Argent

The Magics of Roshar

53 posts in this topic

Excellent post my dude. We've spoken on Ancient Roshar and the nature of the magics a few times and this is a great summary. 

The two bits I particularly like are regarding Nale never drawing on Stormlight from spheres (How have I never noticed this?). I've always strongly suspected fifth level Radiants would not leak, but being able to use Stormlight like the Fused use Voidlight would definitely be a big bonus.

Second is regarding Voidbinding. It would make sense that whatever magic system was used on Ashyn, it would be related to Odium. He may not have been the original source but he may have corrupted something like he has with Roshar. I really really like the idea of "giving in" to Odium causes him to take something from you (Your guilt, your pain, your whatever) and this creates a void in you that he fills with Investiture to grant powers. I like this. It may not work like this anymore (I don't think this is what happened with Amaram) but I like it a lot.

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5 hours ago, Argent said:

Note that this doesn't conflict with the fact that Surgebinders can bond with spren of Cultivation; the kind of spren you bond with doesn't matter, what does matter is the oath and the (partial) merging of Spiritwebs between person and spren.

I've never been quite sure what to make of the evidence that Surgebinding is partially of Cultivation. I think this logic is elegant and obvious, and I like it very much. The SYSTEM is of Honor. The Cultivation "influence" can all be explained away with the simple fact that there are some Cultivation-related spren in the picture. That doesn't mean the system is "of Cultivation".

I have leaned more towards the assumption that the Surgebinders didn't have oaths at all prior to Ishar organizing them into the Knights Radiant. But if you strip those away then you're really just left with (1) the bonding aspect and (2) the Honorblade imitation aspect. The second doesn't seem to be fundamentally related to Honor in a clear way, if that makes any sense. And the first doesn't seem very novel, given the way spren have long been able to bond with other lifeforms on the planet. Different types of bonds, but bonds nonetheless. I'm left to imagine that either (1) there WERE some kind of oaths involved with the original Surgebinders (just much less organized I guess) and/or (2) there's something very telling about Honor's nature in the Nahel bond that's different from other types of spren bonds.

6 hours ago, Argent said:

This leaves fabrials.

I think it's very important to remember the distinction between "ancient fabrials" and "modern fabrials". It's possible that "fabrials are a magic system" specifically relates to ancient fabrials, with the modern version being something more... mundane. More likely, I suspect the modern fabrials are just a narrow, elementary usage of something much more complex. It's tough to extrapolate on Cultivation's connection to the system when most of what we know is related to this small branch of the bigger idea?

One unifying concept seems to be that you have to "give the spren what they want". In modern fabrials it seems this is only used to trap them. I suspect you get better efficiency and/or more power by continuing to do this in some way. You shift the relationship from master-slave to something symbiotic. In any case, I'm willing to bet that the ancient fabrial approach looks more like cultivating a plant to bear fruit as opposed to the modern approach of chopping the tree down and stripping all the fruit off.

Side note: I also tend to think the fabrials ARE using Surges. I think the Surges we see in Surgebinding are each a specific expression of a larger concept.

7 hours ago, Argent said:

But two - and this is the spicy one - what if simply none of the Surgebinders we've seen so far have progressed far enough to "unlock" this? The strength of the Nahel bond grows with each Oath, the Spiritwebs of Radiant and spren merging more and more; what if "the greater power of the Surges" is the ability to Invest directly from the Spiritual Realm, like the Honorblades do?

Yep, and could this be exactly what Nale was referring to as the "greater power of the oaths" that Honor has to "regulate"? Would this suggest that Honor withheld the ability intentionally from Radiants in the past? Why? Why is that dangerous?

Nale never using spheres doesn't need much of an explanation though, unless I'm missing something. He has his Honorblade.

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Great post! Definitely got me thinking...and theorizing. In any case, I think I can prove that Surgebinding comes from both Honor AND Cultivations

First off, a WoB.Yuyp it's a long one. I bolded the two important parts.

Spoiler

Questioner

It was mentioned that there are 16 gods in your Cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on your definition of god.

Questioner

Shards. Are the ten orders of the Knight Radiants related to specific gods? Because Honor, child of Honor-Kaladin

Brandon Sanderson

So all the magic on Roshar, all the surgebinding on Roshar, is going to have its roots in Honor and Cultivation. Um... There is some Odium influence too, but that’s mostly voidbinding, which is the map in the back of the first book.

Questioner

I was wondering how much-

Brandon Sanderson

But, but even the powers, it’s, it’s really this sort of thing. What’s going in Stormlight is that people are accessing fundamental forces of creation and laws of the universe. They’re accessing them through the filter of Cultivation and Honor. So, that’s not to say, on another world you couldn’t have someone influence gravity. Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing. So the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go. So it’s filtered through Honor’s visual, and some of the magics lean more Honor and some them lean more Cultivation, as you can obviously see, in the way that they take place.

Questioner

The question kind of rooted because, Wyndle in the short story is always saying that he’s a cultivationspren, he doesn’t like [...]. I kind of got the idea that each order had a different Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

That is a good thing to think, but that is not how it is. Some of them self-identify more in certain ways. Syl is an honorspren, that’s what they call a honorspren, they self-identify as the closest to Honor. Is that true? Well, I don’t know. For instance, you might talk to different spren, who are like, no, highspren are like “We’re the ones most like Honor. We are the ones that keep oaths the best. Those honorspren will let their people break their oaths if they think it’s for a good cause. That’s not Honor-like.” There would be disagreement.

Questioner

Are you saying that the spren’s view of themself influences how they work?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, and humans’ view of them because spren are pieces of Investiture who have gained sapience, or sentience for the smaller spren, through human perception of those forces. For instance, whether or not Kaladin is keeping an oath is up to what Syl and Kaladin think is keeping that oath. It is not related to capital-T Truth, what is actually keeping the oath. Two windrunners can disagree on whether an oath has been kept or not.

Boskone 54 (Feb. 18, 2017)

If you need further proof/curious to how it plays how in the actual magic system and where Cultivation's influence in Surgebinding is, here's what i've theorized from what I've read. 

First Honor's influence in Surgebinding is both in the bonds and the ideals. They form a bond, and make Oaths to cement it. That's pretty Honoric? (Honorific? Honor-y?). You covered the explanation for this petty well. However, there comes the fact that it is heavily implied that at one time there were no Oaths to cement it. What then? Well besides that fact of the bond still happening, there's also the fact that the sapient spren needed for Surgebinding were still attracted by the same ideals, depending of course, on which type of spren and which Order.

