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Divine hierarchy in the cosmere


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In my attempt to construct a cosmere wide divine theory I have found it necessary to construct a divine hierarchy. Using relationship to Adonalsium as a measurement for divine  authority. 

 

S tear: God Beyond

A tear Adonalsium 

B tear shards and Aethers 

C tear Avatars

D tear slivers 

E tear Spren, cognitive shadows

G tear highly invested immortals or near immortals.

 

Do I have the right order? Should one group be moved higher on the hierarchy? 

Is there a form of divinity I'm forgetting. 

 

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7 hours ago, bmcclure7 said:

In my attempt to construct a cosmere wide divine theory I have found it necessary to construct a divine hierarchy. Using relationship to Adonalsium as a measurement for divine  authority. 

 

S tear: God Beyond

A tear Adonalsium 

B tear shards and Aethers 

C tear Avatars

D tear slivers 

E tear Spren, cognitive shadows

G tear highly invested immortals or near immortals.

 

Do I have the right order? Should one group be moved higher on the hierarchy? 

Is there a form of divinity I'm forgetting. 

 

You are missing Splinters - but there are more than one "tier" of those. There are also combinations of these that don't quite fit your list.

For example, Seons and Spren are Splinters - but Stormfather was an Adonalsium Spren (by current understanding) that also became a Cognitive Shadow of Tanavast as well as a Splinter of Honor - so a merge of three different sources of Investiture, and at a level above other examples in that same category.

4 hours ago, RoyalBeeMage said:

Wouldn't returned be in between E and D tier?

3 hours ago, bmcclure7 said:

There cognitive shadow so E tear

Returned are Cognitive Shadows with Divine Breath (which is a Splinter of Endowment), so Splinter+CS - combination teir.

3 hours ago, RoyalBeeMage said:

sorry no you are right. i was thinking of returned as beings of the 5th heightening with all those breaths but i remembered that they cant use awakening.

Returned can absolutely use Awakening (see Vasher) - they just don't use their Divine Breath Splinter to do so - except the one "Healing" use that would kill them (because it expends the Divine Breath to use it).

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8 minutes ago, Treamayne said:

Returned can absolutely use Awakening (see Vasher) - they just don't use their Divine Breath Splinter to do so - except the one "Healing" use that would kill them (because it expends the Divine Breath to use it).

thats what i realy ment when i said it

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8 hours ago, Treamayne said:

You are missing Splinters - but there are more than one "tier" of those. There are also combinations of these that don't quite fit your list.

For example, Seons and Spren are Splinters - but Stormfather was an Adonalsium Spren (by current understanding) that also became a Cognitive Shadow of Tanavast as well as a Splinter of Honor - so a merge of three different sources of Investiture, and at a level above other examples in that same category.

Returned are Cognitive Shadows with Divine Breath (which is a Splinter of Endowment), so Splinter+CS - combination teir.

Returned can absolutely use Awakening (see Vasher) - they just don't use their Divine Breath Splinter to do so - except the one "Healing" use that would kill them (because it expends the Divine Breath to use it).

Splinters I assume most would be E tear since Spren are splinters how some larger Spren of Adonalsium however may be D tear or even C tear.  I not sure.

 

Return are a solid E tear. 

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19 minutes ago, bmcclure7 said:

Splinters I assume most would be E tear since Spren are splinters how some larger Spren of Adonalsium however may be D tear or even C tear. 

Exactly my point, though they don't have to be Splinters from Adonalsium . Nightwatcher is a Splinter of Cultivation, and also probably "C" on your tier system. 

The Evil is also, likely, a Splinter and also, likely, a "C." 

So, the point was Splinters can be at almost any level below Shard, because it depends on how they came to be. I might write that as something like:

Quote

C tier: Large Splinters (e.g. Nightwatcher), Avatars (e.g. Patji)

D tier: Splinters (e.g. Returned's Divine Breath, Yoki-Hijo),  Invested Slivers (e.g. TLR), Avatar Vessels (e.g. Telsin)

E tier: Small Splinters (e.g. Seons, Spren), Invested Cognitive Shadows (e.g. Heralds)

F tier: Cognitive Shadows, Bonded Humans (e.g. Spore Eaters, Aviar bonded humans, Sand masters)

 

Edited by Treamayne
SPAG
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For sure entities like Stormfather or Nightwatcher are above Slivers. Slivers don't really have anything special about them except that they don't phase into the Beyond when they die, and they do die normally like any other person. Only in combination with Invested Arts Slivers (and admittedly any person) can cheat death and become "a god" like Rashek did. 

