ConfusedCow

Soul System

17 posts in this topic

              As we know on Scadrial,

Spoiler

Magic is either end positive (allomancy), end neutral (feruchemy) or end negative (hemalurgy).  

Am I stating the obvious by saying that magic on Roshar obeys a similar system but with respect to your soul?  The radiants access surge binding by adding to their souls literally fusing together with a spren.  They go from various kinds of broken souls to better people.  Old magic, the deals with the nightwatcher, often seem to involve an exchange.  One part of your soul for another.  Voidbinding accesses the surges by driving people slowly insane, damaging, twisting and deforming their soul.  Odium seemingly consumes parts of peoples souls, twisting their souls in a manner reminiscent of Dakhor.  Then he seems to return those parts of the soul with voidlight flowing through and around their broken soul.  We might then label the Radiant surgbinding, Soul positive, the Old Magic Soul Neutral, and Voidbinding soul negative. 

             Some might object that old magic doesn't fit this theory, you just have to think a little imaginatively about the Boon's and Curses. I know Av's father got a heap of good cloth.  Perhaps the Nightwatcher gave Av's father the ability to weave beautiful cloth or knowledge about where he could trade or find cloth.  The Nightwatcher in similar fashion offered things to Dalinar that might not technicallybe  part of his soul.  Perhaps, she meant that she could alter his soul so he could obtain such things.  I know Brandon said old magic is suppose to be mysterious and without rules.  I suspect that Brandon's desire to invent complex rules to govern magic systems is almost an obsessive disorder.   I imagine he interrupts his children to ask why that unicorn has the power to run across water.  

             Anyway, what are the implications of this theory? One implication might be thinking about the Unmade differently.  Perhaps the Unmade's power comes from what they lack, not what they are?  Nergoul lacks empathy, Ashertmarn lacks hope, Re-Shephir lacks imagination, etc...  

  

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Why do you think that voidbinding acts in that way? You say that it twists and deforms the soul. Where have we ever seen that happen? We have only seen Renarin voidbinding so far, and that without him knowing what he is doing.

Besides that, there's also the old magic argument that you brought up. The ways you dismissed the arguments seem flawed to me. You are taking what we have seen in the book and trying to alter it to fit your theory. The nightwatcher told Dalinar that she can give him a sword that bleeds smoke and is unstoppable. She did not say that she would alter him so that he will receive it. She said that she can give it to him. Sure, she might have meant that she would change him, but this is a point against your theory.

It seems to me that we only have proof that surgebinding follows this ruleset. That is very flimsy evidence for a theory.

Besides that, I think that this ruleset worked in Mistborn because of the shards. Ruin and Preservation's intents are very related to these concepts of net gain, net loss, and neither gain nor loss. Odium, Honor, and Cultivation's intents are unrelated to these concepts.

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I think this theory has some merit,  at least loosely.  Old Magic being soul neutral in particular is an interesting concept.  Either boon or curse can manipulate a soul, the boon either directly or by the effect that boon has on you, the curse always alters the spirit web to achieve its effect.  I think this works because one cannot be completely sure what boon or curse you get. You can ask for whatever but the Nightwatcher or Cultivation herself in some special cases picks what you get.

As for voidbinding and the corruption of the user's soul we cannot yet know for certain as it really hasn't been written out. However it would not be a stretch if it actually worked as the OP speculates. 

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20 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

I think this theory has some merit,  at least loosely.  Old Magic being soul neutral in particular is an interesting concept.  Either boon or curse can manipulate a soul, the boon either directly or by the effect that boon has on you, the curse always alters the spirit web to achieve its effect.  I think this works because one cannot be completely sure what boon or curse you get. You can ask for whatever but the Nightwatcher or Cultivation herself in some special cases picks what you get.

As for voidbinding and the corruption of the user's soul we cannot yet know for certain as it really hasn't been written out. However it would not be a stretch if it actually worked as the OP speculates. 

I've actually written about the Old Magic before, you can look in my comment history for the full thing, but in short: I think that Old Magic is not soul neutral but investiture neutral. The nightwatcher gives and takes the same amount of investiture so as to become connected to more things while not losing any investiture, and in that way doesn't open herself up to an attack by Odium.

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Two relevant WOBs:

Quote

Questioner

So for the Old Magic, in this classification system of end-positive, end-neutral, and end-negative, where would that fall under?

