Dreamer

spoilers
thoughts on Aether of Night

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Let me begin by saying that yes, I know that this book is semi-canonical at best, this is just for fun

The two Shards on Vaeria were the Former and Decay (Former, as in someone who shapes and creates). They were later adapted into Preservation and Ruin. The Former and Preservation seem to have some differences: Preservation was said to not be able to create without Ruin, Former's Intent contains the idea of creating. This might be a contentious point though, as Preservation not being able to create without Ruin thing might've come about because without an agreement between the two, Ruin would have simply destroyed anything Preservation tried to create. It could also be that Ruin's presence allowed Preservation to create, without which he could not change anything due to his Intent. Ruin and Decay seem to be more or less the same Shard, both expressing inevitable entropy, but Decay appears to not have a magic system tied directly to him, unlike Ruin.

The Fell Twins: Slaughter and Despair, Makkal and Agaris. They raise some interesting questions as to their nature. Were they Splinters, like spren? Or were they actual men who became Slivers?

I think they were the former (pun intended). Their thought processes, or what we see of it anyway, seem kind of alien. They followed the letter of the rule laid down by the Former, but not the intent (also pun intended). Of course there are arguments against this: men can become just as twisted, especially over the course of hundreds of years of war, followed by imprisonment in conditions of sensory deprivation and memory loss. Then there is also the ending, where they appear to take on a human form...

I don't understand who imprisoned them though

The magic:

Amberite, Bestarin and Night were created by Makkal (Slaughter)

Verdant, Ferrous and Luminous were created by Agaris (Despair)

Amberite - allows one to create and shape rose-coloured crystals into spikes, blades or armour, more powerful ones can create bigger structures like barriers. Takes the form of an embedded crystal in the back of the bearer's hand; Aether of the High Aedin royal line; end-positive.

Verdant - allows one to create living vines, which are edible and nutritious though tasteless. One can also control the vines' movements to change direction mid-air, wrap someone up, find things to hold on to so as to allow the bearer to pull off a Spiderman or Tarzan impression. Takes the form of a moving vine wrapped around the user's wrist but can also grow to wrap around more of their body if the Aether or the Bond is strong; end-positive. Its source takes the form of a giant ancient tree.

Bestarin - those with Bestarin bonds, when grievously wounded, can graft animal parts onto their bodies. Most notably, in the case of amputation, they can graft claws or paws and control these limbs as though they were their own; end-neutral.

Ferrous - those with Ferrous bonds can build metallic architectural or mechanical structures which form around their body, trapping them within it forever. It seems that doing this also makes them functionally immortal unless the structure itself is destroyed. Other Ferrous bonded can communicate with them. A Corpate, a four limbed vehicle is a prominent example. End-neutral

Night - the titular Aether, the source of which served as Makkal's prison. The well also served as the Aedin's method of public execution. The Aether of Night can be used to summon and control human shaped forms made of shadows as though the user's own body, meaning that their real body would have to remain immobile while they are controlling the shadow creatures. It can also be used to teleport oneself. It also seemingly strengthens other Aether bonds, though that may have been Makkal himself.

Luminous - the secret Aether of the Vo-Dari priests. Its source also served as the prison for Agaris. The well was located in the Vo-Dari compound in the Aedin capital. It can be used to teleport others by physical contact in a flash of white light. It seems not to be true teleportation, in the sense of instantaneous travel between two points without having to traverse the distance between the two, as in the books the one being Sent can still perceive themselves "turn into light" and travelling at incredible speeds to their destination.

I have a few questions regarding this: why was the Aether of Night so much more powerful than the Luminous Aether, despite them both being the divine Aethers? Are the Aethers alive? D'na's Aether certainly acts alive. Or is that just a quality of Verdant Aethers due to them creating living things? Or perhaps due to the Former mostly inhabiting their source.

The creatures:

The Gol - created by Makkal to be fierce warriors but changed by Agaris to be gentle lovers of art who could not create art themselves.

The Shentis - humans altered by the Fell Twins, rendering them infertile, apparently the only effect aside from their physical transformation. They live near the Verdant source but apparently never communicated with the Former or tried to form a bond with Verdant though that may be because they couldn't, perhaps due to Investiture interference

The Worldbuilding

The cultures were not presented in the novel very well. It was very planet of the hats and often far too close to too many real-world stereotypes. The honour-bound, the intelligent, the sensual/sexist/exotic, the religiously strict, the simple: no further characterizations, no indications that this may have been just the narrators' inexperience. The male lead's perspective on being honourable and dutiful was done well, a character archetype I usually find very annoying.

The two plots problem was real: The tone of the story often did not match what was happening. At first I tried to rationalize it as the male lead seeking escapism from his responsibilities, upheaval of identity and end of the world, with the intriguing female lead would-be assassin but it became harder and harder to do so as the story went on.

