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Senor Feesh

Help me settle an argument?

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Hi guys, been away for a while (deliberately staying away to avoid any WoR spoilers, I'll be back once it's out and I've read it).

 

Ended up in a minor argument the other night with some friends.

 

I seem to remember it being explicitly stated somewhere, that while Ruin cannot affect text written in metal, he is capable of altering the words stored in Coppermind. My friends disagree, and maintain that the prophecies must have been altered when the words were pulled out of a Coppermind and written down again, then incorrectly re-stored after being changed.

 

Which is correct, and if I'm right, does anyone have a link to where I can prove it?

 

Many thanks

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You are correct. I remember Kwaan telling he knew the prophecies were changed because he had an eidetic memory. He tried to get the other Worldbringers to believe, but the others chose to believe their copperminds (which were altered by Ruin) over his memory.

 

Check out the epigraphs of The Well of Ascension for the exact quote. Congratz. :D

Edited by cem
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The closest you're going to get on this is, I think:

 

 

After that, I began to see other problems. Some of you may know of my fabled memory. It is true; I need not a Feruchemist’s metalmind to memorize a sheet of words in an instant. And I tell you, call me daft, but the words of the prophecies are changing. The alterations are slight. Clever, even. A word here, a slight twist there. But the words on the pages are different from the ones in my memory. The other Worldbringers scoff at me, for they have their metalminds to prove to them that the books and prophecies have not changed.

(source: Well of Ascension)

 

I do not know if the Worldbringers would have copied already-altered text into metalminds, but I think it is likely you're right. It is also quite possible that you're wrong. He might not directly change the words in a metalmind. Brandon implies that Ruin doesn't actually change the materials directly, just plays with the minds of those doing the transcribing/reading here:

 

 

A question that has it’s roots in Dragonsteel. When Ruin changes words, is he actually changing words,or is he changing what people see?

Brandon Sanderson

Did we canonize this question Peter? I’m pretty sure we did. I thought we answered this one already.(It’s not in our records if he did)

Let’s just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said.

ZAS

That’s pretty interesting.

BRANDON SANDERSON

So the easiest time for him is when a scribe is writing in a new book, he’s copying a new book down, and he just pops in and changes the words.

ZAS

Okay. That makes sense.

 

(source)

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Hmm, thanks for that. Not quite sure which is correct now. I'm inclined, from the second quote, to think that I was wrong.

 

Thanks for the help!

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I just finished a re-read of Well of Ascension, I feel like I read Sazed saying at one point that Ruin can change words which have been written, and words in copperminds. Cannot recall where, I'll see if I can't search it at some point.

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Hmm, thanks for that. Not quite sure which is correct now. I'm inclined, from the second quote, to think that I was wrong.

 

Thanks for the help!

 

 

Do not despair, Feesh, you are correct.  It is just a matter of finding the right quote.  It is there, though.

Edited by Shardlet
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I am working through Well of Acension at the moment again. I do think I remember seeing Ruin changing metalminds in the books. I'll post it up where if/when I come across the right quote

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Hmm, thanks for that. Not quite sure which is correct now. I'm inclined, from the second quote, to think that I was wrong.

 

Thanks for the help!

 

It's possible Ruin could change the memories as they flowed from Feruchemist to coppermind. This would be in line with WoB. We don't know for sure.

Edited by Moogle
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You won't find a direct quote in the book.  It'll be in the annotations or on Theoryland (it may also be in the events, signings, and stalkings forum.  I'm pretty sure I saw it there when I was compiling quotes).  

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Yeah, I tried doing a Theoryland search for Coppermind, Kwaan, Ruin, none of it came back with the right hit. It might be in the annotations I guess? That's a lot of trawling :/
 
Doy! I found it. It's actually the unmodified text in the Conventical of Seran.
 

And whatever this power is, it can change words within a Feruchemist's metalmind.

Edited by Senor Feesh
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Ah nice!  Turns out that once again I was wrong.  Glad you found it.  Not the quote I was thinking of, but very effective I'm sure.

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Doy! I found it. It's actually the unmodified text in the Conventical of Seran.

 

 

And whatever this power is, it can change words within a Feruchemist's metalmind.

 

 

To be fair, this is written from the perspective of Kwaan and that doesn't mean he was necessarily correct. The theory that Ruin altered text as people withdrew their knowledge from metalminds and copied it could work with this quote. The quote also lacks nuance, because to Kwaan it would look the exact same if Ruin altered the words after they were stored or if Ruin altered the words as they were retrieved/stored.