Brandon Sanderson

So, almost every magic in the cosmere is end-positive, almost every magic is relying upon an external source of Investiture to power it. So that phrasing is mostly more relevant to Scadrial than anywhere else, because that concept is how I'm dealing with things like the laws of thermodynamics, and even what they call end-neutral is relying a little bit on the power of Investiture to facilitate. So even an end-neutral magic system as they define it on Scadrial is actually not end-neutral. What you get put in you get out, but the power is facilitating that transfer… So that phrasing is kind of a... Take that as a science on.. Scadrial that does not extrapolate well, and may not even be 100% accurate.

Moderator

That would have been a great thing to know before we did the cosmere magic panel. *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

I look at it as, is an Investiture externally powering the magic, and if you look at Allomancy, yes it is. You are drawing that power out. Feruchemy, you are putting Investiture in from your own body, it's your energy transferring to Investiture, which is being stored, which you are then drawing out, and things like that. But that changing forms is facilitated by the magic. Whereas you're stealing stuff with-- So you could look, for instance at the magic on Nalthis, you could look at that one as being-- as kind of working as end-negative, meaning "I am taking it away from someone else", or end-positive depending on if you're the one receiving it or not. So again, it's a phrasing that can be useful as a tool but doesn't scale well to the other magics.

JordanCon 2016 (April 23, 2016)

Quote

Questioner

How many magic systems are in The Stormlight Archive, and how many of them haven't been seen?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say the only major one you haven’t seen is Voidbinding, it depends on how you count them. I count fabrials as one, Surgebinding as one, and Voidbinding as one. And then the Old Magic is kind of its own weird thing.

Calamity Seattle signing (Feb. 17, 2016)

So those three are not the only systems, since Brandon counts fabrials as one as well. Looking for a symmetrical pattern in three of them might not work out that well.

Also, Scadrial's magic being so fundamentally different in the way they work is mostly because the Shards perceived themselves as contrasts of each other, so the magic systems behaved in a similar way. Things on Roshar don't seem to be that simple, since two of the Shards were closely working together, and there's three of them and the lines between which system is of which Shard seems very blurred to me (at least with Honor and Cultivation). They would probably not be as clear-cut in their categorization.

Edited by Elegy
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As regards voidbinding, I was thinking of the fused, Oathbringer 1172, chapter 115, Shallan sees an army of 'fused' prior to fusing.

Spoiler

Hundreds upon hundreds of strange spren stood in the lake of beads that marked the shore of Thaylen City. They looked vaguely humanoid, though they were twisted and odd, like shimmering dark light. More the scribbled outlines of people, like drawings she’d done in a maddened state.

Do we still call them fused before they cross over?  Venli also calls them twisted and strange, Oathbringer 1177, same chapter. 

Spoiler

Those are the spirits of the dead, she realized. Fused who haven’t yet chosen a body. Most were twisted to the point that she barely recognized them as singers. Two were roughly the size of buildings.

The fused are also clearly driven mad by their magic.  The act of their return costs a soul by itself.  Further in 121 ideals, Leshwi says to Moash

Spoiler

“You have given him your pain. He will return it, human, when you need it.”

The casual way Leshwi says this makes me thinks this is a process that has happened to her, the usual way it works. The effects of the Unmade also seem to me to essentially be a warping twisting damage to the soul.  Sja-anat twists and warps spren directly.  Ashertmarn as another example seems to feed on peoples joy and hope, twisting those feelings into hedonism and abandon.  Every kind of magic related to Odium seems to damage the soul.  I am loosely grouping all these together under the title voidbinding. It's possible voidbringing refers to human interactions with voidspren, but I think we can expect the established pattern to hold.  

@Elegy, I think Brandon refers to fabrials as a magic system in a broad sense, the way cytonics or Star Trek transporters might be a magic system.   Roughly, analogous to Southern Scadrian's technology.  Indeed, both use invested technology to make flying devices.  Though your point about Shardic intent on Scadrial is a good one.  

Edited by ConfusedCow
typo's, because my books are one my phone not my computer
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I don't think that's a magic system though. Magic systems work without the shard's intervention, they're just a set of rules. What is going on here is Odium actively doing something to further his goals. For example, in Mistborn inquisitors could use allomancy even though that's Preservation's magic system. He wouldn't want them to use it, but they do so anyways because it's not in his control.

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@Gderu, I agree we don't know what exactly voidbinding is.  Don't you think there's a kind of symetrical pattern though. Radiant surgebinding makes broken people whole. Voidbringer surgebinding makes whole people broken.  etc.... 

