Erinzard

Soulcast lavis tastes different

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Not much of a theory really, just a question. Soulcasting is about transformation, you change one thing into another. Wine became blood for Shallan, Jasnah turned bad guys into crystal or smoke, etc. Kaladin mentions it and I think we see it in one or two other character viewpoints that soulcast lavis grain doesn't taste the same as the real stuff. 

 

Why would it be different? Maybe there's no real in text proof, but my guess is that when Shallan accidentally soulcast the wine into blood, the blood was real and completely indistinguishable from blood in a person. So if Shallan could soulcast something into lavis grain, would it have the same taste issue? If not, does that mean the soulcasting performed by the ardents is not only different in method but in result? 

 

I thought maybe it depends on what substance you're originally working with, but the only thing I could see that affecting is the input power. For example turning air into lavis grain might take a lot more stormlight than using lavis sized gravel or pebbles.

 

I'm curious to see if this is a hint given to us by Brandon about the difference between soulcasting methods on Roshar or if it's just a harmless bit of worldbuilding casually thrown out there. 

 

Thoughts?

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I'm sure you're right about the blood being indistinguishable, but it is also one of the pure Essences, which Jasnah (I think) tells us is the easiest thing to soulcast.

Lavish being a complicated grain would be much harder to get right.

Now, a Lightweaver may have more skill with Soulcasting due to the combination of surges, but right now Shallan herself doesn't seem too skilled...yet

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Yeah, remember how Jasnah failed miserably at transmuting bread into bread, and jam into jam, but was totally fine transmuting blood of one of the eight specific blood types on Roshar into blood of the exact same blood type? Pure essences are just that much easier to transmute perfectly. The further from a pure essence, the harder it is. Grain is kinda similar to wood, but not really. The ardents doing the transmutations are very skilled, but it's not going to be precise.

 

I think I see what you're saying though, that if you're just telling a soul of a thing to transform into a specific other thing, why don't they get it perfectly right always? Like, everyone knows what "lavis grain" is. It's something very specific. So, when you ask a stone to become "lavis grain," you're asking it to be a very specific thing, and it should know what that thing is like because humans have a collective, specific cognitive vision of what "lavis grain" is.

 

My understanding is that all spren do NOT know exactly what all other things are like. Like, a stone doesn't know what lavis grain is, it relies on the soulcaster to give it a cognitive image of the grain, and it transforms into what the caster is imagining. So, if you don't have a truly perfect view of what lavis grain is (like, knowing the exact molecular structure of the lavis grain, or at least the cognitive equivalent of that), you're just telling the stone to become something that looks sorta like this and tastes sorta like that. So, when it's baked into bread, it doesn't taste right, because your view of it wasn't exactly right.

 

I have a theory that all spren innately know all ten Essences perfectly, like they're the ten elements that make up all other matter or something. And, when a Soulcaster tells a spren what an object is like, they are telling the spren how the object differs from one or more of the essences. Like, for grain, "It's like wood, but thinner and more delicious." For steel, "it's kinda like foil, but hard like stone, as if it spent a lot of time in close proximity to fire." But for blood, it's like, "it's exactly like blood. In fact, it IS blood."

Edited by Nyali
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Ahh, the essences! Jasnah's bread example makes sense. So if you have really thorough grasp of lavis, maybe you could soulcast something identical to the real thing, but since they're mass producing this stuff to feed the armies no one is really worried about it. Thanks for the responses guys!

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It's likely similar to soul-forging - the better understanding you have of the thing (both the thing to be transmuted and the thing you want it to transmute INTO), the more real it will be. 

Soulcasting seems to put greater importance on knowing what you're turning it into (you need to really know the material/concept in order to impart the right intent), whereas soul-forging requires a thorough understanding of what the thing/concept was. 

Other than that, I see them as being cognitively fairly similar. 

And as Nyali said - the closer you are to the 10 essences the better, as you don't really need to understand them well at all; all the Spren seem to already have that cognitive imprint. 

 

 

EDIT: I suspect the difference between Soul-forging and Soulcasting could be that soulforging occurs more on the spiritual and is based more on Connection, whereas soulcasting occurs in the cognitive plane, and thus requires something else, maybe Understanding.

