Solomonster

Wax's Resonance and Savant Abilities

11 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

I've recently discovered that among my circle of friends, my idea of Wax's savant ability and resonance is not the norm.  So I wanted to share it with you all and get your input.  

1) While reading the books, it was clear that Wax's steel bubble was becoming more fine tuned over time.  To me, this implies that it's a manifestation of him becoming a steel savant.  It's not an increase in raw power, but instead is a very technical ability in which his skill grows as he burns more steel and warps his spirit.

2)  As I understand it, a resonance typically doesn't have an effect on the actual investiture being used.  Shallan's resonance is the ability to take Memories.  Kaladin attracts followers like a boy band.  Neither of these necessarily is directly linked to their use of stormlight (because no one has confirmed Spiritual Adhesion as a thing...right?).  Wax has one particular ability in the books that is very unique to himself and Brandon goes out of his way to mention it several times.  Wax has pinpoint accuracy when shooting.  Every fight is -*headshot *headshot *headshot *headshot *headshot *shoots gun out of hand *headshot *headshot *shoots gun out of hand.  Miles Graves even tells Wax to "stop doing that!" after Wax has performed the "shoots gun out of hand" trick multiple times.  This type of accuracy is not normal, and since Brandon goes out of his way to acknowledge it in book, it makes sense for this to be Wax's resonance.

Edited by Solomonster
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Wax is... weird.

First, there is this WoB that says "Wax is really good at sculpting bullets and things away from him" and that "these two separate powers are kind of becoming one to him," which is what he was becoming a savant of.

But then, there is this one as well, in which Brandon talks about potentially backpedaling from Wax's savantism, essentially because it doesn't have any downsides right now.

So... Wax is weird. 

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Isn't his steel bubble his Resonance, not his savantism? That's what that first one says, imo.

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Right, sure, but the second one says that "Wax was intended as a savant of the two melded powers." So, in a non-canon way, his Resonance and his savantism have to match.

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57 minutes ago, RShara said:

Isn't his steel bubble his Resonance, not his savantism? That's what that first one says, imo.

Which still makes no sense 

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Wax, at one point, shoots a bullet out of a speed bubble, watches how it gets deflected, then dives out of the speed bubble to shoot the moving bullet and bank-shot it into the head of a guy holding Marasi (or was it Steris...?) hostage around a corner or some other obstacle. (Caveat, he was wearing a pathian earring theorized to be slightly charged with pewter and I can't recall if he was touching Mist...)

He routinely exceeds, by a significant margin, the design-precision/accuracy of even the most advanced modern conventional weapons, and does so on the fly and under duress. He also has super-human reflexes, though I suppose we can chalk this up as a spirtual-spidey-sense born of having sensory information about all surrounding metal objects flooded into his brain constantly.

The point is, Wax is super weird. My understanding is that Sanderson built Wax as a prototype gen-1.5 character for a short story that, due to overwhelmingly positive fan feedback, turned into a full-blown series. My opinion is that Wax has some serious character design flaws that usually aren't present in the Cosmere. Hes too good at too many things and there's insufficient reasoning as to why. (IMO anyway, though I admit I still love his books...)

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1 minute ago, hwiles said:

Wax, at one point, shoots a bullet out of a speed bubble, watches how it gets deflected, then dives out of the speed bubble to shoot the moving bullet and bank-shot it into the head of a guy holding Marasi (or was it Steris...?) hostage around a corner or some other obstacle. (Caveat, he was wearing a pathian earring theorized to be slightly charged with pewter and I can't recall if he was touching Mist...)

He routinely exceeds, by a significant margin, the design-precision/accuracy of even the most advanced modern conventional weapons, and does so on the fly and under duress. He also has super-human reflexes, though I suppose we can chalk this up as a spirtual-spidey-sense born of having sensory information about all surrounding metal objects flooded into his brain constantly.

The point is, Wax is super weird. My understanding is that Sanderson built Wax as a prototype gen-1.5 character for a short story that, due to overwhelmingly positive fan feedback, turned into a full-blown series. My opinion is that Wax has some serious character design flaws that usually aren't present in the Cosmere. Hes too good at too many things and there's insufficient reasoning as to why. (IMO anyway, though I admit I still love his books...)

The way you described his steel senses almost makes me wonder if he's reaching inquisitor levels of steel sight. Maybe that has something to do with it. He's just really good at using the blue lines to track metal and has been around bullets enough to have gained an excellent understanding of projectile motion. Maybe he even has begun subconsciously pushing on bullets after they've been fired along with changing his push point to move them midair.