It is of note that the spren are attracted to ideals that are in line with Honor (Windrunners, Stonewards, Skybreakers, Edgedancers, Bondsmiths, doing what's right etc.) AND/OR Cultivation (Lightweavers [how the cultivate the people around them's best selves], ELSECALLERS [machiavellian approach to what is right], Truthwatchers [their tactfulness and regarding how they ARE VERY PRUDENT], Bondsmiths [bringing people together]). I could go on for nigh any order for either Cultivation or Honor that way.

But I believe Cultivation's influence can also be felt in how the magic itself works. Yes you could say that the Radiant cultivates a relationship with the spren. But also, look how in the magic system, in order to even form a bond, you have to give something to get something. A Radiant bonds with the spren, offers up to serve as according to the ideals associated with said spren, as well as fuses the Spiritwebs of the two. And the spren has to give up sapience to even cross into the Physical realm. The main facet of this is that the spren gets sapience in the Physical Realm, and that the Radiant gets the Surgebinding powers. 

Doesn't this give something/get something sound a little familiar...like perhaps the Old Magic which has been confirmed to come from Cultivation? (The fact that this also sounds like the Ashynite disease magic makes me theorize that that also originates form Cultivation).

Well thanks for reading my argument and getting this far. I would add more, but I forgot the last part of my argument while writing the lead up to it.

 

 
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I very very much disagree with the idea that Ishar imposed or created the oaths. They were not man made, other than through mankind's influence on the spren themselves. 

Quote

Blightsong

Were the ideals of the Knights Radiant consciously chosen, or did they happen naturally?

Brandon Sanderson

*apprehension*. This is one of those vague ones in that yes and no. They are a natural outgrowth of the spren, but the spren are a natural outgrowth of human's perception of natural forces, but the spren are sentient, so I would say it's a little more by instinct than not. For example two Knights Radiant in the same Order might speak the words differently, but the concept is the same. You will see this happen in a future book, where a Windrunner will speak the oaths. It's a slightly different take on the same concept. Some are moreso, like Shallan's oaths are very individualized truths, so.

OdysseyCon 2016 (April 8, 2016)

I think Ishar created the orders themselves which then taught specific interpretations of the oaths,which lead to a unified vision of what they mean. 

Without that teaching, the oaths do not do what "imposing the oaths" is proported to accomplish. Malata is proof enough of that. Additionally, Ishar would have no need to have treated to kill anyone who didn't comply, as they couldn't avoid a fundamental change to the magic system itself. 

To the OP, I agree almost in full. I'm wary of the idea that the "greater power" is a direct feed from Honor, because for one thing Nale does have his Honorblade, and those grant Surgebinding whether summoned or dismissed so I don't see why it would need to be summoned to grant the feed. The bond remains. 

In addition, I think this may be what the Stormfather refers to when he speak of additional powers of an Honorblade that would make their wielder "almost like a Herald." 

At the same time, I have no idea what the "greater power" could be. 

53 minutes ago, TheEdgedancer said:

Great post! Definitely got me thinking...and theorizing. In any case, I think I can prove that Surgebinding comes from both Honor AND Cultivations

I believe that you missed the point. All of the Cultivation influence given in the WoBs and what we've seen could come from the nature of the spren themselves, not the system. There is no requirement for any of that from the Honorblades, and those are still Surgebinding. 

Argent was saying that the system is Honor's, which I agree with, and that being bonded to a spren that is partially of Cultivation (the filter, in your posted WoB) adds that influence in the means of access. 

All in all. Good post @Argent. What few nitpick I have are either avoided through your allowance of multiple source interpretations reaching the same mechanism, or in the realm of "I have nothing better to suggest"

Well done. 

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4 hours ago, Overlord Jebus said:

I've always strongly suspected fifth level Radiants would not leak, but being able to use Stormlight like the Fused use Voidlight would definitely be a big bonus.

I wouldn't say that they don't leak, I don't think there's getting around that. Very efficient, sure, but not perfect. I mean, even the Fused can't hold Light indefinitely, what Szeth believes is not quite true, but I'd wager humans are still worse.

4 hours ago, Overlord Jebus said:

It may not work like this anymore (I don't think this is what happened with Amaram) but I like it a lot.

Amaram was a post-1 AM addition to this :P What I meant to say is that I think the effects he produces during his duel with Kaladin would match those of a Voidbinder, even though the way he's acquired access to those powers wouldn't. Rereading the scene, however, it doesn't look like his powers are measurable different from those of a Surgebinder, so Amaram would probably need to go in the same bucket as the Fused. 

30 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

I have leaned more towards the assumption that the Surgebinders didn't have oaths at all prior to Ishar organizing them into the Knights Radiant. But if you strip those away then you're really just left with (1) the bonding aspect and (2) the Honorblade imitation aspect. The second doesn't seem to be fundamentally related to Honor in a clear way, if that makes any sense. And the first doesn't seem very novel, given the way spren have long been able to bond with other lifeforms on the planet. Different types of bonds, but bonds nonetheless. I'm left to imagine that either (1) there WERE some kind of oaths involved with the original Surgebinders (just much less organized I guess) and/or (2) there's something very telling about Honor's nature in the Nahel bond that's different from other types of spren bonds.

It might work even better this way, actually. It would make bonds a cornerstone of all Rosharan magic, maybe even a focus. If we follow the Scadrian model here a little bit, a specific set of metals permeate all of the Metallic Arts, so a spren bond could serve a similar function here. It's a little different, because it's not the same kind of spren bond for all the magic systems, but there's a bit of parallel. Where the key to accessing Preservation's power is the desire to preserve and persevere (and win the generic lottery), they key to accessing Honor's is your... overall character, kind of; how honorable you are, where "honorable" has a very flexible meaning (and also winning the spren lottery; I am sure plenty of people are honorable but never become Surgebinders because the spren weren't looking in their direction). But maybe there was some kind of early Oath before the whole system of the Immortal Words was established, and it served a purpose similar to that of the Snapping. 

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

I think it's very important to remember the distinction between "ancient fabrials" and "modern fabrials".