Edited by Erunion
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It occurs to me, one thing about blood: there is a possibility that soulcast blood lacks white blood cells, which I can imagine them not realizing the existence of, and red blood cells . . . well they lack a nucleus. Or most organelles for that matter. They mostly function as sacks for putting hemoglobin into, and blood type is pretty easy to standardize because there isn't much room for variation. Same with the cell membrane which should more or less be the same among carbon based cellular life.

Grain is a lot more complex compared to the bare essentials needed in human blood. All the microscopic features aside you have to soulcast the DNA into existence. All several meters of it per cell. You're basically leaving it to the soulcasting fodder you're making grain from to figure out any details you missed, the chance of error is high. In fact they may even be referencing some ancient form of lavis grain untouched by artificial selection for flavor for the fine components and it only looks normal because the soulcaster expected it to look that way outwardly.

Soulcast meat . . . let's not go there, I don't want to know what it actually is . . .

Someone needs to ask Brandon what cells soulcast blood actually contains.

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Oh, right, I was supposed to go donate blood today. Thanks for reminding me!

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You know, this brings up a couple of interesting questions:

 

1) Why are the Ten Essences easier to soulcast?  The idea that the spren just naturally have an understanding exactly those ten things seems kind of strange.  Like, did the Shards just say "Hear ye, hear ye, all ye spren!  Ye shall have an innate understanding of these ten things!  For everything else...eh, do what you can, I guess?"

 

2) Why are the Ten Essences those particular things?  Why foil, say, and not metal?  Why spark and not heat or flame?  If you're going for the foundation -- the essence, if you will -- it seems like more fundamental, the better.  Foil, for instance, is simply a metal, beaten flat.  But the basic material is metal; foil is merely one thing you can make from it.  One would think the essence of the idea would be the metal, not the product derived from it.

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Maybe the Soulcast lavis testes different just because it's "pure" lavis.

 

I mean the lavis from two different farms recive probably differente external factors (sunlight exposition, atmosfere, they are feed differently, different parassite,ecc...) while the soulcasted one are simply created as "lavis" without all the step that may leave a trace in the Lavis's flavour

Edited by Yata
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You know, this brings up a couple of interesting questions:

1) Why are the Ten Essences easier to soulcast? The idea that the spren just naturally have an understanding exactly those ten things seems kind of strange. Like, did the Shards just say "Hear ye, hear ye, all ye spren! Ye shall have an innate understanding of these ten things! For everything else...eh, do what you can, I guess?"

2) Why are the Ten Essences those particular things? Why foil, say, and not metal? Why spark and not heat or flame? If you're going for the foundation -- the essence, if you will -- it seems like more fundamental, the better. Foil, for instance, is simply a metal, beaten flat. But the basic material is metal; foil is merely one thing you can make from it. One would think the essence of the idea would be the metal, not the product derived from it.

Well, the names are probably religious constructs to a certain extent. You can call them whatever you want and magic A will still be magic A.

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You know, this brings up a couple of interesting questions:

 

1) Why are the Ten Essences easier to soulcast?  The idea that the spren just naturally have an understanding exactly those ten things seems kind of strange.  Like, did the Shards just say "Hear ye, hear ye, all ye spren!  Ye shall have an innate understanding of these ten things!  For everything else...eh, do what you can, I guess?"

 

2) Why are the Ten Essences those particular things?  Why foil, say, and not metal?  Why spark and not heat or flame?  If you're going for the foundation -- the essence, if you will -- it seems like more fundamental, the better.  Foil, for instance, is simply a metal, beaten flat.  But the basic material is metal; foil is merely one thing you can make from it.  One would think the essence of the idea would be the metal, not the product derived from it.

 

There are so many possible answers to this. One of my favorites is that they are the ten essences because everything considers them to be the ten essences.

