galendo

Theory: Why some Shardblades have symbols on the blade

29 posts in this topic

So I've been thinking about the glyphs that are on some Shardblades and not others.  Examination of Shallan's sketch in WoR shows clearly that Sunraiser has ten glyphs along its length, while Firestorm does not.  Now possibly Sunraiser is somehow unique in this regard, but this seems unlikely.  If Sunraiser were the only Shardblade to have glyphs along its edge, I should think it would have been called out explicitly as being special or noteworthy in this regard.

There are ten glyphs along one edge of the Blade.  There are presumably ten more on the other.  Twenty glyphs total.

As near as I can tell, a set of Shardplate looks like this:
 

Spoiler

 

Feet -- boots/sabatons (x2)

Lower leg -- greaves (x2)

Upper leg -- cuisses (x2)

Waist/Hips -- skirt, culet and faulds (x3)

Chest -- breastplate (x1)

Hand -- gauntlets (x2)

Lower arm -- vambraces (x2)

Upper arm -- rerebraces (x2)

Shoulders -- pauldrons (x2)

Neck -- gorget

Head -- helm

 

This description is taken from chapter 26 of TWoK, when Dalinar puts on his Shardplate.  The reader should note that there are exactly twenty pieces of armor mentioned.

(At least, there are exactly twenty pieces of armor mentioned if the phrase "culet and faulds" is taken to be two pieces of armor, not three.  If the culet and faulds are three distinct pieces, then there are 21 pieces and the theory does not hold so well.)

So we have twenty glyphs on some Blades, and twenty pieces of armor that make up Shardplate.  I do not think this is a coincidence.

Being a fan of the lesser-spren-as-Plate theory, I am reminded of the two ardents in TWoK, who are able to trap spren into certain forms by measuring and recording their size.  I propose that Radiant spren do much the same, by "recording" the shape in which they wish the lesser spren to remain upon their own Blade.  Since presumably not all Knights had advanced far enough to have Plate at the time of the Recreance, this would explain why not all Blades have the glyphs.

It's just a theory, but twenty glyphs along a Blade and twenty pieces in a set of Plate seems like rather too much coincidence to be ignored.

11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you may be on to something, and fortunately soon we should see some evidence that may provide some insight. I'm not so sure the number of plate sections is significant, but I do like the idea that the glyphs on the Blades correlate with Plate.

Maybe the Glyphs are an outward symbol of progression. When a Knight has spoken enough Oaths to gain Shardplate, his/her spren undergoes a change, they are drawn in even further into the Physical Realm and can draw their cousin spren into the PR with them to form Plate. That process changes the Spren; the glyphs are an expression of that change. I'm willing to bet that there are more blank blades than there are ones with glyphs.

The test is to observe the spren we've seen as Blades so far. Did Pattern, Syl, Ivory, Windle or Glys have any Glyph patterns when we first saw them in weapon form? As we see their Knight raise the level of their Ideals, will we see that outward change occur?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly a Dawnshard. The specific spren grants all the surges with Yelig-Nar being the odd one out.

 

Edited by ScavellTane
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

I think you may be on to something, and fortunately soon we should see some evidence that may provide some insight. I'm not so sure the number of plate sections is significant, but I do like the idea that the glyphs on the Blades correlate with Plate.

Maybe the Glyphs are an outward symbol of progression. When a Knight has spoken enough Oaths to gain Shardplate, his/her spren undergoes a change, they are drawn in even further into the Physical Realm and can draw their cousin spren into the PR with them to form Plate. That process changes the Spren; the glyphs are an expression of that change. I'm willing to bet that there are more blank blades than there are ones with glyphs.

The test is to observe the spren we've seen as Blades so far. Did Pattern, Syl, Ivory, Windle or Glys have any Glyph patterns when we first saw them in weapon form? As we see their Knight raise the level of their Ideals, will we see that outward change occur?

Syl had a single glyph (the Windrunner glyph) at at least one point in OB, iirc. None of the others are mentioned to have glyphs at any point.

Edited by CrazyRioter
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of note is that only Sunraiser has these glyphs.  I think the glyphs on the blade are purely for decoration. However, the fact that there are exactly 20 pieces of armor is rather suspicious, given that ten is a sacred number on Roshar and there are ten glyphs on the blade. Maybe glyphs correspond to armor? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of note, Jasnah is all but confirmed to have access to Plate as of the end of OB, and Shallan likely had access to Plate at one time even if she's currently being unreliable narrator about it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, CrazyRioter said:

Of note, Jasnah is all but confirmed to have access to Plate as of the end of OB, and Shallan likely had access to Plate at one time even if she's currently being unreliable narrator about it.

