darniil

Two Warbreaker Questions

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I haven't read the annotations, so I'm not sure if these questions were answered there or not. (Feel free to throw one at me, if they have been.)

1. A Returned will only live for a week, unless said Returned is given a Breath. This is an important part of life in Hallandren. I assume that their "biology" is set to consume a non-Divine Breath if one is available, and their Divine Breath if no other Breath is available.

1a. Is a breath slowly consumed over the course of a week? Or is it consumed all at once, granting a Returned's body one more week of animation? If the former, and a Returned is consuming its DB, will the DB regenerate if a non-DB is given to it? If the latter, what happens near the end of the week if a non-DB is given? Do they stop being Returned, since the DB was consumed, or does the DB "magically" return to the Returned?

1b. (This actually bothered me as I was reading the story.) What's the population of Hallandren? I mean, this Breath-consuming religion of theirs has been around for how long? And they've had how many Returned? With each one living for how long? Yeah, that's a lot of Breaths that have been sacrificed for their gods. I'm surprised they haven't run out.

2. I may be mis-remembering this, but didn't Vasher say he had existed without Breaths before? How is this possible? He's a Returned, right? (And didn't Denth say something similar?)

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IIRC The breath isn't consumed over time, it's used up instantaniously at the end of the week, it neer says this in the book as far as I know but it's the only way that would have allowed Vasher to survive with out breath, as long as he had breath in him before it would be consumed he would be fine with no breath in him at all for the rest of the time.

1b: It hasn't been going on for very long, only as long as Hallandren has been separate from Idrian (sp?) I don't remember if Siri's father was the king that they had seperated from or if it has been a king before him. if Siri's father was the king then the Returned haven't bee sustained for more than a few decades, if it was a king before him I'd be willing to bet that it's been less then a 100 years since they seperated. I dont remember how many "gods" were in the court of gods but I'd be willing to wager it couldn't have been much more than 20, if a year on Nalthis is similar in length to a year on earth than that gives them roughly 45 breaths they need a year, (weeks in the cosmere are 8 days IIRC) 20*45=900 add another 365 for the God King (he gets one a day, right?) and we end up with roughly 1265 breaths a year to sustain the court of gods, some years it might have been more and others it might have been less. if Hallanderan has been arround for nearly a century then that puts it at roughly 1,265,000 126,500 (a century is NOT 100 years :P don't know why I multiplied by 1000) breaths used on the court of gods, I don't find this number to be very unreasonable what with all the children that give up breath.

It has been a while since I've read Warbreaker so someone else might be able to better answer you other questions

Edit- Fix math error

Edit2- Add reasons for edits.

Edited by SOM1else
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IIRC Vasher is able to suppress his Breath and thus appear a Drab-which is what he meant when he said he had lived without it.

Returneds can also stack Non-Divine Breaths on top of their Divine one.

So, if Vasher had 3000 Normal Breaths, he could live for 3000 weeks without needing to get any new ones.

They can survive seven days without Breath and they must consume one on the eighth day or they will die.

There doesn't seem to be an in-between state, they're Returned or dead.

Hallendren separated from Idris after the Manywar which occurred about 300 years before the books.

During Warbreaker there were about 25 Gods in the Pantheon.

I hope that helped :D

Edited by Aashyma
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so my math should have been,

(25*45)*300=337500+109500=447000 breaths for the entire time halandren has feeding the returned.

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(25*45)*300=337500+109500=447000 breaths for the entire time halandren has feeding the returned.

Which'd equal about 1490 Breaths a year or 12 Breaths a month roughly.

It's not too tall an order, considering that mostly the children of the lower classes came forward.

Edited by Aashyma
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Week length varies from planet to planet. Roshar weeks are five days, and that's before you add in the changes in just about EVERY OTHER unit of time that's been changed. Nalthis weeks might be eight days, but I don't remember exactly.

The God King consumes two Breaths in a week. I don't know if this means that he consumes two at once or one every three or four days.

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Week length varies from planet to planet. Roshar weeks are five days, and that's before you add in the changes in just about EVERY OTHER unit of time that's been changed. Nalthis weeks might be eight days, but I don't remember exactly.

The God King consumes two Breaths in a week. I don't know if this means that he consumes two at once or one every three or four days.

For some reason I thought he got one a day. the numbers keep getting more and more realistic.

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From the Warbreaker pdf, pages 309-310

He sat with his board in his lap, then shook his head, writing. I am a god. I am not given Breaths, I am born with them.

“No,” Siri said. “Bluefingers told me you’d been collecting them for centuries. That each God King gets two Breaths a week, instead of one, building up his reserves.”

Actually, he admitted, some weeks I get three or four.

“But you only need one a week to survive.”

Yes.

Susebron (and earlier God Kings, who are really just Returned with a lot of Breath) only consume one Breath a week. He just gets more each week on his feast day than the other Returned. It builds up a huge stockpile (the Treasure of Peacegiver, page 545 in the pdf) that a God King can consume if he's ever in danger and doesn't have regular access to more Breath.

