Voidus

[Calamity spoilers] Calamity reactions thread

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Actually, what part of this suggests that Calamity actually had a weakness? The whole basis of them in the human Epics came from his fear of the world in general due to his traumatic birth, and the darkness was from his personality.

We call him the Epic of Epics but that's more for lack of much else to compare. He's apparently near-omnipotent.

Edited by natc
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I thought Firefight was David's dad in the other universe...

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Actually, what part of this suggests that Calamity actually had a weakness? The whole basis of them in the human Epics came from his fear of the world in general due to his traumatic birth, and the darkness was from his personality.

We call him the Epic of Epics but that's more for lack of much else to compare. He's apparently near-omnipotent.

 

The book doesn't say outright that Calamity was defeated via a fear-based weakness. It is only strongly implied by this scene:

 

Do you fear that?” I asked him softly. “That we aren’t what you’ve thought? Does it terrify you to know that deep down, men are not monsters? That we are, instead, inherently good?”

 

He stared at me, then collapsed, curling up on the glass floor. The red light within him dimmed, and then—just like that, he faded away. Until there was nothing.

 

 

Unless you have a alternative, I will suggest that the only reasonable conclusion is that Calamity got defeated the same way Steelheart and Limelight got defeated: his weakness was triggered, rendering him powerless.

Edited by skaa
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The book doesn't say outright that Calamity can be defeated via a fear-based weakness. It is only implied by this scene:

 

 

Unless you have a alternative, I will suggest that the only reasonable conclusion is that Calamity got defeated the same way Steelheart and Limelight got defeated: his weakness was triggered, rendering him powerless.

And, perhaps for him, it was lethal or banishing to his world.
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I feel like his "fading" was of his own doing and not because he was confronted with his weakness.

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I'd . . . think any insane person would probably be pretty hurt by self-imposed trauma like that. Fear is a pretty potent emotion even without being involved in supernatural powers.

I always interpreted that as him just giving up and leaving in despair.

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I'd . . . think any insane person would probably be pretty hurt by self-imposed trauma like that. Fear is a pretty potent emotion even without being involved in supernatural powers.

I always interpreted that as him just giving up and leaving in despair.

Yeah me too, the whole point of weaknesses is that they caused Calamitys powers to flee from the person, that's implied to be because Calamity withdraws himself from them, not because it's an intrinsic part of the powers. Indeed since his weakness is everything then he shouldn't have been able to use any powers at all as Larcener and would have instantly faded away upon manifesting on earth.

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I feel like his "fading" was of his own doing and not because he was confronted with his weakness.

I'd . . . think any insane person would probably be pretty hurt by self-imposed trauma like that. Fear is a pretty potent emotion even without being involved in supernatural powers.

I always interpreted that as him just giving up and leaving in despair.

Do you guys seriously suggest that? Can you imagine the reaction of fantasy readers everywhere if someone asked Brandon why Calamity faded away and he answered "Oh, he just gave up and left in despair"?

I'm sorry, I guess I'll get a downvote for appearing to be an arrogant jerk who thinks he's always right, but you've got to explain to me why you think it's a good idea for Brandon to break three of his Laws of Magic in the last few pages of the last book of the Reckoners series. Because that's what this idea implies.

First Law: Explain something before using it to solve a problem. You're basically saying that without any foreshadowing, without any reason at all, David magically guessed that Calamity will politely go away if only he could show him the error of his ways.

Second Law: The weakness is more interesting than the power. You're claiming that Calamity's power has no weakness, and that the only reason he left voluntarily is for pure psychological reasons.

And finally:

Zeroth Law: Always err on the side that's awesome. You proposed a mundane solution, not an awesome one.


 

Yeah me too, the whole point of weaknesses is that they caused Calamitys powers to flee from the person, that's implied to be because Calamity withdraws himself from them, not because it's an intrinsic part of the powers. Indeed since his weakness is everything then he shouldn't have been able to use any powers at all as Larcener and would have instantly faded away upon manifesting on earth.

That's one way to interpret it. But if the weaknesses are not intrinsic to the powers, then why does Megan still have a weakness after she's claimed her powers for herself (such that Calamity can no longer take the powers away)? Or maybe you're saying that the weaknesses are gone now that Calamity is gone? Are you suggesting that the Epics in Firefight's version of Earth (one where "Invocation" left a year after manifesting in the sky) walk around with no supernatural weakness, some of them with Prime Invincibility? That would be very interesting if true. It would seem to go against Sanderson's Second Law of Magic, but it's still interesting.


Allow me to propose another interpretation: The powers in the Reckoners Multiverse all come from the dimension where Calamity and Invocation came from, which we can look at as something akin to the Cosmere Spiritual Realm (although obviously a different thing). There are beings from this eldritch dimension that can be seen as Gifters of all the powers, and these beings are sent to various alternate Earths to Gift these powers to people.

These powers always come with a weakness, one weakness per individual. Even the eldritch god-like Gifters have a weakness. In other words, each Epic's specific weakness is not from Calamity himself per se, but is rather inherent in the magic of the eldritch dimension.

