Phantom Army Speculation

3 posts in this topic

I was unsure if this belongs here or in Cosmere, but the topic really is more related to the Stormlight Archive though this post will include speculation based off of Warbreaker, which I believe I've heard said is a type of prologue to the Stormlight Archive.

In my re-read of the Stormlight Archive, I got back to the scene in Oathbringer where Gavilar is being soulcast to stone and, with the knowledge of there being a hall of stone Radiants in Urithiru from Rhythm of War, it made me wonder if there was a purpose to the practice - a reason passed down beyond mere legacy. We know from Warbreaker that soldiers in stone can be caused to fight again, made Lifeless through the course of a single breath. This is similarly set-up in the Stormlight Archive under a different name - Thunderclasts.

The first part of my speculation is that before the end of the Stormlight Archive, though not necessarily by the next book, we'll see phantom armies play a role again - the equivalent of one breath is relatively easy to find on Roshar thanks to the Highstorm and so with the right information and intent it wouldn't be hard to see a stone Teft (and others) in action again. I wonder if, perhaps, trying to set this up could be where Zahel went during the invasion of Urithiru (we know he was somewhere and that Brandon almost wrote him in, but just couldn't make it work).

The 2nd part of my speculation involves Gavilar specifically, though I am by no means asserting this will happen. In Warbreaker, Clod/Arsteel as a lifeless mostly acts only as he is instructed. EXCEPT there is a moment when he protects Vivenna in the slum riot where it seems that a little more of Arsteel pokes through and I've read that Jewels offscreen goes to Yesteel to try to awaken more of Arsteel in Clod. We've seen with characters such as Thaidakar (to use the Stormlight name) that a cognitive shadow can staple itself to the physical realm; it would seem in the example of Clod/Arsteel there is a way to staple or bring back the cognitive to an otherwise Lifeless physical entity. All that to say, during Gavilar's funeral there was a lot of talk about the three realms and eternal wars and it made me wonder if Gavilar might one day come back (or have planned for himself to come back) as a Lifeless and if he (or others) would also have their cognitive self brought back somehow (even easier I'm sure if it's still lingering around like the fused with the thunderclasts). This seems more likely to happen in the back 5 books, but there's some set-up for it already so I thought I would speculate.

My apologies if this was a bit rambling - please let me know if I've forgotten anything that could support (or counter) this line of thinking. One issue I already know of it the lack of ichor alcohol, but perhaps there is a workaround here since we (I) know very little about the nature of ichor alcohol.

tl;dr - I think the stone radiants and others will later play a role as Lifeless soldiers or equivalent like Thunderclasts, but for good. If Gavilar's cognitive self is still around, perhaps it could come back to his stone statue and reappear that way.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The main quirk with the Phantoms necessarily touches a little more on Warbreaker spoilers, so I'll be guarding that here (just because I'm a bit paranoid about spoiling things):


Kalad's Phantoms are real bones encased inside stone, not full stone statues all the way through. It's like an Awakened skeleton with a stone suit on, with joints that are made to be movable by the bones within.

But this quirk could probably be compensated for if the Soulcast statues had as much care put into them as I think a funeral statue would have. Regardless, the stone having once been a real, living human would probably aid Awakening them, though i'm not sure if it would only cost 1 Breath like a modern, regular Lifeless made from a regular dead body, complete with ichor-alcohol.

Side note; I'm fairly certain Ichor-Alcohol's function is to help prevent tissue decay, so that things like muscles don't wear down as quickly without living blood to keep things tidy and clean.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would work.



Would an Awakener be able to awaken a corpse that was soulcast into stone more easily because it used to be living, thereby being able to create lifeless similar to Kalad's Phantoms without having bones in the framework?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That would definitely work. The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview (June 10, 2014)

There is also a theory about Gavilar being returned in some way, shape, or form to be Odium's champion, so these two things could be intertwined. I'm not sure if enough of Gavilar would remain to mimic Clod's memory of his previous self, since I'm not sure how the beginnings of a Nahel bond stack up against a Divine Breath and whatever other hordes of Breath Arsteel might have had, but I do think it would be interesting to see someone get reConnected to their mortal remains as a kind of deep-dive on cosmere ressurection.


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.