You know, the more I think about that, the less convinced I am that there is a distinction. Yes, on the surface there definitely is, but during the Battle of Thaylen Fields Odium commands Kai-garnis (indirectly) to "destroy the device and recover its gemstones. We can rebuild it as long as the spren aren’t compromised." So there is very much a gem-spren thing going on in at least some of the ancient fabrials. Obviously, there are differences with the modern ones, but I think what we are looking at is the modern ones imitating something the ancient ones were doing, but going it about it in a different way. Neither is better, necessarily, because while the fabrials of old could produce very spectacular and powerful effects, it appears that there weren't many of them - not in number, and not in types. I assume that was because the early artifabrians were trying to reproduce the effects of Surgebinders, and so were limited in the kinds of spren they were targeting. In other words, I don't think non-Surge-based fabrials were even a thing they had thought about. And so, in a way, it was the Recreance and the overall lessening of the spectacular magic available in the world that gave scientists the opportunity to explore whether anything could be done with lesser spren. 

The qualitative difference is a separate issue altogether. I don't question that the ancient fabrials appear to interface with their spren differently from modern one, and  I myself have argued that they seem closer to a symbiotic relationship than an enslavement; but that could be due to the qualitative differences between the spren themselves (e.g. maybe you can't trap an Oathgate spren in a gem, or maybe you need the spren to be more free in order to perform the miracles you want it to perform). Either way, I think the fabrials magic system is wide enough to encompass both.

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

Side note: I also tend to think the fabrials ARE using Surges. I think the Surges we see in Surgebinding are each a specific expression of a larger concept.

Well, yeah. Surges are forces, and no Surgebinder or Voidbinder or fabrial is going to grant you full control over the entire force, that's the domain of Shards. But you'll get different powers, different effects, when you access the Surge differently.

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

Yep, and could this be exactly what Nale was referring to as the "greater power of the oaths" that Honor has to "regulate"? Would this suggest that Honor withheld the ability intentionally from Radiants in the past? Why? Why is that dangerous?

Oh, was the quote "the greater power of the oaths"? That's what I thought I was quoting, must've misremembered it; yes, this is exactly what I was referring to. 

I don't know if there is there was an immediate danger to Surgebinders with this ability, but infinite Investiture just sounds like a recipe for disaster, given the incredible things Surgebinders can do. Also, if I am correct about Voidbinding, Voidbinders would've had access to infinite Investiture at will too - which makes the destruction of Ashyn a little less surprising to me. In a way you've got a bunch of weapons of mass destruction, walking around, ready to go off; it would've taken one global conflict to plunge this world into a total annihilation.

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

Nale never using spheres doesn't need much of an explanation though, unless I'm missing something. He has his Honorblade.

I think an Honorblade needs to be summoned to give you access to Surges and Stormlight. And I don't recall Lift describing the Blade he has out as particularly intricate, which suggests to me that he's been using his Sprenblade instead. Of course, he could be Investing from gems offscreen, but he could also not need gems.

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2 hours ago, Argent said:

I think an Honorblade needs to be summoned to give you access to Surges and Stormlight. 

Throughout his interludes in tWoK, Szeth repeatedly uses lashing with his blades dismissed. Most notably in Death Wears White when he shocks the Vedens by dismissing the blade, before wading in and taking them all out with lashings and Kemmer. 

If this is truly a limitation, it's only to the Investiture source, and not to the surgebinding. 

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Calderis said:
5 hours ago, Argent said:

 

Throughout his interludes in tWoK, Szeth repeatedly uses lashing with his blades dismissed. Most notably in Death Wears White when he shocks the Vedens by dismissing the blade, before wading in and taking them all out with lashings and Kemmer. 

If this is truly a limitation, it's only to the Investiture source, and not to the surgebinding. 

Szeth is not a Herald so he needs spheres just like a Radiant would.  Perhaps you can only draw from Honor with the blade out(If you are not a Herald).

 

14 hours ago, Argent said:

It isn't real evidence for this, but Nale - who is the only person we know has sworn the Fifth Ideal - never Invests from gems or spheres, even when his Honorblade is dismissed. 

But Lift tries to defeat him by wearing him down because she knows there are a limited number of spheres.  She could be wrong to do this but Wyndel agrees with the strategy.  I am unsure if this is significant or not.

Edited by Karger
Expination
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Just now, Karger said:

Szeth is not a Herald so he needs spheres just like a Radiant would.

One, that misses my point completely. 

Two, with the rules of perception, we don't know that. 

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3 hours ago, Calderis said:

I think Ishar created the orders themselves which then taught specific interpretations of the oaths,which lead to a unified vision of what they mean. 

Without that teaching, the oaths do not do what "imposing the oaths" is proported to accomplish. Malata is proof enough of that. Additionally, Ishar would have no need to have treated to kill anyone who didn't comply, as they couldn't avoid a fundamental change to the magic system itself.

It sounds like you're saying the oaths existed and then the Orders just cemented teachings about what those mean. How do you square that with the fact that the wording of the First Ideal wasn't even written until sometime after Surgebinders existed?

The spren themselves (along with their nature and values) certainly didn't change, so I'm not saying the spren and human didn't require some kind of mutual understanding concerning their values. I just imagine it was ultimately far less structured. The whole idea of 5 oaths just seems... both unnatural and unnecessary to the whole concept of the nahel bond to me. I mean, not the ideas behind the oaths. Just the way you have to say/believe these fairly specific things to advance one level at a time.

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5 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

The spren themselves (along with their nature and values) certainly didn't change, so I'm not saying the spren and human didn't require some kind of mutual understanding concerning their values. I just imagine it was ultimately far less structured. The whole idea of 5 oaths just seems... both unnatural and unnecessary to the whole concept of the nahel bond to me. I mean, not the ideas behind the oaths. Just the way you have to say/believe these fairly specific things to advance one level at a time.

Maybe it was a proto-version of the First Ideal that made the original form of Surgebinding not be just about a spren bond, but also about an oath and about honor. The exact wording would've been codified later by Nohadon, but the Intent behind it could've been there since the inception of the system.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

It sounds like you're saying the oaths existed and then the Orders just cemented teachings about what those mean.

That's exactly what I think. I think prior to the orders, Surgebinders were in much the same situation the current Radiants are. Discovering the oaths for themselves, and more importantly interpreting them in ways that may not be aligned in any way whatsoever. 

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

How do you square that with the fact that the wording of the First Ideal wasn't even written until sometime after Surgebinders existed?

I do find the first oath very odd, both in its uniformity of words, and in its extreme flexibility of interpretation... 

Do we actually know that the words themselves did not already exist though? Yes, the words are in the in world The Way of Kings, but did Nohadon create them, or were the Radiants built upon the teachings of his interpretation of those words?

