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The Shape of Roshar


Meandering Monotreme

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Roshar is probably a sphere! I say this for reasons (not surprisingly). The highstorms always run east to west. In Hoids' story, the people go to an island in the west. But some stories say that Derethil comes back, against the highstorms. The presence of stormlight (and the almost decimation of culture in the last 4500 years) has set back science and mathematics to the point where the world could be almost any shape at all and the people wouldn't know. Maybe Derethil came back by sailing all the way across the world! No other ship has done it, but there haves to be a first for something. Also, it would explain the highstorms more. They never stop blowing--they just blow all the way across the world before they come again. It makes perfect sense!

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I am certain that Roshar is a sphere, based off of (sorry for the spoiler, if you haven't read the rest of Brandon's cosmere books you might not want to read this.)

the fact that the Cosmere is a universe much like our own, Sel, Scadrial, Nalthis, Roshar, Taldain, and Yolen are all planets so I don't think Roshar could be flat or any other shape. If you have read all these books(except Dragonsteel and White Sand of course) I hope this doesn't sound condescending, I just want to be careful.

But for other purposes I'm not sure that the Highstorms just go around the planet. It makes sense but the fact is that they would be able to be predicted more accurately. There would be a predictable interval wouldn't there? It's the Stormwardens' job to predict them and they would have noticed a pattern by now. But in the books, they often predict storms that don't arrive, or storms come that weren't predicted. Do you have any ideas why that might be?

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The Highstorms don't circle the globe. How could they, if they break up around Shinovar?

When a storm breaks up, its Light keeps going, reaches Origin, and turns back into a storm?

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I am certain that Roshar is a sphere, based off of (sorry for the spoiler, if you haven't read the rest of Brandon's cosmere books you might not want to read this.)

the fact that the Cosmere is a universe much like our own, Sel, Scadrial, Nalthis, Roshar, Taldain, and Yolen are all planets so I don't think Roshar could be flat or any other shape. If you have read all these books(except Dragonsteel and White Sand of course) I hope this doesn't sound condescending, I just want to be careful.

But for other purposes I'm not sure that the Highstorms just go around the planet. It makes sense but the fact is that they would be able to be predicted more accurately. There would be a predictable interval wouldn't there? It's the Stormwardens' job to predict them and they would have noticed a pattern by now. But in the books, they often predict storms that don't arrive, or storms come that weren't predicted. Do you have any ideas why that might be?

Yeah, it's blindingly obvious that Roshar is a sphere, now that I think about it. It just fits almost too well on a map to be one.

But about the highstorms: they wouldn't go at regular intervals, because there is so much variation in various parts of the world. A hot sea would be different for highstorms as a cold sea, and there are many moons to mess things up as well.

And about you people thinking about an origin: I don't remember one. Can you give page numberes and quotes please?

ReaderAt2046: I love this idea, because it is very similar to a different idea I'm working on (but that isn't completed yet, so I won't espouse it at this point in time).

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I don't think it's so simple that the highstorms go around the world. If you look at the interludes in WoK, you can see that the western countries suffer much less than the eastern countries, not just Shinovar. Sorry i don't have the book with me right now so i can't quote but the Calm Lake is smack in the middle of Roshar (well slightly north, but east-west wise) and they don't have to find shelter at every highstorm, you can actually just float in a boat through it. There's also the interlude with the spren researcher who can manipulate his body. I can't recall specifically but i know he's in a city in the northwestern part of Roshar, and i believe there is mention of calmer weather (not sure).

Anyways it appears the highstorms diminish in strength as they move westward significantly enough that it's not just going around. Also, the fact that highstorms ONLY come from the east is very unusual to be the case for the entire planet, and is definitely supernatural. This to me says that there is some sort of Origin of Storms to the east that's producing the highstorms, and i doubt the highstorms go all the way around the world.

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Ok here are the most important ones I could find using origin(courtesy of Amazon look inside, this thing is awesome)

pg. 382

He (Dalinar) stood atop the hill, looking eastward, toward the Origen. His eyes went that direction so often

pg. 142

But what kind of spren is it? Axies wrote, fascinated. It has formed a face, looking eastward. Directly toward the Origin.

pg. 193

... looking eastward toward the Origin-the distant, unseen place where highstorms formed...
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@Whispsy

Ah, my bad, it's been a while since i last read WoK. But still, the highstorms are not nearly as bad at the Calm Lake than at Alethkar.

]quote]

The Way of Kings, Hardcover, page 267

The storms weren't so bad out here as they were in the East

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Pretty sure that Roshar is a sphere. Aside from the fact that it is definitely a planet (as opposed to a discworld, Halo, or it's own endless plane of existence), Hoid talks about a world spinning being unnoticeable to those on it to Dalinar (IIRC).

Not that it really matters but I seem to remember reading that a spinning globe will cause side-effects in large bodies of water... but also that they'd be subtle enough that you'd really need to be looking at them from space to verify them.

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Allow me to muse over various things here...

One thing that is rather strange about Roshar is the weather/seasons. It doesn't seem to match very well with any seasons on Earth (which are a bit more complicated/varied than the normal 4 in any case). Weather on the Earth is largely driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the equator and the seasons by the tilt in the axis - things seem to be very different on Roshar.

We know that the High Storms have a clear "supernatural" component, but, was there some natural big storm (like the red spot on Jupiter) that picked up the supernatural component or is something supernatural causing/persisting these special storms? Can't say yet. So inferring the shape of Roshar from the weather seems quite problematic.