I did not see the plot twist at the end coming, but was quite unsatisfied with it. Religious fanatics murdering everyone, not a single Vo-Dari questioned what they were doing. It was quite difficult to sympathize with them, despite the fact that to them, their god told them to extinguish two entire Aether lines (each contains hundreds or even more than a thousand individual members). Their machinations and willingness to slaughter even members of the other two lines made them feel very flat.

The conclusion to the bride problem was... problematic and not all a narratively satisfying conclusion, far too quick and "funny" series of solutions to a very tension-filled problem which could have been used to flesh out the brides and their cultures.

Edited by Honorless
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Yes this thread does it. Consider me curious now.. I am going to read aether of night!!

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59 minutes ago, The traveller said:

Yes this thread does it. Consider me curious now.. I am going to read aether of night!!

Oh no, I spoiled far too much. I mean, I keep insisting that some spoilers just build anticipation, but this time I really did spoil too much! I'm so sorry! You shouldn't have come to this thread before reading Aether of Night!

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I read the beginning only.. I have read the prologue so was not spoiled, don’t worry.. 

and then decided to read it first.. and come back.. :)

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On 11/9/2019 at 6:33 PM, Honorless said:

I don't understand who imprisoned them though

I think Decay imprisoned them. First, he used them to trap Former and then trapped them too.. which does not make much sense to me because they were destroying mankind, so why would Decay trap them and basically, save mankind!

Personally.. I liked Aether of Night better than White sand.. Both are very politic heavy but white sand got more tedious to read. I also think that as a main character i liked Raeth better than i did Kenton.. 

The problem with aether was more in the story about the Shards and the fell twins. I felt that it was too less of it and what was there, was too disjointed and rushed which gives the impression that it is two separate books that have been mushed together.. I did not see the Vo-dari plot twist coming.. but i still do not like it. It does not make much sense. Why would they do that. Why would someone like Patriarch, who had earlier, come across as a wise man, just give in and plan for this to happen.. He planned for a long time, it appears. There was no real explanation given by him about why or how Vae convinced him. So, it came across as a plot-twist for the sake of a plot-twist, which is a first from brandon for me.. Also, the two plots: whole ''selection of the bride'' vs the ''impending apocalypse'' was a little ridiculous and did not mix coherently. I did like Darro, though, i think in the end, he did prove that he would have made a decent heir too..  There was no consequences for Laene too..

I also felt that Raeth was too accepting and understanding of the fact that D'Naa tried to kill him.. especially after the first such attempt. However, i did not mind the resolution to the bride selection problem, because sometimes one person finds a problem daunting when other person sees easily solvable situation.. It was funny and i think the whole bride selection story could be made less intense and more for comic relief from the beginning.. 

On the magic system, I feel like Amberite and its blade and plate, appears to be similar to shardblades and shardplates of Roshar. They can be formed on command, they are invincible against normal weapons, aether blades and plate heal and when released they dissolve. They come across as alive and the plate when covering your face is translucent. So, i think this idea has been consumed by brandon in Stormlight. Aethers seem to be alive, but are they shardblade-alive or just providing connection to gods.. i think the latter.. So, this aether, if became canon, might be different from as it is now..

Dark monsters/night monsters are also very similar to Midnight essences in Stormlight.

On 11/9/2019 at 6:33 PM, Honorless said:

why was the Aether of Night so much more powerful than the Luminous Aether, despite them both being the divine Aethers? Are the Aethers alive? D'na's Aether certainly acts alive. Or is that just a quality of Verdant Aethers due to them creating living things? Or perhaps due to the Former mostly inhabiting their source.

 I thought that the luminous aethers were creating and then manipulating all those dark monsters, does that not make them very dangerous and powerful and in fact more so than Aether of the night..?

I liked Verdant and Bestarin as aethers. But, Bestarin and ferrous are not explored enough..

 

Edited by The traveller
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I don't remember there being a healing component to Amberite. Agreed on the Aether of Night being cannibalized for Midnight Essence:

Quote

Questioner

Is Re-Shephir related at all to the Midnight Essence in Aether of Night?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It's me, like-- Related in that Aether of Night isn't canon, and I really liked how that worked in the cosmere, and I ported it to this instead. So that's like--

Questioner

So you're not gonna write Aether of Night?

Brandon Sanderson

Aether of Night, I might eventually write, but the Mid--

Questioner

It may be different?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Oathbringer release party (Nov. 13, 2017)

It would be a shame though, because I liked that idea of people being unsure if the shadows were spirits of the dead.

