Cuaiir

The Three Parts of Magic

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During my Warbreaker reread, I noticed something that we always seem to forget about Awakening - that it uses color. My brain went a little crazy and made some connections I hadn't seen around here, and I got something new. We focus so much on the Breath and how that fits with Endowment's Intent, we miss some pretty heavy Realmatic Theory. Check this out.

Each magic system has three parts, and each part corresponds with a Realm. Here's Awakening:

Physical - color!

Cognitive - the Command

Spiritual - Breath

The Three Metallic Arts:

Physical - metal

Cognitive - burning, tapping/storing, spike location

Spiritual - power, from Preservation, self, or others

After these two, the theory starts to break down, but that's mostly because we don't know anywhere near enough:

Sel magics, specifically AonDor:

Physical - the act of drawing the Aon

Cognitive - the meaning behind the Aon

Spiritual - the Dor

Rosharian magics, like Lashing and Soulcasting:

Physical - physical contact between the magic user and what he/she is trying to affect

Cognitive - the will to make it happen, possibly through bonding with a spren

Spiritual - Stormlight

another observation, which was pointed out to me, is the order in which magic happens. You need metal before you can burn it, and color before you can give the Command. It's only after the Physical requirement is met that the Cognitive component can come into effect, and only after those two parts finish can the Spiritual part finish the magic.

so for Awakening, it would look something like this:

1. touch color (P)

2. give Command ©

3. release Breath (S)

4. Awakening complete.

and for Allomancy:

1. swallow metal (P)

2. make your body burn the metal ©

3. release Preservation's power (S)

4. Allomancy complete.

again, this breaks down a bit once we hit Sel and Roshar. You're all smart enough to put together those steps, so I'm not going to here.

Another thing I notice as I write this is that in Awakening, Allomancy, AonDor, and Soulcasting the physical component is used up. I'm not sure what this means, but it is an interesting point.

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I've got something more on Elantris- they had to be trying to make Aons in order to make them. Otherwise, their fingers would constantly be lighting up. They may not have to know the meaning behind the Aons, but they do have to be trying to make Aons.

Another thing- Allomancy doesn't really use up the metal. It breaks it down, but the metal is all still there. If you want a reference, I can find one.

Another thing on Cognitive- Brandon has recently said that being a magic user on Roshar is determined by what you do (or possible think), not by your genetics. These decisions could be the cognitive aspect. I am also prone to think of the Physical characteristic as being the Stormlight, with the Spiritual being the Power of Creation (or Honor/Cultivation/Odium) behind the Stormlight. Just becuase it is mystical doesn't mean that it isn't physical

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Another thing- Allomancy doesn't really use up the metal. It breaks it down, but the metal is all still there. If you want a reference, I can find one.

Ooh, I'd really like that quote.

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I've got something more on Elantris- they had to be trying to make Aons in order to make them. Otherwise, their fingers would constantly be lighting up. They may not have to know the meaning behind the Aons, but they do have to be trying to make Aons.

Another thing- Allomancy doesn't really use up the metal. It breaks it down, but the metal is all still there. If you want a reference, I can find one.

Another thing on Cognitive- Brandon has recently said that being a magic user on Roshar is determined by what you do (or possible think), not by your genetics. These decisions could be the cognitive aspect. I am also prone to think of the Physical characteristic as being the Stormlight, with the Spiritual being the Power of Creation (or Honor/Cultivation/Odium) behind the Stormlight. Just becuase it is mystical doesn't mean that it isn't physical

I agree on the first and last note, but I've never heard of metals not actually being expended. Citation definitely needed. I'll believe it when I see it.

I really like the idea behind this theory. I've never understood why Awakening must require color in order to work, and this seems like a clear explanation. It's a different way to understand how the magics operate, certainly.

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Searching the Brandonothology...

Fail. I must have thought about the question, tussled with someone about it, and then came to a conclusion. Or maybe I asked Brandon personally. Either way, it's not for sure.