Many people have seen speculated that Nohadon was himself a Surgebinder, because of what he says about Honorspren in Dalinar's Stormfather vision (and I'm completely discounting the other weird vision...) 

Personally, I don't think that Ishar, or any one person, could fundamentally change a magic system to that extent. And again, if he could, I see no reason why he would have needed to threaten Surgebinders to force compliance, because they would have literally no way to resist that change. 

Edited by Calderis
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Posted (edited)

51 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Personally, I don't think that Ishar, or any one person, could fundamentally change a magic system to that extent. And again, if he could, I see no reason why he would have needed to threaten Surgebinders to force compliance, because they would have literally no way to resist that change. 

But the Stormfather claims that Ishar held Honor's power or at least part of it.  A shard could certainly change a magic system and I would not put it past Ishar to hammer in some rules to govern the magic system.

 

2 hours ago, Calderis said:

One, that misses my point completely. 

The rest of the statement is kind of important there.

Edited by Karger
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As foretold, I dig it. It echoes some things I've said, some things I've thought, some things that were in my head but i never actively thought about, and some things that hadn't occurred to me. 

I think your ashynite connection is the weakest as it really came down to an infusion of investiture, which other systems also have on other shardworlds. Most of them in fact. I would draw attention to Ishar being called Binder of Gods before he was a Herald as an example of why I agree the old Ashyn system was a form of voidbinding. But i don't have much more explanation than you anyway. 

All in all a great summary of what we know or can figure out alongside some great extra observations, even if I'm not entirely convinced of all aspects of your framework. 

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Quick question @Argent : How do you think that the potential '3rdlight' talked about in recent WoB's would fall into this categorization of Roshar's Investiture? Do you think it might somehow be related to the functioning of the Old Magic?

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2 hours ago, Extesian said:

All in all a great summary of what we know or can figure out alongside some great extra observations, even if I'm not entirely convinced of all aspects of your framework. 

That's how I like to work.

@Wyndlerunner, I would need to reread the exact wording of that WoB - I know which one you are thinking of, but I don't have it handy right now. Off the top of my head, I'd say that this "lifelight" as I've seen it called (a term I am fond of) is either just a bit of Cultivation's Investiture that permeates the Valley (either as as "leak" from her presence there, or to facilitate the incredible plant growth we see there), or something that gives crem some of its nourishing properties. 

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1 hour ago, Argent said:

That's how I like to work.

@Wyndlerunner, I would need to reread the exact wording of that WoB - I know which one you are thinking of, but I don't have it handy right now. Off the top of my head, I'd say that this "lifelight" as I've seen it called (a term I am fond of) is either just a bit of Cultivation's Investiture that permeates the Valley (either as as "leak" from her presence there, or to facilitate the incredible plant growth we see there), or something that gives crem some of its nourishing properties. 

Yeah, I could see "Lifelight" working as more of an ambient Investiture kind of a deal.

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Posted (edited)

Great post, @Argent, and great discussion by everyone!!! There’s so much here to digest and discuss, starting with my favorite topic.

Means of Access Defines Magic Systems

Yes! You, @Jofwu, and now even @Calderis all agree the Surgebinding system is Honor’s regardless of which spren grant abilities through that system. “Some of the magics lean more Honor and some [of] them lean more Cultivation.” And some like Glys grant Odium-associated abilities. Because Surgebinders access these abilities through the Nahel bond, the system IMO remains Surgebinding even for Renarin.

I presented this analogy last year on Discord: The Nahel bond is like a gun. Surgebinders can load their gun with different bullets, namely spren of different Investitures that personify different abilities. But the nature of the bullet doesn’t change the nature of the gun. The gun (the Nahel bond) always belongs to Honor.

The Boskone WoB @TheEdgedancer quotes also shows that magics like “flying,” that rely more on Honor’s Investiture, work through bond-creation: “So the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go.” Brandon implies that magics like healing, that rely more on Cultivation’s Investiture, work through growth/transformation. IMO, the Boskone WoB establishes these two important rules of cosmere magic:

1. Each Shard’s unique means of accessing Investiture defines its magic system like the Nahel bond defines Surgebinding as Honor’s.

2. The magical abilities Shards grant work by the same method as the Shard’s means of accessing Investiture, like using bonds to “fly.”

The Boskone WoB amplifies two older WoBs I often cite. They say in part:

The means of getting powers ... are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” [2008]

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” [2011]

This 2018 WoB confirms three Shards’ “primal forces/fundamental laws.” Ruin is entropy, Preservation is stasis, and Honor “is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by,” that is, bonds. IMO, mortals access Ruin by Intending an act of entropy; they access Preservation by Intending an act of stasis; and they access Honor by Intending a bond. You see this when you look at these Shards’ magic systems.

I use every opportunity to make this case because I am so convinced it is the right way to understand Shards. This framework clears away a lot of the confusion the OP cites. I’ve yet to see a contrary analysis that addresses these four WoBs.

Surgebinding Through Radiant Spren

On 5/22/2019 at 0:05 AM, Argent said:

Also note that the complete absence of Surgebinders until sometime after the creation of the Honorblades is not an issue either; the magic system can exist without anyone making use of it. It took some time for humans and spren to figure out how to access it, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't there. If this doesn't sit well with you, however, you can take the route of Honor not establishing Surgebinding until after the Honorblades were created.

We don’t know when Radiant spren came to exist, but “All of the sapient spren are later developments.” Brandon hints Cultivation created them. Since Radiant spren mimic Honorblades, they must post-date them. I think Surgebinding didn’t exist until the Honorblades, and KR Surgebinding didn’t exist until after that. But I agree Honor’s bonding mechanic always held the potential for Surgebinding.

Here’s a question: Radiant spren personify the Heralds’ primary divine attributes like protection, justice, and learning. Each Radiant spren binds the Surges its mimicked Honorblade can bind. Yet these Surges, for both Honorblades and Radiant spren, seem unrelated to the divine attribute. Why, for example, should “just” Skybreakers fly and divide? I know there are “natural pairings,” which I believe relate to the “five classical elements” of air, water, fire, earth, and aether. But the relationship between divine attribute and Surge always seemed weird to me.

Oaths and Orders

I’ve long believed Ishar threatened Radiant spren, not Surgebinders. Here’s the relevant quote:

Quote

“But as for Ishi’Elin, his was the part most important at their inception; he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men, and caused organization to be thrust upon them; as having too great power, he let it be known that he would destroy each and every one, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws.”

WoR, Chapter 42 Epigraph (bold added).