I liked Kenton much better as a character, actually. He was much more in flux. Raeth's code oriented behaviour was written very well too. The friction in Kenton's personality contrasted with his new responsibilities were handled better. Kenton was also just plain more fun.

As I've said before, White Sand prose is better than parts 1 & 2, even for the romance bits. Part 3 was very awkward & stilted. Reading Ais the Trackt was very uncomfortable. He was an extremist that we were apparently supposed to empathize with, on the other hand the Patriarch was portrayed as a religious zealot and terrorist mastermind with very uncomfortable correlation between the two.

I don't understand why the gender dynamics were taken off in the White Sand comics, to be honest, that was actually good. If Ais was also dealing with being a woman, a Trackt and a Kerztian, that would've been great for the narrative. Instead we get handwaved gender equality, under that kind of religion & society. Plus those bikini warriors, just no.

Part 3 had an undoubtably better resolution to Khriss and Gevalden, as well as Kenton's former abrasiveness. I don't think that the part with Drile should've been changed, that transformation was just too corny. Kenton sparing Drile in the comics, and then Drile automatically becoming a better person was a point against the comics though.

I loved Darro too! He is being moved to another Cosmere work though, I'm not sure if he'll remain as important of a character there as in Aether. Hmm... unless Brandon meant we'll meet Darro as a Worldhopper!

My favourite Aethers are Bestarin and Ferrous. The cost of magic angle is one that the Cosmere needs more of.

i did not like D'na as a character at all, she reminded me of Denna for a few scenes there. I also disliked how it was her nation's people who came at the end, I was expecting it to be the... religious one? Not the one with the boob hoop (I forgot the name)

Edited by Honorless
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11 minutes ago, Honorless said:

I also disliked how it was her nation's people who came at the end, I was expecting it to be the... religious one? Not the one with the boob hoop (I forgot the name)

mehallens..

The amberite blades when strike each other, chips fall off but then they regrow/heal to become sharp again.. 

White sand, the whole attack on the sand masters was very abrupt.. it was weird and has it ever been explained if anyone betrayed them? The world building was a little mah... I also think that brandon has got much better at the politicking thing too now in Roshar, then in white sand. Too many characters introduced in one go in white sand, all of a sudden the book takes a sharp turn when kenton reaches back to the City.. Khriss insisting on helping him was very sudden, i think she did not even know that he was a sand master then. Also, the way kenton treats Khriss is a bit off too.. 

D'Naa, like i said, her attempted theft of his aether, which looked a lot like attempted murder of Raeth, should have been more of a big deal and Raeth forgave her too easily, which is very weird. 

You compare her to Denna? wow.. you really dislike her! Was it her stalking and sneaking and burglaries?

I think Kavir needed to be the ones to save them so that readers can forgive D'Naa for the aether theft and for her marriage to become possible to Raeth.

I liked Mellahans true, nahan even and especially her father!

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21 minutes ago, The traveller said:

mehallens..

The amberite blades when strike each other, chips fall off but then they regrow/heal to become sharp again.. 

White sand, the whole attack on the sand masters was very abrupt.. it was weird and has it ever been explained if anyone betrayed them? The world building was a little mah... I also think that brandon has got much better at the politicking thing too now in Roshar, then in white sand. Too many characters introduced in one go in white sand, all of a sudden the book takes a sharp turn when kenton reaches back to the City.. Khriss insisting on helping him was very sudden, i think she did not even know that he was a sand master then. Also, the way kenton treats Khriss is a bit off too.. 

D'Naa, like i said, her attempted theft of his aether, which looked a lot like attempted murder of Raeth, should have been more of a big deal and Raeth forgave her too easily, which is very weird. 

You compare her to Denna? wow.. you really dislike her! Was it her stalking and sneaking and burglaries?

I think Kavir needed to be the ones to save them so that readers can forgive D'Naa for the aether theft and for her marriage to become possible to Raeth.

I liked Mellahans true, nahan even and especially her father!

Nope, I was talking about the other religious ones who refused to go via Sending. The ones who didn't send any aid and were looking to secede? The Mahallens did give cavalry to them.

I liked the Mellahan bride, but their culture was just icky and a very bad fictional Arabia trope.

I see you've forgotten most of White Sand, you really didn't like it then? Then again, it was paced very weirdly.

It was the anger. D'na's first response to everything she saw him do, by stalking him, no less, was to assume the worst. She was interested in him but showed no interest in his plight and didn't help him or show any understanding except when there were her own motivations in play.

