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Tiberius Gracchus

Gemhearts and the Everstorm

22 posts in this topic

So a theory just popped into my head, I was re reading WoK and thinking about the parsh/parshendi desire to leave the bodies of their dead undisturbed. Brandon has confirmed that this tradition is formed by the cultural scarring that all parsh-people experienced when humans chopped up parsh corpses to get gemhearts in the early human-singer wars. I asked myself why the modern Alethi do not continue the same practice of harvesting parsh gemhearts either from their slaves or the Parshendi killed during the war of vengance. Given that Kaladin refers to teams of Alethi being sent to loot from the battlefields of the shattered plains taking equipment and even the gemstones from Parshendi beards, the only explanation I can think of why the Alethi do not steal Parshendi gemhearts is that they do not know that Parshendi have gemhearts.

I find it inconceivable that humans across Roshar know that parsh grow gemhearts and no one bothered to collect them. I also find it inconcievable that the humans have been living among Parshmen for millennia and just haven't noticed that their slaves grow valuable gemhearts. My theory is that the parsh slaves that existed in between the False Desolation and the First Everstorm either had gemhearts that were changed to not be one of the 10 polestones or they simply didn't have them at all.

This would explain why they were unable to change form and how the spiritual damage of the False Desolation was passed from generation to generation. 

Tib

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Per WOB the gemhearts are tiny, pale while like bone, and embedded in their sternum.  All that adds up to them being really easy to miss unless they are already chopping up and examining their bodies.  Since they dont seem much into forensic autopsies or cannibalism of their slave-race or anything, they wouldnt have much reason (by Alethi standards) to take a close look at the bodies and figure it out.   And in the case of the singers they were always too preoccupied with the next Greatshell hunt and the next Highstorm, so they barely stuck around long enough to deal with their own dead bodies, nobody left to go poking at the enemy.  On a historic note, if Im not mistaken even the actual parshmen were known to react badly if anyone messed with their dead.  As one of the very few actual opinions they were known to ever express, I think it was said that the Rosharans just decided over the years that it wasnt worth provoking them.  Disclaimer on that last bit, I know Rlain and the other dull-form inflitrators had that reaction, and I think it was mentioned as a known reaction from parshmen in general, but I cant say for certain if we've seen a true slave-form react to it.  

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26 minutes ago, Quantus said:

On a historic note, if Im not mistaken even the actual parshmen were known to react badly if anyone messed with their dead

Sigzil says so.

27 minutes ago, Quantus said:

As one of the very few actual opinions they were known to ever express, I think it was said that the Rosharans just decided over the years that it wasnt worth provoking them.

Probably.  I still personally can't believe that no one noticed in 2000 years.

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1 minute ago, Karger said:

Sigzil says so.

Probably.  I still personally can't believe that no one noticed in 2000 years.

I may just be cynical, but it doesnt surprise me much.  Of all the people that might personally notice, it's still a relatively small cross-section (priest-slaves and rich ladies) that would actually be heeded enough for the fact to make it's way into common knowledge, assuming it wasnt kept under wraps as a state secret.  That probably wouldnt stop an evil enough empire with a crazy immortal in charge from having secret parshmen breeding programs to harvest them like cattle (or something equally horrible).  But the history of Rsharan academics is much more about what they've forgotten than what they've managed to discover

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7 minutes ago, Quantus said:

That probably wouldnt stop an evil enough empire with a crazy immortal in charge from having secret parshmen breeding programs to harvest them like cattle (or something equally horrible).  But the history of Rsharan academics is much more about what they've forgotten than what they've managed to discover

Still can't believe that people forgot that a species that they new had money in their stomachs.

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3 minutes ago, Karger said:

Still can't believe that people forgot that a species that they new had money in their stomachs.

Small peanuts in the face of all the other crap they've forgotten, to my mind. They've forgotten just about everything and gone through several political and religious Dark Ages where a ton of knowledge was being actively hidden.  

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15 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Small peanuts in the face of all the other crap they've forgotten

Maybe, but this is not the sort of thing that people forget.

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6 minutes ago, Karger said:

Maybe, but this is not the sort of thing that people forget.

Wouldnt be the first example.  You wouldnt think the fact that shards are dead spren wouldnt be the sort of thing people forget, either.  Or that those weird platforms are giant teleportation fabrials.  