 

The bolded pronouns’ have uncertain antecedents. I think the first “them” refers to “men.” Ishar wants Surgebinders to organize themselves into the orders. IMO, the bolded “one” and “they” don’t make sense as references to men. Destroying all Surgebinders doesn’t prevent future Surgebinding because the Radiant spren are still around waiting to bond. Moreover, mortal men can’t agree to “precepts and laws” that bind future Surgebinder generations.

But immortal spren CAN agree to bind themselves to Ishar’s laws, and IMO they did. As the Binder of Gods and the Bondsmith’s Patron Herald, Ishar could cut each spren’s Nahel bond, “killing” them. There’s not a lot to support this interpretation other than logic, but this seems more plausible than just threatening to kill Surgebinders who couldn’t bind later generations in any event.

On 5/22/2019 at 7:43 AM, Jofwu said:

I have leaned more towards the assumption that the Surgebinders didn't have oaths at all prior to Ishar organizing them into the Knights Radiant. But if you strip those away then you're really just left with (1) the bonding aspect and (2) the Honorblade imitation aspect. The second doesn't seem to be fundamentally related to Honor in a clear way, if that makes any sense. And the first doesn't seem very novel, given the way spren have long been able to bond with other lifeforms on the planet. Different types of bonds, but bonds nonetheless. I'm left to imagine that either (1) there WERE some kind of oaths involved with the original Surgebinders (just much less organized I guess) and/or (2) there's something very telling about Honor's nature in the Nahel bond that's different from other types of spren bonds.

I don’t think oaths are a necessary part of Surgebinding. Bonds are “an Honor thing,” not oaths. Ishar felt he needed to organize men and impose oaths because oath-less Surgebinders had begun to appear. Radiant spren already searched for Cognitively compatible humans to bond with. Oaths IMO are just a means to regulate human power and prevent another Ashyn. Oaths don’t form the bond, they strengthen it. I believe Honor could have found another way than oaths to bond Honorblades to the Heralds and bind the Fused to Braize.

On 5/22/2019 at 9:12 AM, Calderis said:

I very very much disagree with the idea that Ishar imposed or created the oaths. They were not man made, other than through mankind's influence on the spren themselves.

I think the WoB you rely on refers to the subjectivity of oaths. It says, “two Knights Radiant in the same Order might speak the words differently, but the concept is the same.” The Boskone WoB, a year later, agrees: “whether or not Kaladin is keeping an oath is up to what Syl and Kaladin think is keeping that oath. It is not related to capital-T Truth, what is actually keeping the oath.” 

The WoR Chapter 42 Epigraph quoted above states Ishar did impose some “precepts and laws.” I speculate at minimum he imposed the First Oath, which binds all orders. Maybe the Heralds themselves vowed the First Oath’s litany when making the Oathpact. Each KR might interpret the First Oath differently, but it does bind them all to a general moral code.

Anyway, “mankind's influence on the spren themselves” is the exception that swallows the rule. As your WoB shows, men and spren influence each other in an ongoing interactive process.

Fabrials

On 5/22/2019 at 0:05 AM, Argent said:

Fabrials can be either a natural extension of Roshar's own native magic, or they can be a formal magic system crafted by both Honor and Cultivation. You could even make the claim that fabrials are of Cultivation specifically, while Surgebinding is solely of Honor.

Fabrials to me are solely Cultivation’s magic system. Odium identifies Cultivation as the Shard of growth and transformation. Cultivation IMO accesses fundamental forces through transformation. Khriss calls spren “transformative Cognitive entities.” (SLA Ars Arcana.)

I believe Stormlight causes spren to manifest in the Physical Realm. They transform from the idea they personify into the thing itself: fire, water, life, etc. All things have three aspects including these phenomena. Stormlight transforms spren from their Cognitive aspect into their Physical aspect. I think that’s the magical basis for fabrials.

On 5/22/2019 at 0:05 AM, Argent said:

fabrials lead to... effects. Effects that are, in some ways, similar to Surges - which makes sense, the Surges are kind of like fundamental forces, so everything will be related to them - but also different from them; no Surge, as we understand it, can selectively draw water from the air, or produce heat, or take someone's pain away. So perhaps it is in these... almost surgical divisions of the Surges that we find room for a standalone magic system. Something that still involves a bond, a thing of Honor (even if modern ones are more about trapping spren than bonding with them), but also requires a (mechanical, apparently) cultivation of the spren's nature, a way to take this seed of elemental power and direct it, refine it, grow it into something specific. [Bold added.]

The Surges are Roshar’s perception of fundamental forces. (If you haven’t yet, I’d be honored if you would look at my “Primacy of Perception” thread about perception’s cosmere-wide role.)

IMO, fabrials are machines that apply fundamental forces just like earth’s machines apply our fundamental forces. For example, a Surge that heats air can condense water onto a cold surface. Maybe Captain Ico’s fabrial uses the Adhesion and/or Abrasion Surges to cause Physical Realm air molecules to collide and generate heat and the Transformation Surge to bring the condensed water into Shadesmar.

I’m unsure what you mean, Argent, when you say, “Something that still involves a bond.” You acknowledge modern fabrial users don’t bond their spren. Brandon says Honor's bonds are voluntary. I doubt even ancient fabrial users bond their spren. Oathgate users don’t seem to bond Oathgate spren.

Cultivation’s Influence

On 5/22/2019 at 9:12 AM, Calderis said:

All of the Cultivation influence given in the WoBs and what we've seen could come from the nature of the spren themselves, not the system. There is no requirement for any of that from the Honorblades, and those are still Surgebinding. 

Argent was saying that the system is Honor's, which I agree with, and that being bonded to a spren that is partially of Cultivation (the filter, in your posted WoB) adds that influence in the means of access.

Cal, I’m thrilled you now agree Surgebinding is Honor’s system alone. If I can only get you to accept the Boskone WoB and related WoBs as a framework applicable to all Shards... (Sighs.)

I agree Cultivation’s influence is the spren – Khriss’ “transformative Cognitive entity.” IMO, Stormlight transforms all spren from their Cognitive aspect into their Physical aspect regardless of the spren’s Investiture mix. The idea of fire becomes fire. The idea of foresight becomes foresight. The idea of flying becomes flying. The Nahel bond is the pathway that Connects the Radiant spren’s Cognitive and Physical aspects.

Your Honorblade comment is apt. Honorblades access the same fundamental forces as spren but without spren. Honor’s Investiture is solely responsible for Honorblade magic. FWIW, your example supports the 2008 and 2011 WoBs I link above that say Shards differ only in “the WAY the magic is obtained, not what [the magic] can do.”

