Ecthelion III

Why is Nightblood extra heavy?

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This is mentioned often at the beginning of the book. Has there been an official explanation? Since this is Brandon there's probably a science-y explanation other than it being made of tungsten or something.

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Some relevant WOB's

On how hard it would be to steel push things

Spoiler
QUESTION
[Paraphrased]How difficult would it be to Push on various things.

BRANDON SANDERSON

[Paraphrased]It depends on the amount of Investiture in the person/object.  Nightblood would be the hardest thing to Push on, harder than Shardblades.

It's the best I could find. Good question!

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Nightblood is one of the most heavily invested objects in the cosmere. That likely makes it much heavier than it should be. 

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Well, from the prologue:

Quote

From Vasher’s bag, a guard pulled free a long object wrapped in white linen. The man whistled as he unwrapped the cloth, revealing a long, thin-bladed sword in a silver sheath. The hilt was pure black. “Who do you suppose he stole this from?”“
Let me see that,” the lead guard said, taking the sword. He grunted, obviously surprised by its weight. He turned it about, noting the clasp that tied sheath to hilt, keeping the blade from being drawn.

The Sheath is probably silver in color as opposed to actual silver, but the sheath is entirely metal. According the Vasher and Vivienna's statements: the blade is nearly 4ft long, making the all-metal sheath 4 feet long. That's gonna add a chunk of weight.

Quote

He stepped around the pool of blood—which was seeping down the inclined dungeon floor—and moved into the guard room. The three guards lay dead. One of them sat in a chair. Nightblood, still mostly sheathed, had been rammed through the man’s chest. About an inch of a dark black blade was visible beneath the silver sheath.

Whatever metal the sheath is made of can withstand being impaled into a person(multiple times in this book), so that might be even more weight for the purpose of sturdiness.


As a separate point, Nightblood was made for someone with the proportions of a Returned, who are notable larger than normal people. I wouldn't be surprised if that makes the blade "heavier" from the perspective of people who use normal sized swords.

Edit: my point is that I think the weight is all in the larger size of the sword and the all-metal sheath, as opposed to it being Invested.

Edited by The One Who Connects
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@The One Who Connects

I believe Nightblood is unnaturally heavy.

Quote

Of course, that didn’t take Nightblood into account. Vasher moved through the crowds, carrying the overly heavy sword in one hand, sheathed point nearly dragging on the ground behind him.
Chapter 5

 

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1 hour ago, Oversleep said:

@The One Who Connects

I believe Nightblood is unnaturally heavy.

 

This is the impression I always got as well. It seems relevant that typical Spren Shardblades are unnaturally light. I strongly suspect that Nightblood's weight is directly related to his corrupted Investiture.

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20 minutes ago, The Sovereign said:

This is the impression I always got as well. It seems relevant that typical Spren Shardblades are unnaturally light. I strongly suspect that Nightblood's weight is directly related to his corrupted Investiture.

I always imagined that Shardblades are light because they are formed only of the investiture in physical form. 

Nightblood on the other hand has the weight of the material he was made from, plus the weight of the investiture's manifestation.

SA

Spoiler

When the Bridgeman get to use Shardblades they speak of how they're heavier than was expected. Zahel explains that they are only light in comparison to a regular sword.

If you were to add their already significant weight to the material of a regular sword, they would be exceptionally heavy, just as Nightblood is described. 

 

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First, were the Bands of mourning or Vivi's 300-breath scarf described as unnaturally heavy?  I get that Nightblood is more heavily Invested, but I'm thinking there's a physical explanation for Nightblood being "overly heavy" rather than a magical one:

Based on the dimensions estimated from in book descriptions, Nightblood would've weighed about 5 pounds prior to being awakened.  This is pretty dang heavy for a sword, but it was being made for a Returned, so the weight wasn't really a problem.

Nightblood has an all-metal sheath, which, near as I can tell, is super weird for a sword as big as he is.  If you're used to handling blades with leather or wooden sheaths, Nightblood would take you by surprise when you hefted it.  By my best guess, Nightblood's sheath should weigh somewhere between the total weight of its blade, ~3.3 pounds, and its total weight, ~5 pounds.  Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, whatever.

Nightblood is big; bigger than is practical in most situations in fact.  This makes him impractically heavy.  A person picking up Nightblood, especially if they were familiar with swords, would be taken by surprise because they probably wouldn't expect it to be impractically heavy.