Of course, that's all just random guessing, because, as Calderis said, Wax is weird.

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26 minutes ago, hwiles said:

The point is, Wax is super weird. My understanding is that Sanderson built Wax as a prototype gen-1.5 character for a short story that, due to overwhelmingly positive fan feedback, turned into a full-blown series. My opinion is that Wax has some serious character design flaws that usually aren't present in the Cosmere. Hes too good at too many things and there's insufficient reasoning as to why. (IMO anyway, though I admit I still love his books...)

I'll take an issue with this because I am pretty sure Brandon had decided to turn The Alloy of Law into a series before it even hit the shelves. He just liked the it. So, if anything, the feedback was coming from himself.

This being said, I suppose he is a bit on the competent end.

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Wax is weird in plenty of ways: Harmony can fuel his Allomancy directly with the mists, the way Vin did with Elend. There's some extra Connection to Harmony with Wax, not to mention the question of the unconscious pewter-like effects the mists have on Wax in Alloy of Law (is his Pathian earring a hemalurgic spike for Allomantic pewter the way Vin's was for bronze)?

TenSoon tells him straight up at one point that he (TenSoon) is Harmony's Preservation, while (Wax) is Harmony's Ruin, in terms of agency in the living world. And if any kandra knows the mind of Harmony, it's him.

I can see the criticism, though, that Wax is a little bit too much of an all-in-one: the Left Hand of Harmony, the writer's own professed "most desirable" Twinborn pairing, created in an interim short story writing exercise that "grew in the telling", who's also the primary POV character in a book series that's now longer than the original Mistborn trilogy, and thus has most of the expository "figuring out how things work" stuff centered around him.

By way of comparison with the Era 1 trilogy, all the secondary characters have Wax-driven story arcs, which is not true of the main cast from Era 1. Kelsier has a secret from the other main characters for all of the first book, and Vin, Elend, Sazed, TenSoon, etc., all have "non-Kelsier" lives that we read about or find out about that are critical components to their characters as well as to the story arc. But with Wayne, Marasi, and Steris, they come across much more as "attached to Wax" in AoL, which only gradually changes over Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Even then, while we get more Marasi and Wayne POVs, very often their thoughts are centered around Wax or events in motion with Wax at their center, rather than themselves or them reacting to events completely independently.

I still enjoy the Era 2 books, don't get me wrong, but it did take me a while to warm up to them, partly for this reason (the other part being that I read it too closely on the heels of finishing the original trilogy and was still pining for news of What Happened to All Of Them, versus enjoying the story on its own).

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1 hour ago, Argent said:

I'll take an issue with this because I am pretty sure Brandon had decided to turn The Alloy of Law into a series before it even hit the shelves. He just liked the it. So, if anything, the feedback was coming from himself.

This being said, I suppose he is a bit on the competent end.

https://brandonsanderson.com/shadows-of-self-and-the-mistborn-mega-series/

My interpretation from his post is that he reviewed the fan-feedback and best-seller results before committing to making a Wax-series because he regarded AoL as a slightly risky experiment.

However, to your credit, these types of explanations and justifications are always given in retrospect and should, by my observation, themselves be taken with a grain of salt as the saying goes. It would not shock me if a source exists that better supports your interpretation or denies mine; this is outside canon has has more to do with publishing politics than the Cosmere as I understand it. I just wanted to give OP a little background on why we might never get truly satisfying explanations for Wax's abilities.

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I think the differences in style between the first Mistborn trilogy and the Alloy of Law series is due mainly to the size of the books.  That, and trying to be different from Mistborn. In Mistborn, it was all about people fighting the law.  In AoL, it's about a Lawman.  Mistborn: Large cast of characters.  AoL: One main character with backups.  Mistborn: Humongous.  AoL: Shorter.  Wax is the Anti-Kelsior.  Merasi is the Anti-Vin.  Wayne is Lopen in disguise.  Or visa versa.  How that fits in, I'm not sure, but there you go.  

And sometimes, you just gotta write what you find most interesting.  Sanderson wanted to experiment with his favorite combo.  And if the story is going to be mainly about one guy, he needs to be awesome.  He has plenty of faults.  He's just amazingly at what he does.  Same with Kelsior.  He had his faults, but when it came to thieving, there was none better.  And the guy killed armies on his own.  So did Vin.  The 'faults' in Sanderson's main characters usually aren't in their capabilities, but in their mental problems.  Wax has plenty of those.  

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