I generally don't like how most authors go on and on about writing female characters properly, not defining them by only their role etc. and then ignore their own advice for male characters and have their female characters come off as simply self-righteous, which is what both Denna and D'na appeared to me (and the names!) as well as Kvothe (to Devi) and Raeth (as some sort of demented form of chivalry)

People often forget to commend Brandon's writing of men, imo. So many picture-perfect manly men characters or full on self-inserts just ugh! I loved that Kaladin was as much an object as a subject in WoK, that there were things beyond his control (the Bridgeruns), I loved the contrast of Vasher's free-floating attitude, and I liked that Brandon could also write someone as blandly heroic as Raeth with human motivations but he was still cookie cutter to me. I like Kenton better because of how his rebelliousness came to be and how he realized he automatically assumes a defensive position, it was more beautifully written and a better narrative element. I hope he publishes a polished version of the prose someday. 

Edited by Honorless
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Khurs then.. the religious ones.. 

yea white sand, may be someday I will read it again.. I find it ok but aether slightly better 

24 minutes ago, Honorless said:

was the anger. D'na's first response to everything she saw him do, by stalking him, no less, was to assume the worst. She was interested in him but showed no interest in his plight and didn't help him or show any understanding except when there were her own motivations in play.

I got pride and prejudice sort of vibes here except that the guy instead of being misunderstood, got swapped here..

yes Raoden is basically too perfect! Everything he does, he has to be the beat at it.. Raeth is kind of like that too.. I agree that Kenton has more internal struggles and self revelations .. but Brandon is getting better! 
kaladin is his best written hero figure so far. While still being pure good, he has struggles and faults.. 

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And what did you think of Slaughter and Despair?

What do you think they were? Men or spren?

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14 minutes ago, Honorless said:

And what did you think of Slaughter and Despair?

What do you think they were? Men or spren?

That is confusing, is it not? 
they are a shards children so they should be spren like, godspren like stormfather level, but there manifesting as humans at the end is so confusing.. what is that? Their avatars? Kind of like how odium manifests in PR in oathbringer?
in the prologue, agaril is described very humanly too.. 

 

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Though they might've been men who took up parts of the Former's Shard, I think they were his Splinters

Their thought processes were very inhuman and I think it was the Former himself who imprisoned them: both to protect the world of Vaeria from them and as a long plan to eventually give them a chance to live like humans

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2 minutes ago, Honorless said:

Though they might've been men who took up parts of the Former's Shard, I think they were his Splinters

I thought so too.. did not say because a splinter of a shard is what syl says spren are.. 

so that still makes them spren like.. 

may be former really shattered himself? Made big enough chunks that they qualify as sub-shards? 
 

what is order and chaos? They were mentioned briefly 

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Just now, The traveller said:

what is order and chaos? They were mentioned briefly 

I think they were Spiritual aspects that Brandon later abandoned. Aethers was written fairly early.

Alternatively, they were interpretations of Former (Form as structure, order) and Decay (breakdown of structure, disorder, chaos), so Decay is saying that he imprisoned the brothers with their father's essence.

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:03 AM, Honorless said:

The conclusion to the bride problem was... problematic and not all a narratively satisfying conclusion, far too quick and "funny" series of solutions to a very tension-filled problem which could have been used to flesh out the brides and their cultures.

It was a standard romantic commodity a one to two hundred years ago.  Even all of the minor or side characters would get married.

Edited by Karger
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14 hours ago, Karger said:

It was standard romantic commodity a one to two hundred years ago.  Even all of the minor or side characters would get married.

Do you mean 'comedy'? Yeah, this kind of stuff wasn't seen the way it is now even just two decades back

 

Which one did you like better- Aether of Night or White Sand prose?

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Do you think that elantris is better than these two? I know a lot of people do not like it at all..

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1 hour ago, The traveller said:

Do you think that elantris is better than these two? I know a lot of people do not like it at all..

In concept, Elantris is definitely in the same weight class but it isn't written as engagingly imo. The main characters were too logical but it worked as a quirk and was actually in concert with the theme and final solution of the book.

I liked White Sand prose and Aether of Night better, White Sand Graphic Novel part 3 was also actually pretty good and improved on the latter third of the book, fleshing out both Kenton and Khriss specifically her conversation with Gevalden/Nilto

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9 hours ago, Honorless said:

Which one did you like better- Aether of Night or White Sand prose?

Aether and I actually meant "a standard romantic commodity."

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I agree.. aether is better than white sand.. although I think the ending of elantris was better..

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1 hour ago, Karger said:

Aether and I actually meant "a standard romantic commodity."

Could you elaborate?

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6 hours ago, Honorless said:

Could you elaborate?

You got my meaning the first time(if not the form of words I was using).  Every author was doing it.  An idiomatic commodity they are all buying.  I just thought Aether was better written then either Sand or Elantris.

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Just now, Honorless said:

, what do you think the Fell Twins were?

Nothing yet.  Aether predates the Cosmere.  If it were re-adapted I would say splinters of some kind.

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