BlackYeti

[OB] Voidbinding Bonds

9 posts in this topic

So, I recently posted in the chapters 22-24 reaction thread about Kaladin's conversation with the Voidspren and compared it to the conversation that Dalinar had with the Radiant in his first vision in WoK. After thinking about it some more, I felt that it deserved its own topic.

Quote

“Would you fight for us, deserter?” she asked.

“Would I be allowed?”

“My kind aren’t nearly as inclined toward discrimination as yours. If you can carry a spear and take orders, then I certainly wouldn’t turn you away.” She folded her arms, smiling in a strangely knowing way. “The final decision won’t be mine. I am but a messenger.”

Quote

“No words for me, I see,” the knight said. “Very well. But should you wish to put that mysterious training of yours to use, come to Urithiru.”

“Urithiru?” Dalinar said. He’d heard that name somewhere.

“Yes,” the knight said. “I cannot promise you a position in one of the orders—that decision is not mine—but if your skill with the sword is similar to your skill with hearth-tending implements, then I am confident you will find a place with us.”

The Way of Kings - Chapter 19, Starfalls

Given the similarity between these two conversations, I suspect that the Voidspren was talking about Kaladin's potential as a Voidbinder, just as the Radiant was talking about "Dalinar's" potential as a Radiant. So, let's use that as our base assumption. Why then, could the spren not offer to bond Kaladin herself. Obviously, the Radiant couldn't make such an offer since he wasn't a spren, but that isn't really an issue here. There are three possibilities that I can think of:

  1. The spren was lying, so as to test Kaladin's reactions.
  2. The spren is the wrong type of Voidspren and therefore has to leave it to a different spren.
  3. The spren is already bonded to someone.

I would like to focus on the third possibility here since I think that it's the most interesting, and it would explain something that otherwise doesn't make much sense.

How is the spren sapient? Every other sapient spren that we have ever seen has either remained Shadesmar or has been bonded to someone. This even extends to other worlds. (Elantris spoilers)

Spoiler

Consider the seons: every seon we have ever seen has been bonded with someone. However, following the Reod, for anyone taken by the Shaod who was bonded to a seon, their seon apparently lost their sapience and started acting much like the lesser spren that we see on Roshar all the time.

So, how can this spren be sapient? The obvious answer is that she's bonded to someone. In that case, who could she have bonded? There are no obvious candidates, after all. If we assume that the Voidspren bond acts anything like the Nahel bond, then, firstly, given her level of intelligence, she must have been bonded to someone for quite a while at this point (which rules out the listeners). And secondly, that person must be nearby in order for her to retain her sapience. But then how is it that we haven't seen this person?

Well, the person in question has to be a Voidbinder, so an obvious possibility is that they are hiding themself by the use of Voidbinding. However, as we basically know nothing of what Voidbinding can do, I'll refrain from speculating on the precise mechanism that they are using to do that.

Another possibility is that the Voidspren bond does not work precisely like the Nahel bond. Perhaps the way that the Radiantspren slowly awake to sapience is the result of Cultivation's influence, and in a system in which Cultivation plays no part, the spren instead awaken to full sapience immediately, in which case it could be as simple as one of the listeners being the Voidbinder. Or the Voidbinder actually isn't nearby at all. This possibility is far less helpful for making predictions than the former, unfortunately.

In any event, I am intrigued by the fact the spren is interested in Kaladin. What does it say that there is overlap in the groups of people who are suitable to attract a Radiantspren, and people who are suitable to attract a Voidspren?

And could it be that we have finally "seen" Voidbinding, as far as it is possible to see that which is hidden, at any rate?

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It would be interesting to see if surgebinding and voidbinding are truly mutually exclusive. Now I want to see Kaladin become a dualbinder...

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7 minutes ago, Knight Oblivion said:

It would be interesting to see if surgebinding and voidbinding are truly mutually exclusive. Now I want to see Kaladin become a dualbinder...

I think they're mutually exclusive in the way Listener Forms are mutually exclusive. The bonded Spren fills the Spiritweb cracks, preventing another Spren from bonding.

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@The One Who Connects this may not be totally true, though. It is possible for a KR to bond two spren, they would just have the added burden of maintaining two distinct sets of oaths. Since we don't know the mechanics of becoming a Voidbinder, it may still be possible for there to be an overlap.

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I'm not sure if I agree with the argument that because a voidspren is sapient that it must be bonded to someone. We know that Odium currently resides on Braize, and that according to Khriss Braize is home to "an ecosystem of self-aware splinters (local parlance would call them spren)." To me those spren living on the planet Kaladin equates to damnation seem very likely to be voidspren. Given that they are the only inhabitants of the planet, this would seem to be evidence of sapience without any bond (assuming they are on the physical realm in Braize. Khriss never specifies, but it does seem to be implied). We don't know enough about voidspren to say if they would follow the same rules for sapience or bonding. I do really like the idea of a voidspren trying to recruit Kal, though. Could make for an interesting subplot and you did a great job on the intro to the theory.

 

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I pointed this out in Discord Soon After the chaoters' release.