But what about Elantrians? They aren't CS, they aren't Splinters or Slivers and they are more invested then Returned. They are more invested then Heralds too. 

Yumi spoiler WoB:

Spoiler

Argent

If we are looking at very highly Invested beings, we have Yumi, and we are told that she is more Invested than Elantrians, more Invested than Returned. Let's compare Yumi, Elantrians, and Heralds. Who is most Invested, who is least Invested?

Brandon Sanderson

Of those, probably Heralds... The thing is, the Heralds varied. How in tune and aligned they are with their oaths, their promise... It wasn't Oaths, but they did promise certain things when they became Heralds. It was pre Knights Radiants, it's not as formalized as Oaths. How in line with the power of Honor, how in line with the kind of natural Investiture of Roshar--which is separate from Honor, Cultivation and Odium--are they, how can they draw upon that. I will call them the least of the three though.

Argent

So Heralds on the bottom, and Yumi on top, and Elantrians in the middle?

Brandon Sanderson

Yumi on top, but Yumi's very close to an Elantrian. They're within the same conversation. And most of the yoki-hijo were traditionally in the past less, they've gained Investiture over time.

Shardcast Interview (July 30, 2023)

 

29 minutes ago, Treamayne said:

C tier: Large Splinters (e.g. Nightwatcher), Avatars (e.g. Patji)

D tier: Splinters (e.g. Returned's Divine Breath, Yoki-Hijo),  Invested Slivers (e.g. TLR), Avatar Vessels (e.g. Telsin)

E tier: Small Splinters (e.g. Seons, Spren), Invested Cognitive Shadows (e.g. Heralds)

F tier: Cognitive Shadows, Bonded Humans (e.g. Spore Eaters, Aviar bonded humans, Sand masters)

I mostly agree, however I wouldn't place Returned above Heralds, they should be equal. Also if you consider Avatar Vessels, then why not Shard Vessels? The mechanics of those are more or less the same but Avatars are on a much smaller scale. Avatars, Splinters and CS are on a spectrum, some have less investiture, others have more. The problem with your scale is that you kind of switched into measuring investiture level, not divinity - who would consider people with Aviars or Spore Eaters to be gods? 

But how do you @bmcclure7 measure divinity? Is it about how invested they are or how they are perceived by people? Because if it's by perception, then Heralds are about the Stormfather in general (but by what religious practice?). How do you define divinity? There are gods on Scadrial that probably never existed and yet they were worshiped. Should they be on the list? Returned are worshiped as the highest divine authority, only surpassed by the God-King, who is below Vasher - should Vasher be S tier? Basically all those religions are incompatible with each other unless you measure divinity by investiture and that means this isn't about gods and divinity anymore. You can't make a "hierarchy of divinity," because that's subjective, based only on your personal beliefs. If you think a farting pancake named Doug is the ultimate god of Cosmere then he is S tier for you and nothing will change that.

But if you measure it by investiture, then there should be no God Beyond on the list, as we don't even know if he exists. Adonalsium is the maximum. 

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3 minutes ago, alder24 said:

I mostly agree, however I wouldn't place Returned above Heralds, they should be equal.

Psstt...I didn't.

I said the Divine Breath in a Returned is (likely) above a Herald (even if the Returned can't use it much). What I was trying to convey (poorly) was that A Herald is a Cognitive Shadow that may-or-may-not be invested or bonded to their Honorblade (if no bond, then only investied if they have their Honorblade) - while a Divine Breath is always a Splinter - stong enough to propel the holding CS to Fifth Heightening (amongst other things). Returned are just Cognitive Shadows as well (albeit, ones who die without their bonded Splinter). 

It's the Divine Breath that is above a Herald (and possibly the Honorblade itself - if it can be considered a non-sapient Splinter); because without those the Herald and Returned are just a Cognitive Shadow. 

3 minutes ago, alder24 said:

Also if you consider Avatar Vessels, then why not Shard Vessels?

Wording sucks - but I was trying to differentiate between Avatars like Patji and The Sand Lord, compared to Avatars like Telsin-as-Trell.

