Isomere

Theory: The Physical Aspect of Gods on Roshar *WoR Spoilers

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EDIT: this thread has Words of Radiance Spoilers. Please leave now if you don't want to see these.

Shards all seem to cause energy to materialize out of nothing. "[For Shards], energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation’s did in the bead of metal Elend ate."

There are several hints that the Greatshells may be related to this condensation of Shard into matter.

  • They are called Gods in the book. (opening to Chapter 12)
  • They grow to enormous size which may violate theoretical physical limits.
  • They contain infused gemhearts.
  • They have unknown growth phases and may metamorphose: we don't know what they may be capable of in different forms. "Sometime during the strange life cycle of the chasmfiends, they...made a rocky chrysalis, waiting for the coming of a highstorm" (chapter 15)
  • An unknown power is released from them when killed "They looked like tongues of smoke that might come off a candle after being snuffed." (Chapter 15)
  • Dalinar feels troubled by killing them (Chapter 15)
  • They have a unique position in the Knights Radiant Table.
  • Brandon has said that forming Gemhearts in the Greatshells is similar to the formation of Atium and Lerasium and involves an energy leak from the Spiritual Realm.
I make a great many assumptions about the Knights Radiant Table. I think the two winged beasts on the sides are metamorphosed Greatshells. Since they work together to create negative space shaped like a large Greatshell head, the Beasts would correlate to the Physical aspect, and the Space between them would represent the Spiritual aspect of both Shards.

From this foundation I developed a story:

In ancient days, the Greatshells were able to transform into giant winged beasts that roamed the land. The power of the Almighty spilled from the Spirit realm directly into these beasts and formed a part of their flesh and blood. When Odium arrived, he sought a way to destroy them. He caused his power to manifest as magical crystals within the hearts of the Greatshells. These Gemhearts could be used as prisons to enslave the Investiture of the Almighty, and were coveted for their beauty and magical properties. Humans, motivated by greed, began to hunt the Beasts into extinction, weakening the Almighty and dispersing his power.

I'd like to see how this theory holds up against the shardblade / shardplate idea. I haven't really heard other theories, but please post them here and we can gather our options.

Edited by Isomere
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  • An unknown power is released from them when killed "They looked like tongues of smoke that might come off a candle after being snuffed." (Chapter 15)

Those are unique spren, I believe.

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Dalinar thinks they are spren. I am not so certain. 

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Brandon's heavily implied that they're spren, and I'm inclined to trust Dalinar knows what he's talking about.

QUESTION:

One question really quick: What are the smoke-y spren that appear around a dead chasmfiend?

BRANDON:

They are in a symbiotic relationship with the chasmfiend, and are part of what allow the creatures to grow to the size they do with an exoskeleton. (Along with a high-oxygen, lower-gravity world.)

He's said before that spren form symbiotic relationships with creatures to allow them to grow as large as they do. I think that these are just spren, probably released from some natural fabrial at the chasmfiend's gemheart when it dies.
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Quite possible that the smoke is spren, but that still is very odd. Most people agree that spren contain power or investiture from a Shard, and this power is somehow infused into the very tissues of the Greatshells to allow them to not collapse under their own weight.  

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Quite possible that the smoke is spren, but that still is very odd. Most people agree that spren contain power or investiture from a Shard, and this power is somehow infused into the very tissues of the Greatshells to allow them to not collapse under their own weight.  

It's a symbiotic thing.  Like a windrunner or a parshendi.

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I would be more comfortable writing it off as insignificant if we saw spren-bonds forming with axehounds, cremlings and lurgs. It seems Greatshells are unique among the beasts. 

 

I've done a brief search for other theories about physical manifestation, but haven't seen much of interest. What ideas do you have about it? 

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Shards all seem to cause energy to materialize out of nothing. "[For Shards], energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation’s did in the bead of metal Elend ate." 

