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Ok, friends, I apologize if this has already been discussed before.  I searched for a post about it and couldn't find one, so I figured I'd open the discussion if it doesn't already exist.

 

 

 

I've been noticing what I feel to be a quiet trend going on in the Cosmere - Silver.  I would like your opinions on what this could mean or if i'm just plain crazy.  Silver is not always in a meaningful spot within the Cosmere (clothing, decor, etc)... but when it does appear in a meaningful role, it seems to work the same way throughout the Cosmere.  

 

Considering how often Silver makes an appearance, it seems apparent that the metal is present on all of the cosmere worlds... some of those worlds seem to have discovered its very special uses and effects.

 

Just to name a few key examples of silver making notable appearances within the Cosmere:

  • Nalthis - Nightblood's sheath.  To contain Nightblood's immense powers and abilities, he is kept within a silver sheath. When Nightblood is even slightly released from this sheath, his power is also released and he influences his surroundings.  Like taking the cap off of something that kept him "bottled" up.
  • Threnody - Silence Montane's dagger.  Silver (weapons/dust) is the only thing on Threnody known to touch/harm/ward against shades... hence Silence's silver dagger.  Silver can even heal a whither wound that has recently been caused by a shade.  Silver on Threnody is widely known and coveted because of its effectiveness against shades.  This is important because shades are, presumably, connected to/from/part of the spiritual realm.  And yet silver is the one known defense that can touch/fight/resist them without ill effect.
  • Scadrial - Electrum.  I've always wondered why silver itself wasn't technically an allomantic metal... it seems like it should be.  It does, however, show up in the Silver+Gold alloy known as Electrum.  As near as I can tell, Electrum is the only metal of the 16 metals that is powerful enough to neutralize a God Metal (Atium) in another allomancer.  "Thank you, Silver... because without you, Gold alone would only let me see my possible past self.  With you, however, I can see all of my future selves - disabling Atium's advantage for its user.  Whew!"  Silver saves the day again!
  • Roshar - Shardplate, shardblades, (and half-shards?).  The shardplate(s) and shardblades of Roshar are repeatedly referred to as silver.  Let's start with a few quotes.  WoK Prologue mentioned Szeth's honorblade: "Szeth turned and continued on his way, slippered feet falling on the soft red rug. The Shardblade, as always, glistened silver and clean." ... and before that, the WoK Prelude mentioned shardplate itself: "Juxtaposed between them were others in gleaming plate armor. One group walked past, four men in their ragged tanned skins or shoddy leather joining a powerful figure in beautiful silver plate, amazingly intricate. Such a contrast."  Along with many MANY other examples and quotes throughout WoK and WoR that (other than paint and ornamentation) repeatedly refer to Shardplate and shardblades as silver or "silvery metal."  

 

Crazy questions: In keeping with this silver theory here, is this what spren become when they transform into shardblades?...do they imitate/become silver?  Could this be why shardblades can block/hit other shardblades and yet cut through everything else as if it wasn't even there?  When the Vedens manufactured "half-shards," were they made of silver?  Shallan encountered a keyhole at the Oathgate (at the end of WoR) that was "made of the same stuff" as a shardblade, as she put it.  It doesn't seem implied that a spren had transformed into said keyhole... but rather unlike shardblades, no spren was involved.  I theorize that no spren is necessary for this "stuff" (silver?) to exist in the physical realm.  Therefore, the keyhole could possibly be made of simple silver.  It's possible that the Vedens have managed to create their half-shards simply by discovering the proper metal to use when forging them.

1.) Have some Veden smiths forge shields of silver.

2.) Power the shield with infused gemstones (just like shardplate).

3.) and VIOLA! ...Half-Shard?

... Crazy crazy questions bouncing around my head.

 

 

At any rate, one thing that seems certain to me is that silver is very special within the cosmere.  It's possible that its effects and influence span across all three realms at once!  I'm not saying that everything described as "silver" or "silvery" has some profound meaning behind it... but there might just be a bit of a cosmere-sized trend here.

To me, if there really is a trend, it seems that silver can "counter" powers within the cosmere.  Like shielding nightblood, touching/harming shades, mixing with gold to allow an allomancer to negate the effects of atium, stopping/blocking a shardblade's attack, etc...
 
 
If anyone in the Cosmere knows what's going on, it's Hoid... and even he keeps a silver sword handy.
  • "Wit picked his way through the groups of attendants, holding a cup of wine in one hand, silver sword belted at his side."
  • "Wit sat on a raised stool at the end of the bridge leading onto the island. Wit actually dressed as a lighteyes should—he wore a stiff black uniform, silver sword at his waist."

