Vargo Seldon

Silver: the useless metal... or is it?

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Hello all.  You all know silver, the most useless metal.  I mean, it's not even mention in most books.  Except for that one little tiny, insignificant world called threnody.  Threnody, however, is very unique.  It's the only world with hostile cognitive shadows that can really effect the physical world.  Other than roshar, of course, but whatever.  Shades on threnody can only be killed with one thing... silver.  So that got me thinking, what if silver possesses it's own investiture that can be used by anybody with the right knowledge?  I can just hear you screaming out 'but silver doesnt affect spren on roshar!'  But think about it, spren can't actually affect the physical realm, can they.  Anywho, that chain of thought got me thinking something else:  where did silver come from, if it's so powerful.  I was thinking that it might be the body of a shard.  Maybe even the body of the old threnody shard, if there was such a shard, because, It's supposedly "used up" whenever it touches a shade.  This is my first theory, and it's not very good, but I hope it gets you all thinking.  I appreciate any and all feedback––even negative––as long as it's posted constructively.  Thanks for your time!

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14 minutes ago, Kaladin78 said:

But think about it, spren can't actually affect the physical realm, can they.

They can actually. Syl carries a Blackbane leaf to Kaladin, and Pattern opens locks. 

Metal in general has significance cosmere wide, and @Blightsong recently posted a theory regarding the Vessel of Ambition and why silver may be of more significance in Threnody that is interesting... But typically, regular metals in Brandon's work have been naturally occurring in the same way as they are in reality. So I don't think it's a godmetal. 

Silver does seem to have some significance per a couple of WoBs, and Brandon almost used it in place a couple of other metals. Tin was originally silver, because Brandon incorrectly believed pewter was an alloy of silver. And then he almost made silver what aluminum is, but decided that it was historically too common. 

All in all, there is definitely something going on with silver, so you're not alone in looking for what that could be, but personally, I don't think it's as inherently invested as you're implying.

Welcome to the Shard. I look forward to more theories, and hopefully I don't come across too harshly. 

Edited by Calderis
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Thanks for your feedback, I suppose spren can affect the physical realm, but not under normal conditions.  True it might not be a godmetal, but it definitely possesses power.  Again, thanks for you feedback!

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On 11/3/2018 at 2:39 AM, King Taravangian said:

It's the only world with hostile cognitive shadows that can really effect the physical world.  Other than roshar, of course, but whatever.  Shades on threnody can only be killed with one thing... silver.  So that got me thinking, what if silver possesses it's own investiture that can be used by anybody with the right knowledge?

It looks like silver will serve as a focus but lacks Investiture. You need to touch the shadow. It looks like the fuel comes out of the shadow.

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I truly never expected this theory to resurface.  

Or maybe fuel comes out of you yourself, and silver is just a way to channel it into the shade without harming yourself.

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3 minutes ago, King Taravangian said:

Or maybe fuel comes out of you yourself, and silver is just a way to channel it into the shade without harming yourself.

Why then does silver by itself without a user work?

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3 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

Why then does silver by itself without a user work?

Just spitballing here, but maybe when one deploys a silver barrier they are somehow imparting Intent. You aren't just laying silver down indiscriminately, you are laying protections. Will is a part of that. 

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Kenzal [PENDING REVIEW]

Would it make an Allomancer sick if they tried to burn pure silver?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

As it stands right now, nothing would happen, because they would know if it did. Good question. Silver has some interesting properties, but on Scadrial they are largely undiscovered.

Skyward Atlanta signing (Nov. 17, 2018)

----------------------------------

Questioner

In Mistborn, silver doesn’t play a role. But then in Shadows for Silence, silver does play a role...

Brandon Sanderson

It does. I still wanted silver to be part of the Cosmere.

Questioner

But we’ll never see it in Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

It does not, as they understand currently, interact with Allomancy, with the three Metallurgic Arts. Silver does have a Cosmere role.

Boskone 54 (Feb. 18, 2017)

 

Emphasis added. 
Brandon makes it sound like there is some kind of effect silver has

My own head canon, is that silver and aluminium are kinds of 'electrical grounds', for investiture to return, or cycle through the Spiritual realm. All we see is that investiture is going away. 