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29 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Wouldnt be the first example.  You wouldnt think the fact that shards are dead spren wouldnt be the sort of thing people forget, either.  Or that those weird platforms are giant teleportation fabrials.  

You could also argue that it may have been an intentional act from the humans at some point.  They may have felt that it was wrong to desecrate the bodies of sentient beings and so they took the opportunity after the last previous desolation when there would be few parsh bodies to try to make people forget and change their behavior.  That would make sense in context of them doing things like intentionally trying to end the Knights Radiant, etc.

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There is a WoB that is difficult to find, so may take me a bit, where it confirmed that humans once knew about the gemhearts in the parsh, but the knowledge was lost over time. Also considering how the parsh gemhearts look different than the polestones which are used for soulcasting, I could see it not being important enough to humans to maintain the knowledge and pursue. Also the description lends it to be easily overlooked. It is small and encased in bone. I think you would have to know what you were looking for in order to locate it. 

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It's not surprising because the singer gemheart doesn't sound like a polestone. There aren't any cloudy white polestones on the list. So more likely, humans did desecrate their bodies for a while, until they were convinced there was nothing useful there, then stopped.

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On 10/3/2019 at 10:31 AM, Pathfinder said:

There is a WoB that is difficult to find, so may take me a bit, where it confirmed that humans once knew about the gemhearts in the parsh, but the knowledge was lost over time. Also considering how the parsh gemhearts look different than the polestones which are used for soulcasting, I could see it not being important enough to humans to maintain the knowledge and pursue. Also the description lends it to be easily overlooked. It is small and encased in bone. I think you would have to know what you were looking for in order to locate it. 

Milky white gemstones are just what the modern day parshmen gemhearts are like with non forms of power. This is just my theory but, I would not be surprised to find that all the different parshendi transformations have their own gemstone, and that’s where all the gems from  spheres came from originally, as it’s not really been touched on where spheres come from, only that a gemsmith can recut a broken gem into smaller ones and that gems can’t be created through soulcasting. It would fall in line with the parshendi traditions and also why humans forgot that the parshmen had them at all. 

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5 minutes ago, inquisitorrashek said:

Milky white gemstones are just what the modern day parshmen gemhearts are like with non forms of power. This is just my theory but, I would not be surprised to find that all the different parshendi transformations have their own gemstone, and that’s where all the gems from  spheres came from originally, as it’s not really been touched on where spheres come from, only that a gemsmith can recut a broken gem into smaller ones and that gems can’t be created through soulcasting. It would fall in line with the parshendi traditions and also why humans forgot that the parshmen had them at all. 

When Venli talks about the gemheart, she doesn't make any inference that they're different between forms.

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19 minutes ago, RShara said:

When Venli talks about the gemheart, she doesn't make any inference that they're different between forms.

True, but the parshendi seem to have forgotten almost as much as the humans have. I guess what I’m trying to say is they make reference that a chull like beast (so like medium sized gem producer) can be farmed in certin places for small gemhearts that can be soulcast into grain. So not big enough to be a brome, more than likely not being glassed into spheres. And every culture that we have come across so far either uses spheres as money or uses them religiously in one way or another. And bromes are common enough that their everywhere. So either greatshell hunts where either allot more common in the past, which they dont get into the numbers of how many gems a shell beast gemheart could be cracked into, so I guess that’s possible. But seems unlikely to me. 

Edited by inquisitorrashek
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Just now, inquisitorrashek said:

True, but the parshendi seem to have forgotten almost as much as the humans have. I guess what I’m trying to say is they make reference that a chull like beast (so like medium sized gem producer) can be farmed in certin places for small gemhearts that can be soulcast into grain. So not big enough to be a brome, more than likely not being glassed into spheres. And every culture that we have come across so far either uses spheres as money or uses them religiously in one way or another. And bromes are common enough that their everywhere. So either greatshell hunts where either allot more common in the past, which they dont get into the numbers of how many gems a shell beast gemheart could be cracked into, so I guess that’s possible. But seems unlikely to me. 

But they have multiple forms even now. And they've certainly seen enough of their dead with the current war. I think it makes more sense that for a while, humans did try to harvest their bodies for their gemhearts, eventually accepted that their gemhearts weren't worth anything, and stopped, but the remembrance of that is what the taboo of interfering their dead comes from.