 

Seems like Hoid knows something about the benefits and usefulness of silver that we don't.  B)
 
Can you guys think of anymore examples?  ...or am I crazy?
What does silver mean to the Cosmere?
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Silver being non-allomatic is actually explained in the annotations, basically he wanted to use it but when he realized that pewter wasn't an alloy of silver he had to ditch it. I wouldn't read too much into Electrum being an alloy containing it though, because there are plenty of alloys that contain unrelated allomantic metals and it doesn't appear to have any effect on how they work or fit into the table. Brass and bronze both contain copper but only one is part of the pushing/pulling pair with that metal, bendalloy includes tin but is practically on the opposite side of the chart etc.

 

Shardplate is explicitly stated to work on different principles from the 'half-shards' that attempt to replicate its effects and appears to have a similar morphing capability that the shardblades themselves do so I don't think there's anything special about silver there. Artifabrians have reportedly been trying to recreate shards for ages and I'm pretty sure that none of them would have missed the idea of using the metal that looks closest to the existing shards as a base. And the thing that makes shardblades special is that they 'cut' in all three realms. And are spren, so any old silver weapon wouldn't have the same properties. That said, I don't recall offhand what the description of the half-shards says about them, other than 'bulky'.

 

Though whatever else may be the case, there's clearly a sense of silver being important in Roshar since the kingdoms of the time period of the Heralds and the Knights Radiant are known in modern times as the Silver Kingdoms.

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I don't mean to suggest that all silver has the same properties as shardblades. But I'm asking the question of silver's meaning or value in the cosmere. Why does it seem to be important? It seems like there is something special about silver. I may not have all of my theories right... but it feels like I'm barking up the right tree.

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A couple of points,

Nightbloods sheathe is silver in color but I don't believe it was mentioned to be made of silver as far as we know, same with Shardplate and Blades, calling a sword 'silver' or 'silvery' is pretty common, it just refers to a brightly polished metallic color.

Half-Shards use durability-enhancing fabrials so while the metal may also be important it's definitely not as simple as slapping some gems onto a silver shield.

Aluminium, Chromium, Duralumin or Nicrosil could all get rid of Atium far more efficiently than Electrum can, Electrum negates its effect on one person, that's all. Aluminium doesn't even need to be burned to be useful against Seers, since it has no Atium shadows and has known effects on other magic systems as well.

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A couple of points,

Nightbloods sheathe is silver in color but I don't believe it was mentioned to be made of silver as far as we know, same with Shardplate and Blades, calling a sword 'silver' or 'silvery' is pretty common, it just refers to a brightly polished metallic color.

Half-Shards use durability-enhancing fabrials so while the metal may also be important it's definitely not as simple as slapping some gems onto a silver shield.

Aluminium, Chromium, Duralumin or Nicrosil could all get rid of Atium far more efficiently than Electrum can, Electrum negates its effect on one person, that's all. Aluminium doesn't even need to be burned to be useful against Seers, since it has no Atium shadows and has known effects on other magic systems as well.

All good points. Makes me sad. I know it's common to refer to things as silver, but it sure seems like more than that to me.

Do you think any old sheath could keep nightblood contained?

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All good points. Makes me sad. I know it's common to refer to things as silver, but it sure seems like more than that to me.

Do you think any old sheath could keep nightblood contained?

No, definitely not just any random sheathe, I suspect that the sheathe is either similarly Invested or else made of Aluminium. Or it could be silver and I'm completely wrong, we just don't have any hard confirmation that it does anything special on other Shardworlds so until we get one hard case I'm inclined to think it's probably just used for descriptive purposes.

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I hope not. Lol. What about silence's dagger? ...and silver's role on Threnody?

I really have my hopes up about the possible applications of silver in the cosmere.

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I hope not. Lol. What about silence's dagger? ...and silver's role on Threnody?

I really have my hopes up about the possible applications of silver in the cosmere.

Threnody's Silver is the only "oddly Silver" as far as I know.

 

And about it, someone thinks that Threnody is quite near to Scadrial and the "Silver" is an help from Harmony aganist the Shade (if you want to read the theory, Link)

Edited by Yata
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Nightbloods sheathe is silver in color but I don't believe it was mentioned to be made of silver as far as we know, same with Shardplate and Blades, calling a sword 'silver' or 'silvery' is pretty common, it just refers to a brightly polished metallic color.

