KandraAllomancer

theory
What if Voidbinding doesn't use Surges?

10 posts in this topic

After watching the last few Shardcasts, I decided to play with @Argent's idea that Voidbinding might be about accessing the power of Odium directly, not about accessing Surges. It actually led to some interesting conclusions, which I'll try to present below

Voidbinding doesn't use Surges
The basic premise, obviously. There are some reasonable arguments that support this idea:

  • The Knight Radiant, the Fused and fabrials all use Surges. Surges were also what destroyed Ashyn. Despite their ubiquity, we have not a single description of Voidbinding that mentions them explicitly. We only know about the ten levels and the existence of “Voidbindings”, whatever they are. Khriss is also unsure how they fit into the whole Orders/Surges/Essences paradigm
  • Voidbinding is a cousin of Old Magic, which isn't Surge-based
  • Renarin's futuresight isn't necessarily a Surge. He does have access to a separate, distinct version of Illumination, while his visions match what Tanavast says about his own futuresight (also, Renarin seems to see things that are of interest to Odium, not random visions). It seems possible that Renarin is accessing the Shardic power directly, rather then filtered through Surges
  • In this WoB, Brandon describes futuresight as “dangerous territory, and drawing upon a Shard”
  • The futuresight is described as “the soul of Voidbinding”. It's the only Voidbinding power that is widely known. It stands to reason that it might not be available to a single Voidish “Order”, but to all Voidbinders, possibly forming the first level of the magic system
  • Additionally, per Taravangian's word, all Unmade have some sort of access to futuresight, despite having other distinct powers and roughly matching the KR Orders. Given that, futuresight doesn't seem to be tied to any single Surge

Comparison with the Metallic Arts
Comparing Rosharan and Scadrian magic  leads to some interesting analogies that might elucidate the nature of Voidbinding:

  • Surgebinding corresponds to Allomancy/Feruchemy, with 10 Surges / Orders / KR Spren types fulfilling the same roles as 16 metals
  • Fabrials correspond to ettmetal-based magitek
  • Old Magic corresponds to lerasium, as both can be used by anyone to change their spiritweb
  • Voidbinding, finally, has the same role as atium

There are two important thing about atium that I believe are relevant here (besides the obvious fact of providing futuresight):

  • Atium requires the power of another Shard to work. Without Allomancy, Feruchemy or some magical ability to steal via Hemalurgy, atium is useless
  • Preservation tweaked Allomancy, so that atium could be used against Ruin

I'm not sure if Voidbinding can exist as a fully standalone magic system; it might require some other power (typically Surgebinding) to work. Based on this WoB:

Quote

Argent

Let's talk about Renarin, and Voidbinding. So, with that page we talked about, Renarin Voidbinds. I asked about visions, you pointed to Voidbinding chart, he Voidbinds. Is that using Stormlight to power abilities different from the Surgebindings we've seen?  

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. 

Argent

Is that what voidbinding is? 

Brandon Sanderson

No, but close. You're on the right track. We are gonna get into that, I'm not gonna tell you what the chart means, and things like that. But yeah, something really weird is happening there. 

Footnote: The chart referenced is the back endsheet in The Way of Kings.
Oathbringer Chicago signing (Nov. 21, 2017)


I think that what is called Voidbinding might actually stem from Surgebinding hacked (e.g. via spren corruption) to give people non-Surge powers, to Odium's detriment. It would also explain the name “Voidbinding”, which doesn't sound like something Odium's followers would use

The Voidbinding chart
If that is the case, the Voidbinding chart isn't a Voidbinding chart per se; it's more like a Surebinding +  Voidbinding chart. My current theory is that it might have originated on Ashyn, and its history might have been more or less like this:
People were experimenting with Surges provided by Odium and his Voidspren, creating a chart that is extremely similar to the one for Rosharan Surgebinding, but with different Surges / Orders (e.g. “Voidish” Illumination would be Renarin's balls of light)
Two “Orders”, Bondsmiths and Truthwatchers, turn out to be special though:

  • both have access to the Surges with the most Spiritual aspects
  • they kind of match Dawnshards quite well: one on them can bind people and spren, which seems very Bondsmith-like, and the Change Dawnshard is a “will of a god to remake things, to demand they be better”, which fits nicely with Renarin showing people their perfected selves
  • Sja-Anat has a weird affinity for Truthwatchers and BAM started exhibiting Bondsmith-like powers  during the False Desolation; both happen to provide Voidbinding abilities, to Signers and humans respectively

I believe Bondsmiths and/or Truthwatchers might have been the ones to figure out that you can use the magic to tap Odium's power directly, likely with the help of the Dawnshards – which is why they are surrounded by a red gem on the chart and not connected to any Surges. Odium wasn't very happy about it, so he pushed them towards the planet's destruction.
Voidbinding was left unused and partially forgotten, until some Unmade started experimenting with it again during the False Desolation, possibly given some knowledge by Cultivation or a Herald starting to go mad. BAM sudden unexplained powers might actually be our only hint at the higher levels of Voidbinding

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, KandraAllomancer said:

The Knight Radiant, the Fused and fabrials all use Surges. Surges were also what destroyed Ashyn. Despite their ubiquity, we have not a single description of Voidbinding that mentions them explicitly. We only know about the ten levels and the existence of “Voidbindings”, whatever they are. Khriss is also unsure how they fit into the whole Orders/Surges/Essences paradigm

One thing I'd note: Voidbinding hasn't been fully explored yet, so it could just be that most people don't know enough about Voidbinding to tell us that. 

Quote

TheFoxQR (paraphrased)

Is there temporal symmetry in between the Surge-binding and void-binding charts, from the front and back covers of The Way of Kings? As in, Surgebinding is a re-emerging system of the past, vs Voidbinding being a newly emerging system that will fully exist in the future?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You can assume that Voidbinding has not been fully explored, but that parts of it have been looked into in the past. So I wouldn't say that temporal symmetry fully holds.

General Reddit 2019 (Aug. 3, 2019)

 

4 hours ago, KandraAllomancer said:

Voidbinding is a cousin of Old Magic, which isn't Surge-based

I'm a fan of the idea that the reason it is a "cousin" is just that the Old Magic is the NW doing things, and the Voidbindings are the Unmade doing things (as well as possibly a set of powers that align with what the Unmade do, but this isn't super clear). 

4 hours ago, KandraAllomancer said:

I'm not sure if Voidbinding can exist as a fully standalone magic system; it might require some other power (typically Surgebinding) to work.

Hmm, could you elaborate on what you mean here a bit more? This sounds interesting. 

The ten levels thing + the Voidbinding chart do for the moment still make me think it's Surge-based, but this isn't actually something I've thought on a whole lot, so this theory is a pretty interesting one. 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, LewsTherinTelescope said:

Hmm, could you elaborate on what you mean here a bit more? This sounds interesting. 

The ten levels thing + the Voidbinding chart do for the moment still make me think it's Surge-based, but this isn't actually something I've thought on a whole lot, so this theory is a pretty interesting one. 

I think KA's saying that Odium's true magic is similar to Hemalurgy, in that if no other magics exist, it literally does nothing.  In this case, 'Voidbinding' is just Odium's twist on Surgebinding, and if Surgebinding didn't exist, neither would Voidbinding.  Or I'm just interpreting it that way because it's my own theory, that whatever you want to call it (I really hope "Voiding" sticks, because I have a ten year-old's sense of humor), all Odium does is rip everyone else off.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, CruelSadist said:

 

I think KA's saying that Odium's true magic is similar to Hemalurgy, in that if no other magics exist, it literally does nothing.  

Well... Hemalurgy does steal things besides powers :P

But I know what you mean lol. I more was curious for a more specific explanation, ex. what kind of effects does it have (probably with some pure spitballing for examples, just to clarify the idea), how it actually does this, that kinda thing. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, KandraAllomancer said:

After watching the last few Shardcasts, I decided to play with @Argent's idea that Voidbinding might be about accessing the power of Odium directly, not about accessing Surges. It actually led to some interesting conclusions, which I'll try to present below

To be clear - and I think I got myself turned around during that one Shardcast - I do think Voidbinding is manipulating the Surges, but it's doing so through a Connection with Odium as opposed to a Connection with spren. I think the way I phrased it during the episode was "Surgebinding -> binding the Surges, therefore Voidbinding -> binding the Void, a.k.a. Odium", which I think is a valid interpretation, but the soul of my theory, as it has been for a long time, was that Surgebinding -> performing magic through a bond with spren, while Voidbinding -> performing magic through a bond with Odium. This is all mostly coming from the belief that what defines a magic system is not the effects, but the access (though the effects often end up being different as well). So when looking for differences between Surge- and Voidbinding, I look at where the magic comes from - spren in the former's case, Odium in the latter's.