Recommendations?

10 minutes ago, alder24 said:

who would consider people with Aviars or Spore Eaters to be gods? 

Sorry, I must have missed that in the OP - I thought it was only about investiture levels as relating to closeness to Adonalsium. A Human with a Bond is above a normal non-invested human, no bond, and only possessing innate investiture. 

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16 minutes ago, Treamayne said:

Psstt...I didn't.

I said the Divine Breath in a Returned is (likely) above a Herald (even if the Returned can't use it much). What I was trying to convey (poorly) was that A Herald is a Cognitive Shadow that may-or-may-not be invested or bonded to their Honorblade (if no bond, then only investied if they have their Honorblade) - while a Divine Breath is always a Splinter - stong enough to propel the holding CS to Fifth Heightening (amongst other things). Returned are just Cognitive Shadows as well (albeit, ones who die without their bonded Splinter). 

It's the Divine Breath that is above a Herald (and possibly the Honorblade itself - if it can be considered a non-sapient Splinter); because without those the Herald and Returned are just a Cognitive Shadow. 

And that's something we don't know. We don't know if Returned are more invested than Heralds thanks to their Divine Breaths, or if their Divine Breath alone is more invested than Heralds. It doesn't seem to be that way because Returned need a constant feed of investiture to sustain their Divine Breath, Heralds don't. Heralds (and Fused) seem to be more invested than Returned. Without their Divine Breath, Returned don't exist, without the Oathpact and Honorblades Heralds still exist. RoW ch 15:

Quote

“Lots of ways. For the weaker ones, just kill the body again, make sure no one Invests the soul with more strength, and they’ll slip away in a few minutes. For stronger ones … well, you might be able to starve them. A lot of Type Twos feed on power. Keeps them going.
“These enemies of yours though, I think they’re too strong for that. They’ve lasted thousands of years already, and seem Connected to Odium to feed directly on his power. You’ll have to find a way to disrupt their souls. You can’t just rip them apart; you need a weapon so strong, it unravels the soul.” He squinted, looking off into the distance. “I know through sorry experience those kinds of weapons are very dangerous to make, and never seem to work right.”

Yes, a Divine Breath is a Splinter but that alone tells us nothing about how they compare to other CS. I would not separate Returned and their Divine Breaths into different categories. Returned seems to be weaker/"stronger ones" CS by Vasher's words, while Heralds/Fused are the strongest. 

Edit:

16 minutes ago, Treamayne said:

Wording sucks - but I was trying to differentiate between Avatars like Patji and The Sand Lord, compared to Avatars like Telsin-as-Trell.

Recommendations?

Lesser Avatars?

Edited by alder24
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, alder24 said:

For sure entities like Stormfather or Nightwatcher are above Slivers. Slivers don't really have anything special about them except that they don't phase into the Beyond when they die, and they do die normally like any other person. Only in combination with Invested Arts Slivers (and admittedly any person) can cheat death and become "a god" like Rashek did. 

But what about Elantrians? They aren't CS, they aren't Splinters or Slivers and they are more invested then Returned. They are more invested then Heralds too. 

Yumi spoiler WoB:

  Reveal hidden contents

Argent

If we are looking at very highly Invested beings, we have Yumi, and we are told that she is more Invested than Elantrians, more Invested than Returned. Let's compare Yumi, Elantrians, and Heralds. Who is most Invested, who is least Invested?

Brandon Sanderson

Of those, probably Heralds... The thing is, the Heralds varied. How in tune and aligned they are with their oaths, their promise... It wasn't Oaths, but they did promise certain things when they became Heralds. It was pre Knights Radiants, it's not as formalized as Oaths. How in line with the power of Honor, how in line with the kind of natural Investiture of Roshar--which is separate from Honor, Cultivation and Odium--are they, how can they draw upon that. I will call them the least of the three though.

Argent

So Heralds on the bottom, and Yumi on top, and Elantrians in the middle?

Brandon Sanderson

Yumi on top, but Yumi's very close to an Elantrian. They're within the same conversation. And most of the yoki-hijo were traditionally in the past less, they've gained Investiture over time.