With this interpretation, I am simply expanding upon what everyone in the Reckoners Multiverse know about the Epics. I am basically following all of Sanderson's Laws, including the Third Law: Expand on what you already have. With this interpretation, David was able to analyze Larcener's way of thinking and figured out his (and therefore Calamity's) Epic weakness, which is why he knew what to do once Megan arrived in that space station scene: show Calamity an alternate Earth where truly heroic Epics are common. Everything about this was foreshadowed in accordance to the First Law. It utilizes a weakness in the magic system in accordance to the Second Law. It uses a previously defined rule in accordance to the Third Law.

And being able to logically deduce the magical weakness of a god-like creature of immense magical power is awesome.

I have more thoughts on the matter (like the nature of the darkness), but I plan to put them in a separate thread. The main point that I'm trying to say here is that we don't have to settle for the "Brandon decided to break his Laws of Magic by making a god-like being give up for tenuous reasons" explanation for the ending of Calamity.

I mean, sure, you can go with that, but I won't.

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Do you guys seriously suggest that? Can you imagine the reaction of fantasy readers everywhere if someone asked Brandon why Calamity faded away and he answered "Oh, he just gave up and left in despair"?

I'm sorry, I guess I'll get a downvote for appearing to be an arrogant jerk who thinks he's always right, but you've got to explain to me why you think it's a good idea for Brandon to break three of his Laws of Magic in the last few pages of the last book of the Reckoners series. Because that's what this idea implies.

First Law: Explain something before using it to solve a problem. You're basically saying that without any foreshadowing, without any reason at all, David magically guessed that Calamity will politely go away if only he could show him the error of his ways.

Second Law: The weakness is more interesting than the power. You're claiming that Calamity's power has no weakness, and that the only reason he left voluntarily is for pure psychological reasons.

And finally:

Zeroth Law: Always err on the side that's awesome. You proposed a mundane solution, not an awesome one.


 

That's one way to interpret it. But if the weaknesses are not intrinsic to the powers, then why does Megan still have a weakness after she's claimed her powers for herself (such that Calamity can no longer take the powers away)? Or maybe you're saying that the weaknesses are gone now that Calamity is gone? Are you suggesting that the Epics in Firefight's version of Earth (one where "Invocation" left a year after manifesting in the sky) walk around with no supernatural weakness, some of them with Prime Invincibility? That would be very interesting if true. It would seem to go against Sanderson's Second Law of Magic, but it's still interesting.


Allow me to propose another interpretation: The powers in the Reckoners Multiverse all come from the dimension where Calamity and Invocation came from, which we can look at as something akin to the Cosmere Spiritual Realm (although obviously a different thing). There are beings from this eldritch dimension that can be seen as Gifters of all the powers, and these beings are sent to various alternate Earths to Gift these powers to people.

These powers always come with a weakness, one weakness per individual. Even the eldritch god-like Gifters have a weakness. In other words, each Epic's specific weakness is not from Calamity himself per se, but is rather inherent in the magic of the eldritch dimension.

With this interpretation, I am simply expanding upon what everyone in the Reckoners Multiverse know about the Epics. I am basically following all of Sanderson's Laws, including the Third Law: Expand on what you already have. With this interpretation, David was able to analyze Larcener's way of thinking and figured out his (and therefore Calamity's) Epic weakness, which is why he knew what to do once Megan arrived in that space station scene: show Calamity an alternate Earth where truly heroic Epics are common. Everything about this was foreshadowed in accordance to the First Law. It utilizes a weakness in the magic system in accordance to the Second Law. It uses a previously defined rule in accordance to the Third Law.

And being able to logically deduce the magical weakness of a god-like creature of immense magical power is awesome.

I have more thoughts on the matter (like the nature of the darkness), but I plan to put them in a separate thread. The main point that I'm trying to say here is that we don't have to settle for the "Brandon decided to break his Laws of Magic by making a god-like being give up for tenuous reasons" explanation for the ending of Calamity.

I mean, sure, you can go with that, but I won't.

Having a weakness isn't the same as having a 'Weakness', Calamity still had the same weakness, he was petrified of humanity. The difference is just that that doesn't magically erase his powers, think of it as a Shard whose intent is something like fear, near omnipotent and limited by that intent but not magically so just cognitively.

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Voidus, on 19 Feb 2016 - 5:49 PM, said:

Having a weakness isn't the same as having a 'Weakness', Calamity still had the same weakness, he was petrified of humanity. The difference is just that that doesn't magically erase his powers, think of it as a Shard whose intent is something like fear, near omnipotent and limited by that intent but not magically so just cognitively.

 

I believe I addressed the psychological weakness vs. magical weakness above. Also, Larcener seemed capable of interacting with humans to some extent even if he did find them reprehensible and bizarre, so "petrified" is a bit much.