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Along with everyone else, I'd also like the quote on the metals not being expended, since some of the Allomantic metals are toxic if left in the digestive tract. I think I even remember a Kelsier quote about that. I'm not sure how you could break down any of the pulling metals, since they are all elements on the periodic table.

Fair points on the Cognitive for both Selian and Rosharian magics, I had forgotten about both of those. I'm still going to debate with you on the Physical of Rosharian magics, since that touch is necessary for Lashings and Soulcasting. As evidence, look at Szeth's intro where he has to touch the guards to Lash them and Jasnah's Soulcasting near the end of the book, transforming the strawberry jam and bread.

It did go Touch > will through spren bond > release of Stormlight. If my assumptions are correct, then if Stormlight were the Physical aspect Szeth could have filled the people with Light before touching them, willed them Lashed, and then touched them to finish the Lashing. That doesn't fit with what we know.

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Well I remember the question, even if I can't find the answer. By 'breaking up' the metal, it just means breaking it into smaller chunks of the same metal (as our digestive system usually does with most things), rather than breaking it into atomic particles, or even straight into energy.

And touch isn't always needed. Doesn't Jasnah Soulcasts someone from a distance when she's getting mugged?

Here it is: WoK page 534

Stormlight shot from Jasnah's hand like twin bolts of lightning, symmetrical
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Yeah, I would have remembered something like that in the Brandonothology. This requires more direct questioning from Brandon.

Obviously, atium doesn't do this. It seems to directly vaporize into power. This could explain in a very simple way why atium burns so fast. Still, it's too mind-boggling for me right now. I guess I now know what I'd do if I could kidnap Brandon for fifteen minutes...

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Yeah, I would have remembered something like that in the Brandonothology. This requires more direct questioning from Brandon.

Obviously, atium doesn't do this. It seems to directly vaporize into power. This could explain in a very simple way why atium burns so fast. Still, it's too mind-boggling for me right now. I guess I now know what I'd do if I could kidnap Brandon for fifteen minutes...

But then why does pewter burn really fast?

I don't really believe that the metal does not get expended.

Also, since Brandon said that actions determine power on Roshar, then, I believe, the action would be the physical component.

Edited by Emeralis00
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I can't really see how it would get vaporized. I mean there is a massive amount of energy in each milligram of matter, and if it is all expended into "slighty enhancing your senses" then that is a collossal waste of energy. Think of nuclear power plants.

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Brandon said that the metals act as a focus for the power of preservation. Is it possible that that language might also apply to colors in Warbreaker, or is the only similarity their physical aspect?

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Brandon said that the metals act as a focus for the power of preservation. Is it possible that that language might also apply to colors in Warbreaker, or is the only similarity their physical aspect?

Brandon explicitly told me the focuses in Awakening were the Commands.

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And touch isn't always needed. Doesn't Jasnah Soulcasts someone from a distance when she's getting mugged?

Here it is: WoK page 534

Quote

Stormlight shot from Jasnah's hand like twin bolts of lightning, symmetrical

Yes, and Shallan is very surprised. I think that is the only instance of Soulcasting or Infusing without touch. This is significant, Brandon clearly planted that instance to give us something to think about (or as foreshadowing, it doesn't have to be all about us).

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Brandon clearly planted that instance to give us something to think about (or as foreshadowing, it doesn't have to be all about us).

ohmy.gif it...it doesn't? *tears*

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This does bear further thought, and we especially need an answer to what happens metals once they are burned.

Again, part of the reason this breaks down once we attempt to apply it to Rosharian and Selian magics is that we simply do not know enough about them. We've seen Windrunners in action the most, and that is what I drew the original portions of this theory from - they need to touch everything. Obviously, Jasnah gives us an example that runs completely counter to that, yet it does not change what Szeth and Kaladin do. If I recall correctly, Windrunners manipulate the Surges of Gravity and Pressure; we have no idea what Surges Soulcasters like Jasnah or Shallan manipulate.

