Azarias

Greater Forms of Surgebinding

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"The most powerful forms of Surgebinding transcend traditional mortal understanding. All their greatest applications require Intent and a Command. Demands on a level no human could ever manage alone."

This, as I'm sure you all know, is what Nikli said as the dawnshards were introduced to Rysn. As a result of this, and everything else that went on at the end of Dawnshard, many have speculated that Dalinar's use of the word 'Unite' in Oathbringer may have been the use of a dawnshard. And that is a possibility. But what if he is not using a dawnshard. What if 'the most powerful forms of surgebinding' involve integrating commands into them. The surgebinding we have seen so far in Stormlight has mostly been about instinct and intent, however, in magic systems that have the potential to form more varied and specific effects, such as on those on Sel and on Nalthis, the use of Commands, whether aons or speech, combined with some intent, are essential to producing the desired effect. 

Now, what if the greatest and most powerful forms of surgebinding did not just use intent and instinct, wordless grasps at power, such as the use of lightweaving and lashings, but also employed a command. This is not to say that they have to employ dawnshards, the greatest of commands, but perhaps they employ lower commands, such as those used on Sel and Nalthis. Could this indicate that in the future, the more spiritual side of surgebinding could be unlocked through the understanding of, and speaking of, specific words and phrases?

This is a bit out there. And I'm sure someone will come up with a sensible counter argument, but tell me what you think.

Edited by Azarias
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I agree on the inherent differences between Rosharan magic and that of Nathis and Sel, but I'm not sure if such Commands would always require language rather than simply visualizing the result in your mind. The way I see it, the most powerful magic a mortal can wield (without full Shardhood) requires some kind of temporal Ascension, either due to holding a massive amount of Investiture or combining it with a Dawnshard. I think it happened just a few times is Cosmere history (usually with terrible side effects): using the Well of Ascension, destroying Ashyn, the Shattering, probably creating the Oathpact as well. In all cases the people involved didn't probably need some proper wording or formulas, just the Intent and a clear image if what they wanted to achieve. Dalinar might have access to something like this (one of the Sleepless actually states explicitly that he is more dangerous by siding with Honor and remaining a Radiant), but he's not aware of that fact yet, so the Intent isn't there

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I see what you are saying, but I think I disagree. In the case of destroying Ashyn, we know that was done with a dawnshard, which is one of adonalsium's commands. The shattering was also performed using the dawnshards- commands. What the lord ruler does the well of ascension might not be done with a command, but that was also very poorly and clumsily done, without much control. When adonalsium created the universe, they used commands. And if adonalsium used commands to perform its will, we can assume that shards do too.

I also think we have to be careful with our distinctions of intent and command. I do not believe the distinction is whether it is verbal or not. When one reaches the tenth heightening on Nalthis, you can perform non-verbal commands. I think the distinction is that a command involves true understanding and visualization, whereas intent is more about desire and purpose. I think that the reason that a lot of commands are spoken out loud is because such large, all encompassing concepts such as 'Unite' can be difficult to comprehend only in your head. In the same way as when performing a maths problem you might write it down, it being impossible to hold everything in your head at once, verbalization of commands is used to ensure focus and understanding.

Dalinar therefore might have an understanding of a powerful command, that allows him to focus his surgebinding in new and different ways. 

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I see what you are saying, but I think that the greatest forms of Surgebinding are more than just Command and Intent.  This can be seen with Lightweaving.  Specifically, I think Lightweaving uses both Intent only and Intent with Command, but still isn't the "Primal Surge."

We see an example of Intent only Lightweaving the first time Shallan creates the Stormlight map.  She felt a pull from Dalinar to "see."  She used Stormlight instinctually to create the map.  She did not Command the Stormlight simply because she didn't have to knowledge to do so.  She didn't have the active agency that would be required for a Command.

Likewise we see Lightweaving with Intent and Command when, for example, she creates and attaches an illusion to Pattern.  She may not have actively said the words "attach and play" or something similar like we would see with Awakening, but she did actively attach the illusion.  She "Commanded" it to stay.  

I would argue that neither effect has more inherent power, just a difference in employment.  Now it could be argued that Command may be an instinctual thing, but that seems to be at odds with Awakening, and while Awakening may be completely different from Dawnshard Commands, it is the only thing that we have to compare.

I think that the most primal Surgebinding does combine Intent and Command, but that it is not bound to a particular surge, or set of surges.  Instead it can access them all at the same time.  My theory is that the Dawnshards allow that unlocked access.  Imagine a Lightweaving that also contains Gravitation, Friction, and Adhesion, for example.  In theory, you could create a new reality.  That would in a very real sense be the Will and Intent of a God.

Edited by Malim
I really can't spell....
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If we’re going to speculate on what the “greater” forms of surgebinding are, shouldn’t we look at Hoid and the magic he uses? Obviously he has access to the magic systems of a few different shards, but in a few instances (such as the wandersail story) it has seemed like he is using something greater or more unique to him.

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