Let me summarize the two possibilities proposed:

  • David thought that if he could show Calamity that heroic Epics can become common, he'll be so irrationally terrified by that fact that he'll just run away screaming, vanishing into the void.
  • David thought that if he could show Calamity that heroic Epics can become common, his magical weakness will be triggered and he'll become powerless, vanishing into the void.

Tell me, which line of thought is worthy of being called a good plan? Which would the renowned Steelslayer think of? Would he really rely on a baseless hunch regarding how a totally alien being would react to fear? Or would he bet on the tried-and-tested formula of making Epics lose their powers via their magical weakness?

Again, I'm asking you to think of Sanderson's Laws. This is his book. All his comments about it implied that he was happy with how he ended this series. Would he really use such a mundane solution as you guys propose? (Sparks! That came out a bit too emphatic for some reason. It's just a fantasy book. Lighten up, skaa!)

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Well you can't really say he's exactly an Epic, so both seem like major gambles to me . . .

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I believe I addressed the psychological weakness vs. magical weakness above. Also, Larcener seemed capable of interacting with humans just fine even if he did find them reprehensible and annoying, so "petrified" is a bit much.

Let me summarize the two possibilities proposed:

  • David thought that if he could show Calamity that heroic Epics can become common, he'll be so irrationally terrified by that fact that he'll just run away screaming, vanishing into the void.
  • David thought that if he could show Calamity that heroic Epics can become common, his magical weakness will be triggered and he'll become powerless, vanishing into the void.
Tell me, which line of thought is worthy of being called a good plan? Which would the renowned Steelslayer think of? Would he really rely on a baseless hunch regarding how a totally alien being would react to fear? Or would he bet on the tried-and-tested formula of making Epics lose their powers via their magical weakness?

Again, I'm asking you to think of Sanderson's Laws. This is his book. All his comments about it implied that he was happy with how he ended this series. Would he really use such a mundane solution as you guys propose? (Sparks! That came out a bit too emphatic for some reason. It's just a fantasy book. Lighten up, skaa!)

 

Not really, you mentioned it but didn't address it.

And Megan creates illusions of herself as a fire Epic all the time with no problems and interacts with it, still something she's petrified of.

Neither is a good plan because neither was planned, he planned on blowing Calamity up and he failed, afterwards he did what he could, he also made no signs of trying to attack Calamity while from your point of view trying to activate his weakness, I ask you, what kind of Reckoner just sits there talking to an Epic while their weakness activates rather than shooting them as many times as possible as quickly as possible?

Which brings me to my next point, Sandersons laws apply to a magic system not a plot, the first law is about explaining how something works before showing it (eg. Dialogue about steel and iron lines and what they do before you have a character flying through the mists)

The zeroth law is about making your magic cool, not about plot points (And arguably an alien species leaving back for its own dimension is cooler than that magical entity that is nigh omnipotent just slowly fading away like a bad dream just because you told it that people are good) the second law applies to powers not characters (Though this one I'll let slide since I believe and I'm sure that Brandon does too that it's equally applicable to people).

But even if we were to apply them to this particular plot point you're just ignoring all the potential solutions in the proposed plot of the ending, the entire theme of Calamity is trying to redeem Epics not kill them, thus the first law is fulfilled, they explain the aim and method by which Epics are redeemed and then apply this to the ultimate Epic.

I already addressed that an omnipotent being simply fading away with a whimper is hardly awesome. Thus the zeroth law may also be considered fulfilled.

The second law is fulfilled because as I mentioned the character still has the exact same weakness, it's just psychological rather than magical, moreover this provides the character with an opportunity to overcome that weakness so we fill the second law in spades.

The third law is fulfilled in much the same way as the first, expanding on the idea of redeeming Epics to redeem Calamity itself.

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Well you can't really say he's exactly an Epic, so both seem like major gambles to me . . .

But that's what they've been calling him since Firefight! Sure you can debate on why he isn't, but obviously David thought he was, thus explaining his actions.

@Voidus: Sorry, but I did address it:

Second Law: The weakness is more interesting than the power. You're claiming that Calamity's power has no weakness, and that the only reason he left voluntarily is for pure psychological reasons.

Zeroth Law: Always err on the side that's awesome. You proposed a mundane solution, not an awesome one.

In other words, the proposal that Calamity had no magical flaw, which meant David had to attack a mundane psychological weakness, is a violation of the Second Law.

Insisting on a mundane solution when an awesome magical solution was staring at you right in the face (seriously, how many times has David defeated an Epic by cleverly guessing his or her weakness and acting on that at the last minute?) violates the Zeroth Law.


To be clear, I fully acknowledge that only Brandon can conclusively tell us if Calamity is close enough to what an Epic is to have an Epic power-negating weakness. I can't read his mind, obviously. He has broken his Laws before (e.g. the mists Deus ex Machina in TFE), and I have no doubt he will do so again. But to be honest, I don't know why you prefer the "Calamity is not an Epic" solution. Where is the appeal there? Why do you insist on it?

Edited by skaa
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But that's what they've been calling him since Firefight! Sure you can debate on why he isn't, but obviously David thought he was, thus explaining his actions.