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To be fair, this is written from the perspective of Kwaan and that doesn't mean he was necessarily correct. The theory that Ruin altered text as people withdrew their knowledge from metalminds and copied it could work with this quote. The quote also lacks nuance, because to Kwaan it would look the exact same if Ruin altered the words after they were stored or if Ruin altered the words as they were retrieved/stored.

 

And considering the entire tone of the series, Kwaan being mistaken is probably more likely than him being right.

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 The quote also lacks nuance, because to Kwaan it would look the exact same if Ruin altered the words after they were stored or if Ruin altered the words as they were retrieved/stored.

 

Not necessarily.

 

Sazed wrote out the words copied from his rubbing into the book he wrote with Twindyl, with Kwaan calling himself the Announcer. Then a skaa called him the First Witness, and when he next checked the written words, it said First Witness, proving Ruin could change actual already-written words, not just "words as you're in the process of writing them".

 

Kwaan could have had something similar. If he and a colleague both studied from the same text, he memorizing it eidetically and his companion putting it into a metalmind, and then a month later that same colleague drew upon that coppermind and recited it out loud to Kwaan, then it was never changed while written or anything, and Kwaan could have had proof that it was changed in the metalmind.

 

Obviously it's conjecture that something like that happened, but it seems people are saying that it's impossible for Kwaan to have proof that it's being changed inside metalminds, when a simple scenario like this would be all the proof he needs.

 

Unless you're saying that they're not changed in the copperminds themselves, but they're adjusted as they're drawn out... in which case... isn't that just semantics at this point? It's a little Shroedringer's Cat. The information is perfectly safe inside the metalmind, as long as you never access it or try to read it. What's the point, then? And how could anyone shy of Sazed ever learn the difference? The only way to check and see if information in a coppermind has been changed is to access it, so there's literally no way for anyone who isn't a God to figure out if it's being changed in the metalmind itself, or when it gets accessed.

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Kwaan could have had something similar. If he and a colleague both studied from the same text, he memorizing it eidetically and his companion putting it into a metalmind, and then a month later that same colleague drew upon that coppermind and recited it out loud to Kwaan, then it was never changed while written or anything, and Kwaan could have had proof that it was changed in the metalmind.

 

Obviously it's conjecture that something like that happened, but it seems people are saying that it's impossible for Kwaan to have proof that it's being changed inside metalminds, when a simple scenario like this would be all the proof he needs.

 

The quote I posted earlier had Brandon saying "Let’s just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said."

 

Because of this, I don't think that experiment is necessarily valid. Ruin could make it so Kwaan heard something different than what was said, or prod someone to say something different than what they read, or just alter things as they were pulled from the metalmind. There's too many possibilities. And Ruin was quite capable of any of these, as shown by the mist spirit's complete inability to write anything for Elend. He could do wide, sweeping changes repeatedly while people knew he was doing it.

 

 

Unless you're saying that they're not changed in the copperminds themselves, but they're adjusted as they're drawn out... in which case... isn't that just semantics at this point? It's a little Shroedringer's Cat. The information is perfectly safe inside the metalmind, as long as you never access it or try to read it. What's the point, then? And how could anyone shy of Sazed ever learn the difference? The only way to check and see if information in a coppermind has been changed is to access it, so there's literally no way for anyone who isn't a God to figure out if it's being changed in the metalmind itself, or when it gets accessed.

 

It's not semantics, because any knowledge stored in a coppermind before Harmony and only accessed after Harmony took up his Shards would be unaltered while any knowledge accessed while Ruin was still around could be altered.

 

There's a real and quite physical difference in the Cosmere, and it's not even close to decoherence in quantum mechanics. Most people would be unable to know, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a detectable difference between altering knowledge stored in metalminds and altering knowledge as it is retrieved, at least for anyone capable of seeing into the Cognitive Realm (assuming that's where coppermind knowledge is stored). Shallan, Lift, Shards, spren... tons of things could potentially learn things.

 

Sazed took in the entire content of his metalminds. If Ruin altered things in them as a backup in case of his death, Sazed could be subtly influenced by Ruin even 'now' (AoL times). If Ruin couldn't alter metalminds, and just change knowledge retrieved (and not stored?) then Sazed is clean of any beyond-the-grave manipulation by Ruin. Unless of course Ruin altered the words of the Feruchemist speaking to Sazed when Sazed initially stored the information...

 

Most people not knowing is why I also say Kwaan's quote that words in a metalmind are changing should be taken with a grain of salt.