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5 minutes ago, RShara said:

But they have multiple forms even now. And they've certainly seen enough of their dead with the current war. I think it makes more sense that for a while, humans did try to harvest their bodies for their gemhearts, eventually accepted that their gemhearts weren't worth anything, and stopped, but the remembrance of that is what the taboo of interfering their dead comes from.

Kindof. Eshonai stopped fighting platue skirmishes after they started bonding forms of power, saving their population for the summoning.  So theirs only really been one fight in which forms of power where used. So they probably had not lost anyone in the new form up until that point. The Alethi having to quickly retreat through the oath gate, and the everstorm/highstorm clash probably didn’t leave anything left to be inspected. Also Venly after her transformation basically reguardes all the pre-power parsh transformations as basically the same thing, nothing. 

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I'm going to trust the actual singer statements to speculation, sorry.

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On 10/3/2019 at 10:31 AM, Pathfinder said:

There is a WoB that is difficult to find, so may take me a bit, where it confirmed that humans once knew about the gemhearts in the parsh, but the knowledge was lost over time. Also considering how the parsh gemhearts look different than the polestones which are used for soulcasting, I could see it not being important enough to humans to maintain the knowledge and pursue. Also the description lends it to be easily overlooked. It is small and encased in bone. I think you would have to know what you were looking for in order to locate it. 

Is this the one you were thinking of?  It at least seems to be directly addressing the question of human's forgetting that Pashendi had gemhearts, it seems to say that the main reason is simply that they are really hard to spot.

 

 

Quote

 

Questioner

I was wondering, in Stormlight, what kind of gem the [singer] gemhearts were, or do they just, do they hold Stormlight well?

Brandon Sanderson

So, this is a good question. This is one that people have been asking me since the first book, if they had one, and I've finally kind of confirmed it in book three. So the reason people don't think [singers] have a gemheart is it is milky white, and looks like bone.

Questioner

But aren't their bones red?

Brandon Sanderson

Their bones, well-- Their bones are red-- not completely. If you're going to pull out the bone, what you're going to see-- I'll explain it in the next book. So what you're going to do is, if you break open the bone, you're going to find this white-- It's not marrow but it is, yeah I guess it's marrow. Anyway at the center kind of in their sternum there is a gemheart there, but it is fused to the bone and it is grown into the bone, and you have to kind of snap it open and find it inside, and it kind of just looks like marrow, but there's a gemheart in there. And it kind of relates to some stuff in Dragonsteel that I'm not gonna get into. But you'll see in the next books. But there's a good reason people just don't think that [singers] have a gemheart. 

Questioner

So they must not glow much then, I'm assuming.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well, it's surrounded by bone. So it's a different special thing. We'll bring it out in the following books. It might not be the next one.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 (March 1, 2018)

 

 
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2 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Is this the one you were thinking of?  It at least seems to be directly addressing the question of human's forgetting that Pashendi had gemhearts, it seems to say that the main reason is simply that they are really hard to spot.

 

 

 

Unfortunately no, but thanks for trying. It mentions that humans used to harvest them. Problem is the wording. Its up there with the underwater kingdom in the cognitive realm WoB. I really should start a word document where I save them when I stumble across them, just so I will have a place to find them easier. 

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44 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

Unfortunately no, but thanks for trying. It mentions that humans used to harvest them. Problem is the wording. Its up there with the underwater kingdom in the cognitive realm WoB. I really should start a word document where I save them when I stumble across them, just so I will have a place to find them easier. 

FYI, if you have an account on Arcanum, you can save WoBs to a Collection, which you can view. That way, you can save the ones that you like or have a hard time finding.

 

Also, is this the passage you're thinking of?

Quote

“Eshonai…?” she whispered, and nudged the corpse again. Demid gasped. Touching the bodies of the fallen was taboo. The old songs spoke of days when humans had hacked apart listener corpses, searching for gemhearts. Leave the dead to peace instead; it was their way.

 

Edited by RShara
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14 minutes ago, RShara said:

FYI, if you have an account on Arcanum, you can save WoBs to a Collection, which you can view. That way, you can save the ones that you like or have a hard time finding.

 

Also, is this the passage you're thinking of?

 

Could have sworn it was a WoB, but maybe then that is why I have not located it. Either way, thank you for posting that! I will save that, just in case that was it all along. 

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I love the stormlight archive but humans carving out the hearts of their enemies and using them as currency seems a little too metal for stormlight archive. 

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