@Voidus: Sorry, but I did address it:

In other words, the proposal that Calamity had no magical flaw, which meant David had to attack a mundane psychological weakness, is a violation of the Second Law.

Insisting on a mundane solution when an awesome magical solution was staring at you right in the face (seriously, how many times has David defeated an Epic by cleverly guessing his or her weakness and acting on that at the last minute?) violates the Zeroth Law.


To be clear, I fully acknowledge that only Brandon can conclusively tell us if Calamity is close enough to what an Epic is to have an Epic weakness. I can't read his mind, obviously. He has broken his Laws before, and I have no doubt he will do so again. But to be honest, I don't know why you prefer the "Calamity is not an Epic" solution. What is so appealing about that?

That's not addressing, that's just stating the same thing. The point still stands that a psychological weakness is still a weakness.

I disagree that that's an awesome magical solution. I certainly disagree that it's staring you in the face. Whether Calamity overcame his weakness or succumbed to it that's still magical. I just think that the solution involving actual character change makes more sense, particularly for a near-omnipotent being.

I'm not saying Calamity is not an Epic, I'm saying that Calamity is nearly omnipotent, screaming that people are good should not just make him go poof and vanish. What is so appealing about that? It's counterintuitive, it's anticlimactic and (to me at the least) it makes no sense. David already objectively proved that humans can be good, as did Megan, as did Prof, the only thing talking to Calamity did was convince him of that. Weaknesses don't activate based on perception.

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I just think that the solution involving actual character change makes more sense, particularly for a near-omnipotent being.

Except there was no textual evidence that Calamity had any character change. Do you think Brandon is so amateur that he'd fail not only in "showing" but also in "telling" something that important? On the other hand, there were plenty of times an Epic was defeated by using his Epic weakness. My interpretation, if true, means that Calamity's defeat had lots of foreshadowing.

But thanks for explaining why you like that option better. If I was Brandon and I chose for the main villain to have a change of heart, I'd have added a bit more dialogue showing how remorseful the villain was (like what he did with Hrathen in Elantris) before he went away. That would have made more sense from a storytelling perspective. Thing is... I'm pretty sure I'm not better than Brandon at storytelling. ;)

 

I'm not saying Calamity is not an Epic, I'm saying that Calamity is nearly omnipotent, screaming that people are good should not just make him go poof and vanish. What is so appealing about that? It's counterintuitive, it's anticlimactic and (to me at the least) it makes no sense. David already objectively proved that humans can be good, as did Megan, as did Prof, the only thing talking to Calamity did was convince him of that.

Well, it felt right to me because it makes the magic system consistent. This consistency when dealing with magic is one of the things I like about Brandon.

 

Weaknesses don't activate based on perception.

Where did you get that? Limelight's weakness activated when he perceived his own failures. Fortuity's weakness is activated by a strongly positive perception of someone. Newton's is a perception of being valued. Etc., etc.


On a related topic, whether you think Calamity's weakness is magical or psychological, I believe that the Reckoners as a YA series teaches an important lesson to young people: All Epics have weaknesses. It is good to know that Goliath can be felled, that you don't have to tolerate a powerful bully and wait until he leaves you. As G.K. Chesterton said: "Fairy tales don't teach children that dragons exist. They already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales teach them that dragons can be defeated."

Edited by skaa
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Where did you get that? Limelight's weakness activated when he perceived his own failures. Fortuity's weakness is activated by a strongly positive perception of someone. Newton's is a perception of being valued. Etc., etc.

To be fair as far as the triggers for the weakness go, Fortuity's weakness was actually something along the lines of being rejected, the whole attractive ladies bit was more of a partial weakness and may have been more connected to them not actually wanting to spend time with him, Newton's weakness clearly doesn't relly on perception, as Regalia's and David's "compliments" were about as dishonest as possible and not actually compliments and for Prof we never really figured out if there is more to triggering his weakness than just using his powers against him, only that it needed more for him to face his fear and overcome the corruption, alternatively his weakness could have been being accused of failure.

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To be fair as far as the triggers for the weakness go, Fortuity's weakness was actually something along the lines of being rejected, the whole attractive ladies bit was more of a partial weakness and may have been more connected to them not actually wanting to spend time with him, Newton's weakness clearly doesn't relly on perception, as Regalia's and David's "compliments" were about as dishonest as possible and not actually compliments and for Prof we never really figured out if there is more to triggering his weakness than just using his powers against him, only that it needed more for him to face his fear and overcome the corruption.

But isn't rejection something perceived? And I don't think the definition of a compliment is as narrow as you think it is. Newton obviously didn't think so, and those compliments that David gave clearly weren't veiled insults that only sounded like compliments; they were simply compliments that weren't heartfelt. I mean, if your boss told you that you did a great job, but you feel that he was just being nice and that he didn't really find your work that impressive, would you say that therefore he wasn't complimenting you?

