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The Old Magic (Roshar)


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I've been doing some thinking about the magic on Roshar and digging through some WoB's and such. The general idea is that we're going to see 3 broad categories of magic, Surgebinding, The Old Magic, and "something we haven't really seen yet" (Presumably voidbinding). Using Moogle's thread (HERE)  I'm going with the thought that we have H+C, O, and H+C+O. Mainly I'm thinking this route because of how well Rayse gets along with his intent, as pointed out by Hoid. This means he doesn't play well with others, and I'm sure he could bar any attempt at intent meshing that he had a say in, because I'm sure the intent of O+C would actually work just fine if it was permitted. You can cultivate the crap out of some hatred, I mean...just look at Kaladin and Amaram. The reason I DO have him meshed up in the last category, which is the Old Magic is that I doubt that requires the permission of the spren/shard to work.


So here are my thoughts on the Old Magic.

- It's something entirely seperate from what Rosharians are calling the Old Magic with the Nightwatcher. Or not, I could actually see it working here, too, but I'll explain later. At the very least, it is definately bigger than just the Nightwatcher.

-It has to do with Fabrials. Unless Voidbinding is Fabrial-heavy, WoB states that the 3rd general category of magic has to do with fabrials.

-The biggest users of it are the Parshendi. This supports the bulk of my theory. Parshendi go out into the highstorm, and fuse with a spren, essentially. Now that they've learned to trap spren in gems, they can force it a lot easier. (Sounds similar to using spren in Fabrials, no?) So basically, Parshendi are walking, talking fabrials.

-Old Shardplate vs. Modern Shardplate: Fairly certain the Old Shardplate was actually using Old Magic to function. Perhaps trapping "armorspren" into the gems. Heck, it might not actually even require a starting suit. We know Shardplate can grow itself back. Slap an armorspren in a gem and BAM, shardplate. The Modern shardplate probably doesn't actually have any spren in it anymore, the stormlight having worn out at some point, releasing the spren. Why does it still work? Because it thinks it should. Cognitive shardplate keeps it going in a pale imitation of what it once was.

-The Old magic interprets the 10 surges, as we've seen with Rubies and Amethyst, but it also seems to have other applications with Fabrials outside of the surges, such as the one that produces heat, or alerts of nearby people (Although, I have some thoughts about that particular fabrial...seems awfully close to just using investiture for Life-sense, like breath)


So really, if this is actually what the Old Magic is, it is just an incredibly diverse magic system, with not quite as much potency (Unless you have enormous gems, which I imagine only makes them stronger because you can trap a larger spren, or a larger part of the "Ideal Thought" within it). While surgebinding can make the uberblades with their bonds, they have a very flexible, willing spren. I assume Voidbinding will be similar, or something like destroying the mind of the host and just having the spren take the wheel (We know Odium-Spren lean towards that due to Stormform). But I'm sure you could trap an Odium-spren with few ill side-effects in a normal fabrial. (Not the living one like a parshendi, but a normal gem) And as for the Nightwatcher being related, I'm kind of feeling like that's trying to use a human as a "host" for a spren, and humans aren't compatible naturally with spren, like the Parshendi are. This is kind of a hard thought to put into words, but the spren would take up residence somewhere in the cognitive funtion of the host, resulting in the curse (ie. Lost memory, faulty perception of the world, etc.), and in turn provide the benefit of whatever type of spren it is. The Nightwatcher thought is more of an addon than an actual part of the theory, but I promised earlier to provide a little amplification there. (This is especially weak when you consider that some Boons seem to be physical in nature, suggesting spren aren't related to it at all, unless it was something like just finding the Shadesmere bead for it and using the spren to transport it)


Anywho, just some of my random thoughts. I may have missed something big that debunks my whole theory, and if so, feel free to point it out and I'll accept my idiocy. Otherwise, feel free to dump your thoughts here.


Edited for spelling.

Edited by Ugouka
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I have to re-read the post but it's seems to me very unlikely.

For example if the people who visit the Nightwatch had a Spren inside. How the Radiant did Spren not catch this oddly fact ? I am talking of Syl and Pattern that had a lot of time near Dalinar for example. And a lot more unlikely, spren that are bond with "Cursed" people. Like the Stormfather and Wylde.


In your case the Nightwatch gives to Lift two spren and seems to me a lot of unlikely.

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I love the detail of the post, and I like the idea of a spren-heavy magic system, but we know that the "old magic" would probably come from cultivation, and the spren are of honor. Other than that though, I can't find many holes in your theory

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Yata: Yes, that is a valid point, and as I said in the original post, I was mostly just trying a shaky tie-in there with the Nightwatcher. I'm still not entirely convinced the Nightwatcher is all that related to the Old Magic as an official magic system, but rather I view her as something seperate. After your post, only a few workarounds are really plausible for that theory to stand, which..I really don't care to defend it, since it's not a very good part of the post, anyway, but hey, food for thought, why not? 1) The spren influencing the curse/boon exist purely in the cognitive realm, tinkering with the "flame" of the person's mind. With no foothold in the physical, it's entirely possible that Syl/Pattern just aren't paying enough attention to Shadesmere with how much is going on in the Physical to actually notice them. 2) They just don't care/think to mention it? Syl doesn't comment on every rotspren, lifespren, or windspren she sees. Why bother talking about that odd one chillin' in Dalinar's head?   But....as I said. That part of the post was a thin part of the theory.


Topaz: Thanks! And while yes, I agree, the Old Magic is most likely heavily tied to Cultivation, I doubt it is exclusive. Surgebinding isn't, and spren aren't only of Honor. From the coppermind: "Most spren consist of the essences of Honor and Cultivation, or a mixture of both that leans towards either one Shard or the other."  Plus, we also know that Odium has his own spren. Heck, we see all three types. Syl for Honor, Wyndle for Cultivation, and Stormspren for Odium, just to name a few.

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