 

I think this is the only world so far to have a sort of "atomic theory" going on. I wonder what people on other worlds would find are the building blocks of matter on their worlds? The science of Roshar is actually super interesting - you have chemistry (the Ten Essences), physics (the Ten Surges), electrical engineering (Fabrial Science), biology (germ theory and such explained via observations of spren behavior), meteorology (the Stormwardens), and academia (the Ardentia). They have modern plumbing, lightbulbs, motion detectors, artificial temperature control, dehumidifiers, germ theory ("water repels rotspren"), and so on. It's really interesting! They're totally at the cusp of an industrial revolution. (I'm waiting for them to start using spanreeds as rudimentary printing presses - link a bunch of spanreeds to a single spanreed by putting tons of rubies in that "master" spanreed, then go scribe a book, writing multiple at once.)

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For conjoiner frabrials (and the opposite one, I forgot the name) you need to put in the energy to move both of the objects, so even if you can make one pencil move a lot of them it is going to cost you a lot of energy to move that pencil.

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You know, this brings up a couple of interesting questions:

 

1) Why are the Ten Essences easier to soulcast?  The idea that the spren just naturally have an understanding exactly those ten things seems kind of strange.  Like, did the Shards just say "Hear ye, hear ye, all ye spren!  Ye shall have an innate understanding of these ten things!  For everything else...eh, do what you can, I guess?"

 

2) Why are the Ten Essences those particular things?  Why foil, say, and not metal?  Why spark and not heat or flame?  If you're going for the foundation -- the essence, if you will -- it seems like more fundamental, the better.  Foil, for instance, is simply a metal, beaten flat.  But the basic material is metal; foil is merely one thing you can make from it.  One would think the essence of the idea would be the metal, not the product derived from it.

Maybe this is getting off topic, but I think just like the number 16 has special significance on Scadrial (and for the cosmere at large), the number 10 keeps coming up on Roshar. 10 silver kingdoms, 10 heralds, surges, orders of the KR, 10 evil mega-spren, the list goes on. It might be a chicken and egg type scenario, but it's definitely significant (do we know if there are only 10 groups of highspren for the 10 orders?). So maybe the 10 essences and the other 10s reflect something about the creation of Roshar or it's place in the cosmere. 

 

As for foil, maybe they understood "metal" as a whole to be made of layers of foil when they saw how it was formed while mining?

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It's fascinating to watch people, often grown adults, get so in-depth into the transformation of stone into grain.

Not to say I haven't had similar discussions. It's simply interesting to watch.

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Well, bakers often add stuff to their bread to change the taste. When you're feeding thousands of troops, you probably just throw in the bare essentials to make bread, which is why the bread tastes bland. The taste doesn't neccesarily have to come from the Soulcasting, just that the military cooks are bad/lazy.

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Imagine a soulcasting chef.  Someone who was REALLY REALLY good at soulcasting food stuffs.  I know the idea is not really relevant to the current discussion, but still...

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Imagine a soulcasting chef.  Someone who was REALLY REALLY good at soulcasting food stuffs.  I know the idea is not really relevant to the current discussion, but still...

 

What, you don't think those exist on Roshar? I'd imagine it's fairly common in any major city that uses Soulcasters for food to have at least one Ardent trained exclusively in "cooking" with Soulcasting.

 

 

I do have to say though that if they had access to Soulcasters, Iron Chef and other cooking contest shows would be infinitely more interesting to watch! "Today's mystery ingredient: scrap metal!"

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On the contrary, it would be most boring to watch. "Oh, more lavis... oh, more seeds... oh, grey grain. How exciting. The victory goes to the gentleman who fell asleep and surprised us with his scrap metal dish."

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It's fascinating to watch people, often grown adults, get so in-depth into the transformation of stone into grain.

Not to say I haven't had similar discussions. It's simply interesting to watch.

Sometimes you just gotta go full nerd :)

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There's a quote in WoR (My current "readthrough" is audiobook form, it's in either chapter 69 or 70) where they have flatbread from a pack. It's made from soulcast grain, and they can tell because of how it tastes. Apparently soulcast grain inherently tastes stale.

Edited by nikomis
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I do have to say though that if they had access to Soulcasters, Iron Chef and other cooking contest shows would be infinitely more interesting to watch! "Today's mystery ingredient: scrap metal!"

 

Interestingly in the interlude in Shinovar it was implied that practising turning random objects into Iron built transfereable skills into other soulcasting transformations, what with the can't have Ardents practising by making food line.

 

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