As for Prof, Megan made it quite clear that the perception of failure is Prof's actual weakness, and that their original theory only seemed to be correct because Prof perceived a connection between his powers and the chance of failure:

"Because if you are so powerful," Megan whispered, "if you have all of these resources, then you don't have any excuses left for failing"

Prof's powers deactivated shortly after Megan and David reiterated Prof's failures.

Edited by skaa
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Except there was no textual evidence that Calamity had any character change. Do you think Brandon is so amateur that he'd fail not only in "showing" but also in "telling" something that important? On the other hand, there were plenty of times an Epic was defeated by using his Epic weakness. My interpretation, if true, means that Calamity's defeat had lots of foreshadowing.

Given that we're having this argument whichever happened it was shown not told. If we were told we'd be quoting the line that tells us and this discussion would be over. As for whether or not it was shown that's what we're currently arguing, I believe it was, you believe it wasn't.

Sometimes but those were always the lesser victories, that's the entire premise of Calamity, that you can't just kill them all, you have to turn them into heroes.

 

 

But thanks for explaining why you like that option better. If I was Brandon and I chose for the main villain to have a change of heart, I'd have added a bit more dialogue showing how remorseful the villain was (like what he did with Hrathen in Elantris) before he went away. That would have made more sense from a storytelling perspective. Thing is... I'm pretty sure I'm not better than Brandon at storytelling. ;)

There have been plenty of times he hasn't, and it's worked for the better. Good authors do it all the time, deathbed redemption being primary among them. The point is that he's not remorseful, he just knows what he's meant to do, and that is to leave like he was always supposed to. Sticking around to explain anything undermines that.

 

 

Well, it felt right to me because it makes the magic system consistent. This consistency when dealing with magic is one of the things I like about Brandon.

Ruin isn't subject to Hemalurgy's weakness, Endowment doesn't drain color, there are plenty of cases where the bestower of powers wasn't limited by those powers. That doesn't make the magic inconsistent, it just means it's more complex than we understand. There's always another secret.

 

Where did you get that? Limelight's weakness activated when he perceived his own failures. Fortuity's weakness is activated by a strongly positive perception of someone. Newton's is a perception of being valued. Etc., etc.

They can be weak to a perception, but actually in those cases the only one who is completely perceptively based is Limelight, Fortuitys is based on being attracted to someone  but simple attraction isn't the complete solution, there's something more to it, Newtons is based on being valued but it's activated objectively. Any time someone compliments her her weakness activates, she doesn't need to hear it and then think about how that reflects how she is valued, it activates independently of her perception.

Steelhearts is about being feared but it doesn't matter whether or not he perceives the person as fearing him it's whether or not they actually do, Megans is fire but it's not whether or not she perceives fire it's whether or not there is actually a fire, even Prof is partially weakened by someone who uses the same powers as him, he doesn't know that there's a link between them yet it's objectively true so his weakness activates. Weaknesses activate regardless of the Epics ability to perceive that weakness. If Calamitys weakness was that humanity is good then either objectively speaking humanity is good in which case his weakness is activated and he dies before anyone even knows he's there or else humanity isn't good in which case just pretending to be wouldn't work.

 

 

On a related topic, whether you think Calamity's weakness is magical or psychological, I believe that the Reckoners as a YA series teaches an important lesson to young people: All Epics have weaknesses. It is good to know that Goliath can be felled, that you don't have to tolerate a powerful bully and wait until he leaves you. As G.K. Chesterton said: "Fairy tales don't teach children that dragons exist. They already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales teach them that dragons can be defeated."

Personally I think that's very near to the complete opposite of the intended message, there is the message that violence comes from fear, or that we all fear something, or that we can struggle and overcome our weaknesses, or that we can only truly conquer our fears with the help of others, there's plenty of messages to choose from but I really didn't get that at all. Guess that's just a difference in how we read it.

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...who is completely perceptively based is Limelight

Thanks for accepting a counterexample to your argument. :) Why do you think Limelight's weakness can be like that but Calamity's can't?

Given that we're having this argument whichever happened it was shown not told.

If Calamity collapsing and disappearing was the only "show" of his change of heart, then that's a bad, bad way of "showing". It's something that some bad amateur writers I know wouldn't fall for. You have to "show" more than that. The very reason Hrathen's ending worked in Elantris was because it was "showed" properly.

...That doesn't make the magic inconsistent...

Thanks for acknowledging Brandon's virtue of at least trying to treat magic consistently. I concede that Brandon sometimes hides the consistency of his magic rules in order to have something to show in future books (and perhaps so that his fans can theorize about how the inconsistencies can be resolved), but when I find an opportunity to interpret a Brandon novel so that its magic is consistent, why would I not embrace that interpretation, at least until I get a good argument that an inconsistency exists?

Personally I think that's very near to the complete opposite of the intended message, there is the message that violence comes from fear, or that we all fear something, or that we can struggle and overcome our weaknesses, or that we can only truly conquer our fears with the help of others, there's plenty of messages to choose from but I really didn't get that at all. Guess that's just a difference in how we read it.

