, is ancillary to the process of BioChroma. And lastly, because I don't think that's how any branch of knowledge works. As I indicated earlier with book-binding and beds, there's no such thing as "you've learned literally all there is to know." And if there is, you're not reaching it after a hundred years of research. There is not a single branch of knowledge so limited that the entirety of its secrets can be learned in one century, and BioChroma is a wide reaching and complex branch of science. Not to mention, as Vasher himself says, "We know so little about it."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like I get disparaged at times for preferring well-cited sources. If people don't want to discuss with me, they don't have to. When I see a thread started by someone who would rather just discuss their feelings, intuitions, premonitions, or slash fiction, I politely leave them alone.

 

I apologize if my statement felt like I was disparaging you, that was not my intent. I, too, prefer well cited discussions, but when it comes to book citing I lack the tools to quickly find such things, so my apologies.

 

I was under the impression they had discovered new Commands, but again none were worth mentioning. That might be my memory failing me though, and is also beside the point of this discussion.

 

I'll avoid derailing this further and instead just PM you  :)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I must concede that you do make a valid point against an assumption I've made. Truthfully, lack of proof is not proof of lack. We don't really get to see very much Awakening done by "the average Awakener" of T'Telir. The only instances I can think of off the top of my head are a dude who has his cloak lift him in the air to scope out a line, the dudes who lift Susebron to his throne the first time we see him in public, and a mention of Lightsong's Awakeners Breaking the Lifeless squirrel.

 

However, even if a few specific Commands have been discovered in three hundred years, I still don't think that counts as progress. If I'm on a train going from Florida to New York, and after a few hours it stops traveling at a hundred miles an hour and instead travels at a mile a day, it has not actually come to a complete and utter stop; in a purely technical sense, progress is being made. The trip has still, for all intents and purposes, stopped.

 

In a hundred years, Awakening went from "Not existing" to "Nightblood." Innovation, in real life or in good books, doesn't just accrete like adding extensions onto a house, it's made up of fundamental sea changes. Obviously, those don't happen every day. But after three hundred years, the people Awakening today should be able to go to a museum of Awakening and look at how people Awakened 300 years ago and think, "Oh my goodness, isn't that quaint!" Someone figuring out that the word "brush" is a viable Command, over the course of three centuries, is like a train going forward at one mile an hour. Technically progress. Not actually progress.

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not know how fast trains actually travel. I have asked a buddy of mine who is a train buff, and I expect him to reply soon. I will edit this post with a more accurate speed later.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure if it has been pointed out, but Vasher/Warbreaker, in explaining Awakening to Vivenna, makes several comments about innovations happening all the time, but Awakeners have certain prejudices in sharing (mainly because of the manywar that started as a result of the wonderful inventions of the Five Scholars) and in using Breath in a manner that risks its retrieval, (i.e. Lifeless

Or giving an opponent your Breath to shock them for a few seconds so you can slit their throat.

). In Type IV, if you mess up the Command, you cannot recover the Breaths and you are left with a defunct piece of metal/stone. And it takes 1000 breaths to make a Type IV. So that is a very heavy price to pay for experimenting. So I think Brandon did a pretty good job of explaining how the research is out there, but isn't being shared among Awakeners (who also don't have to be Returned, btw). Also, if Yersteel is still researching, Vasher is still researching (e.g. commands related to memory) then there are probably others doing it as well, just not sharing that knowledge.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure if it has been pointed out, but Vasher/Warbreaker, in explaining Awakening to Vivenna, makes several comments about innovations happening all the time, but Awakeners have certain prejudices in sharing (mainly because of the manywar that started as a result of the wonderful inventions of the Five Scholars) and in using Breath in a manner that risks its retrieval. 

 

Do you know what page/chapter Vasher says these things?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chapter 46 is the discussion of BioChroma. 

 

Vasher does talk a bit about the obstacles to Awakening research. He mentions the difficulty involved and the permanent loss of breath when experimenting with Lifeless. He does say that there is a lot more experimentation with normal Awakening of objects, but there is this tidbit:

"The thing to understand is that we’re still children when it comes to Awakening. It doesn’t help that a lot of people who learn new, valuable Commands never share them, and probably die with the knowledge."

 

Finally, one gets the impression from his explanation that Awakening research is really a lot of trial and error. There isn't necessarily a methodology involved. When you take this into account, plus people being unwilling to share their discoveries, the lack of major breakthroughs isn't that surprising. 

 

I do want to point out that all we're really seeing is a lack of major discoveries, not a lack of research. Nowhere does the book even imply that there is no research done. The only evidence we have is that all the major discoveries mentioned in the book date to the Five Scholars.

 

So what's really odd is not the glacial pace of current Awakening research, but rather the explosion of new major discoveries made by the Five Scholars. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.