Note, the lower gravity on Roshar, should make Nightblood much more usable by normal sized people, but still pretty significant.  We'll have a better feel for how heavy Nightblood really is once we get some Szeth POV's.  :ph34r:

TLDR;

According to in-book descriptions of his size Nightblood weighs about as much as a bowling ball.  If Nightblood's Investiture contributes to his weight it's probably by a relatively small amount, otherwise, even a master swordsman would have difficulty wielding Nightblood effectively if they were under 7-feet tall, because it would be so unbalanced for their size.  If you need convincing, see how long you can hold a bowling ball with your arms extended. :D

Edited by hwiles
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@hwiles I agree with almost everything you wrote.

But I had the impression that Nightblood gives a boost to his holder while He holds It (Also with his cover in) as the damage Nightblood could produce is incredibile High of an edgeless weapon (also with the increased Weight).

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3 hours ago, Yata said:

@hwiles I agree with almost everything you wrote.

But I had the impression that Nightblood gives a boost to his holder while He holds It (Also with his cover in) as the damage Nightblood could produce is incredibile High of an edgeless weapon (also with the increased Weight).

I'm pretty sure Nightblood does increase the physical strength of its wielder a bit, otherwise, I have trouble finding it possible that a regular man was able to ram the sheathed blade through his chest.

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Yep, it's confirmed that Nightblood can increase the wielders strength without being drawn, however, it seems like he doesn't always. Not sure we know enough yet to say when and how this power works or what it's bounds are.

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4 hours ago, Spoolofwhool said:

I'm pretty sure Nightblood does increase the physical strength of its wielder a bit, otherwise, I have trouble finding it possible that a regular man was able to ram the sheathed blade through his chest.

Yeah that is an istance where the human strenght can't be enough (well maybe with Hysterical strenght but I find unlikely).

4 hours ago, hwiles said:

Yep, it's confirmed that Nightblood can increase the wielders strength without being drawn, however, it seems like he doesn't always. Not sure we know enough yet to say when and how this power works or what it's bounds are.

Probably Nightblood needs a decent Bond with the Holder to boost him/her. So it could boost Vasher regardless of be drawn or not as He could boost the "possessed guys" but a random holder of a covered Nightblood will not get the boost.

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12 minutes ago, Yata said:

Yeah that is an istance where the human strenght can't be enough (well maybe with Hysterical strenght but I find unlikely).

Probably Nightblood needs a decent Bond with the Holder to boost him/her. So it could boost Vasher regardless of be drawn or not as He could boost the "possessed guys" but a random holder of a covered Nightblood will not get the boost.

I'm not sure I agree that Vasher gets a boost from a sheathed Nightblood.  Obviously we just don't know for sure, but it seems to me that Nightblood probably only boosts people when he is, as I believe it is described on the wiki and in the annotations, "wielding his user."  IE: I would speculate that Nightblood only strengthens people when he is filling them with bloodlust and screaming in their heads to "destroy evil."  This happens when he "possesses" people he considers evil, or when someone draws him.

Can't know for sure, and I'll be happy either way, just wanted to toss that out there for the crowd.

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I would be tempted to say that there is probably a connection between the weight of the blade and the fact that it was made by Vasher/ Warbreaker the Peaceful who is Returned. His naturally increased strength as a returned would explain the reason that he might have forged a blade which he as a Returned could wield effectively. Alternatively or perhaps connected he would perhaps not want ordinary people to simply wield it.

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I think too, that since Nightblood was modeled after shardblades, which are unnaturally large swords themselves, it makes sense that they'd make it a large sword. At least in my mind.

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Since this thread died off a few weeks ago it has been pointed out to me that Nightblood's sheath is widely speculated to be made of aluminum, not steel like the rest of him was probably forged out of.  This sort of throws a wrench in my earlier analysis.

Considering that an aluminum sheath could be flattened and shaped much more finely than a wooden one without losing structural stability and aluminum is about 1/3 the density of steel, it might actually weigh less than someone would expect, maybe as little as 1-1.5 pounds, rather than the 3.3 I proposed earlier.

Further, it's been confirmed that Nightblood is much more highly Invested than can be accounted for simply from the 1,000 Breaths originally used in his creation.  Basically, I think the door is much more open as to whether or not his Investiture has significant weight than I originally argued in this thread.  For any new readers, I apologize if my flip-flop is confusing; I'll avoid going into politics.

