Eluvianii

Channeling Specifics

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Posted (edited)

So, I know this series is known for its detailed magic system, I've even heard some things about how it could be a science of its own with how detailed it is.
I'm about to finish The Shadow Rising and I still don't quite understand how it works. So my question is, do the books show more about channeling to the point of becoming a science later on or this is already happening and I'm just blind (which could be, so don't be afraid to tell me)?

Edited by Eluvianii
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At one point, it describes what what was happening in the age of legends. It shows cars (or something similar? I believe they were power-made, power-fueled flying machines used in the same way cars are used) and other similar things, and people experimenting with what the power could do, through trial and error, similar to how scientists work with traditional science in the modern day. Rand also starts colleges that quickly discover many scientific things including- if I'm not mis-remembering things- something approximating an engine and electricity... I think. Though that's a short, minor part of the story mentioned fairly off-handedly. We also see Nyneav (Nineave? I listen to the audiobooks) find a way to heal certain things in a way no-one had ever managed before. We then see some yellows who witness it immediately make hypotheses on how the technique could be improved and changed or adapted in a way that could improve it's effectiveness. So there is some, but I don't think that it gets to the point, or in the way you mean. 

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I wouldn't say that it's as detailed as a Brandon Magic System (tm), but it's pretty detailed. I wouldn't call it to the point of a 'science' though, not anywhere near that level

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Hmmm shame. I mean, it's alright and it's good to know there are some moments like that, but I was thinking how fun it would be if you could just, play around in your mind, thinking about what would happen if you mixed certain elements in a certain way and stuff like that.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, it's less detailed in terms of reader understanding than one of Brandon's systems but the fact that channeling does operate in a consistent method across the series makes it more rule-based than 'softer' systems. Basically, you have your five elements which can be woven together like threads and the pattern you make, the elements you incorporate and how 'thick' the threads are determine what weave you produce. We know that weave pattern X will always produce magic Y as long as you do it correctly (with certain weaves like Traveling, you need a certain minimum strength in the Power to pull it off in the first place) and these weaves can be taught. There are also other hard and fast rules like how circles work and aspects of shielding someone from accessing the Power. Contrast with magic systems that don't get even this much explanation and the writer(s) are virtually unlimited in what they can do in theory.

There are some idiosyncrasies that come up later, like how Aes Sedai learn the weave that produces fireballs in a way that leads them to always incorporate some sort of throwing motion because that's how they learned it; mentally they associate the latter with the former and can't do the weave without the motion even if they try. Meanwhile other channelers who learned without any physical motion can hurl fireballs faster because they don't need that accompanying gesture. We also learn that there are at least a few well-known weaves that can be done in multiple ways. For example, there's one main Compulsion weave but other weaves do similar things within limitations. The discovery of some of these alternate weaves becomes important later on.

There's also one other interesting thing that comes up later which highlights the fuzziness of the system. Very minor spoiler for Path of Daggers.

Spoiler

In there, we learn that it's possible to deliberately pull a weave apart instead of letting it dissolve with time. This makes it impossible for anyone to analyze the weave in that interval (ie, if you don't want an opposing channeler to see your weave and learn how to replicate it) but the process is extremely difficult and if you screw it up, all the remaining threads collapse into an unpredictable pattern with equally unpredictable results.

All that said, Brandon got to write one character 'his way' who does things with magic that's more like you'll see in one of his own works. Basically he took a character who was in Jordan's notes but undetailed and decided to use them to play around with his ideas on clever uses that you could put the One Power to if you had one thing you were really good at. You'll know it when you get to it. xD

Edited by Weltall
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