The “Old Magic

On 5/22/2019 at 0:05 AM, Argent said:
  1. The Old Magic is related to Cultivation, and it may or may not be an actual Invested Art.

I recall Khriss uses this term someplace, but I’m unsure what an “Invested Art” is. I assume you mean magic systems where mortals can direct the magic. (Art requires an artist.) Brandon calls those “people with magic” systems and says they all arose after the Shattering. Before then, there were only “interaction with nature” systems, where mortals interacted with magic as part of their ecosystem but couldn’t direct it.

I think the Old Magic is an “interaction with nature” system. Mortals can ask the Nightwatcher for a boon, but they can’t direct or control what she’ll do. She gives mortals what she thinks they “deserve.” By my understanding of your definition, the Old Magic is not an Invested Art.

Odium’s Magical Influence

I agree, Argent, with pretty much everything you say about the Regals. Voidspren occupy their gemhearts like other spren do. And I agree this is an “interaction with nature” system that predates the Shattering. Odium now uses it to his advantage.

I’m sure you know I disagree about the Fused. For many reasons – mostly textual and all of which I spell out elsewhere – I believe Odium’s primal force is breaking Connections. IMO, the “Broken One” takes someone’s pain by breaking their Connection to whatever (usually whoever) causes the pain. This broken emotional Connection leaves a void in that person’s Spiritual aspect through which Odium’s Investiture enters.

Yes, I believe the Fused are Voidbinders. They have so few Connections to anyone that Odium’s Investiture fills them. They reincarnate by terminating their host’s Connection to life. I think the Fused break Connections to perform their magic. They dis-Connect the Gravitation Surge to fly and dis-Connect the Abrasion Surge to glide. I’ve advocated this interpretation elsewhere in much more detail and don’t intend to provoke discussion about it here. Few, if any, agree with me. We’ll discover what’s cosmere truth soon enough.

Conclusion

Oh, the joy of a thoughtful, well-considered thread on topics dear to my heart! Thank you all.

Edited by Confused
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57 minutes ago, Confused said:

This 2018 WoB confirms three Shards’ “primal forces/fundamental laws.” Ruin is entropy, Preservation is stasis, and Honor “is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by,” that is, bonds. IMO, mortals access Ruin by Intending an act of entropy; they access Preservation by Intending an act of stasis; and they access Honor by Intending a bond. You see this when you look at these Shards’ magic systems.

I use every opportunity to make this case because I am so convinced it is the right way to understand Shards. This framework clears away a lot of the confusion the OP cites. I’ve yet to see a contrary analysis that addresses these four WoBs.

This seems like a reasonable foundation. I am hesitant to apply this absolutely and categorically, just because of how many Shards we don't know anything about, and because how this plays with Shards like Harmony, but I think it certainly fits for Preservation, Ruin, and Honor; Endowment, for example, is a little weird. It may end up that your model works for a specific - if dominant - type of initiation, or that it is somehow involved in the acquisition of the magic past the initiation (e.g. everyone on Nalthis gets a Breath and can Awaken, but you need an act of endowment to accomplish the more spectacular things Awakening can accomplish). 

1 hour ago, Confused said:

We don’t know when Radiant spren came to exist, but “All of the sapient spren are later developments.” Brandon hints Cultivation created them.

I don't know if I agree with this suggestion. I've long held the belief that the Radiant spren are "uplifted" pre-Shattering spren, but which Shard did this uplifting has always been unclear to me; my assumption had been that both were involved, to different extents in different spren.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

Here’s a question: Radiant spren personify the Heralds’ primary divine attributes like protection, justice, and learning. Each Radiant spren binds the Surges its mimicked Honorblade can bind. Yet these Surges, for both Honorblades and Radiant spren, seem unrelated to the divine attribute. Why, for example, should “just” Skybreakers fly and divide? I know there are “natural pairings,” which I believe relate to the “five classical elements” of air, water, fire, earth, and aether. But the relationship between divine attribute and Surge always seemed weird to me.

This could play into the mechanics of how exactly these spren imitated the Honorblades. I don't know if the early honorspren were naturally all about leadership and protection. What seems plausible to me is that in the act of granting Surgebinding to men, they sought to imitate their matching Herald; i.e. the honorspren, for whatever reason, decided that they would do what Jezrien did, and so started looking for people who exemplified the attributes Jezrien was known for: protection and leadership. This could've led to a cultural shift among the honorspren as a population, where they would decide that such attributes are desired not only in their potential Surgebinders, but in themselves as well. The "natural pairing" business I leave to Honor, or perhaps something greater about the rules of the Cosmere as a whole.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

The bolded pronouns’ have uncertain antecedents. I think the first “them” refers to “men.” Ishar wants Surgebinders to organize themselves into the orders. IMO, the bolded “one” and “they” don’t make sense as references to men. Destroying all Surgebinders doesn’t prevent future Surgebinding because the Radiant spren are still around waiting to bond. Moreover, mortal men can’t agree to “precepts and laws” that bind future Surgebinder generations.

But immortal spren CAN agree to bind themselves to Ishar’s laws, and IMO they did. As the Binder of Gods and the Bondsmith’s Patron Herald, Ishar could cut each spren’s Nahel bond, “killing” them. There’s not a lot to support this interpretation other than logic, but this seems more plausible than just threatening to kill Surgebinders who couldn’t bind later generations in any event.

I think I like this. The passage from the in-world Words of Radiance is not enough to make me fully espouse the theory, but this is a reasonable way to explain this oddity.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

IMO, fabrials are machines that apply fundamental forces just like earth’s machines apply our fundamental forces. For example, a Surge that heats air can condense water onto a cold surface. Maybe Captain Ico’s fabrial uses the Adhesion and/or Abrasion Surges to cause Physical Realm air molecules to collide and generate heat and the Transformation Surge to bring the condensed water into Shadesmar.

Ico's device is, I believe, not a traditional fabrial. He brings up the concept of manifesting souls as he operates it in front of Kaladin, which leads me to believe it has more to do with that. My interpretation of that exchange is more along the lines of Ico going "some of your kind can manifest souls directly. If you were one of them, I could just give you this Cognitive Aspect of a really cold block ice and you could just manifest that for as much water as you need; but since you can't, we need to use this device that's a pale imitation of this process, and wait a long time for water." I think this has less to do with Surges and more with natural properties of the Cognitive Realm - similar to Kelsier manifesting himself some fire, only weaker and more mechanical.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

I’m unsure what you mean, Argent, when you say, “Something that still involves a bond.” You acknowledge modern fabrial users don’t bond their spren. Brandon says Honor's bonds are voluntary. I doubt even ancient fabrial users bond their spren. Oathgate users don’t seem to bond Oathgate spren.