Edited by Moogle
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Sazed took in the entire content of his metalminds. If Ruin altered things in them as a backup in case of his death, Sazed could be subtly influenced by Ruin even 'now' (AoL times). If Ruin couldn't alter metalminds, and just change knowledge retrieved (and not stored?) then Sazed is clean of any beyond-the-grave manipulation by Ruin. Unless of course Ruin altered the words of the Feruchemist speaking to Sazed when Sazed initially stored the information...

 

Kay... but you do agree that Ruin can alter written words, right? Not just words "as they're written"? As proven with the Holy Witness.

 

I had this debate with someone before... sure, that's technically an option, but I don't see it as plausible. Ati's plan was "win". Vin, with her Godly mind, was able to see that Ruin truly believed his own victory was literally inevitable, so I'm not sure I buy that he'd have a "back-up plan" at all. In the annotations, Mr. Sanderson says there existed literally only two ways for Ruin to die; he could sacrifice himself, or Preservation could kill him, and he's lived millenia knowing that Preservation cannot kill, believing it the way rocks believe in gravity. His shock at Vin's actions is palpable. Based on that, and his own limited (if it exists at all) future-sight, I personally don't see him thinking, "hey, let's plan for what happens if I die". Even if he did, why would it be, "let me plan for this depressed, unassuming steward fellow to apotheos"? If he did suspect it, why didn't he kill of Sazed at some point? Have Marsh pick him up when he spent days riding TenSoon across the ashes to the Homeland, and steal, I dunno, Feruchemical nicrosil? That way, no one would have taken the power, and the world would have ended.

 

Technically possible? Yes. Plausible? Not even slightly. In my opinion, admittedly. It could happen, but it would feel forced and contrived, with no foreshadowing, and in fact in utter defiance of everything Mr. Sanderson did foreshadow, and from his annotations he hates when authors do that. Which isn't to say he hasn't admitted that he's stuck in a contrivance or two when the story truly demanded it, but they're rare.

 

Minor point on "copperminds that haven't been accessed": That we know of, Sazed is the last living Feruchemist. More were surely born from the genetic potential latent in terrismen, but the instant of his Ascension there prolly stopped being feruchemists around, certainly any with the full Keeper copperminds. So while it's interesting to consider, it's unlikely to come up.

 

Also Ruin has been able to alter text and information since before there were people up until his death, so since he could clearly change whatever source information was gained from, there's not really a possibility for any "pure" information to exist to be saved until the Ascension.

 

That said... this new book in called Shadows of Self, and that's the term that the First Generation used to describe the mist spirit. Perhaps some remnant of Ati still exists? Harmony could easily snuff him, but maybe he's enough of a person to fall into Harmony's "let people do what they want" mandate. Not to mention, he might realize that Ruin is a necessary part of existence, but find doing it himself distasteful... if Ati wants to stick around in a small capacity, destroying things, policed somewhat by Sazed, that might be a win-win-win. If so, he could still be out there changing words.

 

In conclusion, I find your points to be interesting in terms of thought experiment, but extremely unlikely to be of any consequence in anything going forward at this point in the series.

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Kay... but you do agree that Ruin can alter written words, right? Not just words "as they're written"? As proven with the Holy Witness.

WoB says that 'most of the time' he's doing it as words are written, which implies that he can also do it when things are not being transcribed. I have no issues with the idea of him changing words after they're written, though I haven't done a WoA reread in forever so I don't know for sure if he did it with the Holy Witness/Announcer bit. I suspect he might have made Sazed copy down the phrase wrong, but Sazed wasn't looking at what he just wrote.

 

Technically possible? Yes. Plausible? Not even slightly. In my opinion, admittedly. It could happen, but it would feel forced and contrived, with no foreshadowing, and in fact in utter defiance of everything Mr. Sanderson did foreshadow, and from his annotations he hates when authors do that. Which isn't to say he hasn't admitted that he's stuck in a contrivance or two when the story truly demanded it, but they're rare.

 

I agree on your general point that it's implausible, but I disagree that it wouldn't be foreshadowed. Vin destroying Ruin was not instantaneous, and we know from the annotations that "seconds could pass like hours for the gods" (paraphrased). Combine that with the fact that Honor was quite capable of setting up his vision journal after Odium defeated him, and I think Ruin could have set some plans in motion before he kicked the bucket. I think as a plot point it could work and that it's been foreshadowed through the Stormlight Archive if nothing else.

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though I haven't done a WoA reread in forever so I don't know for sure if he did it with the Holy Witness/Announcer bit. I suspect he might have made Sazed copy down the phrase wrong, but Sazed wasn't looking at what he just wrote.