This being said, I recognize the appeal of the theory as I phrased it on the podcast - I must have liked it then, to have it temporarily overwrite my primary theory on the subject :P I am not 100% sold on either version (or anything else I've seen on the topic), but I feel like they are in the right neighborhood.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Argent said:

Surgebinding -> performing magic through a bond with spren, while Voidbinding -> performing magic through a bond with Odium

Interesting bit that this brings to mind: Sja-anat mentions that she needs a bond to Odium to stay "awake", which reminds me of Radiant spren. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20.02.2021 at 7:11 AM, CruelSadist said:

I think KA's saying that Odium's true magic is similar to Hemalurgy, in that if no other magics exist, it literally does nothing.  In this case, 'Voidbinding' is just Odium's twist on Surgebinding, and if Surgebinding didn't exist, neither would Voidbinding.  Or I'm just interpreting it that way because it's my own theory, that whatever you want to call it (I really hope "Voiding" sticks, because I have a ten year-old's sense of humor), all Odium does is rip everyone else off.

My main analogy was Allomancy + atium (using a magic system to "burn" Shard's power, hurting them in the process), but hemalurgy works as well, to some extent. Although, as @LewsTherinTelescope pointed out, the analogy is not perfect, as hemalurgy can steal things other than powers

On 20.02.2021 at 6:06 PM, Argent said:

To be clear - and I think I got myself turned around during that one Shardcast - I do think Voidbinding is manipulating the Surges, but it's doing so through a Connection with Odium as opposed to a Connection with spren. I think the way I phrased it during the episode was "Surgebinding -> binding the Surges, therefore Voidbinding -> binding the Void, a.k.a. Odium", which I think is a valid interpretation, but the soul of my theory, as it has been for a long time, was that Surgebinding -> performing magic through a bond with spren, while Voidbinding -> performing magic through a bond with Odium. This is all mostly coming from the belief that what defines a magic system is not the effects, but the access (though the effects often end up being different as well). So when looking for differences between Surge- and Voidbinding, I look at where the magic comes from - spren in the former's case, Odium in the latter's.

This being said, I recognize the appeal of the theory as I phrased it on the podcast - I must have liked it then, to have it temporarily overwrite my primary theory on the subject :P I am not 100% sold on either version (or anything else I've seen on the topic), but I feel like they are in the right neighborhood.

The one thing that still bothers me is that Khriss refers to Voidbindings and some esoteric fabrial-related powers as "sets of abilities". They must be different from the Surges somehow, and Surges are already quite extensive in what they cover. I think that it might be possible that Voidbindings are an alternative set of fundamental forces, based on the fact that the Double Eye chart from WoK Prime seems to match the Voidbinding chart (I posted more details here)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe Odium’s magic system relies on corrupting other shards’ Investiture, similar to Hemalurgy stealing Investiture.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, StormFather! said:

Maybe Odium’s magic system relies on corrupting other shards’ Investiture, similar to Hemalurgy stealing Investiture.

I've got a pre-RoW theory on the Magics of Roshar (linked in my signature) that plays with similar ideas, if you are looking for inspiration or different takes on the same concept.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep thinking of Surgebinding and Voidbinding in similar terms to the Metallic Arts. Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy all use the same 16 metals as their base, but the powers are wildly different. I think we have something similar on Roshar, where Surgebinding, Voidbinding, and fabrials all use the surges, but the manifestations are different. I always think of Renarin's Illumination actively different than Lightweavers and Truthwatchers.

Now, I recognize that the metals on Scadrial are the keys for the powers, not the source of the powers. But it's still the comparison that leaps to mind for me.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.