 

There are several hints that the Greatshells may be related to this condensation of Shard into matter. 

  • They are called Gods in the book. (opening to Chapter 12)
  •  
  • They grow to enormous size which may violate theoretical physical limits.
  •  
  • They contain infused gemhearts. 
  •  
  • They have unknown growth phases and may metamorphose: we don't know what they may be capable of in different forms. "Sometime during the strange life cycle of the chasmfiends, they...made a rocky chrysalis, waiting for the coming of a highstorm" (chapter 15)

 

Definitely some interesting ideas to note. I'm particularly interested in their infused gems and why they form a chrysalis. Also, both the Parshendi and the Reshi view Greatshells as gods.

 

As for their size, that is made possible by two things: 1) that Roshar's gravity is about .7 of Earth's (which is also what makes Dalinar's huge bridges possible) and 2) the symbiotic relationship with spren (which Brandon explains in the quote Windrunner provided)

 

In an interview Brandon said:

 

One thing that people should know if they are trying to figure all this out is that Roshar has less gravity than Earth does. This is a natural outgrowth of my requirements both for the bridges and for the size of the creatures that appear in the book–of course they couldn’t get that large even with the point-seven gravity that Roshar has, but we also have magical reasons they can grow the size they do.

 

Also:

 

An unknown power is released from them when killed "They looked like tongues of smoke that might come off a candle after being snuffed." (Chapter 15) 

 

I though that the smoke was confirmed to be spren. I'll have to see if I can dig up a quote.

 

 I think the two winged beasts on the sides are metamorphosed Greatshells. 

 

I'm fairly certain those are larkin, which are smaller than a person's arm (if I understood correctly). You find out a little bit about them in the interlude for Rysn in WoR that Sanderson posted as videos of him writing on Youtube.

 

They have to do with greatshells, and I'm assuming the one in the interlude comes from the greatshell of the Reshi isle, although that's not explicitly stated. Perhaps they're greatshell babies? They seem to be quite rare. Also, Vstim says that the spren of the isle came out to save her, which suggests some sort of cognitive reasoning. Very interesting stuff.

 

Anyway, as a final point, I always assumed that the physical manifestation of Honor was the Stormlight, just how the physical manifestation of Ati is Atium and Leras is Lerasium. Atium was a means of release of Ruin, via the Pits of Hathsin.

It seems to be very similar: a way to siphon off some of the power (like an outlet as I mentioned) that gives some sort of magical ability to those who can harness it. 

 

Edit: Forgot we were in Cosmere boards and had too many spoiler tags.

Edited by darkanimereal1
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I love the info on Larkin, completely new stuff to me. 

 

Stormlight is a perfect fit for a physical manifestation. I think each Shard has liquid, solid, and gas forms of physical condensation. For Preservation we have the Well of Ascension, Lerasium and Mists. I correlated Stormlight to the Mists, but it could just as easily be the equivalent of Lerasium/Atium.

 

We also should find a liquid form somewhere on Roshar, and my wildly speculative ideas on this are here.

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The great flying beast thing might have something to it.  Sounds an awful lot like a locust shedding.  There are several species on Earth where the young form looks nothing like the adult form.

 

I am not sure I buy into the theoretical maximum size idea though.  It seems that each time some scientist says something like that, it isn't that long until someone finds an example of the item in question that violates the idea.  Crawfish and Lobsters look a lot alike, but they are vastly different in size.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to one day read about or see on tv a lobster from the deeps that comes to the size of a car.

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The two 'dragonwasps' behind the glyphs on the front cover aren't metamorphosed greatshells, they're actually pretty darn small. About the size of a hand up to a large melon.

 

More importantly, the little guys behind the glyphs were from Aimia and are extremely rare since the scouring.

 

Not sure if that's what the Larkin are, but the description is pretty accurate.