 

I mostly agree with you that something being described as 'silver' does not necessarily mean that it is silver, even more so with 'silvery', but it was from the Vasher POV that the sheath was described as 'silver', which I think makes it more likely to be true, as he would know what the true metal was, rather than if the description had come from Vivenna's POV, who would only know what it appears to be.

 

I've personally been thinking that silver is a special metal in the Cosmere. I think that silver is to the Cognitive Realm as Aluminum is to the Spiritual Realm. Aluminum is inhibitory and possibly destructive in the spiritual realm, while silver is inhibitory and seemingly destructive in the cognitive realm. Nightblood's sheath seems mostly contains his ability to influence people, and silver blocks and damages cognitive shadows as we see on Threnody. However, if silver is damaging to all cognitive shadows, it would likely be damaging to splinters as well, and if spren could be hurt with silver then someone on Roshar would have figured that out by now.

 

There isn't a whole lot of evidence for this right now, but I still think that silver would not be super special on Threnody without also being special in the rest of the Cosmere. Yes, Scadrial has plenty of metals that are special there but not elsewhere, but their focus is metals and also the metals are not the source of their magical effects, but rather the power of Preservation being channeled through you.

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I mostly agree with you that something being described as 'silver' does not necessarily mean that it is silver, even more so with 'silvery', but it was from the Vasher POV that the sheath was described as 'silver', which I think makes it more likely to be true, as he would know what the true metal was, rather than if the description had come from Vivenna's POV, who would only know what it appears to be.

 

I've personally been thinking that silver is a special metal in the Cosmere. I think that silver is to the Cognitive Realm as Aluminum is to the Spiritual Realm. Aluminum is inhibitory and possibly destructive in the spiritual realm, while silver is inhibitory and seemingly destructive in the cognitive realm. Nightblood's sheath seems mostly contains his ability to influence people, and silver blocks and damages cognitive shadows as we see on Threnody. However, if silver is damaging to all cognitive shadows, it would likely be damaging to splinters as well, and if spren could be hurt with silver then someone on Roshar would have figured that out by now.

 

There isn't a whole lot of evidence for this right now, but I still think that silver would not be super special on Threnody without also being special in the rest of the Cosmere. Yes, Scadrial has plenty of metals that are special there but not elsewhere, but their focus is metals and also the metals are not the source of their magical effects, but rather the power of Preservation being channeled through you.

 

THIS! gives me hope that i'm not crazy. Thank you!  I may have some stuff way wrong, but silver being special on Threnody, but not the rest of the cosmere is super unlikely.  And what you said about Vasher's perspective... i was like "BOOM!!! YES!!!"

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Well, silver is Allomantically inert. So I'd say it's similar to aluminum.

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Well, silver is Allomantically inert. So I'd say it's similar to aluminum.

 

Is silver allomantically inert? It's not one of the allomantic metals, but I thought that it could still be affected by allomancy, unlike aluminum.

Edited by King's Twit
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Aliminum looks kind of silvery, so it's possible that Nightblood's sheath is made of that, which makes sense. Threnody is the only planet where it is confirmed that silver has unusual properties.

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Is silver allomantically inert? It's not one of the allomantic metals, but I thought that it could still be affected by allomancy, unlike aluminum.

It seems I wrongly assumed it is, based on the fact that Yomen used it along with aluminium when he had Vin in captivity.

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Is silver allomantically inert? It's not one of the allomantic metals, but I thought that it could still be affected by allomancy, unlike aluminum.

Brandon described it in one of the annotations as being allomantically inert but later I believe clarified that he just meant it can't be burned.

Interestingly at one point in a Suvudu cage match between Kelsier and someone else (Don't remember who exactly) the writer for the match thought it was unable to be affected by allomancy but they also got several key aspects of allomancy and Kelsiers character wrong. (They described him literally throwing metals into a fire to burn them) so how on earth they didn't read enough to understand basic allomancy yet also pulled that rather obscure quote about silver I have no idea.

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It seems I wrongly assumed it is, based on the fact that Yomen used it along with aluminium when he had Vin in captivity.

If the silver was "allomanticaly inert" it will worth a fortune. Not being simple "useless".

 

The silver is just a metal that can't be burned (like the Platinum, for example).

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At first I thought you had were saying "Sliver" and honestly that was more confusing then finding out Hoid was in every novel.

 

As for silver, it isn't like aluminum, which just ignores investiture of all kinds. It's only use is on Threnody, but you make a good point about Nightblood's sheath. Would Brandon describe aluminum as 'silvery'?

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There are plenty of silver metals. What if the metals in some book were only called silver because for their colouring? Brandon has thrown us off with similar tactics before... 

could this be more of his BS ;-P

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