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27 minutes ago, hwiles said:

For any new readers, I apologize if my flip-flop is confusing; I'll avoid going into politics.

Your honest explanation and ability to admit you could be wrong seem to be much more of an impediment to that career than a mere position change. 

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The explanation that has seemingly stuck to this is the investiture idea. I find it interesting especially in light of the difficulty that exists in effecting heavily invested objects in general. Perhaps weight has something to do with it. Invested weight translating physical weight maybe?

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Not sure if this makes sense but could it be that Nightblood has significantly more presence in the Physical realm compared to the Cognitive realm? So a certain amount of mass/Investiture(?) that would normally be in the Cognitive realm is now in the Physical realm.  

Stormlight Archives Spoilers:

Spoiler

Like the opposite of Lift. 

That might help account for the unnatural weight as well as why Nightblood can't shapeshift (as far we know). Of course that would also mean that the above character would be lighter than expected and unfortunately I don't think there is any evidence of that.

But on the other hand, normal shardblades probably have a bigger presence in the Cognitive realm compared to the Physical realm and if my theory is correct, that is why it is lighter than it should be.  

 

I don't think having extra investiture leads to increased weight. If that was the case the God King would breaking the floor every time he steps and probably would have crushed Siri.  

Edited by shadowwisp
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The last part may end up being a question of invested object vs person in that storage in an object I would think is different in its impact or alternatively the pure over saturation of investiture of Nightblood makes it unique when compared to even ordinary invested objects.

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If investiture makes things heavy, do you think Returned are extra heavy? What about a Radiant channeling investiture? A Mistborn in a pushing battle? It's those last two that makes this idea of investiture= weight unlikely. Vin still looses pushing battles, and there is no mention of Kaladin feeling that he falls extra fast when he is falling from that bridge above the chasm. I feel like if an invested object is heavy, an invested person would be heavy as well.

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Nightblood is not your average invested object. Even if it were with all due respect invested objects are not at all the same as people using investiture. Metalminds are quite difficult to push. Invested spikes cannot be pushed at all. Invested objects hold investiture in storage users only hold it for a few moments or at most a couple of hours. That would not be time enough for any real change to occur in the physical makeup. Nightblood holds investiture in spades to the degree that we have never seen in anything in the whole of the cosmere it is unique and possibly in many ways is similar to other invested objects.

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Matter is more empty space than it is solid. 

I don't think it's an issue of him merely being invested, I think that the solid investiture

SA spoilers 

Spoiler

Like that of a Shardblade 

Has actually filled in the gaps between molecules. 

Nightblood has all the matter that made up the physical sword from which he was made, and is denser, due to the solid investiture filling in those molecular gaps. 

Investiture should weigh nothing unless it is in a physical form. 

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1 minute ago, Calderis said:

Matter is more empty space than it is solid. 

I don't think it's an issue of him merely being invested, I think that the solid investiture

SA spoilers 

  Reveal hidden contents

Like that of a Shardblade 

Has actually filled in the gaps between molecules. 

Nightblood has all the matter that made up the physical sword from which he was made, and is denser, due to the solid investiture filling in those molecular gaps. 

Investiture should weigh nothing unless it is in a physical form. 

I slightly disagree with that last statement.

I hate physics terminology, but I'll try anyway. Investiture should have mass. Matter is the stuff that is most "heavy", but energy technically warps space time as well (which is my definition of mass right now). Investiture should too. We don t know what the analog equation is for the Cosmere (im going with E=Mc^2=[unknown constant]I). 

But I don't think that the "mass" of the investiture is enough to make Nightblood extra heavy. I think it's just... a big sword. 

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14 minutes ago, Flash said:

I slightly disagree with that last statement.

(I can't ping you on mobile so disregard the quote please) 

The reason I say this is because we've seen some insanely invested objects. One in particular in Mistborn Era 2 was a completely innocuous lump of metal that, other than Nightblood is probably the most invested thing we've seen, period. There was no odd weight to it. And Nightblood is described specifically as heavier than expected "for a sword of its size." 

I don't doubt that there is a mass to investiture. I agree, but I believe due to other objects as stated above, that that value is so low as to be imperceptible if it's not been converted into a physical state.

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