 

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/2383-qa-with-brandon-sanderson/page-4?hl=%2Bscouring+%2Baimia#entry42116 #70

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  • They have unknown growth phases and may metamorphose: we don't know what they may be capable of in different forms. "Sometime during the strange life cycle of the chasmfiends, they...made a rocky chrysalis, waiting for the coming of a highstorm" (chapter 15)
  •  
  • Dalinar feels troubled by killing them (Chapter 15)

 

As for the chasmfiend-development I'd like to point to the fact that the chasmfiend we saw in Chapters 12, 13 and 15 was a fully grown chasmfiend. 

 

 

Q: Have any Chasmfiends managed to mature? Or have they all been caught before they could finish?

Brandon: You've already seen one. The enormous Chasmfiend that Dalinar fought was one that had successfully matured. You haven't seen what they start out as...

Source

 

 

I know that isn't contrary to your point, I just wanted this fact added. 

 

 

Mentioning Dalinar you refer to this quote? 

 

There was a connection between a man and the beast he hunted, and Dalinar always felt a strange melancholy after killing a creature as majestic as a chasmfiend. TWoK Ch. 15 

 

 

I've never had the impression that Dalinar thought he was slaying a god or gods when killing chasmfiends. It's just the fight against such an enormous creature, the fight and the win. 

 

That Elhokar referred to the chasmfiend as a "god" may have its reason in Gavilar's reports: 

 

 

The parshmen promise that they will lead me on a hunt for a great-shelled beast they call an ulo mas vara, which my scholars say translates roughly to “Monster of the Chasms.” If their descriptions are accurate, these creatures have large gemhearts, and one of their heads would make a truly impressive trophy. They also speak of their terrible gods, and we think they must be referring to several particularly large chasm greatshells. TWoK Ch. 45

 

 

And are we sure that the gemhearts out of chrysalises and that chasmfiend are infused? I might have missed this information. :(

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As for the chasmfiend-development I'd like to point to the fact that the chasmfiend we saw in Chapters 12, 13 and 15 was a fully grown chasmfiend. 

 

 

Q: Have any Chasmfiends managed to mature? Or have they all been caught before they could finish?

Brandon: You've already seen one. The enormous Chasmfiend that Dalinar fought was one that had successfully matured. You haven't seen what they start out as...

 

Oooh, I never saw that one. Thanks!

 

That Elhokar referred to the chasmfiend as a "god" may have its reason in Gavilar's reports: 

 

 

The parshmen promise that they will lead me on a hunt for a great-shelled beast they call an ulo mas vara, which my scholars say translates roughly to “Monster of the Chasms.” If their descriptions are accurate, these creatures have large gemhearts, and one of their heads would make a truly impressive trophy. They also speak of their terrible gods, and we think they must be referring to several particularly large chasm greatshells. TWoK Ch. 45

 

And are we sure that the gemhearts out of chrysalises and that chasmfiend are infused? I might have missed this information.  :(

 

I'm not sure about the infused. Also, I forgot that it's Gavilar's assumption that the Parshendi worship the chasmfiends. Thanks for pointing all of that out! :)

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Cultivation comes to Roshar. Sees it is rocky and plagued by huge storms. Life consists of small shelled animals and plants that can hide.

She creates caretakers and calls them Parshendi. She infuses some of the animals with her power to allow them to grow larger. She controls the storms so that they only come periodically rather than constantly.

Thousands of years later, her caretakers have been usurped, her great shells are being hunted by the children of that damnation fool Honor, and she's forced to hide from the other fool that killed him.

Possible?

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Cultivation comes to Roshar. Sees it is rocky and plagued by huge storms. Life consists of small shelled animals and plants that can hide.

She creates caretakers and calls them Parshendi.

 

The term "Parshendi" was created by King Gavilar's stormwardens: 

 

 

My stormwardens have begun calling this people “the Parshendi.”

TWoK Ch. 45

 

 

 

She infuses some of the animals with her power to allow them to grow larger.