Edited by ZenBossanova
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I recently made a post that proposed that Aluminum is a gateway into the Spiritual Realm. What if Silver is a gate way out of the Spiritual Realm? That Might be why it hurts shades and turns black when it is exposed to a shade. Silver is the focus and gets used up when the investure crosses over from the Spiritual and into the Cognitive/Physical. The amount of power that is released is so intense that it destroys the metal. The only other times that we have seen a glimpse of the Spiritual Realm are when massive amounts of investure are in use, such as the Battle of Thaylen Field. I think that is because the Spiritual Realm needs a massive amount of investure to be accessed. Silver may act as a catalyst and lower the breaching energy needed to pull investure out and into the Physical Realm. 

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The way that the metals are presented, Aluminium seems like the "balance" metal. It acts as a sort of realmatic "ground" for all sorts of Kinetic Investiture. Any investiture that touches Aluminium immediately returns to that balance, and as such loses all Kineticity.

Silver on the other hand, seems like the "dead" metal. It has some special properties, and atleast some of those have to do with it being able to affect beings of the cognitive realm.

 

But I don't think either of them are godmetals. They are a natural extension of Brandon's premise for the Cosmere - that there is a third component to the universe alongside matter and energy. Since it suffuses everything, it is only natural it also influences the properties of existing elements in different ways. This isn't unlike the Allomantic metals. The unique combination of how investiture and matter interact in them is what allows for Allomancy to use them as a key in the first place.

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9 hours ago, TheFoxQR said:

The way that the metals are presented, Aluminium seems like the "balance" metal. It acts as a sort of realmatic "ground" for all sorts of Kinetic Investiture. Any investiture that touches Aluminium immediately returns to that balance, and as such loses all Kineticity.

Silver on the other hand, seems like the "dead" metal. It has some special properties, and atleast some of those have to do with it being able to affect beings of the cognitive realm.

Can you explain more about how you define "balance metal" and "dead metal"?  Thanks :)

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17 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

Can you explain more about how you define "balance metal" and "dead metal"?  Thanks :)

Yep, sure.

By "balance" I meant something like the noble gases and their chemical inertness. Aluminum has the perfect balance of all 16 kinds of investiture in such manner that it is realmatically inert.

By "dead", I was just referring to its effect on Cognitive Shadows as ghosts.

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1 hour ago, TheFoxQR said:

Aluminum has the perfect balance of all 16 kinds of investiture in such manner that it is realmatically inert.

Well, it isn't. You can store Identity in it. And it has an allomantic effect.

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8 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

Well, it isn't. You can store Identity in it. And it has an allomantic effect.

I should have used better words.

Allomancy doesn't use the investiture or matter of the metal - it is powered by Preservation, with the metal's atom and investiture signature acting as a key.

As to Identity storing, what is identity made of? Is it a chunk of investiture? We do not know the mechanics of feruchemical storing precisely, so I don't know how that would work.

All three Metallic Arts are weird like that. But then technically, even noble gases react under the right conditions.

When I said realmatically inert, I meant how it naturally blocks kinetic investiture. So for example, how it blocks detection of investiture through itself, like screamers or seeking. Stuff like that.

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Just now, TheFoxQR said:

When I said realmatically inert, I meant how it naturally blocks kinetic investiture. So for example, how it blocks detection of investiture through itself, like screamers or seeking. Stuff like that.

That is the question. If you charge an aluminium metalmind, will it still block your allomancy? On a related note, is any metalmind harder to push, or only one that soembody else charged?

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On 11/3/2018 at 9:14 AM, King Taravangian said:

Thanks for your feedback, I suppose spren can affect the physical realm, but not under normal conditions.  True it might not be a godmetal, but it definitely possesses power.  Again, thanks for you feedback!

I think that most spren, especially ones that are pulled more fully into the physical realm by the Nahel bond such as Syl and Pattern, can affect the physical realm is small ways, they are mainly insubstantial but they can affect things. In fact windspren are known to stick things together and the such. So I wouldn't say it doesn't happen under normal conditions just maybe not as often as it does on Threnody. Its all about how much they appear in Shadesmar vs. Physical realm. Emotion Spren are mostly in Shadesmar while Windspren are a rare sight as they mostly exist in the Physical

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On 11/3/2018 at 2:39 AM, King Taravangian said:

Hello all.  You all know silver, the most useless metal.  I mean, it's not even mention in most books.  Except for that one little tiny, insignificant world called threnody. 

Hoid is carrying a silver sword.