You can't honestly say that after multiple examples of David defeating seemingly invulnerable Goliaths. Sure, you may have taken a different moral lesson for the stories, but do you really claim that you didn't get any inkling at all of "Even the powerful have a weakness, so fear them not"? Well, fine, that certainly is a big difference in how we read it.

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Thanks for accepting a counterexample to your argument. :) Why do you think Limelight's weakness can be like that but Calamity's can't?

Not really a counterexample, David tells us in book 1 that weaknesses include thinking certain thoughts, but even then it's still an objective fact whether or not you thought that thought, all weaknesses are still objective. Depends what you think Calamitys is, if you think it's that people are good then that's clearly objectively based, honestly I can't think of anything that would be based on perception that suits the facts, if you think you can by all means go ahead.

 

 

If Calamity collapsing and disappearing was the only "show" of his change of heart, then that's a bad, bad way of "showing". It's something that some bad amateur writers I know wouldn't fall for. You have to "show" more than that. The very reason Hrathen's ending worked in Elantris was because it was "showed" properly.

 

If Calamity slowly fading in a manner entirely unbecoming of an immortal omnipotent being was the only show of him dying then that's a bad way of showing, the fact that we are discussing this shows that whichever was intended it clearly didn't show that to the entire audience. That's the reason so many are unsatisfied.

 

Thanks for acknowledging Brandon's virtue of at least trying to treat magic consistently. I concede that Brandon sometimes hides the consistency of his magic rules in order to have something to show in future books (and perhaps so that his fans can theorize about how the inconsistencies can be resolved), but when I find an opportunity to interpret a Brandon novel so that its magic is consistent, why would I not embrace that interpretation, at least until I get a good argument that an inconsistency exists?

It's not inconsistent, it's still consistent you just may not understand how. Calamity is evidently different from all Epics in a number of ways, 1. he's not human, 2. he's the first 3. he gave all the others powers 4. He has every power

Why would you assume the same rules apply to him when he is evidently so very different?

 

 

You can't honestly say that after multiple examples of David defeating seemingly invulnerable Goliaths. Sure, you may have taken a different moral lesson for the stories, but do you really claim that you didn't get any inkling at all of "Even the powerful have a weakness, so fear them not"? Well, fine, that certainly is a big difference in how we read it.

I can and do, maybe that's how you see the story but for me those are just action filler to keep things interesting. Hansel and Gretel eat a whole bunch of candy in their fairy tail but I don't believe that the message of the story is that you should eat candy. Or indeed that you should beware of witches. Or that the solution to bullies is to kick them into their own cookpots.

Messages tend to come from overall plot rather than the exciting bits between.

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So I finished last night, honestly, not great. As many of you said, it felt really rushed at the end. Also it seemed a bit like a forced happy ending where I think the overarching story didn't really call for one. It would have felt more appropriate if things remained bad but with glimmers of actual hope for improvement. Rather than pseudo bike riding lessons...

A couple of notes;

I actually really liked the Obliteration bit at the end, I think he in contrast with say David or Prof did a good job of refuting Calamity's claim that people are monsters. No, people are people and that is an extremely wide spectrum.

 

Also (Major Calamity spoiler):

I nailed the Larcener = Calamity thing, from the scene where David commented that Larcener reminded him of a spoiled child and that he must of grew up as an epic under Calamity I guess he was in fact Calamity.

 

Finally,

I liked how angry with David and broken the whole process left Prof. This seemed like the most "real" part of the series resolution. To some level it made his claims as Limelight correct. David never did think of the consequences of trying to save Prof. I think if I were in Prof situation I would have wanted David to kill me rather than let me live. Corrupted by Calamity or not, Prof did some terrible terrible things and killed the love of his life. In saving him, David really just punished him.


 

Edited by Iron Eyes
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by the way, I am hazy on prof weakness. his weakness was failure, but his own powers negated his healing, so he was also weak to his own powers. How do those two things cope? He can't have two weaknesses, and him being wounded by his own powers gifted to someone else isn't related ennough to failure that it should be able to trigger the weakness.

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One thing I loved about the series so far is the rich world that was created by the unique changes to each of the major cities, and that was tremendously lacking in this book. The basic premise of it moving and regrowing in itself at first seemed great, but as the book went on and we didn't really learn anything about what it does for the city culturally or what makes them a distinct people really made that seem like a copout. All in all it just felt rushed, like he wanted to wrap up the series and be done. Not that I begrudge Brandon that, as he's stated he's willing to push through on other books that aren't SA.

 

I'm going to have to disagree with this, I thought Ithilda (or whatever it's called) was very well fleshed. We learn that by having a moving city, the people learned to not have much personal property. We learn that the city, as a whole, is perfectly okay with citizens coming and going. We learn that they split off into protective "families", or packs, and that members of a family look out for each other. We also learned that these families are organisms themselves, as they yearn to grow when needed, but also know to shut down by not accepting people, when they've reached a critical mass. The people are, for the most part, friendly, but reserved, and hard work is highly valuable.

 

These observations can be repeated for Babilar and Newcago. I would not say Atlanta was any less fleshed out than the others.