I feel like Shallan had access but it isn't mentioned in the Coppermind. 

Spoiler

She had come pretty far in her bonding of Pattern before killing her father. She had her blade and limited illusion skill. 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, BookishOcelot said:

I feel like Shallan had access but it isn't mentioned in the Coppermind. 

In chapter 15 of Oathbringer, Shallan is training with Adolin, and he asks her if she has Plate.  Here's her response:

Quote

"Not that I know of," she said. Her heart was beating quickly, her skin growing cold, her muscles tense. She fought against the sensation. "I don't know where Plate comes from." 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That could be interpreted in several ways. It could be her lying to Adolin. It could be her lying to Adolin and herself. But she also could just not know. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, BookishOcelot said:

That could be interpreted in several ways. It could be her lying to Adolin. It could be her lying to Adolin and herself. But she also could just not know. 

The reaction she has is identical to how she is at every point she's been put up against suppressed memories in the past, and we know that's she's at her Fourth "ideal" 

My money is on her having it and not allowing herself to know. 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That makes a lot of sense. But! she swore her earlier set of ideals (the ones she swore as a kid) without being pressed down memory lane. However, Pattern says that she has to speak a truth to summon her blade/level up. This could be one of those. Also, we are quite off topic. I think the original discussion was about glyphs on the blades and plate. Somebody, please make a separate thread for the Shallan discussion. 

 

 

EDIT: Here is a thread for discussion Shallan's progression in the oaths and her plate/blade 

 

Edited by BookishOcelot
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Calderis said:

My money is on her having it and not allowing herself to know. 

I think that considering what the last ideal she swore is doing to her she does not want to know.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Turin Turambar said:

Find out if there are more blades than plates.

There are far more Blades. 

Quote

As the technology used to create Shardplate has been lost, a limited number of suits exist. The only way to acquire a set of Shardplate is from another person. This can be done through battlefield combat, by dueling,[21] by borrowing it from the owner or by inheritance.[2] It is common for Shardbearers to loan their Plate to others. Even the King's own Shardplate can be borrowed at a heavy price.[11]

As plate is earned as a Radiant reaches the Fourth Ideal, it would be less common than Blades earned at the Third Ideal. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BookishOcelot said:

There are far more Blades. 

As plate is earned as a Radiant reaches the Fourth Ideal, it would be less common than Blades earned at the Third Ideal. 

Indeed.  And add on top of that the fact that Shardplate can be starved of Stormlight and destroyed while blades cannot, and I think attrition over the years would have further skewed the ratio. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

did you do a count of glyphs/not glyphs on swords? that might be a rough indication combined with the sets of plates, which might answer your problem.

One issue, if you look at the books, there are HUNDREDS of minor spren, not 20. That might be a technical issue.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Quantus said:

Indeed.  And add on top of that the fact that Shardplate can be starved of Stormlight and destroyed while blades cannot, and I think attrition over the years would have further skewed the ratio. 

Shardplate cannot be destroyed, but instead cracked and lose stormlight. It could have also been lost at sea or in unreachable places. what 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BookishOcelot said:

Shardplate cannot be destroyed, but instead cracked and lose stormlight. It could have also been lost at sea or in unreachable places. what 

If any individual piece of shardplate takes enough damage, it first cracks and begins to leak stormlight, but enough damage beyond that point will cause it to explode into molten bits, and at that point the piece is lost.  So long as a single piece remains it can be fed stormlight to regrow a lost piece, but if all the pieces took that critical level of damage (unlikely and impractical) there would be no piece let that could be fed the stormlight to regrow the whole. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt shallan can be counted with glyphs on pattern because he probably has whiplash from leveling up and down.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Angsos said:

I doubt shallan can be counted with glyphs on pattern because he probably has whiplash from leveling up and down.

He's not ever described as having glyphs, and neither is Ivory, and those are the two living spren whose Radiants (probably) have or have had access to Plate.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It makes sense knowing the orgins of Plate and Blade that there would be more Blades than Plate. Blades get acquired after Ideal 3 (most Orders), Plate after that. Judging from Kal and Shallan's struggles it's plain that plenty of people would stall out at the 3rd Ideal. 