Edited by ConfusedCow
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2 hours ago, ConfusedCow said:

@Gderu, I agree we don't know what exactly voidbinding is.  Don't you think there's a kind of symetrical pattern though. Radiant surgebinding makes broken people whole. Voidbringer surgebinding makes whole people broken.  etc.... 

I don't think that @ works here, I didn't get a notification. If you want me to get one you can quote me. 

When have we seen voidbinding make a whole person broken? Renarin bonded Glyss, so Renarin was already broken, right?

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@Gderu

We cannot use Renarin as a template in regards to voidbinding because he's a product of a blended magic system and because his voidbinding isn't typical.  His is a byproduct of a corrupted Nahel bond,  something that to my knowledge is something new and unprecedented.  Sja-anat has never been able to corrupt major spren before Glys.

I really hope we get to see the mechanics of true voidbinding with the release of this latest book.

11 hours ago, Gderu said:

I've actually written about the Old Magic before, you can look in my comment history for the full thing, but in short: I think that Old Magic is not soul neutral but investiture neutral. The nightwatcher gives and takes the same amount of investiture so as to become connected to more things while not losing any investiture, and in that way doesn't open herself up to an attack by Odium.

Those terms are not IMO mutually exclusive. The person requesting the boon doesn't lose anything or really gain anything magic wise, the spiritweb is just rearranged. The NW uses her Investiture like an access key, the fuel for the transformation comes from the requestor.  Granted that this may not be how it works. We've heard about Nightwatcher interactions but the one time we've actually seen one, Mamma C actually performed the transaction and her methods will certainly be different if for no other reason than she has more power at her disposal, can touch a spiritweb more deeply. It just makes sense to me that it would work that way. 

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I don't have anything to cite for this, but my understanding for the fused becoming so twisted is due to repeated process of dying and returning to inhabit new bodies. The process is probably very traumatic to the soul.

Something else just occurred to me. (Again, no evidence, just speculation) Imagine if every time a fused died, it became a new cognitive shadow. Singer A dies, comes back and possess singer B. Now A+B dies, and becomes the cognitive shadow of A+B. Possesses C, now it's A+B+C. Repeat that process 50 more times.  It wouldn't even be the original singer any longer, that CS perished long ago, but every time it happens, the copy is imprinting itself onto a new victim... It would be like making copies of copies endlessly, with each one being slightly more corrupted. I don't know if I'm making sense, but think telephone game, except with souls instead of words. It wouldn't come from the magic system, but from that imprinting process.

 

 

Edited by Solant
At my job, i work with faxes that frequently go between multiple parties before ending up at me. Most of them are completely unusable, and that's where the analogy comes from
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31 minutes ago, Solant said:

Singer A dies, comes back and possess singer B.

It is made very clear in the books that it is not possession.  The body is killed an replaced with a new soul. I suppose the fused could have been lying to Venli but I did not get that impression.

Edited by Karger
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37 minutes ago, Karger said:

It is made very clear in the books that it is not possession.  The body is killed an replaced with a new soul. I suppose the fused could have been lying to Venli but I did not get that impression.

But it's the Cognitive aspect it the Spiritual aspect behind swapped? Is it both? If they're just swapping the Spiritual aspect, then perhaps some Cognitive corruption could be happening.

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1 hour ago, Karger said:

It is made very clear in the books that it is not possession.  

Relax, it was just a fun thought. I guess instead of saying possess, i should have said "possess his body". I don't have a better word for it.

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Rather than being due to the magic system, is there a link between becoming a cognitive shadow and going crazy? The heralds, the fused and shards that have the vessel killed all lose their minds. Warbreaker spoilers

Spoiler

Given enough time I think it applies to the returned. Look at the 5 scholars, only vasher seems relatively stable. Of the returned its hard to say, from what lightsong was going through, and the uncaring nature of most of them, it could apply. I don't think the returned stay around long enough for it to happen fully though.

 

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8 hours ago, Steel Inquisitive said:

But it's the Cognitive aspect it the Spiritual aspect behind swapped? Is it both? If they're just swapping the Spiritual aspect, then perhaps some Cognitive corruption could be happening.

Both. 

7 hours ago, Solant said:

Relax, it was just a fun thought. I guess instead of saying possess, i should have said "possess his body". I don't have a better word for it.

Understandable.

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Remember, investiture works by filling in your soul with power. The more broken a soul, the more power. Unmade applying to this? maybe. I think that it is mostly their spirit webs that got put in the proverbial wringer, not yet enough to make their souls broken enough to affect their power at a large degree. Unless this would be a big reveal. Sidenote: more invested people in bad living/ high crime situations?

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