Shardcast Interview (July 30, 2023)

 

I mostly agree, however I wouldn't place Returned above Heralds, they should be equal. Also if you consider Avatar Vessels, then why not Shard Vessels? The mechanics of those are more or less the same but Avatars are on a much smaller scale. Avatars, Splinters and CS are on a spectrum, some have less investiture, others have more. The problem with your scale is that you kind of switched into measuring investiture level, not divinity - who would consider people with Aviars or Spore Eaters to be gods? 

But how do you @bmcclure7 measure divinity? Is it about how invested they are or how they are perceived by people? Because if it's by perception, then Heralds are about the Stormfather in general (but by what religious practice?). How do you define divinity? There are gods on Scadrial that probably never existed and yet they were worshiped. Should they be on the list? Returned are worshiped as the highest divine authority, only surpassed by the God-King, who is below Vasher - should Vasher be S tier? Basically all those religions are incompatible with each other unless you measure divinity by investiture and that means this isn't about gods and divinity anymore. You can't make a "hierarchy of divinity," because that's subjective, based only on your personal beliefs. If you think a farting pancake named Doug is the ultimate god of Cosmere then he is S tier for you and nothing will change that.

But if you measure it by investiture, then there should be no God Beyond on the list, as we don't even know if he exists. Adonalsium is the maximum. 

No people perception are to change able and variable to be the basis for cosmere wide theory. 

 

Believe is only cosmology relevant if what you believe is real. So also not a good basis for a theory of divinity. 

 

Instead the hierarchy is based two factors, investiture (power) and continuity (legitimacy).

 

Power alone is not enough, a king needs continuity.  Otherwise he is only a warlord.

This is why slivers outrank splinters .

 

Because a sliver is a former shard while all a splinter will ever be is a piece of one.

 

These things are not a matter of "subject belief " as you seem to think but can be tract and measure in world. 

 

The God Beyond is on the list because we can not dismiss the possibility that Adonalsium was created by or is a splinter of another God. 

 

 

@Treamayne you corect technical about aviars and the rest  but the place would have to be even lower than immortals.  Like h or even I tear.

 

Edited by bmcclure7
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6 hours ago, bmcclure7 said:

This is why slivers outrank splinters. Because a sliver is a former shard while all a splinter will ever be is a piece of one.

No, a Sliver is a former Vessel of a Shard which still exists. And as I said before, a Sliver will die normally and fade into the Beyond if he choses, they hold no powers. A Sliver is a king who abdicated - continuity of his reign and his claim to the throne ended with his abdication. 

The Stormfather is on the other hand not only a large Splinter, greater than True Spren, but also a CS of Honor. He is above Slivers. He is a regent.

6 hours ago, bmcclure7 said:

These things are not a matter of "subject belief " as you seem to think but can be tract and measure in world. 

The God Beyond is on the list because we can not dismiss the possibility that Adonalsium was created by or is a splinter of another God. 

So it's not about beliefs but you include the only entity in Cosmere whose existence will forever be unconfirmed and based only on people's beliefs? His continuity is ambiguous at best. What makes you think Adonalsium was created? It was said Adonalsium created Cosmere. I highly disagree with including the God Beyond because it doesn't make sense if it's about "investiture and continuity." He doesn't fit both of your own criteria. He is the "subject of beliefs."

You can't claim this list is about measurable quantities like investiture and continuity and then include the entity that can't be measured, can't be known for sure if he exists at all and is fully based on people's beliefs. 

What about Marsh? He is quite powerful for a mortal, but he is invested considerably by Harmony from time to time and acts as the Death - thus both his power and continuity can be measured. Where would you place him on your list?

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1 hour ago, alder24 said:

No, a Sliver is a former Vessel of a Shard which still exists. And as I said before, a Sliver will die normally and fade into the Beyond if he choses, they hold no powers. A Sliver is a king who abdicated - continuity of his reign and his claim to the throne ended with his abdication. 

The Stormfather is on the other hand not only a large Splinter, greater than True Spren, but also a CS of Honor. He is above Slivers. He is a regent.

So it's not about beliefs but you include the only entity in Cosmere whose existence will forever be unconfirmed and based only on people's beliefs? His continuity is ambiguous at best. What makes you think Adonalsium was created? It was said Adonalsium created Cosmere. I highly disagree with including the God Beyond because it doesn't make sense if it's about "investiture and continuity." He doesn't fit both of your own criteria. He is the "subject of beliefs."