I believe the Spren is bonded with One of the Listener there (don't ask me Why...but One of the child) and She is fully Sapient because like Wyndle, She took precaution plus She used also the Everstorm to make the transition... together those things minimized her loss.

@Valhalla Indeed I believe Khriss was referring to a Splinters ecosystem in the Cognitive. Probably there isn't much in Braize'S PR

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I like the idea of the Spren trying to recruit Kaladin - it’s entierely possible that they require the same spiritweb cracks to bind as do regular Spren. 

 

However, the bonding (especially long term bonding) of the voidspren is not confirmed. We have seen sapient unbounded Spren in the physical realm (night watcher, stormfather pre-Dalinar). 

We also know that perpendicularities ease transitions between realms. It’s entirely possible that this holds true for Spren - thus if we assume the everstorm to be Odium’s new perpendicularity it is no stretch to imagine that voidspren could make that jump with their intellect intact (this may explain the lack of voidspren - a theory I have coalescing). 

Finally, we don’t know much about voidspren at all. They could be fundamentally different in operation - especially with the ‘ecosystem on Braize’. 

 

All in all your theory is entirely possible, and really interesting, but far from the only reasonable explanation - so we must be cautious. 

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My personal theory is that the ability for a spren to choose and its sapience can be tied to the Shard. If the Vessel is alive, s/he has final say in whether or not a bond may occur and can also affect how sapient the spren is. This would explain a number of things:

  1. Ability for listeners to form Nahel bonds. It wasn't done traditionally according to WoB. Under this theory, that means that Honor didn't allow his Splinters to bond with listeners. With Tanavast dead, each Splinter of Honor can make the choice who they will bond. Additionally, with Rayse alive, it's his choice who the voidspren bonds.
  2. Sapience of various types of spren. Any spren which is partly Honor will have a harder time transitioning to the PR. They'll be missing part of a Connection which grants them intelligence. As the Nahel bond strengthens (e.g. more oaths are made), the spren gains a stronger Connection, and thus regain their intelligence. Voidspren, on the other hand, have an undamaged Connection to Odium and, thus, can transition to the PR without losing sapience.
  3. Dearth of subspren in many of Dalinar's visions. Until Honor was shattered, the only spren with existed were those which could form Nahel bonds. After Honor was shattered, some of his power was pushed out of the SR in a manner similar to (but not exactly like) what Odium did to Dominion and Devotion. This resulted in small Splinters which could transition from CR to PR; however, in the PR, they lack a Connection to a mind in the PR, so they are not sapient. These would be the all the different types of subspren we see.
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15 hours ago, Knight Oblivion said:

It would be interesting to see if surgebinding and voidbinding are truly mutually exclusive. Now I want to see Kaladin become a dualbinder...

I agree with @The One Who Connects, I wasn't meaning to imply that Kaladin could become a Voidbinder as well as a Surgebinder. Either the Voidspren is, at least partially unaware of his bond to Syl, or she is going to try and break it. Given Syl's reaction to the Voidspren, there is absolutely no way that she would be happy with Kaladin bonding a Voidspren. While the spren may be attracted to the same people initially, I would be very surprised if they did not then lead them down very different paths.

I suspect that the only way that we might see "dualbinding", is if a Voidbinder gets their hands on an Honourblade, or there's a Voidbinding equivalent to the Honourblades and the reverse happens.

12 hours ago, Valhalla said:

I'm not sure if I agree with the argument that because a voidspren is sapient that it must be bonded to someone. We know that Odium currently resides on Braize, and that according to Khriss Braize is home to "an ecosystem of self-aware splinters (local parlance would call them spren)." To me those spren living on the planet Kaladin equates to damnation seem very likely to be voidspren. Given that they are the only inhabitants of the planet, this would seem to be evidence of sapience without any bond (assuming they are on the physical realm in Braize. Khriss never specifies, but it does seem to be implied). We don't know enough about voidspren to say if they would follow the same rules for sapience or bonding. I do really like the idea of a voidspren trying to recruit Kal, though. Could make for an interesting subplot and you did a great job on the intro to the theory.

 

There's a couple of ways that we could approach this from. @Yata has already stated that he think's it's referring to Braize in the Cognitive Realm, and I agree with him, not least because of the fact that Khriss has stated that some of them may be Cognitive Shadows, and every Cognitive Shadow that we have seen has been in the Cognitive Realm. Shadows for Silence spoilers

Spoiler

Even the shades of Threnody, which are the most physical Cognitive Shadows that we've seen, still exist mostly in the Cognitive Realm.

I'm sure that if I don't mention it, someone will bring up that the Heralds and the Returned are technically Cognitive Shadows, the difference there is that they have been given bodies, and most people wouldn't consider them to be spren, (although I suppose that could be another possibility, Cognitive Shadows with bodies).

The other approach we could take would be to consider what precisely Khriss meant when she said that the splinters of Braize were self-aware. As is often pointed out on these forums, self-aware and sapient are not synonyms. Sapience is essentially higher intelligence such as is only observed in humans (in our universe). Self-awareness, on the other hand, is simply the ability to recognise that you exist separately from those around you and from the environment itself. Unlike Sapience, this is observed in many animals. I think it's unclear whether or not it could be applied to the lesser spren or not.