I do want to know more about the focuses for each system. The Three Metallic Arts all share a focus in metal, while Nalthis' magic (including Returned, Nightblood, and Awakening) focuses on the Commands. We don't know the focuses for Selian or Rosharian magics, and that would help us greatly in... everything, really.

Huh, I wonder if when he published Elantris, Brandon anticipated so many fans all trying to pick apart and understand his magic systems.

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Transformation is one of the Surges they use

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I suspect that the Aons would be the focuses of Elantrian magic, and maybe the bone formations the focus of the Dahkor magic (in other words, the focus of Selian magic is the symbols).

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I suspect that the Aons would be the focuses of Elantrian magic, and maybe the bone formations the focus of the Dahkor magic (in other words, the focus of Selian magic is the symbols).

cuneiform?

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Again, part of the reason this breaks down once we attempt to apply it to Rosharian and Selian magics is that we simply do not know enough about them. We've seen Windrunners in action the most, and that is what I drew the original portions of this theory from - they need to touch everything.

In the prologue, when Szeth Full-Lashes the door shut, it seems to describe him flinging the power at the door, not actually touching it.

Fell

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I like this theory a lot. I was thinking along similar lines about the use of color, how easily forgettable and seemingly peripheral to the magic it is, yet it would be unlike Brandon to include something that wasn't absolutely necessary and there for good reason! I hadn't put together that each magic system could have three parts, but this feels right to me and matches what we know about the three realms.

I do not agree about touching being the physical component on Roshar, though. Prior to reading this thread, I was thinking about the similarities between metal, color, and Stormlight:

- All commonly exist in the world, but are inert until activated by a magic user.

- All are consumed when magic is performed.

- Magic cannot be done without them. Vin with no metal, Vasher with no color, or Szeth with no Stormlight, are all equally helpless.

- All can be stored in some way, and are frequently carried around by magic users. Metal in vials or inside the body, Awakeners wearing colorful scarves, Stormlight captured in gemstones or (rarely and imperfectly) inside the body.

I'm less clear on this, but I also see parallels between Breath and spren. Intangible things, somehow important in activating magic, not themselves sentient but somehow linked to sentience or enhance it in some way. The way all spren are identical and have no memories, but then Syl develops a unique personality after becoming attached to Kaladin, reminds me of how Breath can be transferred between people, but it does not transfer specific memories or abilities while doing so (all Breaths are fundamentally alike, in the same way as all spren?) I don't feel like we understand enough about spren to judge if this is a true similarity, but will be interested to keep it in mind as we learn more.

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Apparently there were two KR Orders who practiced Soulcasting, which would infer both that it is a Surgebinding for definite, and that there would be four separate Surges between the two Orders, Transformation being just one.

I would also go as far to assume with the entire Three Parts thing, that the bond with a spren is extremely important. Take fabrials, for example. They require a spren to do what they do, trapped in the gem and infused by Stromlight, inferring that without the spren the process couldn't occur. For example, the Soulcasting fabrial. It is, most likely, a machinated version of what Shallan and Jasnah can do. They have a bond with a symbolspren, which I will assume for the sake of argument is what is inside a Soulcaster, and so does the fabrial. It can access one Surge, Transformation. This implies that, an odd comparison I know, like metals in the Metallic Arts, they are a specialized version of specific abilities.

In the Spiritual Realm, both metals and fabrials (through the spren bond) have access to a Spiritual process through the responsible Shard, albeit Odium, Honor, Cultivation, Ruin or Preservation. However, when access to this sort of power in the Spiritual Realm is given a less concrete flow, lets say, Kaladin's Nahel bond, or the Well of Ascension, then the access slot expands and gives a wider range of Surges, in this case. Like Brandon has said, when Preservation's power was given a less dense and clear label, ie solid, it become something more vague in the access it gives, ie the mists giving Vin all Allomantic abilities.