I think I see the imprisonment of spren in modern fabrials are just another kind of bond - closer to what the singers do, but parasitic rather than symbiotic. A ball & chain is still a bond. Ancient fabrials, Oathgates specifically, use a less harmful version of that, since the spren do appear to be bound to the gems of the fabrial (otherwise why would Odium believe they can rebuild the Thaylen City Oathgate as long as they have the gems?).

1 hour ago, Confused said:

I agree Cultivation’s influence is the spren – Khriss’ “transformative Cognitive entity.” IMO, Stormlight transforms all spren from their Cognitive aspect into their Physical aspect regardless of the spren’s Investiture mix. The idea of fire becomes fire. The idea of foresight becomes foresight. The idea of flying becomes flying. The Nahel bond is the pathway that Connects the Radiant spren’s Cognitive and Physical aspects.

I don't think @Calderis is saying what you think is saying. My comment - which I think he supports here - is about how Cultivation is involved in Surgebinding simply because some Radiant spren have some of her Investiture in them; not because Cultivation has explicitly responsible for their transformation. Kind of the same way as saying that glass is involved in driving because it is a component of cars.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

I recall Khriss uses this term someplace, but I’m unsure what an “Invested Art” is. I assume you mean magic systems where mortals can direct the magic. (Art requires an artist.) Brandon calls those “people with magic” systems and says they all arose after the Shattering. Before then, there were only “interaction with nature” systems, where mortals interacted with magic as part of their ecosystem but couldn’t direct it.

I think the Old Magic is an “interaction with nature” system. Mortals can ask the Nightwatcher for a boon, but they can’t direct or control what she’ll do. She gives mortals what she thinks they “deserve.” By my understanding of your definition, the Old Magic is not an Invested Art.

Yeah, I think we agree here. Khriss uses the phrase "Invested Arts" in the context of the Scadrian ones in her Ars Arcanum of... Era 2, if I recall correctly. I've grown to like the term better than "magic system" - in part because it's an in-world term, and in part because, as you say, it implies an artist. I am curious about this WoB though. It sounds like something that makes sense, but I don't remember it stated outright. If you could find that for me?

1 hour ago, Confused said:

I’m sure you know I disagree about the Fused. For many reasons – mostly textual and all of which I spell out elsewhere – I believe Odium’s primal force is breaking Connections. IMO, the “Broken One” takes someone’s pain by breaking their Connection to whatever (usually whoever) causes the pain. This broken emotional Connection leaves a void in that person’s Spiritual aspect through which Odium’s Investiture enters.

This is interesting, because I think it kind of fits well with my model about Voidbinders - who are explicitly not Fused. If Moash is anything to go off of - and I didn't touch on this, but I think he is very close to what I think the original Ashynite Voidbinders were, only he hasn't quite taken the step that grants him access to the actual power, so he is using an Honorblade Surgebinding in the meantime, - then it is precisely the act of severing his Connections to... let's say his Passion, that makes it possible for Odium to come in and fill that with his power (only he hasn't done that second half yet; perhaps that's what Leshwi is referring to when she tells Moash "You have given him your pain. He will return it, human, when you need it.").

This being said, neither dis-Connect makes complete sense to me, Realmatically speaking. Probably because I don't understand Connection as fully as I need to, for something like that to make sense. Connection to land and people I understand. Connection to Shards... kind of. Connection to natural forces? Less so. Connection to emotions? Not in the slightest bit, though I'd be curious to find out whether that's related to the Rhythms in some significant way...

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Ever since reading this post and digging back into the origin of Surgebinding/Knights Radiant I've been really interested in this WoR chapter 35 epigraph:

Quote

"They also, when they had settled their rulings in the nature of each bond's placement, called the name of it the Nahel bond, with regard to its effect upon the souls of those caught in its grip; in this description, each was related to the bonds that drive Roshar itself, ten Surges, named in turn and two for each order; in this light, it can be seen that each order would by necessity share one Surge with each of its neighbors."

Words of Radiance, chapter 8, page 6

 

Nohadon mentions the term "Nahel bond" in Dalinar's TWoK vision, which means whatever this refers to it happened before the Knights Radiant formed. Who is the first "they" here? Doesn't seem like it would be the Surgebinders themselves. So most likely it was the spren deciding among themselves? Or at the very least it seems like the spren were involved. In light of this, I DO really like @Confused's interpretation of the epigraph about Ishar requiring organization. I can see how, if early Surgebinding was totally cavalier, things could easily get out of hand. So Ishar threatens the spren that he will destroy them if they don't organize themselves.

Perhaps the oaths were part of that pre-Nohadon organization? And then the specific wording of the ideals was detailed later or developed over time?

The mention of a "placement" for the bond is interesting, and it also reads as though the Surges "assigned" to each spren aren't entirely natural? That isn't to say there wasn't any kind of natural fit... And obviously they are patterned after the Honorblades. But it does seem like the associations didn't just... happen by accident.

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13 hours ago, Confused said:

Yes! You, @Jofwu, and now even @Calderis all agree the Surgebinding system is Honor’s regardless of which spren grant abilities through that system. “Some of the magics lean more Honor and some [of] them lean more Cultivation.” And some like Glys grant Odium-associated abilities. Because Surgebinders access these abilities through the Nahel bond, the system IMO remains Surgebinding even for Renarin.

Surgebinding being Honor's system is all well and good. The Nahel bond still involves Cultivation via the spren, and I think this is shown fairly clearly through the progression of the oaths. 

But just like the Metallic Arts, access to a system can be gained through other means. Look at Hemalurgy. Hemalurgy itself is just the theft and bestowal of a spike. If you use allomancy or Feruchemy that was gained via Hemalurgy, your still using Preservation's system, and the mechanisms it relies on. 

As such, Renarin's Voidbinding would be a hacked access that doesn't negate the fact that he's using both systems. The Fused would be the same. Just because they are using A non-traditional means to gain access does not mean they aren't using Surgebinding. 

13 hours ago, Confused said:

Investiture, work through growth/transformation. IMO, the Boskone WoB establishes these two important rules of cosmere magic:

1. Each Shard’s unique means of accessing Investiture defines its magic system like the Nahel bond defines Surgebinding as Honor’s.