So really the math would be one Breath a week for each non-God King Returned, say a 25, and an average of 2.5 a week for Seb. 27.5 Breaths a week, and I'm going to assume a 50-week year for easy multiplication, for at least 300 years.

27.5*50*300 = 15000*27.5 = 412500 Breaths, or just under half a million.

Half a million people is roughly the population of Las Vegas. Easily doable even in a society without modern medicine. Take into account that this is spread out over three centuries, and it becomes even more probable.

Edited by Cuaiir
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From the Warbreaker pdf, pages 309-310

Susebron (and earlier God Kings, who are really just Returned with a lot of Breath) only consume one Breath a week. He just gets more each week on his feast day than the other Returned. It builds up a huge stockpile (the Treasure of Peacegiver, page 545 in the pdf) that a God King can consume if he's ever in danger and doesn't have regular access to more Breath.

So really the math would be one Breath a week for each non-God King Returned, say a 25, and an average of 2.5 a week for Seb. 27.5 Breaths a week, and I'm going to assume a 50-week year for easy multiplication, for at least 300 years.

27.5*50*300 = 15000*27.5 = 412500 Breaths, or just under half a million.

Half a million people is roughly the population of Las Vegas. Easily doable even in a society without modern medicine. Take into account that this is spread out over three centuries, and it becomes even more probable.

Nicely done.

Don't forget, there is a source of breath: People who are born the normal way have a new breath that could, in principle, stay around forever after they die, if they gave it away at some point. It's just a question of birth rate vs. Returned sustainability.

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It's sort of implied that a Breath is like a Soul, that everyone starts with one, and without one, you won't die, but you're more susceptible to disease, depression, etc...

However, I'm wondering if Breaths are special to the world of Worldbreaker, and not the normal concept of a soul.

ie; a "Drab" is actually what we would consider a normal person, and that being born with a single breath is something we would consider special.

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If you pay close attention, you can tell that a Drab is actually weaker than a normal person (though whether or not someone with a Breath is more capable than a normal person is something else entirely). Normally a person can tell when another person is pretty close to them (unless they're deliberately being sneaky), but a Drab is much more easily spooked, IIRC, that's how Jewels is.

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If you pay close attention, you can tell that a Drab is actually weaker than a normal person (though whether or not someone with a Breath is more capable than a normal person is something else entirely). Normally a person can tell when another person is pretty close to them (unless they're deliberately being sneaky), but a Drab is much more easily spooked, IIRC, that's how Jewels is.

It's not that they're easily spooked, it's that they lack completely lack any "life sense", so they don't get that innate "being watched" feeling people get when someone is looking at them and such.

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It's not that they're easily spooked, it's that they lack completely lack any "life sense", so they don't get that innate "being watched" feeling people get when someone is looking at them and such.

Right. In Warbreaker Breath gives people the life sense.

However, I'm wondering if Breaths are special to the world of Worldbreaker, and not the normal concept of a soul.

ie; a "Drab" is actually what we would consider a normal person, and that being born with a single breath is something we would consider special.

I'm going with this. In real life, the being watched feeling is just paranoia. You get the idea that someone is looking at you, so you look around. Then another person glances at you because you just moved, and aha! They were looking at you the entire time!!1!

I've stared at a lot of people before trying to see if this would work. It never does. :blink:

Maybe I'm just a Drab. But I rarely get sick so maybe not. :lol:

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Maybe I'm just a Drab. But I rarely get sick so maybe not. :lol:

I'm definitely a Drab, always sick XD and I am seriously paranoid :P

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I don't think people in real life are anywhere near as good at knowing when they are being watched as they think they are, people remember the times they had that feeling and looked around and somebody was watching them, but don't remember the times when nobody was watching them, confirmation bias.

I know I'm constantly being startled by people walking up behind or beside me and talking to me, of course the fact that I'm blind in one eye doesn't help.

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I'm still up for Everyone having a Breath. Most people seem to have a life sense, and see colors, and aren't grumpy all the time.

The sick thing doesn't prove the point either way though. If every human on Nalthis had a Breath, than the bacteria would have to grow stronger in order to survive. Then, when Nalthis people lose their breath, than they would be at normal health versus super-bacteria.

But I don't think that Nalthis are the only ones that have a Breath. I think everyone has one, but the people of Nalthis are the only ones who can give it away.

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The sick thing doesn't prove the point either way though. If every human on Nalthis had a Breath, than the bacteria would have to grow stronger in order to survive. Then, when Nalthis people lose their breath, than they would be at normal health versus super-bacteria.

Maybe that's why Drabs tend to get sick more often? Because they're dealing with stronger bacteria. Maybe.

But as far as the cosmere goes, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone has a Breath, or an equivalent. Just on Nalthis they can use it.