And so the Parts would go in Roshar:

Action>Personality>Nahel Bond

subsequently followed by (eventually)

Ideal/Truth spoken(?)/touch>Shadesmar/Will/communication with spren>release of spiritual power/Surge

In my theory, fabrials just falsely activate the first stage, giving you access to the second. But because you cannot talk to the spren you have trapped, touch is necessary. This is why Jasnah didn't need touch. In regards to the communicated with spren aspect of the second process this is the case for Soulcasting, I think, such as when Shallan talks to the (spren of?) the goblet to get the Transformation Surge to affect it?

This is very whacky. Read at peril.

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As far as the metals go, I'd assumed Burning them worked kinda like burning Atium.

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

When a metal is burned it becomes raw power focused in one area, the more power it puts out the faster it burns.

Once the metal has burned that power goes back to its origin point-In the planet.- From there it can be mined again, and used later.

Or at least that's my theory.

Now my question.

Shallan's painting ability is almost certainly supernatural. How does that work with the theory.

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Her painting ability? It is most likely connected to this ability to create a Memory. I have just been struck with an odd bolt of inspiration. Bare with me. I'm odd.

Lets say that Shallan's ability to take a memory is a Cognitive Aspect. Thus, the painting/drawing she creates much be a Physical Result. Using this Three Parts of Magic theorem, this would be the following pattern (first an example from Mistborn as to how a Physical as opposed to Spiritual Result is reached):

Spiritual Input>Cognitive Aspect>Physical Result

And so allomancy:

Focus of Allomancy (metal)>Burning (Cognitive)>Strength,speed,sight,etc. (ie pewter burning)

Hemalurgy:

Metal>Placement>Storing

And finally, Shallan's drawing:

Spiritual Focus>Memory>Drawing

Now the spiritual focus could be Stormlight. But she doesn't seem to expend any around her (does she?) like Kaladin.

Then again, it could be the spren connection. But what spren? Symbolspren? Unlikely. Maybe Creationspren? They're always around...? I doubt it. But I feel this focus is important, as it could give us a pathway to the focus of magic on Roshar!

Discuss.

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Her painting ability? It is most likely connected to this ability to create a Memory. I have just been struck with an odd bolt of inspiration. Bare with me. I'm odd.

Lets say that Shallan's ability to take a memory is a Cognitive Aspect. Thus, the painting/drawing she creates much be a Physical Result. Using this Three Parts of Magic theorem, this would be the following pattern (first an example from Mistborn as to how a Physical as opposed to Spiritual Result is reached):

Spiritual Input>Cognitive Aspect>Physical Result

And so allomancy:

Focus of Allomancy (metal)>Burning (Cognitive)>Strength,speed,sight,etc. (ie pewter burning)

Hemalurgy:

Metal>Placement>Storing

And finally, Shallan's drawing:

Spiritual Focus>Memory>Drawing

Now the spiritual focus could be Stormlight. But she doesn't seem to expend any around her (does she?) like Kaladin.

Then again, it could be the spren connection. But what spren? Symbolspren? Unlikely. Maybe Creationspren? They're always around...? I doubt it. But I feel this focus is important, as it could give us a pathway to the focus of magic on Roshar!

Discuss.

Aren't the weird things she sees Truthspren? Could it be that she is inherantly connected with truth and that one of the forms of magic is involved with that? It all seems connected. But I don't know how to connect the dots.

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I'm sorry for the confusion: truthspren and symbolspren are the same thing. They just don't have a distinctive (official) name, and so they are called what people feel like. Usually one of these: symbolspren, symbolheads or truthspren.

Though, interestingly, her personality type links through Blood (which she is shown to have a certain tendency to when she Soulcasts, ie goblet>blood) as Creative/Honest. Also the linked Herald, Shalash, clearly has a similar name to Shallan. So maybe it is this 'honesty' (although she doesn't seem honest) which attracts the truthspren, as I will now call them, to her in the first place, giving her access to Shadesmar and the Surge of Transformation in much the same way as Kaladin gains his power over the Basic, Full and Reverse Lashing Surges through Syl, an honorspren.

And perhaps the truthspren respond to truth like Syl responded to Kaladin's use of the Second Oath (honorspren>oath)?

Edited by Odium's_Shard
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