 

Ha! Ryshadiums. :P (Sorry, I could not resist.) 

 

 

She controls the storms so that they only come periodically rather than constantly.

 

I was under the impression that the "master of the highstorms" is Jezrien, who is a Herald of the Almighty. Wouldn't that contradict your idea? 

 

Thousands of years later, her caretakers have been usurped, her great shells are being hunted by the children of that damnation fool Honor, and she's forced to hide from the other fool that killed him.

 

 

I think Jasnah wouldn't agree with you here; I personally think it's not 

Possible.

 

 

No offense intended. 

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What we know of the Heralds comes from the PoV of people that were born 4000 years after he Heralds disappeared. I'm pretty sure Jezrien was master of the Highstorms because his magic made use of and protected him from them.

Fine, she didn't name them Parshendi.

Jasnah doesn't believe that Honor, Cultivation or Odium exist.

And "damnation fool" and "fool" reflect how Cultivation thinks about the Shards she has to share her world with, not my personal view.

Edited by Leuthie
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I think Jasnah wouldn't agree with you here; I personally think it's not 

 

I think Meg is saying that Jasnah thinks the Parshmen, and possibly also the Parshendi, are not "caretakers" but are actually Voidbringers who cause mass destruction--rather than saying that Jasnah is upset with Honor or Odium, which she doesn't know exist.

 

What we know of the Heralds comes from the PoV of people that were born 4000 years after he Heralds disappeared. I'm pretty sure Jezrien was master of the Highstorms because his magic made use of and protected him from them.

And "damnation fool" and "fool" reflect how Cultivation thinks about the Shards she has to share her world with, not my personal view.

 

I agree, but then I also have to wonder who or what that face in the highstorms is. Is it a spren? Is it the spirit of Jez? Is it something else? I have no idea.

 

Also, we're not sure if Cultivation's shardholder is still alive or if Cultivation has been splintered or not. For all we know, Cultivation's not thinking anything about anyone. And considering that Cultivation and Honor came to Roshar at the same time, I kind of assumed they were buddy-buddy. I'm still unsure whether Honor and Cultivation were happy or not when Odium first came to Roshar--part of me wants to believe that they welcomed him with open arms and then were stabbed in the back.

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Do most people think the little flying creatures turn into non-flying Chasmfiends? I haven't read the stuff from the new Interlude, but I think it is reasonable to keep a healthy skepticism of what those creatures in the Table actually are. They could be small Larkin, they could also be huge flying beasts. Knowing Brandon they are actually time traveling multidimensional space aliens from Yolen... Oh wait, that's Hoid.

Before I learned about Larkin, I thought the reason Chasmfiends don't turn into big flying creatures is because Honor/Cultivation are needed to guide the final transformation during the chrysalis phase. I still like that idea, but there are many options at this point.

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Odium having control of Parshendi doesn't preclude them having been created as caretakers. I surmise that Odium's modus operandi is to use the tools of others against them. What better way to destroy Cultivation than with her own creations.

Jasnah doesn't disagree with me, she's just not looking far back enough.

As for Honor and Cultivation being buddy buddy or not: we have zero information either way. I see the Oathpact as between Cultivation and Honor...because they weren't buddy buddy. Pure speculation. And I'm not wrong yet.

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Do most people think the little flying creatures turn into non-flying Chasmfiends? I haven't read the stuff from the new Interlude, but I think it is reasonable to keep a healthy skepticism of what those creatures in the Table actually are. They could be small Larkin, they could also be huge flying beasts. Knowing Brandon they are actually time traveling multidimensional space aliens from Yolen... Oh wait, that's Hoid.

Before I learned about Larkin, I thought the reason Chasmfiends don't turn into big flying creatures is because Honor/Cultivation are needed to guide the final transformation during the chrysalis phase. I still like that idea, but there are many options at this point.