 

by the way, I am hazy on prof weakness. his weakness was failure, but his own powers negated his healing, so he was also weak to his own powers. How do those two things cope? He can't have two weaknesses, and him being wounded by his own powers gifted to someone else isn't related ennough to failure that it should be able to trigger the weakness.

 

His weakness was that he would fail even with his powers. So his powers played a part in his weakness, and therefore has a small affect. Think of the Kool-Aid weakness. When touching Kool-Aid her powers fizzled, but they didn't completely negate until she drank the Kool-Aid.

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Thanks for accepting a counterexample to your argument. :) Why do you think Limelight's weakness can be like that but Calamity's can't?

If Calamity collapsing and disappearing was the only "show" of his change of heart, then that's a bad, bad way of "showing". It's something that some bad amateur writers I know wouldn't fall for. You have to "show" more than that. The very reason Hrathen's ending worked in Elantris was because it was "showed" properly.

Thanks for acknowledging Brandon's virtue of at least trying to treat magic consistently. I concede that Brandon sometimes hides the consistency of his magic rules in order to have something to show in future books (and perhaps so that his fans can theorize about how the inconsistencies can be resolved), but when I find an opportunity to interpret a Brandon novel so that its magic is consistent, why would I not embrace that interpretation, at least until I get a good argument that an inconsistency exists?

You can't honestly say that after multiple examples of David defeating seemingly invulnerable Goliaths. Sure, you may have taken a different moral lesson for the stories, but do you really claim that you didn't get any inkling at all of "Even the powerful have a weakness, so fear them not"? Well, fine, that certainly is a big difference in how we read it.

So just to ring in on this from my own interpretation/opinion, and curious your thoughts on it. When Calamity kept saying over and over that they were to observe and learn, then return. That they were not allowed to interfere, it sounded a lot like asimov's robotic laws. That they break down for Calamity's people kind of like this:

 

Do Not Interfere

Observe

Learn

Return

 

When he was first born into our world, he was so overwhelmed by sensory information he freaked out, and it was implied he took actions. He stated

 

"You are worthless, as a whole. You will destroy yourselves, and I will bear witness. I will not shirk my duty as others have. We are to watch, as is our calling. But I must not interfere, not again. The acts of youth can be forgiven. Though I was never truly a child, I was new. And your world is a shock. A dreadful shock." He nodded, as if convincing himself.

 

So he got born in to our world, had the worst experience of his existence, and then lashed out, doing something. What that is? No clue, but it was interference. Now you have someone "new", with the rational of a new born, with unlimited powers who felt it was hurt by the people of the world. Think of the Hulk in the movie "Incredible Hulk". Anytime he attacked the soldiers is when he was shot at. He literally only responded to any "pain" inflicted on him, and any collateral damage was due to his tantrum. He is being hurt, does not know why, does not know his own strength, and just wants the pain to stop so lashes out. This brings us to the next step:

 

So his prime directive was not to interfere, but the moment he got here, he did exactly that. Well who's fault is that? Can't be his. He was just doing what he was told. It was the humans who made him do it. They hurt him. They are bad people. They should be punished. But he can't interfere. He isn't allowed. He is however supposed to observe. Well he is going to observe humans destroy themselves like the bad people they are. Then his earlier interference will be justified. They made him interfere. He is a good extradimentional entity. He does what he is meant to. It has nothing to do with his feelings being hurt, and wanting to see the humans punished for what they did to him. He didn't make a mistake, its their fault. So he will learn to confirm they are bad to the core by destroying themselves, and he will get to leave to go home with the knowledge of a job well done. Then he will get to return.

 

But wait. He is still here, and has been here for a long time. Why aren't humans wiped out already? They are bad, they can't move beyond that. If they move beyond it, then it means He will have to move beyond his pain and be sorry for breaking the rules. That even though justified, he still made a mistake. No, no, that can't be it. It will happen, they will all wipe themselves out. Then David shows him. Shows him with absolute clarity and fact, that the darkness in humans. The darkness he is so convinced was the reason he was hurt upon entrance into our worlds, wasn't there to begin with. It was just an accident on all sides. That the destructive nature that he thinks is prevalent in everyone, is him. That he is as subject to pain as humans. And just like humans, he has the equal chance to rise above it or be consumed by it. That he chose to be consumed. There were plenty of other versions that were able to rise above it and go home. But he wasn't able to. All his suffering since his birth was not at the hand of these evil humans, but from himself. He never grew up. So it was being faced by this, that he realized he so completely failed his directives. He interfered massively, and completely missed what he was supposed to learn for years. That he, who was so convinced he was right, to the point he defined all his actions from that sole premise, turns out was wrong. Having what you feel is your entire life view thrown out the window, is very very jarring. So all he could do is curl up underneath the sense of his whole world being turned upside down for the second time in his existence, and he left.Turns out his job was done long long ago, he got a big fat F, and he just didn't want to face it. 