2. The magical abilities Shards grant work by the same method as the Shard’s means of accessing Investiture, like using bonds to “fly.”

The Boskone WoB amplifies two older WoBs I often cite. They say in part:

The means of getting powers ... are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” [2008]

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” [2011]

What I have always said does not contradict these points, Confused. I just believe that you carry them to far. 

A Shard's intent determines the primary means of access, and not the powers that the system grants, yes... But that does not mean there is no difference between the systems. Again look at the Metallic Arts. A power gained through Hemalurgy is not in itself Hemalurgy. It is accessed in a non-traditional means, but the powers gained through Feruchemy or or Allomancy are still distinctly different powers, even in cases where they are similar. 

The Fused lack of distinction between their powers used and Surgebinding says that they are using the same system as Surgebinders. This is not to say that they can't voidbind. The means by which they gain voidlight itself may well be proof that they can, but the powers shown do not indicate that they are using a different system. 

Allomancy does not suddenly become Hemalurgy just because it was gained by a spike. In the same vein, however the Fused have gained access to Surgebinding doesn't change what it appears to be.

13 hours ago, Confused said:

The WoR Chapter 42 Epigraph quoted above states Ishar did impose some “precepts and laws.” I speculate at minimum he imposed the First Oath, which binds all orders. Maybe the Heralds themselves vowed the First Oath’s litany when making the Oathpact. Each KR might interpret the First Oath differently, but it does bind them all to a general moral code.

My issue with this is that the oaths themselves are not "precepts and laws."

I fully understand why people read this epigraph the way they do, and in truth I think this is what Brandon wants people to think, but law is an external restriction placed that is (supposed to) bind everyone equally. The oaths do not do that. They are subjective. They are open to interpretation by both the Surgebinder and the spren. And we know that the oaths are not the only rules that a Knight Radiant was required to adhere to. 

Quote

Now that we abandon the tower, can I finally admit that I hate this place? Too many rules.
—From drawer 8-1, amethyst

And Malata, the definitive proof in my mind that the oaths do not in themselves provide the organization or restriction that people want the creation and imposition of the oaths to supply, tells us this about the reason for the Recreance. 

Quote

“Spark is fine with what we’re doing,” Malata said, pressing her finger down and adding another swirl to the table. “I told you, the rest of them are idiots. They assume all the spren are going to be on their side. Never mind what the Radiants did to Spark’s friends, never mind that organized devotion to Honor is what killed hundreds of ashspren in the first place.”

Which is apparently a problem she does not suffer from despite the oaths being in place. 

The oaths existence without a unified interpretation do not provide organization. 

As to Nohadon, yes its said the Knights Radiant were founded based on his teachings, but I can find nowhere in book or WoB that actually says that the words of the first oath did not exist before him. Considering that of all of the oaths, the first is by far the most subjective and open to interpretation, I think that they were founded on his teaching if his interpretation of what those words mean. That seems to be what the entirety of his book is. Moral philosophy with context and explanation. A far better guide than just a few words. 

I find this far less difficult to reconcile than the context of a single epigraph changing from one group to another with no acknowledgement, and a single individual fundamentally changing the nature of a magic system. 

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34 minutes ago, Calderis said:

The Fused lack of distinction between their powers used and Surgebinding says that they are using the same system as Surgebinders. This is not to say that they can't voidbind. The means by which they gain voidlight itself may well be proof that they can, but the powers shown do not indicate that they are using a different system. 

But the Fused do have different powers then Radiants.  We see from Kaladin's perceptive that they fly differently and from Moash that they cannot lash him they way Kaladin can.

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59 minutes ago, Karger said:

But the Fused do have different powers then Radiants.  We see from Kaladin's perceptive that they fly differently and from Moash that they cannot lash him they way Kaladin can.

They specifically do lash Moash when they send him up to Leshwi, and the "differences" in my opinion can be explained completely in the Investiture used to fuel the Surges.

Regardless of opinion here, this is a side tangent. If Argent wishes to discuss it I'll engage, but for now I'm not interested in arguing a specific thread that's been beat again and again elsewhere. 

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I'm totally on board with the theory that "the Fused are Surgebinding". Their expression of the Surges is different, but it's pretty clearly the same Surge. Brandon's statements have been very clear that Voidbinding is something we haven't really seen.

But...

I'm really baffled by the Voidbinding chart. All of the "Surges" on the Voidbinding chart are... Surges. The exact same Surges from Surgebinding. Yeah, they're all twisted. But it's the same Alethi word. This is the biggest issue I have with the theory, and I've really struggled to conjure a satisfying answer.

I guess it's possible that the symbols are sort of used in a kind of symbolic sense. Like... maybe the "first Void" is really not analogous with Adhesion in any way... But the whole concept is too profane to warrant a glyph, so they just use a twisted Adhesion glyph as a stand-in. (if that makes sense)

It's also possible that my imagination as to what each Surge represents isn't big enough. I can, for example, see how "seeing the future" can be encompassed in the Surge of Illumination.(that is, within some umbrella concept that the Surgebinder Surge of Illumination also falls under) But I have a much harder time grasping how this works out with other Surges. Or imagining rather, considering we haven't seen many clues of what the other "Voids" are.

Argent sort of addresses this, but I'm not entirely satisfied with how if fits together and with what makes these systems unique.

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Posted (edited)

30 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

I'm really baffled by the Voidbinding chart. All of the "Surges" on the Voidbinding chart are... Surges. The exact same Surges from Surgebinding. Yeah, they're all twisted. But it's the same Alethi word. This is the biggest issue I have with the theory, and I've really struggled to conjure a satisfying answer. 

I think that they are the same Surges. But just as the expression of the glyph is changed to a radial symmetry rather than a traditional symmetry, I think the expression of the surge will be changed as well. 

What exactly that means for many of them I don't know, and don't think we have the information necessary to properly speculate. 

This is why recently (within the past year or so) I've begun thinking of the Surges themselves as Roshar's focus. Just as metal is the through line of all scadrian magics, the voidbinding chart shows us that all three of Roshar's systems; Surgebinding, Fabrials, and voiding... All rely on some expression of the Surges. 

With fabrials as a a mimic system (albeit with the ability for far more varied and specific uses than just mimicry) I can't imagine that voidbinding is just the same thing as Surgebinding. Why would it warrent a different system if that's the case? 

Edited by Calderis
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