On 11/3/2018 at 2:39 AM, King Taravangian said:

It's the only world with hostile cognitive shadows that can really effect the physical world.  Other than roshar, of course, but whatever.

If you count the Heralds, the Returned also count. Even Wax, arguably.

And do they affect the physical world? Or do they do something to your cognitive aspect which changes you in the physical world? Like a hostile slow version of soulcasting? Even ordinary windspren can use Adhesion. Syl and Pattern, however, actually can touch things, though it is very hard.

On 11/3/2018 at 2:39 AM, King Taravangian said:

 Shades on threnody can only be killed with one thing... silver.  So that got me thinking, what if silver possesses it's own investiture that can be used by anybody with the right knowledge?

No metal, other than god metals, carries investiture. They channel it.

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8 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

Hoid is carrying a silver sword.

Hoid has a sword that look silver in color, I would be amazed if it was actually made of silver.

8 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

If you count the Heralds, the Returned also count. Even Wax, arguably.

And do they affect the physical world? Or do they do something to your cognitive aspect which changes you in the physical world? Like a hostile slow version of soulcasting? Even ordinary windspren can use Adhesion. Syl and Pattern, however, actually can touch things, though it is very hard.

They don't seem comparable, Wax, Heralds and Returned can all affect the physical because they have physical bodies. Shades seem different, at least from the little we know, by not having one.

Do something to your cognitive aspect that changes you in the physical = a method of affecting the physical, so the point is moot.

8 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

No metal, other than god metals, carries investiture. They channel it.

God metals don't carry investiture, they are investiture. Regular metal is a channel for investiture (consumed when doing so). If anything "carries" investiture it would be a full or partially full metalmind.

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4 minutes ago, Jace21 said:

Hoid has a sword that look silver in color, I would be amazed if it was actually made of silver.

8 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

It's actually made of silver, to the best of our knowledge.

Quote

Ted Herman (Paraphrased)

I asked for info about Hoid's silver sword.

Brandon Sanderson

It is not Invested but it has personal value to him.

Footnote: a personalization
Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing (Dec. 3, 2016)

 

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Just now, Invocation said:

It's actually made of silver, to the best of our knowledge.

That one paraphrased WoB is all the evidence we have and it could be read equally as the material sister or colored silver, hardly definitive either way. Nightbloods sheath is also repeatedly referred to as "silver" but we know it is not. 

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Just now, Jace21 said:

That one paraphrased WoB is all the evidence we have and it could be read equally as the material sister or colored silver, hardly definitive either way. Nightbloods sheath is also repeatedly referred to as "silver" but we know it is not. 

It's referred to as silver in-world, and I think Brandon would have hinted that the sword was aluminum if it actually was at some point. I think the most likely thing is that it's actually silver and he may use it as defense against shades on the occasions he goes to Threnody (if those exist), but also it's referred to as a symbol of him being Wit, so it's probably just Rosharan silver with some changes he's made to it.

Quote

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is Hoid's sword when he is the King's Wit an Invested object?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. It is a badge of office as the King's Wit. Hoid isn't even that good with a sword.

Firefight Phoenix signing (Jan. 21, 2015)

 

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Nightblood's sheath is referred to as silver on two worlds, Nalthis and Roshar. But it's still not made of silver.

I just don't see any evidence that makes it more likely to be silver than any other silver colored metal. When you take into account silver's lack of suitability for a sword and limited usefulness magically, other options seem more likely.

But I guess we'll have to wait and see if/when Brandon tell us.

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On 2/9/2019 at 6:18 AM, Oltux72 said:

If you count the Heralds, the Returned also count. Even Wax, arguably.

Wax is not a Cognitive Shadow.  

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9 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

Wax is not a Cognitive Shadow.  

Agreed, a requirement of being a Cognitive Shadow is death. 

Quote

R'Shara [PENDING REVIEW]

Does a person have to die before they can become a Cognitive Shadow?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. Depending on your definition of dying?

R'Shara [PENDING REVIEW]

The physical body dies.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

And additionally, a CS would the. Be an unaging immortal... 

Spoilered for length, bolded the relevant portion. 

Spoiler

Iceblade44

So White Sand [than Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Kriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flipin immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dialation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of cognitive shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

Stormlight Three Update #5 (Nov. 29, 2016)

While the first point could be argued... I highly doubt Wax is Immortal now. 

Edited by Calderis
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