 

Now I am not saying whether or not he was justified based on my interpretation. Just that this is what and why I feel he did what he did. I feel this was very much in homage to Mister MxyzptlkHopefully I articulated my thoughts well, and I still say this is my own interpretation. Could very well be like skaa is saying, and his weakness got negated. This is just what I took out of it. 

 

edit: I realize i did pretty much just repeat what I already wrote, but I hope I fleshed it out further to explain why I felt he left, which was the original intention of this post while the last was to explain why I thought his species was not here to destroy. 

Edited by Pathfinder
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Not really a counterexample

Actually, it was. This is what you said first:

Weaknesses don't activate based on perception.

Then you proceeded to acknowledge that Limelight's weakness was based on perception, which is a clear contradiction of what you said.

 

...David tells us in book 1 that weaknesses include thinking certain thoughts, but even then it's still an objective fact whether or not you thought that thought, all weaknesses are still objective. Depends what you think Calamitys is, if you think it's that people are good then that's clearly objectively based, honestly I can't think of anything that would be based on perception that suits the facts, if you think you can by all means go ahead.

You will have to rephrase that for me. Not sure where that "objectivity" issue came from, and why that matters as to whether Calamity had an Epic weakness or not. Do you or do you not agree that Calamity's weakness is similar to Prof's? If not, why not?

 

If Calamity slowly fading in a manner entirely unbecoming of an immortal omnipotent being was the only show of him dying then that's a bad way of showing...

Except that's not the only "show" for that. Heck, the scene of Prof's defeat is almost a mirror image of the scene of Calamity's defeat (the only difference is that David and Megan are joined by Prof this time in activating the enemy's Epic weakness). Every instance of David defeating an Epic via his Epic weakness can be seen as foreshadowing of how Calamity was defeated. Lastly, there were several clues about Larcener's weakness, meaning it didn't really come out of the blue as you imply. On the other hand, your interpretation of "Calamity just gave up" had absolutely no foreshadowing whatsoever.

That some people can't see those simple connections is frankly not my problem, but it is sad that they are not able to appreciate the book more because of this.

 

It's not inconsistent, it's still consistent you just may not understand how.

Alright. Let me rephrase my statement: I concede that Brandon sometimes hides the consistency of his magic rules in order to have something to show in future books (and perhaps so that his fans can theorize about how the inconsistencies can be resolved), but when I find an opportunity to interpret a Brandon novel so that its magic already appears consistent without the need for a future book, why would I not embrace that interpretation, at least until I get a good argument that an apparent inconsistency (that needs to be resolved in a future book) exists?

 

Calamity is evidently different from all Epics in a number of ways, 1. he's not human, 2. he's the first 3. he gave all the others powers 4. He has every power

1. Yes, and the powers came from Calamity's species. 2. So what? Besides, he clearly states that he was not the first of his kind to be sent. 3. Again, so what? All Gifters give people powers. How does being an Omni-Gifter change whether or not he has a weakness? 4. So because he has all the Epic powers he must not have an Epic weakness? Your blatant disregard for the Second Law is showing again.

 

Why would you assume the same rules apply to him when he is evidently so very different?

There might be some rules that don't apply to him, but there also has to be some rules that apply to everyone including him, or else this particular magic system becomes irredeemably inconsistent. All three books of the Reckoners series have shown Epics being defeated by their Epic weaknesses. Giving Calamity an Epic weakness is consistent with Sanderson's Third Law.

 

I can and do...

I am sincerely sorry. I did not intend to make you feel as if I was telling you what to do, but that must have been how I sounded. It's a mistake I will try not to repeat.

 

...but for me those are just action filler to keep things interesting. Hansel and Gretel eat a whole bunch of candy in their fairy tail but I don't believe that the message of the story is that you should eat candy. Or indeed that you should beware of witches. Or that the solution to bullies is to kick them into their own cookpots.

Messages tend to come from overall plot rather than the exciting bits between.

Interesting.

Almost every page of every Reckoners book (except the pages of the Epilogues) involved David and/or the Reckoners either talking about the atrocities of an Epic, or talking about how to defeat an Epic, or carrying out a plan to defeat an Epic (sometimes failing, sometimes not), or actually defeating an Epic.

Two of the three Reckoners books are named after an Epic that was defeated in that book.

A multitude of instances involving the bullying done by Epics is shown in every book.

The main character of the book, David, whose name is a reference to another famous story you may have heard that also involved defeating a powerful being, took down several Epic bullies on his own even before he officially became an Epic hero.

There are many lessons that young adolescents can take from the Reckoners series. I only pointed out one that I thought was pretty neat. But you chose to attack that and claimed that you don't see how the books teach that the powerful can be defeated. You say that such an important message is just filler and comparable to candy-eating. You accuse me of implying that kids should physically hurt bullies, as if defeating the powerful can only be done through violent means (something that Calamity's defeat clearly contradicts).

You might think that everything you've said above is good, but I don't. Huh... so "good" is not "clearly objective" after all, eh? It appears people can disagree about what is good, and that we can only hope to convince another person to see the good that we see.

Edited by skaa
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