 

Ha ha, love the Hoid thing. Also, I'm still not sure. Like Elwynn pointed out, WoB is that they're from Aimia, which I had completely forgotten. For all we know larkin are not the same thing as what's on the table. The description was so similar that that was my first connection, though.

 

Odium having control of Parshendi doesn't preclude them having been created as caretakers. I surmise that Odium's modus operandi is to use the tools of others against them. What better way to destroy Cultivation than with her own creations.

Jasnah doesn't disagree with me, she's just not looking far back enough.

As for Honor and Cultivation being buddy buddy or not: we have zero information either way. I see the Oathpact as between Cultivation and Honor...because they weren't buddy buddy. Pure speculation. And I'm not wrong yet.

 

True, I've stated else where that I don't think that the parshmen or Parshendi are inherently evil. I think they are individuals who make their own choices just as with humans. And I agree, if they are of Cultivation that would be a huge blow for Odium to use them for destructive reasons.

 

Also, agreed that we have no information one way or the other about Honor and Cultivation. I respect that you're purely speculating. So am I, which is why I said that "I assumed." 

 

I don't want to sound overbearing, but I do want to point out that I'm not at all disagreeing with what you're saying. I'm just throwing out food for thought/further speculation. I'm sorry if I came across as doing otherwise.

Edit for clarification (before it my wording made it sound like I was saying parshmen are human).

Edited by darkanimereal1
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Ooo I love the idea of Odium using Cultivation's caretakers. I thought the Parshendi were created by Odium, but if Cultivation changed them (similar to the creation of Koloss) they would be left vulnerable to outside control. I think this may also be related to the Recreance. http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/3393-the-recreance-more-thoughts-and-a-theory-spoilers/?p=54759

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Do most people think the little flying creatures turn into non-flying Chasmfiends? I haven't read the stuff from the new Interlude, but I think it is reasonable to keep a healthy skepticism of what those creatures in the Table actually are. They could be small Larkin, they could also be huge flying beasts.

 

No, it certainly seems they can't. The link I provided already has WoB on the creatures inside the front cover. Try actually taking a look when someone provides you with a link to a direct answer on the questions you are having.

 

He didn't comment on larkin, that's us here. He commented on the creatures inside the front cover.

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The link I provided already has WoB on the creatures inside the front cover.

Ah, thanks for pointing out the link, I had missed that. So we know the creatures are small, and that they seem to fit the description of Larkin. The more I learn about these the more curious I get about their life cycle.

And are we sure that the gemhearts out of chrysalises and that chasmfiend are infused? I might have missed this information.

A good point Meg. This quote from Chapter 26 had me thinking they were infused, but I misinterpreted it: “The soldiers cheered as he pulled it free, gloryspren hovering above the entire army like hundreds of spheres of light.”

Reading it more carefully, it doesn't say if the gem was glowing or not.

Edited by Isomere
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Ah, thanks for pointing out the link, I had missed that. So we know the creatures are small, and that they seem to fit the description of Larkin. The more I learn about these the more curious I get about their life cycle.

 

They could always be two distinct but related creatures.

 

Lets assume that the small flying wasp like creatures have a roll in the lifecycle of the greatshells.

 

The Aimian ones (in the front cover) related to the Aimian great shells now hunted (almost?) to extinction by the Alethi.

 

The Larkin could have a similar roll the Reshi Isles greatshells' life cycle.

 

Two interesting question I think are:

 

1/ Are there any similar creatures hanging around the Shattered plains? (would help to confirm if they are related to great shells or not).

 

2/ Why are the 'dragonwasps' given such a prominent place in the KR table? (IIRC, it is supposed to be an in world document)

 

Just as a side note: Do we know any details about the scouring and what it was? I know that the Alethi hunted the Aimian greatshells (lyceryn?(sp)) but is that related to the scouring or separate?

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Due to the discussion of larkin and the Rysn video, I'm going to slightly edit the title of this topic, so people aren't inadvertently spoiled on Stormlight 2

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