Still, I'd be surprised if Brandon hadn't put a lot of research into this, since it is a major aspect of the world and he really seems to enjoy working out such things (as do I). I'd certainly expect there to be some "real world" physics underpinning some of the effects. I'd certainly expect Roshar to be spherical. Random thought: while the tilt on the Earth's axis is pretty much fixed on a human timescale maybe the tilt on Roshar's axis is highly variable on a human timescale?

By itself though I don't think a highly variable tilt would be enough to explain the seasons: there is a lot of thermal inertia in the Earth's seasons. So in the northern hemisphere June is not typically the hottest month of the year, despite being the month that gets the most energy from the Sun. In short, Earth's 4 main seasons are offset by about 2 months from where they would be based on solar radiation alone because thermal inertia smooths things out. In comparison, Roshar's seasons seem to be way too chaotic and fast changing to be explained by purely physical processes - or maybe the whole concept of seasons and what's driving them is very different.

It would be interesting to know if the duration of a day (time between sunrise and sunset) on Roshar is related to the seasons in any way: are days longer in summer than in winter? If there is a strong correlation that would suggest a wildly changing axis. If the time of day is more or less the same during the year (for the same location) then that implies a fixed axis. If there was a stable tilt that should result in predictable summer and winter solstices making for a much more reliable definition of a "year" than "weepings" - so either nobody on Roshar (that we know of) cares about that or the actual effect itself doesn't occur (to a measurable degree). Does anyone remember any references in the text to duration of the days being variable or the like?

btw, I'm no weather or climate expert. I've read up on it a fair bit of the years but some of the above could be wrong, misleading or badly explained.

PS Did anyone else notice that the main continent seems to be in what us Earthlings would call the Southern Hemisphere? Sort of like a colder, wetter and wider/bigger Australia since I seem to remember that what seemed to be the equator going through the Purelake or near enough - I'm pretty sure latitude was indicated on the main world map.

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Did anyone else notice that the main continent seems to be in what us Earthlings would call the Southern Hemisphere? Sort of like a colder, wetter and wider/bigger Australia since I seem to remember that what seemed to be the equator going through the Purelake or near enough - I'm pretty sure latitude was indicated on the main world map.

The equator runs through the Reshi Isles. I never noticed the latitude. But it begs the question: how do they know where to put the latitude lines? How they know where the equator is when no one knows what is north of Roshar [that is my assumption]?

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The equator runs through the Reshi Isles. I never noticed the latitude. But it begs the question: how do they know where to put the latitude lines? How they know where the equator is when no one knows what is north of Roshar [that is my assumption]?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_longitude

Determining latitude was relatively easy in that it could be found from the altitude of the sun at noon with the aid of a table giving the sun's declination for the day.
Latitude can also be determined from Polaris, the northern pole star. However, since Polaris is not precisely at the pole, it can only estimate the latitude unless the precise time is known or many measurements are made over time. While many measurements can be made on land, this makes it impractical for determining latitude at sea.

Determining lat/long on land seems to be relatively easy - technology seems basic enough that it's quite reasonable that it would be in use on Roshar, assuming it's very Earth-like. It's determining it on sea that's a real problem.

On the other hand, if Roshar does have an erratic angle of tilt I suspect determining latitude might be rather more difficult.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I'm not an expert by any means, but Roshar weather indicates that it's axis is not only tilted like Earth' s, but the axis rotates around another center of rotation, like a top that's about to fall over, wobbling. The seasons are not regular in sequence, winter can turn into spring, summer, or fall, and vice versa.

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Looking at the map, I noticed something odd. On the sides of the map are alternating dark and light sections, with each pair seeming to represent one degree (or whatever unit the Rosharans use). But if this is the case, then there are only 9.5 degrees between latitudes 30 and 40, and 7.5 between 0 and each of 10 N and 10S. Is this an error, or is there some reason for it, I wonder? (I'll admit, I'm having trouble coming up with a good explanation.)

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  • 2 months later...

You're all overlooking a very important detail that STRONGLY affects weather. The fact that Roshar has multiple moons. The effect these moons would have on the levels of the waterways would cause huge variances in how much water evaporates during the day, which is what makes the clouds and rain for the Highstorm. The light reflecting from the moons changes the temperature of different parts of the planet depending on where the moons are (though by only perhaps a couple of degrees this can be hugely significant in weather patterns.) Also the fact that the multiple moons spinning around Roshar cause its rotation on its axis or axes to be very different than what we are used to here on Earth. Roshar could very well have a set pattern of seasons, it just may be so far spread out before you go from beginning to end that no one has been able to establish the set pattern.

If this pattern hasn't been truly discovered it would make it really hard to know which season was coming next or how long it would last. Without being able to really know what season you are going to be in, it's even harder to tell what season the Origin would be in and how much water is evaporating every day to create the clouds necessary for the rain, or if there is a proper cold or warm front coming to bring the Highstorm in.

We have very advanced technology and only one moon to worry about and we get the weather and how long or how severe our seasons are going to be wrong all the time. Imagine a world where predicting these things is borderline heresy and technology is much much less advanced then what we have now, and then throw in a couple more giant spheroids to spin everything in unexpected directions.

The amount of physics it would take to determine how Roshar and its moons effect each others angles towards the sun is far too advanced for me.... I'd have to ask Chaos to do the math. xD

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