 

I agree on your general point that it's implausible, but I disagree that it wouldn't be foreshadowed. Vin destroying Ruin was not instantaneous, and we know from the annotations that "seconds could pass like hours for the gods" (paraphrased). Combine that with the fact that Honor was quite capable of setting up his vision journal after Odium defeated him, and I think Ruin could have set some plans in motion before he kicked the bucket. I think as a plot point it could work and that it's been foreshadowed through the Stormlight Archive if nothing else.

 

Part the first: The chronology goes like this. First, Sazed writes the transcription of Kwaan's words, including the phrase "I considered myself the Announcer". Second, a skaa tells Sazed, "You were the Holy First Witness." Last, Sazed reads the book, and sees that the words are, "I considered myself the First Witness". Feel free to re-read and try to prove me wrong, but there's no way Ruin could have known the specific words the skaa would have used to describe Sazed when he was first writing them (and if he could control the skaa and force them to say it one way or another, why not just have it be "announcer"?). He had to have changed the already-written words.

 

For the second point, I disagree on two points. I think that Tanavast suspected his death was coming, and "wrote out" the visions in preparation, then left them behind like a will to become active after his death. I don't think his "Odium killed me" is proof that it's already happened, any more than a Dear John letter saying, "By the time you read these lines, I'll be gone" means that she didn't write the letter until after she'd left. If, somehow, Tanavast had survived by some miracle, he'd've dismantled the visions. Preservation set up a bunch of stuff, like the Pits and the Mists, well in advance of his sacrifice to betray/trap Ruin, and they carried messages (granted less explicit ones) to people in the future.

 

On the other point, Vin was shown being able to tell when Ruin was directly affecting things, and oppose them. Granted, they are still able to slip through a tiny bit and it's possible he could have done so, just not without her knowledge, and we see the moments of their death from her perspective, and she doesn't notice anything.

 

Again I say, technically possible? Fine. Likely? No. Actually foreshadowed? Absolutely not.

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Whether the Ruin corrupted much of the information available or not, I'm not sure.  I did not see any indication that Ruin did a whole lot of corrupting of information except to directly forward his plans.  Even the stuff he did change was rather subtle.  I don't see any indication of him just corrupting info will-he-nil-he.  That being the case, I think the vast majority of the info in Sazed's metalminds was intact.

 

That said... this new book in called Shadows of Self, and that's the term that the First Generation used to describe the mist spirit. Perhaps some remnant of Ati still exists? Harmony could easily snuff him, but maybe he's enough of a person to fall into Harmony's "let people do what they want" mandate. Not to mention, he might realize that Ruin is a necessary part of existence, but find doing it himself distasteful... if Ati wants to stick around in a small capacity, destroying things, policed somewhat by Sazed, that might be a win-win-win. If so, he could still be out there changing words.

 

Since Ati was a pretty good guy before he picked up Ruin, I wonder if his would is better now that he no longer holds Ruin.  I think of him as being more like Anakin at the end of Jedi, hanging out with Yoda and Obi-Wan.

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Since Ati was a pretty good guy before he picked up Ruin, I wonder if his would is better now that he no longer holds Ruin.  I think of him as being more like Anakin at the end of Jedi, hanging out with Yoda and Obi-Wan.

Just a question on this bit. Do we have any wob on how long the effect of the shard's intent lingers on a sliver? I always thought that the changes were fairly permanent. Sure once someone was detached from a Shard they could be changed again by external things but I didn't think it would just "wear off" after they became a sliver. I realize now that there was no proof for this but it still seems to make more sense to me. I seem to recall Brandon referring to the shard's intent "changing" the holder which would imply lasting changes.

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Just a question on this bit. Do we have any wob on how long the effect of the shard's intent lingers on a sliver? I always thought that the changes were fairly permanent. Sure once someone was detached from a Shard they could be changed again by external things but I didn't think it would just "wear off" after they became a sliver. I realize now that there was no proof for this but it still seems to make more sense to me. I seem to recall Brandon referring to the shard's intent "changing" the holder which would imply lasting changes.

 

Excellent point. Even if he would "naturally revert" over time, and even if he could do so without going insane remembering what it was like to BE destruction, presumably it would take a bit of time. And we don't even have confirmation that reverting is even a thing; as Claincy says, there's no reason to assume it would.

 

Not to ruin your head-image. If it makes you feel any better, as far as I'm concerned, replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen in that scene is exactly the kind of hope-shriveling change Ruin would have made.

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