As far as glyphs on Blades, so far Jasnah and maybe Shallan have progressed enough to gain Shardplate, but there's been no description of the blades that deviates from how they've always been described. Then again, neither pull out blades very much, nowhere near as much as Kaladin pulls Syl. Also, the Blades are all variable. Pattern and Ivory could have Glyps and are hiding them. Or they could get glyphs on completion of the Ideal progression. Or maybe the spren are only required to show true form (including glyphs) upon a level up moment. Really there's plenty of possibilities that I'd love to read.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But it was actually quite easy to loose a blade before they figured out how to summon and dismiss them drop you blade one day and it could cut its way out of almost anything. Also logically their should be way more blades and plate  around then their are.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My headcannon (hell it just may be true!) is that the Shin Invasions were a mask for their true purpose, picking up as many loose Shards as possible. They're in the cave of mysteries, buried deep in the mountains that separate Shinovar from the rest of Roshar, stacked in a pile next to the Honorblades.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Turin Turambar said:

did you do a count of glyphs/not glyphs on swords? that might be a rough indication combined with the sets of plates, which might answer your problem.

The only Blade that I've seen so far that has been specifically described as having glyphs is Sunraiser, though several other descriptions aren't entirely clear.  For instance, the description of the Windrunner in Dalinar's vision is described as follows:

Quote

The Shardbearer raised his Blade and struck forward with skill, stepping into the attacks.

Dalinar lay stunned.  This was unlike any Shardbearer he had ever seen.  The Plate glowed with an even blue light, and glyphs -- some familiar, others not -- were etched into the metal.  They trailed blue vapor.

So probably "the metal" refers to the Plate glowing with glyphs, but it could be the Blade.  Or the Blade could have glyphs and not be worth mentioning in the excitement of the flying, glowing Shardbearer who just arrived.  Unfortunately, whether a Blade has glyphs on it or not is likely to be of less importance to the characters than the shape of the Blade, given that they might need to fight with/against/alongside the weapon, so it's hard to infer from descriptions whether the glyphs are absent or just not mentioned.  In Dalinar's vision, he doesn't even make note of the Shardbearers' Blades shapes at all, focusing instead on their glowing armor (though I'd think the Blades ought to be glowing as well, which should've also been noteworthy).

Quote

One issue, if you look at the books, there are HUNDREDS of minor spren, not 20. That might be a technical issue.

I'm not sure that this is an issue at all.  Just like there are only ten types of Radiant spren that form Blades, there are likely only ten types of lesser spren that form Plate.  Though the spren-as-Plate theory is itself a bit controversial.  Some people prefer Stormlight-as-Plate, though this seems less logical to me.

53 minutes ago, Karger said:

But it was actually quite easy to loose a blade before they figured out how to summon and dismiss them drop you blade one day and it could cut its way out of almost anything.

I don't think you'd lose the Blade, though.  Worst-case scenario, the Blade just ends up hilt-first in the ground.  Then you pull it out and you're the rightful king of England.

Quote

Also logically their should be way more blades and plate  around then their are.

Unless someone -- the main candidates are the Shin and the Skybreakers -- are keeping them in reserve.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, the majority of the blades were lost between the Recreance, and the addition of gems to the blades. 

Without the ability to dismiss the blade, you either hide it, or you carry a big storming blade all the time. Accidental deaths mean lost blades to be buried in crem, and carrying a large blade that can cut through literally anything but a ridiculously rare metal would provide plenty of opportunity for accidents. 

But more importantly is murder and theft. All blades are recognizably distinct. If you manage to kill someone and take their blade, or find it and steal it, you now are walking around with a huge banner that proclaims your guilt. Plate shouldn't be usable yet as without gems, it's an extremely heavy statue at best. So what do you do? You hide the blade. And you don't tell anyone where you hid that blade... And with no bond, when you die the blade remains hidden instead of dropping next to your body. 

So between accidental losses, and intentionally hidden blades, I think there's a ton of blades that are out there, in buried buildings, or clefts of stone, or hidden boxes, all lost to time and crem. 

Add in the many blades, like Heleran's and Liss' that there's no record of, and the inevitable collectors and secret societies... 

Many blades lost, even more plate lost due to negligence before it was worth keeping as more than an ornament, and a good number kept in secret...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.