You can't claim this list is about measurable quantities like investiture and continuity and then include the entity that can't be measured, can't be known for sure if he exists at all and is fully based on people's beliefs. 

What about Marsh? He is quite powerful for a mortal, but he is invested considerably by Harmony from time to time and acts as the Death - thus both his power and continuity can be measured. Where would you place him on your list?

1.  The king who abdicates (sliver)   Surely outrinks a mere Mayor (splinter)

2. The God beyond is at least theoretically possible. Which why I included on this list.  We know Adonalsium split into shards and shard can split in the splinters  So it's theoretically possible.  I'm not saying it will be confirmed when it's  But at the very least Presented to the audience as a possibility meaning we have to factor in when when constructing a theory of divinity. 

 

3.  As for Marsh  This one is very easy he is a highly invested immortal G tear. 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, bmcclure7 said:

1.  The king who abdicates (sliver)   Surely outrinks a mere Mayor (splinter)

I'm not talking about regular Splinters, I'm talking about the Stormfather who isn't like a king but is like a regent - ruling in the absence of the king. The king who abdicated has no power and no claims to rule. He's far below the regent and has to obey the regent's laws. And no, the king who abdicated is not above the law, he has no special rights, privileges and no authority anymore. He no longer can order people around.

24 minutes ago, bmcclure7 said:

2. The God beyond is at least theoretically possible. Which why I included on this list.  We know Adonalsium split into shards and shard can split in the splinters  So it's theoretically possible.  I'm not saying it will be confirmed when it's  But at the very least Presented to the audience as a possibility meaning we have to factor in when when constructing a theory of divinity. 

A farting pancake named Doug, the ultimate god of Cosmere, is also theoretically possible and the existence of such entities was confirmed in Tress. The pancake-god has more legitimacy than the God Beyond. You should include him in the S tier. That was a joke - you see the problem here? It's not about what's possible, it's about what is measurable. The God Beyond is not measurable. He doesn't belong here. Either you're making the list based on investiture and continuity or based on belief systems. The God Beyond belongs only to the latter. 

33 minutes ago, bmcclure7 said:

3.  As for Marsh  This one is very easy he is a highly invested immortal G tear. 

Is it easy? Normal Marsh belongs there, yes, but what about times when he is being invested so much that he basically mini-Ascends and transcends the Realms, meeting dead people in CR? That's not normal for any (im)mortals.

And what about Dawnshards and Dawnslivers (former Dawnshards)? They have a considerable amount of power, power so great that it can threaten Shards and was once used to kill Adonalsium himself. Where would you put those people?

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, alder24 said:

I'm not talking about regular Splinters, I'm talking about the Stormfather who isn't like a king but is like a regent - ruling in the absence of the king. The king who abdicated has no power and no claims to rule. He's far below the regent and has to obey the regent's laws. And no, the king who abdicated is not above the law, he has no special rights, privileges and no authority anymore. He no longer can order people around.

A farting pancake named Doug, the ultimate god of Cosmere, is also theoretically possible and the existence of such entities was confirmed in Tress. The pancake-god has more legitimacy than the God Beyond. You should include him in the S tier. That was a joke - you see the problem here? It's not about what's possible, it's about what is measurable. The God Beyond is not measurable. He doesn't belong here. Either you're making the list based on investiture and continuity or based on belief systems. The God Beyond belongs only to the latter. 

Is it easy? Normal Marsh belongs there, yes, but what about times when he is being invested so much that he basically mini-Ascends and transcends the Realms, meeting dead people in CR? That's not normal for any (im)mortals.

And what about Dawnshards and Dawnslivers (former Dawnshards)? They have a considerable amount of power, power so great that it can threaten Shards and was once used to kill Adonalsium himself. Where would you put those people?

 I don't remember it ever saying he mini ascends? 

 I don't even remember that being a thing that you could do what even is a mini acention? 

 

As for GB  If we can have theory about Dark Matter  Which we can't measure. Surely the same for GB 

Edited by bmcclure7
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51 minutes ago, bmcclure7 said:

 I didn't know piercing rooms at anything to do with this ascension?  Well then still easy he is a sliver

I feel that he is on a level above slivers and splinters as he is able to directly pull investiture from the spiritual realm which we have not seen a non shard do yet. Not including the dawn shards or aethers as they predate the shattering 

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