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I don't think people in real life are anywhere near as good at knowing when they are being watched as they think they are, people remember the times they had that feeling and looked around and somebody was watching them, but don't remember the times when nobody was watching them, confirmation bias.

I know I'm constantly being startled by people walking up behind or beside me and talking to me, of course the fact that I'm blind in one eye doesn't help.

Yeah, in real life, the whole "feeling someone watch you" feeling is nothing more than paranoia, sometimes coinciding with someone actually watching them, but for the most part just unfounded.

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But I don't think that Nalthis are the only ones that have a Breath. I think everyone has one, but the people of Nalthis are the only ones who can give it away.

Way of Kings discussed below (possible spoilers):

I suspect Breath may be rather like spren on Roshar. Spren are like the Breaths of non-human physical and cognitive things (I know painspren are attracted to/are caused by human pain, but their direct connection is to the pain, not the human; for all we know, painspren might come to chulls or other animals with sufficient cognitive presence). On Roshar, everything physical or cognitive thing has a type of spren, sometimes visible, which is aligned to it, innately drawn to it. On Nalthis, suppose we call Breaths Sentiencespren (I wanted Lifespren, but that's already been used). They "stick" best to matter that was once alive (and would have had a greater cognitive aspect than inorganic matter), particularly if it resembles a human (which would have the greatest cognitive aspect), just as painspren "stick to" pain, and flamespren "stick to" fire. Because lifeless are so similar to living humans, the Sentiencespren (Breath), once attached, becomes so "stuck" that it cannot be removed (to our knowledge).

Think of the exchange among Kaladin, Tien, and their mother, in which Tien asks if he has a spren, and she says that he has a soul instead. (I can't find the exact quote, because I don't have my copy and Look Inside is inhibiting my searching of the Cosmere). Now suppose he does have a spren, a Sentiencespren, but it is so closely attached to him as to be inseparable. Something about the nature of Nalthis (presumably in people's spiritual DNA) allows humans' spren to have a visible effect (the enhancement of colors) and allows for commands which separate the spren for the human, but no other sorts of spren are visible. On Roshar, human commands phrases do not work, so Sentiencespren cannot be removed from humans, but the spren of non-humans are visible and, given what hints we have of fabrials' workings, can be isolated from what they were originally drawn to.

Concerning Syl's comment about all spren being basically the same, I believe that could also be said of Breath, except for the Returned Breath. We never get the feeling that certain people's Breaths are notably different than anyone else's, excepting Returned.

All that to say, I agree that everyone has a Breath and everything has a spren, but the nature of certain planets/shards determines whether they are perceptible to other people.

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Maybe that's why Drabs tend to get sick more often? Because they're dealing with stronger bacteria. Maybe.

But as far as the cosmere goes, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone has a Breath, or an equivalent. Just on Nalthis they can use it.

Heh. I mostly agree with this sentiment. My only change would be the last sentence. I would say that on Nalthis, they can endow it on something (or someone) else.

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I think Breath is distinct to the people of Nalthis. Each "human" race in the Cosmere was created by a different god from scratch. The only thing we know for sure that they have in common is they outwardly look similar, and this is not even the case for many of the "people" on Roshar. For example, the people on Scadrial were created under the concepts of Ruin and Preservation which sounds completely different from people who were created under the concept of Endowment.

I highly wonder if two of these separate species could breed together let alone share a magical aspect.

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Not really from scratch as they were all built from the same basic model. All of the Shards used to be human and that's what they're basing their creations on. Of course they can breed; the magic question is a little tougher though.

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Not really from scratch as they were all built from the same basic model. All of the Shards used to be human and that's what they're basing their creations on. Of course they can breed; the magic question is a little tougher though.

I agree that shard holders were likely all of the same type of human and that they likely based their creations on themselves. Still, when beings who are basically different gods build something from no other fundamental source but their own divine energies, I cannot see why they would have to be so similar as to able to do something as breed.

It would be like if you asked two people on opposite sides of the world to each build a car. They would both know what a car should look like, but they build it based on their own sensibilities and the resources* around them. Maybe one builds a hummer and the other builds a boxcar. Do you think that both those cars would be the same let alone have interchangeable parts? (*In my analogy of course the resources would be the different aspects of the each shard).

Of course Sanderson may prove me wrong when he finally writes his cross cosmere epic, but until then I see each species in the cosmere as basically aliens to one another.

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While they might be aliens to each other, they can all be described as human. Humans from different planets breeding is more likely to cause Spiritual DNA problems. For example if an Allomancer bred with an Elantrian would their offspring have the spiritual DNA to possibly become both an Elantrian and an Allomacer.

Either way, I say that Vin will be in the final Cosmere epic. Completely off topics, I just thought of it, reading this topic. I dont know where it came from, but whatever.

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Heh. I mostly agree with this sentiment. My only change would be the last sentence. I would say that on Nalthis, they can endow it on something (or someone) else.

Good! +1!

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