11 hours ago, Erunion said:

However, the bonding (especially long term bonding) of the voidspren is not confirmed. We have seen sapient unbounded Spren in the physical realm (night watcher, stormfather pre-Dalinar). 

We also know that perpendicularities ease transitions between realms. It’s entirely possible that this holds true for Spren - thus if we assume the everstorm to be Odium’s new perpendicularity it is no stretch to imagine that voidspren could make that jump with their intellect intact (this may explain the lack of voidspren - a theory I have coalescing). 

Finally, we don’t know much about voidspren at all. They could be fundamentally different in operation - especially with the ‘ecosystem on Braize’. 

 

All in all your theory is entirely possible, and really interesting, but far from the only reasonable explanation - so we must be cautious. 

I've been avoiding bringing up the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher since there's still much we don't understand about the former, and we know virtually nothing about the latter. They do seem to be following different rules to the other spren, but we don't really know enough to theorise on why.

As for spren passing through Perpendicularities, I don't think that this is possible since they do not have physical bodies with which to pass through. Mistborn: Secret History spoilers

Spoiler

Kelsier tried to enter the Physical Realm through the Well of Ascension, but he was unable to do so because he no longer had a body.

On the point about the Voidspren potentially be fundamentally different: this is true, but that would give us nothing to speculate on. I'm working on the assumption that it functions similarly because it isn't at all helpful to assume otherwise.

And your final point is entirely correct, it is indeed far from the only reasonable explanation. I actually avoided presenting this as a theory post, since I didn't think that there was enough evidence behind it and because there were too many branches in the speculation where it could go in different ways.

1 hour ago, Salkara said:

My personal theory is that the ability for a spren to choose and its sapience can be tied to the Shard. If the Vessel is alive, s/he has final say in whether or not a bond may occur and can also affect how sapient the spren is. This would explain a number of things:

  1. Ability for listeners to form Nahel bonds. It wasn't done traditionally according to WoB. Under this theory, that means that Honor didn't allow his Splinters to bond with listeners. With Tanavast dead, each Splinter of Honor can make the choice who they will bond. Additionally, with Rayse alive, it's his choice who the voidspren bonds.
  2. Sapience of various types of spren. Any spren which is partly Honor will have a harder time transitioning to the PR. They'll be missing part of a Connection which grants them intelligence. As the Nahel bond strengthens (e.g. more oaths are made), the spren gains a stronger Connection, and thus regain their intelligence. Voidspren, on the other hand, have an undamaged Connection to Odium and, thus, can transition to the PR without losing sapience.
  3. Dearth of subspren in many of Dalinar's visions. Until Honor was shattered, the only spren with existed were those which could form Nahel bonds. After Honor was shattered, some of his power was pushed out of the SR in a manner similar to (but not exactly like) what Odium did to Dominion and Devotion. This resulted in small Splinters which could transition from CR to PR; however, in the PR, they lack a Connection to a mind in the PR, so they are not sapient. These would be the all the different types of subspren we see.

There's actually quite a bit that I disagree with here.

On point 1: we don't know why the listeners could not form Nahel bonds in the past, nor why they might be able to do so now (it hasn't been confirmed that they will be able to yet). However, I doubt that Honour was mandating who the spren could or could not bond. For one thing, the Radiant spren are partly of Cultivation as well as of Honour, so why wouldn't she get a say in it if it came down to the Shard's decision? And Cultivation is still around now, so why would she be okay with it now if she wasn't before? Also, in Dalinar's visions, we heard Nohadon say that the honourspren are more discerning than other types of spren in who they bond. This implies that the spren themselves had a choice and that they weren't being told who to bond by the Shards. What is more, if Honour did mandate that the spren never bond listeners, would that mandate really have ended simply because he died? He was able to force the Stormfather to deliver the visions even though he was long gone by that point.

On point 2: I think it very unlikely that a spren's Shard being alive allows them to transition to the Physical Realm without losing their sapience. As I mentioned before, the Radiant spren are partly of Cultivation, and she's very much still alive. If we look at the Cryptics for a moment since they are apparently much more of Cultivation than they are of Honour, yet when Shallan restored her bond to Pattern, he came back, in Shallan's own words "Imbecilic". Surely if they were protected by their Shard being alive, he would instead have come back fully developed.

On point 3: there are ten Orders of Radiants, that means that there are ten varieties of Radiant spren (or nine if you consider the Bondsmiths bonding their specific spren). There are thousands of varieties of spren altogether, to say that all of these are capable of forming a Nahel bond is absurd. We know that lesser spren existed back during the desolations because in Dalinar's Purelake vision one of the people there mentioned a riverspren. Honour's death increased the number of spren drastically, yes, but there were still lesser spren before his death. We also know that there are lesser spren of Cultivation as well as of Honour, and as I pointed out above, Cultivation hasn't been Splintered, which shouldn't be possible if they only come about by the spren dying. Not all spren are made of the same quantity of Investiture, the lesser spren are those not Invested